Littleli, I thought you went AWOL ... no update for more than 2 years. Ren Wo Xing and/or Han Solo: could you delete the unabridged thread, please? We will restart the thread. Anh, you are welcome. Ace, thanks for your effort in supporting this translation project. Smurf, it's still a no then. OK, no change in plan, but this chapter is indeed very long, we are only halfway through.
Hearing Feodor asked such question, Wei Xiaobao could not help feeling at a loss. He wanted to win the debate; too bad his Luocha language was insufficient to express his ideas. If regular answer already difficult to contest the question, how could he come up with a clever answer? His heart was enraged, he said, “This is Chinese land, the proofs are many.” And then he cursed using Yangzhou dialect, “Hot piece mama, f*ck your demon’s seventeen, eighteen generations ancestor.” As soon as he started, vulgar Yangzhou cussing words immediately flowed from his mouth like running water. He cursed Feodor’s great-great-grandmother, paternal great-grandmother, down to paternal grandmother, mother, older and younger sisters, maternal grandmother, maternal aunt, paternal aunt; he poured dogs blood everybody [i.e. curse], not one of all the female members of the Feodor family in Luocha was lucky enough to escape.
When both sides, the Chinese and Russian officials, saw the Chinese Imperial Envoy Minister was angry, nobody was not stunned. It’s just that his speech was like a string of firecrackers; forget Feodor who was unable to make head or tail of it, even Chinese officials and the interpreters of both sides were also at a loss and could not understand what he was talking about. Wei Xiaobao’s curses were entirely Yangzhou’s marketplace vulgar and low-class people’s language. Even Yangzhou’s gentlemen and ladies could not necessarily understand twenty, thirty-percent of it, much less Songgotu, Tong Guogang and the other Manchurian banner men, who had perhaps lived as military official in the north for a long time.
After raining curses for a while, Wei Xiaobao felt better; he could not help bursting in laughter. Although Feodor did not understand what he was saying, looking at his expression, he knew Wei Xiaobao was angry; but then suddenly he roared in laughter. Feodor was even more confused; he asked, “Excuse me, may I ask just now honorable envoy spoke a lengthy talk, what instruction were you giving? Honorable envoy’s words were profound, the humble one’s scholarly knowledge is shallow and crude, it was difficult for me to comprehend. Would you repeat it slowly so that I could receive the advice?”
Wei Xiaobao said, “Just now I said, you were speaking unreasonably. I want to have your paternal grandmother as my sweetheart, as my wife.”
Feodor smiled and said, “My paternal grandmother was indeed a well-known beauty in the city of Moscow, she was Count Peter Marek Jankulovski’s daughter. Turns out Your Excellency Chinese High-ranking official has also heard my paternal grandmother’s fame; the humble one is extremely honored. Unfortunately, my paternal grandmother has passed away thirty-eight years ago.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “In that case, I want your mother to be my sweetheart, my wife.”
Feodor had an amused look on his face, he was even more delighted. He said, “My Mama is an offspring of a famous family, her skin is white and tender, she knows how to compose French poems. In Moscow, not a few princes, dukes and generals adore her very much. In Russia we have a poet, he wrote several dozen poems in praise of my Mama. Although this year she turned sixty-three, her appearance still comparable to that of a woman in her thirties. When Your Excellency Chinese High-ranking official visit Moscow in the future, the humble one will surely introduce you to my Mama. However, I am afraid you cannot marry her. As for becoming her lover, as long as my Mama agrees, that is still possible.”
According to western social custom, when people praise one’s mother or wife as beautiful, not only one would not think it as inappropriate, one would be deeply honored instead; he would be more happy than if he himself was being praised. However, Wei Xiaobao erroneously thought that Feodor was afraid of him, unexpectedly he agreed to offer his own mother and was willing to take Wei Xiaobao as a stepfather. The hot anger filling his heart immediately vanished. He laughed and said, “Very good, very good. If I go to Moscow, I will definitely visit your mansion.” Pulling Feodor’s hand, he took him into the tent.
The assistants and attendants of both parties followed into the tent. Wei Xiaobao and his party sat on the east side, Feodor and his party sat on the west side. Feodor said, “Our humble country’s Queen Regent Her Highness the Princess instructed us that this time we are drawing the boundary and discuss peace, we have great faith that both sides will be fair, neither will take advantage of the other side. For this reason our humble country proposes that we decide Heilongjiang as the border between the two countries. South of the River belong to China, north of the river belong to Russia. After the border is defined, Russian troops can no longer cross the river to the south, Chinese troops also cannot cross to the north.”
Wei Xiaobao asked, “Is Yakesa south of the river, or is it north?”
“It’s north of the river,” Feodor replied, “The city was built by us, the Russian; hence it can be clearly seen that the land north of Heilongjiang belong to the Russian.”
When Wei Xiaobao heard that, his anger flared again. He asked, “There is a small hill inside the city of Yakesa; do you know the name of that hill?”
Feodor turned to ask his assistant; he replied, “It is called ‘Gaozhulue’ Mountain.”
Wei Xiaobao knew that in Luocha language, ‘gaozhulue’ means ‘deer’. He said, “In Chinese we call it Mount Luding. Do you know my nobility title?”
“Your Excellency is Duke of Luding,” Feodor replied, “In our Luocha language that would be Duke of Gaozhulue.”
“In that case,” Wei Xiaobao said, “You are deliberately making my life difficult. You clearly know that I am the Duke of Luding [deer and cauldron], yet you want to occupy my Mount Luding; won’t that mean you want me not to be Duke anymore?”
“No, no,” Feodor hastily said, “Definitely no such intention.”
Wei Xiaobao asked, “What is your nobility title?”
Feodor replied, “Humble one is the Marquis of Luomonuoshafa.”
“Very well,” Wei Xiaobao said, “In that case Luomonuoshafa can be considered to be Chinese territory.”
Feodor was taken aback; but then he smiled and said, “The Luomonuoshafa granted by the Emperor to the humble one is located west of Moscow; how can it be Chinese territory?”
Wei Xiaobao said, “You said the territory granted to you is called Laomaolashifa [‘old cat defecating’ method] …”
“Luomonuoshafa,” Feodor said.
Wei Xiaobao ignored him; he continued, “How far is it from our capital Beijing to Laomaolashifa? How many days of travel?”
Feodor said, “From Luomonuoshafa to Moscow there are five hundred li altogether, five days of travel. From Moscow to Beijing, it will take at least three months.”
“In that case,” Wei Xiaobao said, “From Beijing to Laomaolashifa will require three months and five days of travel. It’s very far.”
“Very far, very far!” Feodor said.
Wei Xiaobao said, “Such a distance, naturally Laomaolashifa cannot be considered Chinese territory.”
Feodor smiled and said, “Nothing is more reasonable than what the Duke has just said.”
Wei Xiaobao raised his wine cup and said, “Please drink.”
Luocha people loved wine as their lives, the wine cup was placed in front of Feodor for quite a while, the aroma of wine had already assaulted his nostrils for quite some time. But since the host did not offer a toast, he did not dare to drink. This moment as Wei Xiaobao offered him a drink, he was greatly delighted; quickly he picked up the cup and drank it in one gulp.
The Qing attendants quickly refilled his cup. They also took out vegetable and meat dishes from the food box. All dishes were the culinary arts of famous Beijing chefs. At this time Luocha country had just entered civilization not too long ago. When the Emperor Peter the Great grew up, to prevent his older sister Princess Sophia from seizing power, he had Sophia imprisoned in a convent. Later on he aggressively imported Western Europe culture. By the time Wei Xiaobao arrived in Moscow, the entire system of civilization, culture, and arts was far removed from China. As for culinary arts, even until today Russia was still 108,000 li away from China.
That day outside Nerchinsk Feodor has had a taste of Chinese gourmet, he was dumbstruck, he even nearly swallowed his own tongue into his belly. Wei Xiaobao accompanied him sampling every dish, and explained to him that that was shark fin, this was swallow’s nest. He also explained how to prepare duck feet into treasure dish, how to turn chicken liver into precious gourmet. Feodor was sighing in admiration; his delight knew no bound.
Wei Xiaobao casually asked, “I wonder which day did Honorable Envoy leave Moscow this time?”
Feodor replied, “Humble one received Her Highness the Princess’ imperial order on the twelfth of the fourth month, and immediately set off from Moscow.”
“Very good,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Come, let’s have another cup. Our Tong Gongye [duke] here, his wine capacity is very good. The two of you must toast each other.” Immediately Tong Guogang offered Feodor a toast. They drank three cups in succession.
Wei Xiaobao asked, “Did Honorable Envoy arrive in Nerchinsk this month?”
Feodor replied, “Humble one arrived on the fifteenth of last month.”
“Wow,” Wei Xiaobao exclaimed, “From the twelfth of the fourth month to the fifteenth of the seventh month; you have travelled more than three months.”
“Yes,” Feodor replied, “I have travelled more than three months. Fortunately the weather was warm, it was not a hard journey at all.”
Wei Xiaobao raised his thumb and praised, “Very good! Honorable Envoy is telling the truth; finally you admitted that Nerchinsk does not belong to Luocha country.”
After drinking more than a dozen cups of wine, Feodor was slightly drunk. “I … when did I ever admit that?” he asked in shock.
