Tian Di Hui's group meeting sounds an awful lot like my department meetings. A whole lot of talk, but nothing substantial gets accomplished
The novel has so much more detail than the tv adaptations. Thanks for keeping us so entertained, foxs.
Tian Di Hui's group meeting sounds an awful lot like my department meetings. A whole lot of talk, but nothing substantial gets accomplished
The novel has so much more detail than the tv adaptations. Thanks for keeping us so entertained, foxs.
Which is exactly the problem with Tian Di Hui
Wow I've been away for awhile and there's this much progress? Foxs you definitely rock!
Sorry for missing the train on the self introductions bit. I'm from southeast asia, malaysia specifically and in case no one else from this region has spoken up to like this novel well here I am (sorry, I skipped right to the end...).
Currently working with with a company that specializes in provision of IT services (call centres, datacentres, server farms and all that stuff). Spcnet has been blocked by the company firewall (damn you network admins ) so nowadays I gotta go home to check for updates.
In any case I've always found WXB to be an interesting piece of work (he's got all the hallmarks of your typical slacker lowlife yet still has a strain of goodness in him?) and was rather cheesed to see a number of adaptations giving him godly martial arts which I personally felt was not in keeping with the spirit of what JY wanted to portray at all. Oh well at least the mainland china version with huang xiao ming didn't go down this route so I enjoyed watching it (as in viewing, only understood 30-40% of the dialog and subs were in chinese, naturally ). I'm gonna watch it all over again once you're done translating Foxs so I can understand better and I'd probably be happy as pigs rolling in mud when that day comes!
Best cheers and well wishes from asia to you and your family and to everyone here, you guys are a good lot.
Smurf, I agree with Ace. Nobody from Qing's side witness the killing. Sky, you are welcome. Tweety, it happens everywhere ... Ali, did you agree with the 'meeting' part, or the 'entertainment' part? Morbiuz, welcome! Thanks for telling me your background. Perhaps you are not the only one in your company who access spcnet, thus the admin block it. Seriously, I do not see anything with spcnet that justifies it being a 'blocked' site. I mean, no porn, online games, no offensive language, etc. Perhaps you could talk to your admin?
Chapter 9 - Polishing and refining a rather slanted wall to its completion does not need the intensity that will break a qin into pieces.
(Translated by Foxs)
After three days, Wei Xiaobao reported to Kangxi that he wanted to go out to investigate the remnants of Oboi's defeated clique. Going alone, he headed toward the Fresh Water Well Alley on Dongcheng district of central Beijing. There was a wonton seller, with a pair of wonton pots on a carrying pole, stopping at about a dozen zhang away from the mouth of the alley. When the wonton seller saw Wei Xiaobao, he picked up the long bamboo wonton chopsticks and tapped it against the bamboo tube in which he stored his money. 'Tap, tap, tap', three times, paused, then 'tap, tap', twice, then 'tap, tap, tap', three times again. About several zhang away, there was a man with shoulder pole, selling blue radish. The man used the knife, with which he cut the radish, to tap his shoulder pole with the same rhythm.
Wei Xiaobao guessed that this must be Tian Di Hui's method of transmitting news, so he followed a hawker selling candied fruits dipped in sugar syrup on bamboo skewers entering the alley. They arrived in front of a jet black main gate of a building. There were three men squatting at the door, whitewashing the wall using lime. Seeing Wei Xiaobao, one of them nodded, then tapped the wall several times using the lime brush, the black door immediately opened. Wei Xiaobao walked into a courtyard and entered the main hall, and saw Chen Jinnan had already sat in the hall; immediately he rushed forward and kowtowed.
Chen Jinnan was very delighted, he said, "You are early; nothing's better than that. Originally I wanted to stay for several days to teach you martial art, but I received news yesterday that Fujian has an important matter that needs my immediate attention. This time I can only stay for a day."
In his heart, Wei Xiaobao was happy, "Since you don't have time to teach me martial art, when in the future my training is not good, that will be your problem, you can't blame me." But his face showed disappointment.
Chen Jinnan took a rather thin book from his bosom and said, "This is our school's basic instruction on internal energy cultivation. You must study hard every day." Opening the book, he showed every page had pictures of human figure training the internal energy, along with the mnemonic, which he taught to Wei Xiaobao. For the time being Wei Xiaobao was not able to comprehend completely, he merely memorized it carefully.
Chen Jinnan spent more than four hours explaining the entire set of internal energy cultivation technique; he said, "Our school's martial art puts upright heart and good faith first. You, on the other hand, has a heart like a frisky monkey and a mind like a cantering horse, so you are incompatible with our school martial art, training will be doubly difficult for you; you must especially diligent if you want to succeed. Just remember this: if during training your mind is agitated, your head dizzy and your eyes blur, you must stop immediately. You must calm down first, put your distracting thoughts in order, then you practice from the beginning again, otherwise you'll face a significant danger."
Wei Xiaobao gave his promise. He received the book and put it inside his pocket. Chen Jinnan asked in details the martial art Hai Tianfu taught him. After Wei Xiaobao demonstrating and explaining everything one by one, Chen Jinnan muttered to himself, "You are aware early on that these martial art skills are bogus, it will be completely useless against a real enemy. I just feel strange, why did Tatars' Empress Dowager also teach bogus martial art skill to the Tatars' young Emperor?"
