How many chapters are there in the book in total?
How many chapters are there in the book in total?
Quicker? ...... I should say that (for me) you translate very fast. as I ever said, the quicker you translate the quicker the ending is coming ..... and the quicker also I lost my enjoy reading WXB .....
Anyway, thank you very much for translating Lu Ding Ji with a lot of explanation which make us more understand the situation of the story beeing told.
Once again, thank you Foxs.
Now that XB is going to Russia officially I suppose he'll not meet Sofia again...
Anh, Muliono, OwlHoot, you are welcome. Smurf, Tweety, my personal opinion about WXB is closer to Tweety's, he was selfish, with the exception of his 'friends'. Unfortunately, he did not consider Shi Lang his friend. Chowbeng, thanks for answering Jack's question. Gubrak, thank you. Please don't get me wrong, I do appreciate your support, all of you have been very kind. But I am not conceited, I know my limitation; just how many translators constantly need help (and receive help) from you, the readers and fellow translators? Before I started translating, I read the work of Athena, Noodles, Moin, Lanny, Huang Yushi, Faerie, and those other 'real' translators (no offense to newer translators, this was before 2006). That's why I keep saying that I wish those people will return someday. Crazee, do you miss Sophia?
Kangxi said, “Speaking about pacifying Wu Sangui, your merit is really not small; this is one thing that you have not caught up yet. Presently I am sending you to lead the three armies of water and land, in a campaign against the Luocha. The city of Yakesa is built on Mount Luding [deer and cauldron], I confer to you the title of Third-class Duke of Luding, Great General of Fuyuan [county, Heilongjiang; ‘fu yuan’ itself means ‘consoling/pacifying (places) far away’]. In military affairs, Commander Peng Chun, Heilongjiang General Sabusu, and Liaoning Guta General Ba Hai will assist you. In the administrative side, Songgotu will assist you. We will set out four-way cavalry and infantry first, plus 5000-men Navy. If that is not enough, we will send whatever is necessary. All horses and logistics are in place. Aigun and Liaoning Guta are already stocked with provisions, enough to be used by the large army for a period of three years. There are 350 battlefield cannon, and there are fifty siege cannon. Do you think this is enough?”
For each sentence Kangxi spoke, Wei Xiaobao thanked him for his grace. When Kangxi finished, Wei Xiaobao hastily kneeled down and kowtowed over and over.
Kangxi said, “Luocha Country only has no more than six thousand cavalry and infantry at Yakesa and Nerchinsk. We have seven or eight times that number to deal with them, indeed it is the sound of thunder ten-thousand great power; I only hope that you won’t fail our magnificent China’s national prestige.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “In this war your servant is fighting on behalf of Your Majesty; if we show even the tiniest setback, the Luocha people will look down on us. In spite of everything, Your Majesty please set your heart at ease.”
“Very good,” Kangxi said, “What else do you need?”
Wei Xiaobao said, “From Taiwan your servant brought along five hundred rattan-shield troops to the Capital. They have been in battle with the red-haired troops, and are very good at resisting firearms. Your servant is thinking to take them to destroy Luocha.”
“That’s very good!” Kangxi said happily, “Zheng Chenggong’s troops have defeated Dutch’s red-haired troops, you bring them to fight Luocha troops, our chance of victory is increased by thirty-percent. Originally I was worried the Luocha troops’ firearms are formidable, I am afraid there will be too many casualties among our officers and soldiers.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “Rattan shield can withstand flintlock musket’s bullet, these rattan-shield troops can roll pass their defense line and use broadsword to chop demon troops’ demon legs.”
Kangxi was greatly delighted, “Wonderful, wonderful!” he repeatedly exclaimed.
Wei Xiaobao said, “Your servant also has a young concubine, in those days she came with me to Moscow, she is proficient in Luocha demon language. I want to ask Your Majesty’s gracious approval to let her come with the army to handle affairs.” According to Qing Dynasty regulation, taking one’s family along in a military expedition was a grave offense; therefore, he had to ask permission first.
Kangxi nodded. “I know,” he said, “Now go and set up meritorious service!”
Wei Xiaobao kowtowed to take his leave. When he retreated toward the door, Kangxi suddenly asked, “I heard that your Shifu Chen Yonghua was murdered by Zheng Keshuang; is that right?”
Wei Xiaobao was startled. “Yes,” he replied.
Kangxi said, “Zheng Keshuang has surrendered to the imperial court. I have agreed to preserve the entire Zheng Clan’s descendants. You must not give them any trouble.” Wei Xiaobao had no choice but to say ‘yes’.
Before reaching the Capital this time, he had long planned on looking for Zheng Keshuang and made life difficult for him; who would have thought that Kangxi has already anticipated this and ordered him in this way? If he made his move, he would definitely disobey the imperial decree. He mused, “Could it be that I have to forget the big enmity of this kid murdering my Shifu?”
As he walked away slowly with his head hung low, suddenly he heard someone said, “Wei Xiongdi, congratulations!”
Wei Xiaobao thought the voice sounded very familiar. When he looked up, he saw a tall man with wide shoulder standing in front of him; the man looked at him with smile on his face. It was none other than the Imperial Bodyguard Zongguan [chief manager] Dolong. Wei Xiaobao’s shock was no small matter. When he escaped from the Palace that day, he had obviously stabbed Dolong to his death with a dagger in his residence; wasn’t this his ghost coming to demand his life back? In that instant Wei Xiaobao was so scared that his whole body trembled; he wanted to turn around and flee, he also wanted to kneel down and plead for mercy, but he felt as if his feet were nailed to the ground, he could not move even for half a step, all around the lower part of his body felt tense, in that instant he felt a very strong urge to defecate and urinate at the same time.
