The Rebel: Chapter 14

Translated by qikiqtarjuaq
Posted on 2020-09-12

The news of Shanghai's liberation spread from the mouths of a group of defeated soldiers from the National Army. After they finished robbing the village's rice shop, butcher's shop, pastries store, and clothing store, they shouted a few words about engaging in guerrilla warfare in the mountains before leaving in a hurry, disappearing down the criss-crossed network of rivers.

Xietang Village quickly recovered its peace, seemingly no different from its former days at all. As usual, Lin Nansheng went to work every day at St. Aloysius Middle School. Right now, he was the most popular teacher there, teaching history and English. Like many of the men and women who had drifted towards this village, they all treated this place as their home.

On this day, the principal suddenly barged into his classroom. "The comrades from the task force are here. They're waiting for you in the office."

The two people looking for Lin Nansheng wore yellow military uniforms and service caps, and weren't much older than Lin Nansheng's students. They were here to re-register people for the census. Once they saw him, one of them asked, "Name?"

"Lin Qiuming."

"Date of birth?"

"November 19th, 1912."

"Place of birth?"

"Fuyang County, Zhejiang."

"How did you come here?"

"As a refugee."

"Now that we've been liberated, why haven't you gone back home?"

"My home is no longer there," said Lin Nansheng. "It was destroyed during the 1937 bombings."

The young soldiers slowed down their questions. "Marital status."

Lin Nansheng looked at the other teachers in the office and lowered his gaze. "Widowed."

In fact, over the past year, it wasn't as though no one had tried to play matchmaker for him. The biggest group of people left behind by the war were the orphans and the widows. However, Lin Nansheng had politely turned each and every one of them down. He had said the same thing to every person - "Living like this is pretty good. I won't go and become a burden to someone else."

All the people in Xietang Village had thought that it was because Lin Nansheng had high standards, and that he wasn't interested in uneducated women. However, Lin Nansheng was the only one who knew that his days on this earth were numbered. He could no longer feel the heat during the summer, nor could he feel the cold during the winter.

The day before the New Year, there was no wind or snow, but it was so unusually cold that the water tanks at home were covered in a thick layer of ice. Just as Lin Nansheng climbed up onto a bamboo ladder to help the janitor hang a red lantern on the school gate, he saw a military jeep kick up a trail of dust, speeding towards him.

Two hours later, this jeep sped away from Xietang Village leaving a trail of dust behind, carrying Lin Nansheng with it. After driving for half a day on the road, they entered downtown Shanghai at nightfall.

When Lin Nansheng saw Ji Zhongyuan in an office at the Shanghai Public Security Bureau, he asked indifferently, "Why did you waste so much effort to find me?"

Ji Zhongyuan wore a yellow military uniform now, but no matter how Lin Nansheng looked, Ji Zhongyuan still seemed like that seal cutter from years ago.

"We've been searching for you for almost two years," said Ji Zhongyuan with a smile.

"And you couldn't pretend that I've died?" asked Lin Nansheng.

Ji Zhongyuan shook his head. Opening the folder, he let Lin Nansheng take a look for himself. These weren't reports from subordinates to their superiors. All of them were records of Lin Nansheng's every move in Xietang Village. As it turned out, Lin Nansheng had already been put under surveillance over half a year ago. The one who reported him was a village baozhang. He'd once been a peripheral staff for the Counter-Intelligence Bureau and had once seen Lin Nansheng in Shanghai from afar. The local Ministry of Public Security had firmly believed that a high-ranked secret agent hiding in a small village must be part of a larger conspiracy. They'd wanted to let out the fishing line to reel in the big fish.

"I only received these materials recently," said Ji Zhongyuan. "We need you to come back."

"I've been under surveillance for more than half a year without realizing it. I'm no longer a secret agent," said Lin Nansheng.

"But we won't forget your contributions," said Ji Zhongyuan. "You shouldn't be living in a small village as a teacher."

"I used to be a teacher originally. And my dream is to be a teacher as well." Lin Nansheng turned his head and watched the burning flames in the fireplace. An image of Zhu Yizhen wearing her school uniform appeared before him in his mind's eye. Back then, she'd had her hair in a short bob cut.

