I think its absurd but hilarious that Jin Yong keeps on drawing parallels between brothel life and palace life. It also seems that WXB does a genuine good job of keeping Chen Jinnan amused.
I think its absurd but hilarious that Jin Yong keeps on drawing parallels between brothel life and palace life. It also seems that WXB does a genuine good job of keeping Chen Jinnan amused.
I don't remember if Li Xihua reappear again, I just forgot about him. Never really liked this scene too because I find it to be a plothole. Just think about it, how can he so easily find out the whereabouts of Chen jin nam? If he could, why wouldn't the emperor be able to do so too? And why would all those heroes trust him so easily?
Or maybe I just don't like the scene because wxb's spotlight got stolen. Wxb had just achieved a very important, almost impossible to do achievement, (he saved 3 people, settled a feud, took revenge for his friend) and he didn't even got a minute of fame.
Also, the cure sounds pretty ridiculous... Burying himself in mud....
Anyway... Fox, I read Milford's translation halfheartedly. Can't stand the names...
As for the saber and sword, Cheung mo kei gave the, to chu yeun Cheung when he gave up his cult's leader position. I can't remember where i've read that the knife is actually the heavenly sword. Could very well be a fanfic of some sort...
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pannonian, and what is the Sun Moon Sect? Please bear with me, my secret confession: I have not read too many wuxia stories … morbiuz, I have not seen that one yet. Sky, Single Whip, you are welcome. Tweety, you know what I mean. But thanks for the really nice words. Smurf, I never thought about it before. But you are right. Athlon, Tweety, I have never watch any adaptation, so I don’t know what you are talking about. I hope by the end of this story Li Xihua will appear again. I mean, what’s the purpose of introducing a character and then forget about it altogether?
Wei Xiaobao continued, "Wu Sangui's son Wu Yingxiong is in Beijing right now, carrying a large quantities of jewels and precious objects as a tribute to the Emperor. If Wu Sangui really wanted to assassinate the Emperor, he would not pick this time. Besides, why would he want to assassinate the Emperor? Unless he wants to dispatch troops to revolt and set himself up as the Emperor. But as soon as he dispatch his troops, the Tatars will immediately kill his son; why would he send his son to Beijing to die?"
Chen Jinnan nodded again. "That's right," he said.
Actually, although Wei Xiaobao was very astute, his age was still too young, his knowledge of military and government affairs, as well as the ways of the world, was very limited, he could not possibly come out with even half of the logic he had just presented. Luckily Kangxi had told him everything, which, in front of his Shifu, he pretended to see those logic himself.
When listening to him, Chen Jinnan thought that this disciple could see things clearly. Tian Di Hui did not lack martial art masters, but people with such clear brain were not many. Initially he let this little child to be the Green Wood Hall's Xiangzhu just to avoid the friction between the two rivaling factions, he needed to comply with everybody's oath first, and then slowly seeking a talented person to replace him. Since Wei Xiaobao was his own disciple, he could always ask him to abdicate his position honorably. By now, as he listened to him, he mused, "This child has both courage and insight, even now he is quite amazing, after several more years of discipline, he could be a real Green Wood Hall's Xiangzhu, which is not necessarily inferior to the other nine Xiangzhu." He asked, "Did the Tatars know about it?"
Wei Xiaobao said, "Presently they are not very clear yet, but the Emperor seems to have suspicion already. This morning he summoned several Imperial Bodyguards and ordered them to demonstrate the martial art the assassins had used. Some Imperial Bodyguards performed the moves, and then everybody discussed it. Disciple was watching on the side, I remembered two moves." And thus he immediately demonstrated the ‘sweeping away a thousand army’, and 'high mountain flowing water', two moves.
Chen Jinnan sighed and said, "Mu Palace really does not have talented people anymore. These moves are obviously Mu Family Fist technique; there are not a few martial art experts among the Imperial Bodyguards in the Palace, how could they not recognize the moves?"
Wei Xiaobao said, "Disciple has seen Feng Jizhong, Feng Dage and Priest Xuanzhen demonstrated these moves, I expect the Tatar Imperial Bodyguards would also recognize them. I was afraid the Tatars would search and arrest people, therefore, just now I urged the Mu Family's Xiao Gongye to move out of town to avoid the trouble."
"Very true, very true!" Chen Jinnan said, "You'd better go back to the Palace to report, come again tomorrow, I will teach you martial art some more."
Hearing his Shifu was not going to check his martial art right away, Wei Xiaobao was greatly delighted; hastily he saluted and took his leave, thinking, "Tonight I need to clasp the Buddha's feet; I will ask Xiao Junzhu to read Shifu's martial art manual to me, good or bad I will remember some, and then when Shifu ask tomorrow, and then whatever little things I know I can recite. Shifu can only blame me of not training correctly, but he can't blame me for being lazy and not want to work hard. Who told him not to have time to teach me? If he wants to blame somebody, he can only blame himself."
Wei Xiaobao returned to the Palace and went straight to the Upper Study Room. Kangxi was reviewing some memorial to the throne; as soon as he saw him, he laid down his pen and asked, "Have you found any information?"
Wei Xiaobao said, "Your Majesty predicts with supernatural accuracy, you were not wrong at all, the rebel mastermind is indeed the Mu Family of Yunnan."
"Is that so?" Kangxi happily asked, "That's wonderful. Looking at Dolong's expression, he still does not believe it. What did you find?"
Wei Xiaobao said, "Those three captured assassins stuck to what they initially say, that they were Wu Sangui subordinates, Dolong Zongguan beat them until they were hovering between life and death, but no matter what, they were unwilling to change their statement."
"Dolong's martial art skill is not bad," Kangxi said, "But he is a boorish fellow."
Wei Xiaobao said, "Under Your Majesty's imperial edict, your servant has used knockout drug to drug the Imperial Bodyguards, just when the Empress Dowager was sending four eunuchs over, saying that the assassins must be executed immediately. Your servant gathered my courage and acted according to the strategy Your Majesty planned, I killed the four eunuchs in front of the assassins and led the assassins out of the Palace. Those three rebellious thieves did not suspect anything at all."
Kangxi smiled and said, "A moment ago Dolong came to report that an eunuch leader under the Empress Dowager has set the assassins free; I was feeling strange, turns out it was your trick."
Wei Xiaobao said, "Your Majesty must not tell the Empress Dowager, otherwise your servant's lowly life will be difficult to protect. The Empress Dowager has scolded me for showing utter loyalty to His Majesty, but not utterly loyal toward the Empress Dowager. Actually, what's the difference between Your Majesty and the Empress Dowager? Besides, the sky cannot have two suns, the people cannot have two rulers; in the end, only Your Majesty's imperial decree counts. Without asking Your Majesty, the Empress Dowager has ordered the assassins to be executed; what kind of logic was that?"
Kangxi did not bother that Wei Xiaobao was trying to drive a wedge between him and the Empress Dowager, "I won't say anything to the Empress Dowager," he said, "About those three assassins, what happened next?"