Wei Xiaobao said, "The old wh0re is not the young emperor’s biological mother, moreover … moreover the old wh0re is not a good person, she is a greatly evil person.” He thought that the implication of the old wh0re killing the young emperor’s mother and so on would be too great, so he could not tell his Shifu about it; besides, this matter had nothing to do with his Shifu.
Chen Jinnan nodded. Then he inquired about Hai Tianfu’s character and behavior; he felt that this old eunuch’s conduct and deeds were enshrouded in secrecy. Wei Xiaobao talked for a while, suddenly ‘Wah!’ he broke into a bawl.
“Xiaobao,” Chen Jinnan gently asked, “What is it?”
Sobbing and sniffling, Wei Xiaobao told him about how Hai Tianfu secretly put poison in the soup. Finally he sobbed and said, “Shifu, the poison is incurable. After I am dead, the Green Wood Hall brothers won’t be able to use the old way again.”
“What old way?” Chen Jinnan asked.
Wei Xiaobao said, “Oboi killed Yin Xiangzhu, and I killed Oboi, so everybody wanted me to be the Green Wood Hall’s Xiangzhu. The old turtle Hai killed Wei Xiangzhu, the old wh0re killed the old turtle Hai, but everybody cannot ask the old wh0re to be the Green Wood Hall’s Xiangzhu.”
Chen Jinnan burst out laughing; attentively he checked Wei Xiaobao’s pulse and asked detailed questions about the pain on his lower abdomen. He reached out toward Wei Xiaobao’s lower abdomen and using his finger he pressed, sometime lightly, another time heavily, on the acupoints all around his lower abdomen. After muttering irresolutely to himself for half a day, he said, “Don’t be afraid! Maybe Hai Tianfu’s poison does not have any antidote in the world, but I can force the poison out using my internal energy.”
Wei Xiaobao was delighted, he repeatedly said, “Thank you very much Shifu!”
Chen Jinnan took him inside and had him lying on the bed. With his left hand he pressed the Shan Zhong acupoint on the pit of Wei Xiaobao’s stomach, with his right hand he pressed the Da Zhui acupoint on his back. After a while, Wei Xiaobao felt two streams of heat slowly flowed downward and around his stomach; his body felt am unspeakable comfort, he became drowsy and fell asleep. In his blurry state, he suddenly felt an unspeakable pain in his tummy. “Aiyo!” he cried out, and woke up. “Shifu!” he shouted, “I … I want to poop!”
Chen Jinnan led him out to the door of the latrine. Wei Xiaobao had just untied his pants when the excrement spurted straight out, the stench was really unbearable, followed by a lot of vomiting from his mouth.
Wei Xiaobao returned to his bedroom, his limbs felt weak and painful, he was barely able to stand up. Chen Jinnan smiled and said, “Good! Eighty, ninety percent of the poison in your system is out, the remaining is not dangerous anymore. Here I have twelve efficacious detoxifier pills; take it for twelve days, the remaining poison will be driven off completely from your body.” From his pocket he took out a small porcelain bottle and handed it over to Wei Xiaobao.
Wei Xiaobao received it with deep gratitude in his heart. “Shifu,” he said, “Do you still have some more pills for yourself? You give all to me, if you get poisoned …”
With a faint smile Chen Jinnan said, “If others think of poisoning me, it’s not going to be easy.”
The sky darkened, it was evening. Chen Jinnan told the servant to serve dinner, which he ate with Wei Xiaobao. Seeing they were only having four ordinary dishes, Wei Xiaobao thought, “Shifu is a great hero, but the way he eats is so casual.” Since he knew the poison inside his body had been repelled, his heart was free from worry; he ate and served his Shifu with smile on his face, he looked genuinely happy.
After dinner, Wei Xiaobao poured tea for his Shifu. Chen Jinnan took several sips, and then said, “Xiaobao, my wish for you is that you will be a good child. As soon as I have free time, I am coming back to Beijing to teach you martial art.”
“Yes,” Wei Xiaobao replied.
“Alright,” Chen Jinnan said, “You’d better return to the Palace now. The Tatars are very sly, although you are very smart, after all, you are very young; you must be very careful in everything.”
“Shifu,” Wei Xiaobao said, “I feel very stifled living in the Palace, when can I go roaming the Jianghu with you?”
Chen Jinnan stared at his face and said, “You must endure patiently for several more years, and set up several great merits for our Society. By that time … in several more years your voice will change, your facial hair will grow, then you can’t pretend to be an eunuch anymore. By that time you can get out of the Palace.”
Wei Xiaobao thought, “Whether I do good deeds or bad deeds in the Palace, none of you will know. If you are thinking of deposing me of the Xiangzhu position, it’s not going to be easy. In the future I will be a grown up, my martial art will have been trained well, perhaps by then you won’t want to depose me.” Thinking hither, he was happy. “Yes, yes,” he said, “Shifu, I am leaving.”
Chen Jinnan stood up; holding Wei Xiaobao’s hand he said, “Xiaobao, the Tatars have the situation under control, this great undertaking of fighting the Qing restoring the Ming is very difficult. In the Palace, you are in the face of danger at all times. You are such a young child, you haven’t learned any real ability, actually, I am quite worried over you. It’s just that since we already entered Tian Di Hui, ourselves do not belong to us anymore; as long as it is beneficial to our movement of fighting the Qing restoring the Ming, even if we fully aware there is a pit in front of us, we must still jump in. It’s a pity … it’s a pity that you cannot stay by my side often, so I can teach you well. I only hope that in the future you can spend more time with me. Right now our Society’s brethrens respect you because they are looking at my face, but I cannot look after you for a lifetime. In the future, whether people will respect you, whether they will look at you, it all depends on you.”
