Thread: The Deer and The Cauldron

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    Senior Member foxs's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 6 - Part 7

    Sky, you must have a prophetic ability ... OwlHoot and Tweety, you are welcome, glad you like the story. Here is the last part of Chapter 6.
    ----------------------------------------------------

    What happened was: realizing the strangeness of the opponent's palm strength, the Empress Dowager's left hand quietly fished a white moth-antennae steel spike and slowly pulled it out, the spike's point gradually moved toward Hai Laogong's lower abdomen. However, when the spike was about a chi away from the opponent's lower abdomen, she was unable to push it farther. In the meantime, the 'Yin Yang Grindstone' force from Hai Laogong's palms was getting stronger and faster, the Empress Dowager's single palm had already unable to resist the enemy, she felt her right palm was gradually losing its strength and became limp and painful, so very soon she would have to use her left palm to help her right.

    Originally she wanted to thrust the moth-antennae spike slowly so that it would not generate any wind and thus the enemy would not be able to detect it; however, this moment her right palm was almost devoid of any strength. No longer caring whether Hai Laogong would hear it or not, she sent all her strength to her left hand and thrust hard, with the hope that the moth-antennae spike would pierce its target. Who would have thought that she was unable to move her left hand even for half a cun. In the quiet night, there was a soft 'drip, drip' noise; it was the blood from the severed four fingers on Hai Laogong's left hand, which flowed out continuously and dripped down to the ground. The more Hai Laogong sent the internal energy to his hand, the faster the blood gushed out from his wound.

    Under the moonlight, Wei Xiaobao saw the moth-antennae spike was flickering continually, sometimes it flashed on his face, an indication that the Empress Dowager's left hand was trembling incessantly. The white light flickered faster and faster, yet all along the moth-antennae spike was unable to reach Hai Laogong's lower abdomen.

    A moment later, Wei Xiaobao noticed that the moth-antennae spike was being slowly pulled back. Wei Xiaobao was shocked. "Aiyo, not good!" he mused, "The Empress Dowager is going to lose to the old turtle. If I don't leave now, what am I waiting for?" He slowly turned around and step by step walked toward the exit. With each step he took, he knew that he was one step farther from the danger, so he felt relieved, and thus his steps was getting faster. Finally he reached the gate and was about to reach out the door knocker when suddenly he heard 'Aah!' from behind him, the Empress Dowager let out a long scream. "It's bad!" Wei Xiaobao mused, "The Empress Dowager has been killed by the old turtle."

    "Empress Dowager," he heard Hai Laogong coldly say, "The oil of your lamp is about to dry out. In the time needed to burn an incense stick, your strength will be depleted and you are going to die. Unless right now someone suddenly appear and attack my back so that I cannot resist, only then would he be able to kill me."

    Wei Xiaobao was about to open the door and dash out, suddenly hearing Hai Laogong's voice, he thought, "Turns out the Empress Dowager is not dead yet! The old turtle is right, both of his hands are locked with the Empress Dowager's hand, if I stab his back, how can the old turtle take his hand and block? He was the one who said it, don't blame other people."

    Before his eyes was precisely a golden opportunity like beating a dog drowning in the water; if he did not seize this readily available convenience, he would be a human being in vain. Wei Xiaobao was very fond of gambling; even if the chance was fifty-fifty, he would still gamble. If a gambling opportunity arose, where he could cheat by playing tricks so that his chance of winning was 90% or a 100%, even if his life was at stake, definitely he would not let this opportunity pass. If someone wanted him to take chances to save the Empress Dowager, he would not dare to do that no matter what. But as he heard Hai Laogong announcing his own weak point, which was the same as holding out his own hands to be tied, or stretching his own neck to be chopped, it was as if a fat meat was placed in front of his mouth; how could he not swallow?

    He reached down and pulled the dagger from his boot; with quick steps he rushed toward Hai Laogong's back, while shouting, "Old Turtle, stop harming the Empress Dowager!" Raising his dagger, he fiercely stabbed it down on his back.

    Hai Laogong let out a long laugh and called out, "Little demon, you have fallen into my trick!" His left foot kicked backward, 'Bang!' The pit of Wei Xiaobao's stomach was hit and he was sent flying several zhang back.

    Turned out when he was having an internal energy battle with the Empress Dowager, Hai Laogong was confident that victory was at hand. Suddenly he heard someone was walking away from behind the rockery, the footsteps sounded very familiar; immediately he recognized it to be Wei Xiaobao. Unexpectedly this little demon did not die after being hit by his palm. Hai Laogong was rather astonished; he was afraid that if Wei Xiaobao summoned the imperial bodyguards to help the Empress Dowager, it would really 'spoil the ship for half a penny worth of tar'. Hit upon an inspiration, he cried out, luring Wei Xiaobao to come and attack his back.

    Wei Xiaobao's experience in facing the enemy and adapt himself to changes was really too little, as expected, he fell into his trick. Hai Laogong's kick had hit the pit of Wei Xiaobao's stomach. He flew through the air as if soaring through the clouds or mounting the fog, vomited a mouthful of blood.

    When Hai Laogong kicked with his left foot, he had already anticipated that as his strength was reduced, the Empress Dowager would exploit the instant the pressing force went void by sending her left palm to strike his lower abdomen. Therefore, after kicking Wei Xiaobao, without thinking he sent out his right palm forward to protect his lower abdomen. Suddenly there was a cold sensation on the center of his palm, followed by a burst of severe pain on his lower abdomen. The Empress Dowager's platinum-plated moth-antennae steel spike pierced through his palm and entered his lower abdomen. After all, he was greatly disadvantaged by not able to see anything; although he had foreseen that the Empress Dowager would exploit the loophole by launching a counterattack, he could not see that the attack came not in the form of palm strike, but an extremely sharp weapon instead. As his lower abdomen was punctured by the moth-antennae spike, he gathered his strength on his left palm and shook the Empress Dowager several steps back.

    The Empress Dowager landed on her left foot, but immediately leaped several more zhang backward. She felt her chi and blood were bubbling up inside her chest that she almost fainted. Afraid that Hai Laogong would seize this chance to attack, she slowly withdrew several more steps and stood against the wall.

    Hai Laogong roared in laughter and called out, "Your luck is good! Your luck is good!" 'Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh!' he sent three palm strikes while throwing himself forward at the same time. The Empress Dowager wanted to leap to the right to evade, but her legs were limp and painful, she tumbled down to the ground. She heard a 'splotch!', half of the row of flower rack were pushed down by Hai Laogong's palm strength. The Empress Dowager's muscles were weary and her strength depleted, she was unable to move a single step. In her fright, she saw Hai Laogong's body was sprawled face down on the flower rack, unmoving.

    Propping herself up, the Empress Dowager wanted to stand up, but her limbs felt like cotton, her entire body was weak. While she was thinking of calling one of the palace maids, she heard faint noise of people coming near. She thought, "My dialogue and fight with this wicked thief were not loud, but before his death he was shouting and yelling, and overthrowing the flower rack; it must have alerted the imperial bodyguards on duty. Those guards will be here in no time, seeing me lying in here with two dead eunuchs, one old and one young, what a scandal will it be?" Mustering all her strength, she wanted to circulate her chi thru her body, but all along she failed to do so.

    She heard the noise of the guards was getting near; while feeling very anxious, suddenly someone came over and said, "Empress Dowager, are you, Senior, well? Let me help you up." It was precisely that little eunuch Xiao Guizi.

    The Empress Dowager was pleasantly surprised, she said, "You ... you ... are not killed ... by that evil man's kick?"

    "His kick did not kill me," Wei Xiaobao replied. When he was kicked by Hai Laogong just now, he landed on a flowering shrub and spurted quite a bit of blood. After calming himself, he made an effort to stand up. Seeing Hai Laogong was lying face down motionless on the flower rack, he hastily hid himself behind a tree. He picked up a rock and threw it toward Hai Laogong, 'smack!' it hit the back of Hai Laogong's head, but Hai Laogong did not stir at all. Wei Xiaobao was ecstatic, "The old turtle is dead!" he thought. But he was still scared, and thus did not dare to come near. For a moment he was unsure of what to do: shall he run away and escape, or come back and help the Empress Dowager? Suddenly he heard the hubbub as a lot of people rushing near. If he ran out, he would definitely bump into them, therefore, he went toward the Empress Dowager and stretched out his hand to help her up.

    "Good child," the Empress Dowager happily said, "Quickly help me in to rest."

    "Yes," Wei Xiaobao replied. Half dragging and half carrying, he stumbled to help her enter her room and helped her lying on the bed. His own legs felt limp and painful, so he dropped himself on the thick carpet, while gasping for breath.

    “You may lie down here,” the Empress Dowager said, “When someone is coming, you must not make any sound.”

    “Yes!” Wei Xiaobao said.

    A moment later, he heard clatters of footsteps, a lot of people were rushing in from the outside. The flame from lanterns and torches illuminated the room from the window lattice. Someone said, “Aiyo, there is a dead eunuch in here!” Another man said, “It’s Hai Laogong from the Catering Department.” One of them raised his voice and said, “Reporting to the Empress Dowager: other than the situation in the garden, wishing the Empress Dowager ten thousand good fortune and peace like gold.” By saying that, he was actually inquiring the safety of the Empress Dowager.”

    “Other than what situation?” the Empress Dowager asked.

