Cast: Lin Youwei, Nie Yuan, Dong Xuan, Yang Mi, Loletta Lee, Jiang Hongen
Director: Tan Youye
Part 1: “We are both ill-fated, wandering across the face of the earth / Is it not enough that we meet now? Need we have known each other before?”
During World War II, The Japanese army bombarded the rear area of China incessantly.
One evening, He Meiji and her classmates were going to school when they passed by an unnamed bridge. The Japanese were bombarding the place, so Meiji and her friends were forced to take shelter under the bridge. At the same time, the hospital in the area had sent out medical personnels to rescue the injured, and Lin Zhixiang was one of the trainee doctors.
Because of the bombardment, Meiji and Zhixiang met, fell in love, and began a love story that belonged to the two of them.
The attack went on; bombs and debris were flying every way. As Meiji was hiding beneath the bridge and Zhixiang was taking care of the injured, a bomb dropped right next to the bridge. The terrified Meiji flew towards Zhixiang besides her - Zhixiang did not have the time to react properly, he could only hold Meiji in his arms, and the two of them ran away from the bombs and dust with their arms around one another.
The bombardment stopped. Only now did Zhixiang realise that he had a young woman in his arms, and Meiji found that she was grasping a strange man. They released one another and apologised in embarrassment.
Meiji was so desperately shy and embarrassed that she turned and left to look for her classmates without accepting Zhixiang's apology. At this moment, Zhixiang looked up to the skies and saw a plane approaching again. He shouted and reached out to Meiji. Meiji was annoyed by this unexpected embrace, until she heard the noise made by the plane and saw what was happening around them, and, screaming, she threw herself towards Zhixiang... Their lips met unintentionally, held on for a few seconds, and the two of them were dumbfounded... As the fire and the sound of bombs woke them from their accidental first kiss, Zhixiang ignored his own safety and protected Meiji with his body. Safe in Zhixiang's arms, Meiji touched her own lips and felt the warmth left by him there, and her heart was moved by something she'd never felt before...
Bombs were still falling incessantly, forming a long line of fire. Zhixiang held Meiji in his arms, tumbling forwards amidst the smoke and screams, desperately looking for a safe shelter. Although she was surrounded by the sound of bombs, for Meiji, Zhixiang's embrace was the warmest, safest shelter. With her arms tight around Zhixiang's neck, she gazed at his passionate face, blackened by the smoke, and the doctor's name tag on his chest, and Zhixiang's face and name were deeply etched into her heart...
In the bloody, scream-ridden temporary medical camp, Rufeng was helping to treat injured soldiers with a nurse and snapping photographs of the scenes of life and death in the camp. A hard man asked the nurse to take down his last words. The scene moved Rufeng, so he volunteered to take his message back to Malaysia. He got to know about the tragic story behind this injured solider with the assumed name of Xu Nuo. He was an ethnic Chinese from Malaysia who was pressed into service by the Japanese army and torn apart from his old, widowed mother and his newly married wife. To stay alive, he surrendered to the Chinese army after being captured by them. For fear of causing his mother and wife troubles, he had hidden his true identity, and now he was afraid that he would disappear from this world and become a nameless dead body, leaving his family with endless sadness and regret... Rufeng was deeply moved by Xu Nuo's love for his mother and wife, and he encouraged him to live on.
Zhixiang and Meiji waited in the quiet wilderness for the bombing to pass. Because of their shared experience under fire, they felt that they had fallen deeply in love at first sight with each other. Zhixiang introduced himself, telling her that his name was Lin Zhixiang, he was a Chinese from Malaysia, and his parents were traders in Xiamen. Meiji was excited to hear Zhixiang lived in Xiamen and told him she had also been born in Xiamen, but had later moved to Zhangzhou with her family. A sense of familiarity grew between them because they were both from the area of Fujian, and, with the chaotic background of war behind them, they were soon chatting about all sorts of things, with their accidental first kiss as one of their topics...
The night came, and the trees near which they were hiding were surrounded by fireflies, like shining stars fallen to earth. The beautiful, romantic scene excited Meiji, and Zhixiang was much relieved to find her so happy. The two of them worked together and caught some fireflies, Meiji used her handkerchief to make a small lantern and gave it to Zhixiang to thank him for saving her life.
In the medical camp, Xu Nuo was on the brink of death. Even though he was willing to undergo surgery without anaesthetic, the surgeon was worried that he would die from the blood loss without a blood transfusion. At this moment, Rufeng determinedly rolled up his sleeve and gave his blood. Tears of gratitute rolled in Xu Nuo's eyes; he grasped Rufeng's hand and a firm, genuine friendship was established between them...
The night passed. Zhixiang shook Meiji, who had fallen asleep in his arms, and boldly proposed to meet this girl, who had made him fall in love instantly, again. They agreed that, if they could survive this bombardment, they would meet again on the beridge on which they had first met, and they would not leave the bridge until they had met. Meiji, because of the way Zhixiang made her feel, nodded her agreement.
Zhixiang was going to ask Meiji her name when the alarm sounded and the bombs came again. Suddenly, they were caught in a panicked crowd. Amidst the deafening sounds of explosion and the smell of smoke saturating the air, people cried and screamed and looked for shelter. After the confusion, Zhixiang stood up to find that Meiji was gone. He had begun to look forward to the romantic date of tomorrow already.
In the afternoon of the day after, Zhixiang's school suddenly announced to withdraw from Chongqing immediately without delay. Although he knew that even if he went to the bridge at that time, he would not see Meiji, he clung to a tiniest glimmer of hope and came to the bridge with his heavy luggage.
Zhixiang waited on the bridge for Meiji up until the moment he had to leave, and was disappointed that Meiji still had not come. Before leaving, he took off the name tag on his chest and put it on the side of the bridge carefully, hoping Meiji would understand he had kept his promise and come. He did not know if he could come back safely, nor if he would ever see Meiji again, and so, with a heavy heart, he moved to the rear area with the hospital.
