Crazee, I am trying one update in two to three days. Anh, you are welcome. Tweety, Gubrak, precisely because we are so close to the end that I have to push myself not to slack. Thanks for staying with me.
One night the snow stopped falling, the north wind blew very strong, and cold wind continuously crept into the cave via the wooden plank door. Shuang’er added dry firewood to the bonfire. Wei Xiaobao took out the dice and let the women roll. After five women rolled the dice, Mu Jianping threw a three-dot, the lowest combination; it looked like tonight her lost was decided. Zeng Rou laughed and said, “Jianping Meizi lost; I don’t need to throw.”
Mu Jianping laughed and said, “Quickly throw, quickly throw! Maybe you’ll throw a two-dot.”
Zeng Rou picked the dice and held them in her hand; imitating Wei Xiaobao, she gently blew the two dice in her palm. She was just about to throw when a burst of north wind blew; in the midst of the wind they faintly heard something that sounded like human voice. Everybody’s countenance changed. Actually, Su Quan was already asleep, but suddenly she sat up. Eight people were ‘you look at me, I look at you’, in that instant everybody’s face was drained of any blood. Mu Jianping cried out softly and buried her head into Fang Yi’s bosom.
A moment later, the wind carried a loud shout; this time they could hear it clearly, the cry was, “Xiao Guizi, Xiao Guizi, where are you? Xiao Xuanzi is thinking about you!”
Wei Xiaobao sprang up. “Xiao … Xiao Xuanzi is coming to look for me,” he said in a trembling voice.
“Who is Xiao Xuanzi?” the Princess asked.
“He is … he is …” Wei Xiaobao replied. Only he alone knew that ‘Xiao Xuanzi’, three characters, was Kangxi, he had never told anybody else, naturally Kangxi himself would not let anybody know; yet suddenly people were shouting this name, plus the voice was this loud and clear? His whole body trembled, he felt this matter was very strange. Kangxi must be dead, his ghost was thinking of him, and had come to Tong Chi Island to find him. For a moment he could not stop his eyes from brimming with tears of excitement; from he cave he rushed out and called, “Xiao Xuanzi, Xiao Xuanzi, are you looking for me? Xiao Guizi is here!”
He heard the voice called again, “Xiao Guizi, Xiao Guizi, where are you? Xiao Xuanzi is thinking about you!” The voice was very loud, it did not sound like it came from one person’s mouth, but it sounded like several thousand or several hundred people were shouting together. But several thousand or several hundred people shouting together can’t possibly shout this clearly; however, if it was one person shouting, no matter how outstanding his internal energy was, it would not sound like shaking thunder. Hence, it must be Kangxi’s ghost.
Wei Xiaobao’s heart was extremely grieved, tears flooding out from his eyes as he thought that Xiao Xuanzi’s yi qi to me was indeed very profound; after he is dead, his ghost is still coming to look for me. Usually he was extremely scared of ghosts, but this moment he simply must meet Xiao Xuanzi’s ghost no matter what. Thereupon he urged his feet to run faster, straight toward the voice, while calling out, “Xiao Xuanzi, don’t go, Xiao Guizi is here!”
The ground was covered with ice and snow, it was extremely slippery, Wei Xiaobao fell tumbling down, twice, but each time he simply crawled back up and ran again. Rounding a hillside, he saw the beach was full of specks of flame clustered together like a vast sky full of stars. Several hundred people with lanterns and torches in their hands were standing in a neat and tidy formation. Wei Xiaobao was shocked. “Aiyo!” he cried out, turned around and ran away.
From the crowd a man rushed out and called, “Wei Dutong, finally we found you!”
Wei Xiaobao only took two steps before realizing the situation; his track had been discovered. The opposite side had several hundred people, if they searched this tiny Tong Chi island, he would not be able to hide at all. Besides, he thought the voice sounded familiar. Therefore, he halted, braced himself, and slowly turned around.
The man called, “Wei Dutong, we all miss you very much. Thank the Heaven and thank the Earth, finally we find you.” The voice was brimming with joy and full of emotion. The man lifted up high the torch in his hand and rushed over in quick steps. When he got near, Wei Xiaobao recognized the man was Wang Jinbao.
To come across an old friend, Wei Xiaobao was also very happy. He remembered that day in Beijing outskirts under the imperial order Wang Jinbao was sent to arrest him, but he deliberately pretended not to see him, in complete disregard of his future career, even his own life, he let Wei Xiaobao go, indeed his yi qi was profound. He brought the troops today, although it was dangerous, there was still room for negotation. Thereupon Wei Xiaobao smiled and said, “Wang San Ge, your plan is marvelous, you can trick me to come out.”
Wang Jinbao threw his torch to the ground; bowing, he said, “Subordinate did not dare to play a trick, I really did not know Dutong is on the island.”
Wei Xiaobao smiled and said, “Then it must be His Majesty’s imperial instruction from his brocade sack of miracle plans, isn’t it?”
Wang Jinbao said, “The day His Majesty found out that Dutong had fled overseas, he sent subordinate with three sea-going ships bearing imperial order to search each and every small island for you. Each time we went ashore, we shouted like that in accordance with His Majesty’s imperial edict.”
By this time Shuang’er, Su Quan and the others arrived; they stood behind Wei Xiaobao. A moment later, Fang Yi, the Princess and Ah Ke, three women also arrived. Wei Xiaobao turned toward the Princess and said, “Your Huangdi Gege’s ability is really good, finally they found us.”
Wang Jinbao recognized the Princess; he kneeled down to pay his respect. The Princess asked, “Did His Majesty send you to arrest and take us back to Beijing?”
“No, he did not,” Wang Jinbao hastily replied, “His Majesty only sent Xiao Jiang [little/lowly general] to sea to look for Wei Dutong, we are completely unaware that Your Highness the Princess is also here.” The Princess lowered her head to look at her bulging belly; her face blushed.
Wang Jinbao turned to Wei Xiaobao, “Subordinate has left to sea more than four months ago, and has come ashore, shouted and searched more than eighty small islands. Tonight we finally meet Dutong, I am really very happy.”
Wei Xiaobao smiled and said, “I am a big criminal, an offender to the throne, long ago I am not your superior anymore, let us get away from calling each other ‘Dutong’ and ‘subordinate’.”
Wang Jinbao said, “His Majesty’s idea, after Dutong hear the imperial edict, naturally you will understand.” Turning around, he beckoned to someone in the crowd. “Wen Gonggong [see Note 1, Chapter 3],” he called, “Please come here.”
Someone stepped out from among the crowd, it was actually Wei Xiaobao’s old acquaintance, the eunuch of the Upper Study Room, Wen Youfang. He walked over and said in a loud and clear voice, “Hear the imperial edict.”
