Thursday, April 2, 2015

Cold Sands (Beyond the Frore Dunes) - ch25

Translator: ayszhang
Proofreaders: Art_emis, Gwen, krabbykabbi, LSL, Luzo, Mion, Pau, & Red

Cold Sands ch25
 What does Han Xin have in mind for the Rui court? D8 *ominous music*

XXV Subterfuge

The veil dividing the inner hall and the front hall has been raised.

I place a hand on the attendant’s arm and let him lead me to my throne. Very slowly, I walk one step at a time, not too fast and not too slow, with a solemn comportment and an upright posture.

I finally know why Emperor Wen had always walked so slowly—the Pearl Crown is heavy, even heavier than the Guardian helmets. It’s so heavy that you must walk one step at a time, as slowly as possible, if you don’t want your neck to snap. Also, there is a heap of beads dangling from the crown, completely obscuring your vision. I would definitely have fallen over if I didn’t have the attendant guiding me.

I suppose not just anyone could be the emperor—at least he can’t have a history of neck problems.

Also, the dress has so many layers that it bugs the hell out of me. Why, are royalty especially prone to hypothermia?

“Long live” starts reverberating from below like a tsunami suddenly forming from a peaceful ocean. The sea of colourful uniforms kneels down and their foreheads touch the ground.

I take my hand back and pick up my train before carefully stepping up onto the base of the throne. Suddenly, I trip on my regalia and basically fall onto the throne.

It’s okay. They are all kneeling so they didn’t see.

I give a slow nod after adjusting my expression to one that is proper and stern. Liu An then calls out, “Rise!”

His sharp voice echoes in the hall. I hear the shuffling of what seems to be robes dragging against the tiles. To my side, I can see the empress dowager getting into her seat behind a veil of gold and jade. 

I scan the people below me and nod to myself. Very good. I have everyone right where I need them.

I do have one complaint thoughthe throne is too big. When you sit on it, there’s a huge empty space on all sides. It’s so uncomfortable not being able to rest on anything. What’s more is that you must sit upright and remain cool, calm and collected before your subjects.

Being an emperor in one wordtiring.

When I notice that everyone is looking at me with puzzlement, I realise that my mind was wandering again. I cough out of awkwardness and inquire, “My subjects, anything to report today?”

I know I’m just wasting my breath. The most urgent matter at hand is deciding whether to leave or stay.

I watch all of them nonchalantly. Uncle has his head down; Heng Ziyu has a relaxed smile; Xie Yun has his eyes closed; everyone else shares a look. Finally, someone comes forth after a suffocating period of silence. I take a closer look and find that it’s the elderly Minister of Revenue.

“This subject would like to report to Your Majesty.” He looks up. “The thirteen aids and relief offices that were established several days ago have taken in countless refugees and the allotted funds and rations have nearly been used up. I am afraid that we cannot keep this up if nothing is done.”

I frown. “I remember I granted over ten thousand taels of silver. Why, was it not sufficient?”

He takes some time to answer. “We cannot use the grains in the state reserves to ensure the necessary portions for the army and the palace. Therefore we had to purchase it on the market. And due to the inflation of rice, our funds have depleted sooner than expected.”

Hearing this, I know it’s outside my comfort zone. I’ve studied the arts of war since I was young and observed plenty of political battles but these common everyday issues aren’t exactly my forte.

“Then, do you know how much of the grant remains?” I decide to put him on the spot after some deliberation.

His expression suddenly changes and starts slurring some indistinct answer. I feel furiousdon’t pretend to know shit when you don’t. But when I think about it again, I have already heard that the court officials are corrupt and the civil servants are useless. However, seeing it with my own two eyes is quite a different experience. 

Seeing my lips pressed together in silence, he starts shaking like a leaf. At this pressing moment, a young official steps forth. “In reply to Your Majesty: the grant totaled thirty-three thousand taels. Only five thousand taels remain and the grains have been depleted. I implore that something be done as soon as possible, Your Majesty.”

I quickly grow a liking to this young, bright-eyed official. I chuckle, “And how much grains and silver remain in the state reserves?”

He lowers his head and responds in no time. “In reply to Your Majesty, there are currently five million nine hundred and eight thousand seven hundred and thirty-six pikuls of grains, sixty-nine million five hundred seventy thousand taels of silver. Two-tenths of this is reserved for the army and one-tenths for emergency relief during winters.”

He must be a capable man to be able to remember such detail. I shoot a look at the shivering old man. I’m going to find a way to give him the sack and promote a few other officials.

But that’s not the most important thing at hand right now. I can’t help but look out the palace doors.

A thunderous bang suddenly comes from the palace gates. The sound of metal colliding, sporadic footsteps and screaming startle all the officials. I rejoiceit has begun!