The evening came. Meiji came to the bridge and waited for the man she had fallen for. The Japanese army was bombing the entire area of Chongqing, but Meiji took the risk and hid under the bridge to wait for Zhixiang, unwilling to leave. As time passed, Zhixiang did not turn up, and the never-ending explosions began to make Meiji anxious. She thought about all the things that could have happened to Zhixiang, and she'd rather that he had broken his promise than he had died in the explosion and unable to come. Disappointed by Zhixiang's absence, Meiji had no idea what to do, but at that moment she saw the name tag on the side of the bridge. Taking it up, she saw the the name "Lin Zhixiang" on it, stained with blood. Her heart dropped, and she couldn't stop her tears.
Heartbroken, Meiji went back to school, and saw that the campus had become a ruin.
When she was waiting on the bridge, her school was bombed and destroyed by the Japanese army. As medical personnels went through the ruin to rescue survivors and deal with the situation, the excavated dead bodies made Meiji's heart even heavier. With her school destroyed and having no place to go, Meiji could only seek help from her brother He Rufeng, who was teaching in a university. Watching the bodies of her schoolmates being carried onto cars, and looking down at the hairpin in her hand, Meiji wept for the death of her schoolmates, the destruction of her school, the uncertain fate of Zhixiang, and all the tragedy brought by this war.
Rufeng's article had received much positive feedback, and it made him more determined to quit his teaching job temporarily to be a war correspondent. However, his uncle Zhan Xunmao, who was like a brother and father figure to him, was not happy about his decision, and thought that he should not risk his life and leave his sister Meiji behind.
So, with Xunmao's approval and Rufeng's arrangement, Meiji stayed in the school to be a secretary. Rufeng also told his cousin and former helper Zhan Zhongyu to look after Meiji.
In the days that followed, as they spent their time together, Zhongyu found himself falling in love with the pure and beautiful Meiji. Originally, Zhongyu had looked for news of that medical student named Lin Zhixiang to cheer Meiji up, but the lack of positive news only made Meiji more depressed... Later, to please Meiji, Zhongyu began to write letter to her in Zhixiang's name.
Thinking that she was in touch with Zhixiang, smiles appeared on Meiji's face again, and the relationship between her and her uncle Xunmao became better and better. Xunmao had always regretted the fact that he had no daughter, and he had expressed his wish for Zhongyu to marry Meiji to to make their relationship even closer to Zhongyu and Rufeng more than once. Xunmao's expectation put enormous pressure on Rufeng and Zhongyu, because they knew that Meiji's heart was on Zhixiang, whose whereabouts were still unknown to them, and she would not find it easy to accept such arrangements by Xunmao... But Rufeng was grateful to Zhongyu's care for Meiji, and, to prevent her from getting even more hurt later on, he began to let her know about Zhongyu's white lies. Although Meiji felt that something was wrong, she was unwilling to face reality, preferring instead to let Zhongyu's fake letter to lull her into a sweet, carefree world of love...
Rufeng found the recovered Xu Nuo and discovered many touching stories of in the time of war with Xu's help. Rufeng also heard from Xu Nuo how virtuous and beautiful his wife Hua was, and how good his mother was to her. For Rufeng, who had not yet found his ideal lover and had lost his parent, what Xu Nuo possessed was happiness worth more than any fortune, and he was envious of him.
Since Xinhua's husband had been pressed into service by the Japanese army, she had been living a poor, hard life with her mother-in-law Yang Laidi, who had been widowed young. Faced with poverty brought on the the war, it was difficult for a woman to support a family. Xinhua often lied to her mother-in-law that she had eaten and let her have her ration, and then drink water to ease her hunger in the middle of the night. Her action moved Laidi and made her feel ashamed and guilty...
Today, Xinhua's first love, Zhou Xinyan had again taken food to her to help her, and he asked her about the possibility of her remarrying him. Xinhua said that she had to take care of her mother-in-law and refused his proposal, but still she took what he had given her because they all had to eat. Laidi, who had been following her, saw Xinhua being torn apart by her duty to take care of Laidi, and she thought about how she could let Xinhua live a new life instead of being widowed young like she herself was...
Laidi told Xinhua she did not want Xinhua to stay with her and repeat her mistake by wasting away her young life in the name of chastity and virtue. She advised Xinhua to marry her first love Zhou Xinyan, who had always loved her. But Xinhua, worried about her mother-in-law living alone, refused to listen her.
After thinking it over, Laidi went to the primary school where Xinyan worked to see him, without telling Xinhua. She invited him to her home in Xinhua's name, and Xinyan was pleasantly surprised, thinking that Xinhua had persuaded her mother-in-law to let her remarry... Xinyan's colleague Wang Yixuan had a thing for him, and she had done much to let him know that. When she found out that Xinhua had shamelessly invited Xinyan home through her mother-in-law, she was overcome with jealousy and determined to get rid of her rival...
This day, when Xinhua had finished her work in the field and came home, she was surprised to see her mother-in-law opeining the door to let Xinyan in. Xinhua hid in a dark corner, not knowing what to do. After some internal struggle, she decided to let her mother-in-law down by deliberately returning late, after Xinyan had left. She pretended that nothing had happened and did the household chores and took care of Laidi as usual.
Yixuan, however, was not going to give up. Fearing that Xinhua would rekindle her erstwhile romance with Xinyan, she spread the rumour that Xinhua was having an extramarital affair. Knowing her own innocence, Xinhua did not want to give any useless explanation to defend herself. Having indirectly contributed to Xinhua's troubles, Laidi felt even more uneasy and guilty. Because of the rumour, Xinyan no longer dared make any contact with Xinhua in public...
Because of the letters he had exchanged with Meiji while pretending to be Zhixiang, his feeling for Meiji grew deeper by the day. The familiarity and understanding in the letters spilt into his actions and words in real life, and due to Zhongyu's carelessness, Meiji finally realised the truth. With some explanations by Rufeng, at last Meiji understood the feelings Zhongyu had for her, and she began to learn to hide her longing for Zhixiang.
Part 2: "Only if your heart were replaced with mine / Would you know how much I have pined for you"
The war was finally over, and Meiji, Rufeng and Zhongyu decided to return home to reunite with Xunmao.
In the crowded train station, Meiji met Zhixiang, who was also about to return to Xiamen, again. Overjoyed to find Zhixiang alive and well, Meiji got away from Zhongyu, who had already forced his way into the train, and made her way through the crowd to him. The reunion was a great, pleasant surprise to both Zhixiang and Meiji.
