Chapter 48: Judgment


<> has this stated: “P’an Yueh had an extraordinarily handsome appearance and an attractive personality.
When he was young he used to carry a crossbow and go out on the streets of Lo-yang, and all the women who met him would join hands to encircle him.”1

Da Jin, as a country, was quite open.
Although handsome men did not get fruit thrown at them when spotted by young females2, numerous handkerchiefs and perfume sachets were dropped down on them instead. 

Chen Miao Ping was in his official robes, a dark turquoise color with a silver chain hanging by his waist.
He had reported to the Chief Surveillance Bureau early in the morning and now he was leading a group of soldiers out to patrol the streets.
From his appearance to his presence, he was all too eye-catching, capturing the gazes of all the eyes of the women on the streets.

From up above in a building along the street they were patrolling, another flower sewn pouch was thrown down, landing somehow right into Chen Miao Ping’s arms.
He opened it to find no money inside, and instead it was only stuffed with dried flowers.
He couldn’t help but smile upwards and then threw it back up to where it came from.

Above his head, he could hear an embarrassed feminine laugh ring out.
The sound was like silver bells, like birds singing.
It must have come from one of the young girls that were leaning their bodies out over the balcony, looking no older than thirteen years of age.

“You, young man, are such a cold hearted person!”

Chen Miao Ping pitched his voice up and said back to them, 

“You ladies are being stifled by being kept here in the capital.
With your skills at aiming, you should be part of the Division of Inspired Archery! Ha ha ha ha.”

With him leading the entire patrol, it looked like a group of bandits barging onto the streets.
This made it very evident that the identity of this man could only be the new City Warden Inspector.


They all say that to become a newly appointed official, you need to show off your authority as the one in charge.
The second-in-command of the city inspectors, Qian Tong, was scared that this newly appointed boss would catch something minuscule to use as a show of his authority.
He racked his brains to find a way to please this new boss or at least try and take the chance to get a feel of what this boss would be like.
On first impression, he thought that Chen Miao Ping was the passive kind and so, he immediately went to flatter him, 

“Usually we don’t come across any issues during these patrols.
Only tiny arguments like those between couples.
Da-Ren3, you only need to manage the inner city as these subordinates can split into four groups to patrol the other areas.
After your afternoon tea break, Da-ren, you just have to walk around to show your face and then when time is up, you can go home.”

And then added, 

“If we continue to head this way, we will reach Chun Xiao House.
If Da-Ren is interested, please head in to check it out.”

Seeing Qian Tong’s perverted face, Chen Miao Ping instantly understood what kind of place it was.
He smiled and shook his head, 

“It’s alright.”

Although he was quite curious, if he really went in, Xie Yu Zhi would bring an entire platoon of the personal guards from Chang Guo Gong’s estate and chop him into pieces.

Ping Kang Alley was quite lively in the daytime filled with noise and chatter from all the passing merchants and commoners.
Chen Miao Ping felt that it was quite a new experience for him and like a countryside gal coming to the city for the first time, he was looking left and right, up and down, everywhere his eyes could see, to take in all the new sights. 

At first, the merchants along the alley were dying from thirst from all their spit flying out everywhere, trying to attract customers with their nonstop loud yelling.
But upon seeing him and the inspectors coming by, they immediately became more soft spoken and polite.
They even tried to pass some of their own wares as a gift to Chen Miao Ping, but he only rejected them with a smile.

When he got through his patrol to Zhu Que Street, he was greeted by a crowd of people stopped in the middle of the road, as if something was happening in the center.
Rows and rows of people all crowding to look at something, like an audience in an open air theatre.

At first, Chen Miao Ping thought that they were all just watching a monkey show, but as he got closer and listened more closely, he could hear the faint sounds of an argument.
An immediate look sent to the side and Qian Tong had started to send his underlings to carve a path in the crowd for Chen Miao Ping, having understood the message right away.

“Move aside, move aside! Everyone move aside now! What are you all doing crowding around here! Are you waiting to be taken to the Bureau and be interrogated!”

The average commoner holds fear in their heart for those who have the power of an official, especially officials like Qian Tong.
And on a normal day, everyone only cares about themselves and their own livelihood.
And so once Qian Tong and his gang started yelling, they immediately parted and created an open path to the middle of the spectacle. 