Dolong came over, he pulled Wei Xiaobao’s hand and said with a laugh, “Good Xiongdi, I have not seen you for many years, your Gege miss you very much, and have come to make sure that everything is according to your wishes. I heard you went fishing for His Majesty on Tong Chi Island, and His Majesty constantly promotes your official ranking and titular honors. I am very happy to hear that.”
Wei Xiaobao felt Dolong’s palm was warm, under the sunlight illuminating the colonnade, he saw a shadow by Dolong’s side; apparently he was not a ghost, his fright was reduced somewhat. “Yes, yes,” he mumbled in reply. He was also afraid that Dolong might remember the former enmity and wanted to settle this old debt. But the dagger clearly penetrated Dolong’s back and pierced his heart; how did he not die? In his panic, he could not think of anything.
Dolong said, “That day in Xiongdi’s residence, your Gege has fallen into the enemy’s plot. Fortunately I received Xiongdi’s help who drove the assassin away so that my life was protected. I have never been able to personally thank you over this matter, I often thought about it in my heart. You also asked Shi Lang to deliver gift for me from Taiwan; I really owe you too much.”
Seeing his sincere expression, Wei Xiaobao decided that Dolong was not being sarcastic; he thought, “He is the Imperial Bodyguard Zongguan, a member of His Majesty’s inner ministerial circle. This time Shi Lang came to give presents, naturally Dolong received his share. Presumably he asked Shi Lang about me, and Shi Lang simply did me a favor with little cost to himself, saying that part of the gift was from me, so that it will appear that he and I have very deep friendship; in turn, people will look at my face and will not give Shi Lang any difficulty. By why did he say that I drove the assassin away? I really don’t understand.”
Dolong saw Wei Xiaobao’s face was white, alternating with blue; he also looked restless. Thinking that Wei Xiaobao must have just received Kangxi’s rebuke, Dolong tried to console him, “His Majesty’s temper has not been too good recently, most probably it’s because the Luocha Country bullies people too much; Xiongdi don’t have to worry about it. Wait till my shift is over, we’ll have a nice dinner together and chat.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “His Majesty’s benevolence is as high as the sky and as deep as the earth. Just now he promoted my official rank again. Xiongdi is deeply grateful, I really don’t know how to repay our lord’s kindness.”
Dolong laughed and said, “Congratulations! Congratulations! Xiongdi is very competent, you can share His Majesty’s tribulations. To have your official ranking and titular honors raised, of course it is proper and to be expected.” There was a hint of envy in his voice.
Wei Xiaobao noticed the warmth and the envy in the tone of his voice and in his facial expression. Knowing that Dolong was a straightforward man, Wei Xiaobao knew he was not pretending; the fear in his heart vanished completely. He laughed and said, “Duo Dage [in Chinese, Dolong is spelled Duo Long], please wait a moment, Xiongdi really need to go pee. His Majesty summoned me for an audience, he gave me a lot of instructions and warnings, Xiongdi tried to hold it that long, but now I can’t hold it much longer.”
Dolong roared in laughter; he knew that when the Emperor summoned his ministers, if he did not indicate that the meeting was finished, the ministers would not dare to withdraw. If the minister had an urgent need to urinate, it would be an enormous difficulty. It’s just that only toward a favored minister like Wei Xiaobao would the Emperor talk for quite so long. With other ministers, usually the Emperor only talked for two, three sentences, and he was dismissed; hence there has never been any urgent need for the ministers to urinate or defecate. Dolong had always been close to Wei Xiaobao; today as they met again after a long time, he was genuinely happy. Immediately he took Wei Xiaobao’s hand and took him to the door of the latrine [orig. ‘thatched hut’], and waited outside as Wei Xiaobao finished his business.
That day, in order to save his Shifu’s life, as well as his Tian Di Hui brothers, Wei Xiaobao had no choice but to stab Dolong. Recalling that ordinarily Dolong treated him well, in the deepest part of his heart Wei Xiaobao was actually quite regretful and uneasy; who would have thought that not only Dolong did not die, he also did not show any sign that he took offense of what had happened. Wei Xiaobao urinated with a happy heart. When he went out of the latrine, he casually sounded Dolong out on what happened that day.
Dolong said, “When I woke up that day, I found out that I had been lying in bed for three days and four nights. The Imperial Physician Guan told me that fortunately I was born with an anomaly; my heart was slanted, so that the assassin’s blade only pierced my lung and did not harm my heart at all. He said that someone with a slanted heart like me, in a hundred thousand people you won’t necessarily find one.”
In his heart Wei Xiaobao cried out, “Ashamed! So that’s what happened.” He laughed and said, “I always thought that Dage is a hero with straight heart and intestine, who would have thought that Dage is a prejudiced man? [‘slanted heart’ means partial/biased/prejudiced]. Dage is prejudiced, are you particularly doting on young Auntie, or on your son?”
Dolong was taken aback. He then laughed and said, “If Xiongdi did not mention it, I would not have thought about it. I do dote on my eighth concubine Fang a bit more than the rest; it may be assumed that it is due to my slanted heart condition.” The two of them roared in laughter.
Wei Xiaobao said with a laugh, “That assassin’s martial art skill was very high; he came to plot against Dage, unexpectedly Xiongdi was not aware of him in advance.”
“That’s right,” Dolong said. Lowering his voice he added, “By coincidence at that time Princess Jianning came from the Hall to see Xiongdi. This kind of affair, as servants we do not dare to ask one question too many. I recuperated for three months and was completely healed. His Majesty revealed to me that it was Wei Xiongdi who courageously saved my life and personally killed the assassin. Xiongdi need not mention the particulars of this event; in short, your Gege owes you a lot.”
