Thread: The Deer and The Cauldron

  1. #2841
    Senior Member crazee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smurf120 View Post
    I know that WXB is mad but I think it is a bad move to continuously antagonize Shi Lang.
    Agreed, Shi Lang was so devoted and loyal to XB. He might be a bit straight and proud but he was humbled by XB. XB's emotion is really overbearing.

    Thanks Foxs. Yes, this is the only JY's story with so much cussing and restricted stuff. Anyway, I enjoy JY's novels and somehow or rather the other Wuxia novels do not really capture my full attention except "the legendary Siblings". Maybe I'm not much exposed to others...

    Anyway...JY is too detailed on the Taiwan sub story....no doubt there's quite a lot of action, somehow I feel it dry and I wonder if there's anything to do with the main storyline.
    cheerio..

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    Quote Originally Posted by smurf120 View Post
    I know that WXB is mad but I think it is a bad move to continuously antagonize Shi Lang.
    Agreed too..maybe this is part of his scheme to leave the island lol

    Thanks for the translation Foxs!

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    Quote Originally Posted by smurf120 View Post
    I know that WXB is mad but I think it is a bad move to continuously antagonize Shi Lang.
    Wei Xiaobao is definitely the least sympathetic Jin Yong protagonist I've read.

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    Senior Member foxs's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 46 - Part 4

    Chowbeng, thanks. I thought from the way Jin Yong wrote it, ‘pu luo min zhe cheng’ and Chikan were two separate places. Crazee, OwlHoot, Pannonian, Ms. Smurf summarized it well: WXB is mad, period. Well ... he was also desperate, and a gambler.


    When Wei Xiaobao saw that he was angry, originally he was rather scared, but then he saw that Shi Lang changed his attitude and offered an apology, he knew that Shi Lang was afraid of him. Thereupon he laughed and said, “If General Shi seriously wants to establish yourself as a king in Taiwan, it would be better for you to kill Xiongdi first to silence me, so that I would not report it to His Majesty. But if you are just making a loud of noise and throwing a fit, although Xiongdi’s gut is small, I am not afraid.”

    Shi Lang’s countenance turned deathly pale. Leaving his seat he bowed deeply with cupped fist and said, “Wei Jueye, a person of great moral stature does not remember the offenses committed by one of low moral stature; lowly officer was preposterous, I am willing to accept punishment. But establishing myself as a king in Taiwan or having illicit relations with foreign country, lowly officer absolutely never has this intention. Lowly officer single-mindedly exerting myself for His Majesty, following his order with loyalty, definitely not double-minded.”

    Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Please sit down, please sit down. We will wait and see.” Turning his head toward Lin Xingzhu he said, “Your story is more interesting than Mr. Storyteller. This episode, Guoxing Ye fought a bloody battle in Taiwan, the red-haired demons pissed in their pants in terror. And then what happened?”

    “By that time,” Lin Xingzhu continued, “The news that Guoxing Ye led a large army to attack Taiwan had reached the inland. Huang Wu, Huang Daren immediately submitted a proposal to the imperial court, he submitted what was called ‘Five Plans to Fortify Defenses and Raze the Fields in Pacifying the Ocean’.”

    “Who is that Huang Wu?” Wei Xiaobao asked.

    Lin Xingzhu cast a glance toward Shi Lang, he coughed several times, but did not immediately reply. Shi Lang said, “This Huang Daren was originally also a subordinate of Guoxing Ye, his rank was a Zongbing [regional commander]. After he submitted to the imperial court, his political career took off smoothly. By the time of his death, his title was First-class Duke of Hai Deng [hai – ocean, deng – settling of liquid; maybe a place’s name.].”

    “Hey,” Wei Xiaobao exclaimed, “Turns out he was also a trai …” in the end he forcibly swallowed the last syllable ‘tor’.

    Shi Lang’s countenance turned red; he mused, “You curse me as a traitor, I’ll say you are a fake Manchu; we are no better or worse than the other.”

    Wei Xiaobao said, “What kind of clever scheme did this Huang Wu use to pat His Majesty’s bottom that in a short while he was bestowed the title Duke? His skill is really not small! This trick we may want to polish and refine, and try to emulate.”

    “This Huang Wu,” Lin Xingzhu said, “In those days Guoxing Ye sent him to guard Hai Deng, but he surrendered Hai Deng to the imperial court. The officers and soldiers who were unwilling to surrender, he killed them all. At that time the imperial court was at a loss on how to deal with Guoxing Ye, suddenly there was this general in command of the troops from the other side who wanted to surrender along with the entire city; naturally the imperial court was overjoyed. Hence the reason he received such a preferential treatment.”

    “So that’s how it is,” Wei Xiaobao said, “What plan did he propose?”

    Lin Xingzhu sighed and said, “This Huang Daren really did a lot of harm to the common people. His ‘Five Plans to Pacify the Ocean’, number one was to move all common people from the coastal area inland, so that those Jinmen, Xiamen, as well as Taiwan, would not get any material assistance. Number two was to burn down all ships and boats in the coast; henceforth not a cun of wood was allowed to go out to sea. Number three was to kill Guoxing Ye’s father, Zheng Taishi. Number four was to excavate the tomb of Guoxing Ye’s ancestors, to damage his fengshui [geomancy]. Number five was to relocate the officers and men, former subordinates of Guoxing Ye who had surrendered inland to open up land for farming in various provinces, to avoid future misfortune.”

    “Hey,” Wei Xiaobao said, “This fellow’s plans are indeed very malicious.”

    “Aren’t they?” Lin Xingzhu said, “At that time Emperor Shunzhi had just passed away, His Majesty had just ascended the throne, his age was young, Oboi arrogated all powers. That treacherous bandit Oboi saw Huang Wu’s ‘Five Plans to Pacify the Ocean’ and agreed that it made a lot of sense, he issued an order from Liaodong all the way to Zhili, Jiangsi, Zhejiang, Fujian, as well as Guangdong, nobody was allowed to live within thirty li from the coast, all vessels were to be burned down. In those days common people lived in the coastal area by the thousands and tens of thousands, none was not forced out from their homes and wandering about, a lot of them did not survive.”

    Shi Lang spoke up, “Huang Wu’s scheme went indeed a bit too far. It was not until the current ruler took office, Wei Daren took down Oboi, that the sea ban was lifted. But the common people in seven coastal provinces have already suffered harmful effects. At that time the imperial court issued strict order, common people who violated the ban were arrested and immediately beheaded. A lot of people could not survive, they went to the seaside to catch fish; I don’t know how many were killed. At that time Zheng Taishi was also killed. Oboi sent the Minister of War Shangshu Sunahai on a special mission to Quanzhou’s [prefecture] Nan An Xian [South An County] in Fujian to dig out Zheng family’s ancestral tomb.”

    Wei Xiaobao said, “Oboi claimed to be a warrior, but he committed such a senseless act; if he really have skills, he should challenge Guoxing Ye with real swords, real spears. By relocating the coastal population inland, isn’t it clear that he was afraid? His Majesty cherishes common people, if Huang Wu’s plans were presented to His Majesty, he would definitely have his head chopped.”

    “Exactly,” Shi Lang said, “Huang Wu died early, it could be considered his luck.”

    Lin Xingzhu said, “When the news of Zheng Taishi’s death reached Taiwan, Guoxing Ye was afraid it might shake the troops’ heart, so he said it was a lie and that they must not be gullible. But according to his personal guards, Guoxing Ye often cried bitterly in the middle of the night. Guoxing Ye also confided with Chen Junshi and several other generals that Huang Wu’s plot was indeed sinister. Fortunately they had gone on a punitive expedition to the east to Taiwan; otherwise, tens of thousands soldiers could not have a foothold in Jinmen and Xiamen. By then we have held our siege for a long time, several times the red-haired troops wanted to break the siege, each time they were beaten back into the city. Hence Guoxing Ye issued an order that before the New Year we must attack and bring Fort Zeelandia down.” Turning toward Hong Chao he said, “We attacked pon the twenty-third of the eleventh month, didn’t we?”