Chen Miao Ping slipped his hands into the sleeves of his robe and walked grandly over, making everyone who saw him feel like this was another corrupted official, but one that retained some elegance.

In the middle of this crowd stood an elderly man and right beside him was a man who, from a glance, one could tell that he was a man bloated with wealth, and even dressed in it too.
Right behind him was also a group of servants, making it more and more apparent the line between the weak and the wealthy.

Chen Miao Ping examined this situation carefully and then he smiled before saying, 

“I am the newly appointed City Warden Inspector, Chen Miao Ping.
If there is any problem here, please let this official take care of it.
If there are any false accusations, this official will definitely right the wrongs.”

Words that sounded full of courtesy and emptiness, and so no one treated it as holding any truth.

With just one look at that wealthy looking man, he was most definitely someone who could be slippery with his words, in all sorts of ways. 


The pair of eyes lit up with shrewdness, so most likely a local wealthy merchant.
Seeing Chen Miao Ping walk up, he immediately bowed and said to him, 

“Xiao-ren4 is called Zhang Yuan Qing.
One of the merchants that deals with medicine in this capital city.
Half a month ago, Xiao-ren signed a contract with the young master of Ji Shi Tang5.
He bought my herbs and medicine for 3000 guan and now that Xiao-ren has spent the time, effort and people to bring the contracted goods from Jin Zhou, from over the Chang He River, this Zhang-gui6 is denying this contract.
Please, I ask for Da-ren to take over this situation and reason with this Zhang-gui.”

Some of the average commoners looking upon this spectacle spit out from their mouths, 

“Puh! You clearly know that Sun Zhang-gui’s son is mentally challenged, and you even specifically coaxed him to sign that contract! What a decayed heart of coal you have! Are you not afraid of having your ancestors’ graves destroyed and have their spirits roam in anguish with no resting place!”

Zhang Yuan Qing was unperturbed and chuckled out lightly,

“Written in black ink on white paper is his signature and name.
Even if you take me to court, the evidence and reason is backing me.
You can say whatever you want.”

The elderly man beside him must be the aforementioned Sun Zhang-gui, who upon hearing Zhang Yuan Qing say that, immediately spit in his face. 

What an obstinate and hard-headed man.
An elder with quite the personality.
Sun Zhang-gui wiped his mouth while laughing creepily, 

“Money? This old man has none.
Life, that I do with one.
If you don’t feel distaste for it, take it away.”

“Fuck your grandmother and all your mothers! You old piece of shit that should have been dead a long time ago! You dare to fucking spit in this face?! I’m telling you right now, you either give up Ji Shi Tang’s medical knowledge to pay back the debt, or I can send your fucking retarded son to jail!” 

Zhang Yuan Qing angrily wiped at his face, the perfect textbook image of an evil and sinister merchant.

Qian Tong took this chance to hover closer to Chen Miao Ping and say quietly into his ear,

“This Ji Shi Tang moved here about three months ago.
Sun Zhang-gui’s skills as a doctor are not bad and he has always waved off payment for the medicine of poor folks.
Unfortunately, he raised a son whose mind is not quite there.
Most likely has been scammed.”

Chen Miao Ping had a speculative look on his face and then he smiled.
He said to Zhang Yuan Qing, 

“Are you from Jin Zhou too? That’s quite the coincidence as this official is too.”

The moment this was spoken, everyone in the audience sighed in their hearts.
They thought, just like how snakes and mice lived in the same hideout, those who become an official could never be for the good of the people.
Sun Zhang-gui was looking to be in quite a bad spot.

Zhang Yuan Qing’s face immediately blossomed up with delight.
He jumped on Chen Miao Ping’s words, 

“Xiao-ren must be using up all his luck from his previous lives, to be able to be from the same hometown as this handsome and great Da-ren.
If I say it out loud in the future, how would people look at me? With great delight and trust I must say.”

And then he discreetly stuffed a bank note into Chen Miao Ping’s sleeve.
Just from a quick glance, one could tell it must not be little.
Sun Zhang-gui, who was close to them, saw that exchange and he spat out again in response.
Then he yelled out loudly for everyone to hear, 

“Shit filled official!”

Chen Miao Ping thought that he should not just take this slander for nothing.
He directly smiled at the crowd and opened the bank note up.
It was 100 guan which made him shake his head, 

“You’re making it difficult for this official to do his job.”