Wei Xiaobao’s skin was thick, during Kangxi’s reign, he could be reckoned as first or second best; however, listening to Dolong, he could not stop his face from turning red. Only then did he find out that the Emperor has concealed his secret. First, because it was the Emperor himself who told him, Dolong had no reason to be suspicious. Second, since it involved the Princess’ private business, the people in the Palace understood that the less it was brought up the better. Even if they had doubt as big as the sky, they had no choice but to bury it deep inside their hearts. Were it not for this, they would have to take a lot of trouble to concoct a lie to cover up the past events.
Wei Xiaobao was ashamed; he also felt that he must repay this honest, considerate and naïve man well. He said, “From Taiwan Xiongdi has brought some local products as souvenirs; as soon as I get home I will have someone deliver some to Dage’s mansion.”
Dolong repeatedly shook his hand, “No need, no need,” he said, “We are family, why bother like this? Last time the gift Shi Lang brought was already too much.”
Wei Xiaobao suddenly remembered something, “It’s a kind act that costs nothing,” he mused, “Even if His Majesty finds out, he cannot blame me for disobeying the imperial decree.” Thereupon he asked, “Duo Dage, after that kid Zheng Keshuang surrendered, how is he doing in Beijing?”
“His Majesty treated him very well,” Dolong replied, “He was bestowed First-class Duke title. This kid does not know how to do anything, he only relies on his ancestors’ fortune; unexpectedly his nobility is higher than you, Xiongdi.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “When we joke around that day, we falsely accused him of owing the Imperial Bodyguards ten thousand taels of silver, and then Xiongdi took out some money to pay for him. Does Dage still remember that?”
Dolong burst out laughing. “I remember, I remember,” he said, “That Miss, Xiongdi’s good friend, what happened to her next? If she still follows Zheng Keshuang, we may go and take her back.”
Wei Xiaobao smiled and said, “That Miss has already become my wife long ago, she even gave birth to my son.”
Dolong laughed and said, ““Congratulations, congratulations! Otherwise, since that kid Zheng Keshuang is in Beijing, I don’t care if he is a first-class duke or second-class duke, in the end he will become a no-entitlement, no-power empty-headed Jueye [master noble]. Let us drop him a visit, so that this kid won’t dare to release a fart. This kind of surrendering border defense king, he spends his days trembling with fear, afraid that His Majesty might suspect in his heart he has not really surrendered and would rise again in rebellion.”
“We don’t have to bully him,” Wei Xiaobao said, “It’s just that those who murdered people must pay with his life, those who owed a debt must return the money. This is an absolutely fair and reasonable matter. Forget that he is merely a first-class duke, even if he is a Prince or a Bei Lei [see note 19 chapter 13], he can’t owe a debt and refuse to pay.”
“Right, right,” Dolong said, “That day he owed Xiongdi ten thousand taels of silver, not a few of our Imperial Bodyguard brothers witnessed this; we can go to demand payment from him.”
Wei Xiaobao smiled and said, “This kid has not made much progress. Only ten thousand taels of silver is nothing; afterwards he continuously amassed a lot of debt from Xiongdi. He has personally written an I.O.U. that I have it in my hand. For three generations his Zheng Family became Wangye in Taiwan, how much gold, silver, money and valuables they accumulated has he spent? He must have brought everything to Beijing. Zheng Chenggong and Zheng Jing were good people, presumably they would not milk common people dry; but this kid Zheng Keshuang, could he be polite? He became Wangye for a day, at least he would plunder above one million taels; two days two million, three days three million. He has become Wangye for several days, just calculate how much money he has acquired!”
Dolong’s jaw dropped and his tongue was tied. “Awesome, awesome,” he muttered.
Yes I agree, WXB's behavior towards Shi Lang was inexcusable and SL was just lucky it taught him a good political lesson.
Happy that Dolong was alive! Funny that WXB puts ZKS's face on his own bribery scandal amassing 2 million in a couple of days in Taiwan. Wonder what happened to the Qing treasure from the 42 sutra at Luding Mountain? Seems like that went nowhere after huge buildup over the course of the story.
Others get rewarded after a successful campaign, WXB get rewarded just to lead a campaign.
Smurf, I think the treasures are to shows how much WXB values his friendship with KX. WXB is greedy, but he did not excavate those treasures in fear by disturbing the Manchu's dragon vein, it will harm KX's.
You plant a garden and the flowers do not bloom, you poke a stick in the mud and it grows into a tree
I thought he didn't dig out the treasures because of 2 reasons: 1. His friendship with KX 2. He was lazy
What other rewards can one give WXB that he doesn't already have? Wealth, titles, fame, hot women, the king's favor... he got it all.
Oh yes I miss Princess Sofia.....she's fun, don't you agree ???
Now, payback time for Zheng KS ??? I don't envy him, with XB as an enemy....hell hath no bounds and will seem like spring court,,,,,,
Smurf, I believe Ace and Tweety have answered your question. I hope this is not a big spoiler, but later on WXB thought about this treasure many times. Crazee, I am afraid Jin Yong simply leave ZKS for now, at least right now WXB is going to Russia ...
Wei Xiaobao said, “When Xiongdi is back home, I will have the loan receipt delivered to Dage. This money, Xiongdi does not want any …”
“We can’t do that,” Dolong hastily said, “Your Gege will collect the payment for you, I guarantee that you won’t get a qian less. I will take my men the Imperial Bodyguards to pay a visit; even if he has guts as big as the sky he won’t dare not to pay.”
“This debt is rather large,” Wei Xiaobao said, “In those days this kid spent his time in drinking and pleasure, he spent money like flowing water. To have him pay everything back at once is really not easy. Let’s do it this way: Dage bring people to collect, if within eight or ten days he cannot pay, let him break up the whole debt into pieces, have him write separate I.O.U., put the Imperial Bodyguard brothers’ names as the creditors. Each I.O.U. can be a thousand taels, two thousand taels, I don’t care. Whichever Imperial Bodyguard brother can collect the debt, let it be his.”
