Truly too funny! Thanks for the great laugh, foxs! Hope your move will be over soon and you can relax for the holiday.
Happy New Year to all
Truly too funny! Thanks for the great laugh, foxs! Hope your move will be over soon and you can relax for the holiday.
Happy New Year to all
I will bet Xiaobao wins this battle with serendipity. Perhaps the urine hose will form ice steps up the fort? Only hilarious and ingenious tactics litter this novel with outrageous outcomes!
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL in this forum.....
Special Wishes to Foxs and his Family for his strength in ensuring this thread goes on till the end.
Xi Nina Kuai Le, Happy New Year, Selamat Tahun Baru,....shucks that's all I know
It's 23:45 here....
Smurf, Tweety, Kowloon, well, this is the 'unconventional warfare' we were talking about. Anh, you are welcome. Athlon, the coldest I have personally experienced was only -26C (-15F), so it was not that bad. Crazee, thanks for the wish. The same goes to y'all. Happy New Year everybody!
Suddenly Wei Xiaobao was startled, his eyes grew big as he stared blankly. “Wow!” he cried loudly, jumped up and down, and laughed a loud. “Wonderful, wonderful!”
Wei Xiaobao ordered the drum to be sounded to summon the generals into his command tent; he asked, “How many fire hose altogether we have in the camp?”
The Canjiang in charge of military supplies responded, “Reporting to Grand Marshal: altogether we have eighteen units.”
Wei Xiaobao frowned. “Too few, too few!” he said, “Why didn’t you bring a bit more?”
“Yes!” the Canjiang replied. In his heart he mused, “Army camp caught on fire very rarely happened, eighteen fire hoses are more than enough.”
“I want a thousand units,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Quickly send people to the cities and towns around here to get more. When can we have it?”
That place was extreme north, close to the border, the area was vast, but sparsely populated, the nearest town was several hundred li away. These cities and towns only had several hundred families, the residents were impoverished and destitute, it was not likely that they would have fire hose in town; collecting a thousand fire hoses was a definite impossibility. The Canjiang looked distressed as he said, “Reporting to Grand Marshal: a thousand fire hoses, I am afraid we cannot find outside the Pass; we must go inside the Pass, to Beijing, Tianjin, and ship them here.”
“Fart!” Wei Xiaobao angrily said, “Go to Beijing, Tianjin and ship the fire hose back here, how long will it take? Fighting a war, even half a day delay is not acceptable!”
The Canjiang mumbled his agreement, his countenance changed greatly; he thought, “This time my head will be removed.”
The imperial envoy was sitting on the side; he could not bear not to advise, “Grand Marshal, you have already shot your precious urine up the Luocha people’s city wall. This … this precious spirit is not too honorable. We have already won the war, in Xiongdi’s humble opinion, it seemed that the cornered enemy … the cornered enemy need not be shot again.”
Wei Xiaobao shook his head, “No, can’t do!” he said, “Without a thousand fire hose, this great undertaking cannot be accomplished.”
The imperial envoy thought, “You, the Grand Marshal, is just acting willfully and make a scene; shooting urine to vent your grudge, playing joke once in a while is not a big deal, why would you want to do it with such great fanfare? Young Emperor loves to use young general; those two, a ruler and his minister, are of kindred spirit, other people do not dare to talk too much. But if you are making a scene, excessively doing things not according with decorum, unavoidably we will be the laughingstock of the world.”
He wanted to advise further, but he heard Wei Xiaobao said, “Gentlemen, generals, which of you can propose a brilliant scheme to immediately obtain one thousand or two fire hoses, it will indeed be a meritorious service of utmost importance.”
Peng Chun said, “May I ask Grand Marshal: you want these thousand fire hoses, is it to be used for … used for shooting urine to the top of the wall?”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “If we have the thousand fire hose and want to use it to shoot urine to the top of the wall, how can we have enough people to pee? One million soldiers will not be enough.”
“Precisely,” Peng Chun said, “Subordinate is extremely stupid, I must ask for Grand Marshal’s direction.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “Just now I saw our Marshal’s precious urine shot to the top of the city wall, it turned into ice instantly. If we use a thousand or two fire hose, day after day, night after night we shoot hot water into the city, what will happen?”
The generals were startled. Those whose brain was quick cheered first, and then the rest also understood; joyous cheers thundered inside the big tent, all generals cried out, “Brilliant, brilliant! Water floods Yakesa, ice freeze Mount Luding!”
After the joyous cheering subsided a moment later, someone said, “Even if we can have it shipped from Beijing and Tianjin, those thousand fire hose must be sent overnight.” Immediately several Fujiang and Zuoling who volunteered to accept the order to obtain the fire hose.
Hong Chao’s official rank was rather low, he stood at the very back row. This moment he bowed and said, “Reporting to Grand Marshal: lowly general has a shallow opinion, would Grand Marshal hear it?”
“You may speak!” Wei Xiaobao said.
Hong Chao said, “Lowly general is a Fujian native, my hometown is very poor, we could not afford fire hose, when the countryside caught fire, everybody used bamboo tube as water guns to fight the fire. The bamboo water gun is made of coarse bamboo, with the blocks removed, at the tip we drilled a small hole, about the size of a copper coin. On the other end we used a wooden piston inserted into the bamboo tube. During the firefighting, the end with small hole was dipped into the water, the piston was pulled back, hence the bamboo tube sucks water until it was full, and then we pushed the piston, the water inside the water gun then shot out.”
