Posted in C-Novel Translation

Chapter 2 – Castle in the Time (Time City) 时光之城 by 皎皎 Jiao Jiao

Hi everyone. I hope everyone is safe and well. 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. 

Here, where I am currently, our Movement Control Order (MCO) have been extended another 2 weeks. And in some of the areas, they have already imposed Extensive Movement Control Order (EMCO). Haiz…. and still people don’t take it seriously. 

Another long chapter to read today. Happy Reading!

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Chapter 2:

Gu Chi Jun.

The real in person Gu Chi Jun is in front of me.

I can’t control myself from looking at him.

Initially, he was like a thief. He glanced around secretly and then quietly recovered his sight. Gu Chi Jun from the corner of my eyes was tall and slender, dressed casually with shirt and dark blue trousers with near hair. His features seem to be glowing. I was so nervous that my vision became blurry.

He is really a start among the starts, no matter where he goes.

So, I got bold again and looked at him again. This time round, the glance lasted longer and was more effective than I thought. His face looks the same as what I had seen in the countless photos and movies. Full frowning forehead and quiet eyes.

Suddenly, I think of a film review in the entertainment magazine. If a person has Gu Chi Jun’s appearance, there is no other way out than to be a star. He came towards us with a folder and nodded towards my mother. As he walked in, he said hello. He gazes swept over to me and he stopped.

With this one glance, my world seemed to light up.

Hey, wait! He’s looking at me! I discovered shortly after that.

I then, glanced at him again. Confirmed! He is indeed looking at me with those beautiful phoenix eyes.

Our eyes met. Gu Chi Jun’s handsome appearance and extremely charming eyes are very popular. The last time I had such close contact with him was 3 or 4 years ago. And it was a product meeting that he endorsed. He was then looking around on the stage, when his eyes stayed on me for a while. He smiled at me and then signaled that I was selected to the stage to participate in the activity. In fact, the eyes and smile were just instantaneous action. My poor heart was overwhelmed. Exploded! My mind went into overdrive…..

In the moment in my muddled thoughts, he had already sat down on the wooden chair by the coffee table. He put the folder on the table by the plate and then cross his arms.

Of course, people will change. I am now more matured than before. There will never be the excitement that I had back then when he looked at me. But unfortunately, he is now not more than 5 meters away from me. The first button on his shirt’s neckline was unbuttoned. I could almost see his thin upper body and undulating clavicle.

My mother looked up at him and asked casually: ‘Qi Jun, what’s the matter?’

© 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 tone of Qi Jun was very peaceful. It sounded like the tone of an old friend whom is very familiar with each other. This is not a surprise. According to the various entertainment news that I have read, the general experience between both of them can be summarized as following: Gu Chi Jun met my mother around when he was 20 years old. My mother was already a well-known director at the time. The young man was asked to play a small supporting role in the movie. After the cooperation of that movie, he was promoted from the supporting role to a star in a love movie. The hero and heroine in the story are pen pals, thousands of miles apart. After communicating every day, one day, the girl stopped writing. The boy followed the address on the envelop to find out that she had died of terminal illness.

The movie moved countless people to tears. And Gu Chi Jun became so popular that he embarked on the path of being a super star.

His appearance is very good. And he was very young at that time, which makes him a suitable actor in touching and stylish love movies in the first few years. These films may not be with my mother, but he had accumulated a lot of fame.

However, in the film industry, being too handsome in an actor often leads to being judged as incompetence. But Gu Chi Jun broke this stereotype. In my mother’s movie “Half Life”, Gu Chi Jun showed his increasingly perfect acting skills. In the film, he played a very rebellious son and acted with several old-time actors. He did not lose to anyone at all.

For the first time, he won the nomination of Best Actor in the International Film Festival.

