Thursday, February 21, 2019

Drama Queen Pick: Kingdom Season 1


Synopsis:

10 days have passed since the King collapsed from an illness. Queen Jo (Kim Hye-Jun) and her father Chief State Councilor Jo Hak-Joo (Ryoo Seung-Ryong) have forbidden anyone else to see the King. Even his own son Crown Prince Lee Chang (Ju Ji-Hoon) is forbidden to see his father. In the meantime, Chief State Councilor Jo Hak-Joo rules Joseon with an iron fist, but rumors spread that the King is dead.

Crown Prince Lee Chang senses something sinister and sneaks into the King's palace. He sees a shadowy monster through a door and smells its foul stench, but he is discovered and escorted out of the palace. His guard Moo-Young (Kim Sang-Ho) steals the medical journal for the King. The journal is nearly empty, but lists the name of Physician Lee Seung-Hui (Kwon Bum-Taek). To find out what happened to the King, Crown Prince Lee Chang and Moo-Young travel to the Jiyulheon clinic in faraway Dongnae to see the physician. When they arrive, they discover that the clinic is in ruins and dead bodies are found under a building. Crown Prince Lee Chang and Moo-Young later learn that the only person to have survived the clinic is medical staff member Seo-Bi (Bae Doo-Na). When they finally find Seo-Bi, she tells the them that the dead they saw at the clinic are not dead and they will rise up soon to kill. (AsianWiki )

My thoughts: 

I happened to watch this drama on Netflix and I was immediately immersed in the drama. This season only features 6 episodes but the script was very well written. There were many scenes that felt very realistic with all the special effects and make up skills of these professionals. I enjoyed the fast pace of the plot and the twist in the drama. 

Kingdom consisted of a brilliant cast such as Ju Ji Hoon and Ryoo Seung Ryong. I like Ju Ji Hoon since Princess Hour, I am excited that he is playing a crown prince in this drama too. Although this was the third time he acted as a prince, I felt that he is still so charismatic and handsome. He became more charming every time I saw him onscreen. His acting skills had improved tremendously throughout the years.

Netflix had spent a lot of money investing in this film and this drama proved to be a major success in terms of viewership and critics. Do look out for the special effects and the exciting plot. If you have not watch this drama, I would highly recommend to you. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

鱼香四溢 The Fish's Overflowing Fragrance


Sypnosis from SSB:
Being an extremely ambitious fish with great aspirations, Ah Lian’s only wish in her entire lifetime was to become the main dish of the most beautiful man in the Celestial Realm – Rong Lin, the God of War.

Ah Lian invested enormous amounts of effort into eating, successfully grooming herself into becoming an extremely white and plump fish. However, just when she thought she would finally get cooked —

Ah Lian: Supreme God, do you like to eat braised fish or steamed fish?
Rong Lin: …… I’m a vegetarian.
Ah Lian: QAQ
……

After N amount of time has passed

#Amazing #TheMostHandsome,RichAndTallCelestialBeingRongLinWasFinallySnapped…ByAFatHeadedFish!

In short, this is a sweet and loving story about a silly and naive fish who spends every single day trying to convince her vegetarian idol to eat her. Of course …… Ah Lian would finally be "eaten" by the War God Rong Lin _(:з」∠)_

[Ebook]

Thanks for dropping by! 😊

Translation Schedule: 1x a week (for now)



** Although the first 18 chapters were translated by Snowy Codex, I needed to get into the flow of the story and maintain consistency. So I'm starting from scratch.
 

Chapters

The Fish's Overflowing Fragrance Chapter 5: Fascination


Tian Luo looked for Ah Lian for a very long time, but she was still not able to find her even when the sun had gone down. Only when it was completely night did a worried Tian Luo find Ah Lian. A teary eyed Tian Luo exclaimed, "Where on earth did you go? I thought you had been captured!", while grousing to herself that it was Ah Lian advised her not to venture too far out.

Ah Lian, still in a daze with her encounter, sheepishly grinned and rubbed her nose as she explained to Tian Luo what had happened.

An astonished  Tian Luo gasped,"Yo..You mean you actually managed to meet High God Rong Lin?!"

Ah Lian nodded her head,"Yes, I did. High God Rong Ling is still as friendly and kind."

Tian Luo knew that the high god Rong Ling was someone Ah Lian admired tremendously, and he was the reason why she entered the academy. Tian Luo had also heard how kind and gallant this high god was; truly a man among men throughout the realms.

Knowing the reason why Ah Lian took so long to appear, Tian Luo was no longer worried.

Curiously Tian Luo asked,"So how does High God Rong Lin look like? Is he even more handsome that High God  Xiao Bai?"

