Chinese Almanac Master Chapter 5

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HLS Chapter 5 - 2027.2.12 Niansi

(Source: Google search result)

In front of Xiao Nanzhu were two labour contracts.

A4 paper in black and white with 365 red fingerprints under the employees’ side, while the employer’s side was still empty.

Ever since Niansi crawled out of the fridge, Xiao Nanzhu had a very complicated and twisted expression sprawled on his face.

Perhaps he had indeed run out of ideas on how to comment on this series of supernatural occurrences. He frowned and lifted the totally unguarded Niansi up.

Poor Niansi was only just a frail and feeble scholar. He couldn’t even budge a single bit and instead yelled and made weird noises as he was carried to the wall on Xiao Nanzhu’s shoulder.

Xiao Nanzhu sneered as he hung the old Huangli properly back onto the wall, and then without minding Niansi’s unceasing objection, he proceeds to shove poor soul Niansi back into the Huangli.

“AHHHH! Xiao Nanzhu! Are you crazy?! This young man’s head! AHH! This young man’s hairstyle! This young man’s face hnnn!”

Niansi’s wailing really sounded disgraceful and embarra.s.sing.

Xiao Nanzhu was annoyed too, as he saw that this monster could not be forcefully stuffed back in. But Niansi was really frightened by this hooligan act of Xiao Nanzhu, and he quickly took out the labour contract from within in his sleeves.

As Xiao Nanzhu suppressed his anger and looked over it, he was left speechless. Numerous employment terms were printed on an eight-page contract, from wage benefits to the specifics of the job. The main gist of it was about how to become a Huangli s.h.i.+.

Huangli s.h.i.+…

Legend has it that it refers to a Fangs.h.i.+ who can alter the effects of seasonal solstices, solar terms, and festivals and predict each day’s fortune. Up until the modern era, due to the increase in new international holidays and memorial days, what was once in the old Huangli had new blood steadily infused in.

(Source: Screenshot from PV)

Being the working partner of all calendar G.o.ds in the Huangli, the interests of both the Huangli s.h.i.+ and the calendar G.o.ds were protected by this labour contract, so inevitably more details were added to the list.

For example: the individual functions and origins of all of the traditional festivals; the responsibilities of season and changes in time shouldered by the solstices; even specific arrangements for calendar G.o.ds in case they needed sick days, maternity leave, or even marital leave were listed looking legit.

Since it was already A.C 2027 now, things were more organised and well-regulated.

The modern calendar has a mix of traditional festivals and holidays of the Gregorian calendar. Although this means that there would be an erosion of traditional and cultural values to a certain degree, some deviations were to be expected because of the way the solar calendar operates.

As such, the contemporary Huangli s.h.i.+ is responsible for all calendar G.o.ds in the new civil calendar and the various traditional festivals and solstices of the past. But what was more important to Xiao Nanzhu lay at the bottom of the list of all former Huangli s.h.i.+: he saw his grandmother’s name, Xiao Ruhua, written there.

Xiao Nanzhu’s grandmother had signed such a labour contract when she was alive, and she had concealed this from everyone. Even her own grandson had no knowledge of this.

(Source: Baidu search result)

In Xiao Nanzhu’s memories, his grandmother never failed in foretelling any of her customers’ fortunes. Every wedding and funeral predicted by her were sure to go smoothly. There was even one time where she was able to accurately predict that a pregnant mother living in the nearby alley would have quintuplets①.

It should be known that even hospitals can’t detect such things at the start of a pregnancy. It doesn’t make sense that an old lady who didn’t know any science could tell from a glance.

Xiao Nanzhu also thought that she probably made a wild guess and got lucky.

But as he recalled, he started to feel that his old lady who never liked to dance Guangchangwu②, yet could chase him down two streets at her age to beat him up, really deserved her reputation as Xiao Shenpo③.

If it wasn’t because of how unreliable Niansi looked crawling out of the fridge telling him all this, Xiao Nanzhu would’ve seriously considered the feasibility of taking on such a job.

However, all things aside, he was in dire need of a proper job.

Considering the situation he was presently in, he would rather take on this strange job than to involve himself in Situ Zhang bro’s Pyramid scam pitch. Though, this job didn’t seem to be any more reliable either. Exorcising evil spirits, praying to G.o.ds, deciphering dreams, and altering fortunes——there isn’t even a scientific basis for any of those…

Youths nowadays aren’t like those of the past. Only the elderly would still possess the heart to fear and revere the supernatural.

Medicine and technology have advanced greatly in the modern era. It is different from when people relied on prayer for blessings and healings a thousand years ago. Everyone eventually became contemptuous towards those insensible and foolish ways that handled people’s lives like jokes. And that also led to those traditional professions that can’t be explained by science to be deemed as feudalism dross.

Fortune telling and astrology, once golden industries that could stir up the world, became the most lambasted.

On a second thought, this kind of thinking may have been too biased. Especially now that Xiao Nanzhu has seen the occult with his very own eyes, he could no longer bring himself to say these antagonistic words again.

Yet this change in mindset hadn’t managed to convince him to accept the calendar G.o.ds’ offer, because he immediately realised that…

The Huangli s.h.i.+ has to work for all 365 days! Not even a single! day! off!

“Well, there are breaks in between work for sure, and the job isn’t that intense——it’s quite a leisure most of the time… Moreover, the contract only starts next year. Everyone is still resting right now and will start work after New Years. The one you met last night was Xiaonian. He is one of the 22 traditional festivals and is in charge of fire… If you have the time, you can also let Chuyi(1st) and Chuer(2nd) help you get accustomed to the workflow as well…”

Niansi stammered as he took out a comb to tidy up his hair. Xiao Nanzhu silently listened but didn’t show any signs of affirmation. That arrogant att.i.tude of his made it seem as if he was looking for a fight.

He flipped through the contract with his eyes half-opened. His laidback manner of sitting on the sofa with crossed legs as he smoked effectively concealed his thoughts. Xiao Nanzhu’s jawline gave off a cold feeling. It’s no wonder that people find him hard to get along with if they’re unfamiliar with him. However, reality has proven that Xiao Nanzhu’s personality may be even more difficult to get along with than his appearance let on.

Niansi sat down with him but didn’t know how to start the topic.

After all, he’s kind of familiar with Xiao Nanzhu’s temper. He couldn’t do anything about this untamed, wild horse since when he was still young. If he really didn’t want to take on this job, then their work would have to be delayed even further.

By the time Xiao Nanzhu noticed Niansi secretly observing him from the corner of his eyes, he took out a cigarette, nipped it in between his fingers, and slowly began.

“Sorry for just now, well… How do I address you?”

Fiddling with a fan in his hand, Niansi in his green robes paused as he heard Xiao Nanzhu talking to him. He covered his mouth and awkwardly coughed. he then cupped his hands④ and bowed as he spoke courteously.

(Source: Baidu search result)

“I am Niansi. I was in a panic when I came out of the fridge just now. Please pardon my bad manners…”

Niansi spoke in a pleasant tone as if he was about to sing opera. Nevertheless, with how clean and studious he looked, it was hard to dislike him for his pedantic manners…

Xiao Nanzhu nodded with an “oh” and couldn’t help but glance at the old Huangli that was hung back on the wall. Right now, the Huangli was flipped to the page of Niansi, which looked about the same as any other day. The only difference was that the person that should have stayed in the painting was here before him.

Xiao Nanzhu suddenly felt absurd.

He never have thought he would walk on such a bizarre path when he first came back home, but he guessed he had no better choice left for him anyway. It’s just that… why does this Huangli s.h.i.+ thing sound so stupid…?

Xiao Nanzhu detested the name in his heart for awhile but didn’t let it show on his face. He continued to elicit information from Niansi in front of him. Niansi was obviously a naive one as he let loose everything he knew upon hearing Xiao Nanzhu’s questions.