“Hmm,” Wei Xiaobao muttered; he was trying to figure out how the water gun would work.
He You said, “Reporting to Grand Marshal: this water gun can be made big or small. When I was little, lowly officer played with my friends, we used water gun to shoot at people; it was fun. It’s a pity this area does not have big coarse bamboo. If we want to make water guns, this kind of coarse bamboo must be shipped from around the Changjiang [Yangtze River].”
“Do you have a better idea?” Wei Xiaobao asked Hong Chao.
Hong Chao replied, “Lowly general was just thinking, this area does not have big coarse bamboo, but big pine, big fir trees are abundant. We can chop down trees; if the center is gouged out, we can make big water guns.”
“Isn’t gouging the center of a big pine log not easy to do?” Wei Xiaobao asked.
A Fujiang [deputy general] surnamed Ban was born into a carpenter family in Shanxi; he said, “Reporting to Grand Marshal: this is actually not too difficult to do. We can saw the big log into two halves first, and then on the center of each half we can scoop out a semicircle groove, grind it really smooth, afterwards we join both halves together, the log will then have a hollow circular hole in the middle. When we put together the two halves, if we want to be exquisite, we can use bamboo shoot; but if it just a rough work, using big iron nails will also work.”
Wei Xiaobao was greatly delighted. “Wonderful!” he cried out, “How long will it take for you to build this big water gun?”
Ban Fujiang replied, “If lowly general work on it myself, I can make one in a day. If I work a day and a night, I may be able to produce two.”
Wei Xiaobao frowned, “Too slow, too slow,” he said, “You go around the camp to select your assistants, do it together, you be the Shifu, teach your apprentice. This is a rough work, you are not making the bride’s red-painted chamber pot, or a rich man’s wife’s coffin. The tree bark outside the water gun need not be stripped, as long as it can shoot water into the city, it’s good enough. Generals, let’s do it right away, cut the trees to make water guns!”
The generals received the order; they separately went out to lead their soldiers to do the assigned task. Some went to the woods to fell the trees. Some were dispatched on fast horses to common people’s houses to borrow hatchets, chisels, saws, carpenter’s planes, and other woodworking equipment.
Outside the Great Wall there were pine and fir trees everywhere, Argun River area was practically a forest, with countless century-old towering trees everywhere. The Qing army set to work, in less than half a day they already felled several thousand big logs. The number of soldiers who were originally carpenters was more than a hundred.
Ban Fujiang gathered these soldiers together, plus he selected four, five hundred handymen among the soldiers to be the assistants. They started to work that same night to make water guns. Ban Fujiang made the first water gun as the model. The water gun had a two-chi diameter hole in the middle [about 2 feet, 60cm], the barrel was about a zhang long [about 10 feet/3 meters]. At the end of the wooden piston he put a wooden crossbar, six soldiers, three on each side, were to pull and push this crossbar together. After the muzzle was put into hot water, Ban Fujiang gave the signal, six soldiers pushed the piston together, the hot water shot out of the water gun more than two hundred steps away.
Watching the demonstration, Wei Xiaobao cheered repeatedly. He said, “This is not water gun, it is a water cannon. We must pick a good name for it. Let’s call it … call it White Dragon Water Cannon.” Taking out some gold and silver, he rewarded Ban Fujiang and the officers and men who helped him building the cannon, while ordering them to work day and night to build more.
Seeing the Qing troops retreated, but then they came back, Tolbusin stood on the city wall to survey the situation; he saw countless logs piled up in the Qing army camp and thought, “Chinese barbarian cut down woods to build fire to warm themselves, apparently they wanted to continue the siege and not leaving. Humph, in half a month the blizzard will arrive, you will have to bear the brunt of it. Even if you build bigger fire, you won’t be able to block the ill wind and cold air in this ice hell.” He went down the city wall, ordered his personal guards to add fuel to the stove heating his room, and then he poured some strong Luocha wine and summoned two Chinese young women prisoners to serve him drinking the wine.
Peng Chun, He You, and the others dispatched the cavalry to go to the common people homes within several hundred li radius to borrow iron cauldrons and iron pots and brought everything to the main camp. They dug the ground to make furnace, piled the firewood, and collected ice and snow into piles that from a distant the piles looked like small hills. They also covered each finished ‘White Dragon Water Cannon with tree branches so that the Luocha troops would not find out about it.
Several days later, Ban Fujiang reported that they had manufactured three thousand White Dragon Water Cannon. According to the position of the sun, the next day was an auspicious day, in the maoshi hour [between 5-7am] Wei Xiaobao was already out of his tent. The drums were struck to assemble the generals. He ordered the water cannon to be brought to the top of the rampart, with the muzzles aimed toward the city. The bugle horns were sounded, ‘Bang! Bang! Bang!’ the signaling cannon were fired nine times in succession. Officers and soldiers of all units immediately moved; they shoveled the ice and snow into the iron cauldrons and pots to melt it.