Wei Xiaobao said, “From Beijing to Laomaolashifa, it will take more than three months, a very great distance, and this Laomaolashifa is not Chinese territory. From Moscow to Nerchinsk, you also travelled for more than three months, the distance is not near either. Naturally Nerchinsk is not Russian territory.”
Feodor opened his eyes wide, momentarily he was at a loss of what to say. After staring blankly for half a day, he finally said, “Our Russia is so big; it’s not the same at all.”
“Our Great Qing is not small either,” Wei Xiaobao replied.
With a forced laugh Feodor said, “Honorable Envoy loves to joke. These … these two matters cannot … cannot be lumped together.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “You insist that Nerchinsk is Luocha country’s territory, in that case let’s swap. I am going to Moscow and ask the Princess to confer you the title Count of Nerchinsk, and confer me the title Duke of Laomaolashifa. Then this Laomaolashifa can be considered Chinese territory.”
Feodor’s face bulged red; he said anxiously, “This … how can this be?” He could not help feeling anxious because the Princess was Wei Xiaobao’s lover; if he poured a large quantity of Chinese ‘confusing soup’ by the pillow, she might agree to swap, then it would be more than awful. He also thought, “My Luomonuoshafa is a territory granted by the Emperor and has been in my family for generations, a rich land. If the Princess swapped it with Nerchinsk, this place is cold, the population is scarce, it will drive me to my death. Much less right now I am a marquis, if I become the Count of Nerchinsk, won’t that mean I am being demoted?”
Seeing Feodor’s deeply worried and sick at heart expression, Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “You wanted to take my Yakesa as your territory, making me cannot be the Duke of Luding; what can I do? Without any better option I must become Duke of Laomaolashifa. Although your land’s name is so unpleasant to the ears, what ‘old cat defecating’ or ‘little dog defecating’, I have no choice but to accept it.”
Feodor considered, “You, China, want to take over my Luomonuoshafa; that would never happen. But you, Wei Xiaobao, have already received nobility title from my Russian Empire; if you want to overtake my land, it would be troublesome for me. We do not really want to keep Yakesa anyway, you have already attacked and taken it, if I want you to retreat, naturally you are unwilling.” Thereupon with a smiling face he said, “Since Yakesa is Honorable Envoy’s territory granted by the Emperor, we are willing to withdraw one step. The two countries still have Heilongjiang as our border, but Yakesa and the area within ten li of the city belong to China. This arrangement is completely for Honorable Envoy’s sake, the maximum concession we have ever made.”
Wei Xiaobao thought, “You have been defeated in battle, yet still put on such an air. If this battle was won by you, Luocha people, I am afraid you will even want to have Beijing as your territory.” He said, “We have fought a battle. I wonder if it was you who won, or was it us?”
Feodor knitted his brows and said, “It was a tiny battle, we can’t say who won who lost. Her Highness the Princess has already issued a strict order, in order to give careful consideration to the reconciliation with your respected country, we must not open hostilities; as a result when your respected country’s troops attacked, our humble country’s officers and soldiers did not fight back. Otherwise, the situation would be greatly different.”
When Wei Xiaobao heard this, he was enraged. “So Luocha troops firearms cannot be considered fighting back?” he asked.
Feodor said, “They are merely defending our country’s land, it cannot be considered fighting back. If Luocha people really fight a battle, they would not stay still and did not attack. If the two countries are really at war, Luocha gunmen and Cossack cavalry would attack the city of Beijing.”
Wei Xiaobao was extremely furious; he thought, “Your granny, you yellow-haired demons talk big to scare people. If I am frightened by you, I will take your surname, I will become your son, my name is not Wei Xiaobao, but Xiaobao Feodor.” He had been to Moscow, so he knew that Luocha people’s custom was to have given name first and family name last, but Feodor was his given name, not family name; this fact he did not know. He said, “That’s very good! That’s great! Hojue [marquis] Daren, do you know what is the one thing that my heart desires the most?”
“I do not know,” Feodor replied, “Please advise.”
“Currently I am a duke,” Wei Xiaobao said, “But in my heart I hope for promotion to the nobility, to become a Junwang, a Qinwang.” [both are prince, but not sure how to define them]
Feodor thought, “Promotion to the nobility, who does not want it?” He smiled and said, “Gongjue [duke] Daren is able and efficient, plus your respected country’s Emperor dotes on and trusts you; you only need to render several more merits, you will be conferred the title Junwang or Qinwang. I have no doubt about it. The humble one earnestly and sincerely wishes you will succeed earlier.”
Wei Xiaobao lowered his voice, “This matter can only succeed if you help me, otherwise I am afraid I would fail.”
Feodor was surprised. “Humble one will definitely help,” he said, “But I wonder how can I help?”
Wei Xiaobao leaned over to put his mouth near Feodor’s ear and whispered, “According to our Great Qing rule, only after achieving great victory in battle and rendered military service will one be conferred the title Wang [king]. Right now our country is peaceful, there is no disturbance, all rebellions are already suppressed. In the next twenty, thirty years, I am afraid there won’t be any battle to fight. My desire to be a Wang would be very difficult to achieve. This time we are drawing boundary and negotiating peace, you do not want to yield at all; it would be best if you send your troops to challenge us, to kill one or two of our high-ranking ministers in here. Our two countries will fight a war, you send your gunmen and Cossack cavalry to attack Beijing. We make an alliance with Sweden, have them send their troops to attack Moscow. We kill until the sand surging on, until the blood flow becomes a river; at that time I can be a Wang. Please, please, by all means, help me in this big effort. But don’t talk too loud, don’t let others hear it.”
Junwang = Prince a Commandery or Prince of the Second Rank. Wu San Gui (previously), Geng Jing Zhong, Shang Ke Xi and Zheng Jing were of this rank.
You plant a garden and the flowers do not bloom, you poke a stick in the mud and it grows into a tree
Thanks Ace. I added your info to my source file. I think it was you who said that Chapter 48 is boring ...
The more Feodor listened to him, the more he was surprised; he thought that this youngster was too brazen, in order to be conferred the title ‘King’, he did not hesitate to provoke both countries to war, he even wanted to form an alliance with Sweden. If this war really broke, although in the future who won who lost were still unknown, but right this moment the other side was numerous while my side was few, there was a wide gap between the two sides’ military power, right away his defeat was guaranteed. In his heart he quite regretted that he had made the threat earlier by saying those things about gunmen and Cossack cavalry attacking the city of Beijing. This youngster thought it was real, not only he was no afraid, he was delighted instead. This time Feodor felt like he had outsmarted himself. However, if he exposed any hint that he was intimidated, he knew Wei Xiaobao would look down on him. Momentarily he was at a loss of what to say.
Wei Xiaobao continued, “Moscow is too far from here, if the Qing troops is going to attack, in all honesty I do not have any confidence we would win; perhaps we will be defeated and then His Majesty will blame me instead …”
Hearing this, Feodor saw an opportunity to take a turn for the better; his face lit up as he busily said, “Yes, yes. If I may offer a bit of advice, Your Excellency had better not take the risks.”
“I only want to render some merit so that I could be conferred the title ‘King’, it’s not that I want to wipe out Luocha country,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Your respected country is so big, I don’t have the capability to wipe it out.” Feodor repeatedly agreed.
Lowering his voice again Wei Xiaobao said, “How about this: you send your troops to attack Beijing, I will send my troops to attack Nerchinsk. The two of us brothers attack our respective target; conquering Beijing will be your merit, conquering Nerchinsk would be mine. Don’t you think this strategy is wonderful?”
Feodor groaned inwardly; in his hands he only had a little more than two thousand cavalry, even to attack Yakesa he was powerless, much less to attack Beijing. He thought that if he did not admit he was wrong, perhaps this youngster would turn pretense into reality. Without any choice he forced a laugh and said, “Gongjue Daren, please do not take offense. Just now I said gunmen and Cossack cavalry would attack the city of Beijing, you must not think it was the truth. I made a mistake, and I want to take it back completely.”
“Something that you have said, how could you take it back?” Wei Xiaobao asked in surprise.
Feodor said, “Humble one was only provoking Gongjue Daren, please forget that I ever said those words.”
“In that case,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Your Luocha troops will not attack Beijing?”
“We won’t,” Feodor said, “Definitely we won’t.”
“And you won’t take over my Yakesa either?” Wei Xiaobao asked.
Feodor shook his head, “We won’t, we won’t,” he said.
Wei Xiaobao said, “How about Nerchinsk? You decided you won’t dare to covet it anymore?”
Feodor was startled. He said, “This Nerchinsk is our Tsar’s territory, Gongjue Daren please forgive me.”
Wei Xiaobao thought, “Suzhou people say ‘the whole sky demand for value, the whole earth still has to pay’. I asked him for Nerchinsk, he does not want to hand it over. I want to see what he would say if I ask for the land west of Nerchinsk.” He said, “This time we negotiate peace, we have to have fair dealing, cheating neither old nor young, neither side can suffer any loss; is that right?”
Feodor nodded. “That’s right,” he said, “Both countries are defining the boundary, establishing lasting peace.”
“That’s very good,” Wei Xiaobao said, “If we draw the border too close to Moscow, you Luocha people will suffer loss. If we draw the border too close to Beijing, we Chinese will suffer loss. The best method is to draw it right in the middle; one half equal to zero point five.”