“Hmm… Calendar G.o.ds would stay in the human world when they’re at work for one day and night as part of the cycle, and after that we’d return back to the Huangli and rest for a year… What we usually do is eliminate the evil spirits and disasters that linger in the human world and bring blessings to mankind. But people have since stopped believing in such things… So the scope of our customers has become gradually smaller. We could only depend on foretelling suitable dates for weddings and childbirths to feed ourselves. Of course, us calendar G.o.ds can come out even if we’re not working; it just depends on whether we’re willing to… Your grandmother used to call out Yuanxiao and the others every New Years if she couldn’t find any mahjong friends to play with all night, but I guess you wouldn’t have remembered… You were still young at that time—— only about four or five…”

Niansi seemed excited talking about the past. Xiao Nanzhu listened quietly and found it rather interesting.

He was actually inclined to take up the job now, but he also wanted to know more about the profession before he gave Niansi a definite answer. Thus, he didn’t interrupt Niansi and declined Situ Zhang’s calls to drink a few times.

It’s imaginable how Situ Zhang must’ve been hopping around anxiously on the other side of the phone. Xiao Nanzhu smirked to himself for a bit and turned off his phone altogether.

After all, this is something crucial for his future career. He wanted to be prepared and let Niansi continue to talk more about the workflow.

It’s no wonder people say that scholarly people have great charisma: they can make everything they say to sound intelligent by simply talking. Truth is, what Niansi knew were nothing more than trivial matters and gossip about the other calendar G.o.ds; no proper business came out of his mouth. Actually, Xiao Nanzhu was very serious coming into this, but he unintentionally got lured in by all the gossip.

“Let me tell you this secret, don’t you tell anybody else, alright?… Actually, Qixi Festival and the one on the 24th of February are on really bad terms with each other, you know the reasons right? It’s all because of their similar names… So don’t mention about Qixi during Valentine’s in two days, or else he will surely turn crazy…”

Niansi’s advice made Xiao Nanzhu snicker. From there, Niansi introduced to him every single calendar G.o.d from Nianwu(5th) until the upcoming Valentine’s Day. However, when it comes to Chuxi, the last day of the year, Niansi skipped it.

“What about Chuxi? Is he special?”

Xiao Nanzhu became interested as he saw Niansi hesitate. Niansi quickly put a finger on his lips “shh!”, and snuck up to Xiao Nanzhu’s ear and whispered.

“Chuxi is different from all of us, I shouldn’t tell you anymore, mn. You’ll know it when you see him, en en……”

Xiao Nanzhu didn’t bother to ask further seeing Niansi being so stealthy.

In any case, he’ll meet him in a few days. No matter how difficult he was to get along with, it’ll only just be for a  day. Up until this point, Xiao Nanzhu was convinced to try working as the glorious Huangli s.h.i.+ for awhile. Niansi also mentioned that he could quit whenever he likes——he just needed to help them find a new boss if he left.

Because a portion of the Huangli s.h.i.+’s income goes to the calendar G.o.ds, the quality of the Huangli s.h.i.+’s life would directly affect theirs. The few days before the end of the year would be his probationary period. After New Years, they would continue discussing this.

Night arrived unknowingly after the long talk. Xiao Nanzhu didn’t seem to invite Niansi to stay for dinner, while Niansi knowingly said “I’m going home for dinner. Your grandmother also didn’t provide meals for us last time.”

He tidied up the contract signed by Xiao Nanzhu before he left But as soon as he was about to go, Xiao Nanzhu suddenly thought of something and called him back, then handed him a tortoise⑤ from the kitchen.

(Source: Baidu search result, soft-sh.e.l.l turtles bite really hard and can dash across the road at very fast speed.)

“This…?”

Niansi was rather dumbfounded holding this big tortoise. Xiao Nanzhu looked and grinned as he pointed at the Huangli on the wall.

“Help me give this to Xiaonian and say this is my compensation, so don’t cry anymore. Aren’t turtles much more long-lived than carps? Whaddya say?”

1. I did my research and apparently, twins can only be detected around 5-6 weeks, provided that the mother did an early scan. I a.s.sume the pregnancy was less than 5-6 weeks in, but I’m not sure about quintuplets, that’s amazing!

2. Guangchangwu 广场舞:It also means open-air fitness dancing, it’s a popular hobby among the middle-aged and onwards women (mostly) in China to dance together in the evening or at night in an open s.p.a.ce to stay fit and make friends.

3. Shenpo 神婆:Something similar to witch or sorceress. 

4. To cup one’s hand 拱手:This is an important etiquette in ancient China. This kind of salutation was formed during the Zhou Dynasty, it has transformed throughout history and there’re different forms of salutations when meeting different kinds of people. 

5. w.a.n.gba 王八:This can both mean tortoise or b.a.s.t.a.r.d. Usually refers to Chinese soft-sh.e.l.l turtles (鳖) which are really different from the harmless and slow tortoise which can be kept as pets, as seen from calling someone a w.a.n.gba is a vulgarity suggests how hated and aggressive this animal is. 

Chuxi is finally mentioned by Xiao Nanzhu in this chapter!! Although he still hasn’t made an appearance yet, let me know what you guys think? :))

cnovel huanglis.h.i.+ 黄历师 Chinese Almanac Master huang li s.h.i.+donghua chinese animation HLS 3 notes  Apr 15th, 2019         MORE YOU MIGHT LIKE 《Chinese Almanac Master(黄历师)》

Author: 石头羊

Genre: BL, Fantasy, Modern

https://m.jjwxc.com/book2/2521064

Synopsis

Originally named “Secret Archives of Unscientific Materialism (不科学唯物主义秘密档案)”, it was formally renamed to “Huangli s.h.i.+(黄历师)” on April 24, 2018, due to the animated adaptation of the novel.

Huangli s.h.i.+, according to legends, refers to a Fangs.h.i.+ who can alter the effects of seasonal solstices, solar terms, and festivals, and is able to predict each day’s fortune.

Xiao Nanzhu, an unemployed young man, decided to take on his usual job that has been pa.s.sed down for generations, after being inspired by his childhood friend. Now he just wants to call 110.

Chuxi: What are you looking at? You don’t want to live past new year’s eve?

Chuba: Today’s fortune is terrible, nothing’s going to turn out right. I’m afraid there might be a… b.l.o.o.d.y disaster.

Qingming: So am I a solar term or a festival? In that case, I should get double the pay, right?

Dongzhi: Alas, digestion happens faster when it comes to winter. I want to eat dumplings and wonton and sweet dumplings~

Xiao Nanzhu: “…”

NOTE:

This novel was written in 2015. Because of the inadequate data collection and consideration, there are major plot holes in the setting that could not be modified. Please understand that some problems don’t fit the Yin Yang calendar. If there’s an opportunity to write Huangli s.h.i.+ 2 in the future, I will strive to change the wrong settings. Thank you!

Huangli s.h.i.+ 黄历师: Huangli is a traditional Chinese calendar which not only involves dates, seasons, festivals but also do-s and don’t-s on each day and moon phases, s.h.i.+ refers to master. Fangs.h.i.+ 方士: A mysterious type of Daoist who possesses special power and works in the field such as medical, fortune-telling, forecasting, and astrology 110: Police hotline in China Chuxi 除夕: Chinese New Year’s Eve Chuba 初八: Eighth day of a lunar month Qingming 清明: Tomb-sweeping day Dongzhi 冬至: Winter solstice

Translator note

Hi, this is Christina. Huangli s.h.i.+ is the first project I took and I hope I can keep up with it. This novel is getting an animation adaptation by s.h.i.+mei/B.C May who did the animation for The King’s Avatar(Quan Zhi Gao Shou), Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation(Mo Dao Zu s.h.i.+), etc, and should be coming out this year (2019, if everything goes right). This story focuses heavily on Chinese culture, customs, and ancient mythology and legends, so if you’re interested in these but wanted something light, this definitely is a must-read for you!