Wen Youfang was a gambling friend Wei Xiaobao met when he first entered the Palace; he could not cheat in playing dice, a ‘cattle’, who owed Wei Xiaobao countless amount of money. After Wei Xiaobao rose straight up in a clear sky [i.e. rapid promotion], each time they met, eighty times out of a hundred Wei Xiaobao always give him some tips.
As soon as Wei Xiaobao heard the three-character ‘hear the imperial edict’ [you sheng zhi], he kneeled down. Wen Youfang said, “This is a secret edict, other people must withdraw.”
As soon as Wang Jinbao heard that, he withdrew far away. Su Quan and the others also withdrew. But the Princess asked, “Huangdi Gege’s imperial edict, even I cannot hear it?”
Wen Youfang replied, “His Majesty’s order: this is a secret imperial edict, only Wei Xiaobao, one person may know; if it leaks even for a character or half a sentence, your servant will be executed along with my whole family unto the third generation.”
“Humph,” the Princess snorted, “How fierce! You’d better be executed along with your whole family unto the third generation then.” But thinking that if she stayed nearby, he would not be willing to read the imperial decree anyway, hence without any choice she also withdrew.
From his pocket Wen Youfang took out two yellow envelopes. Wei Xiaobao kneeled down immediately. “Servant Wei Xiaobao receives the imperial decree,” he said.
Wen Youfang said, “His Majesty’s order: this time you are to receive the imperial decree by standing up, you are not allowed to kneel down and kowtow, and you are not allowed to call yourself a servant.”
Wei Xiaobao was greatly surprised, “Where’s the logic in that?” he said.
Wen Youfang said, “His Majesty ordered me just like that, and now I am telling you just like that, whether there is a logic or not, you can ask His Majesty yourself when you see him.”
Wei Xiaobao had no choice but to respond in loud and clear voice, “Yes, thank you Your Majesty for your grace.” And then he stood up.
Wen Youfang handed one yellow envelope to him and said, “You may open and look at it.”
Wei Xiaobao received with both hands, tear the envelope, and took out a sheet of yellow paper. Wen Youfang raised the lantern in his left hand to illuminate the yellow paper. Wei Xiaobao saw six pictures on that piece of paper. The first picture depicted two boys rolling and wrestling on the floor, it was the scene of he and Kangxi in the past wrestling and having martial art competition. The second picture depicted a bunch of boys catching Oboi; Oboi pounced on Kangxi, Wei Xiaobao stabbed Oboi with a dagger. The third picture depicted a little monk carrying an old monk on his back, running away like flying, with six or seven lama holding sabers in their hands pursuing from behind; it was the scene of him rescuing the old Emperor at Qingliang Temple. The fourth picture depicted a nun wearing white clothes pouncing down from high in the air, with sword straight down to assassinate Kangxi, Wei Xiaobao blocked in front of his body, taking the sword on his behalf. The fifth picture depicted Wei Xiaobao at the Palace of Compassionate and Peaceful, with a foot on the fake Empress Dowager lying on the ground, while helping the real Empress Dowager get off the bed. The sixth picture depicted Wei Xiaobao with a Luocha woman, a Mongolian Prince, and and old lama, together they grabbed the braid of an old general; looking at the old general’s attire, he must be Ping Xi Qin Wang. It must be about Wei Xiaobao using a ruse to break up Wu Sangui’s three-way coalition forces.
Kangxi was very adept at painting, the six pictures were very elegant and vivid; only because he had never seen Wu Sangui, Prince Galdan, Sangjie Lama, and Princess Sophia, four people, the picture did not look like their actual appearance, but the rest of the characters in his drawing were very much like the originals, particularly Wei Xiaobao’s mischievous and naughty expression, it was remarkably true to life.
The six pictures did not have a single character on them, but naturally Wei Xiaobao understood that those are six of his great merits. Playing and fooling around and having martial art competition actually could not be considered any meritorious service, nevertheless Kangxi always remembered it in his heart. As for bombarding the Divine Dragon Island, capturing the fake Empress Dowager, arresting Wu Yingxiong and the other meritorious services, they were not worth mentioning in comparison to these six.
Wei Xiaobao looked at the pictures in a daze; he stared blankly with tears streaming down his face. He mused, “He spent this much effort in drawing these six pictures, remembering my meritorious services, that means he does not blame me anymore.”
Wen Youfang waited for a moment before asking, “Have you looked at it clearly?”
“Yes,” Wei Xiaobao replied.
Wen Youfang opened the second yellow envelope and said, “I’ll read His Majesty’s secret imperial decree.” Taking out a sheet of paper, he read, “Xiao Guizi, damn it, where have you gone? I miss you very much; you, this stinky fellow are heartless and inconsiderate, have you forgotten laozi?”
Wei Xiaobao mumbled in reply, “I have not, I really have not.”
Ever since there were ‘three sovereigns and five emperors’ in China, the Emperor using the word ‘damn it’, three characters [ta ma de], or the Emperor calls himself ‘laozi’, apparently Kangxi’s secret imperial edict was not only unprecedented, it was also never to be repeated in the future.
Wen Youfang paused for a moment, and then continue reading, “You did not obey my order, you were unwilling to kill your Shifu; moreover, you kidnapped Princess Jianning and ran away. Damn it, aren’t you taking advantage of me to become your dajiuzi [wife’s older brother]? But your meritorious services are so great, plus you are very loyal to me, whatever crime you have committed, I forgive them all. I am going to get married, if you don’t come to drink the celebratory wine, laozi will really not be happy. Let me tell you, you surrender obediently, and come to Beijing immediately, I have already prepared another Bojue [Earl] Mansion for you, a lot bigger than the previous one …”
Wei Xiaobao was bursting with joy, “Alright, alright!” he said in a loud voice, “I am coming immediately to drink the celebratory wine.”
Wen Youfang continued reading, “Let us get some things straight first, from this day onward, if you are not being obedient, I will definitely chop your head, don’t ever say that I swindle you to come to Beijing to kill you. Your Shifu surnamed Chen is already dead, Tian Di Hui has nothing to do with you anymore. You gain a bit more power, and destroy Tian Di Hui completely. I will also send you to fight Wu Sangui. I will give you Princess Jianning as your wife. In the future I will bestow you the title Gong [Duke] or Wang [King], you will be promoted and gain wealth, you will have a lot of fun. Xiao Xuanzi is your good friend, also your Shifu, raw bird fish soup [see Chapter 14], the words that I said, dead horses cannot chase it. You must come back for me as soon as possible!”
Finished reading the secret imperial decree, Wen Youfang asked, “Have you understood everything?”
“Yes,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “I have understood everything.”
Wen Youfang put the secret imperial decree into the lantern, lighted it with the candleflame; when he pulled it out, it was burning into ashes.
Wei Xiaobao watched as the secret imperial decree caught fire and turned into flame, and then slowly turned into ashes; myriads of thoughts surging in his mind as he squatted and fiddled with the ashes a little bit.