Wei Xiaobao said, "I took them out of the Palace, without my asking they told me their real name and surname. Turns out the old man is called the 'Shaking Head Lion' Wu Lishen, the two younger ones, one is Ao Biao, the other Liu Yizhou. They thanked me profusely, but in the end your servant managed to swindle them, they took me to their leader. Sure enough, it is as Your Majesty expected, the mastermind behind all these is a young man, whom the rebellious thieves call Xiao Gongye, his real name and surname is Mu Jiansheng, he is Mu Tianbo's son. Under his command there is an old man whose martial art skill was very high, he is called something like 'Iron Back Dragon' Liu Dahong. And then there are also 'Divine Physician Hermit' Su Gang, the second hero of the Bai Family Two Heroes, Bai Hanfeng, and so on. They are staying separately at Willow Tree Lane and South Bean Sprout Lane, two places."
"Did you see both places?" Kangxi asked.
"I did," Wei Xiaobao replied, "They said that common people all over the world all say that although the Emperor is young, he is a matchless enlightened sage, a good emperor that is hard to come by in several thousand years. They said that even if they had guts as big as the sky, they would not have dared to harm the Emperor. Therefore, the night before last they entered the Palace to deliberately create trouble, it was completely to frame Wu Sangui, to avenge their big hatred because he killed Mu Tianbo."
Unavoidably some of these words of flattery hit its target. Kangxi had not personally taken over the government for too long, the common people of the world could not possibly sing praises over his meritorious deed or virtue, but as the saying goes, ‘anything gets through me except flattery’. Hearing the common people praise him as ‘a good emperor that is hard to come by in several thousand years’, he could not help but feeling very pleased. He smiled and said, “I haven’t produced any benevolent policy to the benefit of the people yet, ‘matchless enlightened sage’ and so on is your own fabrication, isn’t it?”
“No, no!” Wei Xiaobao said, “It came straight from their own mouths. Everybody says that that big treacherous official Oboi cruelly harmed common people, they all hated him to the bones. When Your Majesty decided to put him to his death, it was a very, very good decision. They speak highly of you as some raw bird [niao sheng] or some fish soup [yu tang]. Your servant did not understand, I assumed it was words of praise, so I was very happy to hear it.”
Kangxi was taken aback, but then he understood immediately and broke into loud laughter. “It’s ‘Yao Shun Yu Tang’,” he said, “Damn it, what do you mean ‘niao sheng yu tang’?” He thought that Wei Xiaobao could not possibly come up with ‘Yao Shun Yu Tang’, therefore, the compliment must be real. He did not know that when telling the story of ‘Heroic Deed Commentaries’, the storyteller mentioned that the crowd continuously praised Zhu Yuanzhang as ‘Yao Shun Yu Tang’. Wei Xiaobao heard the story often. Although he did not understand the meaning of it, he knew that ‘Yao Shun Yu Tang’ was words of praise to flatter the emperor; it was said that each time Zhu Yuanzhang heard it, his ‘dragon countenance looked very pleased’.
This time Wei Xiaobao used the same flattery toward the young Emperor, and sure enough, Kangxi’s his ‘dragon countenance looked very pleased’, his laughter was very joyous and free, so he knew the bootlicking was right on target. “Your Majesty.” he asked, “What exactly is ‘niao sheng yu tang’?”
Kangxi laughed and said, “You still say raw bird and fish soup? This kid really does not have the least bit of literary knowledge. Yao Shun Yu Tang were four learned and virtuous wise monarch of the ancient times, great sages with great knowledge, due to their benevolent integrity, they are recognized as good Emperors of the land under the heavens.”
“No wonder, no wonder!” Wei Xiaobao said, “Those rebellious thieves are not completely ignorant of reasons.”
“Even so,” Kangxi said, “We must not let them escape. Quickly summon Dolong over.”
Wei Xiaobao complied; he went out to summon the Imperial Bodyguard Chief Dolong into the Upper Study Room. Kangxi instructed Dolong, “The rebellious thieves are really Mu Family’s people from Yunnan. Take the Imperial Bodyguards and arrest them immediately. Xiao Guizi, why don’t you tell Dolong the background of those rebellious thieves’ group?”
Wei Xiaobao immediately told Dolong the names of Mu Jiansheng, Liu Dahong, and the others. Dolong was startled; he said, “Turns out it is the ‘Iron Back Blue Dragon’ who manage this operation in secret, these bunch of thieves’ background is indeed not small. That ‘Shaking-Head Lion’ Wu Lishen, your servant has also heard his name; I did not expect him to be locked up in the Palace for a day and a night, yet I could not obtain any real information from him. If your servant is a little bit smarter, seeing him always shaking his head, I should have guessed it early on. If not for the Sage’s wise judgment, we in the Imperial Bodyguard building would still think that those people were sent by Wu Sangui.”
Showing a faint smile, Kangxi said, “I am afraid they have already gone by now, this time you may not necessarily able to arrest them.” After a short pause, he continued, “Since we already know the mastermind, it’s not a big deal even if this time we can’t arrest them. I am just afraid that we will be kept in the dark; we still don’t know that we have fallen into other people’s trick.”
“Yes, yes,” Dolong said, “Your servants are muddle-headed, fortunately our Master is wise, otherwise it would be disastrous.” He kowtowed and took his leave, immediately selected some of his men to arrest the rebels.
“Xiao Guizi,” Kangxi said, “I am going to the Palace of Compassionate and Peaceful to pay my respect, come with me.”
“Yes!” Wei Xiaobao complied; but thinking that he was going to see the Empress Dowager, he could help but trembling with fear and appeared apprehensive.
Kangxi said, “Why are you frowning and look distressed? I am taking you to see Empress Dowager is exactly to preserve your head.”
“Yes, yes!” Wei Xiaobao replied.
Arrived at the Palace of Compassionate and Peaceful, Kangxi paid his respect to the Empress Dowager, reporting clearly the assassins’ background, telling her that it was he, personally, who ordered Xiao Guizi to release the assassins and finally ascertained the actual facts.
The Empress Dowager smiled and said, “Xiao Guizi, you can work very well!”
Wei Xiaobao kneeled down and kowtowed, “It was due to His Majesty’s ability to prophecy with supernatural accuracy, everything has been calculated beforehand,” he said, “Your servant was only bidding His Majesty’s order, nothing more than that. Although it was your servant who did the legwork, from head to tail I was just following His Majesty’s order, your servant did not have the least bit of idea of his own.”
The Empress Dowager cast a glance at him, snorted, and then said, “You are naughty, and it was not His Majesty who orders you to fool around! A little kid who left home to enter the Palace must want to play everywhere. Have you been to the Heavenly Bridge to see some acrobats? Have you bought some candied fruits?”
Wei Xiaobao recalled seeing government officials arresting candied fruits peddlers, he guessed they must be sent by the Empress Dowager; she was afraid the man would transmit the information to Rui Dong on Wutai Mountain, therefore, without distinguishing red-blue or black-white, she had all candied fruits peddlers around the Heavenly Bridge arrested. Wei Xiaobao was sure that without distinguishing red-blue or black-white, they would all be beheaded. Thinking about her ruthlessness, he could not help but shiver. “Yes, yes!” he said.
The Empress Dowager smiled and said, “I am asking you, have you bought some candied fruits lately?”
“Reporting to the Empress Dowager,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “Your servant heard people on the street say that the Heavenly Bridge is not really safe these days, the Nine-Gate provincial governor office has arrested the candied fruits peddlers, saying that there are many bad men among them. Therefore, those who originally sell candied fruits now change their professions; some sell cool cakes, some sell peanuts, some change their professions to sell sour dates, sell sweet cookies. Your servant has often seen many of these people, I am somewhat familiar with their faces, they say they are not going to sell candied fruits anymore. One of them was really funny, he said he was going to go to some Wutai or Liutai Mountain to sell some plain steamed buns to the monks.”