The shouts are becoming louder and louder when suddenly something falls just outside the doors and explodes. The horizontal beam above the doors comes crashing down with the thick smoke, shooting out loose rock and wood splints. The guards on duty by the doors scatter apart, yelping. The officials are all caught unawares and fall into disorder. A Golden Guardian scampers in, panting, “Y-Your Majesty, assassins have sneaked into the palace!”

I spring up from my seat, looking straight ahead. “Where are they now?”

“Right in front of Tai Qing Palace!”

“Their numbers?”


As expected, battle cries ring from outside. It doesn’t sound too far away and is closing in fast. The gates suddenly burst into flames, painting the horizons red, and opaque smoke rises. I hear a twang and a shrill sound zooms through the doors towards the throne. Alarmed, I turn to dodge the arrow and it scrapes past my cheek.

“Your Majesty!”

Arrows fly towards the screen and I shout, “Protect the empress dowager!”

The next moment I see silhouettes flickering chaotically behind the veils. The maidservants are running and shrieking. Then a shower of arrows rains down and the screen tips over after swaying a few times. 

The fallen screen reveals a fallen empress dowager, cowering on the floor. 

“Escort the empress dowager back now!”

Everyone else is unnerved and helpless, probably wishing to grow a pair of wings right about now. Several officials near the door are even about to escape. 

“What’s the matter?” I bark as I scan the hall. “You stay right where you are!”

My sudden call stops the tangled crowd of officials and they stare at me with a flustered expression. I snap, “Shut the doors!”

The vermillion doors slowly close on one other, separating us from the bloodshed and gore, and the chaos gradually dies down in the silence. I take a look around and say while trying to calm my nerves, “As the backbones of this country, you bring shame to it by showing such vulnerability!”

It seems the red luminance has spread out and is getting stronger by the minute. From here, I can hear pillars and beams collapsing and the servants running and screaming. I’m soaked in sweat but I still act calm.

I only have one chance, just this one. It’s all or nothing.

I slowly sit back down and close my eyes. A bloody picture surfaces in my mind: the guardian general slain, rebellious soldiers murdered, blades flashing bright like snow, horrendous crying… Everything is red. 

Outside, a storm of fire and blades is raging and rivers of blood are flowing, while inside the towering Tai Qing Palace it is as silent and stiff as quietus. The only audible sound is that of rushed inhale and exhale of everyone.

I let out a deep breath and enunciate, “I am the son of God; I hold the Mandate of Heaven. I have naught to fear, let alone a few petty assassins!”

Time slowly trickles past in silence. The shrieks and cries seem to linger in my ears. I’m sitting tall on my throne above all else, glancing over every one of their faces, meeting with Heng Ziyu’s eyes from time to time. He looks composed with a light smile and unreadable look in his eyes. I flash a quick smile at him, too, before turning away.

A lifetime seems to have passed and I feel as though keeping calm has drained all my energy.

“Your Majesty!” The thud of boots, the clank of armour and a booming voice comes from outside the hall. It appears someone has run up the palace steps and knelt down. “Reporting to Your Majesty, the assassins have been eliminated!”

It’s Pei Yuan’s voice. I look up and remain still.

“Your Majesty, the assassins have been eliminated. Please punish us for our inadequate protection!”

Some people are showing joy as their eyes go back and forth between the doors and me. I gaze straight ahead and say firmly, “Open the doors!”

The vermillion doors slowly swing open. A bloody Pei Yuan is kowtowing and behind him kneels a mass of soldiers just as bloody as him.

The cheers of the officials in the hall are thunderous and I can tell they are all too overjoyed for words.

“Reporting to Your Majesty, unfortunately we have lost the guardian general. Casualties total three hundred or so Golden Guardians.”

I keep my gaze on him and state solemnly, “I am ever so grateful for Lieutenant General Pei’s selfless service. I hereby declare: Lieutenant Guardian Pei is promoted to the position of Guardian General and shall oversee the protection of the royal palace! Every other soldier who has rendered outstanding service will be promoted by two ranks and receive gold!”

“We thank Your Majesty’s kindness!”

I spot Xie Yun’s face abruptly paling. He teeters a few times, about to fall over. Uncle is breathing heavily but I can’t tell what he’s thinking. I pull a thin smile.

There’s no rush. The good stuff has yet to come.

I hear someone running and the next moment I see a crimson feather. The person falls to his knees, calling aloud, “This is the general of the Imperial Yu-Lin Guards reporting. Hearing the alarming news of assassins in the palace with ill intent, I deployed the Yu-Lin without permission. I beg Your forgiveness.”

I guffaw. “You are not in the wrong, rather you are to be rewarded!”