With smiles all over his face Wen Youfang paid his respect and said with a laugh, “Wei Daren, His Majesty doted on you so much, nothing could be better. Henceforth Xiaode [little/lowly one] will completely rely on you for my promotion.”
Wei Xiaobao sadly shook his head; he pondered, “He wanted me to wipe out Tian Di Hui. This matter will let down my friends too much. If I do such things, won’t I be the same as Wu Sangui, Feng Jizhong, that kind of people, become big traitor (to China), a turtle b@stard? Xiao Xuanzi’s bowl of rice is really not easy to eat. This time he spared me and did not kill me, but he said it clearly, next time he won’t spare me anymore. If I don’t go back, I wonder how he is going to deal with me?” He asked, “If I don’t go back to Beijing, what will His Majesty do? Did he tell you to arrest me and bring me back? Or did he tell you to kill me?”
This whole scene brought tears for me. The six major services led by the scene of them fighting and wrestling as kids. Kangxi did not forget - he could let things be and assume WXB is dead but he is asking for him to come back. So sad things have obviously changed in their relationship - they can be old friends if taken out of the palace and political settings but that would be impossible. How I wish they can have one last road trip incognito together.
Totally agree with smurf. This scene is indeed very emotional. I think WXB cares for Kangxi more than his wives. The fact that he has always been fearful of ghosts, but was running like crazy to find his friend was beyond touching. If only Kangxi is willing to accept the fact that WXB can't betray his friends. WXB can retire somewhere and Kangxi can still visit him every so often. Or at least still be able to communicate with each other .
Thank you, foxs.
To pull an important general out of the front lines during a war just to lead the search for WXB, it shows how much KX values WXB.
You plant a garden and the flowers do not bloom, you poke a stick in the mud and it grows into a tree
Wow Foxs..... you're getting faster and faster.
Well, before I can comment you had updated already....heh heh heh you beat me to it...
Looks like XB is going to get back on his own terms and not on KX's.... Inspite of his fondness and missing his tiger friend, he had grown up and is able to reason..... because he have wives to think of ???
Thanks Foxs....It's Deepavali.....festival of the lights here in Malaysia - a hindu celebration of good triumph over evil...followed by the muslim New Year.....but for Singapore only 1 day public holiday for Deepavali today. Will have to get back to work tomorrow, while it's still holiday in Malaysia.
5 more chapters to go, tough job..
Thanks for the update foxs.
I agree. This scene is indeed emotional. Not gonna lie, this scene brought me to tears. Even though their friendship were not as strong as when they were kids, you can't deny that they still value each other a lot. KX/WXB friendship is pretty much the most relevant and interesting element in this story to me.
LOL @ laozi. Never thought he would say that tbh.
Last edited by zhxzhx; 11-13-12 at 11:23 PM.
Smurf, Tweety, Ace, Zhx, while they cared for each other deeply, the fact remain that Kangxi was the Emperor, his throne was still his first priority. I only did not expect that this scene brought tears to you guys. Anh, you are welcome. Crazee, my brother (who is Singaporean) did say that it is holiday in Singapore, but I did not know that it was Deepavali. As for speed, I think it is pretty much constant, I did neither get faster nor slower. Eccentric, you want to trade places? As you said, only 5 more chapters ...
Wen Youfang’s face showed complete astonishment. “Wei Daren will not accept the imperial order?” he asked, “This … how can there be such thing? This … isn’t that … ay, disobedient against the imperial decree? That kind of thing must not be even mentioned.”
“Tell me the truth,” Wei Xiaobao said, “If I disobey the imperial decree, then what happens?”
Wen Youfang scratched his head and said, “His Majesty only ordered Xiaode to do two things: the first is to deliver a secret imperial decree to Wei Daren, the other one is that after Wei Daren looked at the first imperial decree, to open the second secret imperial decree and to read it out loud. As for the contents of the secret imperial decree, Xiaode did not understand the least bit. About other things, naturally I do not know even more.”
Wei Xiaobao nodded his head; walking over to Wang Jinbao, he said, “Wang San Ge, in His Majesty’s secret imperial decree, he wants me to return to Beijing and do something for him. But … but you see, the Princess’ belly is getting very big, I really cannot leave now. If I do not follow the imperial edict to return to the Capital, how did His Majesty want you to deal with me?” He thought, “I need to hear the opposite party’s setting price first. If he says to kill without negotiation, I will surrender. Otherwise, there’s no harm in haggling over the price.”
Wang Jinbao replied, “His Majesty only sent subordinate to visit each and every island on the sea to look for Wei Dutong; after we found you, to have Wen Gonggong to read the imperial decree. As for what happens afterward, naturally subordinate will follow Wei Dutong’s instruction.”
Wei Xiaobao was greatly delighted. “Do His Majesty did not order you to arrest me, kill me?”
“He did not, he did not,” Wang Jinbao busily said, “How can there be such thing? His Majesty holds Wei Dutong in such a high regard. When Wei Dutong enters the Capital, naturally you will be put in powerful position; if not Shangshu [equivalent to department head], then it must be great general.”
“Wang San Ge,” Wei Xiaobao said, “To be honest with you, His Majesty wants me to return to the Capital so that I can lead people to wipe out Tian Di Hui. I am a Tian Di Hui Xiangzhu, this kind of ‘murdering friends’ matter, I absolutely cannot do.”
Wang Jinbao had always upheld yi qi, he had already understood clearly what happened to Wei Xiaobao; hearing him said so, he could not refrain from nodding his head repeatedly, thinking that selling out friends for the sake of promotion and wealth was worse than a dog or pig.
Wei Xiaobao said, “His Majesty’s kindness to me is as heavy as the mountain, but the thing that he commanded me to do, I just can’t do it. I do not dare to see His Majesty’s face, I have no choice but to work like an ox or like a horse in my next life to repay His Majesty’s great kindness. When you see His Majesty, please explain to him my difficulty. I know that loyalty cannot satisfy both sides, putting on a play ought to commit suicide to repay the master, although cutting the neck will be frighteningly painful, I have no way out, I might have to display utter loyalty my sacrificing myself to the service of my country.”
Wang Jinbao examined his own heart; if he was faced with this difficult problem, there would be only one way out, i.e. committing suicide to repay his lord and emperor for the kindness to recognizing his worth and employing him, but he would not be able to bear crossing over his friends and righteousness. Thereupon he hastily advised him, “Wei Dutong must not take this path, we can slowly think of a way out. Let subordinate report Dutong’s predicament to His Majesty. These past several months Zhang Tidu, Zhao Zongbing, Sun Fujiang several people have rendered some meritorious service, His Majesty are holding them in high regard. Disregarding our future prospects, all of us will kowtow and plead for leniency on behalf of Wei Dutong.”