 Idiom 'to clasp the Buddha's feet without ever having to burn incense', meaning 'to profess devotion only when in trouble'.
 Orig. 千穿万穿，马屁不穿[qian chuan wan chuan, ma pi bu chuan] - lit. ‘thousand times bore through, ten thousand times bore through; horse’s fart does not bore through’. Horse fart is an idiom for ‘flattery’ or ‘boot-licking’.
 Founding Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, with regnal name Hongwu.
 Yao (c. 2200 BC) – one of five legendary emperors of ancient China, Shun (c. 22nd century BC) – mythical sage and leader, Yu (c. 21st century BC) – mythical leader who tamed the floods. Tang refers to King Tang of Shang (1675 BC -1646 BC) who was the first ruling king of the Shang dynasty in Chinese history. He overthrew Jie, the last ruler of the Xia dynasty. Tang's reign was regarded as a good one by the Chinese. He lowered taxes and the conscription rate of soldiers. His influence spread to the Yellow River, and many outlying tribes became vassal states. (Courtesy of Ace High)
 Orig. ‘kept hoodwinked inside a drum’.
 Reminder: ‘wu’ and ‘liu’ means ‘five’ and ‘six’, respectively.
Last edited by foxs; 01-31-11 at 09:36 AM.
Cheers fox. Your translation never fails to brighten my day.
The Sun Moon Sect/Cult is also called the Demon Cult by "righteous" wulin, and appears in Smiling Proud Wanderer. Its leader at the start of the story is Dongfang Bubai, who usurped it from its previous leader Ren Woxing. It's assumed to be the descendant of the Ming Cult, as the words Sun and Moon are composites of the world Ming. The Cult also has a Left Protector and a Right Protector, in common with the Ming Cult. SPW doesn't state its historical period, unlike some other Jin Yong stories, but it's post-HSDS as Wudang has been established with Zhang Sanfeng already a legendary figure, and it seems to be pre-Qing.
lol..WXB cracks me up...cant stand the empress...hope he finds a way to get rid of that uber B*tch soon...
Thanks Foxs!!! and love your translations btw..from the condor trilogy to this one...
WXB's stories are half truths, half lies, but still manage to make everyone believe him. An amazing skill to be able to remember all the details and not mess up. Even just reading, I sometimes forget what he previously said.
Foxs, your translation updates always bring a smile to my face
Tang refers to King Tang of Shang (1675 BC -1646 BC) who was the first ruling king of the Shang dynasty in Chinese history. He overthrew Jie, the last ruler of the Xia dynasty. Tang's reign was regarded as a good one by the Chinese. He lowered taxes and the conscription rate of soldiers. His influence spread to the Yellow River, and many outlying tribes became vassal states.
foxs, I was laughing at the link pannonian posted actually. It's a riot hehe.
Looking forward to new developments after the dust settles from celebrations! Happy Lunar New Year everyone, may you and your families enjoy good health, prosperity and blooming good fortune in the year ahead! Gong Xi Gong Xi!
Banh Mi, thanks. Pannonian ... I have read SPW, but did not realize you were referring to this same story. I don't recall any reference to Jin Yong's other books except Dugu Qiubai. JoeLee, you are welcome. Tweety, About Gu Long, his characters were short-lived, but in this case Jin Yong said that Li Xihua did not reveal his origin, et cetera ... so if he did not reappear, we will be left wondering. Ace, thanks. I updated the post with your additional info. Morbiuz, is it almost New Year already? Time flies ...
The Empress Dowager raised her eyebrows in anger; naturally she understood that by saying that, Wei Xiaobao was telling her that the man who was supposed to transmit information had not been arrested, and that she could forget about arresting him later. With a cold smile she said, “Very good, you are very good, you are really competent. Emperor, I want to have him by my side, doing things for me. What do you think?”
These days Kangxi always sent Wei Xiaobao to do errands for him, and Wei Xiaobao was very efficient, so Kangxi started to rely on him like his own left and right hands. The purpose of his visit to the Palace of Compassionate and Peaceful this time was exactly to explain to the Empress Dowager that Wei Xiaobao killed the four eunuchs she sent under his order, so he would ask that the Empress Dowager did not blame him. Suddenly hearing that the Empress Dowager wanted Wei Xiaobao, he could not help but was startled. He was very filial to her. Although the Empress Dowager was not his own mother, but she raised him up from childhood until he grew up, so she was no different than his own mother. Not daring to disobey, he smiled and said, “Xiao Guizi, the Empress Dowager is promoting you, why haven’t you thanked her for her favor?”
Hearing the Empress Dowager wanted to take him from the Emperor, Wei Xiaobao was already scared out of his wits, in that instant his mind went blank, he only wanted to flee; this time he wanted to run away from the Palace and never come back. Hearing Kangxi, he busily replied, “Yes, yes!” And then he kowtowed and said, “Thank you Empress Dowager for your grace, thank you Your Majesty for your grace.”
“What is it?” the Empress Dowager said with a cold laugh, “You only want to serve His Majesty and do not want to serve me, is that it?”
Wei Xiaobao said, “Serving the Empress Dowager and serving His Majesty are the same, your servant will do it with the same loyalty and devotion, I will strive hard to do your bidding.”
“That’s good,” the Empress Dowager said, “You don’t need to take care of the Catering Department’s business anymore, you will concentrate on doing the Palace of Compassionate and Peaceful’s business.”
“Yes,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “Thank you Empress Dowager for your grace.”
Seeing the Empress Dowager wanted to take over Wei Xiaobao, Kangxi was unhappy; he made some small talk, and then quickly took his leave. Wei Xiaobao followed him out.
The Empress Dowager said, “Xiao Guizi, stay here. Let other people escort His Majesty back. I have something I want you to do.”
“Yes!” Wei Xiaobao replied. In a daze he watched Kangxi’s back as he left the Palace of Compassionate and Peaceful, thinking, “This time you leave, I will be in big trouble. I don’t know if I can see you again in the future.” He almost could not hold his desire to cry aloud.
The Empress Dowager drank her tea slowly, while her gaze had never left Wei Xiaobao, sizing him up. She noticed that he was very scared. After a long time she asked, “The man who is going to Wutai Mountain to sell plain steamed buns, when is he going to return?”
“Your servant does not know,” Wei Xiaobao replied.
“When are you going to see him again?” the Empress Dowager asked.
Wei Xiaobao said whatever came into his head, “Your servant has agreed to meet him in a month, but it won’t be at the Heavenly Bridge anymore.”
“Where is it?” the Empress Dowager asked.
Wei Xiaobao replied, “He said that when the time comes, he will find a way to notify your servant.”
The Empress Dowager nodded, she said, “In that case you may stay in the Palace of Compassionate and Peaceful, waiting for his news.” She gently clapped her hands, and from the inner chamber a palace maid appeared.
The palace maid looked like she was thirty five or thirty six years old, very fat, yet her footsteps were very lithe. Her face looked like a full moon, with small eyes and big mouth; she giggled while bowing to pay her respect to the Empress Dowager.
The Empress Dowager said, “This little eunuch is called Xiao Guizi, he is audacious and is a trouble maker, but I like him very much."
The palace maid smiled and said, “Yes, this Xiao Xiongdi looks very clever. Xiao Xiongdi, my name is Liu Yan, but you can just call me Jiejie.”