And then with one hand stuffing the bank note into his pockets, the other gave the signal for an “8” inside his sleeve.
A clear message that said that he felt that this amount was too little.

Zhang Yuan Qing was a bit stunned, having never seen a bribe being received so openly, but he thought about how he would receive 3000 guan later.
So he gritted his teeth and stuffed another eight bank notes of 100 guan to him.
He plastered on a smile, 

“Xiao-ren begs for Da-ren to prove Xiao-ren’s innocence.”

“No worries, no worries.
Let this official take a look at this contract.”

The actions of Chen Miao Ping made everyone heave out a sigh.
Sun Zhang-gui closed his old wrinkled eyes, and his hands that were hidden in his sleeves trembled, his face an ashy grey from the implications.

Right above this series of events, in a restaurant building, sat the sons of some of the most powerful and wealthy families.
One of them, who saw all this unfold, slammed down on the table, 

“This is such an outrage! How could they bully such an elderly senior! This- this- this…… Yu Zhi you are too–!”

Too blind!

This group of individuals were all famous troublemakers, but to be fair, they only caused trouble during their rebellious period.
They still had in their hearts a feverous desire to be a warrior of justice.
Before Xie Yu Zhi went out on the battlefield, he was the head of this group of rebellious troublemakers.
And today was a rare event to gather them all here, for only one thing —

The newly appointed City Warden Inspector is my man.
Keep your hands and feet to yourselves and don’t cause trouble.

And so it led to this scene where the group of them coincidentally saw this from the window by their table.
All of them were filled with outrage at the injustice and the one who just spoke was Su Qang Wang’s youngest main son, Zhao Xi.
A person who was born with a fiery personality and out of all the people here at the table, he was the bravest, daring to say anything out of his mouth.

Xie Yu Zhi was dressed in a dark, black collarless robe, with a flying gyrfalcon in silver stitching on his left shoulder.
Surrounded in the aura of someone who has slaughtered hundreds of people; an aura which had not dissipated despite his weakened body, having been bedridden for two years. 

Undisturbed, he slowly took a sip of tea.
He retracted his gaze from that turquoise silhouette and said, 

“He hasn’t even said that that old man committed a crime.
Why are you all so impatient?”

Zhao Xi was enraged enough to refute back, 

“Money! He already accepted the money!”

Xie Yu Zhi remained unfazed and said, 

“Only an idiot would not take freely given money.
If I give you 1000 guan out of the blue, would you take it?”

Zhao Xi laughed and reached out his hand, 

“Of course!” 

His father was scared of him causing trouble, so his money was always calculated down to the penny.
For him to just drink wine and eat everyday, how could it be enough?

Xie Yu Zhi said, 

“And I’m also not an idiot.
Why would I give you money out of nowhere?”

In the time for their exchange of conversation up top, Chen Miao Ping had already read through the contract.
Zhang Yuan Qing inherently had done all the proper procedures and more to seal all loopholes. 

Every line of the contract was succinctly and clearly laid out.
One particular line even stated that if 3000 guan was not received in exchange for the goods, the payment would be taken from Ji Shi Tang, and specifically the herbal medicine shop’s pool of knowledge, the gathering of everything it knows on medication and pathology, from diagnostic protocols to treatment strategies.

3000 guan… when compared to the modern era’s currency, it would be a bit more than 80 thousand yuan.
Ji Shi Tang was a tiny shop.
How could it have so much money, especially when it has not even been open for very long? Even the more common herbs and plants used in their medicine were grown in their own backyard.

But at this moment, Sun Zhang-gui can only choose between three options: gather up the 3000 guan somehow, give up his medicinal knowledge and the treatments that he and his family came up with, or let his son who is not quite a normal child go to court.

Chen Miao Ping scanned the contract a few times before returning it back.
He stroked his chin and said, 

“This contract…… seems to have no problems.”

And then turned to ask Sun Zhang-gui,

“Elderly senior, would you like to pay up the money or would you like to use Ji Shi Tang’s medicinal knowledge as compensation, or perhaps to send your son to court?”

The only response from Sun Zhang-gui was another “Puh”.
His hoarse and worn voice laughed out loud, 

“To want to use the generational knowledge of my family that has been passed down for many centuries for greed and injustice, you can dream on! Even if I die, I will not let you all get your way.
You are erring all those who are in this path! This old doctor will release all the knowledge and all the papers that I have in my possession to the public, you two…… don’t think you can get your way!”