Seeing he was flustered and exasperated, Wei Xiaobao was secretly amused, “To have Wei Xiaobao kills himself is just like expecting the sun to rise from the west. Forget suicide, laozi can’t even cut my own little finger. Besides, if Xiao Xuanzi wanted to kill me he would kill me immediately, if he wanted to spare me he would simply spare me; nobody knows how much idea he has in his head. Relying on you, several people, kowtowing to him, what good will it bring?” However, seeing Wang Jinbao’s profound yi qi, he was deeply grateful. Holding Wang Jinbao’s hand, he said, “If that’s the case, I will have to toil Wang San Ge to present a memorial to the Emperor, tell him that Wei Xiaobao has difficulty left and right, and was about to swipe a sword across my own throat, luckily you are here to rescue me that I did not die.”
“Yes, yes!” Wang Jinbao said, while in his heart he thought that eunuch Wen was standing on the side, he had witnessed everything; if Wang Jinbao was to deceive their lord like this, perhaps he would expose this trickery. Wang Jinbao’s face could not help showing awkward expression.
Wei Xiaobao roared in laughter and said, “Wang San Ge need not take it seriously, I was only joking. His Majesty is fully aware Wei Xiaobao’s conduct, committing suicide I am very afraid of the pain. Just report back everything according to the facts.” Wang Jinbao was relieved.
Wei Xiaobao thought that if he rode on Wang Jinbao’s ship and returned to the Central Plains, and then disappeared without a trace, the Emperor would definitely put the blame on him, most likely he would kill him. If Wei Xiaobao earnestly asked him, most probably Wang Jinbao would not refuse; but unavoidably Wei Xiaobao would wrong him too much. He said, “Our business is done. Wang San Ge, Xiongdi has not gambled on this unihabited island for too long; it’s really so boring, what do you say we throw a couple of dice?”
Wang Jinbao was greatly delighted, he was a serious gambler, his gambling urge was not below that of Wei Xiaobao’s; when he did not have any opponent, oftentimes his left hand would gamble against his right hand. Thereupon he immediately agreed and could not wait to start immediately. He ordered his soldiers to move a large rock with flat top over, six soldiers stood around with lanterns raised high, shouting and cheering while Wang Jinbao and Wei Xiaobao threw the dice. Before long, Wen Youfang, as well as several Canjiang [regimental commander] and Youji [brigade commander] joined in. The number of people standing around the large rock grew larger and larger.
Mu Jianping watched all this dubiously; she quietly asked Fang Yi, “Shijie, why do they throw dice? Could it be that the loser will … will … but they are all men.”
“Pft,” Fang Yi stifled her laughter; she said in a low voice, “Whoever lost the game will have to accompany you.”
Although Mu Jianping did not understand worldly affair, she knew there was no such thing. Stretching out her hand, she tickled Fang Yi’s armpit. The two women broke into giggles.
The gambling continued until daybreak. The money in front of Wei Xiaobao had become three high piles, first, his luck in gambling was really good, second, he was playing a trick; from these crowd of officers and men, nine out of ten had lost to him. Wei Xiaobao was in high spirits; when he turned his head around, he saw the Princess, Ah Ke and Mu Jianping, three women had already fallen asleep crouching on the rocks, while Su Quan, Fang Yi, Shuang’er and Zeng Rou, four women, were struggling hard to keep their sleepy eyes open while they accompanied him on the side. He could not help feeling bad and apologetic toward them. He pushed the three large pile in front of him forward and said, “Wang San Ge, these several thousand taels, please bestow it on my behalf to the Xiongdi. Everybody has come to this barren island, I do not have anything to entertain you; I feel really bad.”
Originally the officers and men who lost had their countenances ash-grey; as soon as they heard him, thunderous happy shouts arose, they all expressed their gratitude in chorus. Wang Jinbao ordered the officers and men to row the skiffs back to the ships, and bring back from the ships rice grains, pork and lamb, good wine, medication, as well as bowls and chopsticks, tables and chairs, pots and pans, kitchen knife, and so on, skiff by skiff. He also ordered the soldiers to build several large thatched huts in the forest. Many people worked together, several hundred officers and men exerted their strength, in just several days everything was in place on the Tong Chi Island; only then did they bade their farewell from Wei Xiaobao.
As he was about to leave, Wen Youfang found out that this island was called Tong Chi Island; he could not help stomping his feet and heaving deep sigh, saying that if he had known earlier, he would have asked Wei Xiaobao to let him be the banker for several rounds. On Tong Chi Island leisurely be a banker, how could he not eat ‘em all?
More than ten days later, Ah Ke gave birth to a baby boy first, the next say Su Quan also gave birth to another boy. It was more than a month later when the Princess gave birth to a baby girl. Seeing the other women gave birth to baby boys, while she gave birth to a baby girl, the Princess was angry; she cried repeatedly for the next several days. Wei Xiaobao constantly comforted her, telling her that he prefer a daughter over a son; only then did he coax her and turn her tears into laughter.
For the three babies there were seven mothers. Although not a single mother had experience with babies, with a lot of ‘seven hands eight feet’ and hundreds of jesting, the three infants were healthy, strong and lively.
The women respectfully asked Wei Xiaobao to give the babies names. Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “I am blind and do not know any letters, you want me to give my sons, my daughter names, that means you are giving me great difficulty. Let’s do it this way, we throw dice, whatever the result, that will be their names.” Immediately he picked up the dice, with his mouth mumbling some prayers, “God of gambling Bodhisattva please bless, give me three good names. The first one!”
He threw the dice, one produced six dots, the other five dots, a ‘tiger head’ combination. Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Ah Da’s [basically it means ‘the first’] name is not bad, he will be called Wei Hutou [tiger head].”
The second throw produced one-dot and six-dot combination, a ‘copper-hammer’. Thereupon Lao’er [ol’ second] was named Wei Tongchui [you guessed it: copper hammer].
The third throw. The first die rolled to two dots; the second die was rolling continuously, finally it stopped at also two dots, a ‘wooden bench’ combination. Wei Xiaobao was taken aback, but then the burst out laughing. “Our Da Guniang’s [big/oldest miss] name is very strange; she will be called Wei Bandeng [wooden bench]!”
The women were all shocked. The Princess angrily said, “So unpleasant to hear! Such a nice girl, how can you call her ‘Bandeng, Bandeng’? Quickly pick another name.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “It is the name picked by the God of gambling and Bodhisattva, how can we casually change it at random?” Picking up the baby girl, he landed a kiss on her face, ‘smack!’ and then he said with a laugh, “Dear one Wei Bandeng little treasure, this name sounds so pretty.”
The Princess angrily said, “No way, no way! No matter what I don’t want to call her Bandeng. I was the one giving birth to the child; such an ugly name, I don’t want it.”