*****

Tian Luo was originally quite naive and truly believed that the male disciples of the academy were very good looking... until she caught a glimpse of the high god Xiao Bai. She became smitten with him. However, Ah Lian who had seen the high god Xiao Bai before as well was not too impressed, and she seemed immune to his good looks; she did even not blush like the other female disciples. How could she have such a lack of reaction unless she had seem someone whose looks was far more superior?

*****

Of course Ah Lian thought that high god Rong Lin was the most handsome, but high god Xiao Bai was his good friend, and being so kind-hearted he would definitely not be happy to hear a compliment at the expense of their good friend? So Ah Lian answered,"Both have their strengths. There is no point in comparing the two."

Each to his own, so that meant that they were on par. Tian Luo find it a little hard to accept that there was someone each whose looks were comparable with high god Xiao Bai.

As Tian Luo hooked Ah Lian's arm, she encouraged, "Tell me the details!"

Ah Lian's face lit up with joy and happily described her idol, "Well, his eyes are as shining as the stars, and his eyebrows are as luminous as the moon. His very tall and has a good build, everything below his neck is legs and...."

"Than he is definitely handsome!" exclaimed Tian Luo.

Ah Lian smugly nodded in agreement; of course her idol was the best! Caressing the robe which was from her precious idol, she praised him,"What was the most commendable was that High God Rong Lin was so patient and kind. Although I accidentally disturbed his rest, he did not blame nor scold me, but instead, cared for me and told me to take care on my way back."

An excited Tian Luo was in awe. High god Rong Lin was truly worthy of his reputation, it was no wonder that this left such an impression on Ah Lian that she remembered him for two hundred years.

When they got back, Ah Lian dedicated washed the precious robe thoroughly three times over. By the time she was done, it was already in the middle of the night. Once done with the washing, Ah Lian skipped over to Tian Luo and asked,"Does the robe still reek of fish?"

Tian Luo understood Ah Lian's worry, so she cooperated and took as sniff. "There is no fishy smell. In fact, it smells rather fragrant instead."

The robe was meant to be returned to high god Rong Lin the next time she  saw him, so of course she wanted the robe to be sparkling clean and fragrant. After hearing Tian Luo's comment, she was assured and let out a sigh of relief. However, in the next second she frowned and thought to herself,"This fragrance, will High God Rong Lin like it?"

After giving it some thought, she declared,"Let me was it again, to lessen the smell of the fragrance a bit so that it would not be too strong."

Yi Gui and Yi Zhang come back just at this moment, seeing Ah Lian hanging the washed robe to on the rack to dry. Seeing that the robe was too large to be a females, Yi Zhang disdainfully commented,"What a shameless fat headed fish, not only did she hook up with a male, she even has the audacity to dry the robe in our courtyard."

Yi Gui, on the other hand, was silent and did not comment; she had always been the more observant of the two.


*****

Ever since Yi Zhang laid her eyes on Ah Lian she disliked her: not only because Ah Lian had a lower social status, but also because of her face.  Having a pretty cousin, to whom she has been compared too since young, it was already quite pressurizing. And now, to have to stay with someone whom she regarded as inferior, but had an alluring beauty that made her jealous. How could she not be unhappy?

The Ninth Heavenly Pavilion Academy did not have any rules which explicitly prohibited male and female disciples from socializing and  getting into relationships. Hence, there were many pairs who got together for the purpose of cultivation, and one-night stands were quite common. Even Yi Gui had gotten together with a few male disciples a few days after she had entered the academy.

*****

Noticing the intricate design and superior material of the robe that Ah Lian had hung out to dry, she concluded that it belonged to an owner with quite a background.

After the robe had dried, Ah Lian gingerly took it and kept it into her dimensional jade gourd which was hanging off her belt. This jade gourd was gifted to her by Ah Pang as a farewell gift. It might seem like an ordinary accessory, but it was actually a dimensional storage tool and could contain many items.

As the jade gourd contained her precious idol's robe, Ah Lian treasured it and was afraid to damage it; treating it a gently as a newborn baby.

Ever since that day, Ah Lian consistently went to the Blue Wave Pool in hopes to meet her idol again. She totally regretted that she forgot to ask high god Rong Lin what was his favorite food, if he liked the texture and flavor of carp, and what was his preferred method for cooking carp.

*****

The Ninth Heavenly Pavilion Academy was worthy of its reputation: from the moment the disciples entered the homework never stopped and continued to pile one. Ah Lian, however, was distracted and unable to concentrate as she wanted to meet her idol again.