“What does ‘one half equal to zero point five’ mean?” Feodor asked.
Wei Xiaobao said, “From Moscow to Beijing is approximately three months; is that right?”
“Right,” Feodor replied.
Wei Xiaobao said, “Three months divided by two, is what?”
Feodor did not understand his intention, he simply replied, “Is one and a half month.”
“That’s right,” Wei Xiaobao said, “We don’t need to talk too much. Everybody go back to our own capital. And then from Moscow you set off to the east, from Beijing I set off to the west. We all travel for one and a half month, naturally we will come across each other, right?”
“Yes,” Feodor replied, “But I still don’t know Daren’s intention.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “This is the most impartial way of defining the border. The place where we meet is the border between the two countries. That place is one and a half month away from Moscow, it is also one and a half month from Beijing. You do not take any advantage, and we do not suffer any loss. However, our recent victory would be considered void. In the end you are still having the advantage, are you not?”
Feodor’s entire face flushed red. “This … this … this …” he said, while standing up.
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “You also think that this way is extremely fair, don’t you?”
Feodor shook his hand at once. “No, no!” he said, “Absolutely not. If we draw the border this way, won’t that mean half of the Russian Empire will fall into your hands?”
“Can’t be half,” Wei Xiaobao said, “West of your Moscow, there are a lot of land. Those areas need not be divided evenly with China; why be so polite?”
Feodor was so angry that his beard was sticking out. After quite a while, he finally said, “Gongjue Daren, if you sincerely want to negotiate peace, you ought to offer fair and reasonable proposition. This … this kind of method, in which you want half of our country, you are … you are bullying us too much.” Panting with rage, he sat back down on his chair. ‘Bang!’ he landed so hard that the chair was creaking incessantly.
In a low voice Wei Xiaobao said, “Actually, negotiating peace and drawing boundaries is not so much fun, I like the idea of us fighting a war first. What do you say?”
Feodor panting for breath continuously; he could not refrain from slapping the table and standing up. “If you want to fight then let’s fight!” he shouted on top of his lungs. But then he thought that if the war continued, the aftermath was indeed too grave; his side was completely without hope that they would win. He had no choice but struggling hard to restraint himself and keep silent.
Wei Xiaobao suddenly reached out and slapped the table. “I got it, I got it!” he said with a laugh, “I know another fair way.” Putting his hand into his pocket, he took out two dice, blew it, and tossed the dice onto the table. “You don’t want to fight a war, you don’t want to go fifty-fifty either. Let us throw the dice; let’s just say that there is a ten thousand li of road from Beijing to Moscow, we divide it into ten equal parts, each part is one thousand li. You and I will throw the dice for ten rounds, for each round, the stake is one thousand li of land. If your luck is good and you won all ten rounds, then all the land up to Beijing’s city wall will belong to Luocha country.”
“Humph,” Feodor said, “And if I lose all ten rounds?”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Why don’t you tell me?”
Feodor said, “Could it be that east of Moscow, ten thousand li of rivers and mountains, will belong to China?”
“I am guessing that your luck will not be that bad,” Wei Xiaobao said, “I can’t imagine that in ten rounds you won’t win at least one round. For each round you win, you preserve a thousand li of land, two rounds two thousand li; if you win six rounds, you already gain advantage.”
“What advantage?” Feodor angrily said, “East of Moscow, six thousand li is originally Russian territory. Seven thousand li, eight thousand li, are also Russian territory.”
While Wei Xiaobao and Feodor were having these incessant exchanges, on the side, the Dutch clergyman also constantly translated it into Chinese in low voice. Tong Guogang, Songgotu and the others listened attentively. At first they thought that Feodor was capricious, harsh and unreasonable; unexpectedly he demanded that Heilongjiang to be the boundary between the two countries. How could he force China to give up Liaodong, which was the Manchuria’s dragon rising place? In their hearts they were quite angry. Afterwards they heard how Wei Xiaobao conveyed his voracious desire to fight a war to establish meritorious service so that he could be conferred the title ‘King’, and the Russian envoy appeared to show strength while weak inside; he did not dare to respond. And then they heard how Wei Xiaobao was rambling incoherently, about swapping the territory granted by their respective emperor, how he proposed to go fifty-fifty, and lastly how to throw the dice to define the boundary, with one thousand li of land as the stake for each round. They knew he was talking rubbish, the opposite party could not possibly agree to this. But they could also see that Feodor’s arrogance has been greatly dampened; they thought, “Luocha people are harsh and unreasonable, certainly it is a fully justified reputation. If we negotiate with them in deadly earnest, we will definitely be put in a disadvantageous position. His Majesty sent Wei Gongjue to be in charge of this negotiation, he really knew how to use a man according to his ability. This foreign demon is a barbarian, only a marketplace hoodlum without learning or skills like Wei Gongjue can oppose him with equal harshness, fighting barbarian with a barbarian.”
Although on their faces Tong Guogang, Songgotu and the other ministers were very respectful and courteous toward Wei Xiaobao, in the bottom of their hearts they actually looked down on him; they all felt that he was no more than a clown, a court jester whom the Emperor doted on. His day-to-day speech and action was oftentimes shameful; he was clever, but clearly had no sense of shame, one who think highly of himself. This time he was appointed envoy minister to stop the enemy at the banquet table, they thought it would be difficult for their country to avoid humiliation in front of a foreign nation, to cause their country to lose face. Who would have imagined that the Emperor actually had the capacity to judge character and utilize people to their ability? If he did not send this mischievous character on this particular mission, among the civil and military ministers in the Manchurian Qing’s court, there was really no other man who would be able to accomplish it. The more the crowd of ministers listened, the more they admired him; they felt that the Emperor was extremely wise and farsighted; far from the reach of anybody among the high-ranking ministers.
Listening to this point, Songgotu suddenly interjected, “Moscow is actually our China’s territory.”
The Dutch priest translated the sentence. Feodor was stunned; he thought, “This youngster is babbling nonsense; that is still all right. But you, an old man, also shamelessly talk drivel? You said our country’s capital, Moscow is your China’s territory?”
Songgotu said, “According to Honorable Envoy’s argument, as long as Luocha people temporarily occupy an area, that land will be considered Luocha country’s territory; is that right?”
“Isn’t that so?” Feodor said, “Honorable Envoy said that Moscow is Chinese territory, hey hey, that … that is a joke, a ridiculous argument.”
Songgotu said, “Luocha country’s people consist of Great Russia, Minor Russia, White Russia, also Cossacks, Tatars, and the other. Those are all Luocha people.”
“Absolutely right,” Feodor said, “Our country’s territory is vast, the people are numerous.”
Songgotu said, “The ethnicities of our country’s common people are also numerous. We have Manchu people, Mongolian, Han, Miao, Hui, Tibetan, and so on.”
“Exactly,” Feodor said, “Russia is a great country, China is also a great country. Our two countries are the biggest countries of the present age.”
Songgotu said, “The bodyguards that Honorable Envoy brings this time seem to be Cossack cavalry.”
Feodor smiled and said, “Cossack cavalry’s bravery is unequalled, they are the most formidable warriors in the world.”
Songgotu said, “Is Cossack cavalry a lot more formidable than Russians?”
“We can’t say that,” Feodor replied, “The Cossacks are Luocha’s common people, Russians are also Luocha’s common people; there is not the least bit difference between the two. Just like Manchu people are Chinese, Mongolians, Hans, are also Chinese; there is not the least bit difference.”
Songgotu nodded. “That is so,” he said, “Consequently, Moscow is our Chinese territory.”
Listening to this point, Wei Xiaobao still did not understand Songgotu’s intention; he was fully aware that Moscow was tens of thousand li away, definitely it was not Chinese territory. But he saw that Songgotu seemed to be pressing the issue, and that Feodor’s veins were bulging on his forehead, his countenance alternated between ashen and deep red, he appeared to be very angry that he had turned mad. Thereupon Wei Xiaobao interrupted, “Moscow is Chinese territory, that is absolutely true. Chinese Emperor is magnanimous, he let you did like Liu Bei borrowed Jingzhou, but after borrowing it he never returned it back.”
Naturally Feodor did not know anything about Liu Bei borrowing Jingzhou, he just felt that these Chinese barbarians did not speak with reasons, they talked not as civilized people. He said with a cold laugh, “I previously heard that China was long-established, that Chinese people were very well-learned; who would have thought … hey, hey, you are experts in talking drivel without any proof.”
Songgotu said, “Honorable Envoy is a high-ranking minister of Luocha country, even if you did not have much learning, but you would know Luocha country’s history, I presume?”
Feodor said, “Our country’s history is well-written as a proof, everything is written down clearly, not at all like other people speak thoughtlessly and casually.”
“That’s very good,” Songgotu said, “In the past China had an emperor, called Genghis Khan …”
As soon as Feodor heard the name ‘Genghis Khan’, four characters [cheng ji si han], he could not help blurting out ‘Aiyo’, while in his heart he groaned, “Bad, bad! Why was I so muddleheaded that I completely forgot about this big matter?”