Currently, I am translating on my own and I don’t really have much time to stick to a regular update. The checking is done by some of my friends and I thank them very much for helping, I couldn’t do it without their help since my English is really bad. I will try my best, please bear with my translations. Help is always wanted! PM me if you want to help with this translation! Hope you’ll find the story as interesting as I do, enjoy~

Chapters

HLS Chapter 1 - 2027.2.11 Xiaonian

HLS Chapter 2 - 2027.2.11 Xiaonian

HLS Chapter 3 - 2027.2.12 Niansi

HLS Chapter 4 - 2027.2.12 Niansi

HLS Chapter 5 - 2027.2.12 Niansi 

cnovel huanglis.h.i.+ 黄历师 chinese almanac master huang li s.h.i.+donghua chinese animation hls 192 notes         HLS Chapter 4 - 2027.2.12 Niansi

(Source: net)

It was nine o'clock the next day when Xiao Nanzhu finally woke up.

He rubbed the side of his head as he walked out of the bedroom with his brain still groggy and slow. His eyebrows scrunched together tightly.

Humans unconsciously relax once they are no longer in a harsh environment. Even though Xiao Nanzhu had been used to military life before, those overwhelming scenes and words that were enough to turn a person’s views upside down on that night rendered him unable to think.

His phone showed two missed calls from Situ Zhang. He tucked his phone in between his neck and shoulder to return the call as he walked towards the kitchen. As he came up to the refrigerator, he stopped his steps abruptly when he suddenly remembered the strange old Huangli that he stashed in the refrigerator.

“Hey, so you’re finally awake?”

Situ Zhang’s sluggish voice resounded on the other end of the phone. Xiao Nanzhu replied with a soft “en” as he absentmindedly raised a finger and held the refrigerator door. His mind was still going over what happened last night——this ghostly matter could not be mentioned to others. Even if he talked about it, they certainly would not believe him.

“Why are you calling me in the morning?” Xiao Nanzhu asked flatly. He was preoccupied with the refrigerator in front of him at the moment, but he still managed to spare some of his attention to chat with Situ Zhang. Upon hearing him, Situ Zhang let out a sigh and spoke in an awkward manner.

“I say, how could your memories be so bad when you’re still young? Didn’t I tell you just yesterday? I promised to help you find a job after the New Year, remember? I know a lot of people——surely there’s a way if we ask around, but you have to promise me to accompany me for a few meals in the next few days. These things can only be discussed over the table, you know? You can’t do as you wish like you used to, Xiao Nanzhu…”

Situ Zhang was nagging him non-stop like an old mother, but Xiao Nanzhu knew he had good intentions, so he didn’t interrupt him. In actuality, however, Xiao Nanzhu was not the kind of person who could make friends and call them bros after a round of drinks. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been an outcast in the army and ended up in such an awkward situation.

Likewise, knowing fairly well about his temper and personality, Situ Zhang understood the difficulties that Xiao Nanzhu faced and tried to deliver his message patiently. He even considered Xiao Nanzhu’s “face” and contacted him without waiting for him to ask him for help——this heart of his was very precious.

As he thought to himself, Xiao Nanzhu felt that maybe he shouldn’t be so ungrateful. Afterall, he couldn’t be picky given his lousy condition. If Situ Zhang managed to help him get a reliable job, it wouldn’t hurt for him go to work after New Years.

While he was still lost in thought, Situ Zhang on the other end had already changed the topic and decided to finish what he had to say.

“Anyways, no matter what, you must come to this Jiuju① tonight! This host is one of my biggest customers; he always come for an entire treatment and ma.s.sage… You know who he is? He’s the sales manager of an insurance company! You know how many contacts and resources this kind of person holds onto-it’ll surely benefit you. If you work with him, there will surely be a future for you!! If this job doesn’t suit you this time, I’ll find another one for you! Investors——I even know those who sell health products! The sales industry has shaped lots of talented people! Of course, if you could find yourself a job before New Years, that would be the best! Then this buddy of yours can be accountable② to your grandmother! Right? Haha!”

After trolling his childhood buddy with words that even he himself didn’t believe, Situ Zhang cut the call immediately. As if he knew Xiao Nanzhu was going to be mad, he left him no chance to utter a word and hung up. Having been cut off, Xiao Nanzhu was left at a loss for words and pocketed his phone. The frustration pent up in his heart had nowhere to go. It was only after awhile that Xiao Nanzhu silently let out a curse.

“Darn Situ, why don’t you just tell me to do the Pyramid scam③ instead…”

He said it in a rather teeth-gnas.h.i.+ng way. The inexperienced occupational newbie Xiao Nanzhu felt helpless for once. He, too, wanted to solve his work and life problems once and for all.

But just as Situ Zhang had said, in today’s society, without certifications or connections, he couldn’t get anywhere without a hitch.

As he continued to think, anxiety filled his heart and urged Xiao Nanzhu to smoke. He frowned and unwittingly looked at the refrigerator. There was a supermarket gift magnet attached to the fridge door. He pursed his lips, put his hand on it, and grasped the magnet in a daze. However, before he could open the fridge door, he heard a faint sneeze from inside the fridge.

He had been already shocked twice in a row yesterday. Xiao Nanzhu feared nothing at the moment.

It was the daytime anyway, so there was no need to be scared of demons or monsters. Moreover, it wasn’t even a problem for him, a retired soldier, to fight a demon empty-handed. His life and work problems were troubling him, so he desperately needs a punching bag then and there.

With that being said, as he was solemnly waiting for this creature to come out of the fridge to welcome him with a kick, the fridge door opened. Immediately, a young, scholarly man with green robes and frost-laden hair popped his head out as he s.h.i.+vered and fussed.

“H-How absurd! Who set the air conditioner this cold during winter?! This young man is gonna catch a cold sleeping naked… Achoo! Achoo!”

Xiao Nanzhu: “…”

Based on Niansi(24th)’s appearance, he appeared to be a delicate and pretty young scholar around twenty years of age. He was a poetic man who seemed to be surrounded by the fragrance of ink.

Niansi usually stayed in the old Huangli. His job was really relaxing and provided a lot of liberty for him.

During his free time, he would read some books in his small study or listen to Kunqu④. He would also often write a few love letters and flower petal rafts to Mangzhong-jiejie and Guyu-meimei⑤ whom have enamored him for a long time.

(Source:baidu search result. A Kun opera actress.)

Although his carp-farming neighbor Xiaonian was a noisy, hyperactive kid that liked to wear crotch pants and disturb his good night’s sleep, that didn’t stop him from living the simple and poetic life he pursued.

Even though he wasn’t an important holiday, nor was he a special solar term, being the most ordinary of the most ordinary days meant he must work hard! What if one day he becomes the memorial day of someone great?!

Harboring such a great ambition in his chest, Niansi thought to himself and worked even harder.

Every year when it was his day to work, this young man would come down from the calendar and work for his boss, who was also the owner of the Huangli, for a full day.

This kind of repet.i.tive routine had been in effect for thousands of years by now. As calendar G.o.ds, they must give the Huangli s.h.i.+ the most accurate tellings of the daily fortune and mishaps and zodiac and dream interpretations. Sometimes, they even need to dispel evil spirits in person.

Niansi had 364 colleagues. All of them worked for the Huangli s.h.i.+ because of the presence of the old Huangli.

During this period of time, they had countless masters. In the end, time is vast and boundless: the lifespan of human beings could not compare to theirs.

In Niansi’s memory, he may have met his new master for only a few times, but by the next meeting, nothing remained the same. Niansi’s master had changed yet again five years ago along with the sentimental partings and vicissitudes.

His female boss, surnamed Xiao, was stingy and bad-tempered. When Niansi first met her, she was only 21.

She got the old and rugged Huangli from her sc.r.a.p-picking father and unknowingly discovered the secrets of the old Huangli. This was a magical occurrence almost unimaginable for ordinary beings.

However, this brave young lady didn’t show a single sign of fear or backing off. She volunteered herself to become a Huangli s.h.i.+. During the period of years that she became a Huangli s.h.i.+, Niansi didn’t even feel that time had done anything to him, but this young lady named Xiao Ruhua grew old.

Old lady Xiao was sick. She always reprimanded those lazy calendar G.o.ds for not working when she was healthy, but when she fell ill, none of them were happy about it.