Newly accepted disciples who were accepted were of a certain standard caliber, and usually  had high social statuses. Ah Lian and Tian Luo belonged to the group of exceptions, having passed the stringent entrance examination, but were placed amongst the bottom (of the rankings).
*****

Which brings us to today's illusion lesson, which totally made Tian Luo on the verge of breakdown as she had already been scolded multiple times but she still could not master the illusion. The lesson was being conducted by the academy's infamous Sir Chong Xu.

*****

He was rumored to be extremely arrogant  and his pride was very strong since he was young, so much so that he would not scoop beneath his level to earn a few miserable dollars. However,  he changed after his marriage and humbled himself to support his family by teaching at the academy.

*****

After multiple failed attempts, Sir Chong Xu could no longer tolerate it and hollered at Tian Luo," Based on your aptitude, even if you managed to enter the academy, you would not be able to survive until graduation. You should just pack up and leave the academy and save us on the food that has been wasted on you."

Ah Lian had wanted to come to to the defense of Tian Luo, but before she could get a single word out, she was "arrowed" by Sir Chong Xu. He looked at her and said,"You need not be in a hurry to speak up for her, you are no better than her! Look at you. What kind of spell are you casting?"

Ah Lian had only three hundred years worth of cultivation experience, so it was quite a challenge for her as her experience was low. As for Tian Luo, she not only had more cultivation experience than Ah Lian by 100 years, her parents had also given her spiritual pills to boost her cultivation at a faster rate.

Due to this disparity in experience, even when Tian Luo had barely managed to successfully cast the illustration and somewhat transform the gourd as instructed, Ah Lian was still struggling.

After further scoldings by Sir Chong Xu, Tian Luo finally managed to successfully complete the transformation, while Ah Lian was still struggling. The made Ah Lian extremely embarrassed as she was the only student who failed the basic illusion technique.

After class, Tian Luo comforted Ah Lian saying,"Don't be too sad. Let;s go back and practice again. As long as we put in the effort, it should be fine."

Although Ah Lian understood that she should not be too hasty and putting in her efforts to practice even more, the fact that her aptitude was this bad made her feel  a little depressed.

When they went back to their dormitory, the continued practicing.
*****

Tian Luo had barely pass the test, so she was not in a position to advise Ah Lian how to improve. She could only watch on in despair as Ah Lian failed time and time again; unable to help. She felt bad that she was not able to help Ah Lian out.

Even after entering the academy, it was not guaranteed that everyone would be able to graduate.  In order graduate, they would first have to stay in the academy and to do that they would have to pass the test that was due three months. If they failed, they would have to leave the Ninth Heavenly Pavilion Academy. So for a disciple with Ah Lian's caliber, the future seemed bleak.

*****

Late into the night, Ah Lian looked at the sleeping Tian Luo, and went to the Blue Wave Pool.  This time her intentions was not in the hopes to meet her idol, but to practice her illusion skills by the poolside.

She had another class with Sir Chong Xu the next day, and even if she was thick skinned enough, it was not enough to withstand the sharpness of Sir Chong Xu's sarcastic remarks.

As Lian faced the willow tree beside the pool and tried to recite the incantation and tried the illusion multiple times. Each time she fail, the willow tree would slightly sway, but nothing much changed; not even the leaves transformed.

*****

This was the most basic form of illusion techniques and if Ah Lian could not master it, that it would determine her departure from the academy.

*****

Ah Lian attempted the illusion again and again, until the sun came up but to no avail.

"You... What are you trying to do?"

Ah Lian slowly turned towards the direction of the familiar voice. What greeted her vision was a tall, handsome silhouette. Her downcast face instantly brightened up as she scooted over and exclaimed,"High God Rong Lin!"

*****

Rong Lin had been looking at the little fish demon trying her best to practice the illusion technique. Though he was not that acquainted with the little fish demon, he knew that if he helped her he would get further entangled. He was planning to pretend he never saw her and was about to leave when he heard her recite the incantation and saw her clumsy attempts, he could tolerate no longer. With her caliber, how exactly was she able to pass the entrance exam?

*****

Ah Lian foolishly smiled at him, while high God Rong Lin was still his aloof cold self. He did not reply her, but in a clear cold voice instructed,"Close your eyes and focus your energy..."
The smile on Ah Lian's face froze and a few seconds later she realized that her idol was actually talking to her; giving her advice. She immediately did as she was instructed as Rong Lin continued. 

"Don't lose your concentration. You need to focus on what you want the willow tree turn into in your mind. Think about its form, and than recite the incantation...."

High god Rong Lin's voice was pleasant to ears.

*****

Being a basic illusion technique, it was actually not very difficult at all. Even if it were a tree, as long as it did not move, you could change it at will to what you wished. As long as it had a form, you would be able to transform it easily.

