maltz:"Miss Ji! What a pleasure."
Ying:"Where are your manners! I am your ancestor!"
maltz:"Yes! Greatest Grandma Ji!"
Ying:"Ah don't call me that. You people are from... 1750 years later? I am surprised that mankind survived this long."
maltz:"Yes, many think we won't last for another 1750. Much has changed! Let's show you how our people live."
* Our 3rd-century correspondent opens up an IPAD for Ji Ying as she browses through Facebook/Weibo pages, where people share their vacation and food photos."
Ying: "Sh*t! You people eat better than that moron emperor!"
Ying: "You are all bloody rich! I guess in your time, there is no more 'first-level people' anymore? Every body is a philosopher, curious about why things are and how things work, sometimes poking fun at superstitions? No more money, fame, and beauty sh*t?"
Not every body has something to brag about. It's still a mixed bag of jewels. But I suppose our gold content has much improved since your time. OK, I have some questions that our readers wish you to answer. Are you ready?"
maltz: "Okay... I hope it is not impolite yet in your time - let's verify your age first. According to your father's letter to Shan Tao (山濤), you are 5 years older than your brother, who was born in 253. So you were born in year 248?"
Ying: "How would I know your calendar? Yes, I suppose?"
maltz: "So you are only a 15-year-old girl? In your time,16?"
Ying: "You have a problem with that, weird uncle from the future?"
maltz: "No, no! I just need to remove some of the more... er, adult content in Book 4.
OK, so you are roughly equivalent to our junior high school year 3 student."
(Our correspondent shows Ji Ying some textbook content on the IPAD.)
Ying: "Wow. Zhuge Zhan would laugh in his grave! All your people at age 15 study Chu Shi Biao (出師表)? Do you people read Zhong Hui's 'Cai Xing Si Ben Luen' (才性四本論)?"
maltz: "I am afraid that one has lost to the ages."
Ying: "Ha! In your face, @sshole!"
"How about some lighthearted material. Tell us about your favorite food."
Ying: "I want to eat that small man alive! Normally I do anything with bamboo shoots."
maltz:"Why do you like to wear yellow?"
Ying:" "I used to wear blue-green like this. It provides a perfect camouflage in a dark bamboo forest, so I can sneak up to bad guys and slit their throats."
Ying:"But once I came to Chao Zhen temple (朝真觀), there was nothing but yellow dress in the closet. I had no choice."
Actually I can add to this answer this myself - Miss Ji spoke yellow words in the previous story (幻)"
Ying: "That reminds me, why didn't you finish it? How can you face your readers? If you do that again, I will let you taste my Fish-bowel sword!"
"How sharp exactly is Fish-bowel sword? It cuts off heads; it even cuts a sword in half! It is not scientific!"
Ying:"You tell me?"
(looks down at her sword)
maltz:"OKAY, I thought there must be some kick-ass weapon in a war story, so... if a weapon is made by a grand-master like your father, it must be a grand-master-level artifact, right?"
Ying:"I didn't know wisdom can translate to a weapon. It sounds like Tian Ren Gan Ying (天人感應), which is f*cking b*llsh*t."
maltz:"...Ok let me ask about Guqin, your music instrument inherited form your father. How come your mind always wander off when you play it?"
Ying: "Other than it is impossible describe pitch with words? Qin has a rather slow tempo, allowing the performer to pour her thoughts into the next note... NO I just made that up. The tea house pays by the hour. Those fools wouldn't complain that you play too slowly -- they either don't pay any attention anyway, or they are too smart to not understand fine art. You get it?"
maltz:"...OK... How about your thoughts on Yanxing's meaning? Do you think it is a workable thesis to encourage the modern-day hermits to come out and change the world?"
Ying:"If there is any? Well you guys are so rich, and you have this insane public education, so there must be quite a lot."
Ying: "Then sure. When people reach a certain level of wisdom and material living standard, they naturally want to contribute something back to the society. Your target readers are those who are already satisfied in their pursuit in beauty, fame, morality, and knowledge, but before they have done too much to fulfill their destinies. So you are looking at age 20s at least, 30s maybe. In our time, they don't have too many years left already. Maybe more years in your time, since you people are rich enough to HAVE MEAT EVERY DAY?"
maltz: "Average life-span today ranges from 70s to 80s."
Ying: "F*ck! Can I come to your time, please? I don't want to die young!"
maltz: "You won't! Okay, personally, what's your feeling that many Confucian ideals have actualized in our time?"
Ying: "You lucky bastards. How many of your people are Taixue(太學) graduates?"
maltz:"According to official 2014 survey, currently 20% of Chinese netizens have college/university or higher education."