“Absolutely not!” Dolong said, “All Imperial Bodyguards are your old subordinates. Doing a trivial thing like collecting the debt for an old boss and still want some reward, where’s the logic in that?”
Wei Xiaobao said, “They are all my old subordinates, my good brothers, my good friends. For the last several years Xiongdi’s promotion to the nobility is like spurring the horse to full speed, yet all along I did not give any benefit to everybody; when I think about it, I find it quite embarrassing. I want the Imperial Bodyguard brothers to have a share on this several million taels.”
Dolong was stunned. “What … there are several … several million taels?” he asked in a trembling voice.
Wei Xiaobao smiled, “Speaking about capital,” he said, “I did not spend that much. Some of it was spending money, some was a trick; profit after profit, the total amount is not small. This money, Dage may take a bit bigger share.”
Dolong still did not believe; he mumbled, “Several million taels? This … isn’t this too much?”
“That’s why,” Wei Xiaobao said, “I wanted him to break it up into smaller I.O.U.s. It’s going to be easier to collect.” Lowering his voice, he said, “I cannot be involved in this matter; if the Imperial Censor found out, they might submit report, saying Xiongdi is in association with outside border defense, lending money and exacting interest. Whether it’s big or small, I will have to face criminal charge. But if the Imperial Bodyguards want to collect some gambling debt from him, each one collects one or two thousand taels, it won’t be such a big deal. If Dage is afraid to have the Imperial Bodyguards eating this money alone the responsibility is too great, there’s no harm in asking some Valiant Cavalry Brigade officers to come along. They are also my old subordinates; I should also share some benefits with them.”
Dolong repeatedly voiced his agreement. He had made up his mind, when this debt was collected, he would return at least half to Wei Xiaobao. Although Wei Xiaobao was generous and easy-mannered, Dolong could not let him lose his life savings.
Wei Xiaobao was so proud of himself; he thought that if Dolong bring along these ‘like wolves and tigers’ group of Imperial Bodyguards and Valiant Cavalry Brigade officers to collect the debt, this time Zheng Keshuang would definitely have a bad headache. Although the Emperor had ordered him in advance not to personally give Zheng Keshuang any trouble, this big enmity of murdering his Shifu, if he could not avenge it, at least he would make Zheng Keshuang lose half of his family property. In this matter most likely Zheng Keshuang would quietly suffer in silence [orig. ‘eat yellow lotus’], and would not dare to make it public. If other people found out, it would be personal matters between Zheng Keshuang and the Imperial Bodyguards and the Valiant Cavalry Brigade officers who collected gambling debt. People always said that Zheng Keshuang was a hedonistic son of rich parents, that he did not have a good family foundation, as soon as he arrived at the Capital, he gambled and made a scene; no one would put the blame on Wei Xiaobao.
When he exited the Palace, Prince Kang Giyesu, Li Lei, Ming Zhu, Songgotu, Lei Dehong, Du Lide, Feng Pu, Tu Hai, Wang Xi, Huang Ji, Wu Zhengzhi, Zong Deyi, and the other Manchu-Han high-ranking ministers were waiting outside the Palace gate. One after another they stepped forward to congratulate him. With Wei Xiaobao in the middle, they all went to the Tong Mao’er [copper hat] Alley.
When they reached the mouth of the alley, Wei Xiaobao saw a grand mansion towering above the houses around it, compared to his old earl mansion it was a lot bigger. Above the main gate there was a vermillion-painted horizontal inscribed board, but it was completely empty without a single character on it. Characters as big as watermelon, Wei Xiaobao’s knowledge was limited to only a handful, but even he was able to see that the board did not have any character on it; he could not help but was stunned.
Prince Kang laughed and said, “Wei Xiongdi, His Majesty’s grace and favor to you is indeed as high as the sky and as deep as the earth. That year when your earl mansion caught fire and was burned down, you were not in town. When His Majesty was informed, he immediately ordered your Gege to build another mansion for you. The imperial edict did not mention any budgetary number; it only mentioned that all expenses are to be covered by the internal treasury. This is His Majesty bestowing you a reward, why would your Gege try to save His Majesty some money? Naturally I did not spare any expense. Xiongdi, look, is this acceptable?” While saying that, he stroked his beard with a smile on his face.
Wei Xiaobao busily expressed his thanks. From the main gate he entered in. It was indeed a splendid and magnificent building, not much different compared to Prince Kang’s mansion. All the ministers clucked their tongues in praise, they all expressed their admirations.
Prince Kang said, “This mansion has been ready for quite some time, all along it stayed empty, waiting for Xiongdi to come back and live in it. It’s just that we did not know what other grace His Majesty would bestow you, what title and honors he was going to confer to you, hence the plaque above the mansion’s gate is still empty. The ‘Lu Ding Gong Fu’ [Duke of Deer and Cauldron’s Mansion], four characters, I will ask our Li Da Xueshi to move his brush.”
Li Lei was the Hall of Preserving Harmony’s [Bao He Dian] Da Xue Shi [see also Chapter 37], while holding the post of Minister of Revenue at the same time. The Da Xue Shi with most profound experience in wealth management was appointed the head. This moment he did not decline; picking up the brush he wrote in regular script, ‘Lu Ding Gong Fu’, four large characters. A minor government official was ordered to have an artisan cast gold lettering and embed it on the plaque.
That evening Wei Xiaobao held a big banquet at the Duke of Luding’s mansion to entertain the high-ranking ministers who had personally come to congratulate him earlier. Zheng Keshuang, Feng Xifan, and other Taiwan people who surrendered also sent some gifts, but they did not personally come to congratulate him.