    As soon as she said that, the imperial bodyguards and court eunuchs outside let out a deep breath. As long as the Empress Dowager was safe, although the Palace of Compassion and Peace was in a mess, it would not be too great of an offense for them. The leading imperial bodyguard said, “It seems like there was a fight between the court eunuchs, not a big deal. Empress Dowager please retire for the night, tomorrow your servants will investigate and submit a detailed report.”

    “Very well,” the Empress Dowager replied.

    They heard the imperial bodyguard chief lowered his voice and quietly ordered his men to take Hai Laogong’s body out. Another man also said in a low voice, “There is a little palace maid’s body in here. Ah! This little palace maid is not dead, she is only fainted.”

    The imperial bodyguard chief said, “Take both of them away, we will question her when she regains her consciousness.”

    The Empress Dowager said, “Is there any little palace maid? Take her into my room.” She was afraid when she regained her consciousness, Rui Chu would reveal what had happened that night.

    Someone outside complied, a court eunuch carried the little palace maid Rui Chu into the room and gently lay her down on the floor. He kowtowed to the Empress Dowager and then withdrew.

    By this time, all palace maids serving the Empress Dowager were already awakened, they all stood waiting outside the room, without the Empress Dowager's summon, nobody dared to enter on their own initiative. The Empress Dowager heard the imperial bodyguards and the court eunuchs gradually left; she said, "You all may go back to sleep, I don't need your service tonight." The palace maids complied and immediately left.

    The fact that the Empress Dowager knew martial art was kept secret, even the palace maid attending her personally did not know. When she trained every morning and evening, without her orders, no court eunuch or palace maid was allowed to enter her room even for one step. Even touching the door curtain was strictly prohibited.

    The Empress Dowager regulated her chi for a while. In the meantime, Wei Xiaobao's strength had gradually returned that he was able to sit up. A moment later, he was able to stand up. The Empress Dowager knew that Hai Laogong's kick on the pit of his stomach was very heavy, but this little eunuch unexpectedly was able to move freely, he was even able to help her back to her room. She wondered what kind of martial art he practiced? Thereupon she asked, "Other than with Hai Tianfu, who else did you learn martial art from?"

    Wei Xiaobao replied, "Your servant only learned martial art from that evil old man for several months. Most of the martial art he taught was probably bogus. This man was very wicked, he often bragged of killing me."

    "Hmm," the Empress Dowager said, "His eyes, did you poison him blind?"

    "That old fellow day in and day out always cursed the Empress Dowager behind your back," Wei Xiaobao said, "He also cursed His Majesty. Your servant was unbearably angry, but has no ability to kill him, so I had to ... I had to ..."

    "How did he curse me and His Majesty?" the Empress Dowager asked.

    "His words were very undisciplined and out of control," Wei Xiaobao replied, "Your servant did not dare to remember it in my heart, as soon as I hear it, I forget. I have already forgotten everything early on, and did not think about it anymore."

    The Empress Dowager nodded, "You are a very smart child," she said, "Tonight, what brought you here?"

    Wei Xiaobao said, “Your servant was sleeping on my bed, I heard the evil old fellow opened the door and went out. I was afraid he was going to do something to harm me, so I quietly followed behind him, all the way to this place.”

    The Empress Dowager slowly said, “All the nonsense he told me, you have heard everything.”

    Wei Xiaobao said, “Everything that the evil old fellow said, your servant always regard as a fart. Em … Empress Dowager, please don’t blame me, your servant was using a bad language, I hate him very much. Every day he cursed me ‘little turtle’, he cursed my ancestors; I know he had never said anything true.”

    The Empress Dowager coldly said, “I asked you: the things that Hai Tianfu said to me, did you hear it? Don’t babble, give me a straight answer.”

    “Your servant was hiding far away outside the gate,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “I did not dare to come near. That evil old fellow’s ears were often very acute, if I came too near, he would hear me. I only saw he talked to the Empress Dowager; I wanted to eavesdrop, but the distance was too far, I couldn’t hear anything. Later, I saw he dared to offend Empress Dowager, he dared to commit treason and heresy, so by risking my life your servant came to help. In the end, whatever he said to Empress Dowager, your servant did not know. He … he must be complaining about your servant, telling the Empress Dowager that I poisoned his eyes blind; although it was the truth, whatever else he said, the Empress Dowager must never believe. I suppose it was because the Empress Dowager did not believe him that that servant dared to offend the Empress Dowager.”

    “Humph!” the Empress Dowager said, “You are very smart, very perceptive. It’s good if you really did not hear whatever Hai Tianfu was saying. It’s also good if you pretend you did not hear it. If in the future even half a word of baseless rumor ever reaches my ear, you know what will happen to you.”

    “Empress Dowager’s kindness to your servant is as heavy as the mountain,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “If any brazen scoundrel ever dares to say any unpleasant talk behind the Empress Dowager and His Majesty’s back, your servant will stake my life to fight him.”

    “I like it if you can be like this,” the Empress Dowager said, “Previously I haven’t treated you that good.”

    “Previously His Majesty and your servant wrestled and practiced martial art together,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Your servant did not know it was the Lord of Ten Thousand Years, my talk and actions were random and wild, but Empress Dowager and His Majesty did not hold it against me the least bit, it was truly a kindness as heavy as the mountain. Otherwise, even if your servant had a hundred heads, all of them deserved to be chopped. Every day that evil old fellow wanted to kill your servant, fortunately Empress Dowager has saved my life. Your servant is truly extremely grateful.”

    The Empress Dowager slowly said, “You know gratitude, that’s very good. Light that candle on the table.”

    “Yes!” Wei Xiaobao replied. He struck the flint and lighted the candle. The candle in the Empress Dowager’s room was very thick and unusually bright.

    “Come here,” the Empress Dowager said, “Let me look at you.”

    “Yes!” Wei Xiaobao replied. Slowly he walked toward the Empress Dowager’s bed. He saw her countenance was snowy white, without the least bit trace of blood. Her eyebrows slightly slanted upward, her eyes were gleaming, Wei Xiaobao’s heartbeat quickened; he thought, “She … is she going to kill me to close my mouth? If I move my legs and dash out, I am sure she won’t be able to catch up, but if she managed to catch me, that would be the end of me!”

    His heart was telling him to immediately rush outside, but his mind was momentarily undecided. In this slight hesitation, the Empress Dowager had already stretched out her left had to grab Wei Xiaobao’s right hand. Wei Xiaobao was shocked, his body shook. “Ah!” he gasped.

    “What are you afraid of?” the Empress Dowager asked.

    “I … I am not afraid, it’s just that … it’s just that …” Wei Xiaobao stammered.

    “It’s just that what?” the Empress Dowager asked.

    Wei Xiaobao said, “Empress Dowager’s kindness to your servant is as heavy as the mountain, your servant have received something and afraid of something?” He had heard people mentioned the expression 'overwhelmed by favor (usually from superior)’, but somehow he could only remember two out of four characters[11].

    The Empress Dowager did not understand what he was saying, she asked, "Why are you trembling all over?"

    "I ... I am not ... am not ..." Wei Xiaobao replied.

    If the Empress Dowager strike him dead with her palm right now, she would not have to worry he would reveal her secret in the future, but however hard she tried, her chi simply refused to rise; in reality, her muscles were weary and her strength depleted, although she succeeded in grabbing Wei Xiaobao's hand, she did not have the least bit of strength in her fingers. If Wei Xiaobao were to struggle a little bit, he would have been able to free himself. Thereupon she smiled and said, "You have rendered a great service tonight, I will reward you handsomely."

    "It was that evil old fellow who wanted to kill your servant," Wei Xiaobao said, "Luckily Empress Dowager came to rescue me, your servant did not have the least bit of merit."

    "You know good from bad," the Empress Dowager said, "In the future I won't treat you unfairly. You may go!" She gently let his hand go.

    Wei Xiaobao was ecstatic; immediately he dropped on his knees and kowtowed several times before retreating. The Empress Dowager saw the front piece of his jacket was drenched with blood, obviously he had vomited a lot of blood, but when he kowtowed, his movement was still quite agile; she could not help but feeling bewildered.

    When he was leaving the room, Wei Xiaobao took a glance toward Rui Chu who was lying on the floor. He noticed that her chest was fluctuating slowly, her breathing was even, as if she was in a very deep sleep. Her countenance was rosy, it did not show anything unusual. He said in his heart, "In a few days I will bring some cake, pastry and fruit for you to eat."

    In quick steps he returned to his own room, bolted the door, and let out a long breath, as if a heavy load had just been released. Recently, staying with Hai Laogong in the same room, he had been very scared and was on the edge all the time. "Now the old turtle is dead," he thought, "I don't have to worry somebody would come to harm me." Suddenly he recalled the Empress Dowager's countenance under the candle light; his body shivered violently. "Living in this Imperial Palace, there is no peace and security, but laozi still ... still .. ha ha, still have to get that four hundred fifty thousand taels of silver and then return to Yangzhou to see Mama. It will be wonderful." Thinking that he was still alive and had four hundred fifty thousand taels of silver lost and won back, he could not help but dancing and gesticulating for joy.

    He was having a cheerful mood for a while, gradually he felt weary; he lay down on the bed and fell into a very deep slumber.