    “Yes,” Hong Chao replied, “That day the wind was strong, with heavy rain. Our troops fired the cannon from all the earthen ramparts at the same time, damaging the corner of the city wall, the fortifications on the east and west of the city were also broken. The red-haired demons desperately rushed out, but after several hundreds of them died, they were driven back into the city. Thereupon the red-haired governor raised a white flag to surrender. At that time the Chinese people in Taiwan wanted to take revenge by killing the red-haired demons clean. Guoxing Ye enlightened the people that our China is a country with etiquette, the enemy surrendered must not be killed. He allowed the red-haired governor to write a surrender letter with fourteen sections before he led the ruined army, defeated generals boarded the ships and left Taiwan to flee to Batavia. The red-haired demons occupied Taiwan since the Ming Dynasty’s Tian Qi’s fourth year, for a total of 38 years, until that year, the Yongli’s fifteenth year … which was the Great Qing’s Shunzhi’s eighteenth year, eleventh month, twenty-ninth day, when Taiwan returned to be China’s territory.”

    Lin Xingzhu said, “Guoxing Ye issued a military order not to kill the surrendering red-haired troops, but Chinese people were unbearably angry; they continuously spat on them and threw rocks at them. Little children even made up a song to mock them. The red-haired troops with broken hands broken feet, hanging their heads dispiritedly; they did not dare to utter even a single word of demon language. After their battleship set off, they lowered their flag, and fired a gun salute, saying that it was to show their humble respect to Guoxing Ye for his kindness of not killing them.”

    “Good!” Wei Xiaobao said, “We, Chinese, have a really great power and prestige. The red-haired demons’ cannon were that formidable, to conquer Taiwan was really not easy, really not easy!”

    Hong Chao said, “Guoxing Ye changed the name Fort Zeelandia to Anping Zhen [lit. safe and peaceful, zhen – small town], he changed ‘pu luo min zhe cheng’ into Chengtian Fu [lit. supporting heaven, fu – prefecture]; henceforth both have always been Taiwan’s strategic town.”

    Lu Fujiang interjected, “When Shi Junmen took over Taiwan, the path he took was the old path taken by Guoxing Ye in the past; he went in from Lu Er Men …”

    Wei Xiaobao waved his hand to stop him; he yawned big and said, “Chinese defeating the red-haired demons and driving them out to see, that is an immensely enjoyable story. Our people defeating our people, it’s approximately no more than that. General Shi, we have drank quite a bit of wine, let’s adjourn now.”

    Shi Lang stood up and said, “Yes, thank you very much Jueye for the dinner, lowly officer takes my leave.”

    Wei Xiaobao went back to the inner hall and told his wives how he stopped Shi Lang from talking; in short he prevented him from boasting about his outstanding military service in taking over Taiwan. His six wives found the story amusing, only Ah Ke remained silent. She thought that if she was married to Zheng Keshuang, she would have been captured and taken prisoner together with him; brought to Beijing, as a concubine of a vanquished nation, it would be difficult to escape humiliation. That day when she saw Zheng Keshuang left Tong Chi Island on a skiff, she did not care about his life or death. This moment as she heard that his country perished and he surrendered to the enemy, she did not have the slightest concern. Recalling the past events, she was amazed that she was actually crazy about his elegant manner and his appearance, knowing full well that this man was someone without any backbone, a spoiled son of rich parents without any future prospects. She realized that it was if she was blind by being deeply attached to him. This moment as she thought back, she was still feeling deeply ashamed.

    The Princess said, “Huangdi Gege was too generous to him, that fellow Zheng Keshuang surrendered, unexpectedly he bestowed him a first-class duke title, his nobility rank is above Xiaobao’s. It really upsets me.”

    Wei Xiaobao waved his hand, “Not a big deal, not a big deal. Guoxing Ye was a great hero, His Majesty was looking at Guoxing Ye’s face that he bestowed his offspring the title of first-class duke. Based on Zheng Keshuang’s own ability, at most he would only be bestowed the title first-class caterpillar.”

    At noon the next day, Wei Xiaobao singled out Lin Xingzhu and Hong Chao, two people for a small banquet; he asked them about Shi Lang taking over Taiwan.

    Turned out the Qing troops and Taiwan troops were engaged in bloody battle for several days at Penghu Islands’ Niu Xin [ox heart] Bay and Ji Long [chicken coop] islet. The first day Shi Lang lost, afterwards Qing’s Navy reinforcement arrived, the battle raged again. Taiwan’s vessels were burned and suffered heavy defeat, the number of casualties among the officers and soldiers reached more than ten thousand men, the battleships were either sunk or burned, the total damage reached more than three hundred boats. Liu Guoxuan led the defeated army back into Taiwan.

    Shi Lang led the Navy to attack Taiwan. Lu Er Men had shallow water, battleships could not enter; they dropped anchor on the ocean for twelve days, with no strategy left to try. Suddenly thick fog filled the sky, the tide swelled, Qing warships swarmed in. In Taiwan, everybody from top to bottom was greatly alarmed; they all said, “In the past because of the tide rose in Lu Er Men Guoxing Ye was able to enter Taiwan; and now Lu Er Men’s tide rises again, the natural barrier is lost, this is the Will of Heaven that made it so, fighting again is useless.”

    When Zheng Keshuang was informed that the boats of Qing troops had entered Lu Er Men, he was already thrown into panic mode, when Feng Xifan advised him to surrender, naturally he readily agreed. It’s just that he was afraid Shi Lang would avenge his personal enmity and would make things difficult for Zheng Clan’s offspring that he was greatly hesitant. Immediately Liu Guoxuan sent a letter to Shi Lang, saying that they were willing to surrender, but Guoxing Ye’s descendants must be saved from harm, or else the entire Taiwan population, military and civilian alike, would recall fondly Guoxing Ye’s kindness and righteousness, and would rather fight to the last man. Shi Lang immediately replied, guaranteeing that he would not bother about the old grievance, otherwise, let Heaven and men abandon him, and let his descendants be cut-off from the earth. Thereupon Zheng Keshuang, Feng Xifan and Liu Guoxuan led Taiwan’s civil and military officials to surrender. The Ming Dynasty’s imperial clan Prince Ningjing Zhu Shugui committed suicide to die for his country, his five concubines were buried alive as sacrifice together with their husband, and thus the Ming family was cut short.

    Wei Xiaobao thought, “This Ming Dynasty Emperor’s descendants committed suicide to die for his country, five of his wives followed him in death. If I, Wei Xiaobao, commit suicide, I wonder from my seven wives, how many would want to accompany me? I am sure Shuang’er would, the Princess would surely apologize for not accompanying me. As for the other five, most likely they would throw dice to decide who would die and who would live. When Fang Yi throw the dice, she would definitely cheat, calling me, the dead person, a ‘cattle’.”

    Lin Xingzhu continued, saying that after Shi Lang led the troops to land, he indeed kept his words, he did not give the Zheng Clan offspring any trouble. He even personally went to Zheng Chenggong’s Yan Ping Jun Wang ancestral shrine to offer sacrifice and cried bitterly for a moment.

    Hong Chao said, “During the sacrifice he read a memorial in which there were some sentences like this: ‘From Tong’an [district, Xiamen, Fujian] Hou [marquis] entered Taiwan, only then did Taiwan soil have inhabitant. Overtaking the bestowed confidence to open land and initiate the cliff boundary, who would dare to do it? Today by the authority of the Son of Heaven Lang leads military power, subduing this land, did not decline to wipe out the country and punish the guilty, for the reason of loyalty to the imperial court as well as to fulfill the duty to avenge father and brother. Alone Lang rose through the ranks, with Ci Xing[3] was as delighted as fish meet water, there was not the slightest bit of resentment, but it led to great violation. Lang and Ci Xing had enmity and hatred, but my feeling is still like minister and his master. The poor scholar in the midst of reed, justice will not be done. Righteousness and personal kindness, henceforth it is over.’ These several sentences were on everyone’s lips for a period of time.”