After sending off the guests, Wei Xiaobao had another banquet for his family. His seven wives raised their wine cups to celebrate. Wei Xiaobao mentioned that he was going to take Shuang’er to accompany him in this punitive expedition to the north. The other six wives raised their voices at once to protest, saying that he was too partial. Wei Xiaobao was obliged to explain with graceful words, flowery speech, saying that it was His Majesty’s imperial edict; because he knew that Shuang’er has been to Luocha Country and understood Luocha language, he was sending her to serve in the army.
The six wives did not have any choice but to drop this matter. Luckily Shuang’er was gentle and amiable, her friendship with every single one of the other wives was very good, so nobody was jealous of her. Only Princess Jianning was thinking that based on her status as the Emperor’s imperial sister, a golden branch, jade leaves, unexpectedly she could not compare to a little servant girl with humble background, in her heart she was quite angry. However, usually when the seven wives had an argument, the other six women would unite to deal with the Princess. Princess Jianning was on her own, even Wei Xiaobao did not side with her; for the past few years her fiery temper had mellowed considerably, she did not dare to rashly pick a quarrel.
The next day Wei Xiaobao asked Shuang’er to take out Zheng Keshuang’s I.O.U. which was written in blood on Tong Chi Island that year. He invited Dolong to come over and handed it over to him. Dolong was greatly delighted; he said, “With a hand-written I.O.U. like this, we can even squeeze oil from a stone. If that kid Zheng Keshuang dares to renege and refuse to pay, we, the Imperial Bodyguards and the Valiant Cavalry Brigade officers, won’t have any face to mingle in the Capital anymore.”
For the next several days, Kangxi repeatedly summoned Wei Xiaobao to the Palace. He gave Wei Xiaobao a giant map; how to advance, how to engage the enemy, how to besiege a city, how to strike at the enemy’s reinforcements, he gave Wei Xiaobao detailed instructions. With vermillion brush he drew on the map clearly.
Wei Xiaobao said, “This war is just like Your Majesty personally leading the troops and fighting it, your servant will not dare to act on my own initiative, I will do everything in accordance with Your Majesty’s instruction. Otherwise, even if I am victorious, Your Majesty will not be happy.”
Kangxi smiled and nodded. What Wei Xiaobao said was very close to his heart’s intention. Since he was little he learned martial art, and had never been able to put it to use, only with Wei Xiaobao he could wrestle and have fun. Later on he unceasingly sent Wei Xiaobao on various missions outside; in the deepest part of his heart he always thought that Wei Xiaobao was a stand-in for him. Wei Xiaobao was younger than he, in terms of martial art skill, intelligence, knowledge and foresight, none could surpass Kangxi’s. If Wei Xiaobao could successfully accomplish the mission, naturally Kangxi would be able to handle the butcher’s knife with more ease. Recalling Ming Dynasty’s Emperor Zhengde who conferred himself the title Weiwu Dajiangjun Zhen Guo Gong [see Chapter 43], and personally went into battle, Kangxi was unwilling to be left out, he wanted to display his talent too. Kangxi would never make fool of himself like Emperor Zhengde, but by sending Wei Xiaobao on missions like that, he derived inside satisfaction.
During the years of Wu Sangui’s rebellion, Kangxi had to deal with a high-ranking minister, a veteran general. Wu Sangui was a fierce general, a veteran of a hundred battles, not a simple matter at all; if he had sent Wei Xiaobao, he would have been defeated for sure. By this time Kangxi had gained several years’ worth of war. Although he did not personally go to the front line, he always inquired in details that he understood clearly every military campaign, its merits and drawbacks, gains and losses; not a single battle he did not know like the palm of his own hand. From the actual combat he learned the art of war.
This time he was about to start a war with the Luocha Country, he would deal with any matter, regardless of its importance; everything has been prepared properly. Before the main force even marched out the gate, he already had confidence that he would achieve victory. Indeed it was a far cry [orig. ‘mustn’t speak of two things on the same day’] from when he was trembling with fear in dealing with Wu Sangui in the past.
Since his departure for war was imminent, Wei Xiaobao did not dare to mess with Tian Di Hui brothers. He thought, “His Majesty did not tell me to exterminate Tian Di Hui, it means he has surrendered to me, it means he has given me enough face. If I am not being sensitive, and go to visit Li Lishi, Xu Tianchuan and the others, and His Majesty finds out, he might raise the former matter again. This is the same as Wei Xiaobao picks up a rock and smashes it against my own foot. Being a human I must not be overly stupid and act too tactlessly.”
The directorate of astronomy picked up an ecliptic propitious day for the main force to set off on their punitive expedition to the north. That day Kangxi bestowed a feast at the Taihe Men [Gate of Supreme Harmony]. There was a large sandy field outside the Wu Men [Meridian Gate], where His Majesty’s yellow tent was erected. The imperial throne was set up, royal seal was on display, hundreds of princes and dukes and ministers congregated. Kangxi took his seat. The Great General Fuyuan, Duke of Luding Wei Xiaobao led his military officers Peng Chun, Sabusu, Lang Tan, Lin Xingzhu, and the others, the logistic officer Songgotu and the others, to step forward and kneel down. Internal courtyard cabinet minister declared the imperial order in Manchurian, Mongolian and Han, three languages. He handed over the great general seal of authority, and conferred a set of clothes, a horse, a bow and a saber.
The officers going into battle separately sat on the north of Jinshui [golden water] Bridge. There were music everywhere, hundreds of play were being performed. Kangxi ordered the Great General to step forward toward the throne. When they were face-to-face, he personally conferred the imperial wine. The Great General received it, kowtowed, and drank it. The commanders, deputy commanders, and so on also stepped forward. The Emperor ordered the Imperial Bodyguards to bestow the drink. Afterwards he ordered the hundreds of government officials everywhere to offer the wine to the troops, along with money and some cloth. The hundreds of officials and all the troops expressed their gratitude, and then the main forces set out.