Songgotu continued, “This Genghis Khan, in China we call him Yuan Taizu [lit. grand ancestor], because he was the Great Ancestor who founded our China’s Yuan Dynasty. He was a Mongol; Honorable Envoy has just said that Manchus, Mongols, Hans, are all Chinese, there is not the least bit difference. At that time Mongolian cavalry launched military expedition to the west, and have had quite a few major battles with the Luocha troops. Your respected country’s history books have the proof, everything is written down clearly, it’s not something that other people speak thoughtlessly and casually. These several battles, I wonder if they were won by us, the Chinese, or were they won by your respected country, Luocha people?”
Feodor was speechless. After quite a while, he finally replied, “The Mongols won.”
“And Mongols are Chinese!” Songgotu said.
Feodor stared blankly for half a day, finally he slowly nodded his head.
Wei Xiaobao did not know that there was such thing in the past; when he heard that, immediately his spirit received a big boost. “Chinese and Luocha people fought a war, undoubtedly Luocha people would lose. Your ability is a bit inferior, next time we fight another war, we only need to use one hand. Otherwise, the difference between the two sides is too far, the war would not have been fun to fight.”
Feodor glowered at him; he mused, “If not for Her Highness the Princess has issued a strict order that this time we could only use peaceful method and not use force, just based on this word of yours that you are insulting us, Luocha people, I would have challenged you for a duel.”
With a giggle Wei Xiaobao asked Songgotu, “Suo Dage, how did Genghis Khan defeat Luocha troops?”
this is good....
Imagine if all treaties were to be negotiated this way.....phew!!!
Busy these days....times are no good...business slowing down, headaches mounting, meetings and cost reduction..what a life, maybe as Fox advice, have to seriously consider starting a business.....only with crazee skills and zero capital.....sigh...
This tactic has also been used by writers working on the boundaries of what their censors will allow. Rather than start with something reasonable and get knocked back by censors who feel that they have to do something to justify their work, the writers put in something far beyond the boundaries that the censors will certainly pick up on and demand removal of, which the writers will obligingly do, thus slipping what they really wanted to include past the censor's attentions. Sometimes the censor may be inattentive and allow the far out stuff to get through. Here's one of the more notorious examples. The equivalent in this scenario would be Songgotu claiming Moscow for China in order to get the Russians to agree a favorable border in the east, but surprisingly finding the Russians willing to give them Moscow.
LOL - The boundary negotiations sound ridiculous but I imagine actual borders have been established under similar circumstances.
I find this chapter very interesting. The negotiation is basically one nonsense after another. Ironic thing is, the dispute over land is still going on today with China and other Asian countries.
Thank you, foxs!
Crazee, that's the main problem: capital. You need big bait to catch big fish. Pannonian, Smurf, all good negotiators know that, yet that's how negotiations always happen. Tweety, for me, as long as there is no (or minimal) classical quotation, the chapter is good.
Songgotu said, “In those days Genghis Khan deployed two ten-thousand men companies on the military expedition to the west, altogether there were only twenty thousand men and horses. They attacked and inflicted heavy damage to more than a hundred thousand men Luocha coalition army. Genghis Khan’s grandson, Batu was also a great hero, his army defeated the Luocha troops utterly, and he occupied Moscow, striking all the way to Poland, Hungary, and crossed the Danube. For the next several hundred years, Luocha’s princes, dukes, and the nobles had to obey us, the Chinese. At that time our Chinese Mongolian heroes lived in gold-inlaid tents. Moscow’s princes and dukes oftentimes had to come and kowtow to Chinese people. When the Chinese said they wanted to spank these people’ bottom, they would simply spank their bottoms. When they said they wanted to slap, they simply slapped, the Luocha people would still giggle and cry out that the beating was good, the beating was too few. Otherwise, he could not be a duke anymore.”
(Book note: In 1238AD Mongolian Great General Batu took over Moscow and Kiev. From 1240 to 1480AD, for 240 years the Mongolians ruled Russian vast territory, they established the ‘Golden Horde’ [lit. gold account Khanate]. The ‘Encyclopedia Britannica’ has the following entry on the subject of Russia: ‘The Princes and Dukes of Moscow must go to Sarai city at the mouth of Volga River to have an audience with the Mongolian Khan in his golden tent before they could receive the nobility title. They had to endure many different kinds of humiliation. After paying their respect and returning to Moscow they then could collect taxes from the Tatars and could push around the neighboring smaller states’ feudal vassals.’)
Hearing this, Wei Xiaobao was radiant with delight; he struck the table and exclaimed happily, “Dear dragon of the east! Turns out Moscow indeed belong to China.”
Feodor’s face alternated between green and white. Songgotu was stating a historical fact, it was not a false statement at all, it’s just that Luocha people previously did not admit Mongolians as Chinese. This time, however, Mongolia indeed belonged to China, hence the inference that Moscow also belonged to China was not completely baseless.
“Your Excellency Marquis,” Wei Xiaobao said, “I’ll say this discussion about defining border need not be continued. Please go back and ask the Princess when she is going to return Moscow to China. I will also go back to Beijing, procure leather and gold to manufacture golden tent, and then tear down Kremlin Palace and erect the golden tent on its place, and ask Princess Sophia to sleep in it. Ha ha, ha ha …!”
Hearing to this point, Feodor could no longer show restraint; he sprang up and rushed out of the tent. They heard his angry voice like thunder, shouting order and issuing his instruction, followed by the sound of hoof beats. More than two hundred horses rushed over. Wei Xiaobao was shocked. “Aiyo!” he cried out, “These hairy people are going to attack, we’d better run for our lives.”
Tong Guogang had been through many battles, he was completely calm. “Wei Gongjue don’t panic,” he shouted, “If he wants to fight then let’s fight; who is afraid of him?”
They heard outside the tent the Cossack cavalry shouted together. Wei Xiaobao was so scared that his entire body trembled. He ducked down and hid underneath the table. Tong Guogang and Songgotu looked at each other in dismay; in their hearts they could not help but panicking as well.
The tent curtain was opened, a general strode in, it was none other than the commander of the rattan shield troops, Lin Xingzhu. He said in a loud and clear voice, “Reporting to Grand Marshal …” but he did not see the Grand Marshal.
From underneath the table Wei Xiaobao said, “I … I … I am here. Everybody quickly … quickly run for your lives.”
Lin Xingzhu squatted down to speak to the Grand Marshal Wei underneath the table, “Reporting to Grand Marshal: Luocha troops’ prestige is impressive, but we must not show weakness; if we have to fight then let’s damn fight.”
Hearing he spoke with confidence, Wei Xiaobao’s spirit calmed down; immediately he crawled out of the table. Just now he hastily took refuge under the table, but actually he was not being a coward blindly. Patting his chest he said, “Right, if we want to fight then let’s fight their grannies. Laozi being a soldier, bravely go … bravely go not … not in the front. No, that’s not right! Bravely go to show my worth.” (He wanted to say, ‘Bravely go to show one’s worth, not bravely go is of little value’.)
Pulling Lin Xingzhu’s hand he strode out the tent. As soon as he was outside, he saw two hundred sixty Cossack cavalry raising high their long sabers, riding on their fine horses, surrounding the tent to show off their military strength, speeding along in circles around the tent. Feodor shouted his command, the cavalry rushed away from the tent. They stopped approximately two hundred zhang away and arranged themselves in formation; two hundred sixty riders in ten neat and tidy rows. Suddenly they shouted together and rushed toward Wei Xiaobao.
“Mother!” Wei Xiaobao cried out, and turned around, ready to dash into the tent. But then he thought, “If the Luocha demons want to kill me, even if I hide inside the tent, they will still grab me. I must not lose this face.” His body was trembling, his face was the color of the earth, but unexpectedly he stood upright and did not move.
Lin Xingzhu thundered, “Rattan shield troops, protect the Grand Marshal! Come over!”
The two hundred sixty rattan shield troops responded in chorus, “Yes.” Quickly they moved and stood in front of Wei Xiaobao and the other high-ranking ministers.
From his boot Wei Xiaobao pulled his dagger, thinking, “If Luocha demons really want to resort to violence, everybody will fight desperately together, yi qi cannot be disregarded.” He rushed over in front of Songgotu and called out, “Suo Dage, don’t be afraid, I will protect you.”
Songgotu was a civil officer, he was already scared that his body and soul separated. He said, “I completely … completely rely on Xiongdi.”
They saw ten rows of Cossack cavalry charged swiftly toward them. When they were about five zhang away from the Qing troops, the captain in the front waved his long saber in the air and shouted his order. The cavalry straightened their backs and pulled the reins, two hundred sixty horses immediately stopped. The captain shouted his order again, the cavalry divided into two groups, a hundred and thirty riders split to the north, the other hundred and thirty riders went to the south. After speeding along for several dozen zhang, they made a big circle and returned to their original position, about two hundred zhang away from the tent and stopped. The formation was strictly maintained, they were not in disorder at all. These two hundred sixty men and horses were like one man one horse, indeed they were a highly trained group of elite troops.
Feodor laughed aloud and cried in a loud voice, “Gongjue Daren, what do you think of our Luocha troops?”
It was only then did Wei Xiaobao know that he was merely showing off their military prowess. In his heart he was furious. “That is no more than circus monkey stuff,” he cried, “In a real battle, it will be completely useless.”