“The Yu-Lin Guards have surrounded the capital,” he adds. “The assassins and their accomplices shall not escape!”


I slowly stand up and walk down the steps. The officials hold their breaths and bow when I pass. The only sound in the entire hall is of my long regalia sliding across the tiles and of the pearls on my crown clinking against each other. I step through the doors and stop at the top of the palace steps. The steps are covered with blood flowing in winding streams that has started to run up my garment.

“Long live the emperor!”

Heng Ziyu shouts with opened arms and the rest echo him. Both the civil and martial officials kowtow behind me and the soldiers before the palace fall to their knees.

At last, I have become the real master of this city. 

From now on, I need not fear nor be wary. No one can harm me and no one can determine my fate anymore.

I tilt my head back and smile to the sky. Are you seeing this from up there, Father?


Golden Guardians who are loyal to me quickly took control over the entire palace. In the name of trauma, I sent the empress dowager back to Yong An Palace and put her under care of the attendants and maidservants, not allowing her to leave without permission. Master Liao loathes her because he believes she caused the deaths of my father and mother and has suggested deposing her so as to eliminate any future problems

He is walking with me in the gallery and still hasn’t stopped nagging me about being too soft.

I heave a sigh. “I wouldn’t have lived until now if it were not for her, Master. One life for another; let’s just call it a draw. My hands are already stained. I do not wish to have my relative’s blood on them like hers.”

His gaze wavers but he insists, “The empress dowager is cunning and she still has some people loyal to her. I fear future complications if you do not dispose of her.”

I straighten my sleeves and keep walking forward. “Of course I hate her. I will avenge the death of my parents.” Then I titter, “Complications? I do not fear any complications, nor am I spineless. Whatever life has in store, I’m going to take it into my own hands. I won’t let anyone else interfere.”

He seems to falter before answering quietly, “You have changed, Your Majesty, but you are also the same.”

I turn my head over to him and smile, “I will take that as a compliment.”

Seeing the Imperial Garden in full bloom of purples and reds, I feel rather depressed. 

Of course I shouldn’t spare the empress dowager but I should not act now of all times. Killing someone isn’t hard but what is hard is doing it usefully and doing it right. Furthermore, the playing field isn’t stable just yet. If I killed her, that would mean splitting away from the Han clansplitting away from the nobles.

Everyone needs to stay united during this national crisis in order to prevail. 

Plus, once it settles down, I still need the power of the nobles, whether to govern the country or to ease the people.

“That reminds me,” I say to him who has caught up. “Don’t forget to compensate the deceased soldiers’ family.”

He looks extremely moved as he bows. “How generous, Your Majesty.”


After an afternoon nap, Liu An tells me that there is someone here to see me about the insufficiency at the aid and relief office. I let Liu An summon him after a moment’s consideration.

Unsurprisingly, it’s that bright-eyed official. He starts tentatively after performing the rituals. “This issue cannot be delayed any further. Lives are at stake, Your Majesty.”

I pause before asking, “What is your current position?”

He replies that he is Deputy Minister of Revenue. I nod, indicating for him to continue.

“The war in the north seems unpromising and there will be more and more refugees. I don’t think the aids office will be able to handle it if we do not receive more funding,” he continues warily.

I frown and let out a sigh as I grow sullen. Even though there is plenty in the state reserves, it won’t last long with these expenditures. Also, it’s truly peculiar that the funds have been used up this quickly regardless of how much the market prices have risen.

Something clicks in my head. If common sense can’t explain it then there could only be one explanation.

Furthermore, if the price of grains does not drop then the masses will still be in distress, and a battle cannot be fought with distressed citizens.

I’ve already run through several notions before responding calmly, “I grant you special permission to withdraw more funds from the reserves. I shall allot you another fifty thousand taels and entrust all thirteen locations in your hands. Do not disappoint me.”

He falters but looks gleeful and bows down to the ground. “I thank Your Majesty on behalf of the people for Your generosity.”

I dismiss him with a wave of my hand and sigh as I watch him leave. I am in need of help right now and I hope he is a talent who will help alleviate my problems.

I’m lying on the ta, thinking about the problems at hand, when Liu An comes in.

“Your Majesty, Protector of the Seas requests a meeting,” he whispers.

I snap to attention. Heng Ziyu coming at this time most likely doesn’t mean anything good but I have to see him. So I give him a nod and sit up, fixing my clothes.

Heng Ziyu strides into the back room with a stormy expression, looking displeased. He sits across from me after briskly doing the rituals.

I’m too lazy to bother with small talk so I inquire without looking at him, “What is it, Marshal Heng?”

He nods a little. “There are only tiny traces and I should not alarm You, but it’s just that this may have severe implications. So please forgive me, Your Majesty.”

