WXB really did come up with brilliant scheme to rescue Mao Shiba. I think it was a bad move to look for his Tin Di Hui brethren - who knows how many spies have infiltrated the group within the last 5 years especially after Chen Jinnan's death.
WXB really did come up with brilliant scheme to rescue Mao Shiba. I think it was a bad move to look for his Tin Di Hui brethren - who knows how many spies have infiltrated the group within the last 5 years especially after Chen Jinnan's death.
Almost at the end now. Exciting, but also sad...
What an awesome job you've been doing, foxs! All by yourself, you've carried the heavy weight of the entire translation.
Shuntian Fu (順天府) can be used to refer to either Shuntian Prefecture or the prefect’s office, or even the prefect himself.
Prefect of Shuntian Prefecture title was fǔyǐn (府尹) and of rank 3a.
Prefects of other prefectures such as Yangzhou and Huizhou title was zhīfǔ (知府) and of rank 4b.
I'm not sure whether JY used fǔyǐn or zhīfǔ for Prefect of Shuntian.
Last edited by Ace High; 03-01-13 at 12:44 AM.
You plant a garden and the flowers do not bloom, you poke a stick in the mud and it grows into a tree
Sablemagi, Anh, you are most welcome. Smurf, it was a loose end that WXB needed to tie up (or to be precise, Jin Yong needed to tie up, seeing it was nearing the end). Tweety, thank you ... you are one of my 'loyal cheer squad' ... Ace, thanks. It was Zhifu. Short update today, the end of Chapter 49. YAY!!!
The group of warriors huddled together and talked in low voices for a while. Li Lishi said, “Wei Xiangzhu, Zongduozhu was unfortunate and died under the crafty scoundrel’s hands. Tian Di Hui is like a dragon without a head, the brothers of the ten Halls have been in deliberation to elect a new Zongduozhu. We, the brothers of the Green Wood Hall, want to nominate you as the Zongduozhu. It’s just that we are afraid the other nine Halls’ brothers would not accept, or perhaps they would be suspicious. We all agree to ask you to set up a great merit.”
Wei Xiaobao shook his hand repeatedly. “I definitely don’t want to be Zongduozhu,” he said. But his curiosity was piqued; he asked, “I wonder what great merit you want me to accomplish?”
Li Lishi said, “The three feudatories rebellion have been crushed, Taiwan has fallen into the Tatars’ hands, in the north, Luocha people have been repelled by Wei Xiangzhu. Our great undertaking of fighting the Qing restoring the Ming has been increasingly more difficult.”
Wei Xiaobao sighed and said, “That’s right.” But in his heart he mused, “Since it is very difficult, let’s everybody just sit back, relax, and not doing fighting the Qing restoring the Ming.”
Li Lishi said, “Although the Tatar Emperor is young, he is very able and efficient, plus he is able to win the people’s hearts. The common people throughout the world gradually forget about the previous dynasty. If this situation drags on for several more years, I am afraid Tatars’ rivers and mountains will be more stable.”
Wei Xiaobao sighed again and said, “That’s right.” In his heart he said, “Xiao Xuanzi stabilizing the rivers and mountains, there is nothing bad about it.”
Li Lishi continued, “The Emperor dotes on and trusts Wei Xiangzhu very much, we all want to ask you to think of a plan, to bring the brothers into the Palace to assassinate the Emperor.”
Wei Xiaobao was greatly alarmed. “This … this is impossible,” he said in a trembling voice.
Fan Gang said, “May I ask Wei Xiangzhu, what’s the difficulty?”
Wei Xiaobao said, “There are too many Imperial Bodyguards in the Palace, and then there is Valiant Cavalry Brigade, Vanguard Battalion, Hu Jun [Protecting-Army] Battalion, Firearm Brigade, Jian Tui [Strong and Acute] Battalion, Tiger Spear Battalion, and so on, to protect the Emperor; it’s desperately serious. Just the Imperial Bodyguards alone, there are Yu Qian Shiwei [lit. Bodyguards in front of the Imperial], Gan Qing Men Shiwei [lit. Imperial Bodyguards in charge of Qing Gate], San Qi Shiwei [lit. Imperial Bodyguards of the Three Banners]. That day heroes like Shen Quan Wu Di [divine fist without equal] Gui Xinshu Laoyezi and the others still failed and met violent death, much less me? To assassinate His Majesty is difficult above difficult.”
Hearing he flatly refused, the crowd of warriors was displeased; plus the way he mentioned ‘His Majesty’, which showed that he had enough slave mentality, put an angry look on everybody’s face.
Fan Gang cast a glance toward the brethren and then said to Wei Xiaobao, “Wei Xiangzhu, assassinating the Tatar Emperor is without a doubt very difficult; however, we have you to take charge of the operation, so it’s not like we do not have any hope of success. We, brothers, who are going into the Palace, not a single one of us is hoping to come out alive, but whatever happens we will protect Wei Xiangzhu and keep you safe and sound. You have rendered not a few of great merits for our Society, among the tens of thousands brothers in our Society, in all honesty not a single one is as good as you. Tian Di Hui and the Tatars cannot live under the same sky. Hereafter the great undertaking of fighting the Qing restoring the Ming will rely solely on Wei Xiangzhu’s inspiration.”
