Don't Bully Ah Ma's Wife
In which Yong Qi proves that his wife is more precious than his son. Hehe.
Fanfic © dreamlinks_211, originally posted in Vietnamese at AlecHeart. Com (Sau này không được ăn hiếp nương tử của a mã)
Translated by Ruan Chun Xian at Fanfiction. Net
I was going to post this with Counting Sheep and When There's Fate, but this one gave me a little trouble, as you'll probably see from the first line. Anyway, as with the other two fics, I didn't write this, I just translated it. All credits to dreamlinks_211, who made me rather speechless with this fic because she dug out all these Tang poems that took me a long time to "translate" back into Chinese then into English, through a combination of Baidu, Google, Thieu Chuu Han-Viet Dictionary, Wikipedia and a whole host of other sites that I've forgotten I used :P
In spring, I wake not knowing it was morning
Birds chirp everywhere in the sky
In the night a rainstorm passed by
How many petals fell last night? (1)
This poem was still there, same as ever, but there was a saying, after ten years even the landscape has to change. Therefore, nothing could be completely unchanging. Years earlier, Xiao Yan Zi sat here trying to cram these words into her head, toiling more sweat and blood than when she practiced martial arts. And now, what was she doing? Pacing back and forth, tapping the rolled up book rhythmically against her palm, she was supervising a little boy reciting his lesson. The child recited the poem in a monotonous tone, and it was clear that this must be the hundreth time he had recited it; it was lucky that he hadn't gone mad from it yet.
It was probably a good thing that he inherited his academic genes from his father's side of the family, because even though he could be just as mischievous and accident-prone as she, Peng Er was still an intelligent child, all in all, worthy of being a mini version of Yong Qi. (Sometimes she had to wonder whether he really was conceived on the full moon.) Sometimes she admired him, at other times she envied his ability to remember those worm-like words with just a few glances. To think it took her days, feeling like she would lose her mind, just to remember just two lines of "Looking at the vast Heaven and Earth / Knowing I'm alone in the world, tears flow freely (2).
Even though Xiao Yan Zi knew he was indeed his father's child, her own ability meant that she couldn't help but worry that children could be quick to remember and quick to forget. Not to mention, the number of Tang poems she knew could be counted only on two hands. So as a result, she had spent the last few days making sure that Peng Er really knew A Morning in Spring back to front.
On the third day, the child apparently couldn't take it anymore and said solemnly, "Er Niang, do you really only know this poem? Auntie Zi Wei teaches Dong Er ge many other poems."
So go ask your Auntie Zi Wei to teach you.
Swallowing her pride, she looked at him and said awkwardly, "Then should Er Niang teach Peng Er In the Quiet of the Night?" (3)
"Er Niang taught me that last week."
"Oh. How about Farewell to a Friend?" (4)
"Auntie Zi Wei taught me that already."
"Drinking Alone with the Moon?" (5)
"Ah Ma taught me already."
"You haven't learnt A Night Mooring by Maple Bridge (6) right?" she asked exasperatedly.
"Dong Er ge taught me already."
"What?" she asked, stunned.
This is too much, even that little brat Dong Er is also making me look bad.
"So what poem do you want to learn?" she asked unenthusiastically.
It's no fun doing the job of teaching children. If I'd known I would have just left it all to Yong Qi. Now I understand Ji Shifu's pains, I used to be so bad in his classes, now I feel really bad.
"The other day, Peng Er heard Dong Er ge recite the poem 经乱离后天恩流夜郎忆旧游书怀赠江夏韦太守良宰(7), it was really good. I really want to learn it."
"What's something chaotic mess something wolf-hearted prefect?" she asked, irritated, her old bad habit of ad-libbing taking over.
"Er Niang, you really don't know this poem?" Peng Er asked in that innocent voice that she always found so adorable, that never yet failed to make her want to pick him up and give him a kiss. How was it that today that voice just made her want to explode and give him a few spanks?
I don't know that poem, so what, I still could give birth to you.
"Er Niang is tired, go find Ah Ma and ask him to teach you," she said flatly and stomped into the house, leaving the little child staring after her.
With that huffy face, she went into the study to find Yong Qi, who was dozing in his chair. She slapped the book of poems hard on his desk, making him startle. Her grumpy face immediately made it clear to him that something was not right.
He got up immediately and put his arms around her. "Who bullied my Yan Er? Tell me and I'll punish him for you."
Sometimes it was hard to tell whether I'm was his wife or his child, Xiao Yan Zi thought.
"Your beloved son, that's who. So what if he knows a few poems? He's the very image of you, using words to bully people, hateful, hateful," she cried, punching him on the chest. It was a habit that she never broke and it wasn't clear how Yong Qi hadn't died from bruised organs yet.