Double Ninth Festival⑥ suggested that they organise a donation for old lady Xiao. Nurses Day, on the other hand, called for everyone to take care of their body and stay vigilant against cancer. Mid-autumn Festival specially brought two boxes of five-kernel mooncakes⑦ from Guanghan palace⑧ to express his sincerity. Children’s Day, on the other hand, said nothing but cried for the whole day holding old lady Xiao’s hand.

They are the almighty and powerful calendar G.o.ds, but faced with such circ.u.mstances, even they cannot change the fate of a person who is reaching the end of her life…

Because of this, Niansi was especially sorrowful for a very long time.

He had prepared a beautiful acrostic poem for the ill old lady Xiao. Unfortunately, she pa.s.sed away on a day he wasn’t working, and he never had the chance to read it to her.

The only thing he remembered was a boy’s stiflingly pained groans from inside the hospital ward. From that day onwards, the calendar G.o.ds in the old Huangli were no longer under the restriction of a boss.

(Source: net)

This indefinite period of rest left a layer of dust over the once-new labour contract lying on the coffee table.

Niansi and the other calendar G.o.ds were actually prepared to negotiate with the new boss about work welfare and insurance, but that dumb grandson of old lady Xiao didn’t know anything. His only intention was to get out of there later on. So just like that, he left this huge crowd of over 300 employees hanging on the wall to collect dust.

Because of this, the few proud and arrogant traditional festivals that usually couldn’t be bothered with insignificant small fry had secretly complained about him. It had been several years since that Xiao Nanzhu fellow left. When he finally came back, Niansi looked at himself in the mirror and saw that even his chin had grown a beard.

It was midnight. Xiaonian ran outside noisily and then came back whining.

Niansi was curious to see how that lonely boy who cried pitifully that time was now. He even shaved his beard for this occasion.

Nianwu(25th) and the others wanted him to have a good talk with Xiao Nanzhu, whether it be about life,ideals, or dreams—— all were fine. Their purpose was to let him know about the advantages of being a Huangli s.h.i.+, so Niansi accepted this honorable mission.

However, what he really didn’t expect was that before he even got out of the calendar, he immediately felt a bone chilling gust of wind blowing on his face.

“H-How absurd! Who set the air conditioner this cold during winter?! This young man is gonna catch a cold… Achoo! Achoo!”

1. Jiuju 酒局:Not sure if there’s an English equivalent word for it. Basically a culture of talking business over alcohol. 

2. Accountable in this case refers to Situ Zhang feels that he had some responsibility to give Xiao Nanzhu a hand/take care of him so as not to make grandmother Xiao worry.

3. Pyramid scam 传销:Or pyramid marketing, a pyramid scheme is an illegal investment scam based on a hierarchical setup.

4.  Kunqu 昆曲:Or Kun opera, it is one of the oldest opera in China’s history.

5. Jiejie 姐姐=elder sister, Meimei 妹妹=younger sister, Gege 哥哥=elder brother, Didi 弟弟=younger brother

This chapter is edited by Noxeru. Thank you so much for reading >w cnovel huanglis.h.i.+ 黄历师 Chinese Almanac Master huang li s.h.i.+donghua chinese animation HLS 17 notes        

Huang Li s.h.i.+ Trailer

It’s finally here!

For those who might not know of this. It’s a new modern fantasy BL donghua project from the animation production studio B.C May that also produced Mo Dao Zu s.h.i.+ (GDC), Quan Zhi Gao Shou(TKA) and The Twin Spirit Detectives. It will be coming out this spring!

Novel translation can be found here on my page and here is the synopsis:

Huangli s.h.i.+, according to legends, refers to a Fangs.h.i.+ who can alter the effects of seasonal solstices, solar terms, and festivals, and is able to predict each day’s fortune.

Xiao Nanzhu, an unemployed young man, decided to take on his usual job that has been pa.s.sed down for generations, after being inspired by his childhood friend. Now he just wants to call 110.

Chuxi: What are you looking at? You don’t want to live past new year’s eve?

Chuba: Today’s fortune is terrible, nothing’s going to turn out right. I’m afraid there might be a… b.l.o.o.d.y disaster.

Qingming: So am I a solar term or a festival? In that case, I should get double the pay, right?

Dongzhi: Alas, digestion happens faster when it comes to winter. I want to eat dumplings and wonton and sweet dumplings~

Xiao Nanzhu: “…”

chinese almanac master chinese animation cnovel donghuahuang li s.h.i.+ huanglis.h.i.+ 黄历师 hls 431 notes         HLS Chapter 1 - 2027.2.11 Xiaonian①

Eight days before the Spring Festival of 2027, Xiao Nanzhu, who had been a soldier for eight or nine years on the outside, finally ended his military career and returned to his hometown, Y City.


Although Y city was his hometown, in reality, his home was no longer here.
He had no parents, and his only family member had been his grandmother. That old lady had gone to the heavens in the same year he joined the army. Because he was short on money, Xiao Nanzhu, who was still serving in the army, could not afford a local property on his own after the demolition of the old city area.


Now that he has retired from the army, the army’s transfer fees given by the military are not much. Apart from a body full of strength, he doesn’t have any proficient skills. His comrades-in-arms had asked him about his future plans before his transfer. However, Xiao Nanzhu just laughed casually, then pa.s.sed on with just one sentence.

“Let nature take its course,” he said.


To him, Y city was just a short resting place after wandering for so many years, but regarding his future, Xiao Nanzhu, who is now reaching 30, hasn’t actually put much thought into it.


The first half of his life was all spent in this city. Before the old lady died and her house was demolished, he lived in a very old-fas.h.i.+oned alley during his childhood. The alley was not a broad one, but it connected more than twenty or thirty families. Most of them were old neighbors who had lived nearby for more than sixty years. These neighbors were familiar with each other, and most of them were engaged in similar livelihood.

(source: net, the alleys should look something like this)

Since Y City can also be known as a famous historical and cultural city tracing back from ancient times, most of the people found in these old alleys are either elders who are familiar with traditional folk customs, or antiques sellers who are able to discern paintings and calligraphy, or physiognomists who know skills of Mogu②, or mediums to be involved in Tiaodashen③, or as Chinese doctors who do acupuncture and prescribe Chinese medicine. In short, all kinds of old stuff that will be eradicated anytime now.


Someone such as Xiao Nanzhu’s grandmother is a person who picks auspicious days for people. Whenever a girl in the alley gets married, or whose home need to shangliangs④, they will need to find time for Xiao Nanzhu’s grandmother to pick a day to do these.

The old lady doesn’t go out usually; she depends on customers who wish to pick an auspicious day to earn some pocket money for her grandson’s nutrient supplements, and after such 3 or 4 generations pa.s.sed down, these younger generations who grew up here inevitably became friends. This time when Xiao Nanzhu returned from the army, the first person he informs is his childhood buddy whom he grew up with.


Speaking of this guy, Xiao Nanzhu has not seen him for about five or six years. The management in the army was strict; he didn’t have the chance to meet him even on off-days for family visits.


What remains in his memory today is only a few scenes of two twelve-year-old kids exploring the alleys, but to truly recall what happened, there are only a few messy and yellowish memory pieces of them living in that alley left.


“Xiao Nanzhu… Xiao Nanzhu! Those guys from Alley 3 are catching up!”

“Quick! Situ Zhang! Let’s go! Run!”


Thinking over it, the memory of these young years is also strangely precious to remember. So, with the thoughts of his hometown and his old friends in mind, Xiao Nanzhu reached home.


It was the Lunar New Year’s Eve the day he arrived at Y City. Advancing through the large surge of people returning home for reunion during year end, he came out of the railway station alone with his few bags of luggage. His eyes blurred from the cold.


During winter, the streets and alleys were covered by white. Pedestrians on the roads can be seen smiling as Spring Festival approaches. Most pa.s.sersby outside the station were rus.h.i.+ng home with luggage, which made this man with tall stature with his face froze white by the cold, to be somewhat an intruder to his surroundings.

He bought a packet of Yuxi⑤ at the station’s entrance. As he was about to frown, bite the filter in his mouth and take a puff, he heard a loud call shouting from a distance.


“Xiao Nanzhu! Xiao Nanzhu! Come here! Hey! What are you doing standing there like an idiot?”