*****

Although Rong Lin  occasionally came returned to the academy, he only did lecturing, and as a high god it would be beneath him to be so hands-on. So it was impossible that he would teach such basic techniques to new disciples, let alone personally teach them. 

He looked at the little fish demon whose face was filled with determination and felt that he should personally give a few pointers. Thinking that it should not be an issue, he turned his back and without much ado he coldly blurted out the instructions. He used a cold tone as he did not want her to think that they had a close relationship.

Not seeing her move after some time, Rong Lin asked,"Are you done?"

"Yes, yes all done."

If it was already done, than what was with this tone? With such a simple illusion technique, as long as one did not lose concentration, it would definitely be successful. He had personally offered his advice, and she did not even progress one bit!

Even for one as good tempered as Rong Lin, he could not contain his impatience and annoyance. He turned around to look at her and was just about to reproach her when he saw his replica. Why had she chosen to transform the willow tree into his image?

He found the little fish demon looking sheepishly and scratching her head in embarrassment, looking at him with her large limpid eyes, remorsefully commenting,"Sorry, I... My mind was filled with thoughts of High God Rong Lin."


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Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Fish's Overflowing Fragrance Chapter 4: Fateful Encounter


The man was handsome and exuded an air of sophistication, but he was also as cold as ice, silently standing there. Just his visage alone was enough to mesmerize people, like a masterpiece. 

Ah Lian foolishly looked at the man before her in a daze, unable to hide her smile as she exclaimed, “High God Rong Lin looks much better than 200 years ago!” 

People like to be complimented. However, in such an embarrassing situation, who would actually enjoy being complemented? Initially he was irritated by her “offensive” actions, but after hearing her words of praise, he was at a loss and lost the will to berate her. 

Ah Lian, without any clothes and sense of embarrassment, was at his feet swishing her silvery fish tail excitedly. She was a carp with three hundred years of cultivation experience so her human form was equivalent to that of a (well) developing young girl; her development was better than most other carp demons. 

While Rong Lin was frowning slightly and tried to avert his gaze away from her,  a little fish was so happy and lost in her thoughts that she did not realize she was still holding onto Rong Lin’s pants. When she come to her senses and realized her misdemeanor, not wanting to offend her idol, she quickly released her hands and intended to get up to talk to him properly. 

Putting her thoughts into action, she immediately stood up. 

 Rong Lin was surprised and shocked by her actions. “High God Rong Lin….,” before Ah Lian could compose herself and complete her sentence, a snow colored robe suddenly appeared out of nowhere, draped around her and covered her semi naked body. 

As expected, the high god whom she idolized was kind and considerate. Ah Lian stared at the robe that covered her, her fingers running though the embroidered robe and exclaimed in delight, “This is High God Rong Lin’s robe!” 

To Rong Lin, it was nothing more than a piece of cloth, so he felt that it was nothing extraordinary. 

With her being covered, he could properly take a good look at her now. What returned his gaze were two large gleaming eyes filled with admiration, excitement and happiness, looking back at him. It was an expression that he was unfamiliar with. 

In the past, there were many immortal females who looked at him with coy gazes, but to be so unreserved and daring, she was the first one. 

Out of natural reflex, Rong Lin displayed a strategic move he commonly used to deter such people. He narrowed his eyes coldly and intended to give her the cold shoulder, but just as he was about to turn around he noticed that something was holding onto his right sleeve. When he turned to look, he found a girl smiling from ear to ear looking at him intently; he was at a loss for a reaction. 

***** 

He was actually quite popular with the female population and approached countless of times in the past. However, his gentle temperament and consideration towards the reputation of the female did not help in such situations, so he developed a method to avoid and deter such unwanted attention – acting cold and aloof. Although it was not his style, this method had actually gotten him out of many sticky situations in the past and so he continued using this method. 

***** 

He was soon brought out of his thoughts and finally scowled, displaying displeasure on his face when his realized that the impudent little fish demon had actually started to grope him! 

Ah Lian had never ever expected in her wildest dreams to actually encounter the high god Rong Lin. Without any sense of shame or propriety, she started tugging at is sleeve and murmured, ‘If I had known that I would meet High God Rong Lin here, I would have swam here the moment I entered Ninth Heavenly Pavilion Academy!” 

Just so she could see her idol earlier. 

Left with no other choice, Rong Lin spoke up, “And what were you planning on doing when you meet me?” 

Ah Lian paused and tried to suppress her smile as she whispered, “Does High God not remember me?” 

