Cry of the Midnight Jackdaw


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On the second year Xiao Zuo became emperor, the Jin army stepped through the Meridian gates with their iron heels, and Nan Liang fell to ruin. In one evening, he was reduced from the monarch above many to a Nan Hun Duke anyone could humiliate and insult.

When Xiao Zuo woke up from a nightmare the middle of the night dripping with sweat, the outside of the windows dimly fell with a light pitter pattering rain.

The nation of twenty years, and the eight thousand miles of land could only glanced at in dreams of old. Even while dreaming at midnight, he could not help but think of his Ji Le Palace at Nan Liang, that jaded tree with fine branches and soft silk, the imperial maids wearing flowery ornaments playing the lute, playing the Magpie Treads On Branches.

Just at the time his country fell into ruin and he was like a duckweed adrift, He Xuan smiled and reached out to him.

Associated Names
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Recommendation Lists
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  2. Danmei novels with ongoing translations
  3. Finished
  4. Ancient/Kingdom/Empire Era
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Latest Release

Date Group Release
08/26/23 Kahka’s Corner c111
08/23/23 Kahka’s Corner c110
08/19/23 Kahka’s Corner c109
08/16/23 Kahka’s Corner c108
08/12/23 Kahka’s Corner c107
08/09/23 Kahka’s Corner c106
08/05/23 Kahka’s Corner c105
08/02/23 Kahka’s Corner c104
07/29/23 Kahka’s Corner c103
07/26/23 Kahka’s Corner c102
07/22/23 Kahka’s Corner c101
07/19/23 Kahka’s Corner c100
07/15/23 Kahka’s Corner c99
07/12/23 Kahka’s Corner c98
07/08/23 Kahka’s Corner c97
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kahka rated it
August 24, 2022
Status: Completed
I usually don't write a review until there are enough chapters for others to judge properly, but I guess there is a growing trend to write one as soon as possible.

This is ultimately a sad story.

We start with the MC just as he is exhausted of all options and is surrounded in his palace. We never see in the story why the enemy country set their sights on the MC's country, but it's not hard to figure out. A country whose king died not long ago, only to be succeeded... more>> by an inexperienced 14 year old (16/17 at the start of the story after 2 years of reign going by the summary) who has yet to learn how to properly govern a country aside from what is written in books, who wouldn't want to take advantage and take over when they are at their weakest point? After his strongest general is defeated, the number of troops get so low he had to resort to conscription, and the rest of the palace ran away (assuming to avoid being put into s*avery), he is forced to surrender and be taken prisoner.

That's when the story starts. In a foreign land, he yearns for his family and close ones as one does in a poem by Li Bai of the same title as well as other music and literature that bear the same title. The cries of the crow/jackdaw in the night symbolizes the pain one experiences as they yearn for their loved ones they must leave in Chinese literature.


But unfortunately, just because he is taken prisoner and war has ended, it doesn't mean he is cut ties with his home country, nor does it mean peace returns to the land. Strife and chaos still arise in his home, and just as the commoners are tortured by their new ruling figures, they look back to the MC as a saviour to their misfortunes. Forget those far away in his homeland, even those close to him look to him to help his subjects in need.

The MC is quite pitiful in that way- despite being a king at one point, he is used as a pawn on both sides, whether it be as an example for other countries, or a beacon of hope the rebellion uses to gather people under.

Of course, our MC still feels responsible for his citizens- call it being soft-hearted or feeling obligated, but I just don't think it is enough to call him fake or disingenuous. But what can he do? He is powerless, and as a glorified prisoner of war, anything he does that might hint to dissatisfaction with the current ruler or a rebellion will get him executed (See, the last ruler, Li Yu, who MC's circumstances allude to). That's where our ML comes in.


A large reason why I translated this novel was for the ML.

A level-headed, smart crown prince who doesn't think with his lower half (all the time). Instead of being soft on the MC and spoiling them at every turn, or like how a lot of novels go, and go against the emperor to declare his love for the MC and ask for the emperor’s blessings, he is very aware of their positions and situation. He is crown prince before he is his own being, his country is placed in greater priority than the MC. So when the MC initially comes asking for help, he is rejected without even a second thought. The ML might like the MC, but he is never blinded by their love.

As for the relationship and the development, I would say, due to their circumstances, can feel a bit uncomfortable at times.


You have the ML who approaches him first because he wants to get into his pants, coming in at a favourable time where the MC is at his weakest. The bits of kindness he shows the MC become the MC's light in a time of darkness, which in turn gets the MC to rely on him more and more. Contrary to a relationship and love that transcends all, this one is very much hush-hush and on the down low, but I won't fault the novel for that. One is a crown prince aiming to sit on the throne with an emperor for a father who turns suspect at everything, and one is a prisoner of war whose head can come off for any reason as small as being dissatisfied with the level of service the servants grant him. It's a relationship of give and take, and not both people in the relationship hold equal power, amplified by their circumstances.