“Humph,” Wei Xiaobao said, “You gave birth to the child, are you the only one who produced the child?”
The Princess snatched the dice away and said, “I’ll throw. Whatever I throw, that will be her name.”
Wei Xiaobao had no choice; he was helpless against her. “Alright,” he said, “This time you cannot renege! What if you also throw a tiger-head or a copper-hammer?”
“Just like her Gege, we’ll call her Hutou or Tongchui,” the Princess replied. Shaking the dice continuously in her palm, she said, “God of gambling Bodhisattva, if you don’t give my daughter a good name, I am going to smash your two stinking dice.” And then she rolled the dice.
The two dice rolled around several times before they finally stop. Unexpectedly there is indeed such coincidence in the world, both dice produced two dots, it was still the ‘wooden bench’ combination. The Princess’ eyes grew big as she stared blankly before ‘Wah!’ she broke into tears.
Everybody was amazed and amused at the same time. Su Quan laughed and said, “Meizi, don’t worry! Two dots make a pair, a pair of two-dots is Shuangshuang; our daughter will be called Wei Shuangshuang. What do you think?”
The Princess turned the tears into laughter; immediately she perked up. “Good, good!” she said with a laugh, “The name is very interesting, it’s almost the same as Shuang’er Meizi’s name.”
Shuang’er was also very happy; she picked up Wei Shuangshuang and hugged her in her bosom with full affection. Mu Jianpin laughed and said, “Shuang’er Meimei, since you love her that much, quickly feed her milk.”
Shuang’er blushed. “Pei!” she spat, “You’d better feed her yourself!” Reaching out, she tried to unbutton Mu Jianping’s clothes. Mu Jianping quickly ran away. The women roared in laughter.
With the addition of these three babies, Tong Chi Island was even more lively. Since Wang Jinbao left a large quantity of foodstuff and appliances, they had more than enough of everything, there was no need to go fishing and hunting every day. Only whenever they felt like eating some fresh fish, shrimp or game did they go out to get some.
At first everybody was still anxious that since Kangxi summoned Wei Xiaobao and he did not answer, there would be cataclysmic mishap, or perhaps bad repercussion to them. But after several months without any news, they gradually pushed this matter out of their minds.
The next summer, Wang Jinbao suddenly reappeared, leading several big ships, with another imperial edict. This time the imperial edict was like ‘four pair of horses pulled side by side and six steed’; the wording was profound. Wei Xiaobao did not understand a single sentence, he relied on Su Quan to explain everything. [Translator’s note: thank God Jin Yong did not quote the entire edict. Phew!] Turned out Kangxi did not mention a single sentence about the past events, he only sent a Canjiang, leading five hundred soldiers, to be stationed on the island to protect the Princess. Other than that, he also sent sixteen menservants and eight female servants, eight servant girls; the three big ships were packed with various appliances and food.
Wei Xiaobao was secretly worried, “Xiao Xuanzi is giving me these many things, I am afraid he wants me to live on this Tong Chi Island for the rest of my life.” His natural disposition was restless; although he passed the time on the Island carefree and without worries, plus he had seven ‘delicate as flower, refined as precious jade’ wives to accompany him, but he had passed the peace and quiet days for quite a long time, he was really bored. Every now and then he would recall past events, thinking about the time when he was still at the Lovely Spring Courtyard, where people grabbed his little braid and beat and cursed him, yet he felt alive and invigorated.
Feeling alive, from the pain of the beatings
Wow....Foxs ....it must be time flies...it seems that your updates are faster.
Sounds a bit like Swiss Family story eh ??? Marooned in an uninhibited island....
Now with the soldiers and servants.....it's no more a lonely island but a lively small village. I suppose XB can start a small gambling den....errr maybe a brothel....only where o get the girls ??
Looks like Kangxi is really taking care of XB and his wives. Does it mean that Kangxi finally understood his chum's character and knows that he will not bend willingly ?
Thanks Foxs.... beautiful as usual, the translations...
Thanks for another update, foxs
Thanksgiving is fast approaching, so hope everyone will be spending time with friends and family with lots of good food. This year, one of my thanks is having this wonderful translation to read .
Ali, is that why he married the Princess? I thought it was an accident ... Crazee, Ms. Smurf is right, those soldiers and servants were to keep him on the Island. Tweety, thanks for the kind words.
The twelfth month of the same year, Kangxi sent Zhao Liangdong with yet another imperial decree, the Emperor appointed his second son Yun Reng to be the Crown Prince, general amnesty was proclaimed throughout the world, Wei Xiaobao’s nobility title was raised one rank, he was bestowed the title Second Class Earl of Tong Chi. Wei Xiaobao invited Zhao Liangdong for dinner and wine. During the banquest Zhao Liangdong told him about the crusade against Wu Sangui, saying that Wu Sangui’s troops and generals were formidable, various elite troops had suffered defeat.
Wei Xiaobao said, “Zhao Er Ge, when you are back, please report to His Majesty that I feel stifled in here and am very bored, I want to ask His Majesty to send me go fight that old fellow Wu Sangui.”
Zhao Liangdong said, “His Majesty has foreseen that Jueye is loyal to the ruler and love his country, when you find out about rebel Wu running wild, you would definitely volunteer to go into battle. His Majesty said, if Wei Xiaobao wants to fight Wu Sangui, he can, but he must destroy Tian Di Hui first. Otherwise, he’d better stay on Tong Chi Island fishing and catching turtles.” Wei Xiaobao was on the verge of tears, he almost broke out crying.
Zhao Liangdong said, “His Majesty said that once upon a time when the Han Dynasty’s Han Guangwu was young, he had a good friend called Yan Ziling. After Han Guangwu became the Emperor, this Yan Ziling did not want to become a high-ranking officer, but lived in Fuchun River [in Zhejiang] to fish. His Majesty also said that in the past King Wu of Zhao had a high-ranking minister called Jiang Taigong [Jiang Ziya], who also loved to fish on the bank of Wei River. King Wu of Zhou and Han Guangwu were good emperors of the ancient times. Therefore, it is clear that every good emperor always has a high-ranking officer who loves to fish. His Majesty said that he wants to be raw bird fish soup. If Wei Jueye did not catch bird or fish for him, how can His Majesty become raw bird fish soup? Wei Jueye, subordinate is an uncouth man; why His Majesty wants Wei Jueye to catch bird and fish in here, I really do not understand. But His Majesty is very wise, there must be a very good reason behind it.”
“Yes, yes!” Wei Xiaobao replied. He could only smile bitterly. He knew Kangxi was joking with him; apparently because he did not agree to wipe out Tian Di Hui, the Emperor condemned him to catch fish in here for a lifetime. These five hundred officers and men were supposedly to protect the Princess, but actually they were actually prison warden, prison guards to monitor them strictly, so that he could not leave the island even for a single step. The more he thought about it, the more depressed he was. The banquet ended in haste, unexpectedly after drinking he did not even want to gamble. Returning to his room, he stared blankly with tears falling down his face.