An awkward silence filled the air, Rong Lin did not reply as he truly had no recollection of the fish demon in front of him. Despite feeling a little disappointed, Ah Lian understood that someone as noble as her idol would be a busy person, so where would he have the time to remember her? 

“Two hundred years ago at Dongze Lake, High God Rong Lin rescued me from a fisherman. If not for you I would not be alive today…. Do you remember? As you gently put me back into the water you told me not to be naughty and to stay in the water, not to get caught by anyone again. I remembered your words of advice and had stayed at the bottom of the lake, not daring to come up to the surface so often,” she explained. 

****

High God Rong Lin was certainly a busy man. It was his nature to be kind and gentle, not bearing to harm even the flowers and grass. So saving a fish or two, demons or humans, was second nature to him. Over the course of thirty thousand years, he had done many good deeds and saved a considerable amount of creatures. There was no way he could remember each and every one of them.

*****

Ah Lian tried very hard to describe the encounter at that time, just so she could jot his memories and make him remember her. Seeing that he had not a slightest bit of recollection, she furrowed her brows and sadly commented, “You really don’t remember?” 

Her originally fair complexion had flushed red, and her big round eyes emoted disappointment as her eyelashes fluttered against what seemed like tears forming at the rim of her eyes; quite a pitiful sight. 

Seeing such and expression, high god Rong Lin finally opened his mouth, “It seems that there is some recollection.” 

Upon hearing the answer, Ah Lian raised her head and looked at him excitedly, “Really?” 

“En”, Rong Ling grunted as if to confirm, looking at the little fish demon smiling happily before him.


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Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Fish's Overflowing Fragrance Chapter 3: High God


Tian Luo might not be very knowledgeable, but she had long heard about this famous God of War, Rong Lin. In the heavenly realms, there were only two people who could be considered high gods: Xiao Bai, who was of the God race and had the blood of gods flowing through his vein, and the other, Rong Lin who earned the right to be called a god. 

During her time in the academy, Tian Luo learned that these two high gods had the admiration of many of the female disciples. 

***** 

The six realms of the past had a conservative stance, where the law was upheld to the upmost and it was taboo for different races to fall in love, let alone tolerate master (teacher) and disciple (student) relations. However, it has since taken a more liberal stance and it was no longer a big issue with the growing number of female disciples who admired and chased after the two high gods. Nevertheless, it still remained ingrained in the mindsets of the teachers. Even if there was no specific prohibition, most of the teachers choose not to get involved with the female disciples. For those who did get involved, it was nothing more than a short-lived love affair. 

***** 

While looking at Ah Lian, Tian Luo had to admit that although the other two girls had a higher social status, they were arrogant and unlikable. Ah Lian, on the other hand, had a gentle and calm disposition and was naturally charming and beautiful. It was hard to believe that someone from the carp species could have such outstanding features. Based on her features alone, Ah Lian could already compete with those two and stand a chance. 

Ah Lian’s porcelain white skin, ample bosom and slender waist prompted Tian Luo to enviously comment, “If only I was as fair as you….” 

There was saying that just by being fair, it could cover other flaws, and what girl did not like to be beautiful? 

Being born in a pond and of the snail species, it was natural for Tian Luo that when she transformed in to a human, she would have slightly tanner skin than the average girl. But Ah Lian thought that being slightly tanned made Tian Luo look better. 

A few days passed and Ah Lian still did not get to meet the high god, Rong Lin; not even his shadow could be found. As a result, today, a solemn and depressed Ah Lian was watering her flower pot. It contained a seed which could grow into a spiritual beast; all initiated disciples of the academy are given such a seed. The grade and quality of the spiritual beasts’ depend on their masters’ ability. Since Ah Lian’s ability was not very high, her seed would produce one of the more common types of spiritual beasts.

Seeing her all depressed, Tian Luo tried to comfort her, “Ninth Heavenly Pavilion Academy is mostly managed the high god, Xiao Bai. High god Rong Lin is rarely around unless he has lessons, but since those two are good friends they are sure to meet up. So you surely will have the chance to meet him.” Ah Lian was comforted by Tian Luo’s encouragement.

Once she was done watering her seed, they decided to go for a swim in the Blue Wave Pool that was behind the mountain. As they were leaving, their haughty roommates happened to enter the room. The girl in the dark green dress was ranting about how unfair the academy was, “Cousin Yi Gui, where do you think that little jujube demon is from? How is it that she can have a whole island to herself while we have to squeeze with these two country bumpkins?” 

*****  

The roommates names were Yi Zhang and Yi Gui. Yi Zhang’s temperament was unreasonable and aggressive, while Yi Gui was an aloof cold beauty. Although their personalities were not fantastic, their beauty made them quite popular in the academy. Within a few days of their arrival, many male disciples had already fallen for their appearance. 


