was one of the more fun updates
thanks a lot bro
Athlon, Sky, Tweety, Owlhoot, Ali, you are welcome. Glad you guys like it. Smurf, Ace, thanks for the additional info. Glad we we have people who are knowledgeable.
Gao Yanchao said, “Zongduozhu instructed subordinate to inform Wei Xiangzhu that he, Senior, suddenly received an urgent report from Taiwan, and must hurry back there to handle the matter. Zongduozhu wanted Wei Xiangzhu to be very careful, to act as circumstances dictate. If it is inconvenient for you to stay at the Palace, you must leave the Capital to escape temporarily. He also said he wanted Wei Xiangzhu to diligently train martial art. He was wondering if the poison inside Wei Xiangzhu’s body has been completely cleared up, if you feel something is not right in your body, you are to let Zongduozhu know immediately.”
“Yes,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Shifu keeps thinking about my injury and martial art training, I am deeply grateful.” It was not a false statement, hearing in his rush Shifu was still thinking about his well-being, he was deeply touched. “What’s happened in Taiwan?” he asked.
Gao Yanchao replied, “I heard the mother and son of the Zheng family are at odds with each other; they killed a minister, probably there is an internal strife. Zongduozhu has quite a prestige, whatever the turmoil over there, he, Senior, will be able to settle it as soon as he arrives, Wei Xiangzhu does not need to be anxious. Li Dage, Guan Fuzi, Fan Dage, Feng Dage, Priest Xuanzhen, and the others are coming with Zongduozhu. Xu San Ge and subordinate are staying in the Capital to wait for Wei Xiangzhu’s orders.”
Wei Xiaobao nodded and said, “Get someone to invite Xu San Ge over.” He thought, “Not only the ‘Eight-arm Ape’ Xu Tianchuan has superior martial art skill, he is very astute, and is an old man. No one is better than him to escort these two ladies to Shijiazhuang.” He also thought, “The mother and son in Taiwan are at odds with each other and killed people. They are no different than the Empress Dowager and the Emperor in Beijing.”
He returned to the hall to eat some noodles and dimsum with Fang and Mu, two girls. Mu Jianping ate less than half a bowl of noodles, she could not bear not to ask, “Are you sure you can’t come with us to Shijiazhuang?”
Wei Xiaobao cast a glance toward Fang Yi; she stopped her chopstick and she stopped to eat. She was looking down, but her eyes were filled with earnest hope. Wei Xiaobao could not restrain his heart from burning; he really wished he could take these two girls with him to Mount Wutai, but immediately thought better: “What kind of important mission am I in? Taking these two injured young ladies will be a hindrance and will draw unnecessary attention, which absolutely must not happen.” Thereupon he sighed and said, “After my business is done, I will come to Shijiazhuang to visit. Where does your friend live? What’s his name?”
Fang Yi slowly lowered her head and pinched a string of noodle with her chopsticks, but did not put it in her mouth; she said in a low voice, “That friend opened a mule and horse dealership at the Shijiazhuang’s western market. He is called the ‘Fast Horse’ Song San [lit. Song the third].”
“Fast Horse Song San, got it,” Wei Xiaobao said, “I will definitely come to visit you.” Suddenly a mischievous look appeared on his face, as he casually said, “How can I not come? How can I give up this pair of ‘bashful flower obstructing the moon’ first wife and second wife?”
Mu Jianping laughed and said, “You have been well-behaved only for less than half a day, and you are back to your flippant and glib-tongued way already?”
Fang Yi firmly said, “If you really regard us as your good friends, we … we will hope for your visit every day. But if you are being frivolous and won’t respect others, you … you don’t need to come.”
Wei Xiaobao had bumped into a nail; he only felt the fun had been lost. “Alright,” he said, “If you don’t like to banter, I won’t say anything at all.”
Fang Yi was somewhat apologetic, she said in a gentle voice, “Even bantering has its own propriety, its own time, and its own place. You … are you angry?”
Wei Xiaobao cheered up, he quickly said, “No, no. As long as you are not angry, I am fine.”
Fang Yi laughed, and then gently said, “Toward you, nobody can be really angry.”
Fang Yi was smiling so sweetly that even though her face was smeared with dirt, her beauty was very difficult to cover. Wei Xiaobao immediately felt a burst of warmth going through his body, he ate mouthful by mouthful of noodle soup and temporarily could not find anything to say.