Seeing Wei Xiaobao crying, his seven wives were astonished; they came together to console him. He told them what Kangxi had said. The Princess angrily said, “That’s right! Huangdi Gege really wanted to raise your official ranking and nobility, from third-class earl to second-class earl, so be it. But where’s the logic behind ‘Tong Chi Bo’? Our Great Qing only has Zhao Xin Bo [bright trust; ‘bo’ means Earl], Wei Yi Bo [staunch prestige], or else Xiang Qin Bo [help/assist hardworking/industrious], Cheng En Bo [continuing grace/kindness]. You are originally Zhong Yong Bo [loyal and brave], which was very good. These three characters ‘Tong Chi Bo’ are clearly to make fun of you. He … he … does not care about me at all.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “Earl of Tong Chi is not a big deal; I was the one who picked the name ‘Tong Chi’ for this island, you cannot blame His Majesty. I am the Island Master of the Tong Chi Island, naturally my title is Earl of Tong Chi, which is a lot better than ‘Earl of Tong Pei’ [‘pei’ means paying for loss (in gambling)]. Quan Jiejie, can you think of a way to return to the Central Plains? I … I really miss my Mama.”
Su Quan shook her head and said, “This is a really difficult matter, we can only wait patiently for an opportunity.”
Wei Xiaobao picked up a teacup, ‘crash!’ he threw it down to the floor and it shattered into pieces. “You just don’t want to think of a way,” he angrily said, “Fine, I will quietly sneak away alone in the future, you must not blame me. I … I … I would rather be at the Lovely Spring Courtyard, become a turtle who pick up the teapots; I don’t want to be a damn Earl of Tong Chi. The boredom really stifles me to death.”
Su Quan did not get angry; she smiled and said, “Xiaobao, don’t worry, there will come a day His Majesty is going to send you on a mission.”
Wei Xiaobao was greatly delighted; he stood up and bowed deeply. “Good Jiejie, I apologize to you. Please tell me quickly, His Majesty may send me on what mission? As long as it’s not to strike Tian Di Hui, I … I will do anything.”
The Princess said, “What if Huangdi Gege sends you to the outhouse to wash the chamber pot?”
“I will do it,” Wei Xiaobao angrily said, “But every day I will send you to do it for me.” Seeing he was in such a bad temper, the Princess did not dare to say anything anymore.
Mu Jianping said, “Quan Jiejie, tell him quickly. Xiaobao is extremely anxious.”
Su Quan hesitantly replied, “Doing what, I do not know. But reckoning the Emperor’s mind, inevitably there will be one day he may call you back to Beijing. He wants to force you to surrender, he wants you to wipe out Tian Di Hui. For each day you did not agree, he is wasting one day of his time with you. Xiaobao, you want to be a hero or a warrior, you must give careful consideration to yi qi toward your friends, this little bit of suffering is the price you have to pay. You want to be a hero, but you also want to hear a ‘powder head’ singing the Eighteen Touches. This hero thing is not easy to do.”
Wei Xiaobao thought what she said made a lot of sense; he stood up and said with a laugh, “I can be a hero, and sing the Eighteen Touches myself, do you think that’s possible?” And then he started to sing, “One touch, two touches, touching the edge of Quan Jiejie’s hair …” while reaching out to stroke Su Quan’s hair. Everybody giggled; the little disturbance vanished without a trace.
Since then, day after day, year after year, Wei Xiaobao and the seven women lived on Tong Chi Island. Each year on the twelfth month, Kangxi always sent people with gifts. He bestowed Wei Xiaobao a set of crystal dice, green-jade emerald Paijiu, and various gold-inlaid jade gambling equipment; so many that their number could not be counted. Fortunately there were five hundred officers and men on Tong Chi Island that Wei Xiaobao never lacked gambling opponent.
One particular year Sun Sike came to deliver the gifts. Wei Xiaobao saw the red ruby on his hat, an insignia of a one-pin rank military officer, so Wei Xiaobao knew that he had been promoted to a Tidu [local commander]; hastily he congratulated him, “Sun Si Ge, congratulations on your promotion!”
With smile all over his face, Sun Sike saluted and paid his respect, “It’s all because of His Majesty’s grace and Wei Jueye’s cultivation.”
He opened the imperial edict and read it out loud. Turned out it was about the imperial court pacifying the three border defenses: one after another Yunnan’s Ping Xi Wang [king who pacifies the west] Wu Sangui, Guangdong’s Ping Nan Wang [king who pacifies the south] Shang Zhixin [Translator’s note: I think previously it was Shang Kexi, but both the online text and my book have Shang Zhixin], and Fujian’s Jing Nan Wang [‘jing’ also means peace/tranquil/pacify] Geng Jingzhong, were subdued. Kangxi evaluated everybody’s merit and bestowed reward accordingly. The Second-class Earl of Tong Chi Wei Xiaobao was nominated to be a great general; based on his distinguished service, which was very commendable, he rose in nobility rank to First-class Earl of Tong Chi. Even his eldest son Wei Hutou was granted the title ‘Yun Qi Wei’ [lit. cloud rider military officer].
Finished expressing his gratitude, Wei Xiaobao received various gifts sent by Kangxi, among which was unexpectedly a large marble screen, which he had seen in the study room at Wu Sangui’s Wuhua Palace, one of Wu Sangui’s three treasures. Zhang Yong, Zhao Liangdong, Wang Jinbao, and Sun Sike himself also sent generous gifts.
That evening during the banquet, Sun Sike told Wei Xiaobao about the effort of pacifying Wu Sangui. Turned out Zhang Yong inflicted heavy damage on Wu Sangui’s main force in Gansu and Ningxia region, repeatedly rendered great merits. By this time he was conferred the title First-class Marquis and Shaofu [young tutor], the official tutor to the crown prince; his titles and honors were far above Wei Xiaobao’s. Sun Sike said that after Zhang Houye [master marquis] was struck by Gui Xinshu’s palm in the past, he had never recovered fully; he could not ride horse, he could not even stand, during the battle he always commanded his main forces sitting on sedan chair.
Wei Xiaobao clucked his tongue in amazement; he said, “The sedan chair carriers must also be considered warriors; otherwise, when Zhang Laoge [old brother] cried out ‘Charge!’ and the four sedan chair bearers retreated, won’t that be terrible?”
“That’s right!” Sun Sike said, “Just before the battle, Zhang Houye always had an attendant behind the sedan chair carrying his axe-saber. If the sedan chair wanted to turn around, the big axe-saber would immediately chop down.”