    ----------------------------------------------------
    [11]Orig. 受宠若惊 (shou chong ruo jing), literal translation: receiving favor as if frightened; he only remembered the words 'receive' and 'frightened'.

  2. #182
    Member JoeLee's Avatar
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    Thanks Foxs! You've got me hooked!

  3. #183
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    Default Hooked on a feeling

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeLee View Post
    Thanks Foxs! You've got me hooked!
    Story is heating up
    Ali Derhamy

  4. #184
    Senior Member SkyWalker's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update foxs!

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    Senior Member foxs's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 7 - Part 1

    JoeLee, glad you like it. I do, given the fact that you can read the already-available version. Ali, thanks for stopping by. Your winter is almost over, isn't it? Sky, you are welcome. Thanks for faithfully posting your comments.

    --------------------------------------------
    Chapter 7 – Since ancient times, success or failure always involves several cause, most of the heroes under the heavens know.
    (Translated by Foxs)

    When Wei Xiaobao awoke the next day, he felt a dull ache on the pit of his stomach, he also felt his entire body was devoid of any strength. He knew it was because of Hai Laogong’s palm strike and kick the previous night. He struggled hard to stand up, and saw the widespread bloodstain on his chest. Thereupon he took off his long gown and soaked it in the water tub. When he rubbed the gown, suddenly he realized that the fabric of the gown was falling apart. Wei Xiaobao was startled. He lifted up the gown from the tub and saw two large holes on the chest of the gown, one was in the shape of a palm, the other was shaped like the sole of a foot. He was greatly amazed, “This … what ghost made these holes?”

    Thinking about ‘ghost’, instantly all the hair on his body stood up. His first thought was, “The old turtle’s ghost came back and made these two holes on my gown.” And then he thought, “I wonder if the old turtle’s ghost is blind, or he can see clearly?” When a blind person dies, will he turn into a blind ghost? This thought flashed through his mind several times, then he decided he did not want to think about it. Raising the gown in front of his face, he was staring blankly for a while before suddenly a realization hit: “It’s not a ghost! Last night the old turtle struck me with his palm and kick me with his foot. These two holes are from those strikes. Ha ha … laozi’s martial art ability is not bad, I only spit out a couple mouthfuls of blood, it’s nothing. Ay, I wonder if I suffer an internal injury? Perhaps there is an internal injury medicine in the old turtle’s medicine box, I’d better take some.”

    Since Hai Laogong had died, naturally Wei Xiaobao did not need to be polite to take over his possessions. Haughtily he imitated Hai Laogong’s coughing before opening the medicine chest. The medicine chest was full of bottles and pouches of all shapes and sizes. The bottles and pouches were labeled with many characters, but he did not recognize a single one; how could he tell which bottle contain poison and which bottle contain medicine? He found a bottle with yellow medicinal powder inside, and got quite a shock, recognizing it as the powder used to dissolve Xiao Guizi’s body the other day, the 'Corpse Transforming Powder'. He only needed to flick a tiny amount of powder on the wound, and soon afterwards, the body, as well as the clothes, shoes and socks, had turned into a puddle of yellow liquid. Naturally he did not dare to touch this bottle of medicinal powder.

    He also recalled how by adding a tiny bit of a medicinal powder he had blinded Hai Laogong’s eyes. So in any case he would not dare to take medicine casually. Luckily the pain on his chest was not too bad. He muttered to himself, “Damn it, laozi is proficient in martial art; won’t it be better if I don’t take any medicine?” Immediately he closed the medicine chest and went through the other objects inside the trunk. Most were old clothes, old-looking books and so on. He also found more than two hundred taels of silver, but he was not interested in that money at all, not only because Songgotu had already promised him four hundred fifty thousand taels, but also because by throwing the dice with Wen Youdao and the others, it would not be too difficult for him to win several hundred taels.

    He rummaged through Xiao Guizi’s trunk, took out a set of long gown and put it on. Seeing the light and soft black vest he was wearing, he was unconsciously startled. “The old turtle made two big holes on my gown, how come this piece of clothing did not show the least bit of damage? This is taken from Oboi’s treasure trove, if it were not a treasure, why did Oboi hide it inside the secret treasure trove?” And then he had a second thought, “The old turtle hit me and I am not dead, he kicked me and I did not turn mushy, perhaps it was not because of Wei Xiaobao’s proficiency in martial art, but because Oboi’s treasured clothes has saved my life. The other day Suo Dage urged me to wear it, he truly has a great foresight. But after putting it on, I never take it off again, my foresight is also not small.”

    While he was feeling very proud of himself, suddenly from outside came the voice of someone calling out, “Gui Gong-gong, congratulations, congratulations! Open the door, quick!”

    Wei Xiaobao opened the door while still buttoning his gown. “What’s the happy occasion?” he asked.

    There were four eunuchs standing outside the door, they all bowed and paid their respects to Wei Xiaobao. “Congratulations Gui Gong-gong,” they said together.

    Wei Xiaobao only said, “It’s too early in the morning, why are you so polite?”

    One of the eunuchs, around forty years old, laughed and said, “Just now the Empress Dowager issued an imperial decree to the Minister of Internal Affair, because Hai Tianfu, Hai Gong-gong died of his illness, Gui Gong-gong is promoted to be the Vice Manager in charge of the Catering Department.”

    Another eunuch laughed and said, “We did not wait for the Minister of Internal Affair to announce the gracious imperial decree; we rushed at once to come here and congratulate you. From now on Gui Gong-gong is in charge of the entire Catering Department. It’s indeed very good!”

    Being promoted to a eunuch position, Wei Xiaobao did not think it was anything terrific; he only thought, “The Empress Dowager promotes my rank so that I won’t reveal anything about last night’s matter. Actually, even though she did not promote me, laozi would not dare to speak too much. If my head is moving home, my mouth will follow, how can I talk too much then? But since the Empress Dowager is promoting me, it’s unlikely that she is going to kill me; that’s a great relief.” Thinking about this, he was beaming with joy. He took out some banknotes and gave each man fifty taels for their trouble in bringing the good news.

    One of the eunuchs said, “In our Palace, there has never been a Vice Manager as young as Gui Gong-gong. We have fourteen eunuch managers in our Palace, and eight eunuch Vice Managers, top people, smart people, twenty two in total. Originally, not one of those people was under thirty. Gui Gong-gong is promoted today, tomorrow you will sit as equal with Zhang Zongguan[1], Wang Zongguan and the others; it’s really terrific!”

    Another eunuch said, “Everybody only knows that Gui Gong-gong has won His Majesty’s favor, who could have thought that the Empress Dowager also regards you highly. I am afraid in less than half a year you will be promoted as a manager. And then you may help the brothers to be promoted to a higher job!”

    Wei Xiaobao laughed aloud and said, “We all are family, good brothers, why say anything about being promoted or not being promoted? It’s because of the Empress Dowager and His Majesty’s grace, what merit do lao lao … I, Gui Xiaobao, have?” He nearly blurted out the word laozi, but managed to swallow it back with difficulty. “Come, come, come,” he said, “Let’s sit inside and have some tea!”

    The middle-aged eunuch said, “Perhaps it will be later this afternoon that the Minister of Internal Affair will announce the Empress Dowager’s gracious decree. Everybody wants to invite Gui Gong-gong for a drink to congratulate Gong-gong’s meteoric rise, being promoted two grades in succession. Gui Gong-gong, now you are a fifth-grade officer; that is really not a small matter.” The other three eunuchs noisily cheering and applauding; they were adamant at pulling Wei Xiaobao along to drink wine. Although recently Wei Xiaobao had grown accustomed to people fawning on him, yet when the flattery came, he enjoyed listening to it after all. Immediately he locked the door and laughing happily he followed the four eunuchs to have a drink.

    Among the four eunuchs, two were the Empress Dowager’s personal attendants who had received the order from the Empress Dowager to convey the imperial decree to the Minister of Internal Affair, and thus they were the first to know. The other two were supervisors in the Catering Department; one was in charge of the purchasing of grains, the other was in charge of the purchasing vegetables and meat dishes, two most lucrative positions in the Palace. Very early that day both of them had heard about Hai Tianfu’s death; immediately they stood guard outside the Minister of Internal Affair’s gate, keeping their eyes and ears open, to know who would fill Hai Tianfu’s vacant position, so that they could quickly make arrangement to preserve their own positions.

    The four eunuchs took Wei Xiaobao to a room in the imperial kitchen; they respectfully invited him to sit on the head of the table. The imperial kitchen knew that tomorrow this boy would be their immediate supervisor; therefore, with all their hearts and mind they prepared the best vegetable and meat dishes. Perhaps it was even better than the Empress Dowager and the Emperor’s daily meal.

    Wei Xiaobao was not used to drinking wine, and thus he talked rubbish freely with them. A court eunuch said with a sigh, “Hai Gong-gong was a good man, too bad his body was always not well, plus he was blind. Although he was in charge of the Catering Department for all these years, he was rarely in the imperial kitchen more than one or two days in a month.”

    Another eunuch said, “Luckily everybody handles everything with devotion, so that there has never been any significant set-back.”

    Yet another eunuch said, “Hai Laogong was an old minister favored by the late emperor. If it were not because of the old master’s grace, the Catering Department supervisor position would have been commissioned to someone else early on. Gui Gong-gong is a favorite of His Majesty and the Empress Dowager, so it is entirely a different matter. We may take shelter under the big tree’s shade, from now on the way we handle matters will be a lot more convenient.”