Tolbusin was sleeping peacefully underneath his warm blanket, suddenly he heard the cannon blasts outside the city. Hastily he jumped up and hurriedly put on his clothes, draped a sable fur coat over his shoulder, and ran to the top of the city walls to watch. At that time a blizzard was blowing, the sky looked like it was dusk; in the haze he saw wooden logs spread along the long rampart built by the Qing troops. While he was wondering what was going on, suddenly he heard the Qing troops shouted together, as if the mountain was split the earth cracked open, several thousand tree trunks suddenly shot water; from four sides eight directions water spurted into the city.
Tolbusin was shocked. He could only cry out one word, “Aiyo!” as a stream of hot water hit his chest. Actually the weather was really too cold, so that when the hot water was shot, it did not burn at all, but the momentum was enough to knock him off his feet that he stumbled and fell on the top of the wall. The personal guard standing next to him hastily helped him up.
They heard all around them people were screaming, while above their heads the water swooshing incessantly. Just like white dragons streams of water flew into the city. In an instant the city of Yakesa was covered in boundless thick fog, created by the water vapor condensing due to the contact with cold air. Tolbusin’s heart was shaken, “Chinese barbarians are using witchcraft!” he called out. Big tree trunks unexpectedly could spurt out water, no doubt it was witchcraft.
In his fright, he shouted, “Everybody open fire, don’t let the Chinese barbarians break into the city!” However, ever since that day when the Qing troops stripped him naked and paraded him around the city three times, he had suffered great lost in term of prestige in the eyes of his people, when he barked his order, the troops under his command did not jump to it like before. It was only because the situation was urgent due to Qing troops’ siege that the Luocha troops were afraid that if the city was broken none of them could survive alive, hence they defended the city with everything they had.
Suddenly seeing the huge and unexpected change this time, with several thousand columns of water shooting into the city, the troops scattered in all directions; how could they find the time to heed his order? Fortunately the Qing troops only shot water without trying to attack the city. After panicking for a while the Luocha troops started to calm down, yet they saw the water on the ground was turning into ice, while overhead streams of water freely rained down like it was poured from the sky, splashing down on them.
By this time in the city of Yakesa all the Chinese males had been killed, only some young women left, forced to be army camp prostitutes and to provide degenerate pleasures to the Luocha troops. Other than Luocha soldiers and military officers, Yakesa residents included civil officers sent by Moscow, missionaries and army chaplains, some military merchants, some rogue characters who went to the east to get rich by ill-gotten wealth, and some small thieves and big robbers, and criminals who avoided prison. In no time at all everybody was drenched like a drowned rat.
At first the water was still rather warm, but very soon the wet clothes turned cold; another moment, the wet clothes began to freeze. Everybody was shocked. In panic they took off their clothes, underpants and leather boots. They all knew that if the clothes froze, it would stick onto their skin; by that time their fingers would be too stiff to take it off. Even if someone helped them, oftentimes the skin would be torn, along with the clothes, pants, shoes or boots. It was really dangerous.
The level of water on the ground rose steadily, it slowly solidified into something like thin porridge. Since the Luocha people were barefooted, the cold penetrated their bones; they could not help jumping around while screaming, “Chilled to the bones, chilled to the bones!” Everybody tried to scramble to higher elevation, some people even climbed up their roof. Someone in the crowd cried out, “Surrender, surrender! If we don’t surrender, all of us will freeze to death.”
Wearing sable fur coat and holding an umbrella in his left hand, Tolbusin rode on a big and tall horse going back and forth on inspection. Hearing someone cried ‘surrender’, he shouted in anger, “Who is disturbing the troops’ heart here? Spy! Pull him down and shoot him dead!”
WXB has the fastest brain of all! Considering that I still imagine European style (even in the early Qing) period sieges to be like the one something out of Lord of the Rings, this is unconventional indeed.
"Wei Xiaobao frowned, “Too slow, too slow,” he said, “You go around the camp to select your assistants, do it together, you be the Shifu, teach your apprentice. This is a rough work, you are not making the bride’s red-painted chamber pot, or a rich man’s wife’s coffin. The tree bark outside the water gun need not be stripped, as long as it can shoot water into the city, it’s good enough. Generals, let’s do it right away, cut the trees to make water guns!”
Of all the analogies he can make, he still refers to chamber pot first and foremost. You cannot take the "street" out of WXB!!!
Thanks for your hard work Foxs and happy new year!!!
Happy New Year
On February 10 we can celebrate new years again
Wow.... New Year bonus....with a XB victory.
Thanks foxs..... am having a quiet New Year in front of the TV.
Smurf, so true. Hence the reason I am still convinced that if Kangxi were to lead the assault personally, he might not be as successful. Anh, is it Feb. 10? I did not notice. Thanks for the info. Crazee, new year's eve, I went to bed early, too tired of all these moving and cleaning ... how about that? Here's the end of Chapter 47.
Everybody could see that the sable fur coat he was wearing was waterproof, his body was warm, yet he was shouting and cursing in here, while other people were freezing and hovering between life and death; everybody was indignant. Immediately someone picked up a piece of ice chunk and made a snowball, and threw it to him. Tolbusin raised the short gun, ‘bang, bang!’ he shot randomly toward the crowd, and killed two people instantly. The rest of the people immediately threw ice chunks and snowballs to him. Someone even pounced on him to pull him down from the horseback. His bodyguards brandished their saber to attack and kill, but how could they stop the mob?