Sun Sike also told him how Zhao Liangdong took over Yangping Pass, broke Hanzhong, subdued Chengdu, and attacked down to Kunming. His meritorious service was very great. The Emperor conferred him the title ‘Yonglue Jiangjun’ [brave and cunning general], and appointed him the Zongdu [governor-general] of Yunnan and Guizhou, also appointed him to be the Shangshu [department head] of Ministry of War. Wang Jinbao and Sun Sike himself were also promoted to be Tidu due to their ardor in battle.
Seeing Sun Sike was radiant with delight, while he did not personally participate in the excitement, Wei Xiaobao could not help feeling discontented and was not happy at all; but thinking that all four of his good friends had rendered great merit and were conferred titles as high-ranking officials, he was quite happy for them.
Sun Sike said, “Several of us often talked about how these past few years we fought the battles, we really enjoyed it. There is a saying, ‘when you drink water, think of its source’; it was all because of His Majesty’s grace in recognizing our worth and employing us, and because of Wei Jueye’s kindness in recommending us. If only Wei Jueye was appointed the Grand Marshal to Pacify the West, leading the four of us to fight Wu Sangui, then everything is perfect. Zhao Er Ge and Wang San Ge often quarrel with each other, their quarrel has reached His Majesty’s imperial presence; even Zhang Dage is helpless to keep them under control. Several times His Majesty mentioned Wei Jueye, saying that if they always quarrel like this, it means that there are letting you down. Only after that did they finally not dare to quarrel anymore.”
Wei Xiaobao smiled and said, “Those two always quarrel as soon as they see each other; even after they become great generals, why don’t their temperaments change?”
“Isn’t that so?” Sun Sike replied, “The two of them individually submitted memorial to the Emperor, I say you are wrong, you say I am wrong. Luckily His Majesty is magnanimous, he did not investigate; otherwise, I am afraid both of them would face disciplinary action against them.”
“What happened to that old fellow Wu Sangui?” Wei Xiaobao asked, “Did you grab his braid and kick that damn fellow several times?”
Sun Sike shook his head, “That old fellow’s luck was really good …”
Wei Xiaobao was shocked. “He escaped?” he asked.
“It’s not that,” Sun Sike said, “He suffered defeat everywhere, he lost the area he occupied one by one; seeing that he could not hold his ground anymore, just before his death he wanted to satisfy his craving of becoming an emperor. Thereupon he put on yellow gown, and ascended the great treasure, and called his capital Hengzhou. We heard that when he became an emperor, he made a big ruckus. After several big defeats, frightened and angered, he took his own life.”
“I see,” Wei Xiaobao said, “That old fellow had it easy.”
“After the rebel Wu died,” Sun Sike continued, “Various generals under his command threw their support to his grandson, Wu Shifan, to succeed the throne, and retreated to Kunming. Zhao Er Ge attacked Kunming, he captured rebel Wu’s great generals Xia Guoxiang and Ma Bao and beheaded them. Wu Shifan committed suicide. The world is peaceful once again.”
“There was a national treasure in Kunming,” Wei Xiaobao said, “I wonder what happened to her?”
“Which national treasure?” Sun Sike asked, “Subordinate has never heard about it.”
“It’s actually a living national treasure,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “The Number One Beauty in the World, Chen Yuanyuan.”
Sun Sike laughed and said, “Turns out it’s Chen Yuanyuan. I did not hear anything about her whereabouts. I don’t know whether she died in the confusion of the battle, or whether she escaped alive.”
“What a pity, what a pity!” Wei Xiaobao repeatedly exclaimed. He thought, “Ah Ke is my wife, that means Chen Yuanyuan is my genuine goods at fair prices Senior, mother-in-law. If Zhao Er Ge captured her, and knew that she was my mother-in-law, he would undoubtedly send her to Tong Chi Island, to let her and Ah Ke, mother and daughter, have a reunion. They, mother and daughter, have a reunion is not a big deal, but we, mother-in-law and son-in-law having a reunion is significantly different. Forget everything else, just listening to her plucking her pipa, and singing ‘Song of Yuanyuan’, ‘Tune of Fangfang’ [yuan means round, fang means square], it’s really no small matter. On Tong Chi [eat ‘em all] I cannot eat my wife’s mother, but I wonder if ‘son-in-law looking at mother-in-law, greedily swallow my saliva into my belly’, is allowed?”
When the feast was over he returned to the inner hall, and told everything to his seven wives. As Ah Ke heared that her mother’s whereabouts was unknown, although since childhood she was stolen by Jiu Nan, hence she was not by her mother’s side, but she still had the mother-daughter affection; inevitably she was grieved. Wei Xiaobao comforted Ah Ke by telling her not to worry, saying that no matter which place her mother went, that ‘Bai Sheng Dao Wang’ [Hundred Victory Saber King] Hu Yizhi [see Chapter 33] would definitely follow and attend upon her by her side, keep close to her all the time.
“Ah Ke,” he said, “This Hu Dage’s martial art skill is very high, you have personally seen it. To protect your mother, one person, is as easy as a hand’s turn.” Ah Ke thought he was right, her knitted eyebrows spread out somewhat.
Suddenly Wei Xiaobao slapped the table and called out, “Aiyo, not good!”
Ah Ke was startled. “What is it?” she asked, “Do you think my Niang [mother] is in danger?”
Yeah....what happened that is not good ???
Yep, It looks like KX is smart, disguise the imprisonment as protection.... I suppose XB realised that.
Now that WSG is done for, well KX will have more time for XB and I suppose he wants to break down XB's stubborn loyalty to TDH....
This hu yizhu. does he have a relationship with the main character from flying fox of snowy mountain. like his father. grandfather. then chen yuanyuan would be his mother.
Crazee, exactly right. It's a willpower contest. Kyss, I have no idea, I have not read Flying Fox. Did they have the same title/nickname? Anh, you are welcome. Short update today, the end of Chapter 45.
“Your Niang is not in danger,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “But I am in great danger.”
Ah Ke was puzzled, “What danger are you in?” she asked.
Wei Xiaobao said, “Hu Dage and I have sworn brotherhood. If in the turmoil and chaos of war he fool around and snuggle close to your Niang, won’t he be my father-in-law? This might be really confusing.”
“Pei!” Ah Ke spat and shot him a malicious look. “This Hu Bobo [uncle, older than one’s father] is the most upright and honest man I know, and you think all men in the world are just like you, as soon as you see a woman you’ll immediately fool around and snuggle close to her?”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Come, come, come, let us fool around and snuggle close to each other!” While saying that he spread his arms wide to embrace her.
