Ordered by chapter, with ten chapter’s worth of footnotes per page.

Chapter 2

[1] 九玄 (jiu xuan) – the 玄 character has various meanings- of which can mean the colour, black/dark, being distant/far in time (玄古), or profound, or abstruse (玄妙). It can also mean unreliable or mysterious (玄虚). The word can also be used in 玄教 or 玄学, in reference to the teachings of taoism, or metaphysics. It can be said that since the name of the sect is Nine(九) ‘Xuan’, all of the above should apply plus many more. It is also important to note that nine is the largest single-digit number, thus, implies the meaning of being the biggest, best, and the one that is the top of all the others. With this interpretation, this sect is the most mysterious of all, the longest standing, most ancient etc etc. Also can be said that since 玄 is representative of the sky’s colour, it is also used to in reference to the sky. Following this line of thought, it would mean that the sect is calling themselves the highest point in the sky/the ninth heaven.

*You can bet your ass every instance of black, apart in relations to darkness, will be using this character all throughout this novel.

[2] Any instances of 师 X(兄,妹,姐, 弟,叔)etc. will be simply translated as brothers and sisters and uncles etc etc (senior would be more fitting if only there weren’t distinctions between the guys and girls). But the true relationship between the characters is that of one where they share the same master/teacher/sect, or their teachers are apprentice siblings (thereby calling the older generation their uncle/aunt) etc. To conserve keystrokes and words, once a person is established as an older apprentice brother/sister, I will be simply referring to them as senior in the future, but just keep in mind that the original wording does make distinctions that cannot be translated into something as flowing and smooth as the original. Assume that any instances of just brother/sister means the person is younger/has less seniority over the other person.

[3] 大师兄 (eldest apprentice brother) here is more in reference to the disciple with the highest standing, not necessarily the eldest in age or the one with the longest apprenticeship as we will find slightly later. Often the one to inherit the position as the sect leader once the previous one retires.

[4] 跳脱- Aside from being nimble or agile, there are several other definitions of this word with both more old and modern uses of the term. It can refer to the object, a bracelet (because it jumps (跳) and can escape/be taken off (脱)), or refer to the act of escaping (逃脱). In more modern use case, it is used in reference to speech patterns- such as suddenly stopping in the middle, having one’s words cut off suddenly, suddenly coming back in a conversation with a previous/different topic , or having thoughts jumping around from one to another .

[5] 百里疏 (bai li shu)- last name 百里 (hundred miles), first name 疏, which of all the meanings it can have, I believe this in particular fits best- distant (in social relations). Also to note, the ‘miles’ portion is not the imperial mile, but the Chinese mile.

[6] 九州- Nine Provinces, a rather old way of referring to China because it was made of nine provinces at the time. The Nine Provinces can also be called the Twelve Provinces (due to one specific one being too big and thus splitting off into three more) or, as the setting of the novel indicates, Fourteen Provinces. Also, it is important to note this is the name of the cultivation sect. Yes, they’re calling themselves a bank. One of the only sects I will be using a translated name, because this is the only one with such a straight forward meaning.
Fun fact: 九州 is also the name of and the kanji spelling for Kyushu, Japan.

[7] 屈指可数- few enough that it can be counted with one’s fingers.

[8] 狗血淋头- expression for, letting loose hurls of abuse.

[9] 化神境- The exact rank name can vary between burning god [down], melting god [down], or shifting/turning [into] god depending on how you define 化, but it should more be in line with the third one. But since it’s not at the rank of a ‘true immortal/god’, I think Half God is an appropriate name for now, but keep in mind it’s not a real Half God (半神) in translation. A rank called ‘almost god’ or ‘about-to-be god’ or ‘near-god’ and other similar names that would describe the rank more accurately is not very smooth on the tongue. Consulting English guides on cultivation ranks don’t exactly help and baidu(looks like there was changes while I translated this) is only slightly more helpful in that I can see where the rank typically falls but the sheer amount of variation from novel to novel is not helping. However, this is not exactly all that important as the novel does not focus on cultivating/training. You just need to know it’s a high rank.

[10] 御兽宗 (yu shou)- can be translated as, controlling/dominating (驾御) beasts, driving/riding the beast, or if one wants to be even more ridiculous- Emperor(‘s)/imperial beast sect since the 御 character can also be used to refer to the Emperor himself (from the subject’s speech).

[11] 叶秋生- the name essentially means born in/grows in autumn/harvest time.

