Ali, Sky, owlHoot, Crazee, thanks for dropping by. I had some extra time this past weekend, here's a slightly longer update.
Although the White Dragon Envoy was a senior position within the Divine Dragon Cult, in Wei Xiaobao’s heart it did not mean anything. Since he was stuck on the Island, he was forced to take whatever comes his way. He had extreme satisfaction in looking at Madame Hong’s ‘bashful flower obstructing the moon’ beauty, but if he looked at her too much, Jiaozhu would detect his lecherous look, then it would be difficult for him to escape death. In short, it would be best if he could return to Beijing as soon as possible. Hearing Jiaozhu’s words, he found the perfect opportunity to free himself; thereupon he said, “Jiaozhu, Madame, I am indebted of your promotion; subordinate is very grateful. I do not have any ability, but relying on the good fortune of the two of you, I have the hope that I can succeed in sneaking into the Palace and steal the four copies of the treasured sutra.”
Hong Jiaozhu nodded. Madame Hong happily said, “You are willing to volunteer, showing that you are loyal to Jiaozhu. I know you are smart and witty, plus have great good fortune. Perhaps you are precisely the person sent by the Heaven to complete this important matter for Jiaozhu.”
Hong Jiaozhu slowly said, “According to the Black Dragon Envoy’s report, the people he sent to the Palace have sent information that the young Emperor has a little eunuch under his command by the name of Xiao Guizi …”
Wei Xiaobao was shocked. “My trickery is exposed! I am in big trouble,” he mused. He heard the Cult Leader continued, “… the young Emperor sent him to Mount Wutai, the intention is not favorable to our Cult. We sent several people in succession to question him. Zhang Laosan could not find him, Fat Toutuo also failed, unexpectedly Xiao Guizi cannot be found, but we found you instead.”
As the Cult Leader took a short pause, Yin Jin said, “Indeed that is Jiaozhu’s flood of good fortune fills the heavens!”
Hong Jiaozhu slightly nodded his head toward him and continued, “White Dragon Envoy, as soon as you get to the Palace, you must immediately investigate this Xiao Guizi’s matter: what scheme did the Emperor have of sending him to Mount Wutai?”
Wei Xiaobao was so scared that his entire body was drenched in cold sweat. “Yes, yes,” he busily said. But he was relieved that from the Cult Leader’s tone, he would definitely be sent to the Imperial Palace. Cast a glance toward Fat Toutuo, he mused, “You did not reveal my secret, I consider you a good person.”
Madame Hong said, “It is said that those eight copies of 'Forty-two-chapter Sutra' hide a big secret to build up strength and maintain, as well as, prolong life. Seeing that since our Jiaozhu has received the Heaven’s blessing to enjoy immortal good fortune forever and life as long as the heaven’s, sooner or later these eight sutras will fall into Jiaozhu’s hands. White Dragon Envoy, go and set up a great merit for Jiaozhu, bring those eight sutras back, Jiaozhu will definitely bestow you with rewards.”
Wei Xiaobao stood up, he bowed and said, “Even if subordinate’s body is torn and my bones crushed, it is still difficult to repay Jiaozhu and Madame’s great kindness. I will be utterly loyal serving the country and die in battle.” He learned these eight characters ‘utterly loyal serving the country and die in battle’ [jin zhong bao guo, ma ge guo shi] from the storyteller; whenever a general was going into battle, the sovereign king would encourage him, and then the great general would fervently utter these eight characters. He blindly imitated the words, although being used here it was a bit too much and a little nondescript.
Madame Hong laughed and said, “You vow loyalty and devotion to Jiaozhu, that’s very good. You go to Beijing, you may choose several people to help you as you wish.”
Wei Xiaobao thought, “Since I am running away, if the Cult people follow, they will only tie my hands and tie my feet.” Thereupon he said, “I am afraid with too many people our secret will be revealed. Ah, right, subordinate wants to select one or two young girls under the Scarlet Dragon Envoy, they can be disguised as palace maid; handling affairs in the Palace will be more convenient.” He was thinking about Mu Jianping, he must take her away.
Priest Wugen said, “I am afraid those little misses are useless, but as long as Jiaozhu and Madame approve, you may choose as you wish.”
“Thank you Daozhang,” Wei Xiaobao said.
Lu Gaoxuan said, “Reporting to Jiaozhu, Madame: subordinate has committed grave offense yesterday, I am very grateful of Jiaozhu’s graciousness in not killing me …”
Hong Jiaozhu waved his hand and said with knitted brows, “The matter of yesterday, everybody must not remember in his heart, from now on nobody is allowed to raise it again.”
“Yes,” Lu Gaoxuan said, “