Zhixiang and Meiji gazed at each other disbelievingly, unable to hide the affection and longing they felt in their eyes. But, before they could exchange a word, the steam whistle of the train blew. Realising the train was going to depart, Zhixiang took Meiji's hand and rushed to the train, pushing her onto it. As the train slowly started, Meiji tried to reach out to Zhixiang. At this moment, suddenly there came shouts on the platform calling for doctor's assistance. Zhixiang grabbed Meiji's hand, but the call for help rang around his ears...
As the train departed the station, Zhixiang on the platform shouted at the top of his lungs to ask Meiji to meet him at Xiamen Pier a week later. When he asked Meiji's name again, she could no longer hear his voice because of the noise around her and the train was leaving him behind . As the train picked up speed, Zhixiang was left far behind on the platform, but he kept waving at her, shouting about their promise to meet in Xiamen.
Rufeng and Zhongyu saw everything during Meiji and Zhixiang's reunion. Their feelings towards it were different, but the intention of them both was to make Meiji's future life happy....
The crowd rushing to return home overwhelmed the tiny train station, but the train service had stopped because of a lack of fuel. As the date he had promised to meet Meiji approached, Zhixiang became impatient and decided to take other means of transport to go to Xiamen. He took the bus, the carriage, hitched rides on villagers' cars and walked on foot and did everything to hasten his passage to Xiamen, determined to keep his promise to her.
Meiji kept her promise to Zhixiang and waited for him every day at the pier. Zhongyu was of course not happy to see it, and while Rufeng felt for Zhongyu, he did not want to wake her up from her dream of romantic love so easily this time, because he knew that, in these times of chaos, fate must have had played a part to make Meiji and Zhixiang meet again...
Arriving at Xiamen, Zhixiang found that both his parents had died during the war. He heard from his neighbours that Zhan Xunmao, a prosperous and prominent man in the area, had paid for their medical and funeral expenses and helped them a lot, so he went to Zhan's house to express his gratitude in person.
Zhan Xunmao fell ill becuase of gastric hemorrhage, fortunately Zhixiang was aware of the danger and sent him to the hospital immediately, saving his life. Zhongyu, who rushed in to find them later, was very grateful to Zhixiang. The two of them admired each other, and soon became firm friends.
Zhixiang was introduced to Qiuling, the owner of a small tavern, by Zhongyu. Qiuling was taken with him because of his passion and zeal. Zhongyu admired Zhixiang greatly as a friend, but he was caught in an internal struggle between love and friendship: he did not tell Zhixiang about his relationship with Meiji and her whereabouts...
Zhixiang, suppressing the grief of his bereavement, arrived at the pier to wait for Meiji. Unfortunately, Meiji was caught in a car accident when she was coming to the bridge, and could not meet him there. The two of them missed each other again.
Rufeng looked after his sister in the hospital. He knew how her sister felt and about her feelings for Zhixiang, but Zhongyu was like a brother to him, and he wanted to make a match between him and Meiji. His heart was pained by the struggle...
Meiji's injuries were quite serious and she could not leave the hospital for the time being. Zhixiang waited for her by the pier everyday, and as the days passed, he still could not meet Meiji.
By the pier, Zhixiang unintentionally caught a glimpse of a photograph of Meiji and Zhongyu, and, surprised, he asked Zhongyu about it. Out of jealousy, Zhongyu lied to him that the woman in the picture was his fiancée. Zhixiang was unwilling to steal someone else's lover, especially his good friend's, so he decided not to wait for Meiji anymore.
Having lost everything, Zhixiang decided to bring his parents' ashes back to Malaysia, and visit his married sister Xinhua there.
The day after Zhixiang had left Xiamen for his old home in Ipoh, Malaysia to visit his sister Xinhua, Meiji had finally recovered enough to leave the hospital. The first thing she did was rushing to the pier, hoping to see Zhixiang. Rufeng was moved by Meiji's action, but when Zhixiang did not turn up, Rufeng lost all confidence in him. Not wanting his sister to be hurt again, he was more determined than ever to make a match between Zhongyu and Meiji.
Meiji had an argument with Rufeng on the matter of Zhixiang and she left home. Having no place to go, she was taken in by the kind and warm-hearted Qiuling. Qiuling let stay Meiji stay in the attic of her tavern. Through the night, Meiji grasped Zhixiang's name tag in her hand and thought of him. Qiuling entered the room and was shocked by the sight of the name tag. Qiuling told Meiji that Zhixiang had once lived in this very same room and that he had walked back and forth by the pier, reluctant to leave. Meiji was excited and convinced the man Qiuling mentioned was the Lin Zhixiang she had met under the bridge, so she asked her where he was now. Qiuling said that Zhixiang had already left Xiamen and gone back home. Meiji's heart fell into the depths of despair: had she lost Zhixiang forever? Would she ever see him again?
To give Xinhua's brother Zhixiang a warm welcome, Laidi secretly sold her remaining dowry jewellery for money. Xinhua felt sorry for that and had a squabble with her, making Zhixiang embarrassed.
Xinhua listened to Meiji and Zhixiang's story. She said to him that although love at first sight was romantic, it was not reliable, and when two people live their lives together, their weaknesses and pressure from life would destroy their beautiful dreams.
Zhixiang heard the neighbours jeering and insulting Xinhua, so he asked her the reason, but she firmly refused to tell him anything. Laidi went to Zhixiang to apologise to him and tell him the whole story, hoping that he would persuade his sister Xinhua to remarry... Having understood the whole thing, Zhixiang faced a dilemma, but for the sake of Xinhua's future, he hardened his heart and advised her to remarry. Xinhua, however, told him she was unwilling to abandon her mother-in-law, who had been unfailingly kind to her, and she easily persuaded the kind-hearted Zhixiang.
A young single man could not stay in his sister's home indefinitely, and as Zhixiang's stay went on, all sorts of incredible rumours began to surface without reason. Not wanting to make things difficult for Xinhua, Zhixing decided to go back to Xiamen alone to make a living. Although Xinhua asked him not to leave, Zhixiang was determined to go back to Xiamen to wait for Meiji. At the pier, the sister and brother parted reluctantly.
