I just guessed about 15, but you are right, WXB is probably 13-14.
I just guessed about 15, but you are right, WXB is probably 13-14.
Let say about the weapons bearing Wu San Gui's inscription, how could the officials and guards verify he didn't inflict the injury on hisself to win Kangxi's trust? Potraying hisself as the victim and casting the opponent as the villain to to garner sympathy and public support is nothing new even in those days.
About sending WYX to Beijing at the same time the assassins infiltrate the Palace, as Yang Yi Zhi pointed out,
"But I am afraid the crafty scoundrel will frame us up, they could say that Heir Apparent took us to Kang Wangye's Palace as an alibi, to have various civil and military ministers witnessed it with their own eyes, while surreptitiously sent another group of people to commit treason and heresy."
Like what's been said before. The culture of court life is rife with subtlety and veiled motives.
WYX on the other hand has shown to be a good judge of character and carries himself well. He recognises the greed of the people he needs and acts upon it. He is aware of people's pride and high opinion of himself and elevates them while avoiding any attention to himself that could anatagonise him. He instantly noticed the arrogance in the first few words that WXB spoke to him, and adjusted his speech accordingly.
You can only be forthright with forthright people. In Wulin that might work, but in the imperial court it's unlikely the officials and ministers care how logical or innoscent you are. Primary concerns would be making money, gaining power, curry favour with the emperor and keep your head attached to your neck.
Sky, Ace, Smurf, Pannonian, Tweety, Banh Mi, thanks for a lively discussion.
This is the last part of Chapter 12. I am going to California for a few days, so don't expect any updates until sometime in January. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everybody! Thank you all, for keeping me company.
Wei Xiaobao went to the Upper Study Room first to see Kangxi, reporting that the mission had been accomplished, that Wu Yingxiong had been informed that the Emperor was an enlightened sage, that the injustice against father and son had been clarified, and that they were grateful beyond description.
Kangxi laughed and said, “We have given him a big scare this time.”
Wei Xiaobao also laughed, “Only scared him till he piss in his pants,” he said, “Your servant has repeatedly warned him that this kind of matter will most likely happen again in the future, I told him to pass on to Wu Sangui that to repay your kindness, he has to be completely loyal and devoted in rendering his service to Your Majesty.” Kangxi repeatedly nodded.
Wei Xiaobao continued, “After I thought that he is scared enough, I told him that the Emperor is able to see ten thousand li, that he examined the assassins’ martial art and found out that it belonged to the Mu Family rebel thieves. That Wu Yingxiong was startled but also happy, from his buttocks all the way to his eyes he was all smile, while did not stop praising Your Majesty’s sage-like brilliance.” Kangxi smile slightly.
From his pocket Wei Xiaobao took out a pouch and said, “He was exceedingly grateful that he took a lot of banknotes, fifty thousand taels altogether, saying that ten thousand taels is for me, the other forty thousand taels is to be distributed to the Imperial Bodyguards who have exerted themselves last night. Your Majesty, look, we are indeed getting rich.”
Those banknotes were of five-hundred-tael denomination, so it was a thick pack of one hundred notes. Kangxi laughed and said, “You are just a little kid, you won’t spend the entire ten thousand taels in your lifetime. The rest of the money you may distribute to the Imperial Bodyguards.”
Wei Xiaobao mused, “Although His Majesty is an enlightened sage, there is no way he would know that I, Wei Xiaobao, still have several hundred thousand taels at home.” He said, “Your Majesty, I am with you, what else I am lacking? Why would I need this money? Your servant will serve you with devotion for the rest of my life, you are going to look after me. It would be better for all this fifty thousand taels to be distributed to the Imperial Bodyguards. I will tell them that it’s a reward from Your Majesty, why should we let Wu Yingxiong buy the hearts of the people?” At first Kangxi did not want to pretend he was giving rewards while in fact he was not, but hearing the words ‘buy the hearts of the people’, he could not help but was moved.
Seeing Kangxi was hesitating without saying anything, Wei Xiaobao added, “Your Majesty, Wu Sangui sent his son to Beijing. The amount gold and money he brings is indeed not small, as soon as he sees someone, he would give gifts, not necessarily with good intentions. From the ancient of times, all the gold, silver and jewels of the common people everywhere in your realm actually belong to you, the Emperor. But this old fellow Wu Sangui is extremely perverse, he treats Yunnan as his Wu family’s own.”
Kangxi nodded and said, “You are right. You may say that this monetary reward is from me.”
From the Upper Study Room, Wei Xiaobao went to the Imperial Bodyguards compound. To the Imperial Bodyguards Chief, Dolong he said, “Duo Zongguan, His Majesty instructed that those Imperial Bodyguards who set up meritorious deed in protecting the Palace last night are to be rewarded fifty thousand taels of silver.” Dolong was ecstatic, he quickly kneeled down to express his thanks for the reward. Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Right now His Majesty is very happy, why don’t you go yourself and say thanks?” While saying that, he handed the fifty thousand taels banknotes to him.
Dolong followed Wei Xiaobao back to the Upper Study Room; he kneeled down and kowtowed to Kangxi and said, “Your Majesty bestowed the money, your servant Dolong and the Imperial Bodyguards thank you for the reward.” Kangxi laughed and nodded his head.
Wei Xiaobao said, “His Majesty instructed: you must distribute these fifty thousand taels to those who have meritorious deed in killing the thieves, those who summoned up courage and determination and thus were wounded are to have a little bit more.”
“Yes, yes,” Dolong said, “Your servant will obey the Emperor’s decree.”
Kangxi thought, “Not only is Xiao Guizi loyal, he is not greedy either, it’s really hard to come by. Unexpectedly he really gives away all fifty thousand taels to the Imperial Bodyguards, without taking a single qian for himself.”
Wei Xiaobao and Dolong withdrew together. Dolong pulled a stack of banknotes, ten thousand taels worth, and said with a laugh, “Gui Gong-gong, just consider this the Imperial Bodyguards’ filial piety, please take it and hand it over to the little Gong-gongs.”
“Aha, Duo Zongguan,” Wei Xiaobao said, “By saying that, you do not consider me as a friend. In all my life, I, Xiao Guizi, most revere friends who are exceptionally skilful in martial arts. If His Majesty bestowed these fifty thousand taels to the civil officials, if I, Xiao Guizi, did not take ten thousand taels, I would at least take eight thousand. But since he bestowed it to you, Duo Zongguan, even if you share with me one tael, I can’t take it. I consider you as my good friend, so it’s only proper that you also consider me as your good friend.”
Dolong laughed and said, “The Imperial Bodyguards brothers all say that among many Gong-gong with office duty in the Palace, Gui Gong-gong is the youngest, but reaching to friends the most, indeed it is a fully justified reputation.”
“Duo Zongguan, I am asking you to investigate for me,” Wei Xiaobao said, “See if among the rebel thieves that were captured last night there is a certain Liu Yizhou. If there is one, we may find out from him the ins and outs of the rebel thieves.”
“Yes, yes!” Dolong promised, “The rebel thieves naturally will give us false names. I will investigate carefully.”
Wei Xiaobao went back to his residence. As he arrived at the front door, he saw a little eunuch from the imperial kitchen was waiting by the pathway. The little eunuch came up to meet him and said in a low voice, “Gui Gong-gong, that Boss Qian is delivering another pig, this time it is called something like ‘bird’s nest ginseng pig’, he says he wants to show filial respect to Gong-gong. Right now he is waiting for Gong-gong’s arrival at the imperial kitchen.”
