Posted in C-Novel Translation

Chapter 1.1 – Castle in the Time (Time City) 时光之城 by 皎皎 Jiao Jiao

Hi everyone. Surprise! Indeed… mhryu is back for now… 

It is the 5th day of MCO here where I am located. With the restriction in place and everyone playing their part, my activities over the past 2 days were reading novels, cook for meals… read and then I decided to pick up translation. Trust me, it can be frustrating as there are many people in the country not taking this seriously. While for me, it is frustrating as I just came out of self-quarantine period of 3 weeks (2 weeks and then I was ill so I decided to take extra precaution and took additional 1 week to continue my self-quarantine) just not too long ago after I returned after spending 16 days travelling around US, Cuba and Mexico in January / February 2020. I had to go back into quarantine again just less than 2 weeks after I came out of quarantine. So, one can imagine how I am feeling. 

While I am not sure how persistant I would be in getting this novel translated and completed within the year, I hope with the reduce in my workload (hopefully) with the current situation, I would be able to find the time. Of course it would also depend if my fella readers would like to read this novel.

So, after you had taken the time to read this 1st chapter, do share your thoughts if this novel have got your interest to continue reading. And mhryu would be happy to try to continue the project as often as she could. Happy Reading!

And to everyone out there… the current epidemic is very serious. Please take the #socialdistancing and any #stayathome request by the leaders of your country seriously. Stay healthy and safe wherever you are. 

Index | Next Chapter


Chapter 1.1:

Obviously, my feet are already standing in front of the hotel. But I stopped again.

At times like this, it is false to say that I am not nervous. For several times, he tried raising my feet to step forward but then lowered them again. My behavior is so stupid that the staff in the hotel lobby looked up at me frequently. He finally came over with a smile and asked me if I needed any help.

I returned him a smile. I took a deep breath and then waved my hand to indicate that everything is ok. I then stepped on the shining marble floor walking into the hotel lobby.

‘I have an appointment and I want to know if she is here now.’

The young girl at the front desk smiled: ‘Which room is it?’

‘22nd floor, Room 2208.’

She asked me while searching on the computer: ‘What is the name of the guest?’

I pursed my lips: ‘Ms Liang Wan Ting.’

© 2020 TINKERBELLSAN ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Translated for If you are not reading this from, then this translation has been posted without the permission of the translator.

This is the first time I have mentioned this name in front of an outsider. I thought that I would have difficulty to say these three words. To my surprise, those three words suddenly had power, jumping out of my mouth. At the same time, I am surprised, and my mood became subtle. Finally, I am more relaxed.

This is a very lively name. Just like the owner of this name. Most people can only use the famous name to describe it. Although the degree of thunder brought to each person is different.

For example, the girl in front of me, the name Liang Wan Ting got her into the awe-inspiring mood.

‘Director Liang?’ The girl at the front desk looked up and looked at the me the same way. Although she is restraining herself, I could still see her deep curiosity. I didn’t even have to think about what she was thinking about me and this great this great director. ‘What is your name?’

‘Xu Zhen.’ I replied. ‘My name.’

She picked up the hotel’s internal phone and dialed. Ten seconds later, she put down the phone and stared at me saying: ‘Director Liang asked you to go up.’

I stood at the door of the room 2208 and I calmed down for the first time today.

All my hesitation that have been so exhausting while on my way to the hotel. Now, I have courage to being able to achieve my goals. My calf is no longer stiff. My rapid heartbeat became stable and my sweaty palms returned to dryness again. I knocked firmly on the heavy wooden door.

The door creaked open. A ray of light poured onto the thick carpet in the corridor. I looked up and looked into the room. A young woman of 27 / 28 years old who had never met me is standing in front of me with a very kind smile.

‘Hi. Are you Xu Zhen? Come in.’

© 2020 TINKERBELLSAN ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Translated for If you are not reading this from, then this translation has been posted without the permission of the translator.

The place where I am now is a suite of this luxury hotel. The colors are very calm and elegant, just like the overall style of the hotel. The living room is large, the floor to ceiling curtain are partially drawn. Overlooking the blue sky, the street view overlooking the city. And the blue sea is in the distance. The endless sea level beyond it. At 9am, the sun shining through the thin glass filled with the sound of cicadas.

‘My name is Ju Xiao Rui. I am Director Liang’s assistant. I have been with Director Liang for almost 6 years.’ She placed a cup of coffee on the small coffee table next to the window. She spoke very quickly. Extremely skillful. She lifted her head and smiled at me. ‘Although we have spoken twice, but this is the first time I am meeting you in person. You look more like Director Liang than in the picture. They are all very beautiful.’

I am a little embarrassed. ‘Miss Ji, thank you for the compliment.’

She laughed, showing a row of white teeth, ‘Just call me Rui.’

‘Oh, Xiao Rui’ I thought about it and added the word ‘Sister.’

She looked at me again and said: ‘I will call you Xiao Zhen in the future.’