[12] 太上宗 (tai shang)- the highest/ the topmost, sect. Or, the most ancient. Can also be considered to be a reference to 太上老君, the forefather of Taoism/cultivation (more commonly known today as Laozi/老子). The term 太上 can also be used to refer to the Emperor himself (people may be more familiar with the term 太上皇, or the father (previous Emp.) of the current Emperor-in-throne).

[13] 易鹤平 (yi he ping)- the name is a combination between ‘crane’ and ‘peaceful/smooth/fair’. The surname, 易, means ‘easy’. The name bears some resemblance to the term 平易, which means amiable.

[14] 玄策- the 策 of Xuan Ce means, policy. The particular word is also used to refer to bamboo/wooden slips for writing, and can also be used to refer to documents. Fairly easy to figure out what they are responsible for.

[15] 凌霄- to reach the clouds, or soar to the skies. It is also the name of a flower whose name in English is the Chinese trumpet creeper/vine, and just like its name, tends to grow very tall.

[16] 丧心病狂 The term, to be more precise, means to be sick with madness, out of his mind, or even better- perverse.

Chapter 3

[1] (吃苦) To eat a suffering/ go through hardship, or as I like to say, eat shit.

[2] 病秧子- someone constantly wrought with illness.

[3] 病魔- used to refer to serious illness.

[4] (Western Paradise) Also called sukhavati.

[5] 璧雍(阁)- the ‘Jade Harmony’ was a place during Ancient China established as the Emperor’s lecture hall, so to speak, where the Emperor held lessons. Or, if one were to mean 明堂辟雍, it was an establishment for the highest ranking of the Imperial family to use as a place of worship (gods, ancestors etc.)

Chapter 4

[1] 清隽- can either be one (or some) of several meanings, 1) 清高超群, lofty and pure, exceeding everyone else, 2) 清新隽永, fresh and meaningful (filled with deeper meaning), or 3) 清秀俊美, delicate and pretty/handsome. Take your pick.

[2] 突契 (tu qi)- abrupt[ly](突), (契, qi) getting along, or [entering a] contract, or sculpting. Or, if using the 契 (xie), that is based on 楔, wedge. There is also an ancient nationality along northern China by the name of Qi/Khi Dan/Tan, where the 契 may be based off of as well. The one that would make most sense, would probably be ‘abruptly built/formed’.

[3] 荒灵 (huang ling). 荒 means desolate, barren, waste(land). Or, dissolute, crude, absurd. Or, to neglect, be out of practice. 灵, means to be quick, clever, or effective. Can also be used to refer to spirits, souls, intellect, or in more of a western fantasy setting- fairies, elves, and sprites. Combined, can either mean crude or neglected spirits, or crude and clever.

Chapter 5

[1] 玄厉峰- The Li in Xuan Li means strict, rigorous, or severe.

[2] (The dealer has no eyes)- In a similar vein to the expression of the sword having no eyes, there is no partiality- there is no one to blame but yourself.

[3] 戾气- not simply just ‘ruthless’ in killing, but the idea in Chinese medicine that the person needs to be relentless in everything. It extends into cursing out without much provocation, or making the biggest reactions to the smallest of things when it doesn’t go the way you want. Think, violent temper.

[4] 贺州- last name He (congratulat(e)/ory), first name Zhou, the zhou of province, or state.

[5] 风流- in ancient times it means to be distinguished and admirable. Modern day uses this to describe a passionate and fickle (in love) person.

[6] 沈长歌- last name Shen (sharing the same meaning as 沉: to sink, or deep, profound, or is otherwise just more or less without any other meaning) first name Chang Ge (a song or poem that is particularly abstruse, profound, or a song with contents particularly long that details out one’s heroic deeds), by no means related to the Chang Ge of the same name in the previous novel, nor his master whose last name is also Shen.

[7] 皮笑肉不笑- in other words, a forced or unnatural smile.

[8] 乾- meaning, northwest (direction), or, more likely, Qian, one part of the Eight Diagrams in Taoism cosmology. Symbolizes Heaven. (Qian range)

Chapter 6

[1] 辛酸泪- a bunch of miserable tears.

Chapter 7

[1] 廌 (zhi)- a beast of ancient legends said to have a single horn. In ancient courts of law, it would be used to discern criminals and would attack the irrational and make them leave.

[2] 一目十行- one glance, ten lines.

[3] 过目不忘- to never forget after the first glance.