Suddenly they heard footsteps in the courtyard, an old man walked in, Xu Tianchuan had arrived. He went straight to Wei Xiaobao and bowed to pay his respect, there was only happiness across his face, as he respectfully said, “How are you, Senior?” He was being very discreet, seeing there were outsiders present, he did not address Wei Xiaobao as ‘Wei Xiangzhu’.
Wei Xiaobao cupped his fist to return the salute and said with a laugh, “Xu San Ge, let me present to you two friends. These two are ‘Iron Back Blue Dragon’ Liu Laoyezi’s distinguished disciples. This one is Miss Fang, this one is Miss Mu, she is Mu Palace’s Xiao Junzhu.” To Fang and Mu, two girls he said, “This is Xu San Ge, he is acquainted with Liu Laoyezi and your family’s Xiao Gongye.” He was afraid Fang and Mu, two ladies still harbor a grudge, so he quickly added, “At first there was a tiny bit of grudge between them, but presently the resentment has been resolved.” After the three of them had exchanged propriety, he said, “Xu San Ge, I have a favor I’d like to ask you.”
Hearing that these two women who were disguised as little eunuchs were unexpectedly important personage of the Mu Palace, Xu Tianchuan thought that since Mu Jiansheng and the others already knew Wei Xiaobao’s real identity, naturally these two young ladies were also well-informed of the fact; thereupon he said, “Whatever Wei Xiangzhu wish to send me, subordinate will accept your orders.”
But Fang Yi and Mu Jianping did not know Wei Xiaobao’s real identity. Hearing Xu Tianchuan addressed him as ‘Wei Xiangzhu’, they were greatly surprised.
Wei Xiaobao smiled and said, “These two young ladies had the same fate as Wu Lishen, Wu Laoyezi, Liu Yizhou Liu Dage, they had fallen into the enemy’s hands inside the Imperial Palace; they came out just now. Have Mu Family’s Xiao Gongye, Liu Yizhou Shixiong and the others left the Capital?”
Xu Tianchuan said, “Numerous heroes of the Mu Palace have left the Capital safely yesterday. Mu Xiao Gongye also asked me to make discreet inquiry on Xiao Junzhu’s whereabouts. I asked him to set his heart at ease, since he has entrusted this matter to Tian Di Hui, we will definitely find Xiao Junzhu.” While saying that, there was a hint of smile on his face.
Mu Jianping asked, “So Liu Shige is with my Gege?” She asked that question on Fang Yi’s behalf.
Xu Tianchuan replied, “Zaixia sent them off out of town separately. Liu Shixiong went with Liu Laoyezi, they were heading south.” Fang Yi blushed as she lowered her head.
Wei Xiaobao thought, “Hearing your sweetheart is out of danger, your heart must be in full bloom.” Little did he know that this time his guess could not be more wrong. The thought in Fang Yi’s mind was: “I gave him my words that if he saved Liu Shige’s life, I would marry him and be his wife, and will be steadfast to the death. But he is a court eunuch, how can I marry him? He is very young, but can pull a hundred tricks. What’s this ‘Wei Xiangzhu’ business anyway?”
Wei Xiaobao said, “These two young ladies strenuously fought the Imperial Bodyguards in Qing Palace, and have suffered injuries. Presently they want to go to a friend’s house in Shijiazhuang to recuperate from their wounds. I am thinking of asking Xu San Ge to accompany them.”
Xu Tianchuan was delighted, “I ought to serve in this capacity,” he said, “Wei Xiangzhu has given me a very good assignment. Subordinate has wronged the Mu Palace’s friends, but Mu Xiao Gongye has saved my life instead, I am very ashamed in my heart. If I can accompany these two young ladies to their destination safe and sound, I can somewhat repay one out of ten thousand kindness he had shown me.”
Mu Jianping cast Xu Tianchuan a glance, what she saw was a small and thin old man with a bent waist and a hunched back, someone who could give up his ghost any minute. He talked about escorting her and her older martial sister, perhaps along the way they would have to look after him instead. Much less Wei Xiaobao did not go, so she was already quite disappointed. She was unable to restrain the disappointment from appearing on her face.
But Fang Yi said, “In all honesty, we do not dare to trouble Xu Laoyezi’s honorable self, we only asked you to hire a large carriage for us, and then we will be off on our own. Our injuries are nothing serious; you really do not need to take the trouble.”
Xu Tianchuan laughed and said, “Miss Fang does not need to be too polite. Wei Xiangzhu has already issued the order, whatever happens I simply must accompany you. Both ladies are exceptionally skilful in martial arts, you really do not need an old man incurring your dislike on the side. This old man really does not have the ability to do this ‘accompany’ word. But I can run errands and do odd jobs like serving the ladies in finding an inn to stay, waiting on you for a snack during the journey, hiring carriage, buying stuffs, and do all kinds of tricks, so that along the way the ladies do not need to waste your time to deal with characters like mule dealer, carriage driver, inn waiters, shop attendants.”