Wei Xiaobao frowned; he thought, “That Fu Ling Hua Diao pig [see end of Chapter 9, beginning of Chapter 10] has not been properly taken care of, and now he is sending another ‘bird’s nest ginseng pig’. You think here in the Palace is a pig pen?” But since that man had already come, he could not think of a way to send him away.
Arriving at the imperial kitchen, Wei Xiaobao saw Boss Qian’s beaming face as he said, “Gui Gong-gong, Xiao Ren’s Fu Ling Hua Diao pig has really done you unusually good, after Gui Gong-gong ate it, look, your spirit is clear and your chi bright, your complexion is ruddy. Xiao Ren appreciates it that Gong-gong took care of it, so I send you a ‘bird’s nest ginseng pig’.” While saying that, he pointed toward a live pig by his side. This pig was covered in white hair; it looked very beautiful as it constantly moving in a circle inside the bamboo cage. Wei Xiaobao did not know what kind of trick Boss Qian was playing, so he only nodded.
Boss Qian came closer and held Wei Xiaobao’s hand as he said, “Tsk, tsk tsk! After eating the Fu Ling Hua Diao pork, Gui Gong-gong’s pulse is strong, it is substantially different from before.” Wei Xiaobao felt a piece of paper in his hand, but since there were too many people around the imperial kitchen, he felt it was inconvenience to ask.
Boss Qian said, “This bird’s nest ginseng pig’s feeding is not the same, please tell Gong-gong’s subordinates to feed distiller’s grain for ten days. Ten days later, Xiao Ren will personally come over to prepare it and will have Gong-gong enjoy it.”
Wei Xiaobao knitted his brows and said, “That Fu Ling Hua Diao pork has raised my internal heat, it is unbearably uncomfortable. Whatever ginseng pork, bird’s nest pork, Boss Qian, you’d better enjoy it yourself, I don’t want to eat it.”
Boss Qian laughed heartily and said, “This is just Xiao Ren’s way of showing a little bit of appreciation. Next time I won’t dare to bother Gong-gong anymore.” He then said several good wishes and took his leave.
Wei Xiaobao thought there must be some characters written on that piece of paper, but he could not recognize any character even if it was the size of a watermelon. He instructed the kitchen manager to take care of the pig well, and then returned to his residence alone, thinking, “This Boss Qian is really smart. The first time he concealed a living person inside a dead pig and carried it into the Palace. The second time, if he delivered another dead pig into the Palace, unavoidably he will draw suspicions; therefore, he delivered a live pig and have it fed in the imperial kitchen. There is no pattern here, even if someone was originally suspicious, the suspicion would have gone. That’s right, in using trick to scam people, not only I have to give it thorough thought in advance, subsequently, I also have to patch any hole.” He also thought, “I have no choice but to ask Xiao Junzhu to have a look at this note. Damn it, why didn’t he simply tell me what he wants? Why did he have to write a damn note?”
As he entered his room, Mu Jianping said, “Gui Dage, there was someone on the door, he was probably delivering the meal. Seeing the door was locked, he left without knocking.”
“How did you know he was delivering our meal?” Wei Xiaobao asked, “Hey, you must be smelling the delicious aroma and were very hungry, weren’t you? Why didn’t you eat the cakes and the pastries?”
Mu Jianping giggled and said, “We are really impolite, we already ate long ago.”
Fang Yi said, “Gui … Gui Dage, have you …” Speaking to this point, she stammered slightly.
“I have not found out anything about your Liu Shige,” Wei Xiaobao said, “The Imperial Bodyguards in the Palace said that they did not capture anybody by the surnamed of Liu.”
“Thank you very much,” Fang Yi said in low voice, “I wonder if he has been killed by the Tatars. Besides, even if Liu Shige was captured, he would not say that his surname was Liu. We have agreed that he would pretend to have the surname of Xia. Wu Sangui’s son-in-law is surnamed Xia, Liu Shige could confess that that surnamed Xia man was his uncle.”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Won’t that make you Wu Sangui’s relative?”
“He was only pretending,” Xiao Junzhu hastily said.
Wei Xiaobao sighed and said, “But even if Miss Fang wanted to be the wife of Wu Sangui’s grandnephew, she could not. Let’s say that your Liu Shige has escaped out of the Palace, outside he is thinking about you, inside the Palace you are thinking about him. For the rest of your lives you would think about him, he would think about you, a pair of passionate older brother and older sister won’t be able to see each other, wouldn’t it be hard to bear?”
Fang Yi’s face turned red as she said, “How can I live in the Palace for the rest of my life?”
Wei Xiaobao said, “Once the young women entered the Palace, where can they see the day they can go out? A bashful flower obstructing the moon elder sister like you, for example, as soon as I, Xiao Guizi, saw you, I want to take you as my wife. If the Emperor saw you, it’s impossible if he did not bestow you the title Huang Hou Niang-niang [empress/imperial consort]. Miss Fang, I advise you to be the Huang Hou Niang-niang!”
Fang Yi anxiously said, “I don’t want to talk too much to you. Everything you say always irritates me, you always tease me and make me worry.”
Wei Xiaobao laughed. He handed over the note in his hand to Mu Jianping. “Xiao Junzhu,” he said, “Can you read this note?”
Mu Jianping took the note and read, “Gaosheng Teahouse, Legend of Heroic Deeds. What is this?”
Wei Xiaobao understood immediately, “Tian Di Hui people want to see me, they ask me to go to the teahouse to meet them.” He laughed and said, “It’s useless for you to be the Mu Family’s later generation, you don’t even know the ‘Legend of Heroic Deeds’?”
“Of course I know the Legend of Heroic Deeds,” Mu Jianping said, “That is the story of Taizu Huangdi’s dragon rose as he founded the country.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “There is a chapter called ‘Mu Wangye Subdued Yunnan with Three Arrows, Gui Gong-gong embraces beautiful women with his pair of hands’, have you heard about it?”
Mu Jianping spat and said, “Our Qian Ning Wangyeye pacified Yunnan, naturally it is recorded in the Legend of Heroic Deeds, but where did the Gui Gong-gong’s pair of hands … pair of hands come from?”
With a straight face Wei Xiaobao said, “Are you saying that there is no chapter about ‘Gui Gong-gong embraces beautiful women with his pair of hands’?”
“Of course not,” Mu Jianping said, “You are making it up.”
“Let’s have a bet,” Wei Xiaobao said, “What if there is? What if there is not?”
“I have heard the Legend of Heroic Deeds until I am very familiar with the stories,” Mu Jianping said, “I am sure there is not. You can bet anything. Fang Shijie, there is no such thing as the story he mentioned, is there?”
Fang Yi had not answered, Wei Xiaobao already leaped into the bed and crawled into the quilt, with shoes and all, and then he lay down in between the two women. With his left hand he embraced Fang Yi’s neck, with his right hand he embraced Mu Jianping’s waist. He said, “I say, there is!”
“Ah!” Fang Yi and Mu Jianping cried out in alarm, but it was too late for them to evade, Wei Xiaobao had already held them firmly in his arms. Mu Jianping stretched out her right hand and pushed him as hard as she could. Wei Xiaobao seized this opportunity to lean sideways and stole a kiss on Fang Yi’s mouth. “Smells good!” he praised.
Fang Yi was about to struggle, but as soon as she moved ever so slightly, she felt a shot of severe pain from the wound on the pit of her stomach and her broken rib. With the back of her left hand she slapped Wei Xiaobao’s face. Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Murder of your own husband! Murder of your own husband!” Rolling down, he jumped out of the quilt, with Mu Jianping still in his arm. He also kissed her and praised, “Smells as good!” Laughing heartily, he snatched a bundle of his clothes, dashed out of the room, and locked the door behind him.