“Yes,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “Losing my face is not important, but I must not disgrace Shifu.”
Chen Jinnan shook his head, “You must never lose your face,” he said.
“Yes, yes,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “I lose Xiao Guizi’s face is alright. Xiao Guizi is a Tatar eunuch, so if we lose Xiao Guizi’s face, we are losing a Tatar’s face; then we are fighting the Qing restoring the Ming.” Chen Jinnan heaved a deep sigh; in all honesty he did not know how he was going to teach Wei Xiaobao.
Wei Xiaobao returned to the Palace and back to his room. Songgotu had handed him several dozens of banknotes, altogether there were four hundred sixty six thousand five hundred taels. Wei Xiaobao looked carefully at these bank notes over and over, in his heart he was very happy. What happened was: in order to curry Wei Xiaobao’s favor, Songgotu had originally promised him four hundred fifty thousand taels; after Oboi’s property was sold, the price was actually higher than the initial estimate by more than ten thousand taels.
Wei Xiaobao looked at the banknotes for quite a while before he put them away. Then fetching out the martial art book Chen Jinnan gave him, he followed the secret passed on to him by sitting cross-legged and started to practice. When looking at the print of numbers in silver and vermillion ink on the banknotes, his expression was beaming and buoyant, but as soon as he looked at the martial art theory, instantly his interest waned, much less from among hundreds of characters written on the book, he did not recognize even a single one. After practicing for less than an hour he felt his mind blurry and his eyes tired; he dropped onto his bed and fell asleep immediately.
When he woke up the next morning, he went straight to the Study Room to wait on the Emperor. Upon returning to his room, he practiced again; but before long he unexpectedly fell asleep again. The martial art Chen Jinnan taught him was extremely not easy to learn; without an enormous willpower, it would be hard for him to pass the first obstacle. Wei Xiaobao was intelligent and astute, but he lacked the willpower to do anything. As soon as he sat and started to practice, he felt the difficulty was incomparable; he became drowsy and wanted to sleep.
By the time he awoke, it was already in the middle of the night. He thought, “Shifu told me to practice, but his martial art is extremely tedious. But if I goof off and do not practice, next time I see Shifu and he ask me, he would find out I do not make the least bit of progress, and then he would be greatly dissatisfied. Perhaps he would even strip me of my Green Wood Hall Xiangzhu position.”
He got up, picked up the book and looked again, then sat cross-legged and practiced according to the theory. Before long, his eyes grew very heavy again; he was unable to resist his desire to sleep. “They have planned to tear down the bridge after crossing the river anyway,” he thought, “It doesn’t matter if I am a great bridge of blue stone slab, or a rotten wood log bridge, they will still tear it apart. It doesn’t matter if I practice martial art or not.” Since he had found an excuse not to train, his heart was relieved; hence he dropped his head and fell asleep, snoring loudly.
Since he did not have to practice martial art, he passed his days freely and leisurely. When the twelve pills were gone, the pain in his lower abdomen had also disappeared. During the day he would wait on Kangxi at the Upper Study Room for several hours, and whenever he was free, he would throw the dice with the Wen brothers and the others. Presently he was a rich and powerful person with wealth of several hundred thousand taels, hence he did not need to cheat in throwing the dice; however, gambling against these ‘cattle’, he would feel an unspeakable discomfort if he did not cheat. Naturally the Wen brothers, Ping Wei, Lao Wu, and the others owed him more and more money. Lucky for them that Wei Xiaobao had never demanded payment, plus Hai Tianfu was no longer alive, so that even though the Wen brothers and the others were heavily in debt, they were not too worried.
As for the business of the Catering Department, he had his subordinate eunuchs doing the work. Each month on the second and sixteenth days the eunuch manager would deliver four hundred taels to Wei Xiaobao’s room. At this time Songgotu had already distributed several tens of thousands taels on Wei Xiaobao’s behalf to the imperial concubines, eunuchs with authority, and the imperial bodyguards all over the Palace. Wei Xiaobao’s face, as well as the fact that he was Kangxi’s favorite, was already well-known. In the last several months, he had quite a reputation within the Palace, everybody who met him would smile and greet him.
 Lit. ‘mutton’ and ‘big spine’, respectively. If you want to know more about acupoints, I remember wuxiapedia has some explanations, written by Huang Yushi.
I don’t remember Chen Jinnan in any adaptations bursting out in laughter before. He is always portrayed as being very stern, but kind to WXB. At the most, he only smiled. I like the Chen Jinnan in the novel better. Shows he has a good sense of humor.
Thanks for the update foxs. I can't believe you're already up to Ch 9! You'll be done with novel in no time!
Yeah, didn't imagine would Chen Jinnan burst out laughing.
But wait. Kangxi's martial arts was fake? I thought only Hai Tianfu taught WXB fake martial arts, it didn't say anything about Kangxi learning fake martial arts, only that he learnt Wudang martial arts instead of Snake Island.
Thanks Foxs! Loving the story so far, and I can see why everyone loves it so much. Can't wait for the next segment.