A tall man with a crew cut, wearing a hopelessly large black jacket and a pair of round sungla.s.ses grinning and his mouth wide as he was shouting. This, from a distance, seemed so weird that it couldn’t be put into words.

(so this guy in the poster should be Situ Zhang)


Xiao Nanzhu was in a daze, but the moment he raised his eyes and saw this guy, his heart skipped a beat. Realizing that this guy was really calling out for him and looks familiar too, Xiao Nanzhu walked down the steps with his luggage. Scanning the man from head to toe with a cigarette in his mouth, he laughed.


“Heh, let me ask you. It’s the Spring Festival and you’re dressed up like this, are you here to drive me home or to a funeral?”


This made the young man in sungla.s.ses pause. He took off his sungla.s.ses, squinted and spoke in a gloomy voice.


“What are you saying, baby! Aren’t these just my work clothes? I came to pick you up right after I got off work; have a conscience and be satisfied. Let me be your host today, let’s go for a drink and talk about how we’ve spent the past few years…”


So many years apart and the tone of this guy sounds as familiar as before. Xiao Nanzhu felt somewhat relieved; he smiled and hooked his arms around his buddy’s neck and gave him a firm, solid hug. Situ Zhang, dressed like a blind man, laughed and yelled as he was dragged forward and felt warm in his heart too. Half an hour later, they took a taxi to a local restaurant and settled down to talk about the past.

Meeting old friends is always about reminiscing about old events and relations. These two grew up together, and naturally, they talked in a very casual way.

Xiao Nanzhu was accustomed to being rough and blunt as a soldier in the past years serving in the military. He went ahead and ordered a few dishes and a bottle of wine, then leaned back on his chair and started smoking. Situ Zhang, who was nagging and asking him about everything, didn’t mind his casual behavior. He blew on his sungla.s.ses then wiped them clean with a cloth and asked.

“Have you resolved your personal issues, marriage-wise?”

“There’re only males inside, how do I solve it?”

“Then how about work?”

“Unemployed, what else could I be?”

Replying with a lazy att.i.tude, Xiao Nan squinted his eyes nonchalantly and flicked off the ashes on his fingertips. In fact, he was prepared to be long-term unemployed. After all, in society there’s huge compet.i.tion for employment; even young undergraduates might not necessarily get a job, more so for an old military rascal like him. Situ Zhang chuckled and put the round sungla.s.ses back on his nose. Xiao Nanzhu watched, and absentmindedly asked.

“Asking about me so much, what about you?”

The moment he asked, Situ Zhang’s smile faded slightly. Xiao Nanzhu and Situ Zhang looked at each other, lost for words, this d.a.m.ned sungla.s.ses only smiles quietly. Xiao Nanzhu leaned closer and inspected him for a few minutes, then deliberately lowered his voice and asked in a serious tone.

“Hey, you’ve been wearing a sungla.s.ses all day long. Could it be that you went for a double eyelid surgery..”

“…”

At that moment, Situ Zhang’s face was so amusing that Xiao Nanzhu let out a silent laugh before he pursed his lips and acted sincere.

“Xiao Nanzhu, you b.a.s.t.a.r.d.”

Situ Zhang furrowed his eyebrows and cursed for a bit, speechless about Xiao Nanzhu’s hobby of teasing him since childhood. He gulped down a mouthful of beer and began to speak, as if mumbling as Xiao Nanzhu smirked.

“I opened a blind ma.s.sage parlor. I’ll take you for a visit sometime later. It’s not one of those Dabaojian⑥, so don’t get the wrong idea. It’s a serious Qigong⑦ ma.s.sage treatment…”

In fact, even if Situ Zhang himself didn’t mention it, Xiao Nanzhu could guess what this fellow is doing now. After all, Situ Zhang’s family’s ancestral skill is well-known. In all kinds of professions, Qigong masters are always called swindlers, and their reputation is almost the same as those selling counterfeit medicines, and many years ago when they were neighbors, Situ Zhang’s parents were Qigong ma.s.sage specialists.

Every time when Xiao Nanzhu went to find Situ Zhang to play, he would see many older folks queueing for Master Situ. Master Situ is the father of Situ Zhang. It is said that every treatment by him will lengthen one’s life by 15 minutes.

What sounds like bulls.h.i.+t obviously still managed to attract many believers, but it wasn’t a new business in that old alley at that point in time, so Xiao Nanzhu was indifferent about it. But he didn’t expect that Situ Zhang, being young as he is, would choose to succeed such a job that should have been washed out by the times. After all, in his impression, Situ Zhang was smart and had no reason to not find a way to make a living. Seeing the curious look on his face, Situ Zhang just smiled and poured a full gla.s.s of Hapi⑧ in front of him.

“Why? Didn’t expect that I would succeed my family business? My ancestral Qigong has been handed down to this generation since nearly 300 years, it can’t just end here. Besides, my blind ma.s.sage parlor business is great. If it weren’t for picking you up today, I would have dozens of customers queuing up for me.”

“…”

“You’ve been away too long. There’s still a lot you don’t know of. Still remember Aunt Liu who Tiaodashen lived with us in the alleys? Her eldest and second daughters attend dance academies, one of them learnt modern dancing and the other learnt folk dancing. Now both of them obtain epiphany easier than the others. And Uncle w.a.n.g, the astrologer, remember? His grandson w.a.n.g Xiaodong is a famous astrologer on Weibo⑨, he earns a lot more money than me… Oh, of course, there’s Li Xiangu who is a medium for ghosts, Zheng Shushu who can break rocks on his chest… ”

“What the, aren’t these too trendy!“

Xiao Nanzhu almost spurted out the beer in his mouth, he didn’t expect his old neighbors to have already found such bright futures. Looking at the incredulous face on him, Situ Zhang didn’t expect this fellow to believe right away either, he just winked at him with a grin.

“Now people love to say fortune-telling, Qigong and Chinese medicine is unscientific, but what exactly is unscientific? Isn’t that what science can’t explain? We talk about science too, being not superst.i.tion is another topic, but this relates to the inheritance of folklore. The ancestral inheritance of cultural heritage shouldn’t be abandoned, right? Speaking of your old lady, she was once a famous Huangli s.h.i.+. Even if you didn’t plan to succeed your family’s craft, it’s still better than to be idle when you’re back, right?..”

Xiao Nanzhu paused upon hearing this, he thought of his grandmother who had gone for about 5 years, some emotions flickered in his eyes. However, what Situ Zhang suggested was not helpful, his grandmother did not intend to pa.s.s the skill of reading Huangli on to him when she was alive. Now that she is gone, he naturally can’t learn by himself, let alone regard it as his career.

By thinking so, Xiao Nanzhu didn’t take it into consideration.

The night’s drink only ended at about ten o'clock, both of them came out of the small restaurant reeking of booze, their steps somewhat unstable. Xiao Nanzhu said let’s meet again to Situ Zhang and waved as he walked off. When he returned with his luggage to the rental house that he only came back to during his usual leaves, the old house which had been vacant for more than a year finally had its lights turned on this very night.

Old sofa, old wooden coffee table, old Huangli hanging on the wall.

All the things in this house were left by the old lady, Xiao Nanzhu had no time to clean them up after her death, and he’s reluctant to dispose of them. Now that he’s back, even though the whole house is filled with stale air, there were memories everywhere. Xiao Nanzhu woozily stepped into the room, felt about on the wall for a moment and turned on the lights, went to the kitchen to boil a kettle of water, then sat back in the living room.

From time to time, the sound of fireworks could be heard outside the windows. New year was coming, everything was bustling.

While waiting for the water to boil, Xiao Nanzhu leaned back on the old sofa, dazed. Noises of his upstairs neighbor moving tables and chairs could be heard faintly. The old clock hanging on the wall told him that the day would pa.s.s in half an hour. Xiao Nanzhu moved his eyes away and looked at the old Huangli beside it. Suddenly, he frowned in confusion.

A house that n.o.body lived in for a year, by any means, it shouldn’t have changed at all.