***** 

Ah Lian and Tian Luo looked at each other helplessly, knowing that they were “country bumpkins” that Yi Zhang was grumbling about. Although Yi Gui looked like a pure fairy in her fluttering white dress, it could not hide her feelings as she looked at her cousin with mirth in her eyes hidden with distaste. She had grown up with this cousin of hers and knew that Yi Zhang was a tactless girl with very a low EQ. However, the more tactless Yi Zhang was, the more Yi Gui liked hanging out with her, because it enhanced her generosity and made her look like a good person. 

So in spite of Yi Zhang’s indignant rumblings, Yi Gui’s heart was not moved. Since she was young, Yi Gui has always been one of the favored (popular) children of the Eastern Seas, but the Ninth Pavilion Academy was not the Eastern Seas, so whatever arrangement made for them by the elders, they had to follow; even if it meant staying with two uncouth country pumpkins. This was an institution where everyone was treated as an equal without any bias, so they had to follow the rules.

However, now that they learned that a little jujube demon could stay on an island by herself, something which only high ranking disciples were entitled to, their perceptions were disorientated. Hence, the resentment.

Ah Lian and Tian Luo knew that their roommates were the type to be affected by gossip, quick to hear and speak, but they would not go overboard. So they did not bother about them and made their way to the pool.

On their way to the pool, Tian Luo said, “That little jujube demon, I’ve seen her couple of times already…..” 

Looking around and making sure no one was around, Tian Luo whispered into Ah Lian’s ear, “I saw her together with the high god Xiao Bai.” 

Ah Lian’s eyes widened upon hearing the news. 

***** 

Ah Lian was blessed with good looks, so even though her status was quite low, there were senior male disciples who were eager to take care of her since her arrival. However, since she is a little dim-witted and slow, she can never remember their names; she actually also never bothered to. The only one who she can remember and is interested in is the high god, Rong Lin, who has yet to make an appearance. 

But this high god Xiao Ba, she at least has some inkling of who he was. He was in charge of the Ninth Heavenly Pavilion Academy, so it would make sense that he would be able to arrange for that little jujube demon to have such an accommodation. 

The only time Ah Lian managed to catch a glimpse of high god Xiao Bai was during the entrance ceremony. He had a fair complexion and seemed to have an gentle temperament. What was even more intriguing was that he had neither the flairs nor arrogance that came with being a high god. He was also known to be impartial, so how was it that he made such an exception for that little jujube demon? 

*****   

Tian Luo continued encouragingly, “I’ve seen that little jujube demon and her looks are ordinary compared to you. So Ah Lian if you ever hook up with the high god Rong Lin, you won’t have to tolerate living with those two haughty girls any more. I might even benefit too.” 

Ah Lian pouted and confidently exclaimed, “When did I say that I want to hook up high god Rong Lin?” 

“But don’t you like him?” Tian Luo quizzically asked. 

Ah Lian nodded, “Yes, I do like him.” 

*****

Having been spoiled by her parents since childhood, when she did not like to study Tian Luo's parents did not force her. As a result, her education was somewhat hindered so her understanding and use of words were basic and sometimes uncouth. She did not understand the degree of the words she used and assumed them to mean the same thing. 

*****

Soon the topic changed to how that little jujube demon probably had really high cultivation experience or maybe she had a mighty behind-the-scene sponsor. 

When they arrived at the pool, Ah Lian and Tian Luo started to disrobe, and jumped into the water with a ‘plop’ sound. The ripples caused by the two girls soon dissipated and the water returned to its original tranquil state. 

A few seconds later, a girl emerged from the water, her luscious black hair half draped over her shoulders and half spreading out on the surface. Water droplets glistened off her face and meandered down her cheeks and neck; truly an alluring and mesmerizing sight. 

Even though Ah Lian could transform into a human, she was more comfortable in the water. With a smile on her face, she dived into the water head first with her tail making a big splash as it entered the water. She dived to the bottom of the pool and found the big river snail, Tian Luo, adhered to a rock. 

Sweeping her tail over Tian Luo, she said, “I’ll go for a swim, wait for me here. I’ll come and look for you later. Be careful not to let anyone discover you.” 

Tian Luo responded happily with bubbles that made a “gululu” sound. 

Having been without water for a few days, Ah Lian swam to her heart’s content in her mermaid form until she decided to change back to her original full carp form. Soon, a little plump white carp was swimming even more happily and vigorously in the water. 

Ah Lian did not know how far out she had swam, but she soon found herself in unfamiliar waters. She swam past layers of water plants upon water plants not knowing where she was heading. In a distance, there seemed to be two long pillars. 