Tweety, Banh Mi, believe me, he did ... Here is the original: 陈近南哈哈一笑. To answer Banh Mi's question, my understanding is that what Kangxi learned was just the motion, sure he could use it against WXB, but it was no different than Manchurian wrestling he learned from his imperial bodyguards. Compare it with 'true' martial art Chen Jinnan wanted WXB to learn; it started with internal energy cultivation. Sky, it took a professional 3 years to release one book (according to amazon.com, 1997, 2000 and 2003) ... Go figure what an amateur would do ... JoeLee and Ace, thanks for your comments.
The autumn passed, the winter came, each day the weather was growing colder. This Wei Xiaobao went down from the Upper Study Room, when he suddenly remembered, “Shifu says that if I have something, I should go to the Heavenly Bridge and contact the plaster seller, Old Xu. Although I don’t have anything in particular, there is no harm in exchanging those secret dialogue, those 'The earth shakes high mound, a mountain creek is elegant for all eternity, the gate faces the ocean, the three rivers and the water will flow for ten thousand years'; it would be fun. Hey, you want three taels of gold and three taels of silver for this plaster, that’s too expensive! Will you sell it for five taels of gold and five taels of silver? Ha ha, ha ha …!”
He went out of the Palace gate and wandered around along the streets. Passing in front of a teahouse, he saw a storyteller was doing his presentation, so he strolled in and sat down to enjoy a pot of tea. The storyteller was narrating the ‘Heroic Deed Commentaries’, the part where Zhu Yuanzhang was having the great battle on Lake Poyang against Chen Youliang; how Zhou Dian carried Zhu Yuanzhang to another boat, how Chen Youliang’s battleship bombarded the ship Zhu Yuanzhang was originally riding and blew it up. Wei Xiaobao was very familiar with this story since he had heard it before, plus the storyteller’s rendition was not very good. Nevertheless, once he sat down, he was listening to the story for the most part of an hour. Strolling to the east and visiting the west, it was already dark, he did not get to visit the Heavenly Bridge that day.
The second day and the third day he did not go out at all. Every night just before bed he would promise himself, that the next day he would see that Old Xu. However, he would spend the next day either gambling, listening to the storytellers, or just wandering around the street recklessly wasting his money. These days he simply lived his free and unrestrained, merry life in the Palace. Being a court eunuch was definitely a lot more agreeable to him than being a Tian Di Hui’s Xiangzhu or Chouzhu. He knew this thought was utterly lack of prospect, so he did not dare to indulge in this thought too often. Occasionally he would remember but he always consoled himself, “I do not have anything to report anyway, why should I see the Old Xu? If the secret leaks out, my losing my little life is unimportant, but Tian Di Hui’s great undertaking will be jeopardized.” And so more than a month was passed this way.
This day Wei Xiaobao went to the teahouse to listen to the ‘Heroic Deed Commentaries’ again. The teahouse proprietor knew he was a court eunuch from the Palace, and he always left quite a lot of tips, so the proprietor always reserved the best seat for him, and served him the most fragrant tea. By this time Wei Xiaobao was already used to have people fawning on him; although the teahouse proprietor’s special treatment was not strange to him, the flattering and respectful words were still quite enjoyable to hear.
The storyteller on the stage was narrating the story of the great general Xu Da went into war and completely routed the Tatars troops that they rush back to Mongolia. It was the national capital, there were quite a number of Manchus in the teahouse, naturally the storyteller did not dare to openly use the word ‘Tatars’, he only used the term Yuan troops and Yuan generals; yet he spoke with such a gusto that his spittle flew everywhere. Wei Xiaobao was listening with rapt attention. Suddenly someone said, “Excuse me!” and sat on the empty chair on Wei Xiaobao’s tea table. Wei Xiaobao frowned, he was somewhat impatient.
The man said quietly, “Xiao Ren have a very good medicinal plaster, which I want to sell to Gong-gong, would Gong-gong like to take a look?”
Wei Xiaobao turned his head around and saw a medicinal plaster on the table, half blue, half red; his heart was stirred. “What kind of plaster is this?” he asked.
The man replied, “This is medicinal plaster to get rid of virulent poison, to regain vision on both eyes.” Lowering his voice he said, “It has a name, it’s called ‘Go Qing Restore Ming’ plaster.”
Wei Xiaobao turned his attention to the man; he was around thirty years old, with thriving heroic spirit, not at all like the old man Xu his Shifu had described to him. He became suspicious, so he asked, “How much do you want for this medicinal plaster?”
“Three taels of silver and three taels of gold,” the man replied.
“Would you sell it for five taels of silver and five taels of gold?” Wei Xiaobao asked.
“Isn’t that a bit too expensive?” the man replied.
“Not expensive, not expensive,” Wei Xiaobao said, “As long as it can really get rid of clear poison and restore clarity, even if I have to work like an ox or a horse for you, it is not expensive at all.”
The man pushed the medicinal plaster toward Wei Xiaobao and said in low voice, “Gong-gong, please step aside to talk.” Finished speaking, he stood up and walked out of the teahouse. Wei Xiaobao tossed two-hundred wen worth coins on the table, took the medicinal plaster, and walked out.
The man was waiting outside the teahouse; he walked toward the east, turned into an alley, and stopped. “The earth shakes high mound, a mountain creek is elegant for all eternity,” he said.
Wei Xiaobao said, “The gate faces the ocean, the three rivers and the water will flow for ten thousand years.” Without waiting for the man to reply, he asked him first, “Which hall by the red flower pavilion does Sire live?”