Seeing she could not decline anymore, Fang Yi said, “We don’t know how to repay Xu Laoyezi’s great kindness.”
Xu Tianchuan laughed aloud. “What is there to repay?” he said, “I am telling the two ladies the truth: my admiration towards our Wei Xiangzhu shows no bound. Don’t look at his young age; in reality, he has an extensive divine ability. Not only he has saved my old life, just yesterday he helped this old man vented my anger. I was just thinking in my heart, how can I handle several matters for him to express my gratitude, who would have thought that today he is sending me on an assignment? Even if the two ladies do not allow me to accompany you, this old man will have no choice but be tactful; I will precede you on your journey to manage your trip, to open a way when you come across a mountain, to build a bridge when you meet a river, to wait upon you until you arrived at Shijiazhuang safe and sound. Let’s not mention from Beijing to Shijiazhuang is only a few days journey, even if Wei Xiangzhu ordered the old man to follow the two ladies all the way to Yunnan, I will simply go, I will accompany you to your destination.”
Mu Jianping noticed that although his appearance looked wretched, his speech was actually very charming. “What anger he helped you vent yesterday?” she asked, “Yesterday, he … was he not in the Imperial Palace?”
Xu Tianchuan laughed and said, “That traitor Wu Sangui has a dog official under his command called Lu Yifeng. He kidnapped the old man, beat me up and insulted me; he also took a medicated plaster and stuck it on my mouth. Luckily your esteemed older brother sent people to save me and take me out. Wei Xiangzhu promised me that he would have someone break this dog official’s legs. I thought that this time Wu Sangui’s dog son came to Beijing, the number of capable people he brought along must be very great. Last time that servant Lu Yifeng has suffered some trouble from me, he would know better than to go out alone, it would not be easy for us to seek revenge. Who would have known that at the Zhong De Tang [lit. Hall of Virtue Cultivation] drugstore of the western town district yesterday I met a doctor friend specializing in external injury, who mentioned that the Ping Xi Wang dog den was sending people out, carrying a dog official everywhere to find an injury doctor. I found this matter to be really strange, they went to see injury doctors one after another; a total of twenty, thirty doctors, but they did not let those doctors to treat him. They only told the doctors that this dog official was called Lu Yifeng, a muddleheaded scoundrel. Ping Xi Wang’s dog son personally took a stick and broke both of his dog legs, and wanted him to suffer the pain for seven days and seven nights, without allowing him to be treated.”
Last edited by foxs; 02-18-11 at 09:26 AM.
Hey FOX, thanks. This whole scene is pretty much butchered by milford. Finally we see the first praises towards WXB :P
Some comments this time:
Shouldn't it be going with?st Xuanzhen, and the others are coming with Zongduozhu.
. Should't it be has?“That traitor Wu Sangui as a dog official
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Awesome foxs, cheers. It's so cool when WXB gets talked up. What I find is JY can glamourise his characters better than most western writers, atleast in the books I've read.
Really appreciate your effort to translate as close to the original JY chinese text as possible.
Compared to the other translation, it's like reading a whole new story.
Thanks Foxs! The translation and some of the adaptations really do not capture WXB in his moments of maturity and sincerity well. I also like when he is recognized for his good works. Hardly more than a sentence and he gets revenge for Xu Tianchuan. I'm not sure how everyone else feels but Fang Yi is actually one of my least favorite female characters in the story. Sometimes she is unbelievably haughty and highminded to the point where I'm glad WXB puts her in her place by doing something incredibly brave.
Last edited by tweety365; 02-18-11 at 02:34 AM.
Sky, JoeLee, you are most welcome. Athlon, thanks for the input, please see my previous comment. Banh Mi, Camtay, Smurf, I haven't seen any adaptation, hence I can't comment of that, but you are right, parts like this are usually skipped in the other translation. Tweety, Ali, once I made a comment: in term of man-woman relationship, Guo Jing rigidly adhered to traditional values, Yang Guo was faithful, but flirted with other women, Zhang Wuji was in love with four women; I noticed the progression here. And then someone commented that Wei Xiaobao married seven wives.
Fang Yi and Mu Jianping were completely baffled; they asked Wei Xiaobao, “Where’s the logic in that?”
“That dog official has offended Xu San Ge,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “Naturally we want him to suffer a lot of pain.”
