Part of a Memories of a Graceful Reflection translation project at fruitydeer.com.
Do not download, copy, or redistribute without permission.
Source: 猶記驚鴻照影 by Feng Ning Xue Wu // Translated By: Xin (fruitydeer)
I wanted to go ahead and first share the prologue for Memories of a Graceful Reflection, which briefly introduces our male lead, Nan Cheng Yao. Because this story delves into heavier topics, I find it much more emotionally taxing to translate and edit compared Peony’s Tavern, so the update schedule is still undecided. For now, enjoy this rare moment where we get to see things from Nan Cheng Yao’s perspective.
Also, this novel’s title has also been translated as Memories of a Beautiful Image, but I made the decision to tweak it because Feng Ning Xue Wu references parts of the title later on and I felt that Memories of a Graceful Reflection flows better for translation and consistency while still staying true to the original meaning. I’ve gone into detail on the literary inspiration and significance behind the title in the Intro & Synopsis.
Chapter 000: Prologue
Once more, he saw her.
In the flurry of snow, her red clothes fluttered about.
On his stead, wearing armor adorned with a white plume, he saw her figure on the precipice of a cliff cut with a thousand blades.
So close was he that he could see so clearly every trace of light and shadow fluctuating in her eyes.
Pain, despair. Today, all that remained was a chilliness as cool as water.
Seeing the soldiers standing ready behind him, she smiled ever so slightly. Her long hair danced in the wind.
When he heard her voice, exceptionally gentle and soft, he began to suspect that she never really said anything at all. As if this was merely a voice lingering in his mind. After so many years, still stubbornly refusing to go away.
Bearing some hesitation, he extended a hand in her direction.
The faint smile playing on her lips gradually became bigger and bigger, until finally becoming a curve that was beautiful enough to devastate entire nations.
His heart suddenly sank, but he did not have enough time to move at all. He could only watch with his own eyes as she jumped off the precipice. With such resolve and poise, she was so beautiful that it was as if she were flying gracefully through the air.
The wind was like a blade. His right arm maintained the posture of extending forward, just like before. It was stopped in mid-air in a bizarre manner, remaining completely still.
His body was cold and numb; his heart, the same. He could not feel any coldness nor sense any pain.
“Your Highness is wise, the heavens will bless this nation.”
Amidst the kneeling and cheers of the soldiers by hind him, he slowly pulled back his hand, little by little.
“Return to the palace.”
Holding the reins, he spoke with only impassiveness.
The sound was interposed between howling winds and snow, fragmenting the expanse of cold desolation in the room.
The worried voice of Chief Steward Qin An traveled in from outside the doors. Nan Cheng Yao closed his eyes slightly. Even after five years, the same nightmare has continued following him like a shadow.
He rose, speaking faintly: “What is the matter?”
Qian An paused for a brief moment, his voice ringing deferentially from just outside: “Prime Minister Murong has arrived, he is waiting at the front hall.”
Qin An waited quietly by the doors, hearing only silence inside the room.
But he was not worried. He has watched His Highness from childhood, slowly becoming the person he was today. It was very clear how tenacious His Highness’ heart was; he who understood which choices were the best course of action.
Not long after, the doors opened; Qin An didn’t need to wait too long at all.
Nan Cheng Yao wore robes of black, this attire chosen at his own discretion. What could not be suppressed here was the natural air of nobility surrounding him.
He looked up and glanced upon the horizon where the moon was like a hook.
He did not say much, but the elegant shape of his lips curved imperceptibly into a cold smile. Walking past Qin An, he moved towards the direction of the front hall.
At this point, what was there in life that could not be given up?