Wei Xiaobao shook his head and said, “This matter I definitely don’t want to so. His Majesty wanted me to wipe out Tian Di Hui, I was unwilling, because I am holding up yi qi. Now all of you want me to assassinate the Emperor, I am also unwilling, because I am holding up yi qi still.”
Xuanzhen angrily said, “You are a Han, yet you are holding up yi qi for the Tatar Emperor; won’t that make you … make you a Han …” He was about to curse him the ‘Hanjian’ [traitor to China], two characters; but in the end he forced himself to hold back.
Fan Gang said, “This matter is extremely important. It’s hard for Wei Xiangzhu to agree immediately, that is very reasonable. Please give it a careful consideration and then give us your instruction.”
“Very well, very well,” Wei Xiaobao busily said, “I will think about it carefully, I will think about it carefully.”
Seeing that he was not being sincere at all, Xu Tianchuan said, “I hope Wei Xiangzhu will not forget the late Zongduozhu’s aspiration, you must not forget the terrible tragedy of our vanquished nation. We are Han people, we must never be Tatars’ slaves.”
“Right, right,” Wei Xiaobao said, “We must not forget that.”
The crowd of warriors knew that he was speaking without meaning it; they all fell silent.
Wei Xiaobao looked this way, and then he looked that way; finally he laughed and said, “Why are all Gege not talking?” The group of warriors stayed silent.
Wei Xiaobao felt extremely awkward; it was as if there were thorns and brambles on his back. He said, “In that case, let us part for the time being. I will go back and think about it carefully, and then I will discuss it with all Dage.” While saying that he stood up.
The crowd of warriors walked him off to the mouth of the alley, respectfully saluted him, and then took their leave.
Here’s the story...
During the Zheng Period of the Tang Dynasty (627-649), Wei Zheng was conferred by Emperor Tai Zong the titles of the Left Grand Councilor and Duke of the State of Zheng for his dedication and valuable service in founding the Tang Dynasty. Indeed Wei Zheng was a man of great integrity and did not seek corrupt pleasure as many officials did. Wei refused to take any concubines or forsake his first wife. He also rejected the life of privilege, wealth and luxury, which many lesser men had greedily embraced after their rise in the social hierarchy.
Emperor Tai Zong decided to test Wei Zheng’s fidelity. One day, after attending court, he invited Wei Zheng to stay behind and offered him some beautiful maidens to be his concubines. Wei immediately declined the offer. The emperor pressed his offer but Wei stuck to his position. During their conversation a third voice was heard, “Please Your Majesty, will you give me the concubines, since elder brother Wei does not want them?” pleaded Cheng Yao Jin, a boisterous general in the founding period. The Emperor was enraged by this insolence,and he curtly instructed Cheng to leave the court and to mind his own business.
Cheng was infuriated and rushed to the mansion of the Duke of Zheng to tell Madam Wei put on her court dress and went to see the Emperor with Cheng Yao Jin. She asked the Emperor to give her a reason as to why he should want to break up her happy and loving marriage. Madam Wei declared that if the emperor forced Duke of Zheng to adopt concubines, she would die. The Emperor responded, “Very well then, you shall have your way.” He then asked his eunuch to bring in a bottle of poisonous wine which he had mixed himself for Madam Wei to drink. Cheng Yao Jin feared that the Emperor would really poison her. He tried to divert Madam Wei’s fate and purposefully bumped into the eunuch carrying the bottle of poisoned wine which broke into pieces. Chen then replaced the broken bottle with a bottle of vinegar. The eunuch handed it to Madam Wei and she drank it in one gulp. She then waited to die but nothing happened, except for the strong acidic taste in her mouth. Cheng Yao Jin then remarked that it was remarkable Madam Wei could drink so much vinegar. The Emperor was as confused as Madam Wei and asked the eunuch to explain what was going on. The Emperor smiled at the antics but remarked that it was a shame to have wasted the “poisonous’ hundred flower juice he had personally prepared. Actually the Emperor did not really intend to poison Madam Wei, he was merely amused to see how far her love would go.
Cheng Yao Jin’s credulousness and replacement of the hundred flower juice with vinegar has become a story with meaning for many jealous lovers. Madam Wei’s faithful love was so strong that she would even drink poison to defend it. But over the generations it has become a vulgar adage which means being jealous of a rival in love.
You plant a garden and the flowers do not bloom, you poke a stick in the mud and it grows into a tree
You plant a garden and the flowers do not bloom, you poke a stick in the mud and it grows into a tree
I'm not sure but I believe that by meeting the tian di hui members XB is actually risking his and the lives of all the members. I suspect KX is not stupid and I smell that he actually expects XB to contact them.
If KX is able to plant a mole in the society, what makes XB so lax as not to expect that there can be more ?
Thanks Foxs... you're really up to date.
I suppose you really need a well earned rest....we just hope that the rest will not make you stop..heh heh heh.
BTW, any inkling what will be your next project ?
Once this is over, I suppose we'll part.....as I rarely view other pages in this site.
Ace, thanks for the story. I did not know it, I always thought that vinegar is sour, hence 'sour heart'. Crazee, nooooo ... why should we part? I still want to do translation, but I do not wish to announce publicly yet since I do not know my schedule for sure. Anh, you are welcome.