For an unknown reason, when Xiao Nanzhu fixed his gaze on the old Huangli hanging on the living room’s wall, he discovered that the date had been flipped to today’s.

“February 11, 2027, Wednesday…”

Xiao Nanzhu’s brain couldn’t work for a while. He recalled the last time he left home, and felt a strong oddness that he couldn’t quite put his finger on. The doubt lingering in his heart prompted him to get up and walk towards the wall.

As he carefully examined the old Huangli, Xiao Nanzhu found out that besides the words on the do-s and don’t-s, fortune of the day, Chinese zodiacs, there was also a child hugging a red carp, wearing a gorgeous scarlet jacket, with a nevus marked at the center of his eyebrows painted right in the middle of the Huangli.

(source: net, this is how a Huangli would look like, just a prettier version I happened to find)

“Sanhe⑩ tiger and dog, Jiuxing Siyuan(11), an auspicious day for everything … also known as Xiao…Nian?”

He mumbled the sentence of cla.s.sical Chinese written at the bottom of the Huangli. Xiao Nanzhu, full of doubts, suddenly felt that something unusual was about to happen.

This unexpected premonition made him frown unconsciously. In split seconds, he witnessed the child with red carp who was motionless on the Huangli suddenly open his eyes. He shook a full face of fishy-smelling water stains on Xiao Nanzhu, then he stared and shouted at him angrily.

“Baby’me only left with half an hour to finish work this year! Who was that mortal who had a pit in his head(12) and looked for me? Do y'all want the whole of next year to be rough ah? Ah! Ah!!! ”

Xiao Nanzhu: “…”

Did the H-Huang, Huangli just spoked?

Ah? Ah? Ah???

Xiaonian 小年:Lunar New Year’s Eve, it’s the second day before Chinese New Year, but some areas celebrate together Chuxi(Chinese New Year’s Eve, the day before Chinese New Year) Mogu 摸骨:literally translates as ‘feeling the bones’, often seen in wuxia novels where some old masters would Mogu to tell if a person is physically gifted or not Tiaodashen 跳大神:literally translates as ‘jumping/dancing G.o.ds’, which involves 2 people, one is the medium who invites the ‘G.o.d’(sometimes ghosts) onto him, and the other is the a.s.sistant. This ritual allows the living to talk to the dead or communicate with G.o.ds, but this is rarely seen nowadays and kept as ethnic art by minority groups Shangliang 上梁:to place the most important beam in the roof during construction and also involve superst.i.tions in keeping the house’s peace and safety Yuxi 玉溪:a brand name for cigarettes Dabaojian 大保健:refers to the prost.i.tution under the cover of ma.s.sage, spa, and other services. In order to avoid being too direct in daily communication, it is often expressed in this obscure way. Qigong 气功:Or simply qi. It is a traditional Chinese method of health care, health preservation, and disease elimination. Kungfu involves Qigong as well. Hapi 哈啤:Ha Beer, a beer brand name Weibo 微博:China’s equivalent of Twitter, a type of social media platform Sanhe 三合:Cla.s.sic Chinese terminology, it basically means the compatibility between Chinese zodiacs, it’s a complicated study. Jiuxing Siyuan 九星四缘:Not really sure, the search results are not providing much, but it has something to do with the study of Fengshui(风水) and ancient study of stars that are often seen in some other Xianxia novels. To have pit in someone’s head 脑子有坑:An internet slang refers to people who have something wrong with their heads. cnovel huanglis.h.i.+ 黄历师 Chinese Almanac Master huang li s.h.i.+donghua chinese animation HLS 25 notes         HLS Chapter 2 - 2027.2.11 Xiaonian

The old Huangli hanging on the wall had spoken unexpectedly. If an ordinary person heard this, they would probably be instantly shocked into fainting. But Xiao Nanzhu was not scared of these supernatural things since he was young, although he was startled, he didn’t react too dramatically.

He stepped back unknowingly, confirming that it was really the carp boy on the calendar who had just spoken to him, he opened his mouth in disbelief.

“Ah, so calendars now have voice calling function…”

“…”

(source:net. You mean this thing right here? Xiao Nanzhu? This is called the smartphone)

Xiaonian on the calendar was there silently fuming, when Xiao Nanzhu said so, he immediately puffed his cheeks up angrily. He thought that he could sleep the year off the same way as he did in previous years, with nothing he needs to do. 

Who would have thought it would be ruined by this guy called Xiao Nanzhu just before 12 midnight. These calendar G.o.ds are all delicate since they work only one day in a year with an extremely low working intensity, the few of them near the year-end are especially so. This is represented by Xiaonian who is in charge Xiaonian Night.

Isn’t Spring Festival supposed to be all about red envelopes, reunion dinners, warm bedding. Why can Laba① and Lichun② who were in charge just a few days ago laze through so simply, and I became the unlucky one when it came to my turn…

Thinking of this, his chubby little face, which should be joyous being a calendar G.o.d a.s.sociated with Spring Festival, wrinkled up. Xiaonian really wants to let his precious red carp in his arms to splash this guy a full face of pond water again.

But looking at how tall Xiao Nanzhu is, he dared not be naughty on a whim. At the same time, the tipsy Xiao Nanzhu, who still hasn’t figured out what was the situation, was half sober at this point in time. He wanted to raise his hand and touch the old Huangli left by his old lady to find out what is the problem with it, but in the next second, the vividly painted chubby boy hugging a big red carp climbed down the calendar with his bare b.u.t.tocks.

(source: on the picture, Xiaonian wears like that, I couldn’t find a better one with carp though)

“Hey hey! If you have anything just say it! Don’t dawdle around! I only have 20 minutes, so what? You’re asking for the fortune, do-s, don’t-s, zodiacs or dream interpretation?…”

The little chubby kid who looks like a Jintong③ started to talk to Xiao Nanzhu as soon as he landed. This scene of him wearing a red Dudou④ and hugging red carp has a strange joyful cuteness in it. However, the one who happened to witness the old Huangli speaking, and now a painting coming alive right before his very eyes, Xiao Nanzhu has chills down his spine right now. The carp boy seemed to be used to humans looking silly the first time they saw him. He stroked his chin and muttered softly.

“Oh well, I can’t just be summoned without doing anything. Let me just predict something for you, no fooling around on workday after all…Let me see, you shouldn’t bathe and light a fire today…”

Xiao Nanzhu recovered his wits by the little chubby boy’s murmuring voice. He anxiously pinched the bridge of his nose and wanted to determine whether what he saw right now was a hallucination from too much alcohol.

After all, the education he received in the last two decades told him that all of these are unscientific⑤ and should not have happened, but in the next second, he suddenly smelled something not quite right.

“What was that? Grilled squid…?”

He sniffed and mumbled to himself. Xiao Nanzhu, usually very alert, had a clouded mind.

“Ahhhhh!! Squid your head!! I told you not to light a fire! Fire!! Fire!!!”

Xiaonian was so alarmed that he threw away the red carp in his arms as he screamed and dragged Xiao Nanzhu by the legs of his trousers into the kitchen. Suddenly remembering that he left a kettle boiling, Xiao Nanzhu came back to his senses and followed the carp boy as they ran into the kitchen.

As soon as they rushed in, he found that the kettle was almost all dry.

The fire on the stove was raging, the whole kitchen was filled with pungent smoke, even the kitchen floor was covered by fire. Xiao Nanzhu immediately covered his face and tugged the curtain beside him down to extinguish the soaring flames as he dashed away the sparks spit onto him. Xiaonian followed closely behind and wobbled as he dunked a basin of water from nowhere onto the fire.

“Huff..Huff..That was so close…I’m exhausted…”

Wiping his forehead with the back of his hand, Xiaonian had his chubby white face smeared with smoke as he helped Xiao Nanzhu put out the fire. He usually stayed in the Huangli and only worked for one day a year, so his physical strength is imaginable. Xiao Nanzhu, heart still beating wildly, was equally relieved. Then he turned his head and looked at the kitchen that was half burnt.

If it wasn’t for this chubby kid who appeared suddenly in his house, he would probably have just dozed off in the living room.