    The previous eunuch said, “I heard Hai Gong-gong died of his coughing yesterday.”

    “That’s right,” Wei Xiaobao piped in, “When Hai Gong-gong was coughing, often times he could not breathe easily.”

    The eunuch who waited on the Empress Dowager said, “At daybreak this morning, the imperial physician, Great Doctor Li, presented a report to the Empress Dowager, saying that the tuberculosis Hai Gong-gong suffered had entered his bones, that the rheumatism had entered his heart; the chronic illness for many years had finally break out, so that it was incurable. Afraid that his tuberculosis might spread out to other people, his body was cremated as soon as it was morning. The Empress Dowager sighed for quite some time; she said repeatedly, ‘It’s a pity, it’s a pity, this man Hai Tianfu was extraordinarily honest!’”

    Wei Xiaobao was pleasantly surprised; he knew that the imperial bodyguards, the imperial physician and the court eunuchs, were all afraid of taking responsibility, thereupon the fact that Hai Gong-gong being killed was concealed and was not reported publicly, which exactly suited the Empress Dowager’s wishes. Wei Xiaobao mused, “What tuberculosis entered his bones, rheumatism entered his heart? The old turtle had a dagger entered his belly and sharp sword entered his heart is more accurate.”

    After drinking for a while, the two eunuch supervisors of the Catering Department started to mention that life as court eunuchs was hard, that all they could rely on was to dredge up some fat or occasional income, that they wished Wei Xiaobao would not be as strict as Hai Laogong, in all matters he should be a little bit more accommodating. Wei Xiaobao understood some, but missed most of what they were saying; he simply said yes and no. After the meal, the two eunuchs stuffed a little envelope inside Wei Xiaobao’s pocket, which, upon returning to his room, he opened and looked. Turned out it was two banknotes, each one worth one thousand taels. These three characters ‘one thousand taels’ he was able to recognize. He thought, “I haven’t taken the office, and have received two thousand up front. The fat and additional income is really not bad!”

    By the ninth hour [3 – 5 pm], Kangxi sent someone to summon him to the Upper Study Room. Beaming with smile, Kangxi said, “Xiao Guizi, the Empress Dowager said that last night you rendered another great service, so she wanted me to promote you.”

    “I already know it!” Wei Xiaobao said in his heart. Immediately he feigned a surprised and delighted exclamation, before kneeling down and kowtowed, saying, “Your servant did not have any meritorious service, it’s all due to the Empress Dowager and His Majesty’s graciousness.”

    Kangxi said, “The Empress Dowager said that last night there were several court eunuchs fighting in the garden, the disturbance startled the Empress Dowager. You happened to pass by and have handled this matter very appropriately. You may be young, but have a mature understanding.”

    Wei Xiaobao stood up and said, “Mature understanding is not necessarily true. I only know that some things should be remembered well, while other things should be entirely forgotten, and never to be mentioned forever. During the fight, the eunuchs uttered some really unpleasant words to hear, naturally anybody should not mention it too much.”

    Kangxi nodded; with a faint smile on his face he said, “Xiao Guizi, although you and I are not too old, we can achieve several great accomplishments, don’t let the ministers belittle us by saying we don’t understand anything.”

    “Absolutely,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “As long as His Majesty has a plan in mind, you can leave the execution of it to your servant.”

    “Very good!” Kangxi said, “That servant Oboi has started a rebellion and defied his superior. Although I spare him from death, this man’s cronies are numerous; I am afraid that the ashes will burn once more, another rebellion will arise; that will be too far from good.”

    “Absolutely!” Wei Xiaobao said.

    --------------------------------------------
    [1] Lit. Chief Manager.

  6. #186
    Senior Member SkyWalker's Avatar
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    Thanks for another update foxs!

  7. #187
    Senior Member Shi-Potian's Avatar
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    i have been a silent supporter of all the translators on this magnificent forum, we all love you for the effort you put into translating of your own freewill bringing enjoyment to hundreds if not thousands of people [silent or otherwise]

    you and the many other translators take time out of your own lives to do what is most likely a tedious, and probably annoying task. [due to people giving unnecessary , and disrespectful pressure] where others who can read chinese don't even bother, and it is for this that you have my utmost respect and gratitude

    p.s
    every time i see an update you brighten my day and enrich my life, thank you

  8. #188
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    Default Pressure :D

    due to people giving unnecessary , and disrespectful pressure
    lets do a carrot and stick strategy... you be the carrot saying thanks... and i will be the stick.... :P hahahahhahahaha

    But of course even the people yelling out for faster updates only do so because the story is so well written and translated.

    To be honest there are days that i finish reading an update and I am willing to pay $$$ just to read one more paragraph.

    having said all that; good thing about foxs is that he always finishes his translation. And he seams to do it at a speed which is comfortable to him (he said he does it because he enjoys it)

    thank you to all forum members and especially all the translating teams
    Ali Derhamy

  9. #189
    Senior Member foxs's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 7 - Part 2

    Sky, you are welcome. Shi-Potian and Ali, thank you for your kind words. Ali, your 'carrot and stick strategy' won't work with me , because no matter what you do, I only have an hour a day, while eating my lunch, plus a few minutes here and there during the weekends, and some extra time while waiting for my son in his extracurricular activities, whenever my wife would let me using her laptop.

    --------------------------------------------------
    “I knew it all along that Oboi is unyielding,” Kangxi said, “That’s why I did not send him to Punishment Ministry’s Heavenly Prison to avoid him babbling nonsense, but I have him imprisoned in Prince Kang’s mansion. Just now Prince Kang came and reported that day in day out that servant raises a clamor, shouting impertinent talks.” Speaking to this point, he lowered his voice and said, “That servant says that I used a small dagger and stabbed him on the back.”

    “Where did such thing come from?” Wei Xiaobao said, “To deal with this servant, why should His Majesty personally make his move? It was your servant who stabbed him with a dagger. Let your servant go to Prince Kang to explain.”

    If the rumor that Kangxi personally plotting against Oboi had ever spread, Kangxi would lose his dignity as a ruler, which was the reason he was anxious. Hearing Wei Xiaobao’s recommendation, he was delighted. Nodding his head, he said, “You understand this matter very well.” After a slight hesitation he said, “Go to Prince Kang’s residence, see when that servant will die.”

    “Yes!” Wei Xiaobao said.

    Kangxi said, “I thought he would die as soon as the dagger stabbed him, that’s why I spared his life. I did not anticipate that this servant will be this robust, unexpectedly he is able to survive until now and make irresponsible remarks over there, misleading the minds of the people. If I have known it …” There was a hint of remorse in his voice.

    Wei Xiaobao grabbed Kangxi’s intention, he wanted to send him to kill Oboi quietly, thereupon he said, “I think most likely he won’t live pass today.”

    Kangxi summoned four imperial guards and ordered them to escort Wei Xiaobao to Prince Kang’s mansion on official business.

    Wei Xiaobao returned to his residence first to fetch things that he would need, and then riding a tall and big horse, under the protection of the four imperial bodyguards surrounding him all around, he went to Prince Kang’s mansion. He glanced to the left and right along the way, feeling immensely proud of himself. Suddenly he heard a man on the street said, “I heard that the one who captured that big treacherous minister Oboi was a teenage little gong-gong?”

    “That’s right,” another man replied, “His Majesty is a teenager, the gong-gong waiting on him whom he favors are all teenagers.”

    The first man said, “Could it be this little gong-gong is the one?”

    “I don’t know about that,” the other man replied.

    An imperial guard, wanted to curry Wei Xiaobao’s favor, loudly said, “Capturing that treacherous minister Oboi is this Gui Gong-gong’s great merit.”

    Oboi loved to kill Han people, he was brutal and greedy for bribery; all common people hated him to the bone. When he was arrested and his house searched, his possession confiscated, there was thunderous rejoicing inside and outside Beijing city wall. The young emperor issued an imperial decree on the capture of Oboi, and that he boldly resisted arrest, until a bunch of little eunuchs knocked him down. This matter had also spread out that everybody within the city knew about it. The common people added fuel and spices, drawing mental pictures and sounds; in the teahouses around town, the guests talked about it with splattered saliva, how Oboi attacked the Emperor with a flying kick, how each one of the little eunuchs was proficient in martial art, how using the style Dry Vine Coiling the Root they threw down Oboi, how Oboi leaped back up using Flipping Carp style, how the little eunuch used Black Tiger Snatching the Heart, each move and each style was described so vividly as if everybody had witnessed it with their own eyes.

    In the last few days, whenever a eunuch went to the market, instantly people would crowd around him, asking about the story of Oboi’s arrest. And now they heard the imperial guard announcing that this little eunuch was the minister who had given the outstanding service in Oboi’s capture, the market street was abuzz with sensation, countless common people applauded and cheered. In all his life Wei Xiaobao had never received such honor, he could not his heart from blooming with pride, he really felt like a real hero. It was only the two imperial bodyguards wielding their sabers at the front to open the way, and thus creating fear to some extent, that stopped the crowd of curious onlookers from surrounding Wei Xiaobao to get a closer look and asked endless questions.

    The five of them arrived at Prince Kang’s mansion. Hearing the Emperor sending a personal envoy, Prince Kang busily opened the center gate and went out to welcome them. He arranged a table with burning incense in preparation to receive the imperial edict.

    Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Wangye[2], His Majesty sends Xiaoren[2] to check on Oboi, there is no other important matter.”

    “Yes, yes!” Prince Kang replied. He had seen Wei Xiaobao standing by Kangxi’s side in the Upper Study Room, he also knew that Wei Xiaobao had rendered a great service in the capture of Oboi. With a happy laugh he held Wei Xiaobao’s hand and said, “Gui Gong-gong, you seldom honor us with your presence, let us drink a couple up cups first before going to see that servant Oboi.” Immediately he ordered a banquet to be prepared. The four imperial bodyguards were to have another banquet, accompanied by the military officers of the Prince’s mansion. Prince Kang took Wei Xiaobao to the flower garden where they sat face to face and drank wine. He asked Wei Xiaobao what his indulgence was.

    Wei Xiaobao thought, “If I say I like gambling, the Prince might accompany me throwing the dice, and he would definitely lose to me on purpose. Winning his money is called victory without real skill.” Thereupon he said, “I don’t like anything in particular.”

    Prince Kang pondered, “Old people like money, middle-aged and young people like women, but it’s improbable that eunuchs will like women. I wonder what will this little eunuch like? It’s hard to guess. This child knows martial art, perhaps he would like a treasured saber or a treasured sword, but then he might stir up a disaster in the Palace, then I will have to take the responsibility. Ah, I know!” He laughed and said, “Gui Gong-gong, when I first met you, I feel like we are old friends. In my stable we raise several good horses. I am inviting you to select several horses. Just consider it as a little give from Xiao Wang[2], what do you think?”

    Wei Xiaobao was greatly delighted, he said, “How can I dare to accept Wangye’s gift?”

    Prince Kang said, “We are brothers, what do you mean by ‘gift'? Come, come, come, let us look at the horses first and then come back to drink wine.” Pulling Wei Xiaobao’s hand, he led him to the stable.

    Prince Kang ordered the groom to lead out several of his best ponies. Wei Xiaobao was disappointed inwardly, “Why ask me to choose a pony?” he thought, “Do you think I am a little child who only rides on a pony?” Seeing the groom had led five, six different ponies, he laughed and said, “Wangye, my stature is not tall, I'd love to ride a big horse, so I won't look too short and small."

    Prince Kang immediately understood; slapping his thigh he laughed and said, "I am muddle-headed, I am muddle-headed." He ordered the groom, "Take Jade Flower, my buckskin horse, out, let Gui Gong-gong take a look at it."

    The groom went into the stable, and returned with a tall and big horse, its entire body was white, dappled with red spots. It raised its head high and tossed its mane, it was truly an extraordinary divine steed. It has gold bridle and gold stirrup, the edge of the saddle was inlaid with silver precious stones. Just the accessories on the horse alone worth nobody knows how much money; if not princes and dukes or royalty, or perhaps high-ranking official or rich merchant, nobody would dare to use this kind of luxurious saddle and accessories. Wei Xiaobao did not understand anything about quality of horses; seeing this horse's handsome appearance, he could not help but cheering, "What a beautiful horse!"

    Prince Kang laughed and said, "This horse was delivered from the Western Region, a famous Ferghana horse. Don't look at its big and tall body, this horse is still very young, only a few months over two years. A beautiful horse deserves to be ridden by beautiful rider. Gui Xiongdi, how about you pick this Jade Flower buckskin horse?"

    Wei Xiaobao said, "This ... this is the horse Wangye rides, how can Xiao Ren dare to desire it? I will be happy to accept any other of Wangye's horse."

    "Gui Xiongdi," Prince Kang said, "You consider me as an outsider like this, aren't looking down too much on Xiongdi? Could it be that you are unwilling to have me as a friend?"

    Wei Xiaobao said, "Ay, in the Palace Xiao Ren is only a ... a lowly person, how can I dare to make friends with Wangye?"

    Prince Kang said, "We, Manchu people, are frank and straightforward. If you consider me as your friend, then you'll take this horse; afterwards, there won't be any distinction between what's mine and what's yours. Otherwise, in my heart, Xiongdi will be greatly offended!" Saying that, his beard rose on its end, he put on an appearance as if he was panting with rage.

    Wei Xiaobao was ecstatic; he said, "Wangye, you ... you treat the lowly one so good, I really don't know how to repay?"

    "What are you talking about? Repay or not repay," Prince Kang said, "You are willing to take this horse, it can be considered you are giving me a face." Walking toward the horse's rear, he gently slapped the horse's butt several times and said, "Jade Flower, Jade Flower, from now on you'll follow this Gong-gong, be a good horse." Toward Wei Xiaobao he said, "Xiongdi, why don't you try?"

    Wei Xiaobao laughed, "Yes!" he replied. Slapping his hand on the saddle, he leaped up and sat on the horseback. For the last several months he had been practicing martial art, in term of punching and kicking he might not learn too much, but jumping and leaping, his movement was vigorous and nimble.

    "Good skill!" Prince Kang cheered.

    The groom let the reins go, the Jade Flower buckskin horse trotted around the sandy ground outside the stable. Riding on the horseback, Wei Xiaobao felt the speed, as well as the steadiness of the horse. He did not have the slightest knowledge of any technique to control the horse, afraid that he might make a fool of himself, after trotting several rounds he leaped down from the horseback. The horse stopped and stood still on its own accord.

    "Wangye," Wei Xiaobao said, "Thank you very much for your generous gift! Xiao Ren is going to see Oboi now, I'll come back later to accompany you."

    "Certainly," Prince Kang replied, "This is the important mission on which you are being sent. Xiao Xiongdi, please report to His Majesty that we guard him very strictly, even if this servant grew wings, he would not be able to escape."

    "That's for sure," Wei Xiaobao said.

    "Do you want me to come with you?" Prince Kang asked.

    "I do not dare to brother Wangye's honorable self," Wei Xiaobao replied.

    Every time Prince Kang see Oboi, he was always shouted at, cursed and berated by Oboi, so he did not really want to see him. Thereupon he sent eight guards to escort Wei Xiaobao to inpsect the offender.

    The eight guards led Wei Xiaobao toward the rear garden, and to the front of an isolated stone building. Outside the building there were sixteen guards with steel sabers in their hands; on top of that, there were two chief guards continuously going on a patrol around the building. The guarding of the prisoner was indeed very strict. As soon as the chiefs found out that the Emperor had sent a personal envoy to inspect, they led the guards to bow and salute. They opened the big lock on the iron gate, pushed open the iron gate, and invited Wei Xiaobao to enter.

    The stone building was really dark inside, on the corridor there was a kitchen stove leaning against the wall, an old servant was cooking rice. The chief of the guards said, "Normally this iron door will not be opened easily, the prisoner's food and drink is prepared in here by this man, and then delivered into the prison cell."

    Wei Xiaobao nodded. "Very good!" he said, "Your Wangye had given it a thorough thought. The iron door is not opened, it will be very difficult for the prisoner to escape."

    The chief of the guards said, "Wangye's order: if the prisoner is trying to escape, he is to be killed without question." The chief of the guards led Wei Xiaobao to enter through a small hall, and immediately they could hear Oboi's voice coming from inside, cursing the Emperor: "Your granny, from the cradle to the grave laozi has established countless heroic contribution, so that your grandfather, your father can occupy this flowery rivers and mountains. You, little demon with no prospect, are but a child, yet you don't know kindness when you see one, you stab me in the back with a dagger, you plotted against laozi. Even if laozi becomes a malicious spirit, I will not spare you."

    The chief of the guards frowned and said, "This servant's mouth is undisciplined and out of control, he really deserved to be beheaded."

    --------------------------------------------------
    [2] Wangye – Master King, Xiao Ren – Little/lowly Person, Xiao Wang – little/lowly king.
    Last edited by foxs; 10-07-10 at 04:02 PM.

  10. #190
    Senior Member SkyWalker's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update foxs.

  11. #191
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    Thanks once again, foxs! I've had some crazy busy work days, and these updates I read during lunch really help break up the days a bit.

  12. #192
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    Things are speeding along rather quickly .
    Thanks for the regular updates, foxs!

  13. #193
    Senior Member smurf120's Avatar
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    Although I am deeply familiar with the story, this translation is wonderful and bringing different surprises at every turn!

  14. #194
    Senior Member foxs's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 7 - Part 3

    You are very welcome, Sky, Stan & Tweety. Stan, are you in the same time zone (or at least close to) where I am? Because I am also doing this during lunch break. Smurf, have you read the original Chinese? I check my work against Minford's from time to time, mostly to avoid using the same wordings, but up to this point his work is following the original (storywise).

    -----------------------------------
    Following Oboi's voice, Wei Xiaobao came to an iron window of a small room. He craned his neck to look inside, and saw Oboi, with disheveled hair, with shackles and fetters on his hands and feet, was walking back and forth in the room. He dragged the shackles on the floor, creating a clanking noise. Oboi saw Wei Xiaobao and shouted, "You ... you ... you deserve to die ten thousand times, pen1sless[3] little demon, come in, come in, let laozi pinch your throat!" His eyes bulging, his gaze fiery, suddenly he ran toward Wei Xiaobao. 'Bang!' his body heavily struck the wall. Although he knew that the wall was very thick, still, Wei Xiaobao was shocked and withdrew two steps back. Seeing Oboi's mean and ferocious appearance he could not help but was extremely scared.

