Sky, good! Let me know when you are having a vacation here. Banh Mi, thanks for dropping by. Ace and CFT, thanks. That means I do not have to make any changes. I will incorporate Ace's additional info into the footnotes.
Seeing his bloodshot eyes, Kangxi asked, “Have you interrogated clearly the captured assassins?”
Dolong said, “Reporting to Your Majesty: altogether there are three revolting thieves that are captured alive. Your servant has interrogated them separately. At first they rigidly refused to speak, afterwards they could not endure the torture and confessed. As expected … as expected they are Ping Xi Wang … Ping Xi Wang Wu Sangui’s subordinates.”
Kangxi nodded. “Hmm,” he said.
Dolong continued, “The weapons those revolting thieves left behind have the inscription ‘Ping Xi Wang Palace’ engraved on them. On the undergarments of the killed revolting thieves, there are also the markings of Ping Xi Wang. We have conclusive proof that the revolting thieves who came to invade and harass the Palace last night were Wu Sangui’s subordinates. Even if Wu Sangui did not personally send them, he … he simply cannot escape the responsibility.”
Kangxi asked Songgotu, “Have you also investigated clearly?”
Songgotu said, “Your servant has examined the revolting thieves’ weapons and undergarments. Dolong Zongguan has recorded the revolting thieves’ confession; that is indeed their confession.”
“Go get those weapons and undergarments, I want to see,” Kangxi said.
“Yes,” Dolong complied. He knew that although the Emperor was young, he was very astute, plus this matter carried great responsibility, hence he had already prepared various exhibit packages, which he had his trusted aides, the Imperial Bodyguards, to carry as they waited outside the Upper Study Room. He stepped out and returned immediately; untying the cloth wrapper, he put everything on the table, then immediately took several steps back. The Manchurian Qing had fought hundreds of battles all over China, from the founding Emperor to the current one, all practiced martial art, and thus did not avoid weapons. However, inside the Study Room, for a government official to expose any weapon in front of the Emperor was still a taboo. Dolong was simply being careful; hence the reason he withdrew first.
Kangxi stepped forward, he picked up the sabers and swords and looked at them closely. He saw the inscription ‘Regional Commander Office of Shanhai Pass of The Great Ming’ on the saber’s hilt. He smiled slightly and said, “Trying to hide it makes it more conspicuous, no doubt something is not right. By deliberately lighting the fire to play trick, they actually raised other people’s suspicion.” Turning to Songgotu, he said, “If Wu Sangui was to send assassins to the Palace to rebel against his superior, he would have had deep plans and distant thoughts, his plan and preparation would be comprehensive, he knew such sabers and swords cannot be used, why would they want to carry weapons with inscriptions? How could they not know these sabers and swords could be lost in the Palace?”
“Yes, yes,” Songgotu said, “Holiness has seen it clearly, your servant admires it extremely.”
Kangxi turned toward Wei Xiaobao and asked, “Xiao Guizi, tell me, what moves did the revolting thief that you killed used?”
Wei Xiaobao replied, “He used the ‘sweeping away a thousand army’, and also 'high mountain flowing water' moves.”
Kangxi asked Dolong, “What kind of martial art are they?”
Although Dolong was a noble official of the Manchus, he had an extensive knowledge of various martial arts of different schools and sects; these ‘sweeping away a thousand army’ and 'high mountain flowing water' were not unfamiliar moves to him, he replied, “Reporting to Your Majesty: those are apparently former Ming Mu Palace of Yunnan’s martial art.”
Kangxi clapped his hands, “That’s right, that’s right,” he said, “Dolong, your knowledge is extensive.”
Dolong was elated by this favor from his superior, a thread of smile appeared on his face as he kneeled down and kowtowed. “Thank you for Your Majesty’s compliment,” he said.
“Think about it carefully,” Kangxi said, “If Wu Sangui sent people to the Palace to commit assassination, he could not have chosen the time when his son is in Beijing. Assassins can come at any time, why did he have to pick the time when his son is having an aundience with the Emperor? This is my first suspicion. Wu Sangui is adept at military strategy, the way he handled affairs is thorough. Sending these revolting thieves to do his work, the number of people was small, their martial art skill was not high, he should know it would be hard to succeed, why bother? This matter is incompatible with Wu Sangui’s character. This is my second suspicion. Moreover, even if he sent people to assassinate me, what would his benefit be? Could it be that he wanted to raise a rebellion? If he wanted to rebel, why did he send his son to Beijing? Isn’t that the same as deliberately sending his son so that we can behead him? This is my third suspicion.”
When Wei Xiaobao listened to Fang Yi’s explanation on how they were scheming on framing Wu Sangui, he felt that it was an excellent plan; however, as he listened to Kangxi’s analysis, he now felt that the scheme had flaws everywhere. He could not help but was full of admiration, and repeatedly nodded his head.