He has never thought that a long period of inoccupancy would cause the liquefied gas pipes in the kitchen to decay so much, and for him to pa.s.s out drunk in such a fire… It would be 2027 in a few days… He really is done with his life it seems.

As he was thinking, he inadvertently felt grateful for surviving such a danger. Xiao Nanzhu, who is fully awake now, didn’t want to pursue who exactly this chubby kid who came from the Huangli was, especially when he could be now considered as his lifesaver. Xiaonian didn’t think Xiao Nanzhu would accept his existence so quickly, he’s still there rubbing his dirty face with his little hands, but then he seems to realize something and his eyes widened. He ran back barefooted to the living room with hurry steps.

“Hey hey hey, what are you running for? Aren’t you cold with your feet out…”

Xiao Nanzhu followed behind hurriedly, he felt as if he had suddenly became a father. It was a little bit of a burden to watch the chubby kid running about like this.

However, by the time he caught up with the darn kid and wanted to find some shoes for him to put on, he saw this rascal squatting beside the sofa, staring at the red carp lying vertically across the floor with white eyes seen, with tears filled in his eyes.

Xiao Nanzhu: “……”

….

“Xiaohong⑥…Xiaohong…Xiaohong died…Wahhhwuwu!”

Tears are dropping as if they are free of charge. Busy helping Xiao Nanzhu extinguis.h.i.+ng the fire, this dumb kid left his precious red carp and ran for the kitchen, carelessly forgetting that fishes can’t survive without water for too long. By the time he remembered that his pitiful red carp was struggling to breathe in the living room, this red carp which represents abundance for the year had already died.

Covering his eyes as he sobs, Xiaonian lost his baby red carp, it’s no wonder he’s crying so sorrowfully. Xiao Nanzhu found a short stool and sat him properly, then a pair of oversized wool slippers for him to wear, he watched Xiaonian until he hiccuped from crying, he then pinched his cheeks and said.

“Okay, okay, don’t cry, uncle will buy you a new one the next day alright? You like carps we’ll buy carps, you like gra.s.s carps we’ll buy gra.s.s carps,  you like soft-sh.e.l.led turtles we’ll buy soft-sh.e.l.led turtles…⑦”

Speaking in a tone as if a wolf baffling its way to eat a child, Xiao Nanzhu had his nerves tormented this night and wasn’t able to clean the messy kitchen up, he sat down and began comforting Xiaonian who had lost his beloved fish.

If this was any other times, he might have became impatient and beat the child up, but this is New Year’s Eve, this little chubby child risked his life to save him, so Xiao Nanzhu restrained his temper and tried to be nice on this rare occasion. However, Xiaonian, who had his eyes all red from crying, heard Xiao Nanzhu’s impudent words and started crying even more.

“It’s already too late! What are you even saying *sob*… It’s all your fault…It’s all your fault *sob*… My Xiaohong… *Sob*…”

“Hey, kid, why is it my fault? Xiaohong is obviously unlucky…”

“It’s your fault!! I blame you!! *Sob*! You big b.a.s.t.a.r.d!”

“Ok, alright, alright… My fault, my fault…“

Once a child cries, he’ll end up crying even more upon being coaxed.

All that whining made Xiao Nanzhu had such a bad headache that he almost knelt down to plead mercy, but in the end he could not make this chubby kid recover from crying.

He was still wondering if he could ask this little ancestor to explain why he could predict the fire accident and why he could appear from the Huangli, but Xiaonian obviously didn’t want to talk to him and was busy crying.

Xiao Nanzhu was all out of ideas. He started wondering if he could keep this mysterious chubby kid at his place and see if he could get something out of him later, a kid can’t run anywhere else, after all. Upon making a decision, he stood up and called out to Xiaonian sitting on the bench.

“There’s not much food at home, but there’s still some sesame paste. Should I make it for you?”

(source: net, mmm~ sesame paste :P)

Xiaonian paid no attention to him and continued crying sorrowfully. Xiao Nanzhu awkwardly scratched his head and went to prepare sesame paste for this little ancestor. He took a glance at the wall clock before stepping into the kitchen, its hands showed that it would be midnight in a minute’s time.

Xiao Nanzhu didn’t think too much about it, he entered the kitchen and boiled another kettle of water. This time he waited by the electric stove, so it took him a little longer. He kept himself occupied in the kitchen for ten minutes, but when he came out with a sluggish expression, Xiao Nanzhu was surprised to find that no one was sitting beside the living room sofa.

The little chubby kid was gone, the red carp was gone as well.

He didn’t hear the sound of the front door being opened just now, the child couldn’t possibly have run outside in the middle of the night.

His heart froze, Xiao Nanzhu put down the small porcelain bowl and rushed to the Huangli hanging on the wall. He didn’t know what drove him, but everything that happened tonight seemed to reveal a kind of indescribable mystery. However, as Xiao Nanzhu ran to the old Huangli to take a look, he saw the painting of the joyful chubby kid, with his bare b.u.t.tocks facing him and wrapped in his arms was…the dead carp.

Xiao Nanzhu: “…”

1.  Laba  腊八:The 8th day of the 12th lunar month, Chinese believe that it’s the transition of the new and the old, and celebrate Laba Festival on this day by offering to G.o.ds for a good harvest year ahead and eating Laba porridge.

2. Lichun  立春:Spring solstice.

3. Jintong  金童:Short form of Shancai Tongzi, child of wealth or golden youth, which is used to describe good-looking young boys not more than 12.

4. Dudou  肚兜:A traditional Chinese bodice

5. Unscientific  不科学:Literally means unscientific, it’s a Chinese internet slang to refer to something that seems impossible or supernatural.

6. Xiaohong  小红:Literally translate as little red, or redy.

7.  carp 鲤鱼, gra.s.s carps 草鱼, soft-sh.e.l.led turtle甲鱼:Read as Liyu, caoyu, jiayu, which have similar sounds at the end and rhymes, suggesting Xiao Nanzhu wasn’t being serious about the situation.

cnovel huanglis.h.i.+ 黄历师 Chinese Almanac Master huang li s.h.i.+donghua chinese animation HLS 8 notes         HLS Chapter 3 - 2027.2.12 Niansi①

Xiao Nanzhu overslept the next morning. What happened the previous night was so strange that he couldn’t sleep well on his first night back home.

He tossed and turned, unable to sleep, and kept thinking for the whole night. He got up eventually, took down the old Huangli on the wall, and studied it carefully for a while.

To his surprise, Xiao Nanzhu discovered that there were a couple of things he didn’t notice on the old Huangli that had been in his house for so many years.

First things first, apparently, this old Huangli didn’t seem to differ from the general Hong Kong version of Huangli-s.

Similar red background and gold lettering as its cover, with all kinds of traditional elements symbolizing good luck and festivity fully filled these old papers, recording the changes of the four seasons, bearing the thousand years of time repeatedly over and over again.

In olden times, people didn’t have mobile phones or computers. The only way they judged when to sow and harvest, and when the season starts to change from spring to autumn, was to rely on the existence of the old Huangli.

(Source:net)

According to the legends, Huangli was originally created by the Yellow Emperor. It took thousands of years of ancient China workers’ wisdom to evolve and become what it is now. Until the modern days, when such old things seemed to be gradually eliminated by the continuous progression of time.

However, as Xiao Nanzhu sat on the bed, leaning against the wall and smoking, the moment he flipped open the Huangli, he couldn’t help but be fascinated.

Before him was all three hundred and sixty-five days in the various form of gorgeous, exquisite human or animal paintings, pleasingly arranged.

From traditional festivals to international festivals that only appeared in modern times. The four seasons to the most common and ordinary days. Not one day was missing, it didn’t seem strange at all.

What was strange, was that, as Xiao Nanzhu examined these beautiful and antique-feeling paintings carefully, he found that each calendar page had some weird things that he couldn’t tell, such as the one he was looking at… The third of August, international women’s day.

The face of a woman holding a mirror couldn’t be seen clearly, but her figure seen from behind was refined and graceful.