‘Oh, good.’

‘During the past few days, filming has only completed at 5 am. Director Liang did not fall asleep until after 6am’ Ji Xiao Rui said. ‘She just woke up a moment ago and is still washing up.’

‘Oh, it’s okay.’

The living room is very quiet. The luxurious furnishing highlights the taste and the grade of the hotel. I sat down obediently and lowered my head, sipping the coffee and looking at the book on the coffee table.

‘It’s a movie script.’ Ji Xiao Rui explained. ‘I was reading them before you came.’

In my imagination, the script should be a stack of bounded printing paper. The script in front of me is much better than my thought. The cover is beautifully artistic with four extremely artistic characters “Three Chapters of the Law”. I remember this as the movie’s title. Below it, is the director’s name, Liang Wan Ting and the time of the start of the filming. There was a moment when I am tempted to open the script to read the spoiler but finally held myself back.

I am always cautious when it comes to others.

I am a little nervous.

I raised my eyes and see that the door to the bedroom is half opened. I couldn’t help but glanced into the room for the fear of someone accidentally coming out of the door. I was caught by surprise.

© 2020 TINKERBELLSAN ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Translated for If you are not reading this from, then this translation has been posted without the permission of the translator.

Ju Xiao Rui saw my gaze and said understandingly. ‘I’ll go and see Director Liang’

As soon as she got up, the half-opened door was pushed open.

I stared straight at the door. First, I saw a woman in a long black dress stepping out of the door. The skin of her long arms and neck was bare and nearly exposed. The fair complexion and the water-like black dress formed sharp contrast. There were almost no accessories on her body except for the silver necklace hanging on her neck. The necklace dangled from her chest. An ‘L’ shaped pendant hung at the bottom, reflecting bright starlight.

I was almost blinded by that light. For a moment, I couldn’t tell whether the light was from the pendant or came from her indifferent calmness. In fact, I had no time to take care of such small details…. Because…. She was walking toward me.

This gives me a clearer look at her appearance. As described in countless gossip news, her appearance looks more like a first-class actress than a director. In person, she looks younger than in the photos and videos. She should have been in her early forties this year. But she does not look more than 35 years old. She has bright eyes. She is divine and her sight is just like the sunshine.

She glanced at me with a kind of scrutiny look, as if she had completely seen through me. I had numbness in my spine and bounced subconsciously. A pleasant yet majestic voice came into my ear.

‘Xu Zhen?’ She called me by name. There was no emotion heard in her voice. She was very calm.

‘It’s me.’ I hesitated and called out softly: ‘Mom.’

For the first time in my life, I called out this common calling. At that moment, my mood was complicated to the extend I couldn’t explain it.

Yes, the majestic, beautiful and noble woman in front of me is my mother.

In fact, I have very little to say about my mother. Because, there was never a mother in my life in the past and current years of my life.

When I was much younger, I stupidly asked my dad: ‘Why do other children have mum and I don’t?’ Because every time I mentioned this, my dad would put down the paper or the fossil in his hand. And with a straight face and mysterious expression, he had this looked of being stumped by a big problem. And the eyes behind the black-rimmed glasses seemed both confused and guilty. I also realized as I was growing up, my dad’s unspeakable expression had hidden meanings. He did want to tell me something but every time when he tried to speak, he stopped talking.

Because I am too young.

In the end, he would dryly say to me: ‘Your mother is busy now. She will come to see you when she is free.’

After I have asked the same thing a few times, I no longer asked them. It is not me who brags about myself, but I always have a great understanding of the situation.

I grew up with my father. He is a paleontologist with a good culture. I have never seen him lose his temper in his whole life. His knowledge is also profound, which is perfectly reflected in his books. He found hundreds of new and undocumented species. He could tell from a piece of fossil that the organism with the suspected network structure lived in the Cretaceous or Tertiary period, was magnolia or birch. He could also identify the Biological habits and food. He is enthusiastic about his career and travels in the years to investigate paleontology. Every word in his works is soaked with hard sweat.

Before I reached 15 years old, my dad brought me together every time he went out. We have been to the remote mountains, vast deserts, desolate island…… We were looking for outcropping fossils on the bare surface. I have seen so many new and unique scenery. I have seen all kinds of people that was good in helping to broaden my mind.

My dad only knows paleontology. But I am still proud of him. So, it doesn’t matter to me whether there is a mother or not.

‘Have you had breakfast?’

I was lost for a moment. And finally heard this question from my mother. Before that, mother was waiting for her coffee. After Ji Xiao Rui put a small cup of milk and a third cube of sugar into the coffee cup, she picked up the coffee cup.

As usual, this is a question. Although I didn’t hear the question earlier.

‘I ate in school.’ I replied immediately.

‘Let’s eat together.’ Although I said I had eaten, she turned a deaf ear to me and called Ji Xiao Rui. ‘Call for room service, breakfast for two.’