Mu Jianping asked, “Why did the Ping Xi Wang dog den’s people bring him everywhere to let everyone know?”
“That kid Wu Yingxiong wanted people to pass the news to me,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “I told him to break that dog official’s legs, he wanted me to know that he has completed the task.”
Mu Jianping was even more puzzled, “Why did he obey you?” she asked.
With a smile Wei Xiaobao replied, “I was just talking rubbish, I lied to him and he believed me.”
Xu Tianchuan said, “Originally I wanted him to die a horrible death, but then I thought that this dog official was being carried around like a prisoner being paraded through the streets, with his legs broken without he was allowed to seek treatment; it would be too easy for that servant if I killed him. Yesterday afternoon I finally saw him with my own eyes, 9 out of 10 of that dog's life has gone, his pants were rolled up, exposing his two broken legs, swelling and purple. He was so much in pain that he cried, calling on his mommy. Ladies, won't you say it gives this old man reason to be delighted?"
By this time Gao Yanchao had returned with three large hire carriages, waiting outside the door. He was also a competent member of Tian Di hui, but according to the Society's law - a violation of this law was punishable by beheading, if it was not absolutely necessary, the less they reveal their true colors the better. Therefore, he did not appear before Fang and Mu, two ladies.
Wei Xiaobao deliberately considered, "In my bundle I have a total of five copies of 'Forty-two-chapter Sutra', I do not have the slightest idea what these books are for, but there were so many people staking their lives to steal and rob these books, so there must be a greatly reason behind it. If I bring them along while I am hastening on with my journey, I might lose them." After pondering for half a day, he finally found a solution. He called Gao Yanchao over and spoke to him quietly, "Gao Dage, I had a good brother in the Palace who was killed by the Tatars' Imperial Bodyguards. I brought his ash out to give him a proper burial, could you send someone to buy a coffin?"
Gao Yanchao complied. He assumed that since Wei Xiangzhu's good friend was killed by the Tatars, he must be a patriot in the resisting Qing movement, thereupon he personally selected a top quality coffin made of Liuzhou wood. He knew that this Wei Xiangzhu was really extravagant, from the three hundred taels given to him, he still had more than thirty taels, so other than the coffin, he also bought some burial clothes, earthen jar for the ashes, lime, silk paper, oilcloth, spirit tablet, spirit banner, ritual paper money, and everything else needed for burial; all were top quality products. He also bought several sets of men's clothing, shoes and hats for Fang and Mu, two ladies, to change into, as well as dry rations, cake and pastries for the journey. He also ordered a coroner and a lacquerer. By the time all the goods were delivered, Wei Xiaobao and the two ladies had already been asleep for four hours.
Preceding the others, Wei Xiaobao changed into an ordinary man's attire. He mused, "I am on a mission to Mount Wutai on an imperial order, I might be very busy, how can I find time to train martial art? I must not let Shifu's martial art manual to be stolen." Thereupon he wrapped the five copies of the sutra along with his Shifu's manual inside layer upon layer of oilcloth completely and tightly. And then he went to the kitchen to get a big handful of firewood ash and put it inside the earthen jar, thinking, "It would be best if there was a real corpse inside the coffin, so that even if someone opens the coffin to look, there won't be any suspicion. But in such a short period of time, I can't find a bad person to kill." Therefore, he took some water and wiped it on his eyes and face, and then with a sorrowful expression he went to the rear hall, holding the oil cloth package and the urn of ashes with both hands. He put the oil cloth package and the urn of ashes in the coffin, and then he knelt down and cried loudly.
Xu Tianchuan, Gao Yanchao, as well as Fang and Mu, two ladies, were waiting in the main hall. Seeing him kneeling down and weeping bitterly, there was no suspicion in their hearts, they thought it was definitely his good friend's ashes; they also kneel down to pay their respects.
Wei Xiaobao had seen how the deceased' family members returning propriety during a funeral service, he scrambled to the side of the coffin and kneeled down and kowtowed to return the four people's respect. In a moment the coroner placed the silk paper, lime and other things in the coffin, and nailed the coffin's lid. The lacquerer then began painting.
Gao Yanchao asked, "What is the patriot's honored surname and great name? It would be better if we paint his title on the coffin."
"He ... he ... he ..." Wei Xiaobao was sobbing and sniffling continuously, while his mind was churning; he said, "His name was Shi Guidong." That is, Shi Song, Xiao Guizi and Rui Dong, three people's names put together; he thought, "I killed the three of you, right now I am kowtowing to you and burning some ritual paper money for your use in the netherworld. Shouldn't your wronged ghosts stop entangling me now?"