*****

In the water, Ah Lian’s eyesight (in her full fish form) was not very clear in the water, so everything was quite vague; she assumed what she saw to be pillars. After all even the sea had a Stabilizing Needle, so what more a pool located in the majestic Ninth Heavenly Pavilion Academy? A pillar or two would not be an unusual thing.  Even if the pool was full of bricks she would not be surprised. Her days spent at the academy had blown her expectations out of proportions with its eccentricity and magnificence.

***** 

Curious, she swished her tail forward and made her way to further inestigate those two pillars. When she arrived, she tapped her tail lightly on one of the pillars. Thinking it would be fun, she meandered back and forth between the two pillars.            

After a few rounds of doing so,  Ah Lian soon discovered that in the middle of the two pillars was a moss like thing which resembled a bird; quite a unique structure. She truly believed that she was the country bumpkin as she was reminded of Yi Zhang's earlier sarcastic comment. She truly could not understand nor appreciate the sculptors sense of aesthetics! 

Wanting to try to understand this peculiar structure, she approached the foreign object and started pecking at it out of habit. Suddenly, the water around her started to swirl and a strong whirlpool threw her onto the shore above.

The impact caused Ah Lian to be dizzy and discriminated. A plump little carp landed on the ground and transformed in a mermaid, with the upper body resembling that of a young girl. The girl's face was dripping with water droplets and her long black hair stuck to her chest. That little face of hers was pale due to the severe bout of dizziness. She slowly opened her eyes and encountered a pair of shoes that had clouds embroidered on it. 

As her eyes moved upwards, her face lit up with joy as she immediately reached out and grabbed the leg of the figure in front of her exclaiming, "High God Rong Lin!"

Sunday, May 06, 2018

The Fish's Overflowing Fragrance Chapter 2: Yearning


Soon the female senior disciple brought Ah Lian to her dormitory.
*****
The Ninth Heavenly Pavilion Academy was an institution that treated all its new students as equals, regardless of their social status or background. Hence, all new students would have to share their quarters dormitory style, with mostly four to a dormitory. Only when they had advanced in their seniority,  and if they excel in their studies, then as senior disciples they would have the privilege to live in their own quarters; even having their very own island.
*****
As Lake Dongze is relatively far from the academy, by the time Ah Lian arrived, the other three roommates of hers had already been there for a couple of days.
When the female senior disciple made the introductions, the three girls politely and amicably greeted Ah Lian with enthusiasm; giving off a false impression that they would be easy to get along with. However, the moment the  female senior disciple left, besides than the girl who had a tanned skin tone and a timid disposition, the other two lithe and beautiful girls started laughing.
The one wearing a dark green dress, glanced at Ah Lian and mockingly commented, "With such a late and grand arrival one would think that it was some sacred guest, but it turns out to only be a fat headed fish."
The carp species (which Ah Lian belongs to) is a group sensitive to being called big or fat headed. However, due to Ah Lian's easy-going temperament and her interactions with Ah Pang, where she was often called the same in jest or frustration by the latter; she became somewhat immune to the name calling. Hence, Ah Lian did not take their words to heart.
While Ah Lian might look like someone who can be easily bullied, her nonchalance to the taunting made it unsatisfying for bullies; just like a hard fist hitting soft fluffy cotton. Seeing the lack of any reaction from her, the two eyed her and went out of the room.
As they were leaving room, Ah Lian stole a glance at their silhouettes: the two lithe girls were beautiful and elegant, obviously of a prestigious background. Totally unlike a fish like her from a small unknown lake.
Although the two who left the room were hard to get along with, there was still one more girl who remained in the room.  The girl was slightly shorter than Ah Lian and had a cherubic little face. Seeing Ah Lian look at her, the girl cautiously looked at her and waved a hello.

*****

The girl's name was Tian Luo and she was river snail born in a small lake. She had four hundred years of cultivation. As for the other two arrogant girls who left the room, they were from the Eastern Seas and from one of the most prestigious races in the water tribe. Although all were of the water tribe, their social statuses were vastly different because they were born in different places; like royalty vs peasants.
*****
After learning that Ah Lian hailed from Lake Dongze and seemed to quite easy to get along with, Tian Lou relaxed and looked at Ah Lian with her big sparkling eyes complaining, "Although all of us belong to the water tribe, those from the big oceans and seas have always looked down on people like us who are from the rivers and lakes."
Looking at Tian Lian it was obviously that she had been suffering at the hands of the two girls before Ah Lian arrived.
Despite her silliness, Ah Lian was clear that the lakes and rivers could never compete with the vastness of the oceans and seas. What more the Eastern Seas, which was one of the prestigious and famous (four) seas?