Coming back home from the pier, Xinhua saw many of her neighbours in her house, while her mother-in-law sat in the anteroom and cried. When she crossed the threshold, the neighbours glared at her with contempt and accused her of being unfaithful and unfilial, and she was shocked. The truth is that her mother-in-law, in order to make her leave with Zhixiang and begin a new life, had lied and accused her of being unfaithful to her husband and stealing from the family. So, amidst the jeering and shouting, Xinhua was kicked from the family home. Looking into her mother-in-law's eyes, Xinhua suddenly understood the reason behind her plan to make her leave, but, unable to appease the angry crowd, Xinhua was forced to quietly leave her home of many years and her mother-in-law behind.
Carrying her luggage, Xinhua walked around without directions, not knowing where she could go. Unconsciously, she arrived at the primary school where Xinyan taught. Looking at the school in the evening sun, Xinhua, exhausted in both body and heart, decided to find Xinyan.
In Xinyan's living quarters, Xinhua's scandal was already known by everyone in the village. Xinyan was saddened to hear the rumour, thinking mistakenly the reason Xinhua had been unwilling to accept his love was that she had already had another man in her heart. At this moment, Yixuan visited Xinyan deliberately, hoping to get closer to him while he was on the rebound. Faced with Yixuan's seduction, the depressed Xinyan accepted her and had sex with her to prove his masculine attractiveness and regain his confidence.
Hearing the knock on the door, Xinyan got up, casually covered himself up with a shirt and opened the door, not expecting the person standing outside to be Xinhua. Xinyan stood gobsmacked, not knowing how to respond, while Yixuan, stilling lying in bed, spoke up and asked him who was there. Xinhua heard Yixuan's voice and was shocked. Xinyan tried to stop her, but it was too late; she looked through the crack of the door and saw Yixuan lying in the bed with her shoulders bare, and, turning to look at the dishevelled and shamefaced Xinyan, she understood everything.
Without saying a word, Xinhua turned around and left. When Xinyan was about to chase after her, Yixuan shouted for him to stop, put on her colothes and left the bed to stop him. Xinyan watched the smug expression on Yixuan's face and the dejected pose of Xinhua's back, and he knew in his heart he would lose Xinhua forever, and had no choice but to pay Yixuan back for her love.
Xinyan's betrayal made Xinhua lose hope in love. In the middle of the night, she quietly knelt before her house, begging her mother-in-law to accept her in the family again. Laidi, however, tried to suppress her own tears and her urge to go out to see Xinhua. To kill off any hope on Xinhua's part, Laidi pretended that she had also left home to make a living elsewhere. Unable to find her mother-in-law, Xinhua left Ipoh and went to Penang alone to make her own way.
Zhixiang returned to Xiamen, the moment he stepped onto the pier he saw Meiji sitting by the pier. Their eyes met, and they were overjoyed by this long expected and yearned for reunion after so much waiting.
Seeing Zhixiang again, Meiji was overcome by happiness, and Zhixiang threw down his luggage and came towards her. At this moment, the goods stacked next to the pier collapsed and fell down. To protect Meiji, Zhixiang fell forward and pushed her out of harm's way, but he was hit and injured by the falling goods.
Zhixiang was seriously injured to save Meiji, and he remained unconscious in the Xiamen Hospital, while Meiji looked after him day and night. Meiji said to Qiuling, when she had first met Zhixiang on that bridge in Chongqing, he had been valiantly helping others without fear of the explosions, and she told her about her feelings in Zhixiang's arms when they were on the brink of death. She was convinced that everything between her and Zhixiang was meant to be. Although Qiuling was touched by her unwavering love, she found herself unable to give up her own feelings for Zhixiang.
Zhixiang was still unconscious, and, to pay for the mounting medical expenses, Meiji tried her hardest to look for job opportunities, but she was hampered by the need to look after Zhixiang most of the time in the day.
To pay for Zhixiang's medical expenses, Meiji, through Zhongyu and Qiuling's help, worked as a secretary in the town government by day, and as a barmaid in her tavern by night.
Part 3: "Would it that I were like a star and you were like the moon / So that every night our light will shine upon each other"
Rufeng had an opportunity to be a lecturer in Penang, Malaysia, so he decided to take Meiji with him to in order to make her leave Zhixiang and forget him.
With Zhongyu's help, Rufeng saw Meiji working as a barmaid in the tavern. Rufeng was pained to see his sister like this, so he asked Meiji to let go of Zhixiang and go abroad with him. Unexpectedly for him, Meiji turned down his request coldly. Rufeng had to show his authority as her elder brother and wanted to take Meiji away from the bar by force. To get away from him, Meiji told him that he had to pay for talking to her, like the other customers in the tavern. Rufeng was enraged by her actions, and finally was asked to leave the tavern because his unruly behaviour was disturbing their business.
Rufeng was infuriated by Zhongyu's allowing Meiji to be a barmaid, and was not understanding of his action. The two men had an argument and ended up fighting. Zhongyu did not think he'd done anything wrong, he would say yes to anything that Meiji asked of him because of his love for her, and he did not mind that she was brought into disrepute, he only wanted Meiji to be happy...
Zhongyu was young and strong and Rufeng was not his match. Luckily someone came to help him, and that someone was Xu Nuo, whom Rufeng had lost contact with for a long time. Reunited, the two friends drank and talked together all night. Knowing that Rufeng was going to Penang, Xu Nuo was envious of him, saddened by the fact that he himself could not assume his real identity and get enough money to return home. At that night, Rufeng invited the impoverished Xu Nuo to stay with him and gave him the money to go back home. He also invited Xu Nuo to go to Penang together with him...
At the break of dawn, the proud Xu Nuo returned the money that Rufeng had given to him untouched, and, leaving Rufeng a letter in which he asked him to visit his home for Xu Nuo, he left without letting Rufeng know.
Rufeng thus left for Malaysia to lecture with a heavy heart.
Xinhua found a job as a waitress in a holiday hotel in Penang and lived a simple, self-sufficient life. Rufeng, when he was not lecturing, used his spare time to travel around Penang and admire places of historical interest and took photographs of people and things. This day, Rufeng checked into the hotel where Xinhua worked. The attentive Xinhua found an important document that Rufeng had misplaced, and she put it in a place it could be easily seen. Rufeng felt her attentiveness and found out that she was a Chinese with a good command of the language. Perhaps because of their common language, Rufeng felt especially close to Xinhua.