So she's annoyed with the child and pouring out her frustration on his father. How was this fair? Yong Qi groaned to himself.
"All right, all right, stop. He probably got that from you seeing as you're only good at bullying me," he sighed, but still he took her into his arms.
"Don't play innocent, isn't he your son? You made him, didn't you say you'd take responsibility?" she said, glaring at him.
He grinned and stroked her hair, whispering in her ears, "Are you sure I'm the only one who made him?"
Xiao Yan Zi wanted to bite her tongue, or at least swallow that last sentence, but couldn't, so she pouted.
Yong Qi looked at her comical face and couldn't help but burst out laughing. He kissed her nose lightly and said, "All right, don't be angry, I'll…definitely take responsibility for my actions."
He purposefully made the last part of that sentence as drawn out as possible and then, not waiting for her to reply, he grabbed the book of poems and went to find his son.
Still when he found him, Yong Qi didn't even bother opening the book, but took Peng Er on his knees. Then he said in a luring, gentle and warm voice, "Good Peng Er, let Ah Ma teach you a poem."
Peng Er was all smiles, because what was better than Ah Ma teaching him a poem? He spoke in that clear, adorable child's voice, "Ah Ma, Peng Er wants to learn经乱离后天恩流夜郎忆旧游书怀赠江夏韦太守良宰."
His Ah Ma gave him an almost disdainful sniff. "That poem is too simple, you can ask Dong Er ge to teach you later. Ah Ma doesn't have much time to teach Peng Er, don't you want to learn other poems that can show off your ability better? A true man must not be afraid of hard work, have to be able to take suffering."
With such compelling argument, how could a "true man" Peng Er not agree wholeheartedly? He cried for joy, "Yes, Peng Er wants to learn harder poems. Ah Ma, please teach me!"
When Yong Qi started to recite the poem in a soft, trilling voice, it was beautiful enough to lure even birds from the sky, let alone an innocent six-year-old like Peng Er.
"Han Emperor, craving beauty that might shake an empire,
While this unending sorrow goes on and on for ever." (8)
Ah Ma's recitation touched the little child to the core, though he probably didn't understand a word of the poem. Yet the emotions that his father put into the words made Peng Er almost drown himself in the feeling of awe.
"All right, Peng Er, do you have it memorised?"
The child stared at him. "What? It's so long."
Yong Qi's face suddenly turned stern. "What did Ah Ma just tell you?"
Peng Er nodded vigoriously in alarm. "Peng Er knows, Peng Er will try to learn it."
"Good boy," his father encouraged then gave him the book. Before he returned to the study, he didn't forget to remind his son, "Try your best to learn it, my brave little man."
A few hours later, after Yong Qi had woken up from a nap and saw that his precious child was still struggling with the poem, he came over and took the book out of his son's hand. To be honest, he didn't feel that guilty for bullying his son a bit though he probably should. He patted his son on the head and said softly, "Next time, don't bully Ah Ma's wife anymore, all right?"
Translator's Note: This fic made me laugh though you have to feel sorry for the poor kid :P. And because I spent a good couple of hours (at work hehe) looking up these poems, with only the Han-Viet phonetics to go by, I might as well list the poems here and who the poet is:
(1) A Morning in Spring (春曉) by Meng Hao Ren.
(2) On a Gate-tower at Yu Zhou (登幽州台歌) by Chen Zi Ang, or the reason Xiao Yan Zi ran away from the palace, which results in one of my favourite scenes between Yong Qi and Xiao Yan Zi.
(3) In the Quiet of the Night (静夜思) by Li Bai. The inspiration for Xiao Yan Zi's poem: Walk into a room / All four sides are walls / Lift my head I see a rat / Lower my head I see cockroaches.
(4) Farewell to a Friend (送友人) by Li Bai.
(5) Drinking Alone with the Moon (月下獨酌) by Li Bai. The drinking poem that Yong Qi tried to teach Xiao Yan Zi the night they snuck out to see Zi Wei.
(6) A Night Mooring by Maple Bridge (枫桥夜泊) by Zhang Ji.
(7) 经乱离后天恩流夜郎忆旧游书怀赠江夏韦太守良宰 by Li Bai. I gave up on trying to find a translation for this poem; it was a miracle that I managed to find the original Chinese poem considering all I had to go on was the Han-Viet phonetic, which is sometimes impossible to guess the pinyin if you don't know Chinese. Yes, that is the title of the poem. Heaven knows why Peng Er would want to learn it, it's really long.
(8) A Song of Unending Sorrow (长恨歌) by Bai Ju Yi. I burst out laughing when I found out what poem Yong Qi was teaching Peng Er. It's long and depressing as demonstrated by the title….
I'm still waiting for a fic on Wei Er :P