Seeing how bitter he was crying, Mu Jianping tried to console him, "Manchurian Qing Tatars killed our good friends; there will come a day we will kill them all, to avenge and wipe out the grudge of our good friends."
Still crying, Wei Xiaobao said, "Naturally the Tatars must be killed, but this good friend's enmity absolutely cannot be avenged."
Mu Jianping opened wide her pair of beautiful eyes; she looked at him in a daze while thinking, "Why not?"
The four of them rested for a while, then they took their leave from Gao Yanchao. Wei Xiaobao said, "Let me send you off for a while." A happy expression appeared on Fang and Mu, two women's faces.
The two women rode on a large carriage, Wei Xiaobao and Xu Tianchuan separately took the other two carriages. The three carriages left from the Eastern Gate. After traveling eastwards for several li, they turned south. Seven or eight li later, they arrived in a small town at the outskirt of Beijing. Xu Tianchuan ordered the carriages to stop, he said, "Sending off the lord for a thousand li, in the end we must part. The day is no longer early, we will drink some tea in here and then take our separate way!"
They entered a roadside teahouse, the shop attendants promptly served them tea. The three carriage drivers sat on another table.
Xu Tianchuan assumed Wei Xiangzhu and his two companions would certainly have some personal matters they need to discuss; with hands behind his back he strolled out to enjoy the scenery.
Mu Jianping said, "Gui ... Gui Dage, you are actually surnamed Wei, aren't you? And what is a Xiangzhu?"
Wei Xiaobao laughed. "I am surnamed Wei," he said, "Given name Xiaobao; I am the Xiangzhu of Green Wood Hall of Tian Di Hui. This moment I can't no longer conceal it from the two of you."
"Ay!" Mu Jianping sighed.
"Why did you sigh?" Wei Xiaobao asked.
"You are the Xiangzhu of Green Wood Hall of Tian Di Hui," Mu Jianping said, "How did ... how did you become a court eunuch in the Palace? Isn't that ... isn't that ..."
Fang Yi knew that she was going to say 'such a pity', but first, it was rather improper for her to say it out loud, second, she did not want to arouse Wei Xiaobao's downheartedness; and thus she interrupted, "For the sake of our country's great cause, a hero and warrior does not hesitate to humiliate himself, indeed he is worthy of our complete admiration." She presumed Wei Xiaobao must have received Tian Di Hui's order to mutilate his own body and entered the Palace to be an undercover agent; he was definitely worthy of other people's admiration.
Wei Xiaobao showed a faint smile; "Shall I tell them that I am not an eunuch?" he mused.
Suddenly they heard Xu Tianchuan shouted, "Good friend, you still don't want to reveal your true colors until now?" He stretched out his hand to strike the shoulder of a carriage driver on the right.
Xu Tianchuan's right palm was just about to land on the carriage driver's shoulder, the carriage driver leaned sideways, Xu Tianchuan's right palm hit an empty air, but his left fist had already reached the carriage driver's right waist. The carriage driver flipped his hand to pull and push, and thus redirected the fist outwards. Xu Tianchuan then brought his right elbow to strike the back of the driver's neck. The carriage driver raised his right hand to feign a strike on the crown of Xu Tianchuan's head. If Xu Tianchuan continued his elbow strike toward the driver's neck, then it was as if he was delivering the top of his own head toward the man's palm. Immediately he exerted his strength on his feet and leaped backward. Altogether he had launched three moves: a palm strike, a punch and an elbow strike, all were delivered using a very swift and fierce technique, but unexpectedly the carriage driver was able to neutralize each move without too much trouble.
Xu Tianchuan was startled and angered at the same time; he expected this man to be a martial art expert from the Imperial Palace, who was acting under orders to arrest them. Immediately he waved his left hand to signal Wei Xiaobao, three people, to run away quickly, while he himself entangled the enemy to give the three people an opportunity to get away. But how could those three forego yi qi? Fang Yi was injured, it would be difficult for her to fight. Wei Xiaobao and Mu Jianping drew their weapons and rushed forward in a converging attack.
The carriage driver turned around and said with a laugh, "The Eight-armed Ape has good eyesight!" His voice was rather sharp. The four of them saw that his face was yellow and swollen, his clothes were filthy, his overall appearance was ugly; momentarily they could not tell his age.
Hearing him calling his nickname, Xu Tianchuan was even more shocked; he cupped his fist and said, "Who are you, honored sir? Why do you impersonate a carriage driver and play tricks on Zaixia?"