 Orig. ‘mountain has a connecting pulse throughout like a dragon’, an idiom from fengshui, meaning the sequence of events, cause and effects, the whys and wherefores, where something comes from and where it goes … you get the idea.
 Guizhou and Ningxia, respectively. Here Mu Jianping said Wang Yeye (grandfather king).
I also found a picture of man with shoulder pole, but for some reason I cannot attach it here. Here is the link: http://www.chia.chinesemuseum.com.au...ts/D002538.htm
I will try to add the attachment again later.
EDIT: Here is the attachment.
Last edited by foxs; 01-07-11 at 06:46 PM. Reason: Add attachment
Oh, if you happen to drop by Orange County, CA, then I would be more than happy to take you out for a drink, foxs!
It is the least I could do for all your translation efforts.
Thanks for the update foxs. Enjoy your time in CA!
Happy Holidays everyone!!!
Proud to be part of http://www.asianfanatics.net/
He is going to need a sholder poll to carry his new found fortune
Tweety, thank you very much for your kind offer. I did go to Orange County, Disneyland, to be precise. But I was afraid you would be appalled by my boisterous boys.
Sky, you are welcome. It was a mistake to visit Disneyland during that week.
Athlon, I'll try to explain as best as I could, but this is my interpretation: since one's wealth was usually carried on shoulder pole (although I am sure Wu Yingxiong would use horse-drawn carriage), WXB was 'knocking' on their treasure chest, so to speak. So your first interpretation is closer to mine.
Ali, you are also right.
Sorry for the delay, everyone, it was a very hectic week (and will be for the next several weeks), we are implementing new ERP system in our company. Also, I want to note that I made a slight modification on footnotes. I would put short literal translation in square brackets, and only use footnote for terms/phrases that need a bit of explanation. Hopefully you won't be inconvenienced by this arrangement.
Chapter 13 – Overturning family and heaven by borrowed hand, seizing prosperity and decline, replacing the old with the new
(Translated by Foxs)
Wei Xiaobao’s residence was west of Qian Qing Gate [Gate of Heavenly Purity], south of the southern warehouse, to the side of the Imperial Catering Department. Heading north, winding around the Yang Xin Hall [Hall of Mental Cultiavtion], Wei Xiaobao turned abruptly to the west, walking passed Western Three Places, Yang Hua [Magnificent Nurturing(?)] Gate, Shou An [Longevity Peace] Gate, to the north passed Shou An Palace, by the side of Ying Hua [Heroic Splendor] Palace Hall, turning east passing Xi Tie [Western Iron] Gate, and then turning north again out of Shen Wu Gate [Gate of Divine Might]. Shen Wu Gate was the Imperial Palace’s back door, as he walked out the Shen Wu Gate, he was practically out of the Imperial Palace, and he went straight away to the Gao Sheng Teahouse.
As soon as he sat down, the teahouse proprietor served him tea. He saw Gao Yanchao was slowly walking in and signaling him with his eyes. Wei Xiaobao nodded. When he saw Gao Yanchao was leaving the teahouse, he took several sips of the tea, then threw a coin on the table, while saying, “The story today is not worth hearing.” And then he leisurely strolled out. He saw Gao Yanchao was waiting on a street corner. Walking several steps further, he saw two sedan chairs.
Gao Yanchao let Wei Xiaobao sit on one, while he walked behind the sedan chairs for a short section of the street. After making sure that nobody followed them, he climbed into the other sedan chair.
The porters ran as fast as flying. After travelling for the time needed to cook rice, they stopped. Wei Xiaobao noticed that the sedan chairs stopped in front of a tiny courtyard house. He followed Gao Yanchao in. As soon as they entered the main gate, he saw the Tian Di Hui brothers came out to welcome him by bowing and cupping their fists. This time Li Lishi, Guan Anji, Qi Biaoqing and the others had all rushed in from Tianjin, Baoding, and other places. In addition, Fan Gang, Feng Jizhong, Priest Xuanzhen, as well as Boss Qian were also present.
Wei Xiaobao laughed and asked, “Qian Laoban [Boss Qian/Money], what is your real honored surname and great given name?”
“I don’t dare,” Boss Qian replied, “Subordinate’s real surname is Qian, my real name is Laoben, ‘ben’ from ‘ben lai’ [originally, at first], not ‘ban’ from Laoban [boss], the idea is that doing business will eclipse the initial capital.”
Wei Xiaobao laughed heartily and said, “You are very astute, if you are really doing business, you will turn other people’s initial capital to be your profit.”
Qian Laoben smiled and said, “Wei Xiangzhu, you praise me too much!”
They let Wei Xiaobao walked ahead to the main hall and be seated. Guan Anji was most impatient, he said, “Wei Xiangzhu, please look at this.” While saying that, he handed over a large gilded red card, filled with several lines of characters written in black ink.
Wei Xiaobao did not take it; he said, “These characters, they recognize me, but I do not have any friendship with them, so this is the first time that we meet each other, I do not recognize them.”
Qian Laoben said, “Wei Xiangzhu, it is an invitation, we are invited to have dinner.”
“That’s very good,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Who has done us the honor?”
“The name on the card is Mu Jiansheng,” Qian Laoben said.
Wei Xiaobao was startled. “Mu Jiansheng?” he asked.
Qian Laoben said, “He is the Xiao Gongye [young duke] of the Mu Palace.”
Wei Xiaobao nodded, “Fu Ling Hua Diao pig’s Gege,” he said.
“Precisely,” Qian Laoben said.
“Is he inviting all of us to come?” Wei Xiaobao asked.
Qian Laoben said, “On the invitation, he is writing very politely: inviting Green Wood Hall’s Wei Xiangzhu, to lead Tian Di Hui’s heroes to come for a banquet. It is tonight, at the South Bean Sprout Lane of Chaoyangmen district in Beijing.”
“This time it’s not at the Willow Tree Lane?” Wei Xiaobao asked.
“That’s right,” Qian Laoben replied, “Doing business in Beijing, it’s only right to frequently change the lodging place.”
“What do you think he wants?” Wei Xiaobao asked, “Do you think they would put damn drug in the food and drink?”
Li Lishi said, “It is reasonable to say that, one: Mu Palace has such a big reputation in Jianghu, two: with his capacity as the young duke, Mu Jiansheng is a great personality who stand and sit at the same level as our Zongduozhu, they could not possibly resort to this kind of third-rate shady business. However, there is no such thing as a good meeting, there is no such thing as a good banquet; there is no harm in guarding against Wei Xiangzhu’s concern.”
“Shall we go to the feast or not?” Wei Xiaobao asked, “Humph, humph, Xuanwei ham, Guo Qiao rice noodle, Yunnan’s steamed chicken, those are enough to make a festive occasion.”
Everybody else looked at each other in dismay, nobody made any noise. After a long while, Guan Anji said, “We all want to ask Wei Xiangzhu to decide.”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Nice wine, good food, everybody will have some in your tummy tonight. If you want just average, peaceful dinner, let me play the host, we can go to a restaurant. After dinner, we can play Pai Gow and gamble, or call on some pretty girls, Xiongdi will foot all the bills. But if you all want to save my money, then we all go to harass that man surnamed Mu.” He sounded so magnanimous, but actually he was being very sly; whether they were going or not, he did not make the decision.
Guan Anji said, “Wei Xiangzhu is inviting the brothers to eat, drink and be merry, indeed that is the happiest thing, but if we did not answer the surnamed Mu’s invitation, Tian Di Hui’s reputation will unavoidably take a dip.”
“So you say we should go?” Wei Xiaobao asked, his gaze swept Li Lishi, Fan Gang, Qi Biaoqing, Xuanzhen, Feng Jizhong, Qian Laoben, and Gao Yanchao’s faces. He saw everybody was slowly nodding his head.