Wei Xiaobao said in his heart, “Damn it, you are a fat pig!” But he laughed and said, “Yes, Liu Yan Jiejie, your name is very appropriate, your figure looks like a willow tree, your steps are light and quick, just like a little swallow [Liu – willow, Yan – swallow].” In front of the Empress Dowager, no other eunuch or palace maid had ever dared to say even half a frivolous word like that, but Wei Xiaobao knew he was doomed anyway; there was no difference whether he said it or not, but even if he did not say it, he would not be spared anyway.
Liu Yan giggled and said, “Xiao Xiongdi, your mouth is sweet indeed.”
The Empress Dowager said, “His mouth is sweet, his feet are quick. Liu Yan, think of a way to keep him from running this way and that, wandering and rushing aimlessly around the Palace.”
Liu Yan said, “Empress Dowager may hand him over to your servant, let me look after him well.”
The Empress Dowager shook her head and said, “This little monkey is very slippery, you can’t continuously keep your eyes on him. I sent Rui Dong to summon him, he smooth-talked him so that that coward ran away. I sent four eunuchs to summon him, he colluded with the Imperial Bodyguards and killed those four eunuchs. I sent four more eunuchs; I don’t know what kind of trick he had, unexpectedly Dong Jinkui and the others, four people, were also killed.”
“Tsk, tsk, tsk,” Liu Yan clucked her tongue repeatedly; she laughed and said, “Aiyo, Xiao Xiongdi, you are too naughty, aren’t you too difficult to be dealt with? Empress Dowager, if we chopped both of his legs and just let him lie down nicely, won’t we enjoy a lot more of peace and quiet?”
The Empress Dowager sighed and said, “I’ll say it might be the only way.”
Wei Xiaobao sprang up and bolted toward the door. His left leg had just stepped over the threshold, suddenly he felt his scalp tightened, someone pulled his pigtail. His head was jerked backward, his body refused to obey him and he fell flat on his back, there was a severe of pain on the pit of his stomach as a foot stepped on his chest. It was a big and fat foot, wearing red satin shoe embroidered with golden flower; Liu Yan’s foot had landed on him. In desperation Wei Xiaobao’s mouth rained curses, “Stinky mother, take your stinky foot off!”
Liu Yan added more force into her foot, a dozen or so ribs in Wei Xiaobao’s chest were making random cracking noise, he could not even breathe. He heard Liu Yan said with a laugh, “Xiao Xiongdi, your pair of feet is very fragrant, I really want to chop them down and have a smell.”
Wei Xiaobao thought that the Empress Dowager hated him to the bones; she would not hesitate to chop both of his feet, and then have him carried up to see the man who was supposed to transmit the news to Rui Dong. She might also dispatch a martial art master to follow the man going up Wutai Mountain in secret, and had Rui Dong killed. But Rui Dong was no longer on the world of the living, so his trick would eventually be exposed. The most important matter right now was to save his legs; since a threat would be useless right now, he could only try to entice her with something she wanted. Thereupon he coldly said, “Empress Dowager, it’s not a big deal for you to chop my legs; even if you chop my head, Xiao Guizi will only getting a bit shorter; there is nothing special about it. Too bad about the Forty-two-chapter Sutra. Hey, hey, hey, hey …”
As soon as the Empress Dowager heard the words ‘Forty-two-chapter Sutra’, she stood up immediately and asked, “What did you say?”
“I said, unavoidably it will be too bad about that book ‘Forty-two-chapter Sutra’,” Wei Xiaobao replied.
The Empress Dowager said to Liu Yan, “Let him get up.” Liu Yan lifted her left foot from Wei Xiaobao’s chest; inserting her foot underneath Wei Xiaobao’s body, she kicked Wei Xiaobao’s back that his body shot up. Stretching out her left hand, she grabbed Wei Xiaobao by the back of his collar, lifted his up high in the air, and then put him down heavily on the floor. All along Wei Xiaobao was unable to neither resist nor struggle free, as if he was merely an infant. The curse ‘stinky mother’ was already on the tip of his tongue, but he was so scared that he swallowed it back into his belly.
The Empress Dowager asked, “About the ‘Forty-two-chapter Sutra’, where did you hear it from?”
Wei Xiaobao said, “You are going to chop my two legs anyway, I won’t say anything, we are all going to go our own way, I won’t have any legs any head, you won’t have the ‘Forty-two-chapter Sutra’.”
Liu Yan said, “I advise you to answer the Empress Dowager’s question nicely.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “If I answer, I will die, if I don’t answer, I will also die; why would I want to answer? At most you will punish me heavier, I am not afraid.”
Liu Yan picked up his left hand; she said with a laugh, “Xiao Xiongdi, your fingers are slim and long, they look exceptionally good.”
“At most you can cut off my fingers,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Nothing special about it …” before he finished speaking, he felt severe pain on his finger. “Ah!” he screamed, as Liu Yan’s two fingers held his left-hand forefinger and pinched it hard, that his bone was nearly broken. The fat woman had a smiling, affable face, but they way she made her move was very ruthless, the power of her fingers was even more astonishing, her pinch felt like a pair of iron pliers.
This time Wei Xiaobao suffered a major pain, tears flowing continuously from his eyes. “Empress Dowager,” he called out, “Kill me quickly, that book ‘Forty-two-chapter Sutra’, the one called ‘the old cat smelling salted fish’, just smell the wine-preserved pomfret, just smell the fish!” [Book note: the word ‘smell the wine-preserved pomfret’ (xiu xiang - 嗅鲞 ), sounds alike ‘don’t even think about it’ (xiu xiang - 休想 )]
“Just tell me the truth about the ‘Forty-two-chapter Sutra’, I’ll spare your life,” the Empress Dowager said.
“I don’t need you to spare my life,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “I am determined not to say anything about the book.”
The Empress Dowager frowned slightly, she was actually at a loss of how to deal with this stubborn child. After half a day, she slowly said, “Liu Yan, if he does not want to talk, you may dig out his two eyeballs.”
Liu Yan laughed and said, “Very good, I will dig out one eyeball first. Xiao Xiongdi, your eyeballs grew to be very pretty, they are black and round, and can spin and roll around. But after I dig them out, they won’t look too pretty anymore.” While saying that, she placed the thumb of her right hand on his right eyelid and pushed it slightly.
Wei Xiaobao felt a stabbing pain on his eyeball, he had no choice but to surrender. “I surrender, I surrender!” he cried out, “Don’t dig my eyeballs out, I’ll talk.”
Liu Yan let off her hand; she said with a smile, “Now that’s a good child. Just talk nicely, the Empress Dowager will love you very much.”
Wei Xiaobao reached up to rub his eye, blinking the hurting eye several times. He closed the other eye, cocked his head and looked at Liu Yan for a moment, and then he shook his head and said, “It’s not right, it’s not right!”
“What’s not right?” Liu Yan asked, “Don’t put on an act, the Empress Dowager is asking you a question, quickly give her an honest answer.”
“You have damaged my eyeball,” Wei Xiaobao said, “The things I look at change shapes. I see you as having a human body, but on your neck grew a big fat pig head.”
Liu Yan was not angry; she giggled and said, “That sounds fun. I must damage your left eyeball too.”
Wei Xiaobao took a step back and said, “Please excuse me this time, thank you very much.” He shut his left eye and looked at the Empress Dowager, and then he shook his head.