"What if this were an order?" asked Ji Zhongyuan. Standing up, he retrieved a letter of appointment and handed it to Lin Nansheng. "Although the revolution was successful, our battles are far from over."

He gazed at Lin Nansheng solemnly. "This is the trust that our organization has placed in you."

Now, Lin Nansheng's daily work consisted of sorting through the leftover records from those years in the past. From those records, he discovered those broken trails of clues, which finally led to him finding that person, then discovering and confirming their identities. Lin Nansheng began drinking again. After he left work and returned home, the first thing he would do was pour himself a strong drink. Then, one mouthful after another, he would drink until he felt drowsy.

This was the only way he knew to make himself fall asleep now.

One day in May, the only thing hotter than the weather was the passion of the people raising money for the volunteer army. The streets of Shanghai were filled with slogans and posters about the War of Resistance against the U.S. to aid Korea. However, at that moment, Lin Nansheng suddenly fell over in the crowded trolleybus.

When he woke up again, he could no longer move. The pitch-black hospital room was silent, without any other patients. It was like lying in his own grave. This was an outcome he'd envisioned countless times before. In the darkness, Lin Nansheng calmly looked back on his life, and discovered that in this world, he didn't any friends, nor did he have any family. The only things left were the memories in his head.

On the morning of the third day, after Ji Zhongyuan visited Lin Nansheng, he dropped by a store on the way to his office. He picked up the phone on the counter, dialed a number, and said, "Get me the Jing'an District Committee."

That afternoon, Zhu Yizhen entered his hospital room, carrying a bag of apples. This was the first time they'd seen each other since Lin Nansheng returned to Shanghai, although they both knew they worked only a few blocks away from each other. Zhu Yizhen worked at the Jing'an District Committee, and lived in the municipal government's single dormitory. Many times, during those nights when not even the alcohol could help him sleep, Lin Nansheng had left his home and walked to the front of her dormitory building. After standing there for a bit and watching that brightly lit window, he would go back home and continue drinking.

Zhu Yizhen sat by the hospital, silently peeling an apple, then feeding it slice by slice into Lin Nansheng's mouth.

"Where's your husband? Why haven't you come together?" Lin Nansheng looked at the paring knife in her hand and suddenly smiled. "This might be the last time we see each other."

Zhu Yizhen didn't respond. She only lowered her gaze while also looking at the paring knife.

Not long after Shanghai's liberation, Meng Annan had submitted a report to the organization, asking for permission to return home and take part in the war against France led by Hồ Chí Minh. However, the answer he'd received came in the form of an order to march alongside the Third Field Army towards the front lines in Fujian. The night before he departed, he'd asked Zhu Yizhen, "It doesn't matter if you don't want to marry me. But shouldn't you at least let me know the reason?"

Zhu Yizhen had calmly looked into his pair of deep-set eyes, not replying for a long time. Finally, she'd said, "I have a husband who came back from the dead, and I also have a lover who's currently hovering between life and death. Why don't you tell me how I can marry you?"

Meng Annan had said nothing more. He'd watched as Zhu Yizhen went back into her room and gently closed her door. All night, he'd sat outside her door, leaning against his soldier's pack. When dawn had arrived, he'd stood up and quietly left.

Zhu Yizhen had been a little distracted from the very start. When she folded up the paring knife, she suddenly laughed for no reason and looked up at Lin Nansheng. "We really are foolish."

Lin Nansheng wanted to sit up, but his muscles refused to obey him. He could only gaze straight at the woman in front of him. After thinking it over, he said, "Fortunately, I still ended up being able to see you."

Translator Notes:

And that's the conclusion to this novella! I know quite a few people were curious about the plot to the upcoming drama 'The Rebel' which is based on this novella, so I hope this translation and its footnotes helped you get an idea of what it will be about. I'd love to know what people thought of the characters and the story!

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Karina

Lee Nansheng always confuses me who he is on, but on whose side he will always help female characters. my picture of lee nansheng is a smart spy who is willing to help women out of pity even though he has to endanger himself many times. And the women in this novel are useful chess pieces at important times.