    [3] Ci Xing – bestowed surname (emperor conferring favor on ethnic group). Guoxing Ye itself means ‘Lord of the Imperial Surname’.

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    Senior Member smurf120's Avatar
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    I still think WXB was too mean to Shi Lang - one thing to vent but another to make fun of a general who recently won a strategic location.

    Wei Xiaobao thought, “This Ming Dynasty Emperor’s descendants committed suicide to die for his country, five of his wives followed him in death. If I, Wei Xiaobao, commit suicide, I wonder from my seven wives, how many would want to accompany me? I am sure Shuang’er would, the Princess would surely apologize for not accompanying me. As for the other five, most likely they would throw dice to decide who would die and who would live. When Fang Yi throw the dice, she would definitely cheat, calling me, the dead person, a ‘cattle’.”

    This part made me laugh. After the prize was won (Ah Ke) and there is no more challenge, I think since we are near the end of the story - I can confidently say he loved Shuang'er the most.

  6. #2846
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    Quote Originally Posted by smurf120 View Post
    I can confidently say he loved Shuang'er the most.
    I agree.... even though he's a muddle head I still think he knows that Shuang er will never abandon him an will always be there when he need him...makes me wish I have a shuang er with me ....sigh...

    Well, I suppose knowing that Shi Lang actually went and prayed at his former leader's ancestral site will make XB think better of him. I pity Shi Lang. looks like XB is having mixed feelings but with the takeover of Taiwan I suppose Tian Di Hui lost their emperor in waiting....

    Thanks Foxs.... year coming to the end and festive mood is now prevailing...I wonder if it's the same for the States and other countries....

    " You better watch out, you better not cry........
    cheerio..

  7. #2847
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    I also think WXB is too harsh on Shi Lang. War is war, whether against your own kind or another nationality. I would never condone senseless killing. However, Shi Lang has good reasons for deflecting to the Qing and serve a better ruler than the Zhengs. The weak gets overthrown is a way of all empires.

    At least it is now obvious that WXB loves Shuang'er the most, but Shuang'er is too good for WXB. He doesn't deserve her.

  8. #2848
    Senior Member foxs's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 46 - Part 5

    Smurf, Crazee, Tweety, I said it first, WXB loved Shuang'er, whether he realized it or not. But I like Smurf's idea that Ah Ke was a 'prize'. Crazee, yes, Christmas decorations are everywhere now.


    “What was he rambling about?” Wei Xiaobao asked.

    “The poor scholar in the midst of reed was Wu Zixu,” Hong Chao replied, “In the past Wu Zixu wiped out the State of Chu, he dug Chu’s King Ping’s body from the grave and lashed the corpse three hundred times to avenge the enmity of him killing Wu Zixu’s father and brother. Shi Lang was saying that he definitely won’t do such thing.”

    “Humph,” Wei Xiaobao said with a cold laugh, “Does he dare? Although Guoxing Ye is dead, Shi Lang is still extremely afraid of him. He defeated the Zheng Family’s family estate, he is afraid Guoxing Ye’s brave spirit would find him and give him trouble, thereupon he went to Guoxing Ye’s ancestral shrine to kowtow and plea for leniency. This man very treacherous, you must not fall into his trick.” Lin and Hong, two people, voiced their agreement.

    “The story of Wu Zixu,” Wei Xiaobao continued, “I have watched a play about him. Wu Zixu closed himself up, in one night the hair on his head turned white from fright, right?”

    “Yes, yes,” Hong Chao replied, “Jueye’s memory is very good.”

    Wei Xiaobao had not heard stories for a long time, thereupon he asked about Wu Zixu’s story from the beginning to end. By coincidence this Hong Chao was a Xiuxai [a person who has passed the county level imperial exam]; although he had not passed a university entrance exam, he had quite a bit of ink in his belly; thereupon he narrated the story in details [lit. count by fives and tens].

    Wei Xiaobao listened with keen interest and with pleasure; he said, “In this barren island I am truly bored to death, fortunately two gentlemen came to tell stories to relieve my boredom. It would be best if you two stay several days longer, there is no hurry to leave.”

    Lin Xingzhu said, “We are surrendered enemy generals from Taiwan, while we were talking yesterday we have offended General Shi. If General Shi wanted to deal with us, it will be as easy as pinching an ant dead. All he needs is a carelessly spoken word with rebellion intent, then he will charge us with conspiracy against the law, immediately behead us first and submit report later. Even if after chopping our heads he did not submit any report, nobody would investigate. Wei Daren, please speak to General Shi on our behalf, tell him that you want us to stay here to serve you.”

    Wei Xiaobao was greatly delighted. “Hong Dage, what do you have in mind?” he asked.

    Hong Chao said, “Last night lowly officer and Lin Dage talked it over, if Wei Daren cannot save our lives, the two of us undoubtedly will die without burial site.”

    Wei Xiaobao said, “If the two of you want to follow me, you must listen to what I say.”

    Lin and Hong, two people bowed together and said, “No matter what Wei Daren tells us to do, lowly officer will follow obediently.”

    Wei Xiaobao extremely delighted; he thought, “With these two good helpers, I have a way of leaving this ghost place.”

    Kangxi sent Peng Canjiang with his troops to guard Tong Chi Island with strict imperial order in advance that they must not let Wei Xiaobao and his family to leave the island even for one step. Peng Canjiang’s brain was not too bright; he did not have any special skill either. But toward the Emperor’s imperial edict, even if his head was chopped seventeen, eighteen times, he would not dare to violate the least bit. Kangxi wanted him to guard closely, he would guard closely. If Wei Xiaobao wanted to take his life, it would be as easy as lifting his hand; but even if he wiped these 501 soldiers guarding him clean, without a boat, in the end he could not leave the island. Hong and Ling, two people were veteran generals of the Navy; certainly they had skill in handling ships and navigating the ocean.

    That evening he held another banquet for Shi Lang. This time he only invited Lin Xingzhu and Hong Chao, two people to accompany them. After some chitchat, Wei Xiaobao said, “General Shi, are you going to stay here for one or two months?”

    “Actually, lowly officer was thinking of staying a few days, to hear Daren’s instruction more often,” Shi Lang replied, “But Taiwan has just started to be put in order, it can’t be left too long. I am thinking of taking my leave from Daren tomorrow.”

    Wei Xiaobao said, “You said you wanted to stay here with me for a few days to hear my instruction more often. Are you serious, or did you just say that to make me happy?”

    “Naturally I am one-hundred percent serious,” Shi Lang replied, “Lowly officer said it from the bottom of my heart. That year lowly officer followed Daren, the troops were stationed on Tong Chi Island, while we were bombarding Shen Long Island. Every day I had the pleasure of hearing Daren giving instructions, drinking wine, gambling, chatting and laughing with Daren; t kind of days, I had a great fun.”

    Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “If you could have that kind of days, will you be happy?”

    “Naturally I will,” Shi Lang replied, “Someday His Majesty will send Daren on an important mission with heavy responsibility involving national military, lowly officer still want to follow Daren.”

    Wei Xiaobao nodded. “It’s very easy,” he said, “You want to follow me, you want to hear me and joke with me, it’s not difficult at all. Tomorrow all of us will go to Taiwan together.”

    Shi Lang was shocked. He stood up and said with a trembling voice, “This … this … this matter is not on His Majesty’s imperial edict; lowly officer does not dare to receive order. Please … please Daren forgive me.”

    Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “It’s not that I want to go to Taiwan to do anything, it’s just that I heard your story, it is so exciting. Guoxing Ye opened up new land in Tainan and Taipei, developing new and colorful world, I want to see it with my own eyes. When we get to Taiwan, aren’t you going to hear my instruction more often? You said it so yourself. It’s just that I think you conduct yourself very well, plus you have followed me in the past; we are old boss, old subordinate, our friendship is more than ordinary, so I thought hard to find a way to grant your wish. I am going to Taiwan to play a month or two, and then I’ll come back here. The gods do not know, the ghosts do not perceive; if you don’t say anything, I don’t say anything, there is no way His Majesty will find out.”