He turned around and was about to head into his shop, but he was blocked off by Zhang Yuan Qing with his group of servants, 

“Old man, don’t do anything you shouldn’t do!”

The papers that have documented generations and generations of pathology and treatments, from very weird and strange one-off cases to the tiny little sniffs and coughs, were very precious and rare.
Most of that knowledge has been lost for ages, and now that there was a recorded base so close to home, Zhang Yuan Qing had been eyeing it since Ji Shi Tang had opened.

Some of the commoners in the crowd that had received the generosity of Sun Zhang-gui yelled out to Chen Miao Ping, 

“Da-ren! Sun Zhang-gui is a good man! Don’t let greedy and evil people get their way and blind your eyes!”

“Yeah yeah! My family’s precious son, Xiao Hu Zi, was treated by him!”

Chen Miao Ping waved his hands towards the crowd and placated them, 

“This official is just doing his job and following the rules.
This contract indeed has no problem.
Although Sun Zhang-gui is quite pitiful, but this official can only judge according to the law.”

The moment he said that, someone in the crowd yelled out, 

“Useless and worthless official! You just received Zhang Yuan Qing’s bribe so you would naturally help him!”

Qian Tong swung out his sword in a rage, 

“Who dares to slander the name of an official appointed by the Imperial Palace? Step out right now!”

Everyone in the crowd looked left and right, but no one responded.

Chen Miao Ping once again waved his hand to let it be, 


“Sun Zhang-gui has the emotional backstory and Zhang Yuan Qing has the reasoning.
If there was something more going on in this story, then that is hard to prove.
This does make it hard for this official to find a solution….. 

“Ah, why not do it like this? Just like Dou E7 when she was wrongfully executed, the heavens made snow fall in June and a drought occur for three years.
Why don’t I do something similar? I will hold the contract towards the sun and with the bright sun rays shining down upon us, the heavens should tell us what we should do.”

Zhao Xi snorted in laughter, 

“What a junk filled scholar who has turned crazy from reading too many books.
Can’t believe you would pick him, when there’s only his face that is passable.”

Xie Yu Zhi said, 

“Still better than your nonsense literary writing skills.”

Zhao Xi was not the only one that thought that this was not going anywhere; the others at the table were also thinking this method was too unreliable.
But they stayed silent to save Xie Yu Zhi some face.
That was not the same case for the folks down in the crowd.

“The heavens only made snow fall when Dou E died!”

“The sun is burning too brightly now!”

Chen Miao Ping: “Arrest those who dare to keep blathering and flog them!”


And then turned to Zhang Yuan Qing to say, 

“Please hold your contract up with sincereness towards the sun.
The time limit will be when the incense has burned halfway8.
If there are no trickery or lies to this and you can stand up straight and tall under the sun, the sky does not look strange, then this official will judge you as the winner.”

Everywhere was the sound of hushing.
Zhang Yuan Qing thought to himself that it was definitely not a waste in giving away that amount of money.
He trumphiantly did as he was told as he could not believe that in that amount of designated time, the sky could turn into a pouring rain.

The crowd began whispering swears and curses at Chen Miao Ping, but he was undisturbed.
He only played with the crystal pendant by his waist as he waited, which was only with him because he borrowed it from Xie Yu Zhi to patrol with. 

Without something to show that he was powerful and wealthy, there was no other way to scare people off and give him that sense of authority, as his position was still considered quite low.

As they waited, in a place where no one was paying attention to, a ray of sunshine was being gathered up.
A slight hand movement from Chen Miao Ping and that beam of sunshine discreetly stopped onto a word on the contract that Zhang Yuan Qing was holding up.
A word that was the “thousand” in the “3 thousand guan” to be exact. 

Each word was seen very easily, as the broad sunlight shining down on the piece of paper being held up made it crystal clear.

With one hand holding the contract up high and the other behind his back, Zhang Yuan Qing turned to face Sun Zhang-gui, laughing gleefully.
A perfect reenactment of an evil villain. 

“Old man, you better give me everything from Ji Shi Tang! Don’t waste my time, as even the heavens won’t be able to help you!”