The carriage driver said with a laugh, "I would never dare to play tricks. Zaixia and Wei Xiangzhu are good friends, knowing that he is leaving the Capital, I have come to send him off."
Wei Xiaobao scratched his head, “I … I can’t remember seeing you,” he said.
The carriage driver laughed and said, “Last night the two of us joined hands to fight a powerful enemy, how can you forget?”
Wei Xiaobao suddenly saw the light, “Ah,” he exclaimed, “You … you are Tao … Tao …” He inserted the dagger back into his boot, and rushed forward to pull her hand; only now did he know that the carriage driver was Tao Gong’e in disguise.
Tao Gong’e applied paste of butter, water and starch on her face, so it was difficult for others to know whether she was happy or angry, but her eyes were shining with delight as she said, “I was afraid the Tatars would send people to stop you, and thus I disguise myself to escort you for a while, unexpectedly Xu Laoyezi has a keen vision, I can’t deceive his eyes.”
Looking at Wei Xiangzhu’s expression, Xu Tianchuan knew this person was a friend and not a foe; he was delighted, but also ashamed. He cupped his fist and said, “Honored Sir’s martial art is superb, my admiration, my admiration! Wei Xiangzhu's karma is good, he always makes friends with martial art experts everywhere.”
Hey fox, thanks for the translation. Your previous comment was that you don't want to change the style, but aren't those errors which you did want to be notified?
Just got the chance to check.
but I might be wrong, because I'm not good at simplified chinese. If so, sorry
Last edited by athlonkmf; 02-18-11 at 05:21 PM.
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WXB does befriend people who possess good martial arts. We all know he needs a few bodyguards around!
With powerful friends, WXB can be lazy and does not need to practice martial arts. He can also hire top martial artists to protect him. It's good to be filthy rich.
Athlon, don't get me wrong, I appreciate your suggestion. If you look back at the previous posts, you will see that I have made the necessary corrections. I was simply saying that I consider some as 'style' and not 'typographical error'. Sky, Tweety, Ace, 'series of fortunate incidents' ....
Tao Gong’e laughed and said, “I don’t dare! May I ask Xu Dage, in my disguise, which part has revealed the flaw?”
"There was no flaw," Xu Tianchuan replied, "It's just that along the way I noticed the way honored sir waving the whip and urging the mule was unlike ordinary carriage driver. Honored sir did not move your wrist but the whip was extended very straight; you did not raise your elbow but the whip was pulled back immediately. I am afraid not too many friends among the carriage drivers in Beijing possess this kind of brilliant martial art." The five of them laughed heartily.
Xu Tianchuan continued with a laugh, "If Zaixia was more sensitive, seeing honored sir's martial art skill, I would not have dared to put out a hand to offend, it's just that this old man did not know what's good for me. I can't help it."
"Xu Dage has spoken discreetly," Tao Gong’e said, "I do not blame you at all."
Xu Tianchuan cupped his fist again. "I don't dare," he said, "May I know your honored surname and great given name?"
"This friend is surnamed Tao," Wei Xiaobao said, "With Xiongdi he has a ... a life and death friendship."
Tao Gong’e seriously said, "That's right, it's a life and death friendship. Wei Xiangzhu has saved my life."
Wei Xiaobao hurriedly said, "Why did Senior say that? We were cooperating to kill a scoundrel, that's all."
Tao Gong’e smiled. "Wei Xiongdi, Xu Dage, Fang and Mu, two ladies," she said, "I bid you farewell." Cupping her fist, she leaped onto the driver seat of a large carriage.
"Tao ... Tao Dage," Wei Xiaobao called, "Where are you going?"
Tao Gong’e laughed and said, "From the place I come, to that place I will return."
Wei Xiaobao nodded. "Very well," he said, "I hope to see you again later." Straight away she drove the large carriage without saying anything else.
"Xu Laoyezi," Mu Jianping asked, "Is that man's martial art skill really high?"
"Superb martial art!" Xu Tianchuan said, "What's more amazing is that she is a woman."
"She is a woman?" Mu Jianping asked in surprise.
Xu Tianchuan said, "When she leaped onto the carriage, she swayed her waist from side to side, no doubt the style looked good, but unavoidably it looked sissy; she is definitely a woman."
"Her voice is too high," Mu Jianping said, "It did not sound like a man's voice. Wei Dage, is her ... her original appearance attractive?"
"Forty years ago, perhaps she was attractive," Wei Xiaobao replied, "But forty years later, you will still be much more attractive than she is now."
Mu Jianping laughed and said, "How can you compare me to her? Turns out she is a granny."