In this chaos a small team of cavalry rushed over, Luocha mob dispersed in confusion. Tolbusin crawled up from the ground. By lucky coincidence two streams of water above his head happened to pour down, immediately his entire body was drenched. He bounced around while cursing loudly, and had no choice but to order his bodyguards to help him shedding his clothes and boots.
The Qing troops could see the sorry situation the Luocha troops were in, their shout of joy thundered over the earthen rampart. In mixed accent, north and south, they started to sing vulgar songs. One of the songs was inevitably Wei Xiaobao’s ‘one touch, two touches’, the ‘Eighteen Touches’ song.
Peng Chun and the other officers were busy giving directions. The team of carpenters led by Ban Fujiang intensified their effort repairing the failed water cannon. The water-boiler team was busy adding firewood to maintain the fire, while continuously shoveling the ice and snow into the pots. The water-transporter team brought hot water bucket by bucket and fed it into the cannon’s muzzle. When the barrel was full of water, “One, two, three, fire!” Six gunners pushed the piston as hard as they could. A stream of water like arrow shot out of the muzzle and flew into the city.
The Qing troops’ water cannon shot hot water columns as straight as a pillar. Some columns of water burst into water droplets as they reach the sky above the city, and sprayed down just like heavy rain. Some others were shot low, but maintained their shape and did not scatter as the stream hit a person. The quality of the water cannon differed one from another, some had great power and were able to shoot far, some had very short range, some even had their barrels cracked and burst open after only several shots; as a result not a few of the Qing troop’s ‘gunners’ were scalded.
After shooting hot water for more than two hours, out of three thousand water cannon, about six or seven hundred cannon went bad. At the same time, the water-boiler team could not boil ice and snow fast enough to feed the cannon, eventually the ‘ammunition’ failed to keep up with the firing of the cannon. After shooting for more than another hour, more water cannon were damaged, the hot water supply diminished, only about eight or nine hundred water cannon were still operating, the assault power was greatly reduced.
Wei Xiaobao was frustrated; suddenly he saw the city gate opened wide, several hundred Luocha troops rushed forth and shouting, “Surrender, surrender!”
By this time the gunshot wound on Sabusu’s head was almost healed; immediately he led his thousand-man cavalry forward to intercept. “Those who surrender sit on the ground!” he shouted.
The Luocha people looked at each other, they did not understand. One low-level officer in Qing army sat down on the ground, he shouted, “Sit down, sit down!”
Right this moment, the city gate closed again. From the top of city walls several volleys of gunfire shot down, killing several dozen of surrendering Luocha people. The rest of them scattered in all directions. The Qing troops aimed the water cannon to the Luocha soldiers and generals who opened fire at top of the city wall, streams of water were shot, the Luocha troops fell on the city wall.
By this time the water inside the city had reached two chi, and for the most part had turned into ice. For the whole city to be covered in ice and turned it into one big freezing city, it would need at least ten days to half a month. But the Luocha troops were without clothes without shoes, and they could not light fire, everybody was shivering in cold, their faces started to turn blue. Several soldiers pressed their bodies close together trying to warm themselves.
Tolbusin ran around freely while shouting and berating his troops, ordering them to defend the city. But his troops turned their heads around and ignored him. Tolbusin was angry, he reached out to slap an officer. The officer turned around and ran, Tolbusin chased him. Suddenly his foot slipped on the ice and he fell to the ground. A soldier nearby reached down to push him into a hole to collect water on the ground. Tolbusin struggled hard, but his hands and feet were numb, he was unable to crawl up. “Help me, help me!” he cried out.
The soldiers and officers all looked at him in despise, they congregated around the water hole. Not too long afterwards, the water in the hole started to freeze into ice, freezing Tolbusin along. His upper body was still outside the ice hole, he was still gasping for breath, but from the chest down it was as if he was buried alive in the ice.
At this point everybody had the same thought; they opened the city gate and shouted, “Surrender!” and swarmed outside.
In his ecstasy, Wei Xiaobao was dancing and flailing his hands and feet, while babbling nonsense. He tried to issue an order, but his words were completely unintelligible. Fortunately the high-ranking officers in the Qing army were all veteran generals who had been through many battles; they all responded, “We receive the order!” but actually they handled the surrendering troops on their own. They entered the city, disarmed the soldiers, and cleared up all formalities; everything was executed in clear and orderly manner, but actually it had nothing to do with Grand Marshal Wei’s order at all.
When they previously shot water into the city, they were afraid it was not enough, but now they wanted to burn the ice to melt it, turning it into water and disgorged it outside the city; however, it was not easy at all. In the end they had to let nature take its course.
Lang Tan led his troops to clear up the governor-general mansion first, they tidied it up properly before inviting Wei Xiaobao, Songgotu and the imperial envoy to enter. And then he went to the ammunition storage, firearm armory, gold and silver warehouse, and other strategic locations to seal them up, and assigned his troops to guard.
In those days the Qing Dynasty was strong, discipline in the army was strict. Inevitably high-ranking officials like Wei Xiaobao, Songgotu and the others could seize the opportunity to make easy money, but military officers and soldiers did not dare to take even one object without permission.