    Shi Lang’s expression looked very awkward. He bowed and said, “Wei Daren, this matter is really difficult to do. Whatever Daren commands, lowly officer will obey faithfully, but if His Majesty put the blame on me, it would be a great inconvenience. If lowly officer does not submit a memorial to the Emperor, it would be a great crime of deceiving one’s lord; lowly officer absolutely will not dare to do it.”

    Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Please sit down, please sit down. General Shi, since you are unwilling, it’s a trivial matter, no need to be mentioned anymore.”

    Shi Lang felt as if a heavy burden had just removed from him; he repeatedly said ‘yes’, and sat back on the banquet table.

    Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Speaking about great crime of deceiving one’s lord, let me be honest with you: I have deceived His Majesty several times. It’s just that His Majesty is magnanimous; when he found out later, he only swore at me several times, but never made a big deal out of it.”

    “Yes, yes,” Shi Lang said, “Everybody says that His Majesty treated Wei Daren with deep kindness and profound benevolence; it is indeed very different. A ruler and his minister hit it off like this, it is unprecedented in history. But a small general, an external minister without any good fortune like lowly officer, I absolutely will not dare to follow Wei Daren’s example.”

    Wei Xiaobao smiled and said, “General Shi speaks as if you are very timid, while in my opinion, your guts in the contrary are very big. I heard that after General Shi attacked Taiwan, you wrote a memorial and presented it as a memorial to Guoxing Ye; is there such thing?”

    Shi Lang said, “Reporting to Daren, the three characters ‘Guoxing Ye’ are not supposed to be mentioned. Presently the national surname is Aisin Gioro [reminder: ‘Guoxing Ye’ means ‘Lord of the Imperial Surname’]. When we are talking about Zheng Chenggong, if we want to be a bit polite, we may say ‘Former Ming’s Ci Xing’ [see Note 2 above]. As a result, lowly officer’s memorial only mentioned ‘Ci Xing’, two characters; I definitely am not bold enough to violate the taboo.”

    He presumed that since he was unwilling to take Wei Xiaobao to Taiwan, this little demon would be bound to look for bones in the egg, determined to find a setback for Shi Lang. The three-character ‘Guoxing Ye’ was the name the people were accustomed to, but Zheng Chenggong was bestowed the surname Zhu by the Ming Dynasty, his national surname was Ming Dynasty’s national surname, not Qing Dynasty’s national surname. If Wei Xiaobao insisted to make a big deal of these three characters in the memorial, saying that Shi Lang keep in his mind constantly that the national surname was Zhu, and reporting it to the imperial court, this matter maybe big or maybe small, but it could also grow into a disaster. Thereupon he seized the initiative to offer an explanation first.

    Actually, Wei Xiaobao did not have the slightest knowledge; he failed the grasp the crucial point of what Shi Lang was saying. After Shi Lang argued, Wei Xiaobao was able to find something to grab on instead. “General Shi,” he said, “You have once received rank and emolument of nobility from the Ming Dynasty, it’s no wonder that the surname bestowed by the previous dynasty was constantly in your mind. If you are really loyal to our Great Qing, you should have called Zheng Chenggong ‘Nixing’ [rebel surname], ‘Weixing’ [bogus surname], ‘Feixing’ [bandit surname], ‘Gouxing’ [dog surname].”

    Shi Lang lowered his head in silence. Although in his heart he 120% disapproved, he felt it was inappropriate to debate over this matter with Wei Xiaobao. By calling Zheng Chenggong ‘Ci Xing’, indeed it was an indication that he had not forgotten the previous dynasty’s idea.

    Wei Xiaobao said, “General Shi’s memorial must be written very well, I wonder if it is alright for you to recite it to me?”

    Shi Lang only knew how to lead the troops and go to war, how could he write a eulogy? This funeral oration was written by a secretary, one of his aides and advisors. This secretary was quite talented, the memorial was written with such passion and rich in imagery, the meaning behind it sincere. Shi Lang had heard not a few people praised it, he was very proud, thereupon he had memorized quite a bit of sentences from it to show off in front of other people. Immediately he said, “Lowly officer invented several sentences of crazy nonsense; I will only make Wei Daren laugh at me.” Thereupon he recited several important passages from the memorial.

    Finished listening to the section ‘Alone Lang rose through the ranks, with Ci Xing was as delighted as fish meet water, there was not the slightest bit of resentment, but it led to great violation. Lang and Ci Xing had enmity and hatred, but my feeling is still like minister and his master. The poor scholar in the midst of reed, justice will not be done. Righteousness and personal kindness, henceforth it is over.’ Wei Xiaobao nodded and praised, “Good essay, good essay. This memorial, let’s forget the fact that even if my head is chopped I will never be able to write one, even if someone wrote it for me and had me memorize it, I won’t be able to remember it in ten days or eight days. General Shi is well-versed in both civil and military affairs; your memory is very good. My admiration, my admiration.”

    Shi Lang’s face blushed slightly; he said in his heart, “You know perfectly well that I can’t write something like that, someone else wrote it, I simply memorized it well and recited it back. You ridicule me like this, no need for me to talk to you too much.”

    Wei Xiaobao asked, “About that ‘The poor scholar in the midst of reed, justice will not be done’, what does that mean? My learning is very disappointing, I don’t understand it.”

    Shi Lang said, “’The poor scholar in the midst of reed’ was referring to Wu Zixu. In the past from the State of Chu he ran away to the State of Wu. When he reached the river bank, an elderly fisherman took him cross the river, and left to get him some rice to eat. Wu Zixu was afraid the pursuing troops would catch him; he hid in the cluster of reeds on the river bank. The elderly fisherman returned; seeing someone was hiding in the reeds, he called out, ‘You in the reeds, you in the reeds, aren’t you the poor scholar?’ Afterwards Wu Zixu led Wu troops to attack and defeat the State of Chu. He dug the King Ping of Chu’s corpse from the grave and whipped the corpse three hundred times to avenge the enmity of him killing Wu Zixu’s father and brother. Ci Xing … Zheng Chenggong has killed my father, brother, wife and child, Taiwan people were afraid after I broke Taiwan, I would also dig the grave to exact revenge. In this memorial lowly officer was saying that this kind of matter I resolved not to do. Zheng Chenggong’s spirit in heaven may rest in peace, Taiwan troops and people also have nothing to worry about.”

    “I see,” Wei Xiaobao said, “General Shi is comparing yourself to Wu Zixu.”

    “Wu Zixu was a great hero, great warrior,” Shi Lang said, “How can lowly officer dare to be compared to him? It’s just that Wu Zixu’s entire family ran into misfortune, he alone escaped. In the end he returned with the troops and avenged this big enmity. This part is similar to what lowly officer has gone through. That’s all.”

    Wei Xiaobao nodded; he said, “I wish that General Shi’s outcome in the future will be greatly different from Wu Zixu, otherwise it will be really not good.”

    Shi Lang immediately remembered that Wu Zixu rendered great merit in the State of Wu, but in the end he was killed by the King of Wu. He could not stop his countenance from changing greatly; his hand that was holding the wine cup was also trembling.

    Wei Xiaobao shook his head and said, “I heard Wu Zixu rendered great merit, he became conceited, and was very disrespectful toward the King of Wu. General Shi, you compared yourself to Wu Zixu, it was really inappropriate. I am sure that the memorial of yours has already relayed to Beijing, His Majesty also has seen it. If you have nobody help you to explain it to His Majesty, I think, hey, hey, ay, too bad, too bad, I am afraid a great meritorious service will be thrown into running water …”

    Shi Lang hastily said, “Daren please understand, lowly officer said that I am not Wu Zixu, I do not dare to say that I want to be Wu Zixu. This … this matter is entirely … entirely different.”

    Wei Xiaobao said, “Your memorial has spread everywhere, General Shi compared himself to Wu Zixu, everybody in the world knows that.”

  9. #2849
    Senior Member crazee's Avatar
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    Really pity Shi lang....