11 years have passed. Gu Chi Jun had already become a very hot star. He is very diligent. At least one or two movies were released every year. He rarely acted in bad movies. His acting skills have also been internationally recognized. He had completed all kinds of film, countless count. And he is now considered to be one of the most expensive male movie stars in China. Now, he is the protagonist of my mother’s “The Three Chapters of the Law.”

At this moment, the top superstar next to me is now holding his jaw in one hand and then said slowly: ‘The last night scene was about to change. I probably had changed the script.’

The voice is warm and deep. Very pleasant.

He only acted in movies and have no interest in making records. It is such a waste of a beautiful voice.

‘Okay. Let me see.’ Mother reached for the folder. ‘Changed already?’

‘Almost. I slept for two hours. Don’t worry about this for a while. You can eat while reading the script.’ Gu Chi Jun pressed the folder with one hand, his eyes shifted from my mother to me. With the kind of smile that only mature men can make the opposite sex heartbeat ten times faster, he asked: ‘This is a new actress?’

The fact that he is talking to me make me overwhelmed. Unfortunately, his doubt about my identity were enough to completely offset my excitement. I was a little embarrassed and was about to reply that ‘I am not an actress’ to clarify the fact when my mother had taken the lead to reply.

‘No.’ She explained my identity without hesitation, ‘my daughter.’

At that moment, Gu Zhi Jun’s expression could only be described as very expressive. He was surprised. However, he was indeed the King of acting. He calmed down in the next second, making me think that his surprised expression was just my imagination. Gu Chi Jun and my mother had known each other for more than 10 years. And this is the first time that my existence was made known. My mother is a very private and self-conscious person.

© 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.

‘I didn’t expect this.’ He shook his head, gave me a dazzling smile and extended his hand above the coffee table to say hello to me. ‘Hello.’

I hurriedly reached out and shook his hand. ‘Ah, Mr. Gu, how are you?’

He gently held my hand. The hand was dry and fresh. The knuckles were slender, warm and powerful. I seriously considered not washing my hands for the next few days.

He asked my name again, and I replied without any reservation.

‘Your last name is Xu. Xu Zhen.’ He said lightly. ‘A good name.’

‘Thank you.’ I thanked him while blushing. Don’t know why I even blushed.

My mother took a sip of milk and asked him, ‘Have you taken your breakfast? Let’s eat together.’

‘No.’ Gu Chi Jun shook his head. And with a little tiredness that appeared on his expression said, ‘I came immediately after waking up.’

In the principle of not wasting food, I pushed the plate in front of me and said, ‘I haven’t touched this breakfast. I have eaten before I came.  Mr. Gu, you….’ Hmmm who is Gu Chi Jun… how can I offer him the breakfast that I don’t want?

The look on my mother’s face also fully explained how ridiculous it is. She shook her head and glanced at me, ‘Don’t need. Xiao Rui, go and order.’

‘No need to order anymore. I can just eat this. Thank you, Xu Zhen.’ Gu Chi Jun pulled my breakfast place and an impeccable manners and care, relieved my inexplicable embarrassment. I think that as a top superstar, Gu Wei Jun really behaves very well.

‘It’s a well-kept secret.’ Gu Chi Jun took a bite of the bread and said to my mother. ‘Director Liang, I never knew that you had a daughter. And one that has grown up.’

‘It was never confidential’ my mother said. ‘It is just not necessary to mentioned about it.’

This answer is really embarrassing to me. I have such an ‘unnecessary’ existence in her mind. Not even worth mentioning. Although she may be similar in my heart, but after all, I asked her, it is always right to whisper.

The two of them ate breakfast slowly and chat about the movie from time to time. Listening to their conversation, I know how hard it is for them to sit here for breakfast now. They have been sleeping at 4 or 5 am for 2 weeks in a row. And today, the Director is not doing a few scenes only. Less important part, they can rest.

But these topics are far from my usual world. I can’t talk and I don’t want to talk. Just sit silently and wait for them to finish their meal.

I just…. Glanced at Gu Chi Jun from time to time.