Chapter 50 – Fish hawk soared high in the clouds gallantly, eastern bean goose flew to the outer sky mysteriously.
(Translated by Foxs)
Wei Xiaobao returned to his mansion, he sat in the side room feeling depressed. By the afternoon, an imperial edict arrived, the Emperor was summoning him to the Palace. Wei Xiaobao went to the Upper Study Room and kowtowed. Kangxi asked, “Feng Xifan is suddenly missing, what is going on here?”
Wei Xiaobao was shocked; he thought, “Why ask me?” He said, “Reporting to His Majesty: the night Feng Xifan went missing, all along your servant was having fun with Duo Zongguan and the Imperial Bodyguards. Later on I heard Vanguard Battalion’s Tai Dutong was looking for Feng Xifan. I don’t know for a fact, but this Feng Xifan was then gone without a trace. These surrendering people from Taiwan are sneaky, their behavior is very strange, we don’t want them to conspire against the law in secret, let your servant investigate carefully.”
Kangxi smiled and said, “Very well, I give you the task of investigating this Feng Xifan’s whereabouts clearly, come back here in a few days to report. I promised the surrendering people of Taiwan that I will protect them thoroughly. This man suddenly disappeared mysteriously, if I cannot give a clear account, it would mean that I break my promise to the world.”
Cold sweats suddenly appeared on Wei Xiaobao’s forehead; he thought, “His Majesty is this serious, could it be that he knew I killed Feng Xifan?” Without any choice he responded, “Yes, yes.”
Kangxi asked further, “Earlier today you went to Yinxing [Ginkgo] Alley, was it fun?”
Wei Xiaobao was taken aback, “Yinxing Alley?” he asked. Immediately he recalled that at the mouth of the alley where Tian Di Hui warriors had their temporary lodging there were two big ginkgo trees; apparently that alley is called ‘Ginkgo Alley’. The Emperor even knew the name of the alley, what else could he conceal from him? This time the cold sweat appeared on Wei Xiaobao’s entire body, his legs went weak, he kneeled down at once, kowtowed and said, “Your Majesty can see clearly for ten thousand li. All in all, your servant is loyal to you.”
Kangxi sighed and said, “Those rebel thieves forced you to harm me, but you refused to comply no matter what. You are holding yi qi toward me very much; however … however, Xiao Guizi, in your whole life, will you always have your feet on two boats like this?”
Wei Xiaobao repeatedly kowtowed; he said, “Your Majesty please understand, becoming the Tian Di Hui Zongduozhu, your servant will never do. Your Majesty may set your hundred and twenty hearts at peace.”
Kangxi sighed again. Looking up, he stared blankly for half a day, and then slowly said, “I become the Emperor of China, although I am not as good as Yao Shun Yu Tang [See note 12, Chapter 14], I cherish common people, I strive for good governance. Among the emperors of the Ming Dynasty, which one was better than I am? Now three feudatories rebellion has been crushed, Taiwan has been taken over, Luocha country won’t dare to violate the border anymore, from now on the whole world at peace, common people live in peace and work happily. Tian Di Hui’s rebel thieves still determine to restore Zhu family’s Ming Dynasty, do you think under an emperor surnamed Zhu common people’s daily life will be better than today?”
In his heart Wei Xiaobao said, “This, I do not know.” He said, “Your servant heard Fengyang [county, Chuzhou, Anhui] flower-drum people sang about ‘ever since Zhu Emperor came out, there was scarcity nine out of ten years. Rich families sold their land, poor families sold their children.’ Right now the wind changes, the rain’s favorable, the country prospers, the people at peace, Your Majesty is raw bird fish soup [see ‘yao shun yu tang’ above], Zhu emperors were 108,000 li apart from you, even patting the horse’s bottom they would not be able to chase after you.”
Kangxi smiled slightly and said, “Stand up.” He also stood up and paced back and forth in the Upper Study Room. He said, “Fu Huang [father emperor] is a Manchu, but my birth mother Empress Xiao Kang was a Han army banner person, so I am half Han. I treat common people under the heavens equally, I have never treated Han people unfairly the slightest bit, why do they hate me that much, and determine to kill me?”
Wei Xiaobao said, “These rebels commit treason and heresy, they are totally muddleheaded, Your Majesty must not take them to heart.”
Kangxi shook his head, suddenly there was a depressed and lonely expression on his face. After quite a long time, he said, “There are good and bad Manchu people, there are also good and bad Han people. Bad people in the world are too many, we can’t kill them all, but to guide them back to the path of righteousness, I do not have that kind of ability. Ay, becoming an emperor is very difficult.” He stared at Wei Xiaobao for half a day before finally he said, “You may go!”
Wei Xiaobao kowtowed and took his leave. He felt his entire body was cold. Turned out just now he was so scared that his undergarment and underpants were soaked with cold sweats. It was not until he was out of the Palace that he took a deep breath. “There is a spy infiltrating Tian Di Hui,” he pondered, “We killed one Feng Jizhong, another one appeared in his place. Otherwise, how would he know that they wanted me to assassinate the Emperor? But I wonder who is this spy?”