Following the time slowly ticking by, he didn’t notice at all the tiny tiny hole being made on the contract which was slowly becoming bigger and bigger.
Until someone in the crowd suddenly yelled, 

“Ah! Look! Everyone look! Why is the paper smoking!”

Zhang Yuan Qing then snapped his head back and his face completely changed from his bullying stance.
He quickly spit out blobs of saliva to try and put out that tiny fire.

A nearby middle aged woman said, 

“Hmph! This is the heavens punishing you!”

“I puh!” 

Zhang Yuan Qing spit out and pushed up his sleeves.
Saying as a thug would, 

“What happened? How could I not know something happened? You’re saying lies with your eyes wide open! I didn’t see anything, Da-ren didn’t see anything! Right, Da-ren?”

The last few words were said fawningly to which Chen Miao Ping nodded in acknowledgement and said, 

This official did indeed not see anything happen just now.
The time limit is now up and since the heavens did not make anything happen, you have won.”

He took  the contract back and said to Sun Zhang-Gui, 

“Senior, would you like to see how you will be paying him the three guan, or would you like to give Ji Shi Tang’s knowledge in exchange?”

Zhang Yuan Qing coveted and greeded for money as if it was his entire life, and his ears were quite sharp.
When he heard Chen Miao Ping, he immediately held up three fingers and said in a low tone to him, 

“Da-ren, that’s wrong! That is wrong! It is 3000 guan! Not three guan!”

Chen Miao Ping tugged his sleeve back and said, 

“Wrong what? Da-Ren is never wrong.
Even if he is wrong, it can only be considered right.
3000 guan? Are you crazy from being poor? The contract says very clearly three guan.”

That was when the crowd reacted.
Did Chen Miao Ping just say that it was three guan and not 3000 guan? 

Sun Zhang-Gui widened his eyes from the shock.

Chen Miao Ping held up the contract and waved it in front of the crowd, 

“Everyone, please look.
Look at this.
Has this official spoken any lies? Does this not say three guan?”

“Woah wow! It really is three guan! A miracle! That’s a miracle!”

“The heavens have eyes!”

“Hahahaha Zhang Yuan Qing, that bastard is trying to fool all of us and is demanding for something that is not there! This is what should happen when he tries to sell fake medicine and harms others! He deserves this!”


Zhang Yuan Qing’s face was red to his ears and his voice was cracking.
He didn’t care about the courtesies anymore and roughly grabbed the contract back from Chen Miao Ping’s hands.
But the only thing that stared back at him was a burned away “thousand”.

 Chen Miao Ping chuckled, an act which seemed to take all the colors away from the earth and sky and gather them onto his face.
He dusted his sleeves and said, 

“This official orders you to send all the medicine and herbs as ordered in the contract to Ji Shi Tang by today, or this official will judge you for the crime of fraud and send you straight to jail!”

Zhang Yuan Qing’s face was ashen, 

“Da-Ren, you can’t be like this, you can’t be like this.
You accepted it…… you accepted it……”

Chen Miao Ping laughed in delight and came closer, 

“What did this official accept?”

Zhang Yuan Qing gritted his teeth and said it out loud with courage, 

“You accepted Xiao-Ren’s 900 guan!”

Chen Miao Ping turned speculative, 

“I did receive it, but that was because you were willing to give it to this official.
This official did not force you and this country has no laws that said when someone is giving you free money, you can’t accept it.”

As soon as he said that, the crowd began to laugh out loud.
Zhang Yuan Qing felt his breath stick in his throat from the shock and he actually fainted away on the spot.
Chen Miao Ping did not care enough to do anything about that and passed the contract to Sun Zhang-gui, 

“This is your medicine order.
In the future, you can go find Zhang Yuan Qing to get your stock.
If he does not comply, please come find me.
The Chief Surveillance Bureau is just at the end of the street.”

There were many pairs of eyes on the spectacle and although he was discreet in his actions with his crystal pendant, it did not mean that no one saw it.
Knowing that he had indirectly helped Sun Zhang-gui, there was an immediate cheer for him, 

“Wise and honorable Da-Ren! Wise and honorable Da-Ren!”

“I have incorrectly judged you!”

“The most fair and honorable Da-ren!”

Sun Zhang-gui was stunned, but at these calls, he raised his hands to complete a thankful bow, 

“I humbly thank Da-ren for your help.”

And then threw that contract onto the floor in front of everyone, 

“This old physician does not want any of his medicinal herbs and plants! Who knows if it is real or fake!”