Inside and outside the city people were slaughtering the cattle and butchered the sheep in large scale celebration. Flattery from Songgotu and the others surged like the tide; they said that Grand Marshal Wei deployed the troops like deity, that even if Sunwu [Sun Tzu] of the ancient time was reborn, he would not be superior. The imperial envoy said, “This time Xiongdi went out, His Majesty repeatedly advised Grand Marshal Wei not to kill and injure too many people. Today Grand Marshal Wei took strong city, admittedly you have rendered amazing merit; what’s more impressive is that unexpectedly saber, spear, sword and halberd, bow and arrow and firearm, not a single one was used, not even one lowly soldier was killed in battle. In one day we devastated strong enemy, subdued famous city, without losing a single general a single troop; since ancient time, Grand Marshal Wei is the only one who can do this. Not only it is unprecedented, I am sure it will not be repeated in the future.”
Wei Xiaobao was immensely proud of himself; he blew his horn, “Breaking Yakesa would have not been difficult. The difficulty lies in the vast and mighty imperial kindness, who empathize with officers and soldiers, and do not allow too much casualties. For this reason Xiongdi wanted to wait until today to use this tactic, so that Imperial Envoy Minister can see it with your own eyes. We are working for His Majesty, fighting a victorious battle, that is nothing, anybody can do it, it cannot be considered rare. But to look up to honor His Majesty’s holy intention, to fight a victorious battle without killing people, this is a bit more difficult.”
All the generals thought that although he was tooting his horn, but to fight a victorious battle without killing people was indeed an enormous difficulty; thereupon they all nodded their heads. Songgotu said, “This is His Majesty’s flood of good fortune that Grand Marshal Wei is a genius.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “Today, from top to bottom, everybody has rendered very big merit. If not for Imperial Envoy Daren and Suo Daren went in person to the front line, dauntlessly supervised and directed the battle, we would not achieve the victory this easy.”
The imperial envoy and Songgotu were greatly delighted, they were extremely grateful. During the battle just now, the two of them, civil officials, were hiding far away, for fear that they would be injured by firearm, arrow or rock; there was no such thing as ‘going in person to the front line, dauntlessly supervising and directing the battle’. But since Wei Xiaobao said so, that means in the report of their success, there would be a mention of their part in rendering some great merit.
Manchurian Qing army’s system of bestowing rewards for merit was most generous, far above any other meritorious service in other areas. There was a common saying, “Everybody carries the spending [money] sedan chair.” Wei Xiaobao was deeply versed in the way of the government officials, giving the imperial envoy that kind of merit did not cost him anything, he also had nothing to lose. When the imperial envoy returned to Beijing, he would definitely report and brag on Wei Xiaobao’s behalf in front of the Emperor, increasing his contribution from fifty-percent to a hundred percent, while at the same time, if Wei Xiaobao had done something that was beyond army regulation or went over his boundary, the imperial envoy and Songgotu would definitely spare no effort in concealing it, in guarding their mouths like a closed bottle.
After everybody had had their fill of food and wine, Sabusu’s subordinate who was in charge of the Luocha troops came to report that they had dug Tolbusin out of the icy hole, and brought him to the steps outside the building. By this time Tolbusin had already frozen to death, his whole body was blue. Wei Xiaobao sighed and said, “This man picked an unlucky name. If he was not called Tu’er Bu Qing [this is the transliteration of Tolbusin’s name, with ‘bu qing’ means ‘spreading blue’], but Tu’er Bu Cai [‘bu cai’ means ‘spreading wealth’], he couldn’t possibly turn blue, but he could make a fortune.” He ordered his men to fetch a coffin and prepare Tolbusin for burial.
After the surrendering troops were counted and the property, equipment, weapons, etc. in the city were properly inventoried, Wei Xiaobao, Songgotu and the imperial envoy jointly prepared a memorial to the Emperor. They then dispatched riders on fast horses to Beijing to report the success of their mission to the Emperor.
In the military campaign this time, Deputy Commander Lang Tan was acting as the famous general Wu Bai’s son. Wu Bai was originally conferred the title ‘Jing Qi Ni Ha Pan’ (that is, ‘viscount’). After rendering great merit in Yakesa, Lang Tan was also conferred nobility title.
Happy New Year everyone!
Foxs, thanks much for your great work on this novel. Good to see you're still going strong with this one. I haven't been on this site for awhile and need to catch up, but I just wanted to drop by to say thanks again.
I think WXB really did deserve the praise for winning this battle - his "horn tooting" was expected, perhaps even a a little understated considering the achievement.
Amazing work Foxs! Happy New Year everyone!
XB tooting..... I fully agree it was his funny way that won the day. Which soldier will think of using water to fight bullets and cannons ?
Well New Year is gone, the excitement of doomsday passed....christmas hols gone and now to look forward to Lunar New Year....10th February.
We might be off for a week.....sigh, Annual leaves deducted......oh well you just cannot have the cake and eat it....
Makes me wonder how the actual battle in history was won.