Wei Xiaobao said, “If everybody say we should go, then we’ll go eat his food, drink his wine. We’ll counter soldiers with arm, water with an earth weir. When the tea is served, we’ll hold out our hands, when the rice is served, we open our mouths; but what if poison is being served? We’ll simply swallow and take the damn poison into our bellies. It is called ‘hero does not fear death, those who fear death are not heroes’.”
Li Lishi said, “We’ll have to be careful, always on the lookout for some clues. Let’s discuss it over, some of us will drink tea, some won’t drink, some will drink wine, some won’t drink, some won’t eat meat, some won’t eat fish. Even if they put poison, we won’t let them catch everything in one net. But if everybody did not everything, we would be their laughingstock.”
After reaching decision, they chatted for a while. When it was close to the ninth hour [3-5pm], Wei Xiaobao took off his eunuch uniform and took the appearance of a pampered son of an official. He rode on a sedan chair, with everybody else crowded around him as they walked toward the South Bean Sprout Lane. Wei Xiaobao mused, “In the Palace, day in and day out I am always very scared and on edge, afraid that the old wh0re will come to kill me. How can it be compared to the free and unfettered, happy life of the Xiangzhu of the Green Wood Hall? It’s just that Shifu ordered me to be a spy in the Palace. If I get out on my own initiative, I might not be the Xiangzhu anymore, then I don’t know if I can keep my little life. I guess we’ll just have to ride the donkey and read the songbook; we’ll wait and see!”
The South Bean Sprout Lane was less than two li away. The sedan chair had just stopped, they already heard the beating of a drum and the sound of bamboo flute. Wei Xiaobao got out of the sedan chair and heard the sound of a suona; he thought, “Are they having a wedding? It’s so lively.”
He saw the main gate of a large house with a courtyard opened, a dozen or so men in uniform stood outside the door to welcome them. A young man of about twenty five or twenty six stood on the front, his stature was tall and slim, with exuberant heroic spirit. The young man said, “Zaixia Mu Jiansheng, respectfully welcome Wei Xiangzhu’s honorable self.”
These days Wei Xiaobao had made friends with royalties, nobilities and high-ranking officials, so he was accustomed with this kind of etiquette and the respectful aspect of greeting each other. As the saying goes, “Residence alters the manner, nurture alters the body.” He was with the Emperor every day, he constantly met princes, nobles, high officials, and generals, they were almost nothing to him; as a result, although he was young, he had already automatically acquired dignified air. Although Mu Jiansheng quite had some reputation, he could not be compared to people like Prince Kang or Wu Yingxiong. Presently he cupped his hand in salute and said, “Xiao Gongye is overly courteous, Zaixia does not dare to accept.” Seizing up Mu Jiansheng’s appearance, Wei Xiaobao noticed his countenance was rather dark; in general, there was a faint resemblance between his facial features and those of Mu Jianping’s.
Mu Jiansheng was already aware that Tian Di Hui’s leader in Beijing, Wei Xiangzhu, was a child, he also heard from Bai Hanfeng that this child’s martial art skill was very low, and that he was a smooth talker, in short, a little rascal. Presumably he could be a Xiangzhu only because of his Shifu, Chen Jinnan’s support. But presently he saw Wei Xiaobao’s calm demeanor, his unrestrained and indifferent manner, and thought, “Perhaps this child has a little bit of martial art school background after all.” Immediately he led them all in.
The chairs in the hall were covered in red satin sheath, with brocade cushions on them. Each one was assigned his respective side, as the host and the guest. 'Divine Physician Hermit' Su Gang, Ban Hanfeng, and about a dozen or so men stood behind Mu Jiansheng with hands hanging by their sides.
Mu Jiansheng and Li Lishi, Guan Anji and the others introduced themselves one by one, they all exchanged conventional pleasantries like ‘I have been looking forward to meeting you for a long time’ and so on and so forth. Li Lishi and the others thought, “This Xiao Gongye of the Mu Family does not show arrogance at all, the way he speaks actually follow Jianghu’s customs.”
The servants served fragrant tea, the musicians by the hall entrance started to play again; it was a grand ceremonious courtesy in welcoming honored guests. Amid the sound of music, Mu Jiansheng gave his order, “Let the banquet begin!” while inviting everybody to enter the inner hall. His subordinates promptly closed the hall door behind them.
There was a large Eight-Immortal table in the middle, draped in embroidered table cloth, with two smaller tables on the left and right. Although the utensils on the table were not as grand and extravagant as the ones in Prince Kang’s mansion, they were quite exquisite. Mu Jiansheng bowed slightly and said, “Wei Xiangzhu, please take the seat of honor.”
Looking at the current situation, Wei Xiaobao knew this seat of honor was prepared especially for him. “This time,” he said, “We have no choice but to be impolite.” Mu Jiansheng took the seat on his right-hand side as the host.
After everybody was seated, Mu Jiansheng said, “Please invite Shifu.”
Su Gang and Bai Hanfeng went into the inner chamber and reappeared with an old man. Mu Jiansheng stood up to welcome him and said, “Shifu, Wei Xiangzhu of Tian Di Hui’s Green Wood Hall honored us with his presence today, he truly gives us a lot of face.” Turning toward Wei Xiaobao, he said, “Wei Xiangzhu, this is Liu Shifu, the benevolent master under whom Zaixia has studied.”
Wei Xiaobao stood up, cupping his fist across his chest he said, “It’s an honor to meet you at last.” This old man was big and tall, his face ruddy, with long white beard hanging from his face; he must be over seventy years old, but he was full of vigor, his eyes were shining with live.
The old man’s gaze swept on Wei Xiaobao once, then he laughed and said, “Recently Tian Di Hui’s reputation is growing …” His voice was really loud, the words he just said sounded like an ordinary person shouting, “… it’s because a large number of heroic people with talent come forth. Wei Xiangzhu is this young, truly a rare genius of the Wulin world.”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “I am young, that is true, but am not heroic person with talent, let alone a genius; in fact, I am only a fool. That day my hand was twisted by Bai Shifu, I was unable to move a single step, even the cry ‘Mommy!’ almost came out. Zaixia’s martial art is really poor and extremely ordinary. Ha ha, it’s laughable! Laughable, ha ha!”
The others were stunned to hear this, their countenances changed. Bai Hanfeng’s expression was even queerer.
The old man burst out laughing, and then said, “Wei Xiangzhu is frank, it is indeed a hero’s true quality. The old man may have 30% admiration on you.”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “30% admiration is a bit too much. 10% or even 5%, as long as you don’t regard Zaixia as hopeless little beggar, little acrobat or little monkey, is enough.”
The old man burst out in laughter again. He said, “Wei Xiangzhu loves to crack jokes.”
Priest Xuanzhen said, “Senior’s prestige has shaken the southern sky, in Wulin you are known as Iron Back Blue Dragon, Old Hero Liu, is that right?”
The old man laughed and said, “That’s right, Priest Xuanzhen actually know the old man’s lowly name.”
Priest Xuanzhen’s heart shivered, “I haven’t introduced myself, he has already known my name. The Mu Family this time is very well-prepared. The Iron Back Blue Dragon Liu Dahong has made his name a long time ago, I heard even Mu Tianbo also had deep respect to him. When the Qing army attacked Yunnan, with all his might Liu Dahong rescued the children of Mu Family, and so Mu Jiansheng became the first disciple whom he personally teaches, and other than Mu Jiansheng himself, he became Mu Palace’s number one character.” Thereupon Priest Xuanzhen bowed and said, “In those days Old Hero Liu put the three tyrants of Nujiang to their deaths and killed Qing troops at Tengchong, your chivalry spread out all over the world. When the younger generation and young men mentioned the Old Hero, nobody is not awed with respect.”