Returning to his mansion, he sat down and pondered carefully, but he could not find any clue. He thought further, “His Majesty gave me the task of investigating Feng Xifan’s whereabouts, looking at His Majesty’s expression, he suspects that this is my doing, it’s just that he does not have any incriminating evidence. How am I going to fob him off in this matter? Just now at the Yinxing Alley Shuang’er mentioned how I swapped people at the execution ground to save Mao Dage’s life; fortunately I have not told her that I swapped him with Feng Xifan. Otherwise, this naïve girl would certainly blurt it out, and then the spy would report it to His Majesty. If my First-class Duke of Luding did not repeatedly demoted seventeen or twenty eight levels, my surname is surely not Wei.”
Thinking to the east, pondering to the west, he was deeply troubled. Prior to entering the service in the Palace, he and Kangxi could chat and laugh, the two of them were very happy. Now they all grew up, the Emperor was very imposing; Wei Xiaobao talked a lot of nonsense, he got so scared that he was not able to talk anymore. All these high-ranking positions, Great General Fuyuan, First-class Duke of Luding, are not fun to do anymore, not as interesting as when as a kid he became a little servant at Lovely Spring Courtyard; so free, unfettered and happy.
He thought, “Tian Di Hui brothers are forcing me to assassinate the Emperor, the Emperor is forcing me to wipe out Tian Di Hui. His Majesty said, ‘Xiao Guizi, in your whole life, will you always have your feet on two boats like this?’ His granny, Laozi won’t do it anymore! I won’t have anything to do with everything anymore!” As soon as these five characters ‘Laozi won’t do it anymore’ emerged in his heart, he felt unspeakably relax and at ease.
Taking dice from his pocket, he threw the dice on the table and shouted, “If I have to quit, let me throw a ‘hall full of red’ [i.e. success across the board]!” Four dice rolled around, three dice landed with red dots facing up, but the fourth die landed on six dots; nothing can be blacker than that. Actually, when he threw the dice, he already cheated, but still he was unsuccessful.
“Damn it!” he cursed. Picking up the dice, he threw several more times; it was not until the eighth throw that he managed to get all dice landed on red. He cheerfully said, “Turns out Laotianye [God] wants me to do seven things for His Majesty before I quit.” He mused, “I have accomplished seven things early on. Killing Oboi was the first, saving the Old Emperor was the second, blocking in front of His Majesty’s holy self on Mount Wutai was the third, rescuing the Empress Dowager was the fourth, contacting Mongolia and Tibet was the fifth, destroying Shen Long Jiao was the sixth, capturing Wu Yingxiong was the seventh, recommending Zhang Yong, Zhao Liangdong, and the others for service that they defeated Wu Sangui was the eighth, capturing Yakesa was the ninth … too many, too many. If I don’t count the small things, the big things must be exactly seven. No more, no less.” But this time he did not feel like thinking of which seven things could be considered big things. In short, “Laozi won’t do it anymore!”
“One, I won’t be government official; two, I won’t rebel. So what is Laozi going to do?” Thinking back and forth, he still thought that he was happiest back in Yangzhou. As soon as he thought about returning to Yangzhou, he could not help bursting with joy. “Guards!” he called loudly.
He ordered his personal guards to fetch food and wine. He drank alone while figuring out what he ought to do so that there would not be any future danger, that Kangxi could not send anybody to capture him, Tian Di Hui also could not pressure him to rebel. He thought that if he asked the Princess to come with him to Yangzhou, to spend her life in drinking and pleasure, she would definitely refuse. But if he wanted to open a brothel in Yangzhou, very likely Su Quan, Ah Ke, Fang Yi, Mu Jianping and Zeng Rou would not agree. “Alright,” he thought, “We’ll take it one step at a time. Laozi has several million taels of family property, not opening a brothel will not starve me to death; it’s just that I won’t have anything fun to do.”
During the family dinner at the mansion that night, the seven wives saw him smiling in high spirit, he talked cheerfully and wittily, totally different from his frowning and always on the edge these past several days; they all asked, “Why are you so cheerful?”
Wei Xiaobao smiled and said, “Mysteries of heaven must not be revealed.”
The Princess asked, “Did Huangdi Gege [emperor older brother] promote you again?”
Zeng Rou asked, “Did you win big in gambling?”
Shuang’er asked, “Tian Di Hui matter did not trouble you anymore?”
“Pei,” Ah Ke spat, “Most likely this fellow fancies some young lady and wants to take her as the eighth wife.”
Wei Xiaobao simply shook his head.
After all his wives had stopped asking questions, Wei Xiaobao said, “Originally I did not want to tell you, but you all insist on knowing; I have no choice but to tell you.”
The seven madames stopped whatever they were doing and listened attentively. With a serious expression Wei Xiaobao said, “I have become a high-ranking officer, become a Duke, but am unable to distinguish good from bad, it is indeed too inappropriate. Starting tomorrow, I am going to study literature, take the exam to be a zhuangyuan [top scorer in imperial exam] and enter the Hanlin Academy.”
The seven wives looked at each other, followed by all of them roared in laughter. Everybody knew that this husband of theirs could kill and burn, steal, rob and swindle; he could do anything in the world but one thing: he definitely could not study and learn to read.