Feodor angrily said, “We’ll do it again!” In his heart he said, “This time let them charge right in front of you, I want to see if you are going to run away or not.” He called out, “Knock the Chinese troops’ hat off their heads.”
The Cossack cavalry captain shouted his order, two hundred sixty cavalry charged forward again.
“Chop the horses’ legs!” Wei Xiaobao called out.
“Receive the order!” Lin Xingzhu responded. “Chop the horses’ legs! Don’t hurt the people!”
They heard the thundering hoof beats, two hundred sixty horses were getting closer and closer, Cossack cavalry’s long sabers flickered under the sunlight, soon they were only about thirty zhang away, then twenty zhang, ten zhang … and still they did not stop. When they were about four, five zhang away, Lin Xingzhu shouted, “Roll down, move, move, move!” Two hundred and sixty rattan shield troops leaped forward and rolled on the ground.
These two hundred and sixty men were under Lin Xingzhu’s personal training, they were expert in Di Tang Saber Technique; their movement and saber playing had been trained to perfection. As they rolled forward, the rattan shield protected their bodies, but did not reveal the least bit of saber’s glitter.
The Cossack cavalry suddenly saw the Qing troops rolled on the ground, they were all stunned. The troops defending Yakesa had suffered defeat under the rattan shield troops’ hands, but those defenders were either dead or taken captive; they were completely wiped out. The Cossack cavalry was fresh from Moscow, escorting Feodor to the east; they had never seen the rattan shield troops’ movement, they all thought that you roll around on the ground, you look really silly, so don’t blame us if you are trampled dead by the horses.
In an instant the first row of cavalry clashed with the rattan shield troops. Suddenly the horses neighed and fell down one after another. The rattan shield troops brandished their sharp blades, one saber sweep chopped one or two horse’s legs. With the rattan shield protecting their bodies, they continuously rolled around and chopped more horses. Amidst the cry of Luocha troops and the neigh of their horses, the rattan shield troops already swept pass all ten rows, chopping a hundred seventy or a hundred eighty horses’ legs. And then they all stood in formation behind the Cossack cavalry. Under Lin Xingzhu’s leadership the rattan shield troops then ran quickly back and lined up in front of Wei Xiaobao. From the two hundred sixty men, only about a dozen or so suffered bruises from the horses’ kicks, but their injuries were light, the injured bore their pain silently as they stood in formation.
More than half of the two hundred and sixty Cossack cavalry were thrown down of their horses, some were crushed by their own mounts, they were lying on the ground, groaning and crying out in distress. Only several dozen men still stayed on their horses as they ran far away. Most of them stood on the ground, at a loss of what to do. All their lives these cavalry troops spent their time on the horseback; only by riding their mounts would these men be swift, fierce and brave. With their feet on the ground, they were like fish out of the water, without their mounts they had nothing to rely on.
Wei Xiaobao called out, “Divide the troops, surround the high-ranking Luocha officials.”
Lin Xingzhu shouted his order, immediately a hundred rattan shield troops surrounded Feodor and the others, a dozen or so Luocha ministers, a hundred broadswords formed a large blade ring, the blades were facing inward; just with one order these hundred broadswords would press in, Feodor and the others would definitely turn into Luocha meatloaf.
Seeing this situation, the deputy captain of the Cossack cavalry dashed forward and shouted, “Must not harm people, must not harm people!”
Wei Xiaobao turned his head around and spoke to Shuang’er, who was wearing personal guard uniform, “Go seal their acupoints.”
“Alright!” Shuang’er replied, and leaped out behind the Cossack cavalry captain; stretching out her finger she sealed the acupoint on his lower back, and then she also sealed the deputy captain’s acupoint.
A junior captain put his hand into his pocket and pulled a short gun. “Don’t move!” he shouted.
Shuang’er grabbed a Luocha soldier by her side and held him in front of her body. With the soldier as a shield, she pressed several steps forward. The junior captain did not dare to open fire. “Don’t move!” he shouted again.
Shuang’er threw the Luocha soldier toward him. The junior captain was startled; he dodged sideways. Shuang’er leaped forward, and sealed the acupoints on his chest and waist, and then she grabbed the gun in his hand, pointed it to the sky, and then ‘bang!’ it went off.
Wei Xiaobao shouted loudly, “Well, well, both sides have agreed not to carry firearms; you Luocha demons cannot be trusted at all.” Taking several steps forward, he said to Feodor, “Hey, tell your men to throw their weapons down, get down from their horses, and stand in line. Those who carry firearms must hand it over.”
Feodor knew he could not defy, hence he issued the order; the Cossack cavalry had no choice but to throw down their sabers and swords, dismounted from their horses and stood in formation. Wei Xiaobao ordered the hundred and sixty rattan shield troops to surround and searched the Luocha troops. From two hundred and sixty men, they found more than two hundred and eighty short guns; some men carried two.
The Luocha troops standing guard at Nerchinsk city wall saw the turn of events, they advanced slowly. The Qing troops on the east also slowly moving forward. When the distance between them was about several hundred steps, both armies arranged themselves in formation, facing each other. Seeing their commander-in-chief was surrounded, the Luocha troops could only groan inwardly, they did not dare to move further.
Wei Xiaobao asked Feodor, “Hojue Daren, what did you bring that many firearms for?”
Feodor hung his head and said, “I am so sorry, my bodyguards did not obey the order, they secretly carried firearms. When we get back I will severely punish them.”
Wei Xiaobao called out, “Rattan shield troops, open your clothes, let them see if you are carrying firearms or not?”
Two hundred and sixty rattan shield troops tossed their shields aside, with their left hands they undid their clothes, with their right hands they held the broadsword high to guard against the enemy making a move. Everybody opened their clothes, exposing their chests, and hopped several times. Sure enough, nobody carried any firearm. Feodor was very ashamed, he hung his head low and did not say anything.
Wei Xiaobao shouted in Luocha language, “Luocha people have no sense of shame, strip their clothes and pants, see if they still conceal firearms or not?”
Feodor was greatly alarmed; he hastily said, “Gongjue Daren, please show mercy. If you … you strip my pants, I … I will have no choice but to commit suicide.”
“This stripping of pants must be done,” Wei Xiaobao replied.
Feodor said, “Please forgive us just this one time, in other matters we will obey whatever you tell us to do.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “Just now your cavalry rushed over and scared me that I hid under the table; the Gongjue Daren has lost a lot of face. What do you do about that?”
Feodor thought, “You are the one who is a coward, what can I do about it?” But since the Qing troops’ blade flickered around him, he had no choice but to say, “The humble one is ready to pay for the damage.”
Wei Xiaobao was secretly delighted; he thought, “Luocha bamboo pole is coming.” [See note 14, Chapter 10 on ‘bamboo pole’.] Momentarily he could not think of what he wanted Feodor to give me; he turned his head around and issued an order, “Cut the belts of all Luocha high-ranking officials and lowly soldiers’ pants.”
“Receive the order!” the rattan shield troops shouted. They lifted their blades, insert it into Luocha men’s waist with the sharp of the blade facing outward, and pulled. The belts were immediately cut. From Feodor down, all Luocha men were scared out of their wits. With both hands they held their pants tight, for fear they would fall.
Wei Xiaobao roared in laughter. He issued another order, “Escort the Luocha people back to our camp in triumph!”
By this time all Luocha officers and men were worried that their pants would drop down, nobody dared to resist; they followed the Qing troops marching to the east.
Tong Guogang said with a laugh, “Grand Marshal Wei’s brilliant scheme is indeed admirable. Cutting their belts is the same as instantly tying the hands of two hundred and sixty Luocha officers and men behind their back.”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Luocha men are very afraid to take off their pants, on the contrary, Luocha women are not afraid at all; isn’t that very strange?” Tong Guogang and the others laughed at this sexual innuendo.
This episode is really interesting. JY have a good background on chinese history and his novels weave in and out of the chinese history. It makes studying of chinese culture and history much more interesting.
I just wonder how much of the references to history are true and how much is fiction.....
Typical of XB and like it or not, he's really good....the cossacks have no chance with him....
In the Wuxia discussion forum, someone posed a question to see how the Condor Heroes main characters would fare in WXB (early Qing) era, I don't think they can last.
Also troubling and hilarious to rely on guy like WXB to keep our borders safe with his "foreign" policies.
Pannonian, thanks for the additional info. Crazee, I believe most of the characters are historical, of course, the story around WXB is fictional. Smurf, I agree. Most of the problem WXB faced was not things that can be solved with martial art skill. I think Jin Yong himself said that this novel is more 'historical' than 'wuxia'.
The party met with the main army. The Qing troops pushed out more than four hundred cannon and took off the cannon covering, the cannon’s muzzles were trained at the Luocha troops. Although Luocha country’s firearms were sharp, in their mission to the east this time, their preparation was not as good as Kangxi, who had half the number of cannon available in the entire country sent to Nerchinsk. Therefore, in term of firepower, the Qing army was several times more superior. When the Luocha troops suddenly saw these many cannon, they all looked at each other with fear on their faces. Their commander hastily issued an order to return to the city and close the city gate tightly. The Qing army did not continue besieging the city either.