The description of the place and the atmosphere is very good even though sometimes I get confused with the names of foreign places and names even when I say it in my head. this is because I am not Chinese, it seems I have to read again from scratch to make my imagination run smoothly along the storyline 😇

Thank you translator, you really helped introduce me to the contents of a very good novel, I was able to imagine very well the characters and storylines that Zhu Yi Long would later play 🥰

Ane

Ah...I feel like it should have been longer 🥺 lin nansheng what a turbulent life you've lead, and what a sorrowful ending.

"In the darkness, Lin Nansheng calmly looked back on his life, and discovered that in this world, he didn't any friends, nor did he have any family. The only things left were the memories in his head."

*Cries*


One question- whose identities did he discover here?

"From those records, he discovered those broken trails of clues, which finally led to him finding that person, then discovering and confirming their identities"

qikiqtarjuaq

It's not entirely clear to me either. I don't know if I wasn't able to piece the clues together, or if it was left deliberately vague!

Ane

Ah maybe hahah...I thought for a sec that maybe it's referring to how he confirmed Meng Annan's real identity that he had not been able to research before his boat was sunk.

angie

First of all I would deeply like to thank you @qikiqtarjuaq for translating this novel. I enjoyed reading it even though the spy name terms confuses me as I'm not familiar with China Civil War history. Lin Nan Sheng has done so much for his country and its quite sad that the people around him most are dead. His character is quite intriguing to me.

I am looking forward to The Rebel drama version. It would be interesting to watch Zhu Yi Long portray as Lin Nan Sheng.

biao

Its so interesting. i like the way you translate it and make it a good story and easy to read. It really helps someone like me who didn't understand chinese but curious about the story. I am reading it while imagining Zhu Yi Long as Lin Nansheng as well as the other actors.LoL.

Lin Nansheng is such a smart and gently person. I love it when he is comforting Ms.Lan through her hard times. And when he checked to Zhu Yizen only want to know and relieved she is alive. I watched the interview of the cast, and the way Zhu Yi Long describes Ms.Lan whom someone he indebt (maybe because she once save him) and Zhu Yizen whom someone he care and grow each others is so true. I could easily discover it in your writing.

And Zhu Yizhen sentence ,"i also have a lover who is currently hovering between life and death," its so describing who Lin Nansheng is.

The ending i hope is Lin Nansheng still become a teacher in that village, away from danger, Zhu Yizhen coming to him and they live happyly ever after :).

Deeply thank you to you. I hope many people visited your site and discuss it together. My job now is waiting patiently for the drama to be released .LoL.

Warringstar23

Firstly, thank you very much for the translations. You had performed an extensive work! Thank you again!

Secondly, I cannot wait for the adaptation of the drama despite the tumultuous and tragic life of Lin Nansheng. Zhu Yilong certainly can carry that melancholic aura and innocence of Lin Nansheng.

P.s: Does the character Chen Moqun in the drama version (as per The Rebel main casts interview recently), plays a major role in the novel? I did not find his name mentioned in your translation.

qikiqtarjuaq

Hmm, I think it might be a new character they made? From the summaries, he's made Lin Nansheng's superior, but that role should be Gu Shenyan (who is also a character in the show). We'll have to see what role he plays when the drama airs!

classicorner

I saw Zhu Yi Long's interview in regards to this drama, The Rebel. The way he described the drama made me curious and while I was reading info about the drama someone posted a link to this translated version of the novel. I'm so glad I decided to follow the link. I couldn't help but imagine ZYL as Li Nansheng as I read this novel and now I'm really looking forward to the drama. Thank you once again for the wonderful translation. :)

Meeks

Thank you so much for all your work! I finished reading just in time to watch the drama! I even managed to get through the whole book in Chinese, using your translation to check my understanding. The extra cultural and historical notes were invaluable, and I really, really appreciate that you took the time and effort to add them. 谢谢您🙏💜

biao

May I know where I can find the chinese version book? Is it available international? I've been trying to look for it and still nothing. Thank you in advance.

qikiqtarjuaq

If you go to the main landing page for The Rebel on my translation (click on 'The Rebel' at the bottom), there's a link to the Raw Source, where you can buy the physical version of the novel. I think that's the official source but if it doesn't ship internationally, you can probably search for it on taobao or elsewhere too.

Biao

Thank you, got the book few months ago, so happy :). I like The Rebel so much.