The man replied, “Xiongdi is from the Green Wood Hall.”
Wei Xiaobao asked, “How many fragrant incense sticks are burning in the hall?”
The man replied, “Three fragrant incense sticks!”
Wei Xiaobao nodded. He thought, “Your position is two levels below mine.”
The man cupped his fist and bowed, he said in a low voice, “Gege is the one burning five incense sticks in the Green Wood Hall, Wei Xiangzhu?”
“Exactly,” Wei Xiaobao replied; in his heart he said, “You are much older than I am, but you call me Gege; it’s really pleasant to hear, but why don’t you call me Yeye or Shushu?”
The man said, “Xiongdi is surnamed Gao, called Yanchao, I am Wei Xiangzhu’s subordinate. I have long heard about Xiangzhu’s illustrious name, today we can meet, it is indeed my great fortune.”
Inwardly, Wei Xiaobao was very happy, he laughed and said, “Gao Dage is too kind. We all are brothers, there is no need to be polite.”
Gao Yanchao said, “There is a Dage by the surname Xu in our Hall who sells medicine at the Heavenly Bridge. Today he was beaten and is seriously injured; I came with a specific purpose to inform Wei Xiangzhu.”
Wei Xiaobao was shocked; he said, “I was busy in the Palace these days, I haven’t had time to go look for him. How is his injury? Who beat him?”
“This is not a convenient place for a detailed report,” Gao Yanchao said, “Would Wei Xiangzhu please come with me?” Wei Xiaobao nodded.
Passing through seven, eight streets, they reached an alley, where Gao Yanchao entered a drug store. Wei Xiaobao noticed the board above the door had five characters on it, but naturally he did not recognize even a single one, yet he did not need to examine the board carefully, presumably it was the name of the drug store; he simply followed Gao Yanchao into the store.
Behind the counter sat a fat shopkeeper. Gao Yanchao went up to him and whispered something into his ear. The fat storekeeper repeatedly replied, “Yes, yes!” Standing up, he nodded to Wei Xiaobao and said, “Honorable guest wants to buy superior quality drug ingredients, please come in!” He directed Wei Xiaobao and Gao Yanchao toward the inner hall, passed through several doors, then leaned over to lift open a trap door on the floor, revealing a hole with stone steps leading down.
Wei Xiaobao saw the hole was pitch-black, his heart was full of suspicions, “Are these two really Tian Di Hui brothers? I am afraid they are a bit unreliable. If downstairs is a room to slaughter Wei Xiaobao, won’t it be terrible?” But Gao Yanchao was right behind him, he simply could not shrink back, so without any choice he had to follow the shopkeeper walked into the tunnel. Fortunately the tunnel was quite short; after walking only a dozen or so steps, the shopkeeper pushed open a plank door, from which came a lantern light.
Wei Xiaobao walked in. It was a small room about ten chi square, there were five men sitting in that room, plus a man lying on a low couch. With the addition of the three of them, there was barely enough room to turn around. Fortunately the shopkeeper withdrew immediately.
Gao Yanchao said, “Brothers, Wei Xiangzhu has arrived!”
The five men inside the room cheered together; they stood up and bowed to salute. The underground room was too small, they all crowded together. Wei Xiaobao cupped his fist to return the salute. He saw there was a Taoist priest among these people, whom he had met before, it was Priest Xuanzhen. Wei Xiaobao remembered that the priest had cracked a joke, telling Guan Anji to divorce his wife, the '100% real gold'. There was another man surnamed Fan, whom he also had met. Seeing these two familiar faces, Wei Xiaobao was relieved.
Gao Yanchao pointed to the man lying on the low couch and said, “Xu Dage is seriously injured, he is unable to get up to pay his respect.”
“You are too kind, you are too kind!” Wei Xiaobao said. He stepped forward to look at the man lying on the couch and saw that on his wrinkled face there was not the least bit trace of blood, his eyes were shut tight, his breathing was weak, and there were spots of blood on his white long beard. "I wonder who has injured Xu Dage?" he asked, "Is it ... is it the Tatars' eagle claws?"
Gao Yanchao shook his head, "It's not," he said, "It was people from Mu Palace of Yunnan."
Wei Xiaobao was startled, "Mu Palace of Yunnan?" he asked, "They ... they are on our side, aren't they?"
Gao Yanchao slowly shook his head and said, "Reporting to Xiangzhu Dage: Just now when Xu Dage was brought here into the Return Of Spring Drug Store, he spoke haltingly that two young men from the Mu Palace, both of them have the surname of Bai ..."
"Surname Bai?" Wei Xiaobao said, "Aren't they the descendant of four great generals of the Mu Palace?"
"Most likely," Gao Yanchao replied, "Probably they are Bai Hansong and Bai Hanfeng brothers, the so-called 'Twin Tree of the Bai Clan'."
"A pair of rotten woods," Wei Xiaobao muttered to himself, "What's so special about that?"
Gao Yanchao said, "From what Xu Dage was saying, they had a dispute over supporting Tang or supporting Gui, the more they talked, the more heated the argument, finally a fight broke. It was hard for Xu Dage's pair of fists to match four hands, hence he suffered a serious injury."