Ying: "F*ck me, you just said 200 out of 1000 families? Zhuge Zhan would crawl out of his grave if he hears this. So I suppose you see equivalents of 'Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove' (竹林七賢) everywhere?"
maltz:"Pretty much, though people don't make up those cheesy names anymore."
"We import cheese from barbarians. So yes, there are indeed many knowledgeable writers, and unfortunately, more of the less knowledgeable kind as well. I am one of the less knowledgeable, of course."
Ying: "You think the other six sages could write? Don't complain! Think about what kind of sh*t your ancestors had to endure."
maltz: "Yes! OK, next reader's question - hm, what would you pick if you are a fictional character in a medieval setting? A warrior, a thief, a cleric, a mage, or something else? 'I bet you would be a good thief, which can be evolved into an assassin,' this reader remarked."
Ying: "Thief? Assassin? Stealing and killing people for fun? How dare one looks down on his ancestor like this. I will be a mage. One fireball sends hundreds of pigs and dogs in the air, Buhahaha."
maltz: "... speaking of political correctness, I am curious about your opinions on international politics. Let's start with this question...what's your take on Sino-US relationship? Who asked this?"
maltz: "In our age, the offsprings of Han and Wei form one of the two great countries in the world. Well, we are not as great as the other one yet. But many believe we will surpass them in several decades. So naturally there is a lot of tension between the two countries. The current superpower tries not to be surpassed by us."
Ying: "Oh. You two are like Han and Wei? Two countries fighting each other today?"
maltz: "We are not at war yet, fortunately. The Americans think we are like Wei people, and we think the Americans are like Wei people."
Ying: "Is that true? You are both @ssholes?"
maltz: "We do sling muds at each other's face - mostly out of fear and ignorance."
Ying: "Normal. Then you hate each other enough so you fight, until one gets destroyed. Good luck! Don't lose this time!"
maltz: "I hope that day never comes. OK next question: how do you think about the umbrella revo... thing in HK? Oh this is very sensitive, so please answer it with care."
Ying: "Huh? People rebel using umbrella? Did they run out of weapons? Good luck."
maltz: "It is just a protest."
Ying: "OH like what happened on Chengdu Taixue square?"
maltz: "Pretty much. Without racial slurs, OK just a bit. To help you understand the situation, let's assume Chengdu, which has millions of people, becomes autonomous under the consent of Wei. But now the people of Chengdu demand more autonomy, having full freedom in choosing their ruler."
Ying: "So it is like a coup to restore Han? What a fantastic idea! But you have to get rid of Deng Ai. Is there a Deng Ai in that city?"
maltz: "Not everybody is trying to restore Han. In our age it is just common to demand freedom."
Ying: "Like Taoist hermits do? Interesting. Does your Sima Zhao allow this?"
maltz: "Yes and no. Let's say that most people believe a healthy dose of freedom leads to creativity, motivation, and prosperity."
Ying: "Let millions of people decide what they want to do on their own ? Sounds like utter chaos and destruction in my time."
maltz: "Let's hope we are more rational than our dear ancestors 1700 years ago. OK, next contemporary international politics topic for our interviewee form Wei-Jin Dynasty..."
Ying: "Just ask!"
maltz: "What's your take on religious extremism and terrorism?"
Ying: "Like the Yellow Turban Rebellion? (黃巾之亂/起義)"
maltz: "Yes, something like that."
Ying: "Suppression for the short-term, education for the long-term."
maltz: "I personally don't believe in suppression."
Ying: "Let's just call it 'necessary measures to maintain public order'.You never miss it until you need it."
maltz: "Okay... You know, you are quite a Leftist in our standard. But you were so Right in your time." (see footnote)
Ying: "Yes I am so frequently right, I know, can't help it."
maltz: "... Time has changed and I like the direction it is changing. Final question! it is a little personal..."
Ying: "Ask away."
maltz: "Did you fall in love with Zhuge Zhan at first sight?"
Ying: "How can you resist a tall, handsome, strong, sexy-voiced gentle dude? But he is almost as old as my dad. Can't do."
maltz: "Then how about Maozi?"
Ying: "You are no where near Zhuge Zhan."
maltz: "...I mean maozi in the story, not maltz."
Ying: "You let me slit this SOB's throat! Don't stop me!"
maltz: "But he gets a sh*tty job...he does his best to avoid harms."
Ying: "I don't care! I will cut off his tongue myself!"
maltz: "OK... let thanks Ms. Ji Ying for joining us tonight! I hope you get a good rest in Mt. Blue City. See you again in Book 4!"
Note: In current Chinese usage, Left = authoritarian & equality, Right = liberal & freedom. In current Western usage, Left = liberal & equality, Right = authoritarian & freedom.