Top Tragic Chinese Light Novels (Short ver.) That Will Make You See The Other Face of Sadness

Light novels have recently became well-accepted in the market these days; examples are No Game No Life, Mahouka Koukou no Retoussei, etc. – which pave a lot of anime enthusiasts to start grabbing a copy of their favorite book!

(Well, that is if you understand the Japanese language and have the capability to buy them but with me-)

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Sad reality… Thankfully, websites like  novelupdates, wuxiaworld, and gravitytales can help direct you to various translators who are sacrificing their blood and limbs yeheeey~~ ugh… okay, not that brutal, just their energy, time, and finances. (Hey, we need to appreciate them. They still are doing so much you know!)


–  for providing the tragic commoners the chance of knowing them. Waaahhhhh!!!


Okay, let’s stop crying! *hik*

However, Chinese light novels have also began to sprout out like flowers during the touch of spring. Growing here and there with a wide variety of genre plus accompanied by their gorgeous semi-realistic graphics (especially handsome guys hohoho). But why am I speaking about spring when this list of mine will tackle all about the tragic life of our dear protagonists.

I repeat!


Oh, I didn’t mean those common stories where two naive people meet up, fall in love with each other, and then death happens to one of them. (Don’t worry, I have nothing against those plots. Really, I have nothi- ohohoho don’t look at me like that~ Believe me I have nothing against them alright~)



These list will let you see another reason as to what makes a story tragic, heart-wrenching, and tear jerking. Sooo let’s not sweat the small details, thus READERS!!





Don’t you dare run away!!!



Note: Descriptions are from and all novels have a complete status.

1. The Bird of Good and Evil



by: Zi Xinyu (紫芯玉)

Read it here: TBGE Short Story

Alternative Name: 善恶鸟


“If I gave you the chance to become a human, would you want to?”

Back then, I simply smiled and said, “I don’t want to become a human. I want to continue being a bird, soaring freely in the skies. That’s perfect for me.”

As things changed with the passage of time, all of a sudden, I really wanted to become a human just once. Thus, I asked the god, “Can I still have another chance to become a human?”

However, the god shook his head, “You’ve already missed your opportunity. Furthermore, even if I gave you a chance now, you wouldn’t live past a single day.”

“That’s fine, even half a day is fine. I just want to be a human for once.”

With shining eyes, I pleaded earnestly…


This is actually a good story with a moral lesson about realizing things in a hard way. It focuses on the journey of a bird that does not know what is good and what is evil.  The narration is simple, similar to a children’s book but the words at the end would hit you with guilt. Stirring your heart, the last words will sadden you of the painful reality of this world. *hik* Little bird, we are sorry… *hik*



2. Ziqin



by: Jiu Lu Fei Xiang (九鹭非香)

Read it here: Chapter 1Chapter 2

Alternative Name: 梓琴


*Title: 梓(zǐ) referencing to Chinese Catalpa(a tree with creamy white flowers);琴(qín): a musical instrument such as a guqin or zither

Not knowing how many times in the middle of the night dreaming about the past, there is always a soft voice whispering in his ear, the words “master”, “master”. The callings cause his heart to soften, but once again swiftly turns sour.

Hundreds of years getting by in emptiness and solitary on Qing Zhu Feng Shang (Bamboo Peaks), only a dried up peach tree that is about to die is left, along with qin that has broken strings. Everyday he shuts himself off, concentrating on refining his cultivation techniques, not because of the possibilities of receiving a serious internal injury but for whatever reason he was not aware of. He wanted to wait, to protect that person, but will not meet [that person] ever again…



This story is divided into two chapters.

The first one is about the Master who is living in solitude accompanied by a broken qin. To become immortal, he was tasked to fully destroy the instrument. The second chapter tells a story of the past and the reason why the instrument was precious to the Master.

This story will leave you in a broken mess. No, depends on your level of tolerance. (I’m just weak against sadness, okay!) At first, it confused me and left me with questions until I read the next chapter. It took me long to move on from this story especially the last chapter. Damn, I’m attacked by onion ninjas again. huhu *gets tissue* Master!! Ziqin smiled even at the… end… uwaahhhhhahhahaha



3. Rouged Lips



by: YAYA (呀呀)

Read it here: Short Story

Alternative Name: 點絳脣, diǎn jiàng chún


When they married, he promised to paint her lips with rouge. That year the blossom slowly bloomed. However, over time, blossoms wilt and promises are broken.


A situation of arranged marriage in ancient China. It shows that marriages of the past does not only belonged to the couple but also to their family, a duty one must fulfill. And it reveals the life of a wife when she could not do her duty – to bear a child.

A sad story of a forgotten promise, how one clings to it until the end while the other realizes too late. It is just depressing…




4. How Hurtful of the Maple Leaves



by: Zi Xinyu (紫芯玉)

Read it here: Short Story

Alternative Name: 枫叶那么伤


O maple leaves as far as the eye can see, could you help me tell him, that I’m still waiting for him to come home?

In that maple forest, under that tree, it was like a dream.

Following the gentle passing of the breeze, everything vanished into thin air as if it had never existed.

“Jing’er, we’re right in the thick of autumn now. Don’t go outside too much, in case you catch a cold.”