This old man does have quite the personality.
Chen Miao Ping smiled, 

“That contract is yours, so it is naturally up to you to decide however you wish.
But you should know, you are looking at patients without any payment or rewards and widely spreading your medicine for little to no cost.
That is a good intention, but that sours the other medicinal shops’ businesses, breaking the balance of the market.
It most definitely stabs into someone’s livelihood.
To think about it this way, you yourself have to eat, don’t you? Don’t do things like this in the future.”

And then took out the bank notes he had stuffed away, 

“These, I will give to you.
If in the future, there is someone who cannot afford to see you as a physician, take it out from here.
The money you take will belong to you, and it can be considered the income from Ji Shi Tang.”

900 guan was not a small amount, and in these kinds of warring times, life was hard.
In a year an average family’s spendings would not be more than ten guan.
Sun Zhang-gui took the money with shaking hands and his eyes felt a burning sensation.
He stuttered out, 

“This old man, this old man……”

Silence descended upon the crowd, but Chen Miao Ping did not care.
He patted his robe and said, 

“Alright alright, everyone move along now.
Don’t block off the road.
Carriages and horses can’t get past.”

Everyone was strangely accommodating and obedient.
Without even needing Qian Tong to send his soldiers to clean out the place, it was immediately empty within a breath’s time.
But before they all scattered away, all the women and men did a courtesy bow and said, 

“Thank you, Da-Ren.”

Humans that lived in the ancient times were quite the honest folk.
In reality, Chen Miao Ping had done nothing at all.

Xie Yu Zhi raised his tea cup to hide his smile, having seen everything unfold in his eyes up from the restaurant.
His eyes had unconsciously gentled and he glanced at Zhao Xi who was bright red in the face.
In the end, Zhao Xi couldn’t help but compliment Chen Miao Ping, 

“What a smart individual.
A good minister.
I have misjudged him.”

Someone beside him also said, 

“Much stronger than the previous City Warden Inspectors.”

“That was pretty amazing.
How did the paper burn?”

“I saw it! I saw it! He had done something with the pendant at his waist and suddenly there was a beam of light that appeared on the paper.
And whoosh, it burned! Does he know magic? A blessing of power from the heavens? Can jade pendants be a heavenly weapon of power? Brother Yu Zhi, do you know what happened?”

Chen Miao Ping had been lamenting that he had no money for himself, but he did not think that on the first day he took up this job, a road paved to riches would fall right into his lap.

After the crowd dispersed, without even walking a few steps, a chubby little guy who was dressed in quite lavish robes suddenly stopped him.
And the first words out of his mouth were quite confusing.


“I saw it.”

“Saw what? Saw a mountain? You spy with your little eyes something far away?9”

Chen Miao Ping held his arms by the elbows inside his sleeves, looking quite like an old man.
He stared at that young man before him, a youth that must not be more than 15 or 16 years old, 

“What did you see?”

The chubby boy said, 

“You have a special item.
I saw it! When you moved the pendant by your waist, the paper burned up! Give me a price.
I will buy it.”

“You mean this?”

After signalling for Qian Tong and the soldiers to give them space, Chen Miao Ping took the pendant off his waist, 

“This is not easily obtained, and it requires a rock crystal that is clear all the way through.
Then taking in the chakra of the earth, the dew of the sun and moon, and adding in the power of numerous people, a tiny piece is formed.
Even with all the money in the world, you wouldn’t be able to afford to buy such a thing.”

The chubby boy said, 

There is nothing I cannot buy in this world.
Just name the price.”

Chen Miao Ping said to himself that I know you are not lacking in money, with a body like this that just screams wealth.
If I don’t rip a big chunk out of you, I would feel sorry for myself. 

“6000 guan, plus extra for a high quality rock crystal.”

The chubby boy widened his round cute eyes, 

“This teensy rock and you want 6000 guan? And extra for a high quality one? Why don’t you just go steal this money!”

Chen Miao Ping played with the pendant in his hands, 

“This item does not only start a fire.
To need so much is actually for your benefit.
Alright, fine.
It doesn’t matter too much if I just show you.”

And then he bent down and grabbed an ant onto his palm.
He reached out to show the chubby boy, smiling with his eyes curved and asked, 

“Can you see the legs of this ant very clearly ?”