“Something that troubles the Marshal, huh,” I chuckle. “Please, be my guest.”

He raises his brows and says under his voice, “I discovered a few days ago during a regular check that there seemed to be slight discrepancies with the army funding. I immediately delved into it only to find that there was a lot more behind it.”

Surprised, I look up at him. He nods seriously to me.

My stomach jumps. This is definitely a serious issue.

I’ve long known that the officials of Great Rui are corrupt. The military expenditures are also so large that a few rats are inevitable, but to be able to alarm the Protector of the Seas it couldn’t possibly be something minor.

This plus the problem with the aids and relief office are enough to make me break out in cold sweat. My heart seems to be suspended in midair as I stare at his lips, not making a sound.

He leans in and speaks quietly again, “I wasn’t here when the war started so I had no way of knowing, but after investigations, it became clear that someone has been tampering with the military provisions, mixing in second-rate substances before sending it off to the front lines.”

I start shaking, I’m not sure whether out of anxiety or anger, and can’t get a single word out.

He spits through clenched teeth, scowling. “I had thought only the provisions were faulty but it turns out that even the relief grants were looted. Well over half of it!”

Thunder seems to boom from above as I stare fixedly at him.

The answer has presented itself to me in no time and it’s making me shudder with apprehension.

Xie Yun is Minister of Defense and all military funds must go through him. The person in charge of the funds for the aids and relief offices is that elderly Minister of Revenue. Uncle has always been assisting with administrative work, so he would definitely be involved if we were to get to the bottom of this.

Three ministers, all having a hand in this disgraceful matter!

“Marshal Heng,” I give him a stern look while trying to settle my nerves. “Where is the proof?”

“Deputy Minister of Defence has already disclosed everything in private and handed over the books, and,” he pauses with a meaningful look. “You should have already sensed that something was wrong with the relief funds.”

Yes. I scoff. If I could figure that much out, there was no way a calculating person like him couldn’t have done the same.

“So You’re saying…?” I ask.

He abruptly gets up and kneels down beside me. “What is it that Your Majesty wishes to do?”

I prop my elbow on the table and rest my head on my hand. I’m not sure what to do now.

There has been a massacre just recently; the general guarding the royal palace has been executed; the high-ranking officials supporting the empress dowager have been either demoted or deposed, seriously decreasing Uncle’s power. This has upset many affluent families and they are all cautious of their speech and behavior. The nobles have already gone into panic mode. Now, if three ministers were to be punished too, then who knows what would happen.

I turn my head a bit to look at Heng Ziyu. He looks stern with his flinty eyes and tightly pressed lips but I can see a hint of the usual self-assured smile.

Can I trust this person?

My instincts say no. There’s only a weak sense of trust in addition to the secret deal between us. I’m much more inclined to believe that he just wants to emasculate the other rich and powerful players.

After much deliberation, I start timidly, “Allow me to reconsider. Please, Marshal, if You could retire.” I wave my hand only for him to clutch it.

Though frightened, I remain composed. He leans in with an intent stare. “Can I take it that Your Majesty is brushing me off?”

I jerk my hand but he just holds on even tighter and comes even closer, trapping me against the table. We’re mere inches away and our breaths mingle with each other, making the distance seem far less than it is.

I try to twist my wrist but find that I can’t move the slightest. I pretend to be unruffled with a smile. “What are You doing, Marshal? I am still the emperor right now. Please be mindful of Your manners.”

“Manners?” he starts chortling as if he’s heard the funniest joke, his eyes twinkling. “I recall that there was none since that night, Your Majesty. You even used the informal pronoun with me.”

Bastard. I only wanted to use that to feel closer so that he would agree to the deal. I grind my teeth together and do my best to ease my distress as I look back at him fearlessly.

“You didn’t sleep at all last night, did You?” He smirks, leaning closer. “To be able to turn the table around like that, Your Majesty, it impressed me very much.”

“The world is as unpredictable as the ocean currents. There are more things that You do not know.” I tilt my face away from his breath.

His dark, bottomless gaze suddenly sharpens, a chilling feeling exuding from within. Anger starts to sizzle in me. His gaze can make his enemies sweat in fear; his hands have taken the head of the enemy general amidst a thousand other men; his comportment has made the entire court kneel down in welcome. But I am not afraid. I look back at him steadily.

“I would like to know just how many secrets You have,” he breathes in my ear, blowing hot air on my skin.

“Marshal,” I shudder and shrink back from the heat but I maintain a composed smile. “Are You trying to make me go on a killing spree?”

He pauses and moves his face to look into my eyes, chuckling. “Being as clever as You are, I think You know what it is I want.”

I scoff and continue, “Well, I think You are being frivolous and disrespectful.”