Early morning the next day, Shun Tian Fu [see Chapter 49] came to pay a visit, saying that they received instruction from their superior and were informed that the Emperor appointed Duke Wei to investigate the missing of Earl of Zhongcheng Feng Xifan; therefore, they especially came to await instruction.
Frowning, Wei Xiaobao asked, “Your Shun Tian Fu yamen has captured criminals and obtained information a lot, what clue did you find these past few days?”
The prefectural magistrate replied, “Reporting to Gongye [duke]: Feng Bojue [Earl] went missing, the circumstances are very peculiar. Day after day lowly officer supervised, direct and led the operation, opened enquiries and secret search, but failed to obtain the slightest clue; indeed we are extremely anxious. Today we found out His Majesty issued special decree appointing Wei Gongye to be in charge, lowly officer is happier than obtaining promotion three levels in a row. Wei Gongye is our Dynasty’s number one brilliant and competent high-ranking minister, on the horseback you manage the army, down the horseback you manage the people; regardless how thorny the big problem that fell into Gongye’s hands, the bamboo will split upon contact with the knife’s edge [i.e. solved immediately]. To be able to work for Gongye in a case like this, truly my ancestors had accumulated a lot of merit. In lowly officer’s yamen, everybody is overjoyed, saying that this time we are very fortunate to take a shelter under the big tree’s shade. When Wei Gongye went into action, even Luocha demons were defeated and driven away in confusion, would we be afraid of not finding Feng Bojue’s whereabouts?”
Wei Xiaobao was aware that although the prefectural magistrate’s flattering words surged like the tide, everything he said was very pleasant to hear, in actuality he was pushing the responsibility on Wei Xiaobao’s shoulder. He thought, “I don’t know where that Feng Xifan’s body was hidden, tonight I must use the 'Corpse Transforming Powder' on it, don’t let it fall into other people’s hands. As long as there is no evidence, nobody can point fingers at me. I should have transformed the corpse early on, these past few days I have been to busy and did not expect this matter. But how am I going to explain it in His Majesty’s presence? His Majesty assigned me to do it. I, Xiao Guizi, am not bragging, but there is not a single mission I failed to accomplish.”
The prefectural magistrate continued, “Every day Madame Earl of Zhongcheng sends people to lowly officer’s yamen, and will not leave until they get an answer. Lowly officer really have a hard time dealing with them. Yesterday the Feng Mansion people came to report another case to the authorities, saying that one of Bojue’s concubines by the name of Lan Xiang [orchid fragrance] ran away with some stable boy; they stole quite a few of gold, silver and jewelry. If the Earl of Zhongcheng did not reappear, perhaps one by one all the concubines, maidservants and menservants in the house would leave and none would remain.”
“Humph,” Wei Xiaobao snorted, “I don’t know where this Feng Xifan is hiding, having fun with women. Send more people to search low-grade brothels everywhere. Perhaps he is dining, wining, whoring and gambling and forget to go home. His mistress eloped with another man, he deserves it.”
“Yes, yes,” the prefectural magistrate replied, “It is reasonable to say that if Feng Bojue is enjoying himself in the red-light district at Willow Lane, it has been many days, he ought to be home by now.”
“It’s hard to say,” Wei Xiaobao said, “That fellow Feng Xifan is an old pervert, he is not like Laoxiong here, who is an upright gentleman; if you stroll into a low-grade brothel, you will only visit for a day or half a night.”
With a forced laugh the prefectural magistrate hastily said, “Lowly officer does not dare, lowly officer does not dare.”
Just then Earl of Zhongcheng’s Madame Feng sent her brother to deliver eight kinds of gifts, saying they wanted to kowtow to Duke Wei, thanking Duke Wei for striving to investigate this case. Wei Xiaobao instructed his guards to stop the visitor, he did not wish to see them, and he did not wish to receive the gifts either.
 Fengyang flower-drum: folk art involving singing and dancing.
Thank you again as usual for the translation. Great job!
From the development of the story, I think Kangxi is intelligent enough to join the dots and know that Wei Xiaobao is behind Feng Xifan's disappearance. But I am not sure if that was a good idea to make WXB to investigate Feng's disappearance and at the same time telling him that he knew his involvement with Tian Di Hui. Maybe Kangxi was confident that would push WXB into a corner and nowhere to turn but to stay only loyal to him.
On the other hand, it would have been good that Kangxi continued to rule. If the Restoring the Ming movement was successful, not sure what would have happened to China then.
Thanks Foxs! Sad that WXB's adventures in the capital will come to an end soon but he's had a life richer than most.
I suppose for Kang Xi, the challenge continues until XB really surrenders and takes him alone as the boss.
Thanks Foxs, I suppose it's the last chapter. No I do not really liked Gulong's novels, I find them a bit too long winded...or maybe I do not really read them. However I liked the Xiao Yu er story......sorry my mind blanked out on the name...something "siblings"
Guess I'll re, re, re read the Jing Yong translations again....and maybe the LOTR again.....and who knows, I'll grow in love with Gulong if it's translated by Foxs....
Sorry.. I'm on the serious side....took my medication so not for niow not crazee......