Click here to bypass all the footnotes!


*1 This is from pg 332 of “A new account of tales of the world: Shih-shuo hsin-yu” by Yiqing Liu, Jun Liu and Richard B Mather.
This is the intention of the author to just say a handsome guy gets attention on the streets and making this translator do too much work


*2 In ancient china, throwing fruits signifies that the person they are throwing it at is someone they like/are attracted to (basically like the first line of this chapter, the quote from footnote 1), and if there’s a lot of people doing this/the more stuff that male has on him, it usually signifies that man is handsome.
Besides fruit, they can throw handkerchiefs, their own sewn pouches, and many other things as stated in the next line.
The females are usually up on a balcony of a building like a restaurant, etc.
I guess it’s kind of like throwing flowers or tomatoes (if only with a positive connotation) at the end of a theatre show?


*3 Da-Ren: A term a subordinate uses to refer to their boss or as a commoner/merchant/considered lowered tier status talking to a higher tiered status person and/or official.


*4 Xiao-ren: a way to reference oneself as a “smaller/inferior” person, as the exact opposite of “Da-ren in footnote 3 as Da means big/grand/large and Xiao means small/little, usually in respect to a higher official/minister you’re is talking to.


*5 Ji Shi Tang: The Tang here is usually a big indicator of a chinese medicine store that carries medicine as well as doctors/physicians, and another big indication is the name Ji Shi which means, essentially, to help the world.
In any case, it’s the name of the store for Sun Zhang-gui to take a look at his patients + prescribe medicine.


*6 Zhang-gui: a term to call a shopkeeper of a store.
It encompasses many meanings however beyond just a shopkeeper.
It can be referenced as the manager, the accountant, a physician/doctor(as it does here), the front of the house, and so forth.
They are basically a caretaker of the shop for everything and can be either an owner of the shop or reporting to a higher boss.
Sometimes referenced as just for one store or also a district/an area of places/shops.

*7 Dou E: Also called Dou E Yuan or The Injustice of Dou E.
I believe there is an english version of this play called Snow in Midsummer.
But it’s like an opera piece that is basically about this girl who was given to the elderly mother of someone who was promised to wed her by his father who was rushing for the examinations.
Unfortunately her husband died young and so the mother-in-law and Dou E depended on each other to live. 

One day they were saved by their neighbor who started to fall for her looks and wanted her to marry him.
Of course she didn’t agree and so the neighbour and his father planned to poison the mother-in-law but instead the father accidentally drank the poisoned soup when he was hungry and so died. 

The neighbor seeing this immediately called for justice first, blaming that Dou E murdered his father, and bribed the judge to see his way.
So Dou E was wrongfully arrested.
They tortured her and threatened her mother-in-law’s life to make her confess and Dou E did exactly that because she didn’t want her mother-in-law to be implicated anymore in this. 

So on the third of June (well, in the Chinese calendar so not as in June of Gregorian calendar we now mainly use) Dou E was executed.
Before she was, she yelled out that she was wrongfully convicted and she swore to the heavens that the following 3 things that could not happen naturally would happen that would prove her innocence: her blood would not spill on the floor, snow would fall in the middle of summer, and there will be a drought for 3 years for this injustice as seen by the heavens. 


Right after she died, everything happened as she swore/cursed, and after her father passed his examinations, he came back as an official to get rid of the greedy and corrupt officials who executed his only daughter in greed and blindness, to prove her innocence and bring her justice.
It’s a pretty heavy and tragic play that embodies a lot of symbolism and other things, and there’s a lot more details but that’s the basic plot line.


*8 Incense burning: Literally as the time it takes for a stick of incense to burn down.
There are some variations but it’s mostly between either 5 minutes, half an hour or an hour (also can depend on the particular incense as there are many many different versions of incense and the time of day/season as there’s a lot of factors that can accelerate or decrease the speed of the incense burning).
This is a very common way to tell time or to limit time, kind of like “the time to make/enjoy tea” which is less disputed as to generally mean 10 -15 minutes.

*9  He actually sing-says this (which was just sing-songing after what did you see, you saw a mountain? a group of mountains conneced to each other? (basically the 3 lines in that video right after the timestamp), taking from a very well known song: 青藏高原 by 李娜 (1:13 if the timestamp doesn’t work and also headphone/volume warnings!!)

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