You plant a garden and the flowers do not bloom, you poke a stick in the mud and it grows into a tree
Sky, welcome back. Are you still in northeast, or are you traveling to some exotic place? Smurf, thanks. Crazee, why don't you manage your own business? I heard it is a lot easier to be business owner in Asia compared to the US. Anh, you are welcome. Tweety, I always thought that people like Ace, who has wealth of knowledge of history, would be perfect translator ... too bad he/she adamantly refused ...
Chapter 48 – Duhu cannot establish Yumen [jade gate] Pass, generals attach utmost importance to copper pillar as boundary marker.
(Translated by Foxs)
That evening Wei Xiaobao and Shuang’er went to sleep in the governor-general’s bedroom. The fire was blazing high in the stove, they had fox fur quilt and sable fur mattress, the room was as warm as spring. This was the place he had previously visited. He opened the lid of the big wooden chest by the bed to look, inside the chest were army uniforms and some firearms.
Shuang’er smiled and said, “Xianggong is hoping that a Luocha Princess is going to come out of the chest, right?”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “You are a Chinese Princess, much better than a Luocha Princess.”
Shuang’er said with a laugh, “Too bad your Chinese Princess is in Beijing, she is not here.”
“Good Shuang’er,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Don’t you agree that today we have achieved ‘great success’?”
Shuang’er smiled sweetly, her cheeks blushed. Although she and Wei Xiaobao had been husband and wife for a long time, hearing her husband’s teasing she was still very bashful.
Wei Xiaobao wrapped his arm around her waist, the two of them sat side-by-side on the bed. Wei Xiaobao said, “You pieced together the map, spending not a few heart’s blood, in the end we reached Mount Luding, His Majesty conferred me the title Duke of Mount Luding, most likely he would let me govern this city. Underneath this mountain countless gold, pearls and treasured objects are hidden, we can slowly dig it out. I, Wei Xiaobao can change my name to ‘Wei Duobao’ [‘xiaobao’ – little treasure, ‘duobao’ – lots of treasure].”
Shuang’er said, “Xianggong already has a lot of gold and silver, you won’t be able to spend it all in several lifetimes; more pearls and jewels will be useless. I think becoming Wei Xiaobao is better.”
Wei Xiaobao gently kissed her face. “Right, right!” he said, “These days I cannot make up my mind. If I dig the treasure up, I am afraid I would sever the Manchuria’s dragon’s vein, and kill the Emperor. His Majesty always treated me not too badly, if he is killed, I would be rather unfair to him. But if I don’t dig the treasure, I feel it’s a pity. So, let us for the time being not dig the treasure out, wait ‘till His Majesty’s imperial self ascend to heaven, we turn poor and are hungry, then at that time we will dig.”
At this point, suddenly they heard a light ‘crack’ in the wooden chest. The two of them signaled each other with their eyes, while fixing their gaze on the wooden chest; after quite a while, however, nothing astir. Wei Xiaobao lightly clapped his hands three times, Shuang’er went over to the door and opened it, the four personal guards on duty outside the room bowed to receive the order. Wei Xiaobao pointed to the wooden chest and said in a low voice, “Someone’s inside!”
The four personal guards were shocked. They rushed over to the chest and opened the lid, but saw the chest was full of clothes. Wei Xiaobao signaled with his hands, the personal guards moved the clothes away, and lifted up the bottom of the chest, revealing a big hole. Right this moment, ‘Bang!’ a shot rang from the hole. “Ah!” one of the personal guards cried out as his shoulder was hit by the bullet and he tumbled backward.
Shuang’er hastily pulled Wei Xiaobao back and shielded him with her own body. Wei Xiaobao pointed to the charcoal stove and made a sign of dumping it. A personal guard picked up the charcoal stove and poured the blazing coals into the hole. They heard someone inside the hole cried out in Luocha language, “Don’t dump fire, I surrender!” followed by a series of coughing.
Wei Xiaobao called out using Luocha language, “Throw your guns up first, and then climb out.”
A short gun was tossed out of the hole, followed by a Luocha soldier’s head. A personal guard grabbed his hair and pulled him up, another personal guard pressed a saber on his neck. The Luocha soldier’s beard was caught on fire and it has not been extinguished; he was in so much pain that he bawled out ‘wah, wah!’ while climbing out of the hole in a very difficult situation.
“Anybody else down there?” Wei Xiaobao asked.
Someone in the hole cried out, “There’s one more! Surrender! Surrender!”
“Throw your gun up!” Wei Xiaobao shouted. With a white flash a cavalry sword was thrown up the hole, followed by a ball of fire appeared. Turned out this Luocha soldier’s hair was on fire.
The other personal guards outside heard the commotion in the Grand Marshal’s room, several of them rushed in. Seven or eight personal guards grabbed the two Luocha soldiers and put out the flame on the two’s head and beard before tying their hands behind their backs.
Wei Xiaobao suddenly pointed to one of the Luocha soldiers and called out, “Hey, you are Wangba Siji [lit. tortoise ([email protected]) dead chicken].”
The soldier’s face lit up. “Yes, yes,” he said, “Chinese little child high-ranking official, I am Huabosiji [needless to say, completely different set of characters. Yerofey Khabarov (Courtesy of Ace High)].”
The other Luocha soldier also called out, “Chinese little child high-ranking official, I … I am Qiluonuofu [Onufriy Stepanov (Courtesy of Ace High)].”