Recalling that very soon he would have to leave them, Wei Xiaobao could not help but feeling sad. Thinking that he was about to embark on a journey alone, he could not help but was somewhat afraid. From Yangzhou to Beijing he was travelling together with Mao Shiba, a Jianghu veteran. In the Palace, although repeatedly running into danger, he knew almost everybody. In desperate moments, he often turned danger into safety relying on his quick-wit. This time going to Mount Wutai in Shanxi, while admittedly he had never travelled this road before, what bothered him more was that he did not even know what the outcome of his mission would be. He had never travelled long distance alone; he was, after all, only a child, so it was hard for him to avoid feeling timid. For an instant he thought about going back to Beijing to ask Gao Yanchao to accompany him to Mount Wutai, but he remembered this matter concern Xiao Xuanzi's lot in life, if he let someone else know, he would be unfair to a good friend.
Xu Tianchuan only knew that Wei Xiaobao was going back to Beijing. "Wei Xiangzhu," he said, "It's getting late, please hurry back. If you are too late, I am afraid the city gate would have been closed."
"Yes," Wei Xiaobao replied.
Fang Yi and Mu Jianping said, "We hope after your business is done you would come to Shijiazhuang to see us. We will be waiting for you." Wei Xiaobao nodded, his heart was bitter-sweet, he could not say anything.
Xu Tianchuan invited the two women to get into the carriage, while he himself sat by the driver's side. The carriage started to move southwards. Wei Xiaobao saw Fang and Mu, two girls leaned out of the carriage and waved goodbye. The carriage travelled for about thirty zhang, then made a turn, and disappeared behind a row of red willow trees.
Wei Xiaobao mounted the remaining carriage. He ordered the driver to turn westward, not returning to Beijing. The carriage driver was somewhat hesitant, Wei Xiaobao took out ten taels of silver and said, "Ten taels to hire you three days, is it enough?"
The carriage driver was delighted; he busily said, "Ten taels is enough for even a month. Xiaode [the humble one, referring to self] will serve Master well; Master wants to go we'll go, Master wants to stop we'll stop."
That evening they stopped at a small town about twenty li southwest of Beijing, to rest and lodge for the night at a small family inn. Wei Xiaobao wiped his body and washed his feet; without waiting for dinner he lay down on the kang and fell asleep.
When he woke up the next morning, he felt his head was about to crack, his eyes were heavy, he was not able to open it for a long time, his four limbs were even more limp and painful that he could move only with difficulty; it was as if he was in a nightmare. He wanted to shout, but nothing came out of his mouth. When he was finally able to open his eyes, he saw three men lying down on the floor. He was shocked and was only able to stare blankly for half a day. Calming himself down, he struggled to sit up, only to see someone was sitting in front of the kang, looking at him, smiling.
“Ah!” Wei Xiaobao exclaimed in surprise.
The person laughed and said, “Are you awake only now?” It was none other than Tao Gong’e.
Finally Wei Xiaobao was relieved. “Tao Jiejie, Tao Gugu, what … what happened?”
Tao Gong’e laughed and said, “Look, who are these three people?”
Wei Xiaobao crawled down from the kang, but his legs were soft, he fell kneeling down, but quickly sat up, then reaching out his hand for support, he managed to stand up. He saw the three people had already died for a while, but he did not recognize any of them. “Tao Gugu, did you save my life?”
Tao Gong’e laughed. “In the end, are you going to call me Jiejie, or Gugu?” she asked, “Just don’t call randomly, thus showing no respect for your elder.”
Wei Xiaobao also laughed. “You are Gugu, Tao Gugu!”
Tao Gong’e smiled and said, “You are traveling alone, next time you must be a bit more careful with what you eat and drink. If you were together with that eight-armed old monkey, you would not have fallen into these people’s trick.”
“Someone drugged me with knockout drug last night?” Wei Xiaobao asked.
“More or less,” Tao Gong’e replied.
Wei Xiaobao thought for a moment, then he said, “Most likely it was the tea, when I drank it, there was a bit of sour taste, and a bit of sweetness too.” He thought, “I myself have a big bundle of knockout drug on me, but I ate other people’s knockout drug. Damn it, if I did not have a taste of knockout drug this time, how would I know it tastes bitter-sweet?” He then asked, “Is this a ‘black inn’?”
“This is actually a white inn,” Tao Gong’e replied, “But when you came in, it turned black.”
Wei Xiaobao was still having a splitting headache, he put out a hand to hold his forehead and said, "I don't understand that one."