In terms of the author's writing style, I would say it is a bit immature, though I think it is a given since it is the first novel they wrote. There are some tendencies for certain words that get repeated quite often throughout the novel, like shivering and all its synonyms that can occur multiple times in one line (though I wouldn't know compared to other novels with interactions between servants and the moody masters they serve), or some odd shortenings in the original text that sometimes will make the fluidity of the sentence a bit off, but it's nothing that will exactly stop someone from continuing on reading. There are also tendencies to make references to other literature as well as real-world historical events, aside from those that I have already mentioned above (Li Bai, Li Yu), that add to the realism of the world the author portrays, although use of modern divisions of time does break it a bit (take this from the perspective of a reader of the original text, I'm not quite sure if it would be relevant for other readers).

All in all, there is potential, but this is definitely not a fluffy or feel-good novel where the ML comes in to flash his authority each time our powerless MC is met with harassment, or one where the couple will flaunt their relationship to others because they are so love with each other. This is one where the couple confronts the reality of their situation (s) and face the problems that come with a relationship with two very unequal positions. <<less
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Hippopotamus rated it
February 10, 2023
Status: --
I cannot fully describe what I felt when I read this novel. It's very heartbreaking for me.

The author describes the life of the people of Nan Liang after envoys from Jin occupied their cities. At that moment, there was only one thing that crossed my mind. That humans can be more vile than animals.

What can a 14 year old boy do?

If I were in his position, I also would not be able to do anything. Many people's lives were burdened on his immature shoulders, can you imagine how hard it... more>> was?

Honestly, I cried a bit while reading this novel. I felt that MC is so pitiful. He must be wanted to help his people but he just didn't know how...

What he might be able to do is pin his hopes on ML. However, who is ML? He was the crown prince of the kingdom that defeated and occupied Nan Liang. Even ML himself is in a difficult position. It's so hard to protect himself, then how to protect others?

Some readers look down on MC who can only cry and depend on ML. Degrading his weakness, but logically, if we are in his position, I'm not sure that we can live as strong as he is... It's easier to die but it's harder to live under oppression and humiliation. <<less
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LeniSnow rated it
August 14, 2022
Status: --
Going to start with a disclaimer that I didn't continue reading this, well~ I did but skim through it until the ending torturing myself to finish it. I am not reliable at all.

Another main character who is disconnected to reality. He is pathetic. Relies on pity and gaslights ml. Cry, cries and more crying (I mean, the title is right) like in the blind concubine. Relies on the MLs affection for the, low key manipulation. Seeking things that would put the ML in harm (unknowingly if you're dumdum) but MC... more>> don't even put that in consideration because he is compassionate to his own people.

In the first place, they lost the war because he is not a good ruler. His soldier hates him. His kingdom feeds the rich and now you care about your pitiful citizens when they're no longer your responsibility why didn't he use that care and take back his power before, oh yeah he didn't had an ML he could use before, silly me. Maybe I just couldn't like him since the start where he was running away while his people gets butchered and all he cares about is his close ones and when it was mentioned how they were at the top before enjoying luxury but now are going to be prostit**es and s*aves, author why add that paragraph. He was an emperor so he got a better treatment. He can't care because he isn't capable, but it's not about having the ability but having the loyalty. I get he is young or even a maybe a puppet but can't change that he is their figure. The author did well in capturing MC as a royal since he is oblivious to so many things, probably didn't even tried to study politics and tactic, not to mention his useless pride, the typical MC with their shitty pride and unfortunate circumstances. I don't know why this is BL when it is better suited to be BG and it'll be more appreciated mainstream wise.

I did like the circumstances and personality of the ML. He is the reason I wanted to know how this ends because I want to know what happened to him. Why did he get partnered with a damsel in distress, he deserves better. <<less
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wetheril rated it
February 21, 2024
Status: Completed
I dropped this novel previously, but I picked it up again a couple months ago and I enjoyed it a lot more this time around. This is not a "happy" story even with all the domestic fluff scenes in the latter half of the novel. It's about two broken people who fall in love despite circumstances that pose challenges to them falling in love. The MC (shou) is a monarch of a fallen country while the ML (gong) is the crown prince of the enemy state that subjugated MC's country.... more>> The MC is put into a position where he has no real power. It's about how he slowly comes to accept his new reality as well as trying to find happiness despite it all. It feels like a more realistic portrayal of someone in his position, which isn't softened by being an "extraordinarily talented" character. The ML seems like he has all the trappings to be the future ruler and can be ruthless, but he is actually a soft person inside. There is, however, one non-con scene fairly early on that feels like it was glossed over a bit, but it didn't stop me from reading. After a while, I came to appreciate the story for the rest of its qualities. It is difficult for me to rate this story, but I would place it somewhere between 3.5 and 4. <<less
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