In search of inspiration, Rufeng was planning to travel to a remote scenic spot. Becuase he did not speak the local language, he hired Xinhua as a travelling companion and translator. The two of them walked along the difficult hill paths and arrived outside the scenic area, Rufeng asked to be allowed into the mountains to watch the evening scene, but the guide there was about to go home and told them to come back again in the opening hours next morning. Despite Xinhua's communication, the guide did not yield to Rufeng's request, telling them it was for their safety's sake. With these words, the guide locked the door to the information office and left in a hurry.
Secrets will out, and the secret that Meiji was working as a barmaid in a tavern was exposed to her uncle Xunmao by his business friend. Xunmao felt humiliated, and after looking into the rumour, he gave Qiuling a huge amount of pressure to force her not to hire Meiji. The helpless Xinhua had to ask Zhongyu for help...
In the remote small town, Rufeng and Xinhua dragged their weary feet and walked on the deserted street. They could find no hotel and no proper place where they could eat. In the simple and crude bus station, Xinhua told Rufeng they had already missed the last bus back to Penang. Rufeng asked her about the possibility of them getting some place to sleep the night, the Xinhua got the information that, in the remote little town, there was only one simple inn.
Rufeng did not want to abandon his plan to visit the mountains, so he asked Xinhua to take one more day off and be his translator. Xinhua was reluctant, but she had no other choice, being trapped in this town in the hills. So Rufeng decided that they should get rooms in the inn first and decide on everything in the morning.
However, there was only one empty suite left in the inn. After some internal struggles and Rufeng's guarantee that he would be a perfect gentleman and not disturb her, Xinhua stayed in the same suite as Rufeng that night. After dinner, Xinhua and Rufeng returned to the suite. Although Rufeng was behaving impeccably, the fact that she was alone with another man in a suite at night still made Xinhua nervous, and she began to regret agreeing to go to the mountains with Rufeng. Despite that they had a good time during dinner, Xinhua only fell asleep easily after she had propped a chair against the door of the room.
The next morning, Xinhua woke up to find that Rufeng, who had slept on the floor in the sitting room the last night, had left already. On the small table in the sitting room, he had left double the amount of money he'd agree to pay her, and a note saying that he was grateful to her, and he would go back to the mountains alone. Xinhua was moved by Rufeng's impeccable manners and gentlemanly ways, but she was hestitant to take the pay and continue with this job which involved so much interaction with him. She was also troubled by the fact that she did not dislike Rufeng.
In the evening, as Rufeng climbed to the top of the mountain to shoot the beautiful view, Xinhua suddenly appeared behind him, taking out the money Rufeng had left her and tried to give it back to him, but Rufeng would not take it back. After some argument, they finally reached the agreement that Xinhua would take the money and accompany Rufeng in this scenic area for one more day.
So it was that they spent one more day together. Because there were no ill-feelings between them, their interactions became more natural, and anyone who didn't know them would think they were a married couple of many years.
In Ipoh, a short time after his marriage with Yixuan, Xinyan was regretting it. In addition to Xinhua, whom he had always loved and could not forget, he was also troubled by Yixuan's intense jealousy and suspicion. Yixuan knew that Xinyan did not marry her out of love but because he had already had sex with her, so she was careful after their marriage not to allow Xinyan to talk to or look at other women for too long. Xinyan was finally feeling sorry for his own stupid choice.
To help Meiji, Zhongyu openly defied his father; he almost went to Meiji's tavern every night to pay her to accompany him. His love touched Meiji, and even the other barmaids there were encouraging her to accept his affection, and yet Meiji's love for Zhixiang remained unchanged.
Although Meiji had asked Zhongyu not to argue with her uncle because of her, he told her that he could not accept his prudish sense of morality. Despite knowing that Meiji didn't have a place for him in her heart, he would still guard and make sacrifice for Meiji's smile and happiness: that was his love for Meiji...
Far away in Ipoh, ever since getting married with Xinyan, Yixuan had become extremely possessive. A few times she had accused other female teachers in the school of seducing him, and her unstable mental state finally caused her to lose her job. Unemployed and having to stay at home all day, Yixuan's state got even worse. One day, she saw Xinyan walking home with a female teacher after work, and she took up a sharp knife a neighbour had put in front of their door and ran towards Xinyan. Xinyan could not dodge in time and ended up being stabbed by her, and there was blood everywhere. Some neighbours heard the scream of the female teacher and came to help, wrenching the knife from Yixuan's hand and sending Xinyan to the hospital. He survived the vicious stabbing wound.
Yixuan, on the other hand, was sent into an asylum, and chose to hang herself one night. Xinyan buried her and decided to follow his heart by quitting his job and leaving Ipoh for Penang to look for Xinhua, so that everything could start ever.
Rufeng and Xinhua were becoming closer and more intimate by the day. Rufeng admired and loved Xinhua, but he could not understand why Xinhua was always pushing him away. When Rufeng asked Xinhua to accompany him to Ipoh for a trip, Xinhua was shocked by memories of the past, especially when Rufeng told her the story of Xu Nuo!
Xinyan had followed Xinhua and arrived at Penang at this point. After much difficulty, he found Xinhua, only to discover that He Rufeng, a man who was superior to him in so many ways, were there right besides Xinhua! After telling her about his tragedy, the ashamed Xinyan wished her happiness and left quietly...
Not wanting Zhongyu's father and him to become enemies because of her, Meiji promised behind Zhongyu's back to sever her relationship with Xunmao, hoping that Xunmao would accept Zhongyu again. Xunmao understood her, but he could not forgive the preposterous things she had done, and could only feel sorry and sad for her in secret...
After many ups and downs, Xinhua had realised that life was impermanent and short, so she was determined to forget he worldly concerns of propriety and enjoy her future life as best she could. She decided to go to Xiamen with Rufeng after his tenure as lecturer, to look for Zhixiang and try to build a future with Rufeng...
Part 4: "Seeing you is no better than not seeing you / Those in love appear to be not in love"
Arriving at Xiamen, Xinhua was shocked to see Zhixiang injured, and she was not understanding of Meiji... Discovering Xinhua was Zhixiang's sister, Rufeng fell back into awkwardness with Xinhua again. Because of the relationship between Zhixiang and Meiji and the fact that they were Xinhua and Rufeng's brother and sister respectively, the newfound love between Xinhua and Rufeng was stifled.