 Chinese shawm, a double-reed woodwind instrument, similar to modern day Oboe.
 An old fashioned square table to seat eight people.
 Nujiang river, south of Tibet and northwest of Yunnan, the upper reaches of Salween river, forming border of Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand.
Last edited by foxs; 01-11-11 at 07:58 AM. Reason: Correction
this is the part where i should be saying "thanks for the update foxs... it was so interesting reading about this new hero"...
but thats not what I am gona say :P
I am pacing my room daily... looking up for updates... its been like 3 weeks.... and we only got one update ...
obviously my christmass and New Years is lacking on the translators .... I need to be living it like you guys
hahahahah any ways... now that i have got all that off my chest i feel so much better ... now i can say "thanks foxs" and really mean it...
hope disnyland was good... and that you had and will continue to have a good new years break with the family.
Thank you and welcome back foxs! We missed you! Sounds like you had a great time in CA. Hopefully you'll have a better 2011!
Ali, so sorry that all the translators seem to take a break at the same time. But there are a couple of new ones, right? I haven't had time time to check the new stories yet, but I will.
Sky, thanks for the kind wish. The same goes to you, and all the readers too!
Liu Dahong said, “Hey, hey, that was the matter of many years ago, why do you have to mention it?” But his countenance looked very pleased.
“Shifu,” Mu Jiansheng said, “You, Senior, accompany Wei Xiangzhu over here.”
“Alright!” Liu Dahong said, and sat down next to Wei Xiaobao.
The side facing outward of this Eight-Immortal table was empty. On the head position were Wei Xiaobao and Liu Dahong, on the left were Li Lishi and Guan Anji, on the right were Mu Jiansheng and an empty seat of honor. The Tian Di Hui warriors were wondering in their hearts, “Which formidable character your Mu Palace is going to invite next?”
They heard Mu Jiansheng said, “Help Xu Shifu out to sit, let these good friends see him and set their hearts at ease.”
“Yes!” Su Gang responded. He went in and returned supporting someone in his hand.
As soon as Li Lishi and the others saw the man, they were pleasantly surprised, and called out together, “Xu San Ge [Third Older Brother]!” This man had a bent back, he was none other than the Eight-Armed Ape Xu Tianchuan. His complexion was wax yellow, apparently he had not recovered from his injury, but his life was obviously not in danger. The Tian Di Hui warriors crowded around him and greeted him noisily, they could not hide their delight.
Mu Jiansheng pointed at the seat above his own and said, “Xu Shifu, please sit right here.”
Xu Tianchuan took a step forward, he bowed and cupped his fist toward Wei Xiaobao and said, “Wei Xiangzhu, how are you?”
Wei Xiaobao cupped his fist to return the salute and said, “Xu San Ge, how are you? The medicinal plaster business is not too good lately?”
Xu Tianchuan sighed and said, “Practically there is no business. Subordinate was captured by Wu Sangui’s dogs and narrowly lost my old life. Fortunately Mu Family’s Xiao Gongye and Old Hero Liu appeared to rescue me from danger.”
The Tian Di Hui warriors were stunned. “Xu San Ge,” Fan Gang said, “Turns out the affair that day was that traitor Wu Sangui’s people’s doing.”
“Exactly,” Xu Tianchuan said, “Those bunch of traitors broke into the Return Of Spring Drug Store, seized me, and that dog thief Lu … Lu Yifeng cursed me and pasted a medicinal plaster on my mouth, saying that he wanted to starve me, and old monkey, to death.”
Hearing that Lu Yifeng was involved in this, they knew it must have had happened just like he said. Fan Gang, Priest Xuanzhen and the others turned toward Su Gang and Bai Hanfeng and said, “That day we have offended you, yet the heroes take yi qi very seriously, our Tian Di Hui can’t thank you enough.”
“We don’t dare,” Su Gang said, “We only followed Xiao Gongye’s order, we do not dare to claim credit for ourselves.” Bai Hanfeng snorted; obviously the rescue of Xu Tianchuan was greatly against his wish.
Guan Anji said, “After Xu San Ge was captured, we went looking for him everywhere, but did not find any clue; obviously our anxiety needs not be mentioned. Unexpectedly your honored Palace has rescued Xu San Ge, making us quite admire you.”
Su Gang said, “The Yunnan’s dog officials under Wu Sangui are Mu Family’s arch-enemy, naturally we always follow them up very closely. It’s not strange that we found out about this dog official offending Xu San Ge.”
Wei Xiaobao thought, “This Xiao Gongye is very astute, his Meizi is being locked up by me, he rescued old man Xu first so that he can ask me to release his Meizi. I’d better pretend I don’t understand, see what else he is going to say.” He said to Xu Tianchuan, “Xu San Ge, you were heavily injured by Bai Er Xia, the strength of his hands was very fierce, are you going to live? You are not going to return to heaven, are you?”
Xu Tianchuan said, “Bai Er Xia was acting with leniency that day, after recuperating these past several days, subordinate feels a lot better.” Bai Hanfeng glowered at Wei Xiaobao, but Wei Xiaobao simply chuckled, as if he was completely oblivious.
The servants poured the wine and served the dishes, it was a very sumptuous banquet. Tian Di Hui warriors thought that since the Mu Family had rescued Xu Tianchuan, and with the presence of renowned old hero such as the Iron Back Blue Dragon Liu Dahong, they could not possibly put poison in the food; all anxiety had left their hearts, they drank the wine and ate the dishes to their hearts’ content.
Liu Dahong drank three cups of wine; stroking his beard he said, “Brothers, within the capital district, which brother is in charge of your precious society?”
Li Lishi said, “In our humble society in the capital district, the one with the most revered position is Wei Xiangzhu.”
Liu Dahong nodded. “Very good, very good!” he said, and drank another cup of wine. He asked, “But I wonder if this little brother is able to somehow take responsibility in the dispute between your precious Society and our Family?”
“Laoyezi,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Whatever instruction you have, there is no harm in telling us here. I, Wei Xiaobao, am small in stature and have narrow shoulder. Small matter, I can take care of 10% or 5%, big matter may crush me flat.”
The Tian Di Hui and Mu Palace warriors could not help but frowning slightly; they thought, “This child talk hoodlum talk; as soon as he opens his mouth, he speaks like a rascal, not like a hero or a warrior talks.”
Liu Dahong said, “If you cannot take responsibility, while we cannot simply let the matter drop, then we will have no choice but to have little brother pass on to your revered master, asking Chen Zongduozhu to rush over and deal with it.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “What is it that Laoyezi wanted me to pass on to my Shifu? Just write a letter, and we will deliver it to him.”
“Hey, hey,” Liu Dahong laughed, “This matter concerns the death of Bai Hansong, Bai Xiongdi, in the hands of Xu San Ye [third master]. I wonder how we are going to settle this, I want to ask Chen Zongduozhu to say a few words about it.”
Xu Tianchuan suddenly sprang up and boldly said, “Mu Xiao Gongye, Old Hero Liu, you have snatched me back to life from the hands of the traitors, you have spared me from the humiliation from those wicked men, Zaixia is deeply grateful. Bai Da Xia was accidentally injured under Zaixia’s hands. Zaixia will pay a life for a life, my old life to compensate his; why would you make things difficult for Chen Zongduozhu and Wei Xiangzhu? Fan Xiongdi, let me use your blade.” While saying that, he held out his right hand toward Fan Gang. His meaning was very obvious, he wanted to cut his own throat right there and then to bring this contentious issue to completion.