Kangxi personally sent them off outside the Meridian Gate. The Great General and all the officers kneeled down to ask the holy self to return home. Afterwards the water and land main forces set off to the north. All the ministers saw Wei Xiaobao in his complete martial attire, happy and giggling, without the slightest bit of mighty air of the Commander-in-Chief of a large army. They already knew this man was without learning or skills, a marketplace hoodlum; he was leading the troops into battle, most likely he would spoil the great endeavor and might bring disgrace to the country and make it lose face. But they also knew that Kangxi doted on him very much; who would dare to utter even half a sentence of objection? Not a few of these princes, dukes and ministers put on a smile on their faces, but in their hearts they were sighing. It was:
The prime minister (or the most senior minister) like a school of fish working around the tablet held at an audience, the general leaping around majestically scaling up the earthen jar. [Translator’s note: don’t ask, I have no idea what this is. 丞相鱼鱼工拥笏, 将军跃跃俨登坛]
Ever since Wei Xiaobao went out on mission for the Emperor, he has never gone out with this kind of pomp and circumstances; the pride in his heart need not be mentioned. He knew this time the stake was very high, in the army he exercised strong self-control, unexpectedly he did not dare to gamble at all. When boredom hit along the way, he would invite several high-ranking generals to throw some dice, the loser was punished by drinking some wine; nothing more.
Check out WXFS translated comic of Tian Long Ba Bu
Last updated: 02/04/2008
foxs, I too was curious about that line at the end, so I looked it up. It appears to be a reference to an obscure poem written by Qing dynasty poet Zha Shenxing named "大清军威", "The Great Qing's Military Might". The full poem is as follows:
The full poem is far too difficult for me to translate with any confidence (and I couldn't find any explanations online either), but based on the context of the two lines that Jinyong used, I would translate thusly for those two lines:
The ministers swarm around the stage like a school of fish,
The general majestically ascends the sacrificial altar.
"All the ministers saw Wei Xiaobao in his complete martial attire, happy and giggling, without the slightest bit of mighty air of the Commander-in-Chief of a large army."
Hahaha... outstanding!! Thank you Foxs!!!
KX and WXB discussing strategies are a stark contrast to the TDH's meetings. I don't recall the TDH ever discuss startegies like that. Those meetings were just to set a very large objective without defining the methods to achieve it. Once the objective was set, that is to overthrow the Qing and re-establih the Ming, it must be repeated again and again in every meeting for at least 50% of the meeting's time. Then 40% of the time is to praise and/or fight each other. The remaining 10% was to discuss what to do in extremely general sense, like 'we will kill the emperor' or 'we will kill WSG!' and that's it.
You plant a garden and the flowers do not bloom, you poke a stick in the mud and it grows into a tree
Looks like this is the most serious and important mission that XB is taking on.
I suppose he'll prove all the pessimistic princes and ministers wrong. He might be a hoodlum and street urchin but I'm sure he's crafty and above all he's able to muster assistance from his subordinates.
It'll be interesting to see a general without war or military training fight a war but anyway, this war is an unconventional war.
I think fans would lose respect for WXB if he wins against the Russians in a direct, fair, and non-rascally way. Bring on the lime powder, knockout drugs, and gambling!!!
20% Ancient History
40% Remind everybody on the objective for the hundredth or thousandth times
30% Praising and/or fighting each other
9% Discuss how to achive the objecti ve in very general manner
1% Summarised the entire meeting with ‘We will kill WSG!’ or We will kill the Tartar Emperor!’
You plant a garden and the flowers do not bloom, you poke a stick in the mud and it grows into a tree
Sorry folks, been rather busy lately. Wandering, Anh, you are welcome. Ren, thanks. If you find it ‘far too difficult to translate with any confidence’, what chance do a guy like me have? Muliono, that’s exactly the poem Ren translated. FYI, I seem to remember the name Zha Shenxing, must be in Chapter 1, he was Jin Yong’s ancestor. Ace, Smurf, LOL, you guys are absolutely right. Someone in this forum said that Tian Di Hui meeting is just like his/her department meeting (was that you, Ms. Smurf?). Crazee, in the previous part Kangxi thought that if WXB could do it, then he (Kangxi) would definitely can too. I beg to differ. Precisely because of what you said: WXB was a hoodlum, street urchin, and this is an unconventional war.
One day the main force went out the Shanhai Pass [eastern pass of Great Wall], and continued north to Liaodong [peninsula]. It was the place Wei Xiaobao previously visited, only that time he and Shuang’er had to catch deer in the forest to eat while they were hiding to the east and escaping to the west, battered and exhausted; there was no awe-inspiring authority like this time they went out of the Pass on a military campaign to the north.
It was a crisp, clear autumn weather, the cloudless sky spread for thousands of li, the army marched farther and farther north, the north wind was getting stronger by the day. Until one day they were only a hundred or so li away from Yakesa. He You from the Vanguard Battalion reported to the main force: the reconnaissance team had been informed by the locals, common people, that Luocha troops had been harassing the people, killing people, burning houses, raping, robbing; no crime that they did not do. Every ten days or so they would come out once; hence he estimated that they would come out again in a few days.
Wei Xiaobao had already received Kangxi’s instructions on what to do under given circumstances; he ordered the main force to pitch camp right there and did not advance farther. And then he ordered He You to lead ten hundred-man squadron to set ambush about thirty li from the city of Yakesa. If any Luocha troops came out in large number, they were to lie low and did not come out to avoid an open war. But if they encountered the enemy force in small groups, they were to attack, kill and captured all of them, no one was to be allowed to go back to the city. He You received the order and left.
Several days later before noon they heard faint noise of firearms from the distant, shot after shot, long and continuous; the noise did not cease for quite a long time. Presumably the Vanguard Battalion was engaged in battle with the Luocha troops. Later that afternoon He You sent his people to the main force to report their success, saying that they wiped out twenty-fice Luocha men and captured twelve. Wei Xiaobao was greatly delighted.