"Two against one, it was not the conduct of a hero or a warrior," Wei Xiaobao said, "What do you mean by Tang and Gui? Could it be ... could it be ..." He thought that 'supporting Gui' might mean they were supporting him, Xiao Guizi, but then he thought it was unlikely, so he did not say anything.
Gao Yanchao said, "The Mu Palace are King Gui's followers, we Tian Di Hui are the subordinates of the King Tang, the Son of Heaven of the past. Xu Dage must have been arguing with them over the successor of the throne to such an extent as the argument turned into a fight."
Wei Xiaobao still did not understand, "What King Gui's followers, King Tang's subordinates?"
Gao Yanchao said, "King Gui is not the rightful emperor ordained by heaven, our King Tang is the true heir of the Son of Heaven."
Priest Xuanzhen understood Wei Xiaobao's background; he knew the amount of information in Wei Xiaobao's belly was limited, so he chimed in, "Wei Xiangzhu, when Li Zicheng broke into the Beijing, he hounded Emperor Chongzhen to his death. Wu Sangui was leading the Qing troops enter the pass and occupy our beautiful rivers and mountains. One after another loyal ministers and patriots across the country endorsed the descendant of Taizu Huangdi as the King. First it was King Fu who became the Emperor in Nanjing. Afterwards King Fu was harmed by the Tatars, our King Tang became the Emperor in Fujian; he was the one to whom Koxinga, the Zheng family, gave their allegiance to, naturally he was the true heir of the Son of Heaven. Who would have thought that another group of people in Guangxi and Yunnan was endorsing King Gui as the Son of Heaven, and yet another group of people in Zhejiang was endorsing King Lu to be the Emperor. All of them were phony sons of heaven."
Wei Xiaobao nodded and said, "The sky cannot have two suns, the people cannot have two masters. If King Tang has become the Emperor, King Gui and King Lu cannot be the Emperor."
 Lit. ‘little/lowly person’, usually used to refer to self in front of a government official, which was addressed as ‘Da Ren’ [big/great man].
 ‘older brother’ – used in a more intimate way.
 Paternal grandmother and younger uncle, respectively.
 The names Hansong and Hanfeng literally mean 'cold pine' and 'cold maple', respectively.
Last edited by foxs; 10-28-10 at 02:58 PM.
Thanks for the update foxs. If you wanted to, I'm sure you can be a professional translator as well. You've been translating in this forum for a long time and I personally think all your works are great. Maybe someday you can publish some of your translated works so more people will be able to enjoy these great stories.
These members of the Tian Di Hui are really annoying me. They haven't accomplished anything yet and already they're fighting who should be the rightful king. No wonder they can never get anything done! Outer strife is not yet quenched but they're already killing each other internally. Idiots!
Whether modern time or ancient time, it's damn good to be a billionaire
Since JY wanted to keep the story faithful to history, TDH can't be too outstanding. Otherwise, their mission would have succeeded.
Thanks for the update, foxs.
Sky, thanks for the kind words. I am not conceited, I know my own ability (or rather, inability); I am not qualified to be a professional translator. The reason I am doing this is: 1. I love wuxia, 2. There is a serious shortage of wuxia translators, so this work (as well as my other works) is just to fill the gap. IF (a big IF here) someday a professional translator publish any of the stories I already translated, I would gladly take it off the web and I even buy his/her books. Ace and Tweety, when talking about 'power' (and sometimes 'money'), internal strife will always be there. But if I remember correctly, Tian Di Hui was indeed the precursor of modern day's triads, so in a way the society itself survived.
"That's right," Gao Yanchao said, "What Wei Xiangzhu said is very true!"
Priest Xuanzhen said, "But the people of Guangxi and Zhejiang seek after riches and honor, in their strive they say that whoever gets their support is the true heir of the rightful emperor, so everybody has been fighting violently." He sighed, and then continued, "Later on, King Tang, King Lu and King Gui met disaster one after another. Over the last several years, the Jianghu heroes do not forget the Ming household, separately they try to find the descendants of these three kings, and regarded them as their masters, while continuing the great undertaking of fighting the Qing restoring the Ming. King Gui's followers supported King Gui's descendants, King Lu's followers supported King Lu's descendants; they are called the Gui faction and the Lu faction; to them, we, Tian Di Hui are known as the Tang faction. All three factions, Tang, Gui, and Lu are fighting the Qing to restore the Ming. But only our Tian Di Hui is legitimate, those Gui and Lu factions are simply usurping the throne."
Wei Xiaobao nodded. "I understand," he said, "Those people from the Mu Palace belong to the Gui faction, right?"
"Exactly," Priest Xuanzhen said, "For the least dozen of year, the people from these three factions are continuously fighting each other."
Wei Xiaobao recalled that day on the road north of Jiangsu they came across someone from Mu Palace, who was very arrogant and rude. That man's surname was also Bai, he wondered if he had any relation with these two rotten woods. At that time he saw how scared Mao Shiba was, so early on he was dissatisfied toward the Bai family. He said, "Since King Tang was already made the heir of the throne, they should not vie for it anymore. I heard Mu Gongye was a very good man, I am afraid after the Senior returned to heaven, the people under his command were creating all these disturbance."
Everybody in that underground room said together, "Wei Xiangzhu is absolutely right."