Suddenly, I feel pressure on my chin. He gently lifts up my face and flashes a meaningful smile. “I’ve never wanted to know a person like this, Your Majesty.”

“First, just a son of an official, then a Golden Guardian. Then, magically, a few days later, the son of a duke, and finally, the emperor, even defeating the empress dowager overnight.” He carefully caresses my cheek with his cold fingers. “I’ve seen many people, yet not a single one can do that.”

I crack a pained smile. I never chose any of those things. There’s too much despair, too much pain, yet who would know and who would listen?

Seeing this, he surprisingly ceases his movement, his fingers crossing my cheeks and coming to a stop by my lips.

“I’ve actually seen You smile when You were still a Guardian, but now You don’t anymore and even if You do it’s a bitter smile.”

“To be honest,” I slowly raise my gaze to meet his. “I am just too tired nowadays.”

Without a word, he hooks his arm around my waist and presses me closer to him.

I titter, “I bet You were tired as well when You had to face all the criticism, complaints and pressure from having flooded Jin An. I bet You could not smile then. And even if You did it would have been a bitter one as well.”

A shudder seems to run through him and his eyes lose focus. He lowers his head and I can feel his warm breaths brushing past my ear, entrancing like the sweltering noon winds of the frontiers.

I should be trying my all to break free but I feel exhausted all of a sudden.

My vision goes blurry. I only see a world full of yellow sand and a lean, lonesome figure amidst it. As these painful thoughts go through my mind, I suddenly feel something moist on my neck. I start, only to find myself still in a compromising position in his embrace and his head in the crook of my neck, lips less than an inch away.

“Did You hurt Yourself getting on the throne today?”

I quickly look up. Our faces are so close we can see ourselves in each other’s eyes. Keeping his dark eyes on me, he brings my left hand up to his lips. Burning air hits my fingertips and makes my stomach flip. A numb and extremely uncomfortable feeling spreads from my fingertips.

So I suppose he saw it all.

“As I’d expected,” he whispers, “You’re very interesting, Your Majesty.”

I flash a lazy smile while trying to repress my unease. “Say, Marshal, shouldn’t we try to find a solution to this corruption issue instead?”

He sticks his fingers into the hair draping on my shoulders and twirls it around in between his digits while smirking. “You’re being very naughty, Your Majesty.”

I close my eyes and grab onto his arm with a bit of force. He isn’t holding on tightly enough and I easily escape the confinement of his arms. Briskly, I walk over to the table and sit down, pouring two cups of tea while I’m at it and pushing one towards him.

I bet You are thirsty after such a long talk. Here, have some calming tea.”

He has already returned to his usual state and is sitting about two steps away from me, holding the cup. I poke at the leftover tea leaves and say after taking a sip, “This issue needs to be discussed at length, so there is no need to be anxious. It is going to take more than a day or two to change such a deep-rooted problem.”

He laughs but I don’t hear a bit of warmth. “You must know that war does not wait.”

I give him a smirk. “But a wake-up call does not take long.”

Heng Ziyu stays until dinnertime. He doesn’t even show the slightest bit of reluctance towards my half-hearted—I swear on my life it was half-hearted—invitation and stays for dinner in the palace.

I’m not sure how I feel about dining with him at the same table. The whole time I keep experiencing mood swings but I have to act as if nothing is wrong. I shrug. I’ll just think of it as emperor training.

The next ones I must eliminate are the ones requesting the relocation.

The ringleader must fall first in order for the entire operation to fail.


The following morning during court, the imperial auditors headed by Song Ruoming start their offense before Xie Yun even opens his mouth, accusing him of instigating concern, speculating about the ruler’s decisions, causing distress for the citizens and acting against the law.

Song Ruoming is extremely talented at speaking and goes through every single of Xie Yun’s mistakes and wrongdoings, not leaving out the tiniest thing. He even brings out the ancient record of Xie Zhen raping a commoner’s daughter. He stands there in the hall, pointing at Xie Yun with flames coming out from his eyes and a waterfall of imputations showering out from his mouth, looking rather heroic and determined to rescue the country from evil. His booming voice and coherent argument along with his forbidding expression as he recounts Xie Yun’s crimes awes many.

I sneak a yawn, not forgetting to hide behind my large sleeves. I ask Liu An beside me after moistening my mouth with a sip of tea, “How long has it been?”

Liu An answers with a grimace, “Auditor Song has been at it for two hours.”

I’m at a loss for words. I knew this guy had skill in this area but I didn’t think he could go for two hours without drinking water. God knows where he got the ability to do this. He really was made to be an imperial auditor.

If I just so much as make a tiny mistake in the futuremiss court a few times, add a girl or two into my harem or renovate my palace a bithe’s surely going to scold me to death while not using a single curse word!