He ate gracefully, tearing the bread with his slender hands and lowering his eyelids slightly, it was like his usual image in the movies.

I sat at the same table and met his eyes occasionally. Always feeling the kindness in his smiling eyes.

This person is a trained professional actor. With casual sights, so handsome that people dare not look straight. I need to clasp my hands under the table and it takes a lot of effort to control my mood and prevent my idiotic nature from showing.

I can’t help thinking about the movie “Endless” directed by my mother that I watched before. The poster is extremely beautiful. Go Chi Jun and a beautiful young woman are sitting in a café on the roadside. Go Chi Jun caressed the heroine’s cheek. And their forehead against each other, showing how much both of them are in love with each other. The picture is so beautiful that it puts people into tears. It was because of this poster that I rushed into the cinema to buy the movie ticket. This picture is just a guise. The scene on the poster appeared five minutes after the opening. Gu Shi Jun knelt down to propose. At the moment of his proposal, he didn’t know where the bullet came, and a shot took the life of the young woman. Then, Gu Chi Jun started his journey of revenge. The plot of the twists and turns shows his acting skills to the fullest. In the movie, he knelt in front of his girlfriend’s tomb and wept and wept non-stop. This movie made him the King of Movie in life and it was also very important.

This movie also means a lot to me. After this movie, I became a fan of Gu Chi Jun.

I waited until both of them finished eating and watched my mother reach out to pick up the file brought by Gu Chu Jun. Knowing that they were about to go into a discussion about the script again, I interrupted immediately.

‘Mum, I want to ask you for help.’

My mother turned to glance at me. ‘What’s the matter? Go ahead.’

In the presence of Gu Chi Jun, I found this topic a little hard to talk about. I lowered my voice and said: ‘Can I talk to you alone? Can I go into the bedroom?’

She glanced at me suspiciously and got up from her seat.

© 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.

Her bedroom is large. Looks like it is the same size as the living room and has the same spectacular floor curtains. But it is fully pulled up and looks much more private. Hotel rooms are all the same but there is always class. Mother’s suite obviously belongs to the higher grades. I don’t have time to take a closer look. After all, I don’t want to keep her waiting. ‘Mum, I want to borrow some money from you.’

‘Borrow money?’ She frowned, as if she couldn’t understand me. As if I was speaking in ancient Egyptian language.

Anyone who hears the word “borrow money” will show such an expression that “it is really not a good thing”. I have long been used to it. But since it was her, it might be possible to convince.

‘I am not borrowing a lot of money. As long as I can pay the tuition and accommodation for one year.’ I was afraid she wanted to ask more and quickly explained, ‘I am already a senior and I will graduate in one-year time. Its this time, I also don’t plan to apply for a tuition fee waiver with the school. Besides, I have classmates who needs a scholarship from the school more than I do.’

She didn’t answer but looked at me uncertainly.

I “sucked” in my heart and explained further. ‘I can earn the living expenses by myself. I have found a part-time job. I plan to go to graduate school and my tutor, Profession Qian said that I can apply for a scholarship. Mom, I will return the money to you within 2 years. And I can write the debit note immediately.’ I took a breath and looked at her expectantly. ‘What do you think?’

She stared at me; her voice almost stern. ‘Zheng Yao didn’t leave you money? You can’t even get the tuition money?’

I shook my head silently. Not to mention tuition fees, I don’t even have 2 thousand.

In reality, I did not want to borrow money from her. And I was not willing to complain. But I did get into trouble.

At this time last year, my father was detected with liver cancer and has reached middle to advanced stages. Although my dad has made a lot of achievements in paleontology, this does not bring him a generous income. My dad, like most natural science scholars, is simply not good at managing money. He spends it on buying new research auxiliary tools.

Insurance covered most of the medical expenses, but my father had been in bed for nearly a year. Some of the expenses were not covered by insurance.