Priest Xuanzhen said, "The warriors of Jianghu look at Mu Tianbo, Mu Gongye's display of utter loyalty to his death that whenever we come across people from the Mu Palace we yield for 30% to them. Thus, even any cat and dog from Mu Palace are all arrogant and conceited. You won't find a better man than our Xu Dage, formerly he served under the rightful emperor King Tang; he is truly loyal and devoted, whenever the late emperor is mentioned, tears would flow from his eyes. It must be that the Mu Palace people were talking neither one thing or another and have insulted the late emperor. Otherwise, how could Xu Laoge fight with those Mu Palace people?"
Gao Yanchao said, "Just before noon Xu Dage came to his senses for a while, he wanted all the brothers to vent his anger. Presently, Wei Xiangzhu is the only Xiangzhu within the Zhili borders; according to our Society's rules, in important matter such as this, we must report clearly to Wei Xiangzhu before taking any action. It's not a big deal if we were dealing with Tatars' eagle claws, the more we kill Tatars and eagle claws the better, our brothers would gladly sacrifice ourselves for our Society. But Mu Palace's reputation in Jianghu is so resounding, plus they are on our side. If we go to negotiate with them, we might end up waging a war with them. What will the consequences be, it is hard to say."
"Mmm," Wei Xiaobao mumbled noncommittally.
Gao Yanchao continued, "Xu Dage said that he has been waiting for Wei Xiangzhu's visit; he has been waiting for several months. Sometimes he saw Wei Xiangzhu on the street or in the market buying things, sometimes he saw you sitting in the teahouse listening to stories."
Wei Xiaobao's face blushed slightly. "So he has seen me," he said.
Gao Yanchao said, "Xu Dage said that according to Zongduozhu's order, if Wei Xiangzhu has anything has something he needed, he will go to look for him. Therefore, although Xu Dage has seen Wei Xiangzhu, he did not dare to come forward and introduce himself."
Wei Xiaobao nodded, he cast a glance toward the old man lying on the couch and mused, "Turns out this old fox has been following me in secret. He had early on seen me buying things and eating indiscriminately on the street, spending money recklessly. Damn it, someday he will see my Shifu and will definitely tell tales. It would be best if this old fox won't recover from his injury and die!"
"We talked about this, and had no choice but to ask Wei Xiangzhu's presence and preside over this matter," Priest Xuanzhen said.
Wei Xiaobao thought, "I am but a child, what matter can I possibly preside over?" But seeing these people were so respectful toward him, in his heart he could not help but feeling very proud of himself. When he first joined Tian Di Hui, besides his Shifu, the other nine Xiangzhu were all much senior than him. Presently, his position was the highest among these people, suddenly he felt his body was as light as a feather.
A thick and solid middle-aged man indignantly said, "We yield for 30% to the Mu Palace people, it is indeed out of deep respect toward Mu Gongye's loyalty and self-sacrifice for the country. Speaking about great undertaking of overthrowing the imperial court, perhaps our Koxinga was ten times better than Mu Wangye."
The one surnamed Fan, Fan Gang said, "I respect you five chi, you should respect me one zhang. When we are polite to them, how can they be more arrogant instead? If we do not sort this matter clearly, later on when Mu Palace step on our Tian Di Hui's head, we won't be able to stand up, how can we lift our head high when dealing with them?"
One said a word, the other said a sentence, everybody was very angry. Priest Xuanzhen said, "How to handle this matter, everybody must listen to Wei Xiangzhu's instruction." If he wanted Wei Xiaobao to imitate the dog and steal the chicken or swindle people, Wei Xiaobao would have come up with some ideas; but facing an important matter like this and his decision was expected, it would be the same as telling him to make a fool of himself on the spot. However, he was indeed a disciple of Chen Jinnan, one of the ten Xiangzhu of Tian Di Hui, within the whole region of Zhili, he was the leader of Tian Di Hui brethrens; that old man surnamed Xu and those other people were Green Wood Hall members, subordinates under his personal command. Immediately everybody’s eyes were on his face; he could not help but feeling embarrassed. “Hot piece mama,” he cursed in his heart, “What … what shall I do?”
In his embarrassment, he looked at their faces one by one, trying to look for a clue, perhaps he would find an idea. When his gaze met with that of the sturdy man, suddenly he saw the corners of the man’s mouth showed a faint smile, while his eyes revealed a sly look. This man was raising a clamor just a moment ago, his breast was filled with fury, how could he suddenly be happy? Thinking hard, he suddenly remembered, “Aiyo! Hot piece mama, this bunch of sons of a b1tch does not have good intentions; they want me to carry the rotten wood on my shoulder. They want to fight the Mu Palace people, but are afraid my Shifu would blame them, so they asked me to come and take the initiative for them.” The more he thought, the more he was convinced that he was right. “I am only a teenage child,” he mused, “Although I am the Xiangzhu, how can my idea really surpass theirs? They only want to make me their shield to block the arrow; it’s alright if nothing bad happens, but if thing goes bad, they would push the blame on my head, saying, ‘It was the Green Wood Hall Wei Xiangzhu who leads everybody to do it; Xiangzhu’s order, we did not dare not to obey.’ Humph, they want to find bones in the egg to depose me of my Xiangzhu position. I lead everybody to fight Mu Palace people, regardless of who wins who loses, it is indeed a very big bone. Alright, hot piece mama, laozi will not fall into this trick.”
He lowered his head, pretending to contemplate; after a while, he said, “Elder brothers, although Xiaodi is the Xiangzhu, it was because accidentally I killed Oboi, I do not have the least bit of talent, let alone any good plan. In my opinion, it is best if we ask Priest Xuanzhen offer an advice; certainly he is much wiser than me.” This move of his was called ‘pushing the boat with the current’, he wanted to push the rotten wood onto Priest Xuanzhen’s shoulder.