    XB's really too much. Just because Shi lang had the fortune to excel in war while he was imprisoned in a love nest island is not Shi Lang's fault.

    Thanks Foxs....

    Now what, our hero get's to go sightseeing in Taiwan ? I heard their dian Xin is superb....or was it Hong Kong ? ...whatever, Taiwan is famous for their Food .....
    cheerio..

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    Default Chapter 46 - Part 6

    Crazee, I have never been to Taiwan, so my apology to the Taiwanese, but according to my colleague, who is Taiwanese (but now live in the US), Taiwan's dimsum is not as good as Hongkong's. Anyway, looks like only you and me this past weekend.


    Shi Lang stood up, his voice trembling, “His Majesty is an enlightened sage, his benevolence is like a mountain, he will save his subject with merit from harm. Lowly officer is serving a good master; compared to Wu Zixu, my good fortune is a lot better.”

    “What you said is true,” Wei Xiaobao said, “I am not too clear on Wu Zixu’s motive in the end, why he harbored evil intention. But I have seen the play, when the King of Wu was going to kill him, Wu Zixu said, ‘Dig my eyes and embed them on the city gate, let me see the Yue troops breaching the city and the demise of the State of Wu.’ Afterwards I think the State of Wu was indeed wiped out. General Shi is adept in pen and sword, I am sure you know the story, is that true?”

    Shi Lang could not help feeling a slight chill from his back penetrated straight to his bones. Initially he only thought that after rendering great merit Wu Zixu was killed by the King of Wu, this matter was not clear in history books, he was already feeling uneasy, but he did not expect that at the death’s door Wu Zixu was uttering those words. His memorial said, ‘The poor scholar in the midst of reed, justice will not be done.’ Although he did not do what Wu Zixu did, but the fact that he was comparing himself to Wu Zixu was very clear in other people’s eyes and ears. His memorial mentioned Wu Zixu, it only referred to ‘whipping the corpse to take revenge’, who would have thought that Wei Xiaobao could pull the ‘cursing the demise of the nation’ matter up? If other people charged him with this kind of grave accusation, the disaster would be truly unspeakable.

    What Wei Xiaobao had said, if it was conveyed to the Emperor’s ears, even if the Emperor was an enlightened sage and would not charge him with the guilt, in his heart he must not be too happy. Shi Lang was sure that he could forget the prospect of any future promotion. If, like Wei Xiaobao, the Emperor’s trusted aides also add oil to the fire, incite disharmony by saying that in his heart Shi Lang was harboring the thought of blaming and ridiculing the imperial court for killing minister who has given outstanding service, the head on top of his neck would really be difficult to protect.

    In that instant his thoughts were surging like the tide, he had a thousand regrets, ten thousand regrets, he really thought he should not offer sacrifice to Zheng Chenggong, he should not order the secretary to write this eulogy to such an extent as to have this freak elf little demon grabbed the ‘foot of the pain’. He stood silently with a blank expression on his face, not knowing what to say to defend himself.

    Wei Xiaobao said, “General Shi, when His Majesty personally took over the government, what was the first major issue he dealt with?”

    “Killing the treacherous official Oboi,” Shi Lang replied.

    “That’s right,” Wei Xiaobao said, “While admittedly Oboi was a treacherous court official, he was the appointed high-ranking minister who look after the government. During the besieging of towns and breaking the enemy, he rendered enormous merit to our Great Qing. His Majesty once said, ‘I killed Oboi, perhaps someone would say that I do not empathize with minister who has given outstanding service, they would say something bird something bow.’ What did he say? I can’t remember it.”

    Shi Lang said, “It’s ‘the birds are gone, the bow is put away’.”

    “Right,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Even you said the same thing …”

    “No, no,” Shi Lang busily said, “I did not talk about His Majesty, it was the idiom.”

    Wei Xiaobao said, “You did say that idiom to describe His Majesty killing Oboi.”

    Shi Lang anxiously said, “Daren asked me what that idiom is, lowly officer only answered Daren’s question; I absolutely do not dare … do not dare to slander or speak ill of His Majesty.”

    Wei Xiaobao fixed his gaze at him, he could see the panic in Shi Lang’s heart.

    Since the ancient times, when any feudal official thought that their merit was great but the reward was meager, the emperor would definitely hate it. The official did not need to speak up, as long as in their hearts they were ‘harboring the thought of blaming or complaining’, four characters [‘xin cun yuan wang’], it would mean immediate beheading.

    While his heart was shaken, Shi Lang was lured by Wei Xiaobao to say the four-character ‘the birds are gone, the bow is put away’ [niao jin gong cang]. Immediately he knew things went bad, but he had said it, there was no way he could take it back. Besides, other than Wei Xiaobao, there were Lin Xingzhu and Hong Chao on the side, there was no way he could deny it.

    Wei Xiaobao said, “General Shi did say ‘the birds are gone, the bow is put away’; whether those words are to slander or speak ill of His Majesty, I don’t know. In the imperial court, there are many learned Da Xue Shi, Shangshu, and Hanlin [see Chapter 37] ministers; there is no harm in us asking them to judge. However, my days of serving His Majesty are not a few, I seem to remember His Majesty loves people calling him ‘niao sheng yu tang’ [raw bird fish soup, see Chapter 14], but he does not like people calling him ‘niao jin gong cang’. Both idioms have the word ‘bird’, but I am afraid the two are substantially different. One is good bird, the other is evil bird; don’t you think?”

    Shi Lang was shocked and angered at the same time; he thought since things have come to this, he’d better go through to the end. You frame me like this, I might as well kill all three of you, to get rid of the root of future trouble. Entertaining this thought in his mind, he could not stop his eyes from exposing ominous glint.

    Wei Xiaobao could see the sinister expression suddenly appeared on Shi Lang’s face; he could not prevent his heart from shivering. Forcing a laughed, he said, “Once General Shi spoke the words, dead horse cannot chase it. Right now there are two roads you can take. The first is: immediately kill me along with Lin and Hong, two people, kill all my wives and children, and then lead your troops to Taiwan, immediately set yourself as the king. It’s just that the troops you have right now are the Great Qing’s officers and men, they may not necessarily be willing to follow you in rebellion, while Taiwan’s military and civilians may not necessarily submit to you.”

    In his heart Shi Lang was pondering about the same thing, but as soon as Wei Xiaobao hit the nail on the head, he forced himself to restrain his ferocity. Busily he said, “Lowly officer does not have that thought at all, Daren must not be overly suspicious and add heavy criminal accusation on lowly officer. But I wonder what the second road that Daren was talking about is? Would Daren show favor by giving me directions?”

    Hearing the softening of the way Shi Lang spoke, Wei Xiaobao’s heart was relieved. With his toes on the ground he leaned forward and said, “The second road is: only by allowing Xiongdi and Lin and Hong, two gentlemen, to help you will you get out of trouble. Just now when General Shi mentioned the word ‘bird’, it was a respectful eulogy to His Majesty as the ‘raw bird fish soup’, which is very good. Someday when Xiongdi sees His Majesty, I will definitely say that General Shi is loyal in working for His Majesty, that you keep in mind constantly the vast and mighty imperial kindness, that while we were chatting, you often mentioned Wu Zixu’s forgetting favor and violating justice, that since the King of Wu dispatched an army to help him to avenge the enmity of his father’s murder, later on no matter what mission he was sent for, even if it was to enter the fire he ought to enter the fire, if it was to enter the water, he should have entered the water; how could he complain and harbor resentment in his heart? If General Shi were to become Wu Zixu, not only you would defend King of Wu’s rivers and mountains for ten thousand upon ten thousand years, not only you would save Xi Shi, this kind of beauty, you could even snatch Dong Shi, Nan Shi, Bei Shi, Zhong Shi, the whole bunch, and presented them to the King of Wu[4]. What Wu Zixu constantly had in his mind was only himself, while what General Shi constantly has in your mind is exactly our Great Qing’s enlightened sage the Son of Heaven. Good intention will have good reward, His Majesty bestows reward based on evaluation of merit, naturally General Shi will also have Duke and Marquis titles for ten thousand generations.”