A shudder runs through me and I tip the cup, spilling tea on my clothes. 

No wonder the ancients all say you can offend anyone you want except the imperial historians and auditors.

As Liu An is bowed down, wiping my clothes, Song Ruoming spits out his last words. “Those who suggested relocation should be killed!”

I can’t see Xie Yun’s face anymore: the pathetic fellow has almost shrunken into a ball. I think he just wants nothing more than to dig a hole in the ground and hide there.

I really want to laugh my ass off right now but I clear my throat to stay solemn. Both sides quiet down immediately. I feel countless eyes on meI suppose this is what is meant by on ‘pins and needles’.

I smile but my tone is dead. “The capital is the basis of our everything. I am certain everyone is aware of this. If we transplant the capital, we will lose everything.” Then I shoot up and glare downwards at them, roaring, “Did you all forget that no country has ever remained unscathed against the Yan?”

This disturbs the stillness of the hall. They freeze and don’t make a sound, leaving nothing but silence. I observe every one of their faces. Some are shocked, some are frightened, some are pale… A chilling feeling seems to creep into the hall and wrap itself around everyone, lingering. 

I keep looking down at them, studying their expressions. Most have lost their colour and have begun to sweat. Only Heng Ziyu is composed as usual and smiling. I pull a thin smile too. 

“If the ship goes under everyone goes with it!” I bark, “Auditor Song said, those who suggested relocation should be killed. In my opinion, it does not even count as a suggestion, but rather fallacy! Causing distress for our soldiers and citizens, destroying the legacy of our predecessors, making everyone a sinner!”

As I say these words, it becomes more and more obvious in my mind. 

If we were to relocate then the state would fall apart, the country would collapse and the legacy of the Lin ancestors would crumble to ashes.

I will not allow that. Never!

Xie Yun’s knees buckle and he falls to the floor, quivering. 

I feel disgusted as I stare at him.

There isn’t anyone in the court who remains undefiled by the deceits and lies of the power struggle. As a high-ranking official—a minister—he is not loyal, pockets the state’s money and instigates disobedience to the throne and even disregards the people of the country. I can’t imagine the horror if this were to continue and be learned by the people under him!

I am going to set the record straight today!


“Mercy! Your Majesty!” he wails.

It echoes within the large, hollow hall and surrounds me. 

Two Golden Guardians quickly march in. I turn away, flicking my sleeves. 

“Send Minister Xie on his way!”

ayszhang says: We hope no one took the April Fool's joke too seriously (if you did we are truly sorry <3 maybe there will be a make-up chapter for it? I believe it is Good Friday tomorrow...*winkwink*)
dairytea says: So~ we're baaack!!! Did you guys miss us? >u< ;;; No worries, it was an April Fool's joke. We're definitely here to stay~<3 xoxo

Chapter 24
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Cold Sands - English Translation by ayszhang is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


  1. Thanks.
    And good one. It'll be bad if it's the truth though. *phew*

  2. I'm so glad I never saw yesterday's post XD I would've cried my eyes out.

    Yaaay, I remembered again! :3

    The part with Heng was Han Xin able to stay so composed?! *fans self* It just got really hot, hahaha

    And, a possible make up chapter? :O That would be wondeful if you did! I get my wisdom teeth out tomorrow, and so a make up chapter would be very nice ;D

    Thank you!!! <333

  3. XDDD Darn it! That would've made a good April Fool's >:p
    Yayyy~~ *smooch*
    Han Xin has someone in his heart already! <3 <3 thats how~
    :O Oh my! I hope everything goes well. I hear it hurts a lot and you can only drink liquids for weeks! :S

  4. OH MY GOD.. what a smart scheme (scheme? hmmm.. remindes me of something)
    super smart Xin super duper smart.. i coundn't predict what he was up to, and is it now that he siposed of the Empress?? great, we'll never see her in cournt anymore yaayy , btw, when he said an empress dowager liying in teh floor or something i almost jumped of happiness (i thought she was dead!!!) anyway, disposing her makes me think i should have left the hair plucking for now and then we'll say she resinded on the breaking news or working behind the scenes probably with a wig!!!!
    He's even wiser then master Liao it seems, he thinks about the future plans too (Nobody can win against 'our' Han Xin.. *sounds of poeple knocking the door* ohh, there they come, amthough they didn't beat me last time before that they bbeat me a lot and i coudn't finish my comments without them intruding, soo this time i locked my selfinside the room, and just in case.. i'll be taking the camera(computer) and a flashlight and we'll comunicate from inside the closet ^^)

    Now, lets go to the verrrrrrryyy ending^^
    yaaaay, i just learned something new about Song Ruoming :) i'm actually starting to collect every information i see about him and Pei Yuan, i terribelly want these two for each other >< ohhh my god i can't decide though would he the uke??
    care to vote? who'se the seme him or Pei?
    hehe, *fujoshi mind ON* !!!