In the meantime the Cossack cavalry captain, deputy captain, and the junior captain’s acupoints were still sealed by Shuang’er, they were unable to move a single step. The three men were standing on the open space like clay figurine or wooden statue. When the Luocha troops returned and entered Nerchinsk, they were in such a hurry that they did not pay attention. By the time they climbed the city wall and looked, they were astonished, but nobody dared to get out of the city to help. After about an hour, they saw the three men were still unmoving, so then a company of Cossack cavalry went out of the city to rescue them. But they only walked a dozen of zhang or so, the Qing army’s cannon were fired several times. The general defending the city hastily ordered the trumpeter to sound the bugle to order the cavalry to return to the city; he was afraid the Qing army would attack so that the rescuing team would also fall into their trap.
On top of the city wall, under the city wall, the two armies watched from a distance the three men were still standing motionless in rather weird posture. The Qing troops roared in laughter. The Luocha troops were overwhelmed with shock. Wei Xiaobao invited Feodor and his delegation to enter the command tent and have everybody sat separately as the hosts and guests. Wei Xiaobao only chuckled without saying anything.
“Gongjue Daren,” Feodor angrily said, “You don’t need to play tricks with me. If you want to kill me then just kill me.”
Wei Xiaobao said with a laugh, “You and I are friends, why would I want to kill you? Let us continue the talk about defining the border.” He thought that since the ministers, the opposite party’s delegation to discuss the border had fallen into their hands, no matter what condition he raised, it would be hard for the opposite party to refuse.
Who would have thought that Feodor was born from a military family, he was extremely unyielding. Boldly he said, “I am your prisoner, not a diplomatic envoy of equal standing to discuss the border. I am under your threats, any talk cannot continue. Even if the talk continued and the treaty signed, it cannot take effect.”
“Why can’t it take effect?” Wei Xiaobao asked.
Feodor said, “Because all clause are decided by you, what is there to talk about? You cannot force me to negotiate with you.”
“Why can’t I force you to negotiate with me?” Wei Xiaobao asked.
“I will never surrender,” Feodor replied, “Brandish your blade and kill me, shoot me with your gun, feel free to make your move.”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “What if I have people strip your pants?”
Feodor was enraged; he suddenly stood up and shouted, “You …” He only said one word, ‘you’, his pants suddenly slipped down; hastily he reached down and grabbed them. His belt was cut off, when he sat down, he did not need to hold his pants, but in rage he stood up and forgot about it. Fortunately he managed to grab his pants promptly that he did not make a fool of himself. All the ministers and attendants on Qing’s side in the tent roared in laughter.
Feodor was so angry that his face turned snow white, his hands held on to his pants, his expression looked extremely awkward. He wanted to make a vehement speech, too bad he could not brandish his hands to add emphasis; no matter how passionate he spoke, it would be bound to be limited. “Pei!” he spat angrily and sat down. “I am His Majesty the Tsar of Luocha country’s ambassador, you cannot humiliate me,” he said.
“You may rest assured that I will not humiliate you,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “Let us discuss the national boundary nicely.”
Feodor took out a handkerchief from his pocket, wrapped it around his own mouth, and tied it behind his back; the meaning was that he was resolved not to talk. Wei Xiaobao ordered his personal guards to get some fine wine and delicious food and set it up on the table. He poured a cup of wine and said with a laugh, “Please, please, don’t be polite.”
Smelling the aroma of the food and wine, Feodor was unable to resist; he untied the handkerchief, picked up the cup and drank. Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Marquis, you are using your mouth?”
Feodor continued drinking wine and eating the food, but did not answer, stating that his mouth was only used to eat and drink, and not for anything else. Wei Xiaobao repeatedly urged him to drink more wine, thinking that if he could get him drunk, perhaps he could get him to surrender. Who would have thought that even after drinking a dozen or more cups of wine, eating several chunks of beef, he used the handkerchief to wipe his mouth, and tied it again over his mouth? Seeing that, Wei Xiaobao was quite amused. He ordered his personal guards to take Feodor to a tent in the back to let him rest, and to guard him well; while he discussed how to deal with this matter with Songgotu, Tong Guogang and the others.
Tong Guogang said, “This man is so stubborn, he resolutely refuse to talk peace in our army camp. But I am not willing to let him go back to his camp.”
Songgotu said, “We can detain him for ten days, eight days, every day we slaughter one Luocha demon in his presence, I want to see if he will still be that stubborn.”
Tong Guogang said, “If we hound him to death, inevitably this matter will be brought to deadlock. We use military force to capture the opposite side’s minister to negotiate peace, perhaps His Majesty would put the blame on us.”
“Tong Gongye [duke] is right,” Songgotu said, “Blindly using force on him is not the way to deal with him.”
After long deliberation, the high-ranking ministers still could not come up with a wise policy. Today they were able to capture Feodor; although it was a victory, it was not the original idea of the Emperor in seeking peace. It could be said that they had violated the imperial court’s project of paramount importance, that they had handled this matter poorly; it was possible that the table would turn and they would be charged with the serious crime of disobeying the imperial edict.
At the end of the deliberation, all the ministers advised Wei Xiaobao to release Feodor. “Very well!” Wei Xiaobao said, “Let’s detain him for one night, early morning tomorrow we will let him go.”
Returning to his tent, he paced back and forth while considering this matter. Suddenly he recalled something, “Earlier I copied Zhuge Liang burning down the Coiling Snake Valley, and achieved great victory by taking down Yakesa. Laozi can also copy Zhou Yu’s trick in the play ‘Meeting of Heroes’.” After thinking about it for a while, he came up with an idea.
Returning to the command tent, he invited the translator, the Dutch missionary to come over and had a serious discussion with him. Wei Xiaobao asked him to teach him some twenty Luocha sentences, and he learned to say those sentences correctly. He also summoned four high-ranking military officers, along with the captain of his personal guards, and instructed them to do certain things. Everybody received the order and left.
Feodor was sleeping in a tent on the back. Different thoughts surging in his mind; there was fright, and then there was remorse, how could he sleep? He tossed and turned until midnight, and then he heard snores like thunder coming from the entrance to the tent, unexpectedly the three personal guards who were on guard duty had fallen asleep.
Feodor thought, “If I don’t agree to the Chinese barbarians’ terms, it would be difficult for me to escape. If tomorrow I provoke that little demon and he gets angry and kills me, won’t I die in injustice? Heaven helps me that these three guards are asleep, why not take chances and escape now?” Quietly he got up from the bed, untied the leather strap across his back and wrapped it around his waist to prevent his pants from falling down, and then he tiptoed to the tent entrance. He saw the three personal guards were leaning against the tent posts and were sleeping soundly.
He reached out toward a personal guard’s waist with the intention to pull the saber hanging on the guard’s waist. The guard suddenly sneezed. Feodor jumped in fright and hastily pulled his hand back. After a while and he still did not see any movement, he went for another guard’s saber. The personal guard suddenly stretched out and mumbled some indistinct words. Feodor did not dare to tarry anymore, he quietly went out of the tent, fortunately the three personal guards neither saw nor sensed that he was gone.
Once Feodor was outside, he hid in the shadows; he saw the night guards on patrol with lanterns in one hand and saber in the other. There were patrolling soldiers to his north, east and south, only the west side was pitch-black, obviously there was no one on that side. Thereupon step by step he crept to the west, each time he saw a patrolling guard, he shrank behind a tent. Luckily all the way to the west the terrain was a flat with nothing obstructing him.
He had just reached a large tent when suddenly he saw from the west a group of patrolling soldiers approaching. Feodor hastily crouched behind the tent. He heard someone inside was speaking; surprisingly the man was speaking in Luocha language. He heard the man said, “Gongjue Daren is determined to attack Moscow, it is not impossible, it’s just that it’s too far, it is really dangerous.”
Feodor was greatly alarmed. At once he crouched even lower to open a corner of the tent and looked inside. Once he got a good look, his heart was thumping madly. Inside, the tent was as bright as daytime. Wei Xiaobao was wearing full military attire, he was sitting in the middle, on either side of him stood a dozen or so high-ranking military officers, and further down there were several dozens of personal guards with broadsword in their hands. Standing by the table in front of Wei Xiaobao was the Dutch missionary, who acted as their interpreter earlier, and was talking to him.
He heard Wei Xiaobao spoke in Luocha language, “We drink wine and chat with Feodor in here, everything is fake, not real. We can talk with him for a month, two months, speaking back and forth, everything is fake, while our main force stealthily advancing to the west. Let Luocha princess receive that fool, Feodor’s report, constantly, letting her know that we are still talking, then she won’t be afraid, let her dance and go to bed with her sweetheart every day. Chinese main forces will suddenly arrived outside Moscow, with a sudden attack, the two Tsars and Princess Sophia will be captured. Luocha people will weep, kneel, surrender!”
The Dutch missionary said, “I don’t know anything about marching to war and fighting a battle, but holding a peace talk while sending troops for a sneak attack on their capital, won’t that mean we are breaching their trust too much? God gave us commandments, we must not cheat, we must not lie.”
“Ha ha,” Wei Xiaobao laughed, “It was Luocha people who cheated first, we have had an agreement, the guards of both sides carry firearms, not allowed. But on their bodies they hid firearms, short ones. They cheated, we cheat back. He bit me, once, I want to bite him, twice; bite him hard!”