    Hearing this, Shi Lang was elated; hastily he bowed deeply with cupped fist and said, “If Daren really speaks those kind words in front of His Majesty, lowly officer will never dare to forget Daren’s benevolence forever.”

    Wei Xiaobao stood up to return the propriety and said with a smile, “These words are a kind act that costs nothing; if my mood is good, I will definitely submit the memorial to His Majesty.”

    Shi Lang thought, “If I don’t let you come to Taiwan, how can you, this kid, have a good mood?” Sitting back on his chair he said, “Taiwan has just been pacified, the hearts of the people are still in doubt. Lowly officer was just thinking of sending a memorial to explain everything to His Majesty, asking him to send a senior and revered high official to go on his behalf to declare the Holy Sage’s virtuous intention and reassure the hearts of the common people. Naturally Wei daren is the most appropriate high official. Lowly officer will immediately pay my respect and present the memorial, asking His Majesty to issue an imperial edict, to appoint Daren to go first and appease Taiwan.”

    Wei Xiaobao shook his head, “You pay your respect and submit memorial to the Emperor in Beijing, once you left, several months will pass, I am afraid the idle gossip that is going to enter His Majesty’s ears, if not a thousand sentences, it will be at least eight hundred sentences. This kind of matter cannot be delayed even for a moment. It would be best if General Shi asked a high official, one of His Majesty’s trusted aides to go to Taiwan and investigate thoroughly. Only then will you demonstrate that you did not have any intention to set up yourself as a king in Taiwan. The rumor outside is that you even have a title picked, something called ‘Great Ming Taiwan King of Jing Hai’; is that right?”

    Hearing the seven characters ‘da ming tai wan jing hai wang’, Shi Lang could not help jumping in fright. He thought you lived in an uninhabited island, yet you heard rumor like that? Certainly it is something you randomly blurt out. But if this rumor reached Beijing, surely the imperial court would rather believe it than dismissing it, and then Shi Lang would die without a burial site. Thereupon he hastily said, “That rumor, Daren absolutely must not believe it.”

    “Right,” Wei Xiaobao said indifferently, “You and I have known each other for a long time, naturally I did not believe it. But General Shi pacified Taiwan, you killed a lot of people, I am sure you made a lot of enemies. If your enemies want to slander you, I’ll say not much you can do about it; it would be hard for you to plead your innocence. There is a common saying, ‘in the imperial court, everybody is a government official’. I wonder if there is a high or senior official in the imperial court who would be willing to disregard his body, family, even his life, and with all his strength defend General Shi.”

    There was another shock in Shi Lang’s heart; he did not have any powerful support in the imperial court. Or else he would not have stayed in Beijing lying idle for a long time in the past. He went around everywhere trying to curry favor, yet there was no path or door he could take. Indeed the only one who could get him somewhere was only the gentleman in front of him right now, the Wei Daren. Therefore, clenching his teeth, he said, “Daren’s directions, lowly officer cannot thank you enough. Since this matter is urgent, lowly officer will be so bold as to ask Daren to leave for Taiwan tomorrow to investigate and ascertain the truth.”

    Wei Xiaobao was greatly delighted, but he thought that since now you are asking me, there is no harm in playing hard to get. He said, “Based on our, two brothers’ friendship, clearing up injustice on behalf of General Shi, even if I have to exhaust myself, it is nothing. It’s just that I have lived on this island for a long time, if I go out to sea I am afraid I will become seasick. Besides, I have my wives and children who are by my side every day, I would hate to be separated from them.”

    Shi Lang silently cursed in his belly, “I don’t know how many times you have gone out to sea, I have never seen you dizzy in any damn boat!” Forcing a laugh he said, “Naturally Daren’s madams, young master and young lady may accompany you for a visit. Lowly officer will select the biggest ship for Daren to ride. These days there are no storms on the sea at all, Daren may set your heart at ease.”

    Wei Xiaobao frowned and said, “In that case, Xiongdi has no choice but to brave the difficulty and take a trip with General Shi.” Shi Lang repeatedly expressed his thanks.

    The next day Wei Xiaobao took his seven wives, his two sons Hutou and Tongchui, and his daughter Shuangshuang to board Shi Lang’s flagship. Peng Canjiang tried to stop them, Shi Lang immediately give his order to have him tied on a tree. The ships weighed their anchors and sailed away.

    Looking at Tong Chi Island, on which he resided for several years, Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “The banker has left the Island, this place cannot be called Tong Chi Island anymore. Han Guangwu had Yan Ziling who loved to fish. Every enlightened sage the Son of Heaven must have loyal minister who loves to fish. His Majesty sent me here to fish, it’s only right if we change the name.”

    “Absolutely,” Shi Lang said, “What does Daren think, what name will be best?”

    Wei Xiaobao thought for a moment before answering, “One time His Majesty sent someone to deliver an imperial decree, saying that King Wen of Zhou had Jiang Taigong who loved to fish, let’s call this island ‘Diaoyu Dao’ [diaoyu – fishing (with line and hook), dao – island].”

    Shi Lang clapped and praised, “The name Daren gives, nothing is better than that. On one hand it is a eulogy, comparing His Majesty with King Wen of Zhou and Han Guangwu; on the other hand it will appear that Daren is an expert in pen and sword just like Jiang Taigong, also like Yan Ziling who was pure, honest, and elegant. Right, right, from now on we are going to call this island Diaoyu Island.” [Hmm, where did I hear this name recently? I've never imagined China and Japan would have dispute over WXB's Tong Chi Island.]


    [4] Xi Shi was a famous beauty given by King Gou Jian of Yue as concubine to King of Wu as part of a successful plan to destroy Wu. The character ‘Xi’ of Xi Shi means ‘west’. Subsequently, ‘Dong’, ‘Nan’, ‘Bei’ and ‘Zhong’ are ‘east’, ‘south’, ‘north’ and ‘middle’, respectively.

  11. #2851
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    Hey Foxs, thanks for the speedy translation! I was with you guys in the weekend, but was transitioning from Blackberry to iPhone5, not used to the web interface and replying.

    superb and thanks a lot! turning this Shi Lang around was quite entertaining.

  12. #2852
    Senior Member crazee's Avatar
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    What a terrible fellow this XB. He really put Shi Lang into hot oil just to get out of his island.
    I'm wondering what is there to stop Shi Lang from eradicating the pain once they are at sea ?

    Thanks Foxs....

    I've never been to Taiwan either. Yep, the HK dim sum is famous even here in Singapore and Malaysia. Dim Sum, or Dian Xin, can be found in many places all over the place here and it's getting expensive nowadays. I use to watch Taiwan clips on Singapore TV and it looks like Taiwan is home of many types of food... I was in HK last year but did not have much of a chance to test their food.....other that tourist meals.
    cheerio..

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    Thanks foxs
    I had better dim sum in New York than in Hong Kong. I think this is because I didn't find the right place.

  14. #2854
    Senior Member Ace High's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazee View Post
    I'm wondering what is there to stop Shi Lang from eradicating the pain once they are at sea ?
    One word: Kangxi
    You plant a garden and the flowers do not bloom, you poke a stick in the mud and it grows into a tree

  15. #2855
    Senior Member crazee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ace High View Post
    One word: Kangxi
    Lol....Ace, that's supposed to be 2 words....

    I guess you're right but Kang Xi is not aware that XB is escaping....and anything can happen to the ship that somehow or rather made the whole Wei family MIA.
    Anyway, I fully agree for 3 reasons.... Shi Lang is not that ruthless as to finish off his benefactor and Shi Lang do not need to finish him off as alive and with some polishing, Shi lang might get more ....and of course, Kang Xi is XB's backer.
    cheerio..

  16. #2856
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazee View Post
    Lol....Ace, that's supposed to be 2 words....

