I was trying to establish a rough timeline for Qian Qiu as we know it is loosely historical. I have gone with the Emperor’s reigns in conjunction with significant events in the novel; the years of the reigns and historical events are sourced from Wikipedia, hence may not be the most reliable or accurate.
Dates are in CE/AD for easier reference against the current time.
550 – Yan Wushi meets Qi Fengge (if this is during the Traditional Extra, then at this time, Shen Qiao was 4-5 years old). He had just founded the Huanyue Sect at this time.
565 – YWS goes into closed-door meditation after being defeated by Cui Youwang and losing his sword. Gao Wei became Emperor of Northern Qi about this time.
570 – Qi Fengge died. (5 years before the start of the novel.)
575 – Shen Qiao fights against Kunye, is poisoned and falls off the cliff, and is rescued by Yan Wushi and a 20-y.o. Yu Shengyan. Yan Wushi mentions in chapter 1 that he had only met Qi Fengge once, 25 years ago, and this was when SQ had just become a disciple of QFG.) if this is the trad extra meeting, then SQ is approx 30 years old at this time.
577/578 – The book mentions that Taspar Khan was the current Khan (and we know he was Khan from 572-581), Huo Xijing died. Yuwen Hu had died. Consort Feng had lost favor in 577 (it is mentioned during the Chen Gong donkey burger incident). Zhou annexed Qi in 577. Yan Wushi was ambushed and injured, then Yuwen Yong died. This is when they are disguised as females. Yuwen Yong only ruled from 561 – 578.
Yuwen Xian died on July 18, 578 with three friends: Wang Xing, Dugu Xiong, Doulu Shao, as well as Yuwen Xian’s sons. This is when Shen Qiao took in Yuwen Song (who is seven or eight according to Chapter 109.)
579/580 – Yuwen Yun ascended the throne as Emperor Xuan in 579, barely a month later abdicating in favor of his then 6-year-old son Yuwen Chan (formerly known as Yuwen Xie) and the now Emperor Jing. Yuwen Yun retained the Imperial power and authority. Chapter 102-107, the Sword Trial Conference (this information is referenced in Chapter 107.) SQ and YWS dressing as maids on the eighth day of the fourth lunar month (Chapter 111) the abduction of Yang Guang (Chapter 112), Chen Gong’s death (Chapter 113), SJX/YXX’s death, Hulugu and YWS’s match all happen around this time because Puliuru Jian/Yang Jian wasn’t the Emperor yet. (In Chapter 114), we are also told that when Shen Qiao received the toy tiger from Lao Yan, it was just before the Dragon Boat Festival (5th day of 5th Lunar month), and Puliuru Jian had bestowed an aristocratic title on YWS (武国公) Wu-guogong, i.e. Duke Wu.
581 – Puliuru Jian / Yang Jian ascended the throne and founded the Sui dynasty in Spring 581
582 – Extra 5 -7,10
Chen Shubao ascended in 582.Prince of Shixing, Chen Shuling, stabbed Chen Shubao in 582, and then started a coup, and was later killed in battle. He took the throne 3 days after the rebellion ended. Empress Dowager Liu governed as regent while Chen Shubao recovered – it was not clear how long, but seemed to be months. Wangxian Pavilion was built in 584.
If you use the Prince of Shixing’s rebellion and the Empress Dowager was regent at the time. Shen Qiao had been curious about the new ruler.
Extra 8-9 Set 20+ years after SQ was 6 years old -> so he should be about 30-ish.
588 – Extra 11-13
It says that in a year Yang Jian will send an expedition against the Chen Dynasty – which was in spring 589 (so likely 588). Ishbara Khan had died 1 year ago (587), so 588 is reasonable.
There’s a mention in extra 11 that Lao Yan wanted to rush back to spend Qixi (14 august) with Shen Qiao, but couldn’t make it, but he just made it (a few days) before the double ninth (Yang Guang invited Shen Qiao to the celebration feast) which is 14 Oct.
So they actually do spend a lot of time apart while Lao Yan travels for business? At least they spent winter Solstice (Dec 21) together in extra 12 at the Shaoshi residence.
604+ – Simplified Book Exclusive Extra. It says that Yang Guang has ascended, his official reign was from 604 to 618. He became crown prince in 600 after leading a successful campaign against the southern Chen Dynasty and plotting against his elder brother Yang Yong. After his father died in 604 (allegedly but unproven that it was a murder ordered by Yang Guang), he ascended to the throne. So this extra is set somewhere after 604, possibly around 608/609 since that’s when Yang Guang had his forces seize Tuyuhun.
Since they got together in 582, by the simplified extra it’s been 22+ years since they got together!
So it took about 7 years – 575 to 582 for Shen Qiao and Yan Wushi to get together (Extra 7,10), and 6 years later in 588 Shen Qiao is still shy about it. And in 604? 608?, they travelled to the Western Regions together!
611+ – Simplified Reprint Book Exclusive Extra. It says that there was drought followed by floods during Emperor Yang’s reign. According to my research, there were major floods in 611, the 7th year of Emperor Yang’s reign. Floods in Shandong and Henan inundated more than 30 counties, and officials also seized property from ordinary people. So SQ should be about 66+yo at this time…and he’s still a bit shy.