“Hey,” the missionary exclaimed. After a while, he said, “I still advise Gongjue Daren not to go to war. The two countries go to war, the dead are all God’s people …”
Wei Xiaobao shook his hand, “No need to say too much. We only believe Buddha, we don’t believe God. If that Feodor is willing to have a fair negotiation, letting China has a bit more land, we can have a peaceful talk. But he is unwilling to yield even one li of land. After we attack and take over Moscow, Luocha men will go to heaven; the women, become Chinese people’s wives.”
The more Feodor heard, the more scared he was. “Oh my God,” he mused, “Chinese barbarians really disregard the law and natural morality, they are indeed daredevils.”
He heard Wei Xiaobao continued, “Today I sent a personal guard, on the three Cossack cavalry captains’ body, use finger to jab several times. These three captains, cannot move. Did you see that?”
“I did,” the missionary replied, “What kind of magic was that? It was very strange.”
“Chinese magic,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “Genghis Khan, handed down. Genghis Khan used this method, attacked Luocha people, they kneeled and surrendered. We use the same method to attack them, Luocha country, will die!”
Feodor thought, “In those days Mongolia only had twenty thousand cavalry, they attacked all the way to Poland and Hungary; nobody in the world was able to stop them, apparently they were using magic. Eastern people are very strange, they are coming and will use magic; this … what should we do about it?”
He heard the missionary said, “If Luocha people open fire from the distance, your magic will be useless.”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “That’s right. Consequently, we must pretend to have the negotiation in here, while the main forces are attacking Moscow. Just like little thieves, we sneak into the city. I have been to Moscow, there are a lot of Tatars in the city. Our troops will masquerade as Tatar shepherds, and sneak into the city. I guarantee the Luocha guards will not find out.”
Cold sweats started to run down Feodor’s back; he thought, “This Chinese little demon’s devilish plan is indeed formidable. Chinese soldiers traveling in disguise as Tatar shepherds, infiltrating our capital, unleashing their magical skill, how can we resist?”
He did not know that Shuang’er’s acupoint sealing technique was a high-level martial art skill, it required internal energy cultivation to reach high level stage before the practitioner could use it. From among the tens of thousands officers and men of the Qing army, she was the only one who could use the acupoint sealing technique. But Feodor thought that the magic only need to be taught, then anybody could use it. With just one touch of a finger, the opponents would be unable to move a single step. If tens of thousands Chinese soldiers used this technique in sneak attack against Moscow, perhaps Luocha country would be destroyed, its people annihilated.
He heard the missionary said, “If Gongjue Daren wants to send twenty thousand Chinese troops to sneak into Moscow, using the magic passed down by Genghis Khan to control the Luocha troops, then your plan to capture the two Tsars and the Princess may indeed be successful. However … however, this matter must be kept top secret. A big army traveling to the west, Luocha people must not find out about it. Gongjue Daren, Luocha country today is very strong, it is substantially different from when Genghis Khan fought the Luocha people in the past.”
“I have been to Moscow,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “I know the Luocha country’s situation very clearly. Early morning tomorrow we will release Feodor, let him go back. Afterwards we can continue negotiating with him; of course everything is fake. He is unwilling to agree, we negotiate in here for one day, Chinese main force is one day closer to Moscow.”
“Yes, yes,” the missionary said, “Daren must be careful in everything. This matter is really very dangerous.”
“I know,” Wei Xiaobao said, “You must not say anything. Don’t raise Feodor’s suspicion.” The missionary complied and withdrew.
LOL - poor Feodor so confused (or hungover)... wasn't the biggest red flag that they were speaking Luocha privately?
thanks foxs...this part is actually pretty good.
Check out WXFS translated comic of Tian Long Ba Bu
Last updated: 02/04/2008
Haha..the way Feodor is lured into the setup is so funny Thanks Foxs for the great translations again
Anh, you are welcome. This is the time of the year that a lot of people wish that they live where you are. Smurf, WXB did speak Russian, at least partially, with the missionary. Ace, I was talking about the story around WXB, not the background historical events. Even Jin Yong from time to time said something like 'WXB name was not mentioned', or something like that. Wandering, OwlHoot, glad you like this part. It was not too bad for me to translate.
Originally I was going to finish everything and go back to Chapter 1, but I changed my mind. I know some of you may not like it, but I am going to stop after Chapter 48 (one more short update), and do Chapter 1 first before continuing with the last two chapters. I checked, there won't be any cliffhanger, this is a good place to stop. This way when we finish with Chapter 50, it will be really finish; you know what I mean?
Wei Xiaobao shouted, “Summon ‘tortoise [email protected] dead chicken’ and ‘pig tribe coward’!”
His personal guard went out the tent, and returned with Poyarkov and Stepanov in tow. Wei Xiaobao said to the two men, “Tomorrow, I send two teams to Moscow, with many, many gifts, for Princess Sophia. On the road, robbers are many, send more troops to protect.”
Poyarkov said, “From here to Moscow there are only some small groups of Tatar bandits, plus they are not too ferocious. Gongjue Daren may set your heart at ease.”
“You don’t know,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “Tatar robbers, eight or nine thousand men per group, some even twenty thousand, thirty thousand men.” Poyarkov and Stepanov looked at each other, their expressions showed their disbelief.
Wei Xiaobao said, “The two teams I send, will take two separate routes to Moscow, north and south. Wangbasiji will lead the one taking northern route, Zhuluonuofu will lead the southern route. These two routes, how are they?”
Poyarkov said, “Taking the northern route, from here going west to Chita, pass through Wusiwude [Ulan-Ude?], around the southern end of Great Lake Baikal, westward pass through Tomsk, Omsk, and the other cities, to Moscow.”
Stepanov said, “Taking the southern route, at first we will take the same road, after Lake Baikal the roads separate, heading southwest pass through the place where the Kazakhs live, continue westward through Osk, Uralsk, and so on, to Moscow.”
Wei Xiaobao nodded. “That’s right, those are the routes. My gifts, letter, and the Chinese envoy to deliver it to the Princess, the two of you lead the way. Lead well, rewards, lots of reward. Lead not well, Chinese generals will lead the troops, chop your heads. Dismiss!”
After the two Luocha captains withdrew, Wei Xiaobao picked up the golden arrow banner of command and issued his order. One by one the Chinese great generals bowed to receive the order. Feodor did not understand what they were speaking, but he saw that all Chinese great generals who receive the order had vehement expression on their faces; they struck their own chest with their fist and raised their hand to the sky as if making an oath. Apparently they pledged to their Grand Marshal that whatever happened they would achieve great success. Some even ran their palm across their own neck, some pulled their dagger and made a motion of stabbing it to their own chest, while with their mouth they did not stop chanting, “Moscow, Moscow.” Presumably they were saying that if they fail to take down Moscow, they would commit suicide.
Wei Xiaobao rambled on for a while. Four personal guards picked up a large map from the table, the map happened to face Feodor. He saw Wei Xiaobao traced his finger on the map, from Nerchinsk all the way to the west, following a thick red line, stopping at a red circle. Although Feodor could not read any Chinese character on the map, by looking at the bearing, he knew that the red circle represented Moscow. Wei Xiaobao rambled on again, his finger traced another line to Moscow. Feodor thought, “These Chinese barbarians are really vile; turns out they have thought through deliberately and methodically, they have long been prepared to attack Moscow.
Wei Xiaobao went on to say something, he repeatedly mentioned the name ‘Feodor’. When the generals heard him, they all roared in laughter. Feodor said in his heart, “You must be laughing at me, calling me an idiot; you are fooling me to negotiate the boundary, stalling me here for days, while surreptitiously you send troops to attack Moscow. Humph, I will not fall into your trick anymore.”
Slowly he stood up, thinking, “God bless me, He lets me discover Chinese barbarians’ big crafty scheme. It is clear that God shows concern for my Russian Empire, the fate of our nation will definitely be prosperous and grand. In any case, he is going to release me tomorrow, there is no need for me to take risks by running away tonight.”
He saw on the west side the patrolling soldiers come and go unendingly, but the east side was pitch-black and no one was in sight. Quietly he returned to his tent. Luckily the Qing troops did not see him at all. When he reached his tent, he saw that the three guards were still asleep; thereupon he entered his tent and went to sleep.
The next morning Feodor ate a sumptuous breakfast before following a personal guard back to the command tent. Wei Xiaobao laughed and asked, “Did Hojue Daren sleep well last night?”
“Humph,” Feodor said, “Your guards guarding me thoughtfully, naturally I slept very well.”
“Today you are not angry anymore?” Wei Xiaobao asked, “Are we going to talk about the terms in defining the boundary?”
Feodor did not reply. He took a handkerchief from his pocket and wrapped it around his mouth. Wei Xiaobao was enraged; he shouted, “You are so stubborn. I will kill you immediately.”
Feodor was not afraid at all; he thought, “You already decided to release me today, why putting on airs? Who’s afraid of you?”
Wei Xiaobao threw a tantrum, but seeing Feodor did not budge, he was helpless. He had no choice but to say, “Very well! You are so brave, I admire you. I will let you go. Go back and rest well. After ten days, we will select another place to negotiate the boundary.”