Wei Xiaobao stared at him for half a day; he noticed that his beard was burned into a mess, his face was red and swollen, but in the end he recognized him. “Right!” he said with a laugh, “You are Zhuluonuofu [lit. pig tribe coward]!”
Stepanov was greatly delighted. “Right, right!” he called out, “Chinese little child high-ranking official, I am your old friend.”
Khabarov and Stepanov were Princess Sophia’s bodyguards. That year from Yakesa they travelled back to Moscow together with Wei Xiaobao. The two of them joined the gunmen rebellion at the Hunting Palace, and had rendered great merit. After Princess Sophia grasped the power, she rewarded the imperial guards and promoted her personal bodyguards to be captains. Four of them went to the east wanting to render more merit and get rich. When the city fell, one died in battle, one froze to death, the other two quietly slipped into the underground tunnel, thinking that they could escape out of the city. Who would have thought that the tunnel entrance outside the city was already blocked long ago? These two men could not advance or retreat, finally their trail was discovered.
In those days Wei Xiaobao called them ‘turtle [email protected] dead chicken’ and ‘pig tribe coward’, how could the two of them understand the meaning? They only thought that the Chinese little child could not pronounce their names properly, hence they responded. They heard the Princess calling him ‘Chinese little child’, then they simply followed their example by calling him ‘Chinese little child’. After Wei Xiaobao rendered meritorious service, the Princess conferred him a nobility title. Thereupon the bodyguards also called him the ‘Chinese little child high-ranking official’.
Wei Xiaobao told them to tell him their story, and then he ordered his personal guards to untie them, and to take them out and serve them wine and food.
The personal guards were afraid there were more spies in the tunnel, they went into the tunnel and searched carefully. Only after verifying that there was no other tunnel leading to the city wall did they withdraw from Wei Xiaobao’s presence. The personal guards’ captain was terrified and repeatedly admitting his guilt; he thought that he was indeed very luckly, if these two Luocha troops came out in the middle of the night and murdered Grand Marshal Wei, the captain would have been executed along with his whole family unto the third generation.
The next morning Wei Xiaobao summoned Khabarov and Stepanov, two people, and asked them the current situation of Princess Sophia. The two of them said that Her Highness the Princess was the Premier over the imperial court. The entire Luocha country, the princes and dukes, high-ranking ministers, generals and bishops, nobody dared to disobey her. The two Tsars were still young, in everything they obeyed their older sister.
Stepanov said, “Her Highness the Princess miss Chinese little child high-ranking official very much, she sent us here to find any news about you. She told as that when we see you, we must invite you back to Moscow to play, Princess will heavily reward you.”
Khabarov said, “Her Highness the Princess did not know that Chinese little child high-ranking official led the troops here to fight. Otherwise, we all are beloved sweethearts, we all are old friends, there is no need to fight the battle.”
“You are speaking nonsense,” Wei Xiaobao said, “You lie!” The two of them swore an oath, saying that what they said was absolutely true, definitely not a lie.
Wei Xiaobao pondered, “His Majesty actually wanted me to find a way to make peace with Luocha country, there’s no harm in having these two fellows convey my message to Princess Sophia.” He said, “I'm going to write a letter, I want you to deliver it to the Princess, but I can't write Luocha earthworm characters, you write the letter for me.”
Khabarov and Stepanov looked at each other in dismay; they both had an awkward expression on their faces. They only knew how to ride a horse and shoot firearms, but when it comes to take up the pen and write, it did not even enter a single aperture of their head. Stepanov said, “Chinese little child high-ranking official wants to write a letter, the two of us cannot do it. We … we go find a priest to write.” Wei Xiaobao agreed, he ordered his personal guards to take these two men to the Luocha prisoners to find someone who can write.
Shortly afterwards, the two of them returned with a full-bearded army chaplain. At that time most of Luocha troops were illiterate; other than praying on their behalf and counseling the troops on spiritual matters, these clergies also had a very important duty, namely, writing letters for these troops to be sent home. The chaplain was wearing Qing troop uniform, but the uniform was too small; it looked as if the clothes were ready to burst any time, he looked very ridiculous.
Trembling with fear, the clergy followed the two captains to see Wei Xiaobao. He said, “May God bless Chinese Great General, the Great Nobility, I wish for the Chinese Great General’s entire family to be safe and sound.”
Wei Xiaobao told him to sit down; he said, “I want you to write a letter for me, to be sent to your Princess Sophia.” The clergy repeatedly said yes.
Wei Xiaobao’s personal guards had already prepared the four treasures of the study [i.e. brush, ink, paper, and ink stone] on the table. The clergy picked the brush, spread the paper, and wrote curvy Luocha characters. He felt the brush was too soft, the stroke varied thick and thin uncontrollably; it was unspeakably difficult, yet he did not dare to criticize Chinese pen and ink even for half a sentence, for fear that he might provoke this Chinese general.
Wei Xiaobao said, “You write: Since we parted, I often miss Princess, I only wish I could marry the Princess and take you as my wife …”
The clergy jumped in fright. The brush dripped a blot of ink on the paper. Stepanov said, “This Chinese little child high-ranking official is Her Highness Princess Sophia’s lover. Her Highness the Princess loves him very much, she often says that Chinese lover surpasses Luocha lover a hundred times.” He wanted to curry Wei Xiaobao’s favor, inevitably he exaggerated greatly.