Chapter 8

[1] 三玄皇图 (Three Ancient Emperors’ Drawing)- Again, the 玄 has many ways of interpretation, but within context, there can only be so many ways to describe emperors. 图 can either refer to a drawing, diagram, chart, map or a graph. However, I completely forgot what it actually referred to so for now it’s just a drawing. In its short form, ‘皇图’ will be called the imperial drawing.

[2] 京陵台 (Mausoleum of Ten Million)- the 京(Jing) is a numerical unit in ancient times for ten million. By no means should it be interpreted as the capital (京城) in this setting. The ‘mausoleum’ can also be separately translated as a ‘hill’, and platform, or stage.

[3] 贺擎川 (he chuan qing)- the Qing (擎) character means to lift up, to prop, or support. Chuan (川), can either refer to rivers, glaciers or a plain/level area. When used as a verb, can mean to quickly boil something, however, from how the name suggests, it’s more likely it refers to the nouns.

Chapter 9

[1] 蓬莱 (peng lai)- A mountain in which immortals would reside in a fable. See this wikiarticle for more information.

[2] 金唐 (jin tang)- Jin, the character for gold. Tang, on the other hand, can be in reference the famous Tang dynasty, or according to the dictionary, mean empty/unrealistic, or in vain. Can also mean exaggerated, or boastful (荒唐).

[3] 广汉郡 (guang han prefecture)- in short terms, the prefecture’s name is called ‘numerous men’, or if one were to take the 汉 character as referring to the Han people (which makes up a rather large part of China), by interpolation = Chinese people.

[4] 湘潭 (xiang tan lake)- not much to explain here as the characters don’t actually bear much definition, other than there is a river in real life of the name Xiang Jiang (湘江) located in Hunan province, and any bodies of water originating from the province are named as a ‘Xiang’ body, as the name is a shorthand for the province. The ‘Tan’ simply means lake, or deep pool.

Chapter 10

[1] 杂书 (irrelevant books)- In ancient times, these would refer to books like novels, operas, anything that did not have relation to imperial exams (or in this case, cultivation).
Fun fact: 杂志 is used to refer to magazines. Gives you insight to what the people think is filled in them when the term was made.

[2] 墨辰木 (inky morning wood)- the ‘morning’ portion, 辰, refers to the one of the earthly branches (hence wood), used in ancient times to denote a certain hour. Naturally, this wood does not exist in real life.

[3] 悄无声息- quietly, without a sound or breath.

[4] “三千大道平生尽,红尘不恋自在仙。” Three thousand paths all lead to a whole life’s end, the mortal realm has no lingerings, thus the freedom becomes the immortal’s.
In my initial translation of this line, I interpreted the second half as (对)红尘不恋(的)自在仙, or as the elder words it, 不恋红尘(的),自(有)在仙, by having no lingering attachments for/towards mortal desires/realm, the freedom then becomes the immortal’s. Bai Li Shu instead interprets it as 红尘(对仙)不恋, where the mortal does not yearn for the immortal(ity).

[5] 走火入魔- ‘getting possessed by the devil’, a common concept in cultivation novels in which the person enters a berserk state by succumbing to their inner demon, as a result of the incompatibility of their body and spiritual power, or due to the use of uncouth methods to obtain cultivation, where emotional instability will lead to the risk of possession, as seen in this case. Key to avoiding this is to generally avoid agitation altogether, so there are no fluctuations in mood.

[6] 前辈, the actual term that meant to refer to an actual senior and not ‘Senior’ that is Bai Li Shu. Used to address people older than you (in general).

[7] 闻人九 (wen ren jiu)- 闻人 is to mean, a well-known figure, where as Jiu(九) is the number nine. Refer to previous chapters regarding the symbolism around nine.

[8] 雪中送炭 (sending charcoal in the middle of snow)- expression for sending help in time of distress.

[9] 拓印 (rubbing)- in ancient times, there would be inscriptions made, either on stone or wooden blocks, for the purposes of being able to reproduce the characters onto a piece of paper. The ‘rubbing’ refers to the action of the paper moistened and applied (by rubbing it) onto the stone slab, then carefully brushed with ink once the paper is dry so that the characters underneath the paper is reproduced onto the paper itself. An early model of ‘photocopying’, if you will.

[10] There is a saying that when you’re hitting a snake, hit it at the mark seven inches from its head, the area in where its heart is located. Of course, not every snake is the same size, and not every snake’s heart is seven inches from its head, but ‘seven inches’ for a snake still indicates its heart. Its most weakest point.