Tao Gong’e said, "Not long after you entered the inn, there were other people came in, they tied up the shop owners, husband and wife, and the inn attendant, and turned this white inn into a black inn. One of the men took the attendant's clothes and put some medicine powder into the teapot and delivered it to you. I saw you were changing clothes; I thought I would wait until you finished changing before giving you a warning. Unexpectedly, other than changing clothes, you were also wiping your body. I waited for a moment before coming back, but you already drank the tea. Fortunately it was only knockout drug, not a poison."
Instantly Wei Xiaobao blushed from ear to ear; when he was wiping himself last night, he was fantasizing what would it feel like if Fang Yi really became his wife and he was embracing her tightly? At that time his emotion was surging, the situation was beyond his control. Although Tao Gong’e was not young anymore, she was, after all, a woman; looking at this kind of disgraceful situation from outside the window, naturally she could not bear to look too much.
Tao Gong’e said, "When we parted yesterday, I went back to the Palace, but I noticed inside and outside were peaceful without any commotion, there was no announcement about the death of the Empress Dowager, I felt very strange. After hurriedly changing my clothes, I went to the Palace of Compassionate and Peaceful to look. I saw everything was as usual, turned out the Empress Dowager did not die. I know something was wrong. At first I thought the Empress Dowager had died, so the two of us can continue living in the Palace. But since last night we failed to kill her with a blade, we have no choice but must leave the Palace immediately. I wanted to rush over to tell you, so that you won't rush into the Palace and thus delivering your own life."
Wei Xiaobao pretended to be surprised. "Ah!" he exclaimed loudly, "Turns out the old wh0re did not die, it's very bad!" While in his heart he was ashamed, "In my haste yesterday, I forgot to mention this, I thought you already knew."
"I was just turning around to leave," Tao Gong’e continued, "I saw three Imperial Bodyguards walked out of the Palace of Compassionate and Peaceful. Their action was sneaky, I thought the Empress Dowager must have sent them out to arrest me, but I noticed they were not heading toward my residence. I did not have time to pay them any more attention, I returned to my dwelling and packed up, I also changed clothes again, and slipped out of the Palace via the Catering Department's side door."
Wei Xiaobao smiled and said, "Turns out Gugu dressed up as a Catering Department's sula." [see Chapter 13] The Catering Department had always used a lot of sula for odd jobs like chopping firewood, carrying coals, killing chickens, washing vegetables, lighting the stove, washing pots and pans, and so on. Practically all low-grade works were performed by sula. These sula were able to go in and out of the Catering Department, very few people would pay them any attention.
Tao Gong’e said, "As soon as I left the Palace, I saw those three Imperial Bodyguards again. They have changed clothes, they carried a bundle on their backs and rode on horses, obviously they were on a long journey."
"Ah," Wei Xiaobao exclaimed, he stretched out his left foot to kick a corpse, saying, "They must be these three friends who opened the black inn?"
Tao Gong’e smiled and said, "Actually, I should thank these three friends. If they did not lead the way, how could I find you? Who could have thought that you detoured westward? They left the city via the western gate and asked around along the way, if anybody had seen a thirteen, fourteen years old boy traveling alone. They really did receive the Empress Dowager's order to get you. By the evening, they found this place, so I followed them here."
Wei Xiaobao was very grateful in his heart; he said, "If Gugu did not save me, by this time I can't even answer Yanluo Wang's [Yama, King of Hell] question. He would ask, 'Wei Xiaobao, how did you die?' I would have to answer, 'Reporting to the Great King: I am muddleheaded, and can't make head or tail of it!'"
Tao Gong’e had lived deep inside the Palace for decades, normally very seldom did she had a chance to talk to someone else. She found Wei Xiaobao's talk very amusing talk. "This kid!" she said with a laugh, "Yanluo Wang would surely say, 'Drag him down and beat him up!'"
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, "But isn't it true? Lord Yanluo's beard would stick up, and he would shout, 'Being muddleheaded and can't make head or tail of it when you were alive is alright, how come after you die you are still muddleheaded? If all I have here are muddleheaded ghosts, won't I turn into muddleheaded Yanluo Wang?'" They both burst into loud laughter. "Gugu," Wei Xiaobao asked, "What happened next?"
 A kang is a heatable brick bed common in northern China.
 Jiejie – older sister, Gugu – auntie, to be precise: paternal aunt.
 From the dictionary: 'black inn' is an inn that kills and robs guests (esp. in traditional fiction).
Thanks for the update foxs. Hope you had a good weekend!
thanks foxs! ur updates are really fast, I enjoyed the story alot