The sunlight was just right at that time, and the maple leaves were still around. A handsome man dressed in white clothing; he’s my husband.


A story in times of war. The story is about the feelings of a wife as she waits for her husband to come home. This story will make you understand that a story is not tragic because of deaths but because of the emotions that swelled inside the heart… Oh, don’t mind me, I’ll be staying in the corner for a while… *sobs sobs*


6. Mum, I Used to Hate You



by: Zi Xinyu (紫芯玉)

Read it here: Short Story

Alternative Name: 妈妈,我曾讨厌你


I once asked myself whether I had ever experienced anything… so unforgettable that it was carved deeply into my bones.

Then I thought carefully about it.

Actually, my life was pretty average and rather peaceful.

It was probably because I was still young.

But upon thinking even more seriously, it seems like I’ve ever really hated one person.

My mum.



Don’t read this on or before Mother’s Day or else you’ll end up bawling your eyes out. Well, it’s a story most of us children could relate. We are so focused on our own feelings, letting us drown in our own emotions that we came to despise the people who couldn’t meet our expectations. We could never accept the efforts they have done for us too, especially our parents. This is what the story is trying to convey. A realization of a daughter as she grows up.


7. Mulberry Song



by: Jiu Lu Fei Xiang (九鹭非香)

Read it here: Chapter 1,  Chapter 2, Chapter 3-4

Alternative Name: 桑歌


One leap from the city tower thus fulfills the Marquis of Chang Ye’s triumph in conquering the world, establishing a new era. Yet she only turns into a wisp of a lone soul, accompanying him day and night.

[Note that the title shares the same name as the female lead – Sang Ge 桑歌 meaning mulberry song ]


A story told in the perspective of a deceased wife. Sang Ge, to give their country a brighter future and make her husband the next Emperor, she sacrifices herself. As one of the chess pieces on the board, she thought it was normal. However, after her death, she seemed to be stuck beside her husband, Chang Ye. And she came to witness the true feelings and regrets of the person whom she had never thought would love her that deeply.

I just can’t take stories of a guy crying and filled with regrets. It’s too tragic.

giphy (3)

8. Three Lifetimes of Trials; A Wind Chime Brings Tears



by: Zi Xinyu (紫芯玉)

Read it here: Short Story

Alternative Name: 三生罪,风铃泪


Since ancient times, the eighteen levels of hell have been feared by all men, but only the evil ones have ever entered.

I killed countless people in my life. When my soul entered hell, I knew that there was no chance for me to escape the suffering of those eighteen levels.

However, I didn’t expect for the King of Hell to exempt my punishment, only to leave me with three lifetimes of trials.

In one life, my family was all killed and all my limbs were torn off. In another life, I was alone without anyone to help me, and my best friend was killed. I have one more trial to suffer.

At the root of all evil, there’s no one around.

Who was it who exempted you from the eighteen levels of hell, and helped you pass through the trials of three lifetimes?

Only to see a wind chime fall to the ground, leaving behind a single tear.


A story of unconditional love and unrequited love. An unexpected twist especially at the end of the story that just clenches my heart. Read it please so I’ll have someone to cry with.


9. By The River of Forgetfulness for Seven Lifetimes



by: Zi Xinyu (紫芯玉)

Read it here: Short Story

Alternative Name: 忘川七世


Between the two sides of that other shore, upon the Bridge of Helplessness.

“Little miss, drink a mouthful of soup. Forget everything. Your next life is a new beginning, without any earthly desires or pain.”

Looking at the soup in Old Lady Meng’s hands, depression rose within me, “But what about that person in my heart?”

Old Lady Meng smiled faintly and said, “Do you see the waters below this bridge?”

“I see them.”

“Do you see the stones in the water?”

I was stunned for a moment, “Stones?”

Old Lady Meng nodded, “Go down there and become a stone. Watch the great changes in the world for seven lifetimes. After seven hundred years, you’ll be able to bring your longing with you as you reincarnate into a new life to look for him…”


A prostitute who tried everything for her precious love but ended up in a sad fate with someone she didn’t harbor any feelings with. A story of unrequited love and moving on. It’s just too painful, to see your beloved person loving someone else and yet you could not do anything.

No, I’m not crying for the Female Lead, I’m crying for that guy who gave up everything for her – that other unknown person who cried as his feelings wasn’t noticed even at the end. (That’s too frustrating!!! Damn you, FL)



And that’s the end of my random thoughts for these tragic short stories. How much damage did you get? As for me, I have already…


If you have any manga or light novel, of any genre you wished for me to read, feel free to comment down below~!! I’ll be waiting.



16 thoughts on “Top Tragic Chinese Light Novels (Short ver.) That Will Make You See The Other Face of Sadness

    • If you have a lot of time, I would recommend My Disciple Died Yet Again (Don’t worry, you’ll laugh a lot that it makes you cry hohohohoh). But BEWARE, it’s quite long (and translations are currently still ongoing). I would also add Sansheng, Wangchuan Wu Shang. It’s completely translated and around 20 chapters.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. ive read all of the novels (haha) can you recommend me novels that are similar to sansheng, wangchuan wu shang and seven unfortunate lifetimes? thakiess


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