    "Gong-gong," the chief of the guards comforted him, "Don't be afraid, this servant won't come out."

    Wei Xiaobao calmed down. He saw that the iron bars on that iron window were very thick, the stone wall was also very thick, plus the shackles and fetters on Oboi's hands and feet were very heavy. His spirit involuntarily rose up. "Why should I fear of him?" he said, "All of you may wait for me outside. His Majesty ordered me to ask him several questions." The guards complied and withdrew. Oboi was still cursing angrily.

    Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, "Oboi, His Majesty sent me here to see if you, Senior, are well. You are cursing people, that means your spirit is 100% alive and well, your body is very healthy; when His Majesty learns about it, he will be very happy."

    Oboi raised his hands and struck his chains against the iron window, 'dang, dang!', while roaring angrily, "Your granny, you little b*stard raised by a b*tch. Tell your Emperor, I don't need his hypocrisy, if he wanted to kill me just kill, do you think Oboi will be scared?"

    The thick iron frame of the window was shaking from his strike, Wei Xiaobao was afraid Oboi might break the window and come out, he took another step back. He said with a laugh, "It won't be that easy for His Majesty to kill you. He wanted you to stay here peacefully for twenty, thirty years. When you feel real remorse in your heart, you may crawl out and kowtow several hundred times to His Majesty, remembering your part merit, His Majesty may forgive you and let you out. But you won't be back to your high-ranking post."

    Oboi roared, "Tell him not to have a big dream in a clear autumn day; if he wants to kill Oboi, that is very easy, but he wants Oboi to kowtow to him, that is a thousand times, ten thousand times more difficult."

    "We'll wait and see," Wei Xiaobao said with a laugh, "After three or five years, when His Majesty suddenly remembers you, he may send me back to see you. Oboi Da Ren, please take a good care of yourself, you must never catch cold or cough, headache or stomachache."

    Oboi cursed, "Ache your mother's bastard lamb. The young emperor was fine, it was you, raised by b*tch Han people who taught him bad things. If the old Emperor would listen to me early on, not a single one of Han official would be needed in the imperial court, not a single one of Han dog would be allowed to enter the Palace, otherwise, do you think it will be a mess such as today?"

    Wei Xiaobao ignored him completely, he withdrew toward the servant who was cooking by the kitchen stove. Seeing steam was rising from the pot, he lifted the lid to look in, and saw it was a pork and white cabbage soup. "Smells good," he said.

    "It's for the prisoner," the old servant said, "Nothing good in it."

    Wei Xiaobao said, "His Majesty ordered me to personally inspect the prisoner's food and drink, we must not let him starve."

    The old servant said, "Gong-gong please don't worry, he won't starve. "Wangye has ordered that every day we must give him a catty of meat."

    "Scoop a bowl and let me have a taste," Wei Xiaobao said, "If you mistreat the prisoner, I will ask Wangye to beat you with a board."

    The old servant was terrified; "Yes, yes!" he said, "Xiao Ren does not dare to mistreat the prisoner." Busily he fetch a bowl and scooped a ladleful or pork and cabbage, which he respectfully handed over to Wei Xiaobao with both hands; he also presented a pair of chopsticks.

    Wei Xiaobao received the bowl and drank a mouthful of soup; he showed neither approval nor disapproval. Looking at the chopsticks he said, "These chopsticks are too dirty, clean it well for me."

    "Yes, yes!" the old servant busily replied. Taking the chopsticks, he went out to the courtyard, where a water jar was standing, and wipe and wash the chopsticks well.

    Wei Xiaobao turned his body around and took a package of medicinal powder from his pocket, which he poured into that large bowl of pork and cabbage, and then he put the paper wrapper back into his pocket. He shook the bowl several times to dissolve the medicinal powder into the soup. He knew that Kangxi wanted to kill Oboi, but it must be done without leaving any trace. Walking out of the Upper Study Room, he got an idea, thereupon he returned to his residence and took out about a dozen kinds of medicinal powder from Hai Laogong's medicinal chest. Without any care whether it was poison or not, he mixed them all randomly, and then wrapped it all in a sheet of paper. His thought was that among those dozen different powders, there must be two or three poison, so if he let Oboi have it, his chance of survival would be very slim.

    Finished cleaning up the chopsticks, the old servant respectfully handed it over to Wei Xiaobao. Wei Xiaobao took the chopsticks and used it to stir Oboi's bowl of pork; he said, "Um, there are a lot of pork in here. Do you usually give him this much meat? I'll say most likely you steal some for yourself!"

    "Each meal has this much meat," the old servant said, "Xiao Ren does not dare to steal food." While in his heart he was astonished, "How did this little Gong-gong know that I steal the prisoner's food? That's a bit strange!"

    "Alright," Wei Xiaobao said, "You may deliver the food to the prisoner."

    "Yes, yes!" the old servant replied. He fixed three large bowls of white rice, and then along with the large bowl of pork and cabbage, he placed the bowls on a tray and deliver it to Oboi.

    Wei Xiaobao lifted his chopsticks to gently tapping the edge of the pot; in his heart, he was very proud of himself, thinking, "If that servant Oboi eats the bowl of pork and cabbage that I fixed, if blood does not flow out of his seven orifices, then ... then blood will flow from his eight orifices and he'll die." He only knew there was a phrase 'blood flowing from seven orifices', but in all honesty his knowledge was very limited; not knowing any better, he added one more to the phrase 'seven orifices'.

    Putting down the bowl and the chopsticks, he strolled outside to chat with the guards on duty. After a while he thought that by this time Oboi most like would have had eaten the bowl of pork clean; thereupon he said to the chief of the guards, "Let's go back in to take a look!"

    "Yes! the chief of the guards replied.

    The two of them had just entered the door when suddenly they heard two of the guards outside were shouting almost simultaneously, "Who's there? Stop!" Followed by 'swish, swish!' the sound of arrows being shot. The chief of the guards was startled and busily said, "Gong-gong, I am going out to look." And he ran outside.

    Wei Xiaobao followed behind him; he heard clashing noise as about a dozen men in black, with naked blades in their hands, were fighting with the guards. Wei Xiaobao was greatly shocked, "Aiyo!" he exclaimed, "Oboi's men are here to rescue him."

    The chief of the guards drew his sword and led the fight. He only shouted a few words when a man and a woman attacked him from left and right. The four imperial guards escorting Wei Xiaobao were not too far at the front of the building. Hearing the noise, they rushed in to join the fight.

    The man in black's martial art was quite strong, in an instant two mansion guards were already lying on the ground, dead. Wei Xiaobao withdrew back inside the stone building and hastily closed the door. He was about to bolt the door when a group of men dashed in, throwing him several zhang back. Four men in black had broken into the stone building. "Where is Oboi? Where is Oboi?" they shouted. An old man with long beard grabbed Wei Xiaobao and asked, "Where is Oboi?"

    Wei Xiaobao pointed outside and said, "He is imprisoned in the dungeon outside." Two of the men in black immediately rushed out. Another group of four men in black rushed in and swiftly ran toward the rear courtyard. Suddenly someone shouted, "In here!" The old man with long beard was angry; he raised his saber to chop Wei Xiaobao. Wei Xiaobao desperately trying to flee. Another man in black from the side kicked him on his butt, sending him flying several zhang away and he landed on the rear courtyard.

    Six men in black rammed the prison's iron door together, but the iron door was very sturdy, how could they strike it open in such a short period of time? They heard a rapid 'dong, dong, dong' sound of the gong outside, the Prince's mansion had raised the alarm. One of the man in black shouted, "We must hurry!" The long-bearded old man replied, "No kidding! Who does not know we must hurry?"

    Seeing their battering failed to open the iron door, a man in black raised the steel whip he had in his hand and used it as a pry bar. After several push, the two iron bars began to open. By now three more men in black rushed in. The hallway in front of the prison was narrow, nine people crowded together, they could not use their hands and feet freely.

    Wei Xiaobao quietly crawled out on the floor, but before he went too far, the men spotted him. Someone stabbed a sword to his back. Wei Xiaobao dodged to the left. The man swept his sword sideways. 'Swish!' it made a big rip on the back of his long gown. Luckily Wei Xiaobao was protected by his treasured vest so that the sword did not harm his skin and flesh. In his fright and panic he leaped up and rushed toward the crowd.

    Another man in black cursed, "Little demon!" He raised his saber and hacked it down. Wei Xiaobao jumped up suddenly and caught the iron bars on the prison's window, his body was hanging in the air. The man in black wielding the steel whip was in the process of prying the iron bars open, seeing Wei Xiaobao was obstructing him at the door, he struck his whip down. Wei Xiaobao was caught in a dead end, plus his legs were caught in between the two iron bars. The iron bars was already bent, his body was slim and small, unexpectedly he was able to slip through the gap. Releasing his grip, he fell down into the prison cell. 'Dang!' the steel whip struck the iron bars.

    The men in black outside shouted one after another, "I'm going in, I'm going in." The man with the steel whip probed his head into the opening trying to worm his way in. A thirteen, fourteen years old Wei Xiaobao could slip in, but this man's stature was stout and strong, how could he slip through?