Priest Xuanzhen chuckled; turning toward Fan Gang he said, “Fan San Ge’s brain is a lot more brilliant than mine; what do you think?”
Fan Gang was a straightforward man; he said, “I’ll say there is no other way; we must find the surnamed Bai’s home, if they kowtow to Xu Dage and apologize, we’ll let all matters rest. Otherwise, humph, humph, perhaps we will be forced to use peaceful measures before using force.”
It was precisely what everybody had in their minds; its just that in Jianghu, the Mu Palace’s prestige was quite thriving, plus they were their compatriots in fighting the Qing to restore the Ming, so nobody was willing to be the first to propose the idea. As soon as Fan Gang said those words, several people immediately parroted, “Right! Right! Fan San Ge is right; naturally it will be best if we can avoid violence, otherwise our Tian Di Hui will be bullied by others. Could it be that when people beat us up like this we’ll just let it go?”
Wei Xiaobao turned to Priest Xuanzhen and the other man and said, “What do the two of you think?”
The man said, “This is called 'forced to climb the beam, we have no choice but to catch up'." Priest Xuanzhen smiled and nodded, but decline to make any comment.
Wei Xiaobao thought, "You don't want to speak, in the future you can deny any responsibility. I will definitely make you responsible." Thereupon he asked, "Priest Xuanzhen, you are thinking that Fan San Ge's idea is not too appropriate, aren't you?"
Priest Xuanzhen said, "It's not that it is inappropriate, it's just that everybody has to think it through; if we are going to fight the Mu Palace people, first, we must not lose, second, we cannot kill anybody. If someone get killed, this matter will turn very serious."
Fan Gang said, "So be it. But what if Xu Dage died because of his serious injury?" Priest Xuanzhen simply nodded again.
Wei Xiaobao said, "I am asking everybody to propose a plan. All Gege have a lot of knowledge and experience, you have eaten a lot more salt than the rice I ate, you have passed a lot of bridges than the road I walked, the idea you can think of will definitely a lot better than I can come up with."
Priest Xuanzhen cast a glance at him, he said indifferently, "Wei Xiangzhu is amazing!"
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, "Priest, you are not bad yourself."
They talked over this matter for a while, the basic idea was still according to Fan Gang's proposal, they asked Wei Xiaobao to lead them in finding the Mu Palace people's whereabouts and condemn them. They would all bring concealed weapons, but would try to exercise forbearance as much as possible, to have full control of the situation. It would be better if the Mu Palace people start the fight, then they would have the pretext of retaliation.
Priest Xuanzhen said, "There is no harm in us inviting several famous martial art masters in Beijing to come with us, we can ask them to be the witness, to avoid a rumor from spreading, saying that we, Tian Di Hui, are taking unfair advantage of other people. If right or wrong is unclear, I am afraid in the future Zongduozhu will blame us."
"That's wonderful," Wei Xiaobao happily said, "We need to invite those with high skill, the more the better." He recalled how at the restaurant along the way north of Jiangsu that man surnamed Bai from the Mu Palace threw chopsticks one by one and made Wu Sangui's men fell down on the ground, right now that scene was so vivid in his mind. If once again they do the 'blowing copper horn and crossing the river, shooting the elephants with rocket' trick, although within the city of Beijing they could not dispatch the elephant formation, but even with only mice formation, the Green Wood Hall's Wei Xiangzhu would not be able to escape unscathed. He was just thinking of making an excuse so he would not have to go, but had not found any idea; suddenly he heard Priest Xuanzhen's suggestion to invite renowned Beijing's martial art masters to come along, it was exactly what he was hoping for.
With a slight smile Priest Xuanzhen said, "We only invite those masters with respectable reputation, not to ask them to help us fighting; whether they have good martial art skill or not is secondary."
Gao Yanchao said, "Those with respectable reputation will most likely have high level of martial art skill." He was in support of Wei Xiaobao. Priest Xuanzhen nodded.
"Which martial art masters will we invite?" Fan Gang asked. They immediately discussed who they were going to ask to come along. The persons invited must have quite a reputation in Wulin, must have had no dealings with the authorities, and must have had somewhat favorable relationship with Tian Di Hui.
After this matter was decided, they were just about to separately invite the people, when all of a sudden the old man Xu groaned, "No ... no ... must not invite any outsiders."
Fan Gang said, "Xu Dage, did you say we must not invite any outsiders?"
The old man Xu said, "Wei Xiangzhu serves ... serves as a government official in the Palace, this ... this matter must not leak out. This ... this is a matter of ... a matter of life and death."
Hearing this, they all realized he was right. Wei Xiaobao was a court eunuch in the Palace, naturally it was under Zongduozhu's order, there must be a major secret scheme behind it. Once an outsider know about it, it would be difficult to prevent rumors from spreading.
 Lit. 'honorable (gentleman) master'.
 Old provincial territory during Ming and Qing dynasties, encompassing Beijing, Tianjin, most of Hebei, Henan, and part of Shandong.
 Third older brother.
I had no idea Tian Di Hui was the precursor of modern day triads. Well, that's a definite detour of the original goal .
TDH members are so scheming! Already trying to use WXB as a scapegoat