The Empress Dowager thought, “This little demon looked at Liu Yan with one eye and said a pig’s head rested on her neck. Now he looked at me the same way; although his mouth did not say anything, I don’t know how he is cursing me in his heart, he must be saying that he saw some animal’s head resting on my neck.” She said coldly, “Liu Yan, you’d better dig his eyeball now, so that he won’t look to the east and to the west.”
Wei Xiaobao hastily said, “If I don’t have any eyeball, how am I going to get the ‘Forty-two-chapter Sutra’ for you?”
“You have a ‘Forty-two-chapter Sutra’?” the Empress Dowager asked, “Where did you get it from?”
“Rui Dong gave it to me,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “He asked me to take a good care of it, to keep it in a very secret place. He said, ‘Xiao Guizi Xiongdi, there are a lot of people in the Palace who want to harm you. If in the future you have some unfortunate things happen to you, like taking your eyeballs out or chopping your legs, this book will henceforth not see the light of the day. The person who harms you, although his eyeballs are not blind, he won’t see this treasured scripture, so he won’t differ from someone whose eyeballs are blind. This is called ‘acting for oneself and suffer the consequences’. Empress Dowager, the scripture has a red silk envelope with white border around it. I don’t know if it is the one you want.”
The Empress Dowager did not believe Rui Dong said those words, but it was a fact that she sent Rui Dong on a mission to put to death the leader of the Bordered Red Banner Hochabo and took the copy of Forty-two-chapter Sutra hidden in his mansion. When Rui Dong came back to report that day, she was anxious to have Wei Xiaobao killed to close his mouth, hence she did not have time to inquire about the sutra. This time she heard Wei Xiaobao said so, she was angry and happy at the same time; angry because unexpectedly Rui Dong handed over the sutra to this little demon, happy because finally she found the sutra’s whereabouts. “Since that’s the case,” she said, “Liu Yan, go with this little demon to fetch the sutra and give it to me. If the sutra is not fake, we will spare his life, and return him to the Emperor. Afterwards we won’t allow him to enter the Palace of Compassionate and Peaceful forever, to avoid I seeing this little demon and get angry.”
Liu Yan pulled Wei Xiaobao’s right hand and said with a laugh, “Xiao Xiongdi, let’s go!”
 Orig. ‘yi pai liang san’ – one strike, two parts, meaning separation/breaking up of marriage or business partnership.
Thanks for another update foxs. Can't believe I missed your earlier update!
WXB can get out of any kind of trouble. Such a unique genius!
crap.....not sure how wxb will get outta this one =X....thanks foxs!!
It's good to have watched the adaptations and not be on pins and needles at the cliff hangers . Of course, this does not dampen my love for your work, foxs.
Sky, you under no obligation to leave a message. But I do appreciate your faithfulness. JoeLee and Tweety, when I started this 'crazy' project, I was already aware that there won't be any surprises; but I still want to do it just because I want to know all the details exactly like Jin Yong wrote it, not some 'watered-down' version. But anyway, I also appreciate your comments.
Wei Xiaobao shook her hand away, he said, "I am a man, you are a woman, what do you want holding and pulling my hand like that?" Liu Yan seemed to hold his palm only gently, who would have thought that it was as if there a very strong suction force from her fingers? Wei Xiaobao's palm was firmly sticking onto her hand, he was unable to shake her hand away.
Liu Yan said with a laugh, "You are an eunuch, how can you be regarded as a man? Even if you are a real man, you, this little demon, is still too young to be my son."
"Is that right?" Wei Xiaobao asked, "You want to be my mother? I think you look exactly alike my mother."
How would Liu Yan know that in a roundabout way, Wei Xiaobao was cursing her as a wh0re? "Pei!" she spat, and then she laughed and said, "Your Miss is a virgin, don't talk nonsense!" Pulling his hand, she took him out.
As they reached the long corridor, Wei Xiaobao was frantically trying to find an ingenious way to escape from her clutch. The extremely sharp dagger was inside his right boot, if he could stretch out his right hand, he could pull it out, but as soon as he made a move, she would detect it immediately. This woman's martial art skill was very profound, even if he had a very sharp weapon in his hand, he might not necessarily able to exchange three moves or two styles with her. He muttered under his breath, "Damn it, where did this fat pig come from? Why didn't Boss Qian deliver a good pig? When he sent that fat pig, I already felt something inauspicious. When the old wh0re fought the old turtle, I am sure this fat sow was not in the Palace of Compassionate and Peaceful yet; otherwise, as soon as she came out to help, the old turtle would die immediately. This sow must have arrived in the Palace within the last couple of days, otherwise, a few days ago the old wh0re would have sent her to kill me, she did not have to personally do the job." Thinking to this point, he had a sudden idea, he led her eastwards, toward the Upper Study Room next to the Palace of Heavenly Purity. He figured out that all he need to do was to ask Kangxi to save his life. This fat pig had not been in the Palace for too long, she might not necessarily know the pathways around the Palace.
He only took one step to the east, the second step had not been taken, the back of his collar tightened, Liu Yan had seized him. With a giggle she said, "Good Xiongdi, where are you going?"
"To my room to fetch the scripture of course," Wei Xiaobao replied.
"Why are you heading toward the Upper Study Room, then?" Liu Yan asked, "You are thinking of asking His Majesty to save you?"
Wei Xiaobao could not bear not to curse, "Stinky pig, you know the way around the palace."
Liu Yan said, "Other places I might not know, but around the Palace of Heavenly Purity, the Palace of Compassionate and Peaceful, and your, Xiao Xiongdi's dwelling, I can't be wrong." She exerted her strength to the right, Wei Xiaobao's body was twisted westwards. She said with a laugh, "Just walk obediently, don't waste other people's time." Her voice was gentle, but the power with which she twist Wei Xiaobao was really heavy. Wei Xiaobao's neck bones made some cracking noise, he yelled in pain, he thought that his neck bone had been wrenched apart by her.
There were two eunuchs ahead, when they heard his scream, they turned their heads around. Liu Yan said in a low voice, "The Empress Dowager ordered me to kill you immediately whenever you want to run away or make noise to call people."
Wei Xiaobao thought that even though he cried for help and alarmed the Emperor, Kangxi would not possibly defy the Empress Dowager's order. Although the Emperor was good to him, in no way would he anger his mother for the sake of a little eunuch. It would be best if they could come across several Imperial Bodyguards, so that he could instigate them to kill Liu Yan. Suddenly he felt a sharp pain on his waist as with her elbow she struck him hard; he heard her saying, "Thinking of using some trick?"
Wei Xiaobao had no choice but to walk toward his own room. He mused, "When we get to my room, although I will have two helpers, both Fang Yi and Xiao Junzhu are injured; even if we fight three to one, we still cannot overcome this big fat pig. If she saw any sign of those two girls, I would only deliver those two people's lives in vain."
When they reached the front door, Wei Xiaobao took out the key to unlock the door. He deliberately bumped the key to the lock, making a loud clinking noise. "Stinky mother," he said loudly, "Big fat pig, you torment me like this, I'll say that there will come a day that you will not die a good death."
Liu Yan laughed and said, "You can't even tell if you will die a good death or not, yet you meddle into other people's business."
'Bang!' Wei Xiaobao shoved open the door, he said, "Whether I give the scripture to the Empress Dowager or not, you will kill me anyway. Do you think I am a fool, thinking that I will be lucky enough to escape with my life?”