    Wei Xiaobao drew the dagger from his boot while shouting inwardly, "I wish the help will come soon, I wish the help will come soon!" He heard the sound of copper gong outside, he heard the shouts and the clashing of weapons. Suddenly 'whoosh!' a gust of wind pressed down on his head. Wei Xiaobao rolled several chi away; he heard a loud clanking noise, followed by a searing pain on his face as some sand splashed onto him. Without looking back he hastily jumped away. He saw Oboi was waving his iron chain, "Heh, heh," he shouted, while jumping and leaping madly. At this moment, the man in black wielding the steel whip had just put his head through the window frame. Oboi ferociously swung his shackles onto his head. His brain dashed out, the man in black died instantly.

    Wei Xiaobao was surprised to no end, "Why did he kill the people who want to rescue him?" But then he realized immediately, "Aiyo! After eating the medicinal powder I fed him, although he is poisoned, he did not immediately go to see Emperor Yan Luo[4], but went mad instead!"

    Outside the door, the men were shouting and yelling. Oboi raised his shackled hands and fiercely attacked the prison door. Wei Xiaobao thought, "If he turns around and hit me, laozi will definitely return to heaven!" In this desperate situation, almost without thinking he pounced forward and with all his might he thrust his dagger into Oboi's back.

    After taking the medicine, Oboi's sanity failed; in his confused mind, he did not know someone was attacking him from behind. As Wei Xiaobao's dagger was coming at him, he did not even try to evade, 'stab!' it went deep into his back. Oboi howled wildly, while randomly waving the iron chain on his hands. Wei Xiaobao seized this opportunity to drag the dagger downward. The dagger could cut iron like mud, it sliced from top to bottom, Oboi's back was cut in two, and he fell down immediately.

    Outside the window, the men in black were startled and staring blankly for a moment, as if they were witnessing the most bizarre thing on earth. About three, four men cried out almost simultaneously, "This kid killed Oboi! This kid killed Oboi!"

    -----------------------------------
    [3] Orig. 'luanzi', can be used for both male and female: 'testicles/penis' or 'ovum'.

    [4] Yama, King of the underworld.

    -----------------------------------
    Folks, if you don't mind, I'd like to know a little bit more about you, the readers. I know we have 'interview with translators', why not have a simplified version of 'interview with the readers'? I don't know if Han would let me do it in this thread, but I guess we'll find out real soon. I don't want to do it in the Wuxia Fiction forum, because one, I do not usually visit that forum, two, when I did, I saw many unfamiliar names, at least to me; hence my conclusion: those who love to read do not necessarily love to discuss, and vice versa.

    No pressure, you don't have to participate if you don't want to. It won't affect my speed at all ... But I'd really love to know a bit more about you. Just share any info you feel comfortable sharing, for example, where you currently live, and what do you do for a living, etc.
    Last edited by foxs; 10-07-10 at 04:03 PM.

  15. #195
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    Quote Originally Posted by foxs View Post
    You are very welcome, Sky, Stan & Tweety. Stan, are you in the same time zone (or at least close to) where I am? Because I am also doing this during lunch break.
    I'm in the PST zone, Vancouver to be exact. I usually work 11-7:30, and so I take a later lunch than most, around 2pm.

    Thanks for the update. This part is so exciting, and it's fun to see WXB making it through all these harrowing experiences unscathed. Luck/fortune always seems to play a part in JY's works, but usually it's luck in meeting the right people, learning new kinds of martial arts, etc. For WXB, it's all about escaping alive and with a giant pile of cash.

  16. #196
    Senior Member tweety365's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update!

    I live in Orange County, Southern California. To put bread on the table, I slave away on a daily basis as an internal auditor. Yes, nobody likes an auditor, but they have to "try" to be nice to me anyway.

  17. #197
    Member JoeLee's Avatar
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    Thanks Foxs!! Great scene...

  18. #198
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    Default Staying alive

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHYmR5Hj8AE

    Im just staying alive...
    I play a lot fo table tennis ... soccer and spend a bit of time in the gym.

    Work ? not sure what that is...

    I will probebly be doing plenty of it in the future... I live in the "land of the long white cloud"
    Ali Derhamy

  19. #199
    Senior Member SkyWalker's Avatar
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    Thanks for the post foxs.

    I live in NYC and work in the Financial District of Downtown. I love to travel, watch sports, and of course, read wuxia fiction. What about yourself foxs?

  20. #200
    Senior Member foxs's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 7 - Part 4

    Thanks for responding to my request, Stan, Tweety, Ali and Sky. I appreciate it. JoeLee, you are welcome. Tweety, 'internal auditor' as in quality, ISO compliance and so on? Or financial auditor as in accounting, tax, etc.? To answer SkyWalker's question, I am a design engineer in aerospace and defense industry, hence the type of 'auditor' I am familiar with is the first one. Sky, I am not familiar with NYC financial district. My impression is that you are one of those finance people who make the big bucks. Ali, 'work' is something that people like me have to do to stay alive ... I am guessing you are a student, but what major?

    ------------------------------------------------
    The long-bearded old man said, "Pry open the iron window, get in and make sure it is really Oboi!" Two men immediately picked the steel whip to forcefully pry the iron bars open. Two of the guards from the Prince’s mansion broke into the room, the long-bearded old man brandished his scimitar and chopped them dead one by one. A man in black used a short spear to poke repeatedly toward Wei Xiaobao across the window, to prevent him from coming near and injure somebody. Not too long afterwards, the gap between the iron bars had grown big enough; a thin man in black said, “Let me come in!” And he jumped into the prison cell trough the window.

    Wei Xiaobao raised his dagger and stabbed it to him. The thin man used his saber to block. ‘Tchak!’ the saber broke into two. The thin man was startled, he threw the broken saber in his hand toward Wei Xiaobao. Wei Xiaobao lower his head to dodge, but both of his hands were grabbed by that thin man, and were twisted behind his back. Another man in black placed a saber on his neck and shouted, “Don’t move!”

    Two more of the iron bars on the window were taken down, the long-bearded old man and a bald man in black entered the prison cell. They grabbed Oboi’s head by his pigtail and lifted it up to take a look. “It is Oboi!” they said together.

    The long-bearded old man wanted to shove Oboi’s body through the window, but the shackles and fetters were firmly fastened onto the stone walls, and he was unable to break the chain. The thin man picked up Wei Xiaobao’s dagger and ‘tchak, tchak’ four times, he cut the iron chain on Oboi’s body. “Good blade!” the long-bearded old man praised. He shoved Oboi’s body through the window, and the men in black outside pulled the body out. The thin man also shoved Wei Xiaobao outside the window, and then the three of them slipped out of the prison cell.

    The long-bearded old man gave his order, “Take this boy away! Everybody, let’s go!” They all shouted their response and rushed outside. A big man in black carried Wei Xiaobao under his arm as they rushed out of the stone building.

    Suddenly ‘swish, swish, swish!’ like flying locusts arrows were shot at them. Twenty-something guards from the Prince’s mansion continuously release the arrows. Wielding a saber, Prince Kang himself led the attack.

    Stopped by the arrows, the men in black were unable to dash out. The one carrying Oboi’s body was a Taoist priest. “Follow me!” he called out, as he lifted Oboi’s body as a shield in front of him.

    Prince Kang saw Oboi, but he did not know that Oboi had already died. He also saw Wei Xiaobao being carried by one of the assassins. “Stop the arrows!” he yelled, “Don’t harm Gui Gong-gong!” Wei Xiaobao mused, “Prince Kang has a good conscience, laozi will always remember your kindness!”

    The Prince’s mansion’s archers immediately halted their arrows. Those men in black cried out loudly and dashed out of the stone building. The long-bearded old man waved his hand, four men rushed toward Prince Kang. The guards were shocked; abandoning the enemy, they rushed to save their master. Who would have thought that it was actually that long-bearded old man’s ‘making sound in the east and striking to the west’ tactic? The remaining men in black seized this opportunity to jump over the surrounding wall to escape from the Prince’s mansion.

    The four men attacking Prince Kang possessed very good qinggong, avoiding contact with the guards, they flew to the east and leaped to the west, as if they were waiting for an opportunity to take Prince Kang’s life. However, as soon as their companions were out of the Prince’s mansion, the four of them let out several whistle and jumped over the wall, while repeatedly waved their hands. A dozen or so secret projectiles were shot toward Prince Kang. The guards repeatedly cried out in alarm as they waved their weapons to knock down the secret projectiles. Still, one steel dart hit Prince Kang’s left arm. Amidst the confusion, the four men in black disappeared from the Prince’s mansion.

    Wei Xiaobao was carried by a big man under his arm, as they were speeding down the street. He heard thunderous noise of hoof beats and somebody shouted, “Assassins in Prince Kang's mansion!" It was a large group of reinforcement troops.

    The men in black dashed into a commoner's house by the Prince's mansion. They bolted the door and dashed out via the back door. Evidently these people had already prepared their escape route well, they seemed to be familiar with the terrain of that place. Rushing through a small alley, they entered another house, and dashed out via the back door again. After several twist and turn, they entered a large house. All of them quickly shed their black attire and quickly wore other set of clothes. In an instant they all changed into peasants: one carried firewood on shoulder pole, another carried baskets of vegetables, et cetera. The man carrying Wei Xiaobao bound him firmly with hemp rope. Two men pushed a wooden cart, on which were two large wooden barrels. They shoved Oboi's body and Wei Xiaobao into those barrels.