After Wei Xiaobao was promoted to be First-class Earl of Tong Chi, the number of cooks, menservants and maidservants on the Island increased by the dozens. Wei Hutou was still in diapers, yet he had already been conferred the title ‘Yun Qi Wei’. Life on the barren island unexpectedly became full of luxury [orig. brocade garments, jade meals], with all the glory, splendor, and wealth according to his rank. It’s just that it was too easy and comfortable that Wei Xiaobao was bored. He tried with thousand ways, a hundred plans to create trouble and play some pranks; he came up with some weird tricks and preposterous plans, in total disregard of his own career. Unfortunately, the seven madams were deadpan in opposing him; day and night they watched over him closely. Even the Princess, who simply loved to act willfully and make a scene, this time refused to accompany him to incite trouble. This First-class Earl of Tong Chi was bound hands and feet; he could only heave a deep sigh dejectedly.
He recalled Sun Sike’s story about the punitive expedition against Wu Sangui, big and small battles, some of them were full of all kinds of thrillers, some were saturated with delight, yet he was not involved at all, he did not have any chance to display his full capabilities; he was extremely disappointed. If he was in involved battle, he would not have let Wu Sangui to die that easily; he would think of a way to catch him alive, put him in a cage, from Hengzhou in Hunan all the way to Beijing, he would charge five qian to whoever wanted to see him, and one tael to whoever wanted to spit on him, children paid half-price, beautiful women free. Common people all over the world hated this big traitor to the bones, why should I, Wei Xiaobao, not take advantage to gain some spending money?
Wu Sangui was defeated, there was no more war to fight; but other than fighting a war, there were so many interesting things in the world, as long as he was able to come to a place with many people, someplace bustling with noise and excitement. In short, he had to leave Tong Chi Island first. But with seven wives, two sons and one daughter, who would follow him closely, it was like ten large stones were hanging on his neck. If they wanted to stealthily leave Tong Chi Island together, it would be more difficult than difficult. It would be better to cast these ten people away, and then he could attempt to escape alone.
Ever since he sent Sun Sike off, not a single day passed where he did not mule over this idea. Sometimes he would sit on a rock, fishing, imagining that he was sitting on the back of a big sea turtle, braving the wind and the billows, leisurely heading toward the Central Plains; wouldn’t that be pleasant?
It was almost Zhongqiu [mid-autumn, the fifteenth of the eighth lunar month], the weather was blisteringly hot, Wei Xiaobao took his fishing pole and bait, and went fishing for a while. He was quite fidgety that day. Leaning on a big rock his mind went blurry as he was about to fall asleep. Suddenly he heard a voice speaking, “Reporting to Wei Jueye, Ocean Dragon King request the pleasure of seeing you!”
Wei Xiaobao was surprised; focusing his eyes, he saw a big sea-turtle on the surface of the ocean, with its head raised high, but its mouth uttered human speech, “The Senior, Dragon King of the Eastern Sea is lonely and bored in the Crystal Palace, he especially sent Xiao Jiang [little/lowly general] to come and respectfully invite Wei Jueye for a feast, with gambling after the feast. Sea Dragon King will use coral and crystal to lay a bet, but everything is interchangeable with banknote used on land.”
Wei Xiaobao was greatly delighted. “Wonderful, wonderful!” he cried out, “This distinguished gentleman is so polite, naturally I have to accompany him.”
The big turtle said, “In the Crystal Palace there will also be theatrical troupe, who are very good at playing ‘Qun Ying Hui’ [meeting of heroes], ‘Ding Jun Shan’, ‘Zhong Kui married off his younger sister’, ‘White Water Beach’, and all kinds of good stories. There will also be Mr. Storytellers, good at telling the Great Ming’s Legend of Heroic Deeds, Water Margin, and other great books. There will also be countless courtesans, who can sing all kinds of new folksongs, like ‘Tan Wu Geng’ [sighing before dawn (fifth watch period, 03:00-05:00)], ‘Eighteen Touches’, or ‘Si Ji Xiang Si’ [missing each other throughout four seasons]; not a single one they cannot sing. Sea Dragon King’s seven Princesses all have countenance of a flower, face like the moon. They have long admired Wei Jueye’s distinguished and accomplished intelligence, and all are looking forward to seeing you.”
There was an unbearable itch in Wei Xiaobao’s heart. “Good, good, good!” he repeatedly exclaimed, “Let’s go.”
The big turtle said, “Would Jueye please sit on Xiaode’s [little/lowly one] back, I will take you to the Crystal Palace.”
Wei Xiaobao leaped down and sat on the big turtle’s back. The big turtle left the beach and swam steadily toward the Crystal Palace. The Dragon King of the Eastern Sea personally welcomed him outside the Palace, hand-in-hand they entered the Palace. The Dragon King of the Southern Sea had already been waiting inside.
During the feast, more guests arrived in an endless stream; there were Zhu Bajie [The Pig of Journey to the West] and Cow Demon King, two evil spirits, and then there were Zhang Fei, Li Kui, Niu Gao, and Cheng Yaojin, four great generals, King Zhou and Hegemon Chu, Emperor Yang of Sui, and Ming Dynasty’s Emperor Zhengde, four Emperors. These four Emperors, four generals, the pig, the cow, and two dragons, four divine demons, were the most muddleheaded ‘cattle’ [see Chapter 3] among the celestial, underground, and bottom of the ocean creatures since time immemorial.
After the feast they started gambling; Wei Xiaobao became the banker. He casually grabbed the tiles, practiced fraud over and over, each set of his tiles was either supreme treasure [one, two, two, four], or pair of heavens [all sixes]. He won so big that those twelve people let out ‘Wah, wah!’ cry. Gold, silver, money and valuables they lost piled up in front of Wei Xiaobao. Finally even King Zhou’s Daji, Emperor Zhengde’s older sister Lie Feng, as well as Zhu Bajie’s rake and Zhang Fei’s a zhang-long eight-serpent spear were also won over.
When General Li Kui’s pair of broad axes was won over, Li Kui’s gambling character was not good, his black face was bulging dark red, he shouted, “Thief servant bird, as human being when you see something good you ought to restrain yourself. You won someone else’s women, it’s not a big deal, but you even want to have the tool with which laozi eat, you ignore yi qi too much.” Grabbing Wei Xiaobao’s chest, he brought his vinegar-bowl-size fist up and punched down. ‘Bang!’ he hit Wei Xiaobao above his ear, shaking him so much that his ears were buzzing.
Wei Xiaobao screamed and raised both of his hands, the fishing line was flung upward, the hook hit him at the back of his neck, so that when he jerked the fishing pole up, the hook entered his flesh and his whole body was also jerked upward.
In an instant Li Kui, Zhang Fei, Sea Dragon King and so on disappeared without a trace. Suddenly he realized it was just a dream of Nanke [i.e. dreams of grandeur, empty dream]. But he really heard another loud ‘Bang!’ from the direction of the sea.
 Mount Ding Jun – referring to Battle of Mount Ding Jun – Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
 Daji (c. 11th century BC), mythical fox spirit and concubine of the last Shang Dynasty Emperor Zhou Xin.