WXB has many faults, but his loyalty to friends is never in question. Can't really blame Kang Xi for making him choose. They keep wanting to assassinate him. Sad to see WXB's adventures ending.
Thanks a bunch for taking us almost to the end, foxs. You definitely deserve a much needed break.
Eagle, Ace, that's true, at that time, there was really no one in charge, just look what happened during the warlords period. Anh, you are welcome. Smurf, isn't that so? I am willing to bet that he was actually richer than the Emperor (personally, not the country's riches). I will be retiring soon, too bad I don't have money like WXB. Crazee, I *might* translate Jin Yong again in the far future, but I really need to take a break from all these historical notes and poems and classical allusions ... those are really, really beyond me. You might want to persuade Ren Wo Xing to handle those difficult stories. Tweety, I can stretch the last chapter a bit longer if you like ...
The personal guard reported back, “Reporting to Daren: the man from Feng family is very rude, ever since he arrived he did not stop sneering, saying something like grievance will be recompensed, enmity will be avenged; saying that His Majesty is already aware of this matter, in the end it will be ‘as the water recedes, the rocks appear’, that other people must not think his hand will cover the heaven, concealing everything from the Enlightened Sage, the Son of Heaven. Reporting to Daren: this man has the audacity to come to our door and display shockingly bad behavior, Xiaode [lowly one] really wants to give him several slaps on the ear.” This personal guard also took part in swapping people at the execution ground the other day, hearing the Feng mansion people’s fierce speech, as if he already guessed the inside story, the guard could not help feeling nervous.
Wei Xiaobao also felt guilty as a thief; he could not stop his countenance from changing. He thought, “If they continued making noise like this, I am afraid the hanky-panky would be exposed. Your granny, Feng Xifan himself was killed by Laozi, could it be that Laozi is afraid of your, dead demon’s wife?”
Suddenly he thought of an idea, immediately his face was all smiles. He said to the prefectural magistrate, “There’s no hurry in your honor leaving now, please wait here for a moment.” Returning to the inner shall, he summoned the captain of his personal guards and gave him detailed instructions. The captain received the order and left.
Wei Xiaobao returned to the main hall and said, “His Majesty sends me to handle this matter, we as his servants must spare no effort to repay our holy lord. Let us go right now to the Feng house to have an on-site survey.”
The prefectural magistrate was startled; he thought, “Earl of Zhongcheng went missing, what is there to survey in his house?” Yet his mouth repeatedly agreed.
Wei Xiaobao said, “This case is very difficult, we need to interrogate Feng family people, from big to small, one by one, carefully. Perhaps we can find some prospect of solution.”
“Yes,” the prefectural magistrate replied, “Gongye’s opinion is very true. Lowly officer is stupid to the extreme, from beginning to end did not think of doing it.”
Actually, since he was a lowly prefectural magistrate, how could he dare to go to the Earl of Zhongcheng’s mansion and conduct comprehensive cross-examination? While at the same time, the people of Shun Tian Fu yamen, from top to bottom, knew that Feng Xifan was the Great General Fuyuan Duke Wei’s arch-enemy. This man disappeared, nine out of ten it was Duke Wei who sent people to kill him. Duke Wei was the most favorite person of the reigning sovereign, he held the seal of authority over the military, who would have the gall to grow hair on his side, have the guts to swat the fly on the tiger’s head? Therefore, in investigating this case, nobody was taking it seriously; they all hoped to stretch this case as long as possible until finally they could settle this matter by leaving it unsettled.
This moment the prefectural magistrate thought, “Wei Gongye murdered Feng Bojue, and still want to make things difficult for his family. That Madame Feng is really not being too tactful, she is sending people here to talk rubbish; no wonder Wei Gongye is angry.”
Accompanied by Shun Tian Fu prefectural magistrate and his people, Wei Xiaobao arrived at the Earl of Zhongcheng mansion in an eight-man big sedan chair. He saw the mansion was already surrounded by several hundred personal guards all around. Upon entering the mansion, the captain of the personal guards stepped forward to report, “Reporting to Daren: There are altogether 79 people in the Feng family, men and women; they are all waiting in the western hall to be questioned by Daren.” Wei Xiaobao nodded. The Captain added, “Reporting to Daren: the court of law is being held in the eastern hall.”
Wei Xiaobao went to the eastern hall, and saw the courtroom was duly prepared, with a judge’s desk arranged in the middle. Thereupon he took his seat, and ordered the prefectural magistrate to sit in the right-hand seat to accompany him.
The personal guards took a young woman in, approximately twenty-three or twenty-four years old, her appearance and demeanor was really not bad; delicately and gracefully she kneeled down before the Court. “Who are you?” Wei Xiaobao started the cross-examination.
The woman replied, “Humble woman is Bojue Daren’s fifth young concubine.”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Please sit down, please sit down; I do not dare to accept you kneeling down in front of me.”
The woman did not dare to stand up. Wei Xiaobao stood up and said with a laugh, “You won’t stand up, I will have to kneel down in front of you.” The women smiled sweetly and stood up. Wei Xiaobao sat back down.
The prefectural magistrate thought, “Wei Gongye does not treat the Feng family viciously, it’s just that his lecherousness is not too dignified.”
Wei Xiaobao asked, “What’s your name?”