    OOOOkaaaaaaaaaaaay, now it's time for the middle part ^^
    it was cool at the very beggining, Han Xin was just lying there , and Heng Ziyu came (whenever i read Heng ziyu or whatever refers to him, can't help but want him to meet Xin!) anyway, he came, they talked, he came closer, they kept talking, he was being dimissed .. he caught his hand *breathing heavily*.. he came closer! .. reads the rest and suddenly .. My Fujoshi heart explodes!!!!! watersfalls of blood !! and my mouth was wide open, my eyes didn't blink not even once, and i was coming closer and closer to the screen almost sticking there !! (actually i went to my eyes' doctor this morning and here i am, wasting the rest of my vision staring at the screen like a horny dog !! hold on a sec, do horny dogs stare at the screen?? forget that example, i'm becoming crazy because of that scene!!) i held my note boke and kept cooling myself with it.. and i felt it , every little touch and every little whisper sends shivering.. ohh my
    GOD, Heng Ziyu, you got me, i'm all yours.. sorry guys guess i'm going to him side!!
    i'm not sure , i love both Heng Ziyu and Murong Yu, see Heng Ziyu is 'probably' just replacing Murong for now at least, and who knows, maybe i'll actually turn into Heng Ziyu's side but for all i know not yet, but he is just soooooooo >< God i can't i just want them to do something (pervy thoughts!!)

    Speaking of Heng Ziyu, i just remembered what the word 'scheme' reminds me of.. buutttt, i won't let you know until tomorow because i'm suuuuupeeeeeeer sleepy.. soo i'll see you tomorrow in the continuation of my 'Magnificantly loooong comments (stories now^^)'
    Oh, got to goo, they broke the door just now (Xiao, Murong, Xin, fans, Sun Le, everybody) now their searching for me.. Will they find the hidden nii_san or not? what will happen to Nii_san? what about Heng Ziyu's scheme?? we will find all that along with a little surprise(witch you probably won't like ! ><) tomorrow, when the nii_san uses Coputer ^^

  5. Han Xin basically imprisoned her >:) this way she won't be interfering with the court haha
    OMG XDDD only fujoshi/fudanshi can come up with couples from nothing (not that I don't see the possibility with Pei and Song... ;D) Pei would obvsly be the seme. He's a soldier after all! And Song would be the talkative and sensitive uke >u>
    Oh my. It seems a lot of people liked the scene with Heng Ziyu.... (I was feeling the heat too when I was translating the "You're being naughty" part (//o\\) ) I liked the part where he asked if he hurt himself getting on the throne the best ><; He really pays a LOT of attention to Han Xin <333
    Oh nooooo :O WE HAVE A TRAITOR!!! nii_san has gone to the dark side!!! jkjk
    Ohhhh I like the mysteries *u* I wonder what the scheme is hehe... cyu soon~

  6. Thank you!! Things are getting interesting.... How is he going to hold of Heng Ziyu

  7. You're welcome <333
    Han Xin has his ways ;D

  8. Hey, could I ask something? What kind of story is Cold Sands, exactly? (The summary on Manga Updates isn't all that informative) Is it historical + political intrigue, or just drama and slice-of-life like MU says it is?

    And out of curiosity: won't you guys ever consider translating Feng Yu Jiu Tian? It looks excellent, the epitome of chinese BL, even, but the problem is that the current translations are done by several different people and are all over the place: some are not proper TL's, just chapter summaries, some skip entire volumes and just do the ones which seem relevant (to the romance, mostly >_<), and the ones who want to do through-and-through proper translations are solo translators who seem to have given up already, so... Of course, I don't mean to nag you or speak ill of any of those other translators' efforts. Just wondering why you haven't even considered it, that's all.


  9. I would not say it is "slice of life". It's historical and political for sure. There's romance, obviously. That pretty much sums it up.

    Um, personally, I would beg to differ that Feng Yu Jiu Tian is the epitome of Chinese BL. There are many other more acclaimed works but translators have, for one reason or another, not translated them. For more information read this really helpful post.