    I guess you're right but Kang Xi is not aware that XB is escaping....and anything can happen to the ship that somehow or rather made the whole Wei family MIA.
    Anyway, I fully agree for 3 reasons.... Shi Lang is not that ruthless as to finish off his benefactor and Shi Lang do not need to finish him off as alive and with some polishing, Shi lang might get more ....and of course, Kang Xi is XB's backer.
    Well, since his name is written without a space in between, then it counts as one word with two syllables.

    Although KX did not aware that WXB is escaping, Shi Lang is the last person who went to visit WXB. And then WXB suddenly went missing. It's not that hard to joint the missing dots.

    With WXB out of the picture, who will put a good word for Shi Lang in front of KX? Shi Lang himself admited that he has no supporter in the Imperial Court.
    Last edited by Ace High; 12-05-12 at 09:47 AM.
    You plant a garden and the flowers do not bloom, you poke a stick in the mud and it grows into a tree

  17. #2857
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    WXB explained it to him already. If Shi Lang killed him, he has to kill everyone on the island otherwise the truth is easily revealed.
    But even if Shi Lang killed everyone on the island, he can't be sure that 1) his own men will be willing to do that and 2) his own men won't reveal the truth.

    So Shi Lang have no other choice but to rebel. But if he tries to rebel 1) his own men might not follow him. 2) he can't flee to taiwan and expect help from there.

    It's really checkmate
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    Couple revelations came to me that I never really questioned before. At least 3 of WXB's wives were lifelong rebels trained from probably infancy to hate the Qing government, how do they feel having hundreds of servants and soldiers serving them on the island? Even having their children given honorary government titles - I suppose the family are now honorary Manchu since WXB was bestowed that nationality too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smurf120 View Post
    Couple revelations came to me that I never really questioned before. At least 3 of WXB's wives were lifelong rebels trained from probably infancy to hate the Qing government, how do they feel having hundreds of servants and soldiers serving them on the island? Even having their children given honorary government titles - I suppose the family are now honorary Manchu since WXB was bestowed that nationality too.
    Those events involving Wei Xiao Bao's two masters probably drove home the point that there's good and evil people everywhere regardless of lineage or faction. In fact this seems like a central theme of the story.
    HK47: Now do you understand the travails of my existence master? Surely it does not compare to your existence but still...
    You: I survive somehow
    HK47: As do I. It is our lot in life I suppose master. Shall we find something to kill to cheer ourselves up?

    -KotOR

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    Default Chapter 46 - Part 7

    Thanks for leaving your comments everybody. I am sorry that I am very busy right now, but I'll try to respond later, alright?


    Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “It’s just that my title the Marquis of Tong Chi should be changed to Marquis of Diaoyu. Someday when official rank is promoted and my nobility is advancing, I will be called Duke of Diaoyu; it doesn’t sound too good.”

    Shi Lang laughed and said, “Elderly fisherman has great benefit, enjoying great, great harvest; it will sound very good.”

    Wei Xiaobao nodded and said, “His Majesty conferred to me the title Earl of Tong Chi, Marquis of Tong Chi, I thought it sounded nice, but my several wives were not too happy. Someday I will submit a memorial asking His Majesty to change my title to Marquis of Diaoyu, perhaps everybody will be happy.”

    In his tummy Shi Lang was amused; he thought, “What Earl of Tong Chi, Marquis of Tong Chi? His Majesty was just making fun of you, he treated you as a court jester, there was no meaning of respect. Even if you change it to Marquis of Diaoyu, what’s so nice about it?” But with his mouth he said, “There was an old story about a fisherman, a woodcutter, a farmer and a scholar; the fisherman ranked number one, the scholar was number four. The titles Duke of Diaoyu, King of Diaoyu, are more respectable than Hanlin’s Zhuangyuan[5].” [Translator’s note: perhaps I am reading too much into it, but I could have sworn that he was referring to Reverend Yideng’s four disciples.]

    Whether in succeeding generations this Diaoyu Island became Diaoyutai Islands [Senkaku Islands, between Taiwan and Okinawa], it is a pity that this fact cannot be verified by historical records. If we could try to find historical remains of Wei Xiaobao on the island, we would know that during Kangxi’s early years, probably there were already our fellow countrymen who dwelled in that place for a long time, probably the five hundred troops who were stationed over there.

    One particular day, Wei Xiaobao, riding on Shi Lang’s flagship, arrived in Taiwan; they came ashore at Anping Prefecture. Along the way Lin Xingzhu and Hong Chao showed how in those days Zheng Chenggong led the troops, how he routed the red-haired troops. Wei Xiaobao listened with keen interest and pleasure. Since Shi Lang had agreed to take him to Taiwan, he no longer ridiculed him in his talks.

    In the General Mansion Shi Lang prepared a large banquet, showing Wei Xiaobao grand hospitality. During the feast, suddenly he received a report that an imperial decree has just arrived from Beijing. Shi Lang hurriedly went out to receive the decree. When he returned, he carried a strange expression on his face.

    “Wei Daren,” he said, “The imperial edict says we must give up defending Taiwan. This is really bad.”

    “Why is that?” Wei Xiaobao asked.

    Shi Lang replied, “The imperial edict ordered lowly officer to make any preparation necessary to leave Taiwan. Entire Taiwan, military personnel and civilian alike, everybody has to move inland, not a single family, a single mouth is allowed to stay. Lowly officer asked the envoy minister who brought the decree, turns out there was a proposal by the cabinet ministers in the imperial court: Taiwan is a separate area overseas, easy to become robbers’ abyss and marsh [meeting place of fish and beast, i.e. breeding ground of crime], not easy for the imperial court to control. If they sent large army to defend, it will cost a lot of money for soldier’s pay and provision. Consequently, they decided they don’t want it.”

    Wei Xiaobao pondered this matter silently for half a day. He asked, “General Shi, do you know the real intention of those high-ranking senior ministers of the imperial court?”

    Shi Lang was startled, “Could it be … could it be that the talk about Wu Zixu has reached Beijing?” he asked in a trembling voice.

    Wei Xiaobao smiled and said, “There’s a common saying: ‘Good deeds do not go beyond the door, evil deeds spread a thousand miles.’ The imperial court is worried that General really wanted to be some ‘Great Ming Taiwan King of Jing Hai’; that’s certainly is a possibility.”

    “What … what should we do?” Shi Lang asked, “Taiwan’s common people numbers several tens of thousands people, they have lived here in peace and worked happily for decades; these bunch of people are sent inland, what are they supposed to do to pass their days? If they are forced to migrate, definitely there will be huge changes. Besides, as soon as the Great Qing’s officers and men leave, the red-haired troops will immediately take it over. We, the Chinese, worked hard in establishing the foundation, now we present it with both hands to the red-haired demons, how can the people be willing to do that?”

    Wei Xiaobao hesitated for half a day. “This matter,” he started, “I believe it’s not completely irreversible. His Majesty is most compassionate toward common people, General must plead on behalf of common people, you never know, maybe His Majesty will grant your request.”

    Shi Lang was somewhat comforted. He said, “But if there are already rumors and hearsays in the imperial court, and lowly officer plead with His Majesty like that, it would appear that I am unwilling to leave Taiwan, then I will appear … appear not to have enough loyalty.”

    Wei Xiaobao said, “This time you must immediately go to Beijing, explain in person the hows and whys to His Majesty. Since you are in Beijing, if there is any rumor that says that you intend to establish yourself as king in Taiwan, naturally nobody will believe anymore.”

    Shi Lang slapped his thigh and said, “Right, right! Daren’s advice is very true, lowly officer will leave tomorrow.” Suddenly he was struck by an inspiration, “Taiwan’s civil and military official business, I will have to ask Daren to temporarily manage. There is no one His Majesty trusts more than Daren, only if Daren presides over Taiwan will no one in the imperial court dare to utter half a sentence of gossip.”

    Wei Xiaobao was greatly delighted; he thought he could satisfy his craving of holding a government post, it would feel really great. He laughed and said, “You did not receive imperial edict, on your own initiative you hand over the power over military forces to me; if His Majesty blames you, then what?”