“Slow down, slow down!” Wei Xiaobao said, “Xu San Ge, please sit down, don’t be this impatient. You are already old, how come you still have such temper? I am the Xiangzhu of the Green Wood Hall, am I not? If you do not obey my order, you are not giving me a face at all.”
In the Tian Di Hui, ‘not following order’ was a major offense, Xu Tianchuan hastily bowed down and said, “Xu Tianchuan understands his offense, I am obeying Wei Xiangzhu’s order.”
Wei Xiaobao nodded. “Now that’s only proper,” he said, “Bai Da Xia is dead, nothing we can do about it. Even if Xu San Ge pay with your own life, human’s life cannot be transferred. No matter what it is a lose-lose situation, it’s not a good business sense at all.”
Everybody’s gaze was fixed on his face, nobody knew what nonsense he was going to say next. Tian Di Hui warriors were especially anxious, they all thought, “Our Society’s reputation in Wulin simply cannot be ruined by this ‘do-not-understand-anything’ little Xiangzhu. If he continues speaking rubbish and this matter is known throughout the Jianghu, we won’t have any face left to see other people in the future.”
“Xiao Gongye,” they heard Wei Xiaobao continue, “This time from Yunnan you come to Beijing, do you only bring along these several friends? It seems like a little bit is missing, is that right?”
“Humph,” Mu Jiansheng snorted and asked, “What is Wei Xiangzhu saying?”
“Nothing,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “Xiao Gongye is such a respectable figure, you are totally different from me, Wei Xiaobao. You came to the Capital, if you don’t have a bit more escorts, and you are not being careful, some might be arrested by the Tatars’ running dogs; won’t that be greatly not worthwhile?”
Mu Jiansheng raised his long eyebrows as he said, “It’s not that easy for the Tatars’ running dogs to get me.”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Xiao Gongye’s martial art is astonishing, in this world … hey, hey … perhaps very few people can be your match, naturally the Tatars won’t be able to catch you. It’s just that … it’s just that not necessarily the rest of the friends from Mu Palace would have Xiao Gongye’s level of skill. If the Tatars are leading away a goat in passing, taking away an ox with hands behind their backs, they were inviting several friends over to their place, that won’t be too amusing.”
While Wei Xiaobao was giggling and talking frivolously, Mu Jiansheng had been listening with calm face. When Wei Xiaobao finished, he said, “Wei Xiangzhu, are you mocking Zaixia?” When he spoke those words, his expression became even more unsightly.
“No, no, I did not,” Wei Xiaobao said, “In all my life, I have always been bullied by others, I have never bullied other people. Others have grabbed my hand, look, the black and blue has not gone yet, it was so painful that I hovered between life and death. This Bai Er Xia, hey, hey, his hand strength is really extraordinary. Those two moves, ‘sweeping away a thousand army’ and 'high mountain flowing water' are amazing, surely they will be effective to be used to rescue your friends that are captured by the Tatars. No matter what, you will win a victory on raising the flag, it will be an instant success.”
Bai Hanfeng’s countenance turned ashen, he was about to speak, but in the end he struggled to endure it. Liu Dahong shot a look at Mu Jiansheng before saying, “Xiao Xiongdi, your speech is immeasurably tall and deep. We don’t quite understand it.”
“Laoyezi is too polite,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Immeasurably low and shallow is possible, but immeasurably tall and deep? I do not dare to accept. It is extremely low and shallow, extremely low and shallow.”
Liu Dahong said, “Xiao Xiongdi is saying that some people from our Mu Palace were arrested by the Tatars, I wonder what you mean by that?”
“I don’t have the slightest meaning,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “Xiao Wangye, Liu Laoyezi, my drinking capacity is immeasurably low and shallow, most likely it’s because I have drunk the wine that I talked nonsense; damn it, I must not say anything.”
“Humph,” Mu Jiansheng snorted, he was trying hard to control his anger. He said, “Turns out Wei Xiangzhu was only chatting to kill time.”
“Xiao Gongye,” Wei Xiaobao said, “You want to chat to kill time? Have you taken a stroll around Beijing?”
“What do you mean?” Mu Jiansheng’s voice was threatening.
“Beijing is very big,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “Your Kunming in Yunnan is not as big as Beijing, is it?”
Mu Jiansheng sounded angrier. “What do you mean?” he shouted.
Hearing Wei Xiaobao was rambling incoherently, was getting more and more unreasonable, Guan Anji interrupted, “Beijing is very beautiful, it’s a pity it is being occupied by the Tatars. We, people with slight courage and uprightness, are angry and full of grievances.”
Wei Xiaobao ignored his remark, he kept rambling, “Xiao Gongye, you invited me to drink wine, Zaixia does not have anything to repay you. When you have a spare time, I’ll take you for a stroll around Beijing. With a friend guiding your way, you won’t go astray. Otherwise, if you rush and wander aimlessly, and not being careful, you might enter the Imperial Palace. Although Xiao Gongye has high level of martial art, it might not be too convenient for you.”
Liu Dahong said, “Xiao Xiongdi, there must be another meaning beyond your words. If you regard me as a friend, may I ask that you speak a little bit clearer?”
“I can’t speak any clearer than this,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Friends from the Mu Palace all have high level of martial art. Those moves, ‘sweeping away a thousand army’ and 'high mountain flowing water', nothing is more formidable than those. It’s a pity that within the Beijing’s city wall, everything is unfamiliar. When you roam around the street in the depth of the night, you can’t look everything clearly; confused and muddleheaded, you might end up entering the Forbidden City.”
Liu Dahong shot Mu Jianzheng another look; he asked Wei Xiaobao, “What do you mean?”
Wei Xiaobao said, “I heard there are so many gates and so many palaces in the Forbidden City, if you walked in carelessly, without the Emperor or Empress Dowager to show the way, it is so easy for you to get lost, and then forever you won’t be able to get out; it has happened before. Zaixia does not have enough face, I don’t know if the Emperor or Empress Dowager will have a free time to show me around, daytime or nighttime. Perhaps Mu Palace’s Xiao Gongye has a lot of face, your subordinate friends may bring Xiao Gongye’s reputation and may scare the young Emperor and the Empress Dowager, that old wh0re, away. It’s really hard to say.”
Hearing him calling the Empress Dowager ‘the old wh0re’, everybody was quite amused. Guan Anji, Qi Biaoqing, and the others could not help laughing. In his belly, Wei Xiaobao often cursed the Empress Dowager as ‘the old wh0re’, unexpectedly this time, in front of a big crowd of people, he was able to say it out loud; the delight in his heart was unspeakable.
Liu Dahong said, “The people under Xiao Gongye’s leadership are all cautious, they can’t possibly enter the Imperial Palace recklessly. I heard that traitor Wu Sangui’s son, Wu Yingxiong, is also in Beijing. He might send people into the Imperial Palace to do some shady business, we don’t know.”
Wei Xiaobao nodded, “Liu Laoyezi is right,” he said, “Zaixia has a friend with whom I play dice, he is a servant to the Imperial Bodyguards in the Palace. He said that they have captured several assassins in the Palace last night, the assassins confessed that they are Xiao Gongye of Mu Palace’s subordinates …”
“What?” Mu Jiansheng was shocked. His right hand trembled, the wine cup in his hand fell down, ‘crash!’ it broke into several pieces.
 Spirit of loyalty and self-sacrifice, code of brotherhood. See also Chapter 2.
 Orig. ‘Lao di’ – old younger brother. Also in subsequent paragraphs. Liu Dahong always refer to Tian Di Hui people as ‘lao di’.