    So anyways, personally, I don't like the setting and storytelling of FYJT. I'm not the type to like mainstream things, so Feng Nong is not one of the authors I read anyways. One reason why some translators have stopped may be because it is still ongoing. Normally, literary translators read the entire piece before deciding to translate it because sometimes the ending might prove disastifying (writers often rush to finish their drafts for publishing reasons) amongst other reasons. Of course, I understand translators online may or may not be professional/trained translators, but this might be a reason. As for Dairytea, she doesn't feel comfortable doing historical pieces.
    I hope this helps. :)

  10. Alright I know I know and totally support the Murong Yu and Hanxin pairing but buuuuut the interplay between Han Xin and Heng Ziyu is just soooooooo interesting....well Heng Ziyu sure makes for a worthy Third wheel..and Han Xin my dear Han Xin haven't you grown up into a fine fine emperor ....(sobs in handkerchief totally feeling like mother hen..a real proud one)...Thanks for the translation ^^

  11. The FYJT translations..more like really really long summaries..are still continuing on Tumblr...reached volume 14...I'm quite attached to it...almost as much as cold sands...since it was the second BL novel I started reading...Ai no Kusabi was the one that got me hooked to this genre so to speak..

  12. Bahahaha XDD love the handkerchief haha
    =u= I knoooow. Heng Ziyu cares about Han Xin so much~~~ Han Xin is just like an oblivious little rabbit

  13. ...ahh..haha part of my soul flew away when I read your prank note. ; A;

  14. Ah, yeah, I should have said "the most intriguing-looking BL novel (after Mirage of Blaze, obviously) I've seen so far." Shame on me, I usually admonish people for saying things like "this is the best manga ever written!" and then go and make the same mistake >_< I didn't mean to insult your or this group's tastes, obviously.

    Anyway, thanks for the info on Cold Sands! Politics - or indeed any kind of plot - in BL is certainly a novelty, so now I'm doubly motivated to give it a try.

  15. Thanks for the info! I know about that Tumblr site, but it's full translations or nothing in my book, so... Yeah.

  16. Oh, and that article (thanks for the link!) confirmed a suspicion I've had for a while now, even given the very limited number of manhua and Chinese novels I've read: Chinese writers can never get to the freaking point. They spend way too much time on needless exposition, and there's an unfortunate emphasis on "tell, not show." Which is a shame because idea-wise the authors show real potential, but in terms of writing skill they've a long way to go. It's like the opposite of manga and light novels, where the content can be cliché but the storytelling's often compelling enough to keep you reading despite that. I mean, Benjamin bores me even with my great love for social commentary in fiction, and Ya San and Shuisheng Didi despite being horror also came off as social commentary, which was out-of-whack.

  17. You got me with the joke.. darn
    I'm just relieved that the Empress is out of the scene for now, I had enough with her. Emperor Xin is now the most powerful in rhe country. no more puppet strings attached.

    Heng Ziyu is *cough hawt..hahah
    gosh, the third party is a strong contender... I wanna scream,the skin contact and playing with the hair is too much already.. Yu will be so jealous about this. :))

    Xin, aim for Great Rui's honor and victory.. *cough I forgot that Yu is the enemy. X-(

  18. >:) hehehe success! *fist in air*

    Yeah she was just too much!

    Ooooh seems like a lot of readers have come to like Heng >u<

    :( And Murong doesn't even know it yet

  19. Hahaha XD we cant help it hehe. Humans can be such hypocrits sometimes (Trust me I do the same thing)

    :D please~I'd love to see your feedback if you do read it <333 this is a story thats very dear to me so I wanted to translate it to share it with more people. Anyways enjoy :))) hope to see you in future chapters!

  20. Yeaaaah I totally agree. Especially those looooonnng ones. I think the artciel described them as shounen fight manga? Like one battle after another and one arch after another lolol.
    Thats one reason I never liked FYJT :/ I cant imagine how many sets of characters got changed by now!

    :o did you read Drip-Drop too? :O <333 That one didnt have much BL but it's a great piece. Yeah I didnt expect it to be a social commentary on black market organ trading D: but thats why I liked it. It actually tied into the real world not just some supernatural ghost who likes haunting people for the sake of it :p or some cliche curse oooohhh~~*ghost sounds* XD

  21. i couldn't think of another sheme , buuuuuut you have to admit..

    i'm the best at cooking (ᗒᗜᗕ)՛̵̖

  22. <333 Oh my I started getting naughty thoughts reading that ;DDD
    Iunno if Heng is a sadist :O Maybe?? (It would be soooo goddamn sexy if he was >u>)

  23. Not asking for spoilers.But.Does CS have a happy ending?

  24. It's written on the info page XD There should be a line saying "Hightlight this for spoilers" Just highlight that on desktop or copy and paste on mobile.

  25. My babies!!! *SOBS*

  26. The next time I decide to adopt a story I'll freaking make sure to read the spoilers first.It is too late for this one now.*watery eyes*

  27. ; A ;

    Sorry :/ I'll make up by translating some HE stories <333

  28. Hahahaha he is! XD Don't worry, Murong will be here soon ;)

  29. C'mone yu ... Rescue xin ASAP😎