Held in the Lonely Castle (Prologue)

Prologue (前言)

In the reign of Emperor Renzong, the empire was in harmony and the world was at peace.

This forgotten love story was buried in the annals of history—

The formerly carefree youth could have passed the imperial civil service examinations or lived unfettered by worldly concerns. Yet, he was confined deeply in the palace, with a lifetime of regret.

Thankfully in this quiet life, there were still some attachments that he could fondly recall.

He watched her grow from an innocent child into a gentle and graceful, fair maiden.

He watched her experience love for the first time and watched her taste the bitterness of heartbreak.

He watched as, all due to the Emperor’s rash decision, she was wrapped in magnificent robes like a Morro doll [1]磨喝乐 (móhēlè) was a transliteration of the Sanskrit mahoraga, Muo Luo, one of the original eight gods/dragons in Buddhism. Literally, this meant “grinding and drinking.”  After it was introduced to China, it evolved into the image of a cute child and was made into a clay doll. It became a sacrifice for the “Qi Xi” festival, which celebrated the Cowherd and Weaver Girl. and placed in a shrine to be burned in sacrifice. [2]The translation was a bit difficult here. In this chapter, I imagined two scenarios: FL being dressed up like a doll as a child and having to sit in the shrine as the “embodiment” of the Morro doll for the festival OR FL being dressed up before being sacrificed at the shrine. Let me know what vibe you get from this sentence: 看着她因为君主的一念之差,被包装成华丽的磨喝乐,置于神龛中被炙烤。

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She regarded him as the only one she could depend on. He was also willing to give her a lifetime of love and warmth.

To them, their love was nobody’s business but their own.

To the world, their love was a treasonous, unforgivable sin.

Their deep love could not win against the etiquette and customs of the time, nor could it silence the people from spreading rumours. Their love was not accepted in this peaceful and flourishing age……

Separated by one palace wall, both sides despaired. In this life and this world, we can never meet again. Only in the next life can we reunite.

“Then, in our next life, you definitely have to come and find me. I’ll be a simple common woman and you’ll probably be a scholar wearing white robes…… One day when I reach to retrieve my basket while picking mulberries, you’ll pass by the path in the fields and pick up the hair ornament I had left behind…….”

 


TL Thoughts:

Hello!
Nyamachi here~

I spotted a series in the novel pickup forum and the description swayed me. Maybe it’ll convince you too.

As Teaisgood on NUF described:

  • The MC is a eunuch! (omo !!)
  • It’s apparently beautifully written and heart wrenching (I don’t read ahead, so I’m in the dark with the rest of you).
  • The romance between Princess Fukang (Emperor Renzong’s beloved eldest daughter) and Liang Huaji (the eunuch) is inspired by historical Song Dynasty accounts
  • There is a drama adaptation for this series (which makes me slightly worried about copyright and such; If anything, hopefully my translations will promote the series to a broader audience)
  • The characters are nuanced, flawed and have their own motives and desires. The so-called antagonists go against the MC/FL for understandable reasons.
  • The MC is kind and devoted to the FL.

Please give Held in the Lonely Castle a shot ~

If you like, please check out my other series, Why Harem Intrigue When You Can Raise A Dog Instead? – a fluffy romance between a transmigrator and a doggy Emperor.

Thank you~
Happy Reading!

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Translator Notes

↑ 1. 磨喝乐 (móhēlè) was a transliteration of the Sanskrit mahoraga, Muo Luo, one of the original eight gods/dragons in Buddhism. Literally, this meant “grinding and drinking.”  After it was introduced to China, it evolved into the image of a cute child and was made into a clay doll. It became a sacrifice for the “Qi Xi” festival, which celebrated the Cowherd and Weaver Girl.
↑ 2. The translation was a bit difficult here. In this chapter, I imagined two scenarios: FL being dressed up like a doll as a child and having to sit in the shrine as the “embodiment” of the Morro doll for the festival OR FL being dressed up before being sacrificed at the shrine. Let me know what vibe you get from this sentence: 看着她因为君主的一念之差,被包装成华丽的磨喝乐,置于神龛中被炙烤。

10 Comments

  • This indeed seems a very promising tale. The fact is, in Ancient China, the rite to become an eunuch was very specific. Unlike in many other empires that also employed men in their harems and Inner Palaces, the Chinese actually removed the whole of the genitalia, leaving the men truly emasculated.

    However, unlike what we might imagine, these emasculated officials did at times marry and would adopt younger eunuchs as their sons, passing on their family names and creating clans of their own. And even more surprisingly, often these marriages between eunuchs and women were quite successful. They seemed to be far-removed from the tenants of their times. There was no pressure to gain sexual favor from the man of the house, there was no fear of being unable to produce a male heir, etc. Who knows, these relationships might have been the closest to actual partnerships Chinese women could expect.

    I thank the translator greatly for having brought this rare jewel to us. Chinese is NOT an easy language to translate. What is beautiful in Chinese may not be as beautiful once translated (and vice versa). So I can just imagine how hard the translator will be working. I appreciate it greatly.

    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment! I learned something new! I hope that you enjoy the translations!

      I must apologize in advance for the speed of my releases. I’ve been on a roll these last few days but normally I release around 1 chapter a month. I’m hoping to translate more when school ends for the year.

      I have a cultural notes section under CN to E (Translation process) which you might find interesting! I plan to add more about the poem in the synopsis and other artistic elements from this book.

      • I think I did not express my praise well. When I mentioned how difficult the Chinese language was, I was indeed implying that you were doing an excellent job translating it! I was very agreeably surprised (I am quite the picky reader and generally prefer to do my own translations, as bad as my Chinese may be – it is VERY bad). However, I can see that this will be a completely agreeable read. Not only will the subject be interesting (and soul-stirring), but your translation will not make me want to hit my head on the wall. I thank you greatly for your commitment to excellence. It is very appreciated.

        You take your time and translate when you have time! School is most important. Chinese YY novel are great, and all, but they will not be feeding you when your parents decide to kick the baby bird of the nest!

        Thank you very much for telling me about that section! I did not notice it! You had me at “Chinese idioms”. I love those!!!

        Good luck with your studies! Don’t slack off. Work hard!

        • Aah thank you for your words of praise! 不敢當! (>///<) I'll do my best! 😊

  • Thank you very much for picking this novel up 🙇

    • It’s my pleasure! I do apologize in advance for the speed of my releases. Like I just mentioned to M M, I’m hoping to translate more in the summer months. Check the {updates} section on the sidebar if you’re ever in doubt 🙂

  • Nyamachi, you’re quickly building a reputation of bringing readers high-quality translations and pieces of work. You’re going far, you heard it from me first haha!

    I will most definitely give this novel a shot though I have to say, it is very seldom I read a (Romance/angst) historical novel with a male protagonist so quite curious to see where this story goes.

    Thank you for your hard work~

    • Awee Tangerine!! Thank you so much for your praise!! <3
      Thank you for giving this novel a shot!

  • Thank you so much for bringing this is to us. I can only imagine the hours of work it has been and will be. Very grateful. 💜

    • <3 My pleasure. I hope you enjoy the novel! Thanks for your patience between chapters.

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