    When Shi Lang heard it, he was greatly hesitant. He pondered, “He is Chen Jinnan’s disciple, an accomplice of Tian Di Hui rebels. Although His Majesty dotes on him, over the years he was exiled on Tong Chi Island, without giving him any political power or mission to do. If he has this power over the troops and horses, and joins hands with Tian Di Hui and rises in rebellion, I … I will commit capital offense.” But then he had a second thought, “I only need to bring the entire Navy fleet with me, he will not dare to budge. If he brazenly takes any rash action, if he has the impertinence to revolt, the Navy will return and immediately pacify him.” Thereupon he laughed and said, “If I hand over the power over the troops and horses to other people, maybe His Majesty will blame me, but if I hand it over to Daren, of course all taboos are off.”

    Presently the banquet ended prematurely. That very night Shi Lang issued an order to have all high-ranking civil and military officials to pay their respect to Wei Xiaobao, giving him the full authority to conduct all government affairs as he saw fit. He also requested the secretary to put together a memorial to the throne on Wei Xiaobao’s behalf, stating that he was concerned over the national affairs, and had come to Taiwan with a specific purpose in mind to temporarily take control of the situation, so that the imperial court would have no reason to be concerned, and asked for forgiveness for the crime of acting without permission. He also said that the common people of Taiwan have live peacefully over there for a long time, that ‘your servant’ the minister has seen Taiwan with his own eyes, it appeared that moving the people was not suitable.

    By the time everything was settled, it was already morning the next day. Shi Lang wanted to depart immediately. Wei Xiaobao asked, “There is one big thing, have you prepared it?”

    “I wonder which big thing?” Shi Lang asked.

    Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Something to spend!”

    “Something to spend?” Shi Lang did not understand.

    “That’s right!” Wei Xiaobao replied, “This time you pacified Taiwan, your merit is not small. Those high-ranking ministers of the imperial court, how much are you going to gift to each one?”

    Shi Lang was taken aback, he said, “This is all because of the Son of Heaven’s powerful benevolence, it was because the officers and soldiers were following the order that we succeeded in pacifying Taiwan. Those high-ranking ministers of the imperial court did not spend any effort.”

    Wei Xiaobao shook his head. “Ay, Old Shi, you are so proud of yourself, your old shortcoming flares out again. You pacified Taiwan, everybody thinks that you hogged the mountain of gold and the mountain of silver you found here and made a fortune. The officers in the imperial court, which one would not jealous of you?”

    Shi Lang anxiously said, “Daren please understand, if for personal gain Shi Lang helped himself to even one tael of Taiwan’s money, this time I go to Beijing, let His Majesty hack me to pieces, let me be executed by lingering death.”

    Wei Xiaobao said, “You yourself want to be an honest and upright official, but you can’t expect everybody to follow you to be an honest and upright official. The more you are honest, the more people will find it easier to slander you; they will say that in Taiwan you bought the heart of the people, with the intention of going against the law. So, this time you go to Beijing empty-handed without bringing anything?”

    Shi Lang said, “I’ll bring some local products of Taiwan, such as wood carvings, bamboo basket, straw mats, leather suitcases …”

    Wei Xiaobao burst into loud laughter. At first Shi Lang was flushed with anger, but suddenly he saw the light; in the end he resolved to make up for the previous mistakes. Immediately he bowed deeply with cupped fist toward Wei Xiaobao and said, “Thank you Daren for giving me directions. Lowly officer nearly rush into big disaster this time.”

    Wei Xiaobao assembled the civil and military officials, he said, “This time General Shi is going to Beijing to plead on behalf of the common people; if he does not succeed, everybody will be destitute and homeless. This mission will cost money, could it be that General Shi has to cover the cost alone? Gentlemen, brothers, let’s everybody hurry to raise money, let’s share the pleading cost together!”

    When Shi Lang took the official position, he did it with honesty; all the time he was in Taiwan, he had never taken gold and silver from the people. This moment Wei Xiaobao took over his duty, the first order of business was to raise the ‘pleading cost’.

    As soon as the people of Taiwan heard the news about moving inland, they already panicked. When they learned that Shi Lang was following Wei Xiaobao’s advice to go to Beijing to plead for the people so that they would not have to move, everybody was most willing to contribute to this ‘pleading cost’. Fortunately there was no lack of riches and honor among the people of Taiwan; in just half a day they had raised more than three-hundred thousand taels of silver. Wei Xiaobao ordered the treasurer to advance more than six-hundred thousand taels, bringing the total to more than one million taels. He instructed Shi Lang on to whom he had to give more, to whom there would not be any harm if he gave less. Shi Lang could not thank him enough. It was not until the first watch of the night [7 to 9pm] that evening that he finally set sail.

    The next morning Wei Xiaobao held a general assembly; he addressed the officials, “General Shi left for Beijing last night. After calculating the ‘pleading cost’ back and forth, we are still short by more than one million taels. In consideration to the entire people of Taiwan, Xiongdi has no choice but to scrape my personal savings over the year, also my seven wives’ pearls and jewels, and managed to collect one million taels, which I handed to General Shi to be brought away and used for this mission. Ay, taking an official post in Taiwan is really not easy. Xiongdi is just taking the office temporarily, the first day I already suffer one million taels deficit. This time I lose my family fortune, and am completely wiped out.”

    The prefectural magistrate of Taiwan bowed and said, “Daren cherishes common people, you are being a father and a mother to the people, you are indeed the benefactor of ten thousand families. Other than the six-hundred thousand taels advance payment from the public treasury that we have to pay back, naturally the entire people of Taiwan will return Wei Daren’s one million taels with thanks.”

    Wei Xiaobao nodded and said, “Each one of you must also contribute some money, everybody has worked with ‘both sleeves flowing in the breeze’ [i.e. unsoiled by corrupt practice] or something like that, I am not clear about it. Those with high official post should contribute ten thousand taels, those with lower official post’s contribution may vary from several thousand taels to several hundred taels. Everybody work as one, no matter how you look at it, in the end it is for the common people. This advance funds, naturally the locals will have to pay back. We, as father and mother officials of the people, should not extract interest from the people; everybody will have to suffer a bit of loss, as long as we can get our capital back, then that’s it. This is called, ‘loving the common people as our own children’.”

    The officials were greatly delighted; they all expressed their gratitude, thinking that this Wei Daren was very considerate toward the feeling of the masses, and was willing to spend his own wealth for them; he was indeed a good superior.

    The first day Wei Xiaobao took office, he had already scraped one million taels. Hereafter profits pouring in from all sides; his endless ingenuity need not be explained in details.

    Several days later, Wei Xiaobao instructed his subordinate to prepare an offering, he wanted to go to Zheng Chenggong’s ancestral hall to offer scrifice; he wanted to see what did this Guoxing Ye, whose fame shook the world, really look like.

    Arriving at the shrine, he looked up to see, and saw the statue of Zheng Chenggong sitting on a chair. His face was oval, his upper lip, his lower lip, as well as his lower jaw, were covered in short black beard; his ears were very big, but his eyes were very small. His eyebrows curved, he looked rather like a benevolent man; there was no bold and powerful, heroic air on him. Wei Xiaobao was quite disappointed. He asked the officials who were coming with him, “Did Guoxing Ye really look like this?”

    Lin Xingzhu replied, “This statue looks quite like Guoxing Ye. Guoxing Ye was born as a scholar; although he was a big hero and great warrior, he had a very elegant appearance.”

    “I see,” Wei Xiaobao said. He saw that on either side of the statue there was smaller statue; a women on the left and a man on the right. He asked, “And who are those two?”

    “The woman was Dong Taifei [grand concubine], the man was the heir Wangye,” Lin Xingzhu explained.

    “What do you mean heir Wangye?” Wei Xiaobao asked.

    “He was the young master of Guoxing Ye,” Lin Xingzhu replied, “Who succeeded him as the Wangye.”


    [5] Hanlin’s Zhuangyuan refers to the top scorer in the examination administered by Hanlin Imperial Academy.

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