 Orig. Jing Cheng Zhili, i.e. Ming and Qing dynasty provinces directly administered by Beijing, including Beijing, Tianjin, most of Hebei, Henan, and part of Shandong.
 Lit. Old Master, Old gentleman. The online text has ‘Laobobo’ – Old Uncle (someone older than one’s own father), or Grandpa, a polite form of address for old man.
Last edited by foxs; 01-11-11 at 07:56 AM. Reason: Correction
i dont know man... eather its the quality of your translation, or the stories you pick. But your translations are among the best to read ont he forum.
thanks for this :P
and dont mind me ranting, I whent for a camping trip my self recently... we are all in holiday mode
foxs, thanks for your continuing translation. I realize that you are not regularly checking the other forums, but you may want to check this thread in Wuxia Fiction:
It appears as though somebody has taken our translations (which you have done a huge part of the work of) and is selling them on Amazon for $10/book (splitting LOCH/ROCH into 5 books each). I am contacting [email protected] regarding this, and wanted to let you know.
Blademaster. Hero. General. He was the best there ever was.
Butcher. Murderer. Traitor. All that he loved, he had destroyed.
That Merciless Blade - Legend of the Arctic Wolf.
Shénwǔmén (神武門) = Gate of Divine Might or Gate of Divine Prowess. The Gate was originally named The Black Tortoise Gate (玄武門; Xuánwǔmén), this being the traditional name for the northern gate of a Chinese Imperial Palace. However when the Kangxi Emperor, whose birth name was Xuanye (玄燁), ascended to the throne, the word Xuán (玄) became a sacred taboo. The character "Xuán" (玄) also has the meaning of "sacred mystery", which correlates well with the new character "Shén" (神), meaning "divine".
p/s : I'm still searching for others
Ali, it must be the story. But I appreciate your encouragement. Ace, thanks. I will make the correction. Sky and JoeLee, you are welcome. Ren, thanks, I'll respond on the Wuxia Fiction thread.
Wei Xiaobao said, “At first I was convinced, thinking that the Mu Family is a greatly devoted subject of the Great Ming, they must have sent some people to assassinate the Tatars’ Emperor, indeed … indeed that is the conduct of a great hero and warrior. But now, listening to Liu Laoyezi, I know that they were the subordinates of that traitor Wu Sangui, we must never spare them. I will go to that friend immediately and tell him to think of a way to fix those assassins. Damn it, the subordinates of big traitor, what good are they? I must have them suffer some more.”
Liu Dahong said, “Xiao Xiongdi, what is your friend’s honored surname and great given name? Which post does he hold in the Tatars’ Palace?”
Wei Xiaobao shook his head and said, “He is only a little servant to the Imperial Bodyguards, sweeping the floor, making them tea, cleaning their chamber pots, it’s really embarrassing just to mention him. Others call him Lai Li Tou Xiao Sanzi. What honored surname and great given name? Those assassins are being tied up, originally I was going to ask Lai Li Tou Xiao Sanzi to sneak something good for them to eat. But now that Liu Laoyezi said that they are the traitor’s men, I am going to tell him to take a knife and poke several holes on their thighs, so that those turtle bastards cannot escape.”
“I was just guessing,” Liu Dahong said, “I cannot ascertain. But since they dared to enter the Palace to assassinate the Emperor, they must be real great hero. If Wei Xiangzhu can ask your noble friend to look after one or two of them, that is also showing the yi qi of Jianghu.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “This Lai Li Tou Xiao Sanzi is very good to me, when he lost in gambling, I always lend him ten taels, eight taels, and I have never asked him to pay me back. Whatever instruction Xiao Gongye and Liu Laoyezi have, I will ask Xiao Sanzi to do it for you, he won’t dare to make excuses.”
Liu Dahong let out a relieved sigh, he said, “In that case, I wonder if you could tell me how many assassins were captured, and what their names are. Those assassins’ courage is not small, we admire them very much, at present I wonder if they have already suffered very much. If your precious Society can inquire for us, Zaixia will be very indebted to Wei Xiangzhu.”
Wei Xiaobao struck his own chest and said, “That’s easy. Too bad those assassins are not Xiao Gongye’s subordinate brothers; otherwise, I will try to get one out and hand him over to Xiao Gongye, a life for a life, then the matter of Xu San Ge accidentally harmed Bai Da Xia can be written off in one stroke.”
Liu Dahong turned his head to look at Mu Jiansheng; he nodded slowly. Mu Jiansheng said, “We don’t know who those assassins are, but since they dared to assassinate the Tatars’ Emperor, they are men with lofty ideals, our compatriots in fighting the Qing restoring the Ming. Wei Xiangzhu, if you can find a way to save them, regardless of whether you will succeed or not, Mu Jiansheng will be eternally grateful. Naturally the matter of Xu San Ye and Bai Dage needs not be mentioned anymore.”
Wei Xiaobao turned to look at Bai Hanfeng and said, “Xiao Gongye won’t mentioned it, but I am afraid Bai Er Xia is not willing to let the matter drop. Next time he will grab my hand again and crush it until I cry; now that will be very upsetting.”
Bai Hanfeng suddenly stood up and said loud and clear, “If Wei Xiangzhu can rescue our … our … can rescue those chivalrous patriots who have fallen into the enemy’s hands, and the one surnamed Bai offended Wei Xiangzhu, I will cut off my own hand as my apology to Wei Xiangzhu.”
Wei Xiaobao laughed. “No need, no need,” he said, “You give me your hand, what shall I do with it? Besides, that Lai Li Tou brother of mine has no skill whatsoever to save people in the Palace, so it will be very hard to say. These men have come to assassinate the Emperor, that was a major criminal offense, I don’t know how many fetters and shackles are binding their bodies, I also don’t know how many guards are watching over them. I said I was going to save people, I was only bragging; just consider we all are chatting to kill the time.”
Mu Jiansheng said, “Naturally we know that entering the Imperial Palace to save people is extremely difficult, we do not dare to hope for any success; but as long as Wei Xiangzhu is willing to give your all in trying, it does not matter if you succeed nor not, you can get them out or not, everybody will be grateful all the same.” After a short pause, he added, “There is one more thing, my sister suddenly went missing the other day, Zaixia is very concerned. Tian Di Hui friends’ network of friends in the Capital is extensive, your informers numerous; if you could help us inquire around and find a way to rescue her, Zaixia simply can’t thank you enough.”
“That’s easy,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Xiao Gongye may put your hundred and twenty hearts at ease. Very well, we have drunk enough wine, I am going to look for that Lai Li Tou Xiao Sanzi to talk it over. Damn it, I’ll play two rounds with him and make him bankrupt.” He put out his hand and groped something from his pocket and threw it onto the Eight-Immortal table. Surprisingly, it was four dice. The dice rolled for a moment, then four red dots faced upwards. Wei Xiaobao clapped and said, “Success across the board, success across the board, it’s extraordinary good luck! Ay, it would be good if they all were not beheaded, not killed that the hall is full of red.” Everybody looked at each other with changed expression, they were completely stunned.
Wei Xiaobao picked up the dice, cupped his fist and said, “Thank you for your hospitality, we are taking our leave. Xu San Ge is coming back with us, can he?”
“Wei Xiangzhu is too polite,” Mu Jiansheng said, “Zaixia will send Wei Xiangzhu, Xu San Ye, and Tian Di Hui friends off.”
And thus Wei Xiaobao, Xu Tianchuan, Li Lishi, Guan Anji, and the others left the banquet tables and walked out. Mu Jiansheng, Liu Dahong and the others sent them off outside the main gate; they did not return back to the house until Wei Xiaobao had climbed into the sedan chair.