Feodor thought, “You desperately want to delay, I am afraid by this time the troops to sneak attack Moscow have already left. I must not fall into your trick.” He said, “You let me go, then I thank you very much. To express our good faith, I propose we continue the negotiation in the afternoon today, no need to wait ten days.”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “There is no rush, we all can rest first and slowly reconvene later.”
Feodor said, “Both countries’ sovereigns are hoping that the negotiation will succeed sooner rather than later. We can sign the treaty on the border definition first, taking a rest later will not be too late.”
“Our Emperor is not in a hurry,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “Let’s continue the talk in five days.”
Feodor shook his head and said, “No need to delay, let’s do it today.”
“How about three days?” Wei Xiaobao asked.
“No, today!” Feodor replied.
“Tomorrow?” Wei Xiaobao asked.
“Today!” Feodor replied.
Wei Xiaobao sighed and said, “You are so resolute, I have no choice but to give up. But I must warn you, when talking about drawing the borders, I will definitely not budge casually. We will haggle one foot by one foot, one inch by one inch.”
Feodor thought, “Drawing the national boundary you want to haggle every foot every inch, by the time this matter is settled, you already breach Moscow’s city wall. You still think I am such a silly big melon?” Immediately he stood up and said, “In that case the humble one will take my leave, thank you for Gongjue Daren’s food and drink.”
Wei Xiaobao walked him out the tent. He dispatched a team of rattan shield troops to escort Feodor back to Nerchinsk, but he did not release the two hundred sixty Cossack cavalry.
When Feodor was outside the tent, he saw the place where the army camp was standing yesterday was absolutely empty, the main forces of the Qing army have already struck the camp and left. He was secretly fearful, “Chinese barbarians say something and immediately do it, indeed they are very formidable.”
When the group reached the tent where they had the talk the previous day, they saw the three Cossack captains were still standing at the same place, even their posture was still exactly the same as yesterday, they did not move at all. A thin and small officer leaped out from among the Qing troops. The officer went to the three captains while chanting loudly, “Genghis Khan, Genghis Khan!” and then patted and kneaded several places on the three men’s body. The three captains were then able to move slowly. It’s just that after standing half a day and one full night, they were extremely exhausted, their legs were numb, they dropped sitting down on the ground.
Six rattan shield troops stepped forward to help them up. After walking a dozen zhang or so, the three captains were able to walk by themselves. Feodor was even more astonished, “The magic passed down by Genghis Khan is incomparably formidable, no wonder he was able to move unhindered throughout the world and nobody was able to stop him. Fortunately right now the firearm is already invented so that we can keep the enemy from getting too close. Otherwise, the Chinese pagans would rule the world again, we who believe in God, the Christians, would become their slaves.”
The rattan shield troops escorted Feodor to Nerchinsk’s eastern city gate before returning to their camp. Feodor asked the three Cossack captains on how they were hit by magic. The three captains all said that at that time they only felt the middle of their back and their waist went numb, and then their whole body stiffened and could not move.
Feodor asked, “Are you wearing crucifix on your body?” The three captains untied their jacket, exposing the crucifix hanging on their necks, one even had the image of Jesus on it.
Feodor knitted his brows; he mused, “Genghis Khan’s magic is really formidable, even Jesus Christ’ crucifix cannot dispel the demonic influence.” Immediately he wrote three memorials to the throne and sent fifteen cavalry to take three different routes toward Moscow to report an emergency: Chinese army already left to launch sneak attack, they disguised themselves as Tatar shepherds to sneak into the Capital, must increase vigilant to guard against the attack.
By noon, one after another the three teams of messengers returned to the city, saying that all the roads to the west have been blocked by Chinese troops; as soon as they saw Luocha cavalry, they shot arrows from a distance; it was really difficult to go through them. Feodor was even more worried, “I must reach an agreement with the Chinese barbarians on the border treaty, so that they would withdraw the troops and horses immediately.”
By the wei hour [between 1-3pm], Feodor took a dozen or so attendants and went to the tent where the meeting was being held. This time he did not bring any Cossack cavalry at all, in order to show his good intention. Besides, even if he brought bodyguards, they could not withstand Chinese troops’ ‘Genghis Khan Magic’ anyway, hence they would be useless. Feodor had profound scholarly knowledge, he was a capable and experienced minister; he was actually not a person who was prone to be deceived by others, but the fear of Genghis Khan in Luocha people’s heart was deep-rooted, Shuang’er’s acupoint sealing skill was utterly exquisite, he had seen it with his own eyes, hence he cannot not believe.
He arrived at the tent first. Not too long afterwards Wei Xiaobao, Songgotu, Tong Guogang and the other, the high-ranking Qing delegation also arrived. Seeing the opposite party did not bring any guards, Wei Xiaobao also ordered the escorting rattan shield troops to withdraw. Both parties spoke some polite greetings, nobody mentioned anything about what happened yesterday, they went straight into negotiating the boundary.
Feodor aimed for speedy negotiation, he conceded to everything, his manner was completely different from the previous day. Wei Xiaobao laughed in his heart, knowing that the Zhou Yu’s trick in the play ‘Meeting of Heroes’ last night was highly successful. He did not understand anything about defining boundaries, hence he handed this matter over to Songgotu with the assistance of the Dutch missionary as the interpreter, to discuss the terms of the treaty with the opposite side.
He saw the two men, Songgotu and Feodor spread out a large map on the table. Songgotu’s finger constantly moving to the north, Feodor knitted his brows, cun by cun his finger retreated to the north. For each cun the finger yielded on the map, a hundred or so li of land fell under the jurisdiction of China.
After listening for a while, Wei Xiaobao could not endure anymore; he sat on another table and ordered the attendant to fetch the food case. Sitting cross-legged, he slowly chewed the pastries and delicacies, while softly humming the song ‘eighteen touches’.
Feodor had made up his mind to yield, but Songgotu was afraid of getting into trouble, hence he refrained from going to the extremes. However, the wording of the treaty was thorough, the clergymen of both sides translated everything into Latin, they discussed everything over and over again, it was a very time-consuming process. By the evening of the fourth day, the ‘Treaty of Nerchinsk’ with six clauses was completed.
Wei Xiaobao had Songgotu and Tong Guogang explained everything to him, he knew the substance of the treaty was very favorable to China, the land that was taken back into China’s territory was extremely vast, far more than Kangxi had intended in his imperial order. The treaty was made into four copies, one in Chinese, one in Luocha language, and two in Latin, explicitly provided for both sides so that when the text in both sides’ languages had a substantial difference, the Latin copy would serve as the reference.
Immediately the attendants ground some ink and dipped the brush, and then respectfully invited the Chinese Chief Imperial Envoy to sign the treaty. Wei Xiaobao knew the three characters comprising his name, it’s just that he often confused the character ‘zhang’ [章 – chapter/section] with the character ‘Wei’ [韋 – his surname], and character ‘mai’ [賣 – sell] with character ‘Bao’ [寶 – treasure]; hence when the characters were mixed together he often made mistake. Albeit with difficulty, he could handle the character ‘Xiao’ [小 - small]; the other two characters in front and in the back [orig. ‘head and tail’], however, he simply could not write, no matter what.
In all his life he seldom blushed, but right now unexpectedly a cinnabar color appeared on his face. It was not from anger, he was not drunk of wine either, but because he was somewhat ashamed. Knowing Wei Xiaobao very well, Songgotu said, “This kind of official document only need to be signed in some symbol used in place of a signature. Wei Daren may randomly write the character ‘Xiao’, it can already be considered your signature.”
Wei Xiaobao was greatly delighted; he thought, “Writing the character ‘Xiao’, I am an expert.” Immediately he picked up the brush and started by drawing a circle on the left, another circle on the right, and one thick vertical bar straight down in the middle. Songgotu smiled and said, “That will do; you wrote it well.”
Wei Xiaobao cocked his head sideways to admire his ‘Xiao’ character. Suddenly he threw his head back and laughed aloud. “Grand Marshal Wei, what’s so funny?” Songgotu asked.
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Look at this character, one small bird and two eggs, doesn’t that look like that thing?”
The high-ranking ministers of the Qing side could not help bursting in laughter; even the attendants and personal guards were also laughing. Feodor just stared at them; he did not understand why everybody was laughing.
Right away Wei Xiaobao put his signature on the four copies of the treaty. On the Luocha copy, he made the straight vertical line extra thick. And then Feodor, Songgotu, and the Russian lieutenant envoy also signed the treaty. Thereupon the first treaty between China and Russia was completed and signed.
It was actually the first treaty China has ever signed with any foreign country. Due to Kangxi’s meticulous planning and preparation, and his all-out effort plus the very capable personnel he dispatched to handle this matter, the Treaty of Nerchinsk defining the boundaries between the two countries was highly advantageous to China. The treaty defined the northern Xing’an mountain range as the boundary; the whole modern day Soviet Union’s Amur province and the provinces bordering the sea belonged to China, as well as east and southeast regions all the way to the sea.
Foxs: Your plan is go back to the beginning and revised the earlier translations? I must really salute your appetite for punishment, it would be such a great service!
I really wtf this "Genghis Khan magic", it is ridiculously funny and appropriate in the wuxia setting. I guess it is another example why this is such a great work. Jinyong managed to mesh a boring political history tale into the world of jianghu and make it exciting and interesting.