“The Empress Dowager already said she will spare you,” Liu Yan said, “Most likely she will spare your life, at most she will dig your eyeballs and chop off your legs.”
Wei Xiaobao cursed, “You think the Empress Dowager is treating you very well? After you kill me, the Empress Dowager will definitely kill you to shut your mouth.” These words seemed to echo the load in Liu Yan’s mind. She stared with blank expression for a moment, but then she exerted her strength to give Wei Xiaobao’s back a push. Wei Xiaobao could not stand his ground, he crashed into the room. He talked a lot outside the room with the hope that Fang Yi and Xiao Junzhu would hear and know that an extremely ferocious enemy was coming, so that they could withdraw inside the quilt and not dare to breathe too loud.
Liu Yan laughed and said, “I don’t have time to wait for you, get it a little quicker please.” And she pushed heavily on his back again. Wei Xiaobao stumbled several steps into the inner room. Liu Yan followed him in.
Wei Xiaobao took a glance and saw two pairs of women's shoes arranged neatly in front of the bed. It was already dark outside, there was neither lantern nor candle lighted in the room. Having entered the room later, Liu Yan did not immediately see the shoes. "Not good!" Wei Xiaobao cried out inwardly. Seizing the opportunity he threw himself forward and pushed the two pairs of shoes underneath the bed, while he himself also crawled inside, thinking that perhaps this time he would be able to kill the fat pig the same way he killed Rui Dong. As soon as he was in, he pulled his right leg in so that his right hand could reach and pull the dagger inside his boot. Unexpectedly, his right ankle tightened, it was grabbed by Liu Yan.
"What are you doing?" he heard Liu Yan asked.
"I am getting the book," Wei Xiaobao replied, "I keep it under the bed."
"Alright!" Liu Yan said; thinking that he would not be able to run anywhere from under the bed, she released her grip. Wei Xiaobao shrank his body as small as possible, while pulling the dagger and held it in his hand. "Take it out!" Liu Yan shouted.
"Uh, there must be some rats in here," Wei Xiaobao said, "Aiyo, aiyo, it's really bad, why did they chew the book into pieces?"
"It's useless for you to play any trick in front of me!" Liu Yan said, "Give me the book!" She stretched out her hand to grab, but she grabbed an empty air, because Wei Xiaobao had withdrawn and leaned against the wall. Liu Yan crawled two chi forward, the upper part of her body was already under the bed, again she stretched out her fingers to grab.
Wei Xiaobao turned around slightly, without making any noise he stabbed the dagger forward. The tip of the dagger had just touched the back of her hand, Liu Yan had already detected it; her reaction was extremely fast and nimble, flipping her right hand over, she grabbed Wei Xiaobao's wrist and squeezed it hard. Wei Xiaobao entirely lost the strength in his hand, and had no choice but to let the dagger dropped.
Liu Yan laughed and said, "You want to kill me? I'll dig out your eyeballs first." With her right hand she grabbed his throat, with her left fingers she was about to dig his eyes.
"A snake!" Wei Xiaobao cried out.
Liu Yan was startled. "What?" she said. Suddenly, "Ah!" she screamed, the hand grabbing Wei Xiaobao's throat slowly loosened, her body twisted several times, and then she dropped down to the floor.
Wei Xiaobao was startled but happy; quickly he crawled out from under the bed, only to head Mu Jianping said, "Are ... are you injured?"
Wei Xiaobao lifted the mosquito net open and saw Fang Yi sitting on the bed, holding the sword's hilt with both hands, continuously gasping for breath. The sword blade penetrated the mattress to the bottom of the bed, right up to the hilt. Turned out she heard Wei Xiaobao's desperate situation and thrust the sword down from above the bed, passing through the cotton-padded mattress and the bed frame strung with palm fiber, straight into Liu Yan's back.
Wei Xiaobao kicked Liu Yan's buttocks. Seeing she did not move at all, he was very happy. "Good ... Good Jiejie," he said, "You saved my life."
Based on Liu Yan's martial art skill, Fang Yi's sneak attack would not easily succeed; but since seeing Wei Xiaobao unlocking the door, Liu Yan had never thought that there was someone else in the room. Moreover, the sword had come from above the mattress, stabbing down, so that she did not have the slightest indication of the incoming attack. By the time she realized it, the sword had already pierced her heart. Even if her martial art skill was ten times stronger, she would still be incapable to evade. But then a real martial art master of her rank would not crawl underneath the bed to grab others. Wei Xiaobao was afraid she had not died completely, he pulled the sword and thrust it through the mattress two more times.
"Who is this wicked woman?" Mu Jianping asked, "She was quite vicious, she wanted to dig out your eyeballs."
"She is the old wh0re Empress Dowager's subordinate," Wei Xiaobao replied. Turning to Fang Yi he asked, "Is your wound painful?"
With a crease of her eyebrows Fang Yi replied, "Tolerable!" Actually, she had exerted an enormous effort in thrusting the sword a moment ago that her wound was affected; the pain was so severe that she nearly fainted, beads of perspiration were dripping from her forehead.
Wei Xiaobao said, "Very soon the old wh0re will send someone else here, we have to think of a way to escape immediately. Um, you two girls change into men's clothing, disguise yourselves as eunuchs, we'll sneak out of the Palace. Good Jiejie, can you walk?"
"I can force myself to," Fang Yi replied.
Wei Xiaobao took out two sets of his own clothing. "Put these on," he said.
Dragging Liu Yan's body from under the bed, he stabbed it several times with his dagger, and then sprinkled some 'Corpse Transforming Powder' on the wounds. Hastily he packed his banknotes, gold, silver and jewels, two copies of the 'Forty-two-chapter Sutra', as well as the martial art manual from his Shifu into a bundle. Naturally he also brought along the large bundle of knockout drug and the 'Corpse Transforming Powder'.
Mu Jianping finished changing her clothes and she got out of the bed first. "What a smart-looking little eunuch," Wei Xiaobao praised, "Let me help you with the braid."
A moment later, Fang Yi also got out of the bed. Her stature was slightly taller than Wei Xiaobao, the clothes she wore was stretched tight, it was not a good-fitting at all. When she looked at the mirror, she could not help laughing.
Mu Jianping said with a laugh, "I let him helped me with my braid, let me help Shijie with your braid."
Wei Xiaobao took Mu Jianping's long hair and carelessly braided big pigtail. Mu Jianping looked herself in the mirror and said, "Aiyo, it's so ugly, I have to redo the braid."
"We don't have time to redo it right now," Wei Xiaobao said, "It's already dark, we can't go out the Palace. When the old wh0re realizes the fat pig is not coming back, she will send someone else to get me. We must find another place to hide, early in the morning tomorrow we will sneak out of the Palace."
Fang Yi asked, "Won't the old ... the Empress Dowager send people to investigate all gates of the Palace thoroughly?"
"We have no choice but to take it one step at a time," Wei Xiaobao replied. He remembered the room where he used to have martial art and wrestling contest with Kangxi was very quiet, he had never seen a third person come over there, thereupon he helped the two girls walking out of his residence.