The warriors returned to the small courtyard house. Guan Anji was most impatient, he asked, “Wei Xiangzhu, were there assassins in the Palace last night? Looking at their expression, most likely they were sent by the Mu Palace.”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Exactly. The assassins entered the Palace last night, nobody dared to leak this secret. No one outside the Palace knew about it, yet they did not seem to be surprised, naturally it was their doing.”
Xuanzhen said, “They dared to assassinate the Tatar Emperor, they can be considered extremely daring, indeed they deserved other people’s admiration. Wei Xiangzhu, their men were being captured, did you say you could rescue them? I’m afraid this is an extremely difficult matter.”
When talking with Mu Jiansheng and Liu Dahong at the banquet table, Wei Xiaobao had already hatched a plan. To save the captured assassins was definitely not a possibility, but in his own room, one Xiao Junzhu and one Fang Yi were lying down nicely on the bed. Xiao Junzhu was not an assassin; she was kidnapped by Tian Di Hui and brought into the Palace, so her release did not count. Fang Yi, on the other hand, was an assassin who broke into the Palace; he thought that finding a way to smuggle her out should not be a difficult matter. As he heard Xuanzhen’s question, Wei Xiaobao smiled and said, “To save all is impossible, but to get one or two out, most probably it is still manageable. Xu San Ge only killed Bai Hansong one person, we only need to get one person out to be returned to them. One life for one life, they do not suffer any loss. Much less not only they will get both the capital and profit, they will also get the interest; we will return to them that little miss Boss Qian has kidnapped, what else can they say? Boss Qian, early tomorrow morning, bring two dead pigs to the Catering Department, we will pack the people inside, then I’ll throw a fit in the kitchen, scolding, swearing and berating you, saying that those two pigs are not good, and will force you to take them out of the Palace at once.”
Boss Qian clapped his hands and laughed. “Wei Xiangzhu’s idea is marvelous,” he said, “The dead pig for fixing Xiao Junzhu is not a problem, but the other one must be a jumbo size.”
Wei Xiaobao uttered several words of encouragement to Xu Tianchuan; he said, “Xu San Ge, don’t you worry, that dog thief Lu Yifeng offended you, I have told Wu Yingxiong to break his dog legs.”
“Yes, yes,” Xu Tianchuan replied, “Thank you Wei Xiangzhu.” But in his heart he did not believe him, “This child is babbling nonsense again. Wu Yingxiong is the Heir Apparent of Ping Xi Wang, he is extremely arrogant, how could he listen to you?” Wei Xiaobao was helping him settling the intractable problem of unintentional killing of Bai Hansong. Although Xu Tianchuan was deeply grateful, he was not completely convinced that Wei Xiaobao would be able to accomplish this important matter.
Wei Xiaobao returned to the imperial palace. He had just entered the Shen Wu Gate when he saw two eunuchs meeting him and said together, “Gui Gong-gong, quick, quick, His Majesty is summoning you.”
“What important matter is it?” Wei Xiaobao asked.
“His Majesty has been asking for you several times,” one of the eunuchs said, “There must be a very important matter. His Majesty is at the Upper Study Room.”
Wei Xiaobao rushed toward the Upper Study Room. Kangxi was pacing up and down the room, seeing Wei Xiaobao come in, his face revealed a happy expression. “Damn it,” he cursed, “You died and went to where?”
“Reporting to His Majesty,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Your servant was thinking that the assassins were so daring; if we do not catch everything in one net, I am afraid it won’t be too good for us, perhaps they will come back to cause us trouble and make His Majesty worry. We must find the leader who managed that operation in secret. Therefore, just now I changed into civilian clothes and went to great streets and small alleys everywhere; I wanted to try to find out who is the assassins’ leader, is he in the Capital?”
“Very good,” Kangxi said, “What did you find?”
Wei Xiaobao thought, “If I say that as soon as I wanted to find out and immediately find something, it would sound too much of a coincident.” Thereupon he said, “After walking around for half a day, I did not see any suspicious person. I am thinking of going out again tomorrow.”
Kangxi said, “You wander around aimlessly and groping blindly, it may be useless. I have an idea.”
Wei Xiaobao was delighted. “Your Majesty’s idea must be very good,” he said.
Kangxi said, “Just now Dolong came to report that the three captured assassins kept their mouths tightly shut; no matter how much flogging and swindling, they keep saying that they were sent by Wu Sangui. Apparently, we cannot get a sentence of truth by torturing them. I am thinking of simply letting them go.”
“Let them go?” Wei Xiaobao asked, “This … won’t that be too easy for them?”
“These assassins are following orders,” Kangxi said, “Although they rebelled against the authority, killing them is of little significance, what’s more important is to find the master mind behind them, eliminating them in one fell swoop, so that we won’t have future trouble.” Speaking to this point, he smiled and said, “If the wolf cub is released, won’t the wolf cub go to find the mother wolf?”
Wei Xiaobao was ecstatic, he clapped his hands and said with a laugh, “Wonderful, wonderful! We release the assassins while scooping them up in secret, they will go to meet with the rebellious thieves’ ring-leader. Your Majesty’s divine strategy really surpasses three Zhuge Liang.”
Kangxi laughed and said, “What do you mean surpasses three Zhuge Liang? Your boot-licking is excessively over the top. The problem is how to scoop the assassins without them knowing it; it won’t be too easy to do. Xiao Guizi, I am sending you on an assignment: you pretend to be the good person, rescue them from the Palace, then those assassins will regard you as one of their own, naturally they will lead you to their leader.”
Wei Xiaobao hesitated. “This …” he muttered.
“Naturally this is a dangerous mission,” Kangxi said, “If they find out, they would immediately want to take your little life. It’s a pity I am the Emperor; otherwise, I am seriously considering doing it myself. It would be very exciting.”
“Your Majesty is giving me order, naturally I will do as you bid,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Even if it was a more dangerous mission, I am not afraid.”
Kangxi was delighted, he patted Wei Xiaobao’s shoulder and said with a laugh, “I already knew that you are smart, and brave, and is most willing to do the job for me. You are but a child, the assassins won’t suspect you. I originally wanted to send two Imperial Bodyguards with high level of martial art to do it, but the assassins are not stupid, they might not be easily fooled. If the first try failed, we can’t try it again the second time. Xiao Guizi, when you are doing this, it will be the same as if I am doing it myself.”
After learning martial art, Kangxi was very eager to give it a try, all along he wanted to do some dangerous things, but as the Emperor, he could not afford to take any risk. By sending Wei Xiaobao to do the job for him, Kangxi regarded him as a substitute. Even if an Imperial Bodyguard could handle this matter better, he would still prefer to send Wei Xiaobao. He thought that in term of age, Xiao Guizi was comparable to his, in term of martial art skill, he was inferior, in term of intelligence, he was also inferior; if he was successful, then Kangxi would definitely be successful as well. Therefore, by sending Xiao Guizi, it was more or less the same as if he personally doing it. Although he could not personally experience it, he could imagine it.
Kangxi also said, “You must be as convincing as possible; it is best if you can pretend to be one of the assassins, kill one or two Imperial Bodyguards on guard duty, let these assassins do not have the slightest doubt toward you. I will order Dolong to relax the check-points to let you take them out of the Palace.”
“Yes!” Wei Xiaobao complied, he said, “But those Imperial Bodyguards’ martial art is good, I am afraid I can’t kill them.”
 Lit. ‘scabies/skin disease dysentery little third’. Xiao Sanzi can also mean ‘the other man (or woman), someone who is romantically involved with married woman/man.
 Lit. ‘Hall full of red’.
 Orig. ‘pour dogs blood on you’.