I have very little savings at home. I used the education fund that my dad left me. My father’s friends also generously helped him and kept on waiting patiently for the right organ donor. He easily waited for the right organ, but he finally failed to survive the transplant.

My father’s attending doctor, Dr. Fu Yin comforted me and said: ‘He is old but it is normal.’

This is how the incident happened. When they come, there is no resistance at all.

After my father got sick, I took a vacation home from school to take care of him. I didn’t go to school for more than half a year. I only went to the final exam. My grades were not good. And I had missed too many classes already.

After my father’s funeral, I finally sorted out and liquidated my family’s property. And it was no surprise that I now have problems paying for school and living expenses.

This is not saying that no one can help me. It is just that my father’s friends have helped me too much. And I am really embarrassed to ask for help again. Even asking for help from classmates or teachers, I am confident that they will be happy to help me. After all, I have been quite popular in school. However, my embarrassing situation is bound to attract a lot of sympathy. When my dad was sick, I had seen enough of their sympathy. When it was absolutely necessary, I really don’t want to use this strategy.

The start of school in Autumn is imminent.

It is during this time when mother called me. She just saw my father’s obituary in the newspaper and called to expressed condolences to me. I thought about it. No matter how long the couple is married, she did give birth to me. It is reasonable for her to send her condolence. After 2 days later, she contacted me again and said that she had returned to Jinghai City and agreed to arrange a meeting date with me.

So, after carefully analyzing the situation, of all the people who could help me, my mother had the strongest financial strength. My tuition fees are only a small sum to her. And she is most likely to help me because when I called her “mother” on the phone, she clearly accepted that.

I just didn’t expect her to show such a reaction that would point my pain.

It is false to say that I am not disappointed. I tried my best to strengthen my mind. Speaking of which, a daughter who suddenly appeared to borrow money, who would be willing. Now, there are so many scammers, she may think that my identity is suspicious. Her hesitation was entirely reasonable.

‘Thank you anyway. Then, I am leaving.’

There is nothing else to say. Only that this trip is in vain. I turned around and opened the bedroom door to leave.

‘Stop’ The next second, she stopped me coldly. And it sounded unpleasant.

I stood there still and looked back puzzledly. But she didn’t look at me and called Ji Xiao Rui in the living room.

‘Xiao Rui, come in.’ My mother ordered her. ‘Bring the checkbook and pen.’

It seems that she had changed her mind. I was overjoyed and thank her in a loud voice: ‘Mum, I will pay you back the money.’

She sat at the desk. And I sat at the small corner of the table. I picked up the pen from the schoolbag and write the IOU. I study economics and writing IOUs is familiar to me. We both finished at the same time. The amount I wrote was not much. But when I saw the cheque, she gave me, I saw the amount that she wrote is 300,000.

I was stunned at such a large sum of money.

I was dumbfounded. ‘Ah? I don’t really need that much money. I only need to borrow the amount for tuition and accommodation.’

‘How is it that the money is not needed?’ She glanced at me indifferently. ‘In addition to the tuition fees, your clothes, pants and shoes should be changed. The taste is bad. And the hair should be taken care of too.’

The it hit me at that moment. Although I am not well-known in my dressing, it was refreshing and tidy. I didn’t expect her to be so distained about it. Given that she had given me the money, I didn’t want to argue with her about the taste of my dressing currently but rather sincerely suggest: ‘Even so, this is too much. Let’s say….’

Ji Xiao Rui nudged at me, interrupting my passionate speech that I was about to deliver: ‘Xiao Zhen, please take it. Director Liang gave it to you, you should take it. She is your mother, not an outsider.’ There is a sense of exhortation.

© 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.

I don’t need her to say that, I also felt that my mother is a person who have the final say. Where she is good, she is decisive and firm. On the bad side, she is arbitrary.  She is one of the most famous female directors in the movie and drama series industry. How can she not gain a firm foothold in this circle? She absolutely does not look like someone who would allow anyone to violate her decision, whether that person is me or someone else.