The woman replied, “I am called Ju Fang [lit. chrysanthemum fragrance].”
Wei Xiaobao sniffed around a few times and said with a laugh, “Good name! No wonder as soon as you came in, there’s a whiff of chrysanthemum flower’s fragrance in here.”
Ju Fang also laughed and said in a tender voice, “Gongye is making fun of me.”
Wei Xiaobao shook his head while staring at her intently for half a day before asking, “I heard that a concubine has run away from your precious home?”
“That’s right,” Ju Fang replied, “She is called Lan Xiang. Humph, that s1ut has no sense of shame.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “Husband suddenly disappeared, she followed the second man. Um, that is quite understandable, not altogether … not altogether …” Turning to the prefectural magistrate he asked, “Not altogether what is it?”
The prefectural magistrate replied, “Reporting to Gongye: not altogether inexcusable.”
Wei Xiaobao laughed aloud; he said, “That’s it, not altogether inexcusable. Ju Fang Jiejie, why didn’t you run away?”
Hearing this, the prefectural magistrate frowned immediately; he mused, “This is more and more inappropriate; how could he use this appellation ‘Jiejie’ [older sister]?”
Ju Fang lowered her head. But she cast Wei Xiaobao a coquettish glance. Wei Xiaobao was greatly delighted; he felt as if he was visiting a low-grade brothel. He laughed and asked, “Can you sing ‘eight …’” the word was right at the tip of his tongue, but in the end he swallowed it back. Turning to his personal guards he ordered, “Reward this Miss Ju Fang twenty taels.”
Several personal guards responded in chorus; they called out, “Daren gives reward, thank him for the reward!”
Ju Fang was pleasantly surprise for the good fortune; she charmingly said, “Thank you very much Daye [big master]!” Turned out originally she was a prostitute in a brothel; as soon as someone gave her tip, out of habit she called him ‘Daye’ instead of ‘Gongye’.
Wei Xiaobao summoned the Feng family people one by one to be cross-examined, all females. The young and good-looking ones he questioned and cajoled a bit; the old and ugly ones he reprimanded a bit, saying that they did not serve the Earl well, to such an extent as to drive him out to find merriment outside and unwilling to go home.
When the questioning had been going on for almost an hour, the captain of his personal guards entered the hall and stood behind Wei Xiaobao. Wei Xiaobao continued giving two more people cursory questioning before he stood up and said, “We shall examine all places.” He took the prefectural magistrate, Shun Tian Fu (legal) clerk, special force chief [lit. ‘capture quick’], and his personal guards to examine each pavilion, hall, and room.
When they entered the third western side room, as usual the personal guards opened the trunks and turned the storage basket upside down to be searched. A personal guard suddenly cried out, “Ah!” and picked up a saber from underneath the trunk. The blade was stained with quite a bit of dried blood. Bending one knee in half-kneel posture he raised he saber with both hands and said, “Reporting to Daren: we found the murder weapon.”
“Um,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Continue the investigation.” Turning to the prefectural magistrate he said, “Laoxiong, please look at this. Is this stain really blood?”
The prefectural magistrate received the saber, brought it to his nose and sniffed a bit. Sure enough, it was still reeking of blood albeit faintly. “Reporting to Gongye,” he said, “It seems to be blood.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “There’s a hole on the head of this saber, what kind of saber is this?”
The Shun Tian Fu clerk examined the saber carefully and then said, “Reporting to Gongye: this is a lever-style guillotine to chop fodder, it is used mainly in stables.”
Wei Xiaobao nodded. “I see,” he said.
The captain of personal guards ordered his subordinates to get a bucket of water and sloshed it on the ground. “What are you doing?” Wei Xiaobao asked.
The captain replied, “Reporting to Daren: if there is any place that was dug, the soil is not solid, the water will seep quickly in.” Before he finished talking, they saw that under the bed the water quickly seeped into the soil. The personal guards cheered in chorus. They lifted up the bed, took pickaxe, hoe and shovel and digged the earth. Shortly afterwards, a body was dug out.
The corpse’s body was intact, but the head was missing. It was already rotten, obviously it had died many days. The body was wearing earl attire. As soon as the prefectural magistrate saw it, he exclaimed, “This … this is Feng Jueye!”
“Is it Feng Xifan?” Wei Xiaobao asked, “How do you know?”
“Yes, yes,” the prefectural magistrate said, “We must find the head, and then we can reach a verdict.” Turning his head he asked the special force captain by his side, “Whose room is this?”
The captain said, “Xiaoren will find out immediately.” He went to the western hall and called a Feng family member to be questioned. Turned out that room used to be the run away Lan Xiang’s room.
The captain returned and said, “Reporting to Gongye, reporting to Futai [inspector general] Daren: the murder weapon is the machete used to slice fodder in the barn, the one who took Lan Xiang along with a bundle of valuables and ran away was this mansion’s stable hand Xing Si [lit. ‘Xing the fourth’]. Let Xiaoren go to the stable and investigate.”
Everybody went to the stable to search. As expected, from underneath the trough they dug out a head. They asked Madame Feng to identify the corpse; there was no doubt that it was Feng Xifan. Immediately the coroner tested and determined: Feng Xifan was wounded with the saber, his body and head were separated and he died.