That evening the Vanguard Battalion escorted the twelve prisoners to the main force. Wei Xiaobao had them in his tent and personally interrogated them. Hearing Wei Xiaobao unexpectedly could speak Luocha language, the twelve Luocha troops were greatly astonished; however, everyone of them was extremely unyielding, they said they were ambushed, that Qing troops had superior number, that the victory was without honor. Wei Xiaobao was very angry; he ordered two Luocha troops to step forward. He took dice from his pocket and said, “You two throw the dice!”
Throwing dice had existed in the West since ancient times, the ones excavated from ancient Egyptian tomb were no different than the ones used in China; Luocha troops had also been accustomed to playing with dice. Two Luocha troops looked at each other in shock; they wondered what kind of trick this young general if the Qing troops was playing. They followed his order and threw the dice. One got sevent dots, the other five.
Wei Xiaobao pointed to the Luocha troop with five dots and said, “You lost! Simanji!” In Luocha language, ‘simanji’ means ‘death’. He turned his head around and ordered his personal guard, “Take him out and chop his head!”
Four personal guards dragged the Luocha troop to the entrance of the tent and chopped his head, and then they presented the severed head to Wei Xiaobao. The remaining eleven Luocha troops saw this and their countenances changed greatly.
Wei Xiaobao pointed to two more Luocha troops and said, “You two throw the dice.”
How could the two men be willing to throw the dice? As if by prior agreement they both said, “I won’t throw!”
“Alright, you won’t throw,” Wei Xiaobao said. Turning to his personal guards he said, “Take both out and chop their heads!” In an instant two more people died.
Wei Xiaobao pointed to two more Luocha troops and said, “You two throw the dice.”
The two men knew that if they did not throw, they would be killed immediately, but if they threw, there was a fifty-fifty chance that they would live. One of them picked up the dice, while trembling with fear. He was about to throw when the other Luocha troop scrambled past him and said to Wei Xiaobao, “I’ll throw against you!” His expression looked extremely arrogant.
Wei Xiaobao laughed, “Alright,” he said, “Since you have the audacity to challenge me, you throw first.”
The soldier threw a seven-dot. Wei Xiaobao threw a ten. “How about it?” he asked with a laugh.
The soldier looked distressed. “My luck is not good,” he said, “I have nothing to say.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “You came to China, how many Chinese people did you kill?”
The soldier was upright and unafraid. “I lost track,” he said, “At least seventeen, eighteen people. You kill me, I don’t lose out anyway.”
Wei Xiaobao commanded his guards to chop his head. Pointing to the other Luocha troop he said, “You throw.”
The soldier picked up the dice, his hand was trembling. The two dice rolled on the table one after another, surprisingly he got eleven-dot, his chance of winning was very big. Wei Xiaobao wanted to play the trick to get twelve-dot; who would have thought that due to the lack of practice his technique failed, the two dice did not have their six-dot sides facing upward but downward instead, producing only two dots. He was stunned, but then he laughed aloud and said, “I win!”
The soldier hastily said, “I got eleven, you only got two; what do you mean you won?”
Wei Xiaobao said, “This time the smaller dots win, the bigger dots lose.”
The soldier did not give in; he said, “Naturally the bigger dots win. In our Luocha Country the rule has always been so.”
Wei Xiaobao pulled a face and said, “Are we in China, or is this Luocha’s land?”
The soldier replied, “It’s … it’s China.”
“Since this is China, naturally we use Chinese rule,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Who told you to come to China? Next time when I am in Luocha and I throw the dice against you, we can play with Luocha rule. You ‘simanji’!” Turning toward his personal guards he said, “Take him out and chop his head!”
He called another Luocha troop to come out. The soldier was careful, he asked first, “According to Chinese rule, is this time bigger dots win, or smaller dots win?”
“According to Chinese rule,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “Chinese people win. If the Chinese man’s dots big, then bigger dots win; if the Chinese man’s dots small, then smaller dots win.”
The soldier angrily said, “You are very unreasonable, you don’t follow logic at all.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “You Luocha troop’s came to China, killing and robbing. It’s not us, Chinese people who came to Luocha killing and robbing. Is Luocha people unreasonable, or Chinese people unreasonable?” The soldier was speechless.
Wei Xiaobao said, “Quickly throw, quickly throw!”
“I will lose anyway,” the soldier said, “Why bother?”
“You don’t throw, simanji! Simanji!” Wei Xiaobao said.
He called another Luocha troop to come out. This soldier was big and tall, with long whisker on his face; he said in a loud voice, “Chinese kid, you don’t need to play crafty trick, just be straightforward and kill me. This time you have superior number, you set an ambush on snowy ground and caught us by surprise; there is no honor in that kind of victory. When our Luocha Country’s main force arrives, each and every one of you will be killed.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “You were caught by us, and in your heart you refuse to submit, is that right?”
“Naturally I won’t submit!” the soldier replied.
Wei Xiaobao said, “If we have the same number of people, and have a battle face to face, you are so sure that you will win; is that right?”
“Of course!” the soldier haughtily replied, “One of us, Luocha man, can beat five of you, Chinese men. Otherwise, we would not have come to China. I bet you, send five of your men to fight with me. If you win, you can chop my head, if I win, just let me go.” This man was the most famous warrior of the Luocha army, he was born with supernatural power. Seeing all the generals and personal guards in Wei Xiaobao’s tent were at least a head shorter than he was, he thought that even fighting five to one, his chance of winning was still very high.
All along Shuang’er has been sitting quietly on the side. This moment as she heard his arrogant talk, she opened her mouth for the first time, “Luocha men, useless. Chinese women, will beat you.” While saying that she stood up and came over to stand by Wei Xiaobao’s side.