Xiao Ji Rui nodded and stood up to make the call, leaving me and my mother to sit alone at the coffee table. I kept on thinking about the topic. The embarrassment of meeting birth mother was like drinking overnight water. The cups on the coffee table looked at me mockingly. My thighs shook and the coffee table was slightly shaken. The coffee rippled slowly.

My mother glanced at me, while holding the spoon to stir the coffee: ‘Tell me about yourself.’

This ‘interview’ tone made me feel a little uncomfortable.  I tightened my eyebrows slightly and still expressed my confidence: ‘Jinghai University, Junior year. Oh, I mean, after the fall semester, I would be in my Senior year. I am in studying in the Faculty of Economics and my grades are not bad. I used to be a student representative in the class and the director of publicity in the college.

© 2020 TINKERBELLSAN ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Translated for If you are not reading this from, then this translation has been posted without the permission of the translator.

‘You should be a college student too.’ She said, lowering her eyelids and asked: ‘Are you 21 this year?’

‘Yes, I am 21 this year. My birthday is in February.’

She nodded. Since she gave birth to me, she should still remember my birthday.

I noticed a slight wrinkle in the corner of her eyes. And a little blue under her eyes. She obviously put on light makeup but couldn’t hide her tiredness. More than a month ago, I saw the launching ceremony of her new movie on TV. Since then, various news about this movie have appeared frequently in the entertainment section of newspapers and movies theatre. And the previous publicity can be seen. This movie is the biggest investment in the past 2 years, with several popular superstars starring in it. Every move will be featured in the gossip news. And she is the director of such blockbuster.

‘Zheng Yao’ she paused. ‘When was your father’s funeral?’

I felt like someone holding a steel drill into my internal organs. My eyes and nose watered at the same time and my throat froze. ‘3 weeks ago.’ I found my voice raspy.

My mother was silent for a moment, as if remembering something. She sipped her coffee before she said: ‘At that time, I was filming in a foreign country and I couldn’t come back.’

‘Oh, it doesn’t matter.’ I said honestly.

I’m sure that it doesn’t matter. And it won’t anger my father. Anyway, our father and daughter have been doing well for so many years. My father interest in fossils and specimens has overwhelmed everything. And he has never revealed the regret and disappointment of his wife. So, I thought, my father wouldn’t care if she had come to his funeral.

While talking, someone knocked at the door.

Ji Xiao Rui was sitting on the sofa. When she heard the knock, she put down her handphone and opened the door. It was the room service. The waiter put the breakfast neatly on the table. Breakfast was simple with double-sided toasted brown bread slices, strawberry jam, a jug of milk and two eggs.

The truth is, I was thinking about the meeting today and I didn’t sleep well. I woke up early in the morning, stayed in the empty bedroom for a while before heading to the school’s restaurant before hurriedly ate breakfast. Then, I took the subway and the bus crossing bridge over the sea. Leaving the city, it was endless torment. It took me 2 hours and a minute to get to the south side of the city heading to the Hotel by the seaside. The bumps of journey consumed my energy and I suddenly felt a little hungry.

© 2020 TINKERBELLSAN ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Translated for If you are not reading this from, then this translation has been posted without the permission of the translator.

My mother gracefully spread the jam on the bread while sipping the milk in small sips. I also plan to do so when suddenly I heard the door knock again. I wondered in my heart if that door has been opened and closed too many times today. If the door has feelings, it would been very annoyed. 😊

Thinking that it is the waiter returning, I glanced at the door and was immediately stunned. The hand reaching for the slice of bread was stiff in the air and a little trembling.

Ji Xiao Rui greeted someone who was familiar to her and then looked back at my mother. ‘Director Liang, Mr. Gu Chi Jun is looking for you.’



I love travelling and exploring the world, see things from the lense of my camera.... this is my space in sharing the many exciting places that I have visited as well as some of the wonderful gastronomy experience. I also loved baking while exploring new recipes. From time to time, I will also be sharing unique dishes that I cook for my family as well as sharing some of my baking experience / recipes.

8 thoughts on “Chapter 1.1 – Castle in the Time (Time City) 时光之城 by 皎皎 Jiao Jiao

    1. Thanks for taking the time to drop the message Khaerani. Any lockdown is tough. Stay safe and healthy. Remain positive always both mentally and physically and we shall pull through this together!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I hope you keep healthy mentally and physically. I like this book from the first translation. Thank you. Please take care of yourself first. We will enjoy the chapters when they come.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Azurro. Yes it has been a while indeed. Been crazily busy at work over the past 1 year. Now it is the ‘lockdown’ period in most countries. So pretty much stuck at home at the moment. What is most worrying is the safety and health of everyone. So do take care ya 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for taking this up. I’ve been re-reading many favorite translated novels and found my way back to your site. Although I think I can guess that relationships will be repaired later in the novel, this first chapter with the cold mother has my blood boiling!

    Liked by 1 person

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