That figure of her had an indescribable charm and attractiveness, just looking at it made one wonder. The Phoenix hairpin in her hair was so vivid as though it were alive, and the combination of pearl and jade drop earrings with a matching vermilion dark embroidered dress was extremely beautiful.

Overall, it should have been a very normal painting of an ancient lady dressing, but the sharp-eyed Xiao Nanzhu managed to get a glimpse of this beautiful lady’s pear blossom wooden dressing table, which had several bottles and jars of modern cosmetics on it.

Of course, no one can argue that ancient women cannot put on makeup, after all, they do brush powder on their faces and used chunzhi②.

(Source: Baidu search result. It’s always amazing how cosmetics had evolved over the times.)

Besides, Xiao Nanzhu is a grown man, he’s not good at judging whether if he had mistaken those as something else, but what’s even more strange was that when Xiao Nanzhu furrowed his eyebrows and avert his gaze away from the folding screen with two mandarin ducks playing in water③, he found a bag that had carelessly fallen behind the screen, with a corner revealing…Hushubao④.

Xiao Nanzhu: “…”

He shut the calendar instantly as if he had seen a ghost in broad daylight. Xiao Nanzhu inexplicably felt ashamed. He shut his eyes closed as he broke out into a cold sweat and frowned, chanting silently “I must be dreaming I must be dreaming”, and lost his curiosity to continue investigating the calendar for the moment.

If the appearance and disappearance of the chubby little carp kid had left him in doubt, this surprising discovery was enough to convince him that his family’s old lady who had worked as Huangli s.h.i.+ for decades must have kept something from him.

A calendar that had been hanging in his house for at least fifteen years was always kept up to date. If he had stayed at home more often, he wouldn’t have discovered it just now.

But what exactly are these mysterious things hidden within this calendar…?

With that question in mind, Xiao Nanzhu kept his eyes opened nervously in the darkness.

His lifestyle had been very disciplined when he served in the military, but now his mind was in complete state of chaos. Somehow, what Situ Zhang had said to him echoed in his mind. The entire night pa.s.sed just like that.

He took down that suspicious old Huangli and placed it on the living room’s coffee table. However, out of some indescribable sense of worry, Xiao Nanzhu stood up and stuffed it into the fridge.

The fridge hadn’t been used for half a year and contained nothing but two rotten eggs. With the old Huangli being shoved inside, the fridge’s blueish lighting shone on them as if demons were sealed.

(Source: link. Yeah, right. It will work. Definitely.)

Xiao Nanzhu squinted his eyes in distrust and stuffed it in a little more, confirming that this thing probably wouldn’t escape and appear from the fridge from nowhere, he then headed back to his room and slept.

As he was finally asleep, his chaotic brain plunged into rare tranquility and he dreamt of something that had happened when he was a child and which he had since forgotten.

Xiao Nanzhu was never obedient as a kid. Except for his grandmother, who he only listened to sometimes, he was always showing his impudent nature to everyone.

He attended his cla.s.ses, he read his books, but the little hooligans loitering near his school would still ‘challenge’ him with ‘martial arts’.

Xiao Nanzhu didn’t know how to hold himself back at that time, he often fought with kids who found trouble with him until they ran home crying. Every once in a while, his grandmother, old lady Xiao, would sigh for half a day at all the medical bills sent to their home.

“I say, Nan, you… Why did you break some other kid’s head again?”

“If I don’t break their heads, your grandson’s head will be the one broken.”

With a bruised mouth, he pursed his lips tightly, this rascal of only 12 years old had the nerve to defy his elders like this.

Grandma Xiao ran out of ideas on how to talk sense into this unruly child that even she couldn’t even handle. She could only take some time out to send him to school and personally pick him up every day.

Such treatment was unique among the children at that time.

After all, everyone thought that they were big children already, n.o.body wants to let their grandparents hold their hands and fetch them to and from school. Xiao Nanzhu naturally was reluctant too, but his grandmother’s temper was no better than his. 

No matter how much he refused to comply, he had no choice but to hold his resentment in, yet Situ Zhang used that to make fun of him every time.

Such strict discipline was imposed over the semester, during which Xiao Nanhu never encountered those big children again. Still, there was one particular time when Grandma Xiao had something else to do and didn’t fetch him from school. 

Xiao Nanzhu was blocked by several older children at the school’s back door of the school and was beaten up quite severely. Then, on that very day, something happened that had Xiao Nanzhu remembered for years.

For a long time, Xiao Nanzhu could recall every single thing that happened that evening. He was already in a bad mood, moreover, his head was trampled by numerous pairs of stinky rubber shoes that hadn’t been brushed for days. His whole face was covered with dirt.

He gritted his teeth and refused to beg for mercy, but the other two children pressed his arms and legs down with full force. They kept mocking him as a motherless orphan, their voices became so sharp in his ears that it was almost deafening. Just then, a strange woman suddenly appeared.

“What are you brats doing?! See if I’ll call your parents over or not! Hah! Don’t run!! You dare to run huh!! You beat my son and you still want to run?! Say! Which school are you from! Oho, Zhang Da isn’t it? I know your mom, she’s that vegetable seller Xiaoliu from the vegetable market right? Just wait, I’ll tell your mother when I buy groceries tomorrow… And you, aren’t you Peng Jiajia? What were you doing just now? Being so tall that you think you can bully others?”

This woman with a loud voice shot her scoldings just like a machine gun and helped him drove the big children away. She then gently picked him up from the ground. Xiao Nanzhu with eyes that were swollen and black, blinked and looked at this total stranger who seems to have a faint glow on her cheeks.

The woman with a mysterious glow all over her patted the ashes off him and lectured a whole lot to him. Seeing that Xiao Nanzhu remained silent, she sighed, and couldn’t help but pinch his cheeks.

“What are you looking at. You don’t obey your elder’s words, you deserve what you get. Let’s go, I’ll take you home.”

Xiao Nanzhu didn’t know her at all.

But her voice was unfamiliar to him yet gentle, which kind of warmed his heart. He blankly followed this naggy, mother-like woman home hand in hand and didn’t dare to utter a word the entire way.

He had a thought as to whether or not it was another form of child abduction used by bad guys, but on second thought, he was already a big child, so he a.s.sumed he wasn’t worth as much and didn’t worry about it.

The woman, on the other hand, showered sparkles as she walked, like tiny stars scattered at her feet, and did not seem to care about Xiao Nanzhu’s defensive att.i.tude. She just nagged him in a pained and angry tone like every ordinary mother would. Xiao Nanzhu hadn’t heard these words since birth, he had no idea how he blindly followed her home.

(Source:link)

Xiao Nanzhu didn’t see his grandmother that whole day until they almost reached home as she came rus.h.i.+ng out to see them. His grandmother was instantly relieved upon seeing the woman was holding his hand.

“Ah, thank you so much today… I’ve bothered you.”

“It’s alright, old lady. I shall take my leave.”

This strange G.o.ddess-like woman spoke a few words to his grandmother and disappeared into the house. Xiao Nanzhu was scolded by her grandmother that day, but, for once, he didn’t talk back.

He tried to ask his grandmother who that woman was, but what Grandma Xiao didn’t want to tell, no one could dig out from her.

Luckily, Xiao Nanzhu is not the most curious person, he won’t bother to dig into it even if he doesn’t know the truth.

However, on that night as he was about to do his homework, he opened up his bag and suddenly saw the homework a.s.signed by their Chinese teacher in cla.s.s.

“Students, today is Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is a special day for all mothers in the world. On this day, everyone should be respectful and thankful to our mothers who gave birth to us. So please go back and write a short composition about ‘My Mother’. You can write about what happened in your daily life or things you did for your mother, and hand it in tomorrow morning, alright?”

1. Niansi 廿四: 24th day of the month. 

2. Chunzhi 唇纸:A closer description would be lip tints made from flowers and other organic substances dried on papers. More info(youtube)

3. Two mandarin ducks playing in water 鸳鸯戏水:A Chinese proverb for loving and loyal couples.

4. Hushubao 护舒宝:A brand of pads and tampons in China.

Chinese Almanac Master Chapter 5

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Chinese Almanac Master Chapter 5 summary

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