Mu Jianping's leg was broken, she took the door bolt and used it as a crutch. Fang Yi took a step, but her chest was hurting. Wei Xiaobao wrapped his right arm around her waist, half lifting and half pulling, he helped her walk. Luckily it was already dark outside, plus he picked the most secluded pathway. They came across several eunuchs, but nobody paid them any attention. When they reached the room, all three of them breathed a sigh of relief. Wei Xiaobao turned around and bolted the door, and then helped Fang Yi sitting on a chair. He said in a low voice, "We must not talk in here, there is a corridor outside, it's not as secluded as my room."
The night grew darker, at first they could still see each other's facial features, afterwards all they could see was dim silhouette of each other. Mu Jianping did not like the pigtail braided by Wei Xiaobao, she untied it and redid it herself. Fang Yi pulled her own pigtail and rubbed it in her hands and played with it. "Ah!" suddenly she exclaimed softly.
"What is it?" Wei Xiaobao asked.
"Nothing," Fang Yi replied, "I dropped a silver hairpin."
"Ah," Mu Jianping said, "It was me. When I untied your hair, I put that silver hairpin on the table, after I finished braiding your pigtail, I forgot to give that silver hairpin back to you. Oh no, it was a gift from Liu Shige, wasn't it?"
"Only a hairpin, it doesn't really matter," Fang Yi said.
Although she said it did not matter, Wei Xiaobao could hear the extreme disappointment in her voice; he thought, "I must be a good person to the end, I'll go quietly and get the hairpin back for her." But he did not say anything for the time being. After a while, he said, "I am very hungry, if I have to wait until tomorrow, I am afraid I won't have the strength to walk. I'll go out to find something to eat."
"Come back quickly," Mu Jianping said.
"I will," Wei Xiaobao replied. He went the door and listened, after making sure there was nobody outside, he opened the door and walked out.
 Door bolts in those days are long pieces of wood placed across the door.
Thanks foxs. I like to reply to updates to let the translators know I appreciate all their hard work. It's the least I could do.
WXB is a pretty nice kid if you treat him with kindness & respect.
Happy Chinese New Year everyone!
If I were WXB, I'd be sad to leave such a good friend like the king, but that Empress Dowager is evil! I would have left after Hai gong gong died.
Thanks, foxs! I too want to express my appreciation after reading a translation .
Thanks foxs!!....and the plot twists are surprising for me! I've only watched a episode here or there of an older DOMD, so im not too familiar with this story...in someways its more exciting than ROCH, because WXB does not know any martial arts so its interesting to see how he gets himself out of trouble. Anyways keep up the great work.
Sky, I can't believe I forgot to wish you all 'Happy New Year'. Did you have a good celebration? Tweety, as I mentioned before, I can't wait to see WXB leave the Palace. I don't like translating parts with Empress Dowager in it. JoeLee, it's good that you still find some surprise here and there. I hate to think that everybody has read Minford's book.
He quickly returned to his room. Afraid that the Empress Dowager might send someone to wait for him, he circled to the back of the room and listened for quite a long time. When he was sure nobody inside and outside, he pushed the window open and climbed in. Sure enough, under the moonlight he could see the silver hairpin lying on the table. The workmanship of this silver hairpin was very crude, at most it only worth one or two coins. He thought, "Liu Yizhou is very poor, he presented Miss Fang with such an ugly gift." He spat on the hairpin before putting it inside his pocket. From tin cans, wicker baskets, drawers, shelves above the bed, and so on he carelessly took some cakes, pastries and other snacks and stuffed everything into a cardboard box and put it inside his pocket.
He was about to climb out the window when suddenly he saw a pair of red shoes embroidered with golden thread in front of the bed, unexpectedly, there was a foot in each shoe.
Wei Xiaobao jumped up in fright. It was indeed terrifying to see under the dim moonlight a pair of cut off feet wearing a pair of bright-colored red shoes. But he understood immediately: when Liu Yan's body was dissolved by the 'Corpse Transforming Powder', the ground in front of the bed was uneven, the corpse turned into yellow liquid and flowed toward the bottom of the bed, leaving behind a pair of feet that did not melt. He turned around, wanted to kick the pair of feet into the yellow liquid, but the yellow liquid had dried out. His 'Corpse Transforming Powder' was in the bundle by Fang Yi and Mu Jianping's side. Racking his brain, suddenly his childish mind was aroused, "Damn it, this time laozi leave the Palace and won't see the old wh0re anymore. Laozi will throw these two feet into her room to scare her half dead." Fetching a long gown, he took the pair of feet complete with the shoes and wrapped everything firmly before he finally climbed out the window and quietly walked toward the Palace of Compassionate and Peaceful.
As he approached the Palace of Compassionate and Peaceful, he did not dare to walk straight into it but circled around the flowering bushes instead. For each step he took, he stopped and listened for a while; thinking, "If I am not careful, the old wh0re might get me; won't that mean I am walking into a trap?" He was excited, but scared at the same time. Step by step he crept toward the Empress Dowager's personal chamber. His palms were sweating more and more, he mused, "I'll put these pig hooves on the step stone in front of the door, she will definitely find it tomorrow, it's too dangerous to sneak into the courtyard."
He quietly took two more steps forward, suddenly he heard a man's voice saying, "What's wrong with Ah Yan? Why she has not come back by now?"
Wei Xiaobao was greatly surprised, "How can there be a man in the room?" he thought, "The voice does not belong to an eunuch. Is it possible that the old wh0re has a lover? Ha ha, laozi must catch these adulterous lovers." Although in his heart he wanted to 'catch these adulterous lovers', he would not dare to do it, even if he had ten times more courage. But his curiosity was greatly piqued, he was unwilling to simply put down the cutoff feet and leave.
He tiptoed toward the voice for several steps, with each step he carefully lifted up his foot and even more carefully put it down, to guard against stepping on a deadwood and thus make a noise. He heard the man snorted and said, "Perhaps something has changed. Since you already knew this little demon is very crafty, why did you let Ah Yan went with him alone?"
Wei Xiaobao said in his heart, "Turns out you are talking about laozi." He heard the Empress Dowager said, "Ah Yan's martial art skill is ten times higher than his, she is also very astute, very vigilant in each step she takes, how can she meet with a mishap? Most likely the sutra is kept far away from here, so Ah Yan has to go with that little demon."
The man said, "Naturally it is very good if we can get the sutra; otherwise, humph, humph!"
The tone of his voice was very stern, speaking like that to the Empress Dowager was indeed extremely rude. Wei Xiaobao was getting more and more puzzled, "Who in the world can talk to her like that? Could it be that the Old Emperor is back from Mount Wutai?" Thinking that Emperor Shunzhi was back at the Palace, he was very excited; he thought he was going to see some good action very soon. What he found very strange was that there was not a single palace maid or eunuch around; presumably the Empress Dowager had sent them all away.
He heard the Empress Dowager said, "You know I have done everything possible. With my capacity right now, I can't personally go back and forth around the Palace with a little eunuch. As soon as I took a step out of the Palace of Compassionate and Peaceful, a large entourage of palace maids and eunuchs will follow me around, how can I manage to get anything done?"
The man said, "Can't you wait until it was dark to send him out? Or just notify me, let me go with him to fetch the sutra."
"I do not dare to toil your honorable self," the Empress Dowager replied, "We must not reveal any trail of your presence here."
With a cold laugh the man said, "Coming across an important matter like this, why do we care? I know, you did not want to notify me for fear I would snatch away your meritorious service."
"What is there to be snatched away?" the Empress Dowager asked, "So what if I have meritorious service or not? I only hope to go through one year in peace and security, without any problem." The tone of her voice was brimming with grudge and hatred.