By this time the Feng mansion people had been released from the western hall, the cries of grief in the mansion shook the heavens, everybody cursed Xing Si and Lan Xiang as heartless for killing their master. The news spread out; in less than half day, the city of Beijing was bubbling and gurgling, everybody was talking about this matter.
The prefectural magistrate was both ashamed and grateful, thinking that were it not for Duke Wei rapidly solving the case, perhaps his own future prospect would be greatly hindered. He profusely expressed his gratitude, while issuing the order to capture the ‘fugitive who killed his master’, Xing Si and Lan Xiang, and composing the report to his superior.
Only the special force captain was suspicious; he noticed that the cut wound on the neck was neat, apparently it was cut by a sharp blade, it did not look like it was cut by a fodder machete. He also noticed that in both places, the soil in which the body and the head were buried was relatively fresh, obviously the holes were dug not too long ago; the holes did not look like they were dug more than ten days ago. But Duke Wei had helped him solve this major case, the reward he received was generous, the Feng mansion also rewarded him with quite a lot of money, asking him to wrap up the case as quickly as possible, so that close relatives of the Feng mansion would not make a fool of themselves in yamen. Even if he had gargantuan suspicion, how could he dare to expose even half a sentence? He could only pondered in his heart, “During the investigation in the Feng mansion, Wei Gongye’s personal guards were everywhere, nobody was allowed to move around, if they wanted to move corpse and plant evidence, it would be very easy. Forget about burying one corpse, even if they wanted to bury a hundred or eighty corpses, it’s not difficult at all.”
Wei Xiaobao took the Shun Tian Fu prefectural magistrate’s closing document and went to see Kangxi to report the details of the conclusion of this case. Kangxi smiled and said, “Xiao Guizi, your ability in solving a case is not bad, everybody praised you as the reincarnation of Bao Longtu [see note 9, Chapter 39].”
Wei Xiaobao said, “It was all due to Your Majesty’s flood of good fortune, your servant just happen to uncover a criminal plot.”
“Humph,” Kangxi snorted. He stared at Wei Xiaobao and coldly said, “Grafting flowers onto a tree has nothing to do with my flood of good fortune.”
Wei Xiaobao jumped in fright; he thought, “How did His Majesty know?” But he immediately understood, “Of course, it is only natural that His Majesty has a secret agent within my personal guards.”
He was still thinking of how to respond when Kangxi sighed and said, “The case is closed this way, it’s also very good, so that there won’t be any criticism from the people outside. It’s just that you have brazenly taken rash action, I really don’t know what to do with you.” Wei Xiaobao was relieved; he knew the Emperor spared his life this time. Immediately he kneeled down and kowtowed repeatedly.
Kangxi said, “Presently all four oceans are peaceful, there is no need of troop movement, your title of Great General Fuyuan may be removed.”
“Yes, yes,” Wei Xiaobao said. He knew that the Emperor was punishing him for acting willfully and making a scene; he added, “Your servant’s First-class Duke of Luding may also be degraded.”
“Alright,” Kangxi said, “I demote you to be a second-class duke.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “Your servant made a lot of trouble, my heart is uneasy, would Your Majesty please degrade me to be a third-class duke.”
Kangxi burst into loud laughter. “Damn it,” he said, “I am surprised that your heart can be uneasy; the sun must be rising from the west.”
When Wei Xiaobao heard the three-character ‘tamade’, he knew the Emperor’s anger had subsided; he stood up and said, “Although your servant does not have too much conscience, I always have a little.”
Kangxi nodded and said, “Precisely it was because I saw that you still have a bit of conscience; otherwise, I would have chopped your head early on and bury it under your wives Ah Ke, Shuang’er’s bed.”
Wei Xiaobao anxiously said, “This must never happen.”
Kangxi asked, “What must never happen?”
Wei Xiaobao said, “Ah Ke and Shuang’er will never run away with the stable hand.”
Kangxi laughed and said, “They won’t run away with a stable hand, they might run away with …” Speaking to this point, he stopped talking; thinking that if this talk continued, inevitably it would turn frivolous and senseless. Besides, although Wei Xiaobao had disregard of the law and natural morality, after all is said and done, he was very loyal to him. A ruler and his minister may chat and laugh with each other, but must not bring dishonor upon himself. Momentarily at a loss of what to say, Kangxi decided to ignore him. Lowering his head, he flipped through the memorial on his desk.
Wei Xiaobao stood on the side with hands hung down. He saw Kangxi’s brows were slightly knitted, he looked to be in deep concern. Wei Xiaobao thought, “Oftentimes His Majesty is not happy. Although being the Emperor one has an awesome prestige, it is not necessarily a fun thing to do.”
Last edited by foxs; 03-06-13 at 09:47 PM.
The relationship between WXB and KX near the end is just so sad. I miss their younger days .
I don't really blame KX for making WXB investigate Feng's disappearance since he knew what happened. Feng's family was making a ruckus all over the capital and he granted the family protection under the crown for surrendering. The inevitable result would be either having an investigator who will bury the case at all costs or having one who will dare to reveal the truth at all costs. WXB is the only one who can bring up a resolution if a super crazy one without more heads being chopped or embarrassment to the crown.