Songgotu said, “Your Majesty is an enlightened sage, your wisdom is not within reach of your servants.”
Kangxi continued, “Think about it again, if the assassins were not sent by Wu Sangui, but carried Ping Xi Wang Palace’s weapons, what was their real intention? Naturally it was to frame him. Wu Sangui has helped out Great Qing to pacify the land under the heaven, his merit was really big, the number of people who hate him is indeed not small. In the end, who prompted these revolting thieves? You must investigate it well.”
Songgotu and Dolong complied together. Dolong said, “Your Majesty is an enlightened sage. If Your Majesty did not give direction and straighten things out, your muddleheaded servant will fall into their trick, and unavoidably wronged good people.”
Kangxi said, “Wronged good people? Hey, hey!”
Seeing the Emperor did not have further instruction, they kowtowed and took their leave.
“Xiao Guizi,” Kangxi said, “Can you guess how do I know those two moves ‘sweeping away a thousand army’ and 'high mountain flowing water'?”
Wei Xiaobao’s heart was thumping madly, he said, “I was wondering myself, how did Your Majesty know?”
Kangxi said, “Early in the morning today, I already summoned a lot of Imperial Bodyguards, I asked them about the fight with the assassins last night, trying to investigate the martial art the assassins used. There are unexpectedly some from the Mu Family of former Ming. Just think, for generations the Mu Family ruled in Yunnan, after my Great Qing’s dragon rose, we bestowed Yunnan to Wu Sangui, how could the Mu Family not angry? Much less the last of the Mu Family, Duke Mu Tianbo of Guizhou province, died under Wu Sangui’s hands. I asked my men to demonstrate Mu Family’s most formidable moves, among which were these two moves ‘sweeping away a thousand army’ and 'high mountain flowing water'.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “Your Majesty truly able to prophecy with supernatural accuracy.” But in his heart he was anxious, “I am hiding two women of the Mu Family in my room, I wonder if he knew about it.”
Kangxi laughed and asked, “Xiao Guizi, do you want to be rich?”
Hearing the words ‘to be rich’, Wei Xiaobao’s spirit was immediately aroused, his anxiety gone. With a giggle he said, “Your Majesty did not order me to get rich, I do not dare to get rich; Your Majesty ordered me to get rich, Xiao Guizi did not dare not to get rich.”
“Alright,” Kangxi said with a laugh, “I order you to get rich! Take these sabers and swords, and the undergarments taken from the assassins, along with the assassins’ written confession, give everything to certain person, and then the great wealth will come to you.”
Wei Xiaobao was stunned, but he immediately understood. “Wu Yingxiong!” he called out.
Kangxi laughed, “You are so smart,” he said, “Just go!”
Wei Xiaobao said, “This kid Wu Yingxiong’s luck is really good this time, his entire family’s lives has been rewarded by Your Majesty.”
“What are you going to say to him?” Kangxi asked.
Wei Xiaobao said, “I’ll say: The one surnamed Wu, our Majesty’s insight spans ten thousand li, whatever you, father and son, did in Yunnan, not a single one is missed by His Majesty. You did not revolt, His Majesty can see it clearly, but if, hey hey, you are having ‘three hearts and two intentions’, ‘two-faced, three knives’, His Majesty will also see it clearly. Damn it, you, father and son, better be nice to me.”
Kangxi burst out in laughter, he said, “You are very clever; although you did not go to school, your words are coarse and vulgar, in the end you still capture my intention. Damn it, you, father and son, better be nice to me. Ha ha ha ha …”
Hearing the Emperor unexpectedly learned to say ‘damn it’, Wei Xiaobao could not refrain his heart from blooming. He also burst out in laughter. Taking the sabers, swords, and other objects, he left the Study Room and returned to his own room.
He had just about to unlock the door when he felt a stabbing pain on his back, his head spun and he felt he was about to vomit. Forcing himself to unlock the door, he sat on a chair, and continuously gasping for breath.
Mu Jianping said, “You … you are not feeling well?”
Wei Xiaobao said, “Seeing your ‘bashful flower obstructing the moon’ appearance, I am feeling well already.”
Mu Jianping laughed and said, “My Shijie is the one with ‘bashful flower obstructing the moon’ appearance, I have a little turtle on my face, I am so ugly, extremely ugly.”
Hearing she was bantering with him, Wei Xiaobao’s mood brightened immediately; he laughed and said, “How can there be any little turtle on your face? Ah, I know, Good Meizi, your face is bright and smooth, it is fair and clear, almost like a mirror, therefore, it may have a little turtle on it.”
Mu Jianping was puzzled. “How come?” she asked.
“Who are you sleeping with?” Wei Xiaobao asked, “Your face is like a mirror, so it reflected that person’s appearance. Naturally there will be a little turtle on your face.”