Xinhua wanted to take Zhixiang home with her, but Meiji would not let go of him, and Zhixiang, still not completely conscious, did not want to leave her either, leaving Xinhua fuming. So she bought a small restaurant and became the owner, prepared to stay in Xiamen to look after Zhixiang for as long as it would take.
Under the assumed name of Xu Nuo, Zhuang Xun finally arrived home after much hardship, but although the house the the village looked the same, the people inside were gone. Hearing about Xinhua's adultery and her abuse of his mother from his neighbours, Zhuang Xun was filled wth indignation by Xinhua's heartlessness. With the fire of anger and revenge burning in his heart, he set out to Penang to look for Xinhua and his disappeared old mother.
Zhixiang finally woke up, and was told by Rufeng that Meiji had been a barmaid because of him. That, in addition to the fact that he found it hard to immediately accept Rufeng being in love with his sister, pained Zhixiang. Rufeng wanted to let Zhixiang and Meiji be together, but Xinhua thought that such blind and unrestricted love would only bring the two of them endless disasters, and she firmly advised Zhixiang to leave Meiji...
In Penang, Xu Nuo could not find Xinhua and his mother after a thorough search, and he was forced to live rough on the street. He heard that there was a kind-hearted old woman who prepared food and sold it at a low price in the train station to veterans who went home to look for their family, and was known as "the Mother at the Train Station". Having no way to make a living, Xu Nuo decided to go to the train station and exchange his manual labour for three meals a day from her.
Perhaps heaven had shown him mercy, for the kind-hearted Mother at the Train Station was none other but Zhuang Xun's elderly widowed mother, Yang Laidi! Laidi did good with a selfless, generous love to ease her longing for her son, and so she was given the rare opportunity to reunite with him!
Laidi told Zhuang Xun the truth behind the scandal of Xinhua's adultery and ease the anger in his heart. She encouraged him to find Xinhua, take her back, and then they would live a happy life as a family...
By Qiuling's deliberate arrangement, Zhixiang saw Meiji being humiliated at work in the tavern. Not wishing to affect Meiji's future, Zhixiang decided to leave alone without talking to anyone...
After Zhixiang had disappeared, Meiji, ignoring Rufeng and Xinhua's attempt to persuade her otherwise, was determined to find him. Zhuang Xun inquired about Xinhua in the hotel she had worked in, and from the hotel manager he got the information that Xinhua had gone to Xiamen, China to look for her brother Zhixiang. So, with his mother's encouragement and financial support, he set out for Xiamen to search for his wife.
Zhixiang opened a small clinic in the slum area and soon became the most popular doctor among the people who lived there. Zhongyu, who worked in the town government, heard about him and went to look for him. Zhixiang couldn't stop himself from asking how Meiji was. Zhongyu understood that Zhixiang was still deeply in love with Meiji, so, after wrestling with his own jealousy, he decided to tell him the truth that Meiji refused to come home, and had been searching hard for Zhixiang in the Xiamen suburbs.
Zhixiang was shocked by the news, and Zhongyu took his leave without saying anything further. When Zhongyu was gone, Zhixiang took out the book of poetry and handkerchief Meiji had left, and decided to go to her and start everything over again.
In the evening, Meiji, who had been searching for Zhixiang all day, dragged her exhausted body home, but unexpectedly saw Zhixiang waiting outside the door. Seeing each other again set on fire the passion hidden deep inside their hearts. Meiji threw herself into Zhixiang's arms and he held her tight, both of them vowing that, no matter what hardship might lie before them, they would face it together and never part so easily again.
In Qiuling's tavern, there were lovers embracing everywhere, irritating Qiuling even further. Suddenly, someone took the seat opposite to her, and the angry Qiuling told them to leave in a cold voice. Yixuan asked her if she was unhappy. Hearing Yixuan's voice, Qiuling was shocked into raising her head, just in time to see him smile cheerfully at her. Yixuan told Qiuling that if she was not happy, he was willing to drink with her tonight until they were both drunk. Although Qiuling could usually hold her alcohol well, tonight she was depressed and was soon drunk, and Yixuan could not wake her up. Just when he was about to carry her home, the waiters in the tavern took her from him, and a bartender who knew Yixuan told him that Qiuling was actually the owner of this place.
Knowing that Zhixiang was alright and had reconciled with Meiji, Xinhua loosened up a bit and finally let Rufeng closer to her. Rufeng got an order from his school to leave Xiamen on a business trip. Although he was reluctant to leave Xinhua and miss the chance to spend time with her, there was work for him to do. Before he left, he left the pictures he had taken for Xinhua in her small restaurant as a token of his affection.
Qiuling saw an oil painting of herself in Yixuan's studio and was moved beyond words. Yixuan told her that he spent a few days without sleeping and resting, creating this painting. Qiuling thanked Yixuan and told him that she would treasure this painting, like she treasured his affection for her.
Yixuan mustered up the courage to tell Qiuling he loved her. Qiuling said to him that "Are you sure I am the one you want? You should find a girl who suits you." Yixuan retorted that he believed there were no conditions or limits at all in the realm of love, and if there was true love, they could be together.
Zhuang Xun miraculously appeared before Xinhua, and she was overjoyed. Zhuang Xun was passionate to Xinhua because he had not seen her for a very long time, and she was happy and relieved to know he had found her mother-in-law Laidi. But in the atmosphere of happy family reunion, there was an unspeakable sadness in Xinhua's heart, and she did not know how to tell Zhuang Xun about her relationship with Rufeng.
Zhuang Xun saw the photographs Rufeng had left on the walls of Xinhua's restaurant and was reminded of this good friend who had once saved his life. He wrote a letter to Rufeng's school to tell Rufeng he had missed him, and when the letter finally found Rufeng who was not in Xiamen, he called Zhuang Xun and arranged to meet him.
Zhuang Xun left Xiamen to meet Rufeng. Despite that they had not met for such a long time, the two of them were soon good friends again, their friendship boosted by Zhuang Xun's forthright and eager manner. Zhuang Xun told Rufeng how happy he was to have found his wife, while Rufeng talked about his newfound love and asked Zhuang Xun to give them his blessing. Drunk and excited, the two of them did not realise that the two beloved women they were talking about were, in fact, the same person!