If it were not for the fact that Wei Xiaobao knew it clearly that it was the Empress Dowager's voice, he would have thought it was an old palace maid complaining because someone was blaming her. The two of them were speaking in very low voices, but Wei Xiaobao was very near, plus there was no other noise in the calm night, hence he was able to hear everything clearly. Hearing those two talking about 'snatching away some meritorious service', he knew the man was definitely not Emperor Shunzhi.
Wei xiaobao could not suppress his curiosity anymore, slowly he crawled to the window and peeked inside from a crack on the window. He had already had enough experience standing outside the window and peeping inside like this at the Lovely Spring Courtyard; he mused, "Before I was peeping the brothel patrons chasing my mother, tonight I am peeping the old wh0re receiving a patron."
He saw the Empress Dowager was leaning sideway, sitting on a chair, and a palace maid was pacing back and forth in the room with hands behind her back; other than these, there was no other person inside. "Where did that man go?" he thought.
He saw the palace maid turned around and said, "I can't wait, I am going out to look." As soon as she opened her mouth, Wei Xiaobao jumped in fright, because the palace maid had a male's voice, it was she who had just spoken. From the crack on the window Wei Xiaobao could only see her chest, but not her face.
"I am coming with you," the Empress Dowager said.
With a cold laugh the palace maid said, "You don't feel at ease."
"Why wouldn't I feel at ease?" the Empress Dowager said, "I suspect Ah Yan is doing something strange, by working together, it will be easy for the two of us to control her."
"Hm, we can't not guard against that," the palace maid said, "don't let the boat capsize in the gutter. Alright, let's go."
The Empress Dowager nodded, she walked toward the bedside, lifted the bedding open, and pulled a piece of wooden board. There was a flicker under the candle light, a dagger appeared in her hand. She insert the dagger into its sheath and put it inside her pocket. Wei Xiaobao thought, "Turns out the old wh0re has such a secret compartment. To guard against assassination, she did not have the dagger inside the sheath, so that with one grab she could make a kill, no need to pull the dagger from its sheath. In such a critical moment, she would not lose precious split seconds."
He saw the Empress Dowager and the palace maid walked out of the bedroom, unlatched the palace gate, and left the Palace of Compassionate and Peaceful, but the candle in the bedroom was not extinguished. Wei Xiaobao thought, "I'll put these pig's feet in that secret compartment on her bed, when she returned the dagger, she would grope this pair of pig's hooves. I guarantee she will be scared out of her wits."
Thinking that this plan was indeed ingenious, he sneaked into the room, lifted the bedding up, and saw a small copper ring on the bed board. He reached down and pulled, a wooden plank, about one chi wide and two chi long, rose up smoothly. Underneath he saw a rectangular secret compartment. Astonishingly, there were three books inside, the books were precisely the 'Forty-two-chapter Sutra' that he had seen before. The first two were the copies he got from Oboi's mansion, only the jade box where the books were originally kept was missing. The other copy had a white silk envelope. From what he heard that night when Hai Laogong was talking to the Empress Dowager, he mentioned that Emperor Shunzhi gave a copy to Consort Donggo as a gift; the Empress Dowager must have took it after she killed Consort Donggo. Wei Xiaobao decided it must be this copy.
He was greatly delighted. "I don't know what the fart these books are for," he thought, "But everybody seems to regard it so highly. Laozi might as well leading away the goat in passing, so that the old wh0re will be angered to half-dead." Immediately he took the three sutras and stuffed them inside his pocket. And then he shook Liu Yan's feet from the long gown to let the feet fall into the secret compartment. He put the wooden plank back and replaced the bedding. Kicking the long gown underneath the bed, he was about to turn around and leave when he suddenly heard the creaking noise of the door; someone was pushing the door and coming in.
This time he was really scared out of his wits, he did not expect the Empress Dowager and that palace maid to be back this quickly. Having not enough time to think, he ducked and crawled under the bed, while groaning in his heart. He only hoped that the Empress Dowager had simply forgotten something and came back to get it, and would quickly go out again to look for him, he also hoped that whatever it was that she had forgotten was not kept in the secret compartment under the bedding.
He heard the footsteps were light and quick, one person was entering the room, it was a woman. The woman was wearing a pair of light green shoes, her pants were also light green. Looking at the style of the pants, it seemed to him that she was a palace maid. "It must be the palace maid who is waiting on the Empress Dowager," he thought, "She knows martial art, so she can't be Rui Chu. If she does not leave immediately, I might have to kill her. It will be best if she came to the front of the bed." Drawing the dagger quietly, he waited for the palace maid to come to the bed. With one thrust up from below, he could stab her lower abdomen, then he could guarantee that she would lose her life without knowing rhyme nor reason.
He heard her opening the drawers, opening the cabinet doors, moving and turning things, as if she was looking for something, yet all along she did not come near the bed. Then Wei Xiaobao heard some ripping noise, apparently she had used some sharp weapon to cut open two chests. Wei Xiaobao was startled. "This woman is not an ordinary palace maid; she came to the Empress Dowager's room to steal something. Could it be that she is here to steal that 'Forty-two-chapter Sutra'? She has a sword or a saber in her hand, looks like her martial art skill can't be inferior to laozi; if I go out, not only I can't kill her, I am afraid I will be killed first by her."
He heard the woman was randomly rummaging the chest, she also cut open three more chests on the west and searched around. Wei Xiaobao did not stop cursing her in his belly, "if you are not leaving, the old wh0re may come back soon. I don't care if you want to deliver your life away, but you might drag Wei Xiaobao along to return to the heaven together, you think you have that much face?"
Failing to find whatever she was looking for, the woman was very anxious, she rummaged the chest even faster. Wei Xiaobao was thinking of surrendering, "It would be better for me just to toss these sutras to her, so that she would leave in a hurry."
Right this moment, there were footsteps outside the door, he heard the Empress Dowager said in low voice, "I say that s1ut Liu Yan took the sutra and left."
The woman also heard the voice; it was too late for her to escape, she quickly entered the wardrobe and closed the door.
The palace maid with a man's voice said, "Did you really send Liu Yan to fetch the sutra? How would I know you are not lying to me?"
"What did you say?" the Empress Dowager said angrily, "Did you say I did not send Liu Yan to fetch the sutra? So what did I send her out for?"
The palace maid said, "How would I know what trick you are playing? Perhaps you were following Liu Yan closely and killed her."
The Empress Dowager snorted angrily, she said, "Aren't you ashamed, being my Shixiong yet say some brainless thing like that? Liu Yan is my Shimei, you think I have such guts to kill her?"
The palace maid coldly said, "You are indeed brazen, vicious and merciless, what matter you can't do?"
The two of them spoke in very low voice, but in the quiet night every word could be heard clearly. Hearing the Empress Dowager called the palace maid her Shixiong and Liu Yan her Shimei, Wei Xiaobao was even more puzzled. The two of them were talking as they entered the room. As soon as they saw the chests were cut open and various objects scattered over the floor, 'Ah!' they cried out in shock together.
"Someone was here to steal the sutra," the Empress Dowager shouted. She rushed toward the bed, flipped the bedding over, and pulled the wooden board. Seeing the sutras were gone, she cried out, "Aiyo!" And then she saw Liu Yan's pair of cutoff feet. "What is that?" she cried in alarm.