“Pei!” Fang Yi spat, “Just come over and look, then there will be a little turtle on Xiao Junzhu’s face.”
“If I come over and look,” Wei Xiaobao said, “A handsome and vigorous big master will appear on Good Meizi’s face.”
Fang and Mu, two women laughed. Fang Yi said, “Little turtle big master, which one is the big master?”
The three of them laughed together. “Hey,” Fang Yi said, “We must escape from the Palace, you need to think of a way.”
These days, wherever he went, Wei Xiaobao was always flattered by other people, but as soon as he returned to his own room, he would be extremely lonely and bored. Now that he suddenly had Fang and Mu, two young women to accompany him, although there was the danger that someone else might find out any minute, in all honesty he hated to have them leave him; thereupon he said, “We need to think about it slowly, you are both injured, as soon as you take a step out of the door, you might be caught instantly.”
Fang Yi sighed gently, she asked, “Among our people who entered the Palace last night, I wonder how many have died, and how many were captured? Would you possibly know the names of the people who ran into misfortune?”
Wei Xiaobao shook his head, “I don’t know,” he said, “But since you are concerned, I may be able to find out for you.”
“Thank you very much,” Fang Yi said in a low voice. Ever since he met her, Wei Xiaobao had never heard her speaking politely like this, he was very astonished in his heart.
Mu Jianping said, “Especially we wanted to ask whether a certain man surnamed Liu was able to escape safely or not.”
“Surnamed Liu?” Wei Xiaobao asked, “What’s his name?”
“He is our Liu Shige,” Mu Jianping replied, “He is called Liu Yizhou. He … he is my Shijie’s sweetheart, so … so …” Suddenly she squealed, since Fang Yi had tickled her armpit, she did not want her to continue.
“Ah!” Wei Xiaobao exclaimed, “Liu Yizhou, hmm, this … this might be bad.”
Fang Yi was unable to restrain her emotions; she asked hastily, “What is it?”
Wei Xiaobao said, “Isn’t he a tall, fair-complexion, approximately twenty some years, handsome young man? This man’s martial art skill is really good, is he the one?” Naturally he did not know what kind of person Liu Yizhou was, but thinking that this man was Fang Yi’s sweetheart, he must be a handsome young man. And since he was their older martial brother, he could not be wrong if he said the man’s martial art was really high.
Sure enough, Mu Jianping said, “That’s right, that’s right, it is he. Fang Shijie said that when she was wounded last night, she saw Liu Shige was being overthrown by three Imperial Bodyguards, one Imperial Bodyguard was holding him down, most likely he was captured. I wonder what happened to him?"
"Ay," Wei Xiaobao sighed and said, "Turns out this Liu Shifu is Miss Fang's sweetheart ..." He did not stop shaking his head and heaving sighs.
Fang Yi showed concern on her face. "Gui Dage," she said, "What happened to that Liu ... Liu Shige?"
Wei Xiaobao said in his heart, "Stinky girl, you have never talked amiably with me, as soon as mentioning your Liu Shige, you call me Gui Dage. I'd better scare her a bit." He heaved a deep sigh again and shook his head as he said, "What a pity, what a pity!"
Fang Yi was alarmed. "What happened?" she asked, "Is he ... is he ... is he injured, or ... or is he dead?"
Wei Xiaobao burst into loud laughter; he said, "Laozi has never seen any Liu Yizhou or Liu Liangpi, how would I know if he is dead or still alive? You call me 'Good husband' three times, I'll find out for you."
When Fang Yi saw him shaking his head, heaving a sigh and repeatedly saying 'What a pity' earlier, she thought that the chance of Liu Yizhou being unfortunate was greater than the chance of him being fortunate. Hearing what Wei Xiaobao suddenly said, she was delighted in her heart, but with her mouth she spat and said, "You never said anything serious. Are you telling the truth, or was it a lie?"
Wei Xiaobao said, "If this Liu Yizhou fell into my hands, humph, humph, I will tie him up first, and give him a good flogging, until his butts turned into four pieces. I'll ask him what graceful words, flowery speech he used to win my wife's heart. Afterwards I'll raise my blade and chop down, whoosh ..."
"You are going to kill him?" Mu Jianping asked.
"No," Wei Xiaobao said, "I will cut off his balls, turn him into an eunuch."
Mu Jianping did not understand what he was saying. But Fang Yi understood, her face turned deep as she cursed, "Little smart-aleck, always talks rubbish!"
"Most likely your Liu Shige has been captured," Wei Xiaobao said, "Whether I want him to be an eunuch or not, as soon as I, Gui Gong-gong, say the word, not a few people will be willing to listen. Miss Fang, are you or are you not going to ask me to help?"
 Both idioms mean ‘double-cross/double dealing and back stabbing’.
 Martial (older) brother.
 Yizhou and Liangpi mean 'one boat' and 'two farts', respectively.