Qiuling was upset and drank in Yixuan's studio. Yixuan knew she was drinking to ease her unhappiness, and, watching the woman he loved suffer, his heart was heavy. Her mind filled with unhappy thoughts, Qiuling was soon drunk, and Yixuan carried her to the bed.
The next morning, the sun shone through the curtains and onto Qiuling's face. She woke up with tousled hair and hungover eyes and did not know where she was for a moment. Seeing Yixuan, who was drawing a sketch of her by the bed, Qiuling woke violently and was about to check the state of her clothes. Yixuan closed the sketchbook, told her he would not take advantage of her and nothing had happen between them the night before. Qiuling was embarassed, and, straightening her dishevelled hair, she rose from the bed.
Opening Yixuan's sketchbook, Qiuling found that the entire book was filled with pictures of herself. Smiling brightly or frowning in slight sadness; leaning by the window alone or standing in the middle of the crowd with her head held proudly... Raising her head and meeting the passionate eyes of Yixuan, Qiuling felt her heart skip a beat. Yixuan told her that, every time he thought of her, he would draw a sketch of her from memory, and this book full of sketches was a symbol of his love for her.
Qiuling was moved. Yixuan held her hands in his, asked her to give him a chance to show his love. She did not reply, but she began to look at Yixuan with different eyes.
Xinhua received the letter from Rufeng telling her he was safe and sound, and her heart went back to the days she had spent with Rufeng. Xinhua knew it was wrong, but she could not get rid of the longing she felt for him. For that, she was anxious and uneasy most of the time. At this moment, Zhuang Xun called to tell Xinhua how glad he was to meet an old friend of his, and said he wanted her to meet this friend too. Knowing now that both Zhuang Xun and Rufeng was in Chongqing, the coincidence made her heart jump. After thinking it over, Xinhua promised Zhuang Xun to go to Chongqing as soon as possible.
Part 5: "Returning the pearl to you, tears ran down my cheeks / Would it that we'd met before I married!"
Xinhua arrived at Xiamen. Zhuang Xun was going to have dinner with Rufeng again.
All through the dinner, Xinhua and Rufeng remained quiet. Xinhua dared not meet Rufeng's eyes directly, but he kept trying to look at her. Only Zhuang Xun was happy because he was together with his wife and best friend.
After the meal, when Zhuang Xun left his seat, Rufeng seized the chance to ask Xinhua to meet him tomorrow, because he had a lot of questions to ask her, and he wanted to know what she thought. Xinhua did not reply, and as Zhuang Xun was coming back to his seat, Rufeng told Xinhua urgently he would wait for her tomorrow and would not leave until she came.
Yet, on the next day, Rufeng did not see Xinhua. Zhuang Xun was going to leave for Penang with Xinhua to visit his mother. The night before they left, Rufeng asked Zhuang Xun to invite Xinhua for a farewell dinner. Xinhua claimed that she had a headache, so Zhuang Xun went to the dinner alone. Rufeng could not hide his disappointment at not seeing Xinhua.
At midnight, Xinhua heard Zhuang Xun opening the door and immediately went to bed and pretended to be asleep. Zhuang Xun sat on the side of the bed and looked at Xinhua, then took some clothes with him into the bathroom for a shower. The moment he entered the bathroom, Rufeng called. Xinhua picked up the phone, and on the other end of the line Rufeng told her in a drunken voice that he had fallen deeply in love with her, and asked her to leave Zhuang Xun and stay in Xiamen with him. Tears filled Xinhua's eyes as Rufeng continued to tell her he would wait for her by the pier tomorrow, and ieven f Xinhua chose to go back to Penang with Zhuang Xun, he would wish her happiness always.
The moment she hung up the phone, Zhuang Xun came out from the bathroom. He pretended not to see the tears in her eyes and asked her who had called. Xinhua told Zhuang Xun in a deliberately light voice that it was a call from Rufeng, saying goodbye. Zhuang Xun went to bed, looked at Xinhua and told her to go to sleep early, because the journey home would be long.
Closing his eyes, Zhuang Xun suddenly said to her that such a bustling city as Xiamen was filled with temptations and not suitable for them, while the quiet, simple Ipoh was the paradise where they could spend the rest of their lives in peace and happiness. Rufeng waited for Xinhua by the pier, and as minutes went by, his heart began to sink. He understood that, if Xinhua did not come, it meant she had chosen Zhuang Xun, Malaysia, and the quiet, simple life she used to live. Then, this love between him and Xinhua should draw to an end. As the train left the station, Xinhua looked out of the window and tears slowly fell down her cheeks. Zhuang Xun held her hand, said that he was glad to be coming home with her. Xinhua said goodbye to Rufeng in her heart.
Although Qiuling had never wanted to accept Yixuan, Zhixiang reacted strongly to Yixuan's attempt to court her. Zhixiang told Qiuling that Yixuan's courtship was not as innocent as it seemed, and opposed to her being friends with him. Zhixiang thought that if she did not want to accept his love, she should kill off Yixuan's hopes completely. Zhixiang's behaviour made Qiuling believe that he was jealous, so she continued to go out with Yixuan.
To force Meiji and Zhixiang to part, Zhongyu bribed the relative of a patient to accuse Zhixiang of misdiagnosis and stealing properties from the patient. This forced Zhixiang's hospital to be closed temporarily, and Zhixiang was arrested to aid investigation in the police station. Meiji, Rufeng and Qiuling heard about the scandal, and were determined to prove Zhixiang's innocence, no matter the cost. Meiji and Qiuling joined hands to ask Zhongyu, who worked in the town government health bureau, to help clarify the matter and give Zhixiang justice. Although Zhongyu was conflicted, the moment he thought about how happy and sweet Zhixiang and Meiji were together, he decided to remain silent.
To afford the lawyer's fee, Xinhua had to sell her restaurant in Malaysia and Rufeng spent all the money he had saved.
With Meiji and the others' effort, the relative of the patient who had cried about Zhixiang's misdiagnosis and stealing finally agreed to overturn his earlier statement, and Zhixiang was released innocently. When Zhixiang and Meiji found out that it was all Zhongyu's scheme to frame him up, they had a fierce argument, and Zhongyu and Zhixiang broke off their relations.