The clergy nodded repeatedly. “Yes, yes,” he said, “Surpasses a hundred times.” His heart was shaken, his train of thought in writing was distracted, but he did not dare to write what Wei Xiaobao had said verbatim; he had no choice but to write some cliché that he usually wrote, which was the letter from the soldiers to their wives at home, some corny sentences like ‘my dear sweetheart’, or ‘last night I dreamed about you’, or ‘I want to kiss you ten thousand times’, et cetera.
Seeing his brush moved like flying, Wei Xiaobao was very satisfied; he said, “You, Luocha troops, occupy our Chinese territory, you killed many Chinese common people, the Great Emperor of China is very angry, he sent me leading the troops here, to catch all of you. I want to cut them all piece by piece, to roast them into ‘xiashunike’ …”
The clergy was startled, “Ah!” he exclaimed, “Oh my God!”
Wei Xiaobao continued, “But looking at you, the Princess’ face, I am not going to cut and roast them for the time being. If you promise that later on Luocha troops will not come again to violate our Chinese boundary, China and Luocha country will become friends forever. If you don’t obey, I will send troops to wipe out your Luocha men, and then you won’t have any Luocha men to accompany you in bed. If you want a man to sleep with you, you can only find Chinese man in the world.”
The clergy disagreed greatly in his heart; he thought, “Other than Luocha men, there are only Chinese men in the world, this sentence is too illogical.” He also thought that this kind of disrespectful sentences should never be written to the Princess; therefore, he decided to revise these several sentences with more respectful and intimate ones, presuming that this Chinese general would not know the difference anyway. But he was a careful man; afraid that his trickery would be discovered, he changed these several sentences into Latin. After he was done, he could not refrain from smiling.
Wei Xiaobao continued, “Now I am sending Wangba Siji and Zhuluonuofu to deliver this letter to you, along with my gifts. Whether you wish to be my lover or my enemy, you must decide for yourself.”
The clergy also changed the last sentence to a very respectful one. He wrote, “Cherishing the memory of Your Highness’ grace, the Chinese young minister sincerely offers tribute, as a token of his devotion and honesty. The young minister has grown over the year, but he has never been double-minded toward Her Highness. He hopes both countries to become reconciled, so that the Luocha army and civilian prisoners can be returned to their homeland; this would be Her Highness immeasurable benevolence.” This last sentence was due to his own selfish desire; he was hoping that if the two countries could not find agreement, he and the rest of the surrendering Luocha people would undoubtedly die in a foreign land, and would not return to their homeland forever.
When he finished writing, Wei Xiaobao said, “That’s it. Read it again for me.”
Holding the letter with both hands, the clergy read aloud; but when he reached the part where he revised the wording, he recited Wei Xiaobao’s original wording. Wei Xiaobao’s comprehension of Luocha language was rather limited. He heard the letter was seemingly more or less correct, how could he ever suspect that the clergy had the impertinence to alter it at will? He nodded his head and said, “Very good!” He took out the golden official seal ‘Fuyuan Great General Wei’ and stamped the letter using vermillion ink.
This letter was not exactly a love letter, yet it was not exactly an official document either. He ordered his guards to give the clergy a reward, and to summon the army secretary to put the letter into an envelope and write Princess Sophia’s name in Chinese characters on the envelope.
The secretary ground the ink stick to make thick ink. Dipping his brush he started to write the first line, ‘The Great Qing’s Fuyuan Great General Duke of Luding Wei offers the letter.’ The second line was, ‘E’Luosi Queen Regent Sufeixia [苏飞霞] Her Highness the Princess Gulunchang.’
The two-character ‘Luocha’ in Buddhist texts carried the meaning of ‘devil’, for this reason it was called ‘E’guo’ [i.e. another name for Russia in Chinese], to avoid giving any offense; in the formal document, it became ‘E’Luosi’. The secretary also felt that the three-character ‘Su fei ya’ [苏菲亚] did not sound too elegant, since the character ‘fei’ would remind people of ‘luxurious fragrant grass’ [芳草菲菲 (fang cao fei fei)], which would appear to be mocking her entire body which was covered in hair; thereupon he changed it into ‘Su fei xia’ [‘fei xia’ means flying red cloud], an allusion to the classical quotation ‘in the red cloud of the setting sun, a flock of ducks fly’, as well as the idiom ‘like red clouds hitting someone in the face’ to describe a woman’s beauty. Princess Gulun Chang was a title granted to the Qing Dynasty’s most respected Princess. The Emperor’s older or younger sisters were ‘Princess Chang’, the Emperor’s daughter was ‘Princess’. Since this noble woman was the Regent, plus she was the older sister of the two side-by-side Tsars, naturally she was a first-class princess.
Have held off on starting until entire book is finished... 2 more chapters!
I cannae wait
I think it is an allussion to WXB’s role as to protect the people of Heilongjiang and kept them safe from Russia’s aggression. The Jade Gate Pass would be the equivalent of Yagsi.
You plant a garden and the flowers do not bloom, you poke a stick in the mud and it grows into a tree