Seeing her delicate figure, her beautiful face, the soldier could not help bursting in laughter. “You have to have a duel with me?” he asked.
Wei Xiaobao ordered his personal guard to cut the rope binding the man’s hands. He smiled and said, “Good Shuang’er, let him experience Chinese women’s fierceness.”
The soldier said, “Chinese woman, you can talk Luocha language. Very good, very good.”
Shuang’er’s command of Luocha language was actually far below Wei Xiaobao’s, she could not express her ideas very well, hence she was unwilling to talk to him too much. Waving her left hand, she launched a feign slap toward his face. The soldier hastily raised his head while stretched out his hand to block. Shuang’er’s right leg flew up, ‘pow!’ she kicked his lower abdomen.
The soldier howled in pain, he rained down punches with both hands. He was Luocha Country’s boxing champion, his punches were fast, heavy and powerful. Seeing his fierceness, Shuang’er leaped toward his back, using the move ‘striking water right and left’, ‘whack, whack!’ she kicked both sides of the small of his back with her left and right feet. It was so painful that the soldier squatted down. “You use your legs; a foul, a foul!” he hollered. Turned out according to Luocha people’s boxing rule, they must not use their legs.
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “This is China, we fight according to Chinese rule.”
Shuang’er called out, “With Luocha rule, I still win.” She dodged in front of the soldier; with her right fist she punched his lower abdomen. The soldier held out his hand to block. Shuang’er’s punch was actually an empty move; without waiting for his block to arrive, she pulled her right fist, and struck the pit of his stomach with her left fist. Again the soldier stretched out his arm to block. Shuang’er launched left punch, right punch; she sent twelve punches in succession. But all her punches were empty move, in Chinese martial art technique, it was called ‘the mirage’, meaning everything is imaginary. Just because each move was not really striking and it was executed without any real power, it was several times faster than ordinary punch.
The soldier blocked several times, but each time he blocked an empty punch; he laughed aloud and said, “Little girl’s trick, it’s useless …” Before he could finish, ‘whack, whack!’ twice, his left and right cheeks were hit by Shuang’er’s palms. The soldier roared, his two arms attacked violently up and down. Shuang’er leaned sideways to evade, the forefinger of her right hand suddenly jabbed, it hit the ‘taiyang’ [sun] acupoint on the soldier’s right temple. The man was overwhelmed with dizziness, his body swayed. Shuang’er leaped up, her palm hacked down, and hit the ‘yuzhen’ [jade pillow] acupoint on the back of the man’s head. It was a vital acupoint on human’s body, although the soldier was big and sturdy, he could not withstand it. ‘Wham!’ he tumbled down to the ground and was unable to crawl back up.
Wei Xiaobao was greatly delighted; holding Shuang’er’s hand, he kicked the soldier’s forehead and asked, “Do you submit now?”
Still in daze, the soldier said, “Chinese woman … use witchcraft … she is a witch …”
“Stinky pig,” Wei Xiaobao cursed, “What witchcraft? Take him out and chop his head! You, Luocha troops, which one of you won’t submit? Let him come out and have a duel.”
The remaining five Luocha troops looked at each other in dismay; they saw how their warrior was defeated, there was no way they could be her. Nobody dared to say anything.
Wei Xiaobao said, “If you concede and surrender, you will be spared and won’t be killed. Otherwise, you may throw dice against me. We will play by Chinese rule; if you win, you will live, if you lose, then simanji!” While saying that his right hand made a beheading gesture.
The five soldiers thought, “According to Chinese rule, it does not matter how many dots, he wins.” Thereupon one soldier bowed and said, “I surrender!”
Wei Xiaobao happily said, “Very good! Get some wine and meat, let him eat.”
His personal guards went to the back of the tent and returned with a large bowl of wine and a large bowl of meat. The soldier was released from his bound and was free to eat and drink.
In Luocha Country the weather was bitter cold, everybody drank wine. Although Wei Xiaobao was not a drinker, the wine in the army was the best quality sorghum wine. As soon as this bowl of wine was brought in, the aroma filled the entire tent; as soon as the four Luocha troops smelled the wine, their mouth watered. When they saw the surrendering soldier drank and his eyebrows rose up and his eyes twinkled, their hearts were unbearably itchy. One after another they all said, “Surrender, surrender! I want wine.”
Wei Xiaobao commanded his guards to untie the four soldiers and ordered four other personal guards to get four bowls of wine and meat and gave it to them. The Luocha troops ate and drank, but they were still not full. Wei Xiaobao ordered his guards to get another set of wine and meat for each of them. The five Luocha troops were drunk, they waved their hands around and sang. After singing for a while, they remembered that they had just escaped mortal danger, unexpectedly they could eat and drink as much as they liked; they were very happy and bowed to Wei Xiaobao to express their thanks.
Afterwards, every several days He You continuously sent Luocha troops as prisoners, as many as sixteen, seventeen soldiers, and as few as one or two soldiers. After these prisoners talked with the five soldiers who surrendered first, they found out that if they threw the dice, they death was guaranteed; but if they surrendered, there would be meat and wine for their enjoyments. Thereupon everyone surrendered.
These Luocha troops were originally scoundrels who fled to the east to avoid prison; if not thieves and robbers, then they must be criminals who were exiled by the court of law. Out of ten, perhaps eight or nine of them would not shrink from any crime. They went east to take their chances, nobody had any good intentions in their heart. When they first went out to kill Chinese civilians, their missions always went without a hitch, hence in their hearts they despised Chinese people. Therefore, when they were captured, they were still very arrogant. It was not until Wei Xiaobao had several troops executed and thus established his prestige that the rest realized how formidable the enemy was. These arrogant barbarians bullied good people but were scared of wicked ones; seeing the opposite side was even more barbarian and even more wicked, they obediently surrendered.