    "Damn it!" Wei Xiaobao cursed in his heart. Countless jujubes were poured on top of his head, until he was completely covered with jujubes, then they put the lid down. If someone were to open the lid, all he could see would be jujubes. Then Wei Xiaobao felt his body was swaying, presumably the cart was being pushed out of the door. Although there were gaps in between the jujubes that he was not suffocated, yet he could not breathe freely. From a state of panic, Wei Xiaobao slowly calmed down; he thought, "These people are Oboi's subordinates, most probably they kidnapped laozi away because they want to dig out laozi's heart and liver to be sacrificed to Oboi. It would be best if along the way we came across a troop of soldiers, laozi will roll as hard as I can to overturn this wooden barrel, then their secret would be revealed." However, his hands and feet were tightly bound, he could not even move a single strand of his hair.

    He could hear the faint rattling of the wheel outside the wooden barrel, while his body was jolted continuously. After traveling for a long time, they did not come across any group of soldiers. Wei Xiaobao cursed for a while, then he was afraid for a while. All of a sudden he opened his mouth and bite a jujube, it was a plump and sweet jujube, so he ate several more. Scared and extremely tired, not too long afterward he unexpectedly fell into a deep sleep.

    When he awoke, the cart was still moving. He felt his entire body was sore, he wanted to turn around, but could not move even for half a fen. He thought, "This time laozi is not going to escape the disaster. As soon as I can, I am going to rain curses on them, to vent the resentment in my heart. In twenty years, I will be considered a hero." His mind went further, "Luckily I have killed Oboi, otherwise, if that servant was rescued by this bunch of dog thieves while laozi is in their hands, it would be difficult for me to stay alive, while I can't ask for death either. Oboi was a high-ranking official of the imperial court, Wei Xiaobao is only a little demon from the Lovely Spring Courtyard. A life for a life, Oboi's life is really cheap, ha ha ... really cheap!" Since he was unable to escape, he tried to amuse himself to relieve his anxiety, yet in spite of laughing inwardly, there was not the least bit of cheerful mood in his heart.

    A moment later, he fell asleep again. This time he was asleep for a long time. When he woke up, he felt that the cart was rolling smoothly on flat road. A little while later, the cart stopped, but nobody got him out, he was left alone inside the jujube barrel. After more than half a day, Wei Xiaobao felt very stuffy; he was about to fall asleep again when suddenly he heard creaking noise, the lid was opened, somebody was scooping the jujubes above his head. Wei Xiaobao took a deep breath and was feeling very relieved. Opening his eyes, all he could see was darkness, with a glimmer of light overhead. Someone scooped him out with both hands and carried him horizontally across his arms. Another man was standing by his side, holding a lantern. Turned out it was already night.

    The man carrying Wei Xiaobao was an old man with a serene expression. Wei Xiaobao noticed that they were in an enormous courtyard. The old man carried Wei Xiaobao to the rear hall, the man carrying the lantern pushed open a long shutter. Wei Xiaobao cried out inwardly, "I am doomed!" Not knowing which way was up and which way was down, all he could see was an enormous hall, with people standing wall to wall; by his estimation, there were at least two hundred of them. Those people wore black clothing with white bands around their heads and white cloth belt around their waists, all wore mourning attire while their faces showed grief and indignation.

    A mourning shrine was set up in the middle of the hall, on the table eight extremely thick blue candles were lighted. Next to the shrine hang several plain white cloths with lamentation couplets written on them, and a vertical 'beckoning the soul' banner. Back in Yangzhou, whenever there was a rich family having a funeral, Wei Xiaobao always joined the fun. He would ask for money, or when everybody was busy and nobody was watching, he would 'lead away a passing goat' by stealing some household item and hiding it in his bosom, he would then sell it in the market and use the money to gamble. Therefore, he was accustomed to see funeral hall arrangement; as soon as he saw it, he knew what it was.

    While he was still inside the jujube barrel, he had anticipated that they would cut open his heart and split his chest to be sacrificed to Oboi, but now that the time had already come, he was so scared that his entire body went limp and his teeth chattered, making a clacking noise. The old man set him down, with his left hand grabbing Wei Xiaobao’s shoulder, his right hand severing the hemp rope binding Wei Xiaobao’s hands and feet. Wei Xiaobao’s limbs were numb, he was unable to stand up. The old man put his hand underneath Wei Xiaobao’s right armpit to support him.

    It was obvious to Wei Xiaobao that everybody in that hall knew martial art, perhaps he was not a match for any of them, so escaping would be extremely difficult indeed. But if left and right was death, and luckily the rope binding him was severed, he might as well try. The worst that could happen to him was he failed, he got caught back, and they still would have cut open his heart and split his chest. Could they cut more than once, or split him again? The most important things: first, he needed to get the old man’s hand off his armpit, so that when he made his move he would not get grabbed, second, he had to try to extinguish the lantern, he would have had greater chance of success in the dark.

    Stealing a glance to the people in the hall, he saw there was either a saber hanging on their waist, or a sword sticking out on their back. A middle-aged man walked over to the spirit tablet and said, “Today the big enmity is avenged, Da … Dage may close your … your eyes.” Before even finished, he voice broke into silent sobs. He turned around and threw himself in front of the spirit tablet and cried loudly. Everybody in the hall followed by wailing loudly.

    “Hot piece mama,” Wei Xiaobao mused, “Laozi will curse now.” But immediately changed his mind, “As soon as I open my mouth to curse, these turtle bastards will start attacking laozi, then I won’t be able to escape.” Casting a sideways glance, he saw the old man holding him was using his sleeve to wipe his tears, so he was thinking of turning around and run right then, but the space behind them was full of people, as soon as he took a single step, they would immediately capture him. He thought that the timing had not come, he must not be reckless.

    From among the crowd an old sounding voice shouted, “Offer the sacrifice!” An imposing looking man, bare-chested, with a white cloth band around his head, walked to the front in big strides; he had a wooden tray in his hand, which he lifted high above his head. The tray was covered in thin cloth, on the cloth lay a badly mangled human head. Wei Xiaobao almost fainted; “Hot piece mama,” he thought, “These bastards is going to cut laozi’s head.” He further thought, “Whose head is it? Is it Prince Kang? Or Songgotu? It couldn’t be the Young Emperor, could it?” The wooden tray was lifted very high that Wei Xiaobao was not able to see clearly the severed head’s appearance.

    The man set the wooden tray on the sacrifice table and then prostrated himself on the floor. The weeping sound rose again in the hall. “Damn it,” Wei Xiaobao thought, “If I don’t run now, what am I waiting for?” He turned around, wishing to run, but the old man pulled his sleeve, his legs gave up and he fell down, kneeling on the ground. Seeing everybody else was kowtowing, without any choice he also kowtowed, but in his heart he cursed, “Thief Oboi, Turtle Oboi. Laozi stabbed you dead with a knife, to the nether world, laozi will stab you several more times!”

    Finished kowtowing some people stood up, while others lay prostrate and cried loudly. Wei Xiaobao thought, “Real men crying like that, aren’t they ashamed? What good was that bastard Oboi anyway? What’s the regret in him being dead? Why do you shed so much horse urine like this?”

    After crying for a while, a tall and slim old man walked over to the spirit tablet, with a loud and clear voice he said, “Brothers, our Yin Xiangzhu’s[5] enmity has been avenged, that servant Oboi has finally be beheaded. It is truly our Tian Di Hui’s Green Wood Hall’s greatly happy occasion …”

    Hearing the words ‘that servant Oboi has finally be beheaded’, Wei Xiaobao’s ears were buzzing; he was startled but happy, like a lightning a thought flashed in his mind, “They are not Oboi’s subordinates, but Oboi’s personal enemy?” The next several sentences that that tall and slim old man was saying went into Wei Xiaobao’s left ear and out of his right. After quite a while, he calmed down and was slowly able to listen; however, he missed a large chunk of the old man’s speech. He heard, “… today we created disturbance at Prince Kang’s mansion, killed Oboi, and managed to return safely. The Tatars will undoubtedly be panic-stricken; this is an enormous victory to our Society’s anti-Qing, restoring-Ming great undertaking. When the brethrens in other Halls of our Society find out, they will definitely admire our Green Wood Hall’s wisdom, bravery, and resolution in doing this daring deed.”

    “Exactly, exactly,” one after another the men shouted their opinions, “This time our Green Wood Hall has gain a lot of face.” “Lotus Flower Hall, Scarlet Fire Hall, they all have always blown their own horns, but this time Green Wood Hall outraced them in accomplishing our leader’s order!” “When this matter is spread widely all over the world, perhaps in teahouses everywhere our deeds will be told and sung. When in the future the Tatars are driven back outside the Great Wall, the name of Tian Di Hui’s Green Wood Hall will be engraved in immortality!” “What do you mean driving the Tatars back outside the Great Wall? We are going to chop all Tatars’ head and exterminate them completely; they all will die without any burial site.” Everybody had something to say, their spirit rose, the mournful air filling the hall just a moment ago was instantly swept away.

    ------------------------------------------------
    [5] Xiangzhu means ‘fragrant master’. I think this is a high-ranking position in an organization, similar to Tangzhu – ‘hall master’.
    Last edited by foxs; 10-07-10 at 04:03 PM.

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