After this incident, Xinhua finally accepted Meiji and Zhixiang, and Zhixiang was no longer against Rufeng's love for his sister. Meiji and Zhixiang went to Qiuling's shop for a meal and saw the drunk Rufeng and Qiuling, who was trying to comfort and encourage him. They saw Rufeng drinking to drown his disappointment over Xinhua, and could not help but tell him he was not a man to behave that way and be defeated by love so easily. Meiji said to Rufeng, if he really loved Xinhua, he should not mind whether she was married and should follow her to Penang immediately to take her away from her husband. Rufeng was inspired by Meiji's words and murmured that he would go to Penang to take Xinhua away from Zhuang Xun.
Still heavily drunk, Rufeng ignored Zhixiang's advice against it and prepared to go to Malaysia to find Xinhua. Zhixiang and Meiji could not stop Rufeng, and they could not stop Qiuling either: she was moved by the fact that Rufeng had decided to find Xinhua because of her encouragement, and she herself was encouraged to accept Yixuan's love. Meiji and Zhixiang told Rufeng they would go to Malayia with him. Rufeng was touched by this unexpected gesture. Rufeng, Meiji and Zhixiang's visit shocked and surprised Xinhua, but Zhuang Xun received the three of them calmly. Although Rufeng wanted to tell Zhuang Xun that he loved Xinhua, he could not muster up the determination to do so because of Zhuang Xun's friendly attitude to him.
Part 6: “Unless heaven grew old, my love will never perish / The sadness of separation is like grasses in spring: the farther you go, the farther it would grow”
In the midnight, when everyone was fast asleep, Rufeng finally got the opportunity to meet Xinhua alone. Xinhua took Rufeng to a hill and asked him, if he had promised to give her his blessings should she choose to go back home with Zhuang Xun, then why did he come to disturb their peace now?
Rufeng told Xinhua that he regretted what he'd said, because if two people in love with each other cannot be together, he believed Xinhua and himself would not be happy for the rest of their lives. Tears ran down Xinhua's face, but still she tearfully told Rufeng that, living with Zhuang Xun, she felt a mundane happiness. Rufeng retorted that he believed all love to be special, and if it was mundane, it would not be true love and true happiness.
Looking at the sad, helpless Xinhua, Rufeng held her in his arms. Just when he was about to kiss her, Zhuang Xun, who had followed them and heard all that they had said, finally coughed to signal his presence and slowly walked out from where he had been hiding.
Xinhua and Rufeng heard the cough and separated immediately. Seeing that it was Zhuang Xun, Xinhua became pale with anxiety, but Rufeng felt a great relief at letting him know. Zhuang Xun, however, only said that he was having trouble sleeping and had come out for a walk. Xinhua tried to laughed off her nervousness and joked that they all seemed to find it hard to sleep tonight. She explained that she was also taking a walk and coincidentally met Rufeng there.
Zhuang Xun told Xinhua to go back and sleep first, he wanted to have a chat with Rufeng. Xinhua was worried that Rufeng might told Zhuang Xun about them, or Zhuang Xun might knew about them already, but she could only walked home with an uneasy heart.
Rufeng was prepared for what Zhuang Xun might say and waited for him say it. Zhuang Xun looked towards the faraway mountains and finally spoke up. To Rufeng's surprise, he said to him that there were many unique plants and animals in Malaysia, but although they were attractive, if someone took them away from this land, they would not be able to adapt and would die sooner or later. Rufeng was shocked by his words and looked at Zhuang Xun, but Zhuang Xun only smiled at him and said that they should go back to sleep.
After meeting Xinhua, Zhixiang thought that Rufeng should not ruin Xinhua's family, while Meiji supported Rufeng to take Xinhua back to Xiamen. Zhixiang told Rufeng that he and Xinhua were from two different worlds and their love would not last. Rufeng and Zhixiang had an argument, and Meiji anxiously tried to stop them.
Xinhua and Zhuang Xun went home after shopping and heard the argument. Xinhua let out a cry and, hiding her face in her hands, she ran into the house. Rufeng wanted to follow her, but Zhuang Xun blocked his way and hit him, and Rufeng fell on his back. Zhuang Xun continued to hit Rufeng like a madman, but Rufeng did not fight back and let Zhuang Xun's fists land on him again and again. Zhixiang pulled Zhuang Xun back, while Meiji worriedly checked Rufeng's injury.
Zhuang Xun looked at Rufeng sadly and asked him why he had to take away something that did not belong to him. Rufeng apologised and said he was only being true to his heart. Zhuang Xun sighed and went into the house to look for Xinhua.
Xinhua hid in her room and cried, while Zhuang Xun leaned against the door frame and watched her. Xinhua murmured an apology to him, and told him that although she had fallen in love with Rufeng, their relationship remained chaste and they had done nothing improper. Approaching Xinhua, Zhuang Xun did not reproached her, only asked her to make a choice between him and Rufeng. Everyone looked at him in surprise, and Zhixiang advised him to consider more carefully. However, Zhuang Xun said to Xinhua that he did not want an empty body without a soul, and if her heart did not belong to him, he was willing to let Xinhua and Rufeng leave together.
Xinhua turned to Rufeng, who nodded at her encouragingly. She turned back to the calm and dignified Zhuang Xun; his face betrayed no emotion. Xinhua lowered her head and thanked Zhuang Xun for his offer quietly. Hearing that, Rufeng's face shone with happiness, and although Zhuang Xun's face remained expressionless, his heart was bleeding. Suddenly, Xinhua raised her tearful eyes to looked at Zhuang Xun in silent complaint, and asked him how he could fail to understand her after all the years. Although she had been attracted by Rufeng, Zhuang Xun was the man she could always rely on. Zhuang Xun looked at her, both surprised and moved. Rufeng left without a word.
Rufeng took up his luggage and prepared to leave. Zhuang Xun walked away on purpose to let Xinhua say goodbye to him. Rufeng took one last glance at her and then turned and left. Zhixiang, Meiji and Rufeng returned to Xiamen. The situation in China was becoming more tumultuous.
Some medicine had been stolen from the Xiamen City Hospital, and the stolen
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