She replied saying that even those from Lake Dongze wanted to someday further their prospects at those places, thinking of all ways and means to get there.

Tian Luo was surprised by Ah Lian's reply and looked on with her big limpid eyes, curiously asking, "Aren't they not afraid of the incompatibility? How can fresh water creatures survive in the salty seas?"

While munching on some tidbits from Tian Luos’s hometown, with her cheeks full of food, Ah Lian answered, "That's why many residents of Lake Dongze would start feeding their children with salt from the moment they are born; with the hope their body constitution would be more resilient to salt."

After hearing that, Tian Luo somewhat understood but not entirely.

*****

Initially, Tian Luo had entered the academy in high spirits but her first few days’ encounter with her mean roommates shattered her dreams. She was but a lone insignificant little river snail and the days with such difficult roommates was torturous. So when she encountered the friendly Ah Lian, it was like she found her life buoy in difficult times, wanting to devote herself to her new friends and cling to her at all times.

******

When Tian Luo learned that Ah Lian had depended on her own capabilities to pass the exam and earn her right to enter the academy, she held even more admiration for Ah Lian.

Puzzled, Ah Luo was wondering why Tian Luo’s reaction was so abnormal. Since Tian Luo had one century more in cultivation than herself, she would definitely have more capabilities to pass the exam. Under her strong curious gaze, Tian Luo hemmed and hawed while trying to contain her embarrassment, murmured, “If I relied solely on my capabilities I wouldn’t have even stand a chance of entering the Ninth Heavenly Pavilion Academy. It… It was my father who bought a position for me.”

Ah Lian understood the that money makes the world go round, but in her eyes, the Ninth Heavenly Pavilion Academy was a sacred existence. To hear that someone could buy their way into such a sacred and prestigious academy, shattered the ideal perception she held. Temporarily dazed by the revelation, Ah Lian’s tidbit munching mouth slowed to a halt resulting in awkward silence.

The silence caused Tian Luo to panic and in a small voice, she asked, “Ah Lian, you won’t despise me, right?”

Although the revelation left a bitter aftertaste in her mouth, Ah Lian was not a snobbish person so she had no intentions of despising or avoiding Tian Luo. In this day and age, where only status and connections mattered, someone like her who had no parents, let alone a rich father,  the only way to succeed was to rely on herself. She was different from someone like Tian Luo whose loving family  treated her as a princess since she was young and ensured that her path in life would be as smooth as possible; reluctant to let her suffer in the slightest.

Once assured that Ah Lian did not despise her, Tian Luo heaved a sigh of relief and muttered, “I am starting to miss my male cousin. Before coming here, he was afraid that I would start despising him when I become an immortal.”

Tian Luo was such a chatterbox, she had mentioned this cousin of hers to Ah Lian multiple times already. They were childhood sweethearts and grew up together. Once she became immortal, they would get married and give birth to many children.

While thinking of her cousin, Tian Luo titled her head and curiously asked Ah Lian in a hushed voice, “How about you? Do you have any one you like?”

Ah Lian thought for a bit before nodding her head, but unlike Tian Luo’s blushing demeanor, she unblushingly smiled and replied, “Yes, I do have someone.”

The smile on enhanced her beautiful face, making her look even more charming. Lowering her voice, Ah Lian whispered, “He is the reason I came to the Ninth Heavenly Pavilion Academy.”


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Saturday, May 05, 2018

Chocolatier Zino, Paju (South Korea)

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Café Zino, Paju (South Korea)
From the outside, it is a pretty impressive looking mansion like building that was probably someone’s house in the past.

Chocolatier Zino appeared in the Korean drama – Goblin: The Lonely and Great God. The restaurant scene(s) which was supposed to be Quebec City in Canada was actually taken in Café Zino, Paju, Gyeonggi a province of South Korea. 

[The “Canadian Restaurant” in Goblin isn’t in Canada…but somewhere else entirely]

[Goblin's restaurant in Quebec turns out to be found in South Korea

Curious (and having two Korean drama fans with us), we decided to visit this place. It was quite a hilly route to get there and some mean driving skills driving up and down the slopes; the slopes were seriously steep. It is definitely a place that you need to have a car, but for the drama fanatics and the adventurous there is a location course for the drama that you can follow from Visit Korea.

Apparently it is quite accessible by public transport and a bit of walking to the café, but only if you intend to visit this one place. However, to travel through the whole recommended course, you would definitely need a car as the 4 attractions are at least 16km to 42km apart, and the total travel time by car is 3 hours just to get to the places; Chocolatier Zino being the last one on the list. [Read more about our experience here]