I lowered my eyes and thought for a while. Then I leaned down and rewrite the IOU note and passed it to her. I knew her only because she is my mother and not for her money. Her act of forcing me to carry the huge debts really upset me and helpless. According to the current bank interest rate, I would have to pay her back ten of thousands in one year. It’s terrible.

This money really feels like hot potatoes. It is a problem to take or not to take.

I handed the IOU receipt to her. She threw it into the shredder without looking at the content.

I can put an egg into my mouth. I felt indecent and quickly said: ‘Don’t do this. I am very distressed.’

She looked at me with the look as if she is giving orders. ‘Don’t pay me back this money. If you do, you don’t call me mother anymore.’

She spoke relentlessly to such severe point that I was astonished. I chewed the word “Mother” silently in my heart and quietly collected the cheque.

Borrowing the money by force is not easy. In short, after some time, I must find a chance to pay off this huge sum.

I was counting using my little abacus in my heart. My mother put down the pen and Ji Xiao Rui collected the checkbook beside her. ‘Starting now, see me once a week.’


‘Your father is gone. I should look after you.’

I am already an adult. Although I really want to scream this sentence out, I still hold back. She lends me money and naturally had the right to know what I am doing, not to mentioned that the senior course is now pretty flexible. So, I nodded.

I walked out of the bedroom with the hot cheque and felt my steps faltering. Obviously, it is just a piece of thin paper, but it couldn’t hold my waist straight. I went to get my schoolbag on the sofa and prepared to leave.

‘Xiao Rui, send her back.’

© 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.

Ji Xiao Rui answered, and I quickly said: ‘No need. I know my way.’

Mother thought for a moment and said: ‘Up to you’ with her head bowed. She returned to the dining table and picked up a few pages of the revises script delivered by Gu Chi Jun. Gu Chi Jun did not put looked at her reading the revised script. He looked at me across the spacious living room, his lips closed slightly. He spoke to me silently.

He is like the man I have seen countless times in the movies. Although is he separated by mountains and rivers, he can always reach people’s heart. I can read what he means.

‘Xu Zhen, goodbye.’



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.

6 thoughts on “Chapter 2 – Castle in the Time (Time City) 时光之城 by 皎皎 Jiao Jiao

  1. These are really very difficult times for all of us, and it will only get worse before it gets better. Looking at the bright side there are still angels like you, who translate these beautiful stories so people like me can read them. My country is also in MCO until April 14 and i hv been wfh for 2 weeks already…I hope that the curve will flatten soon but I expect that we will hv to brace ourselves for even more challenging times ahead. Stay safe and healthy! I am loving these 2 chapters very much…can’t wait for more!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes indeed that this is a very difficult time for us all everywhere in the world. My heart broke when I see the numbers increase daily 😭 pray that the soul of those who lost the battle Rest In Peace. Seems like you are also from Malaysia being in MCO till April 14 at the moment. Stay well and stay safe. Glad that you are enjoying the read


  2. I’m glad you’re feeling better. This story seems amazing already! We have to stay in until the end of April so far, but they say it might be extended longer over here.


  3. Great story… thanks for translating especially now that we’re on a lockdown period.

    This Covid-19 pandemic is really getting worst on a daily basis and the city where I reside is now the epicenter of my country.

    I am trying all I can to follow the rules laid down coz I know the consequences but a lot of people are not taking it serious.

    I just pray that God will help us to come out of this situation unhurt.


  4. Great story… thanks for translating especially now that we’re on a lockdown period.
    This Covid-19 pandemic is really getting worst on a daily basis and the city where I reside is now the epicenter of my country.
    I am trying all I can to follow the rules laid down coz I know the consequences but a lot of people are not taking it serious.

    I just pray that God will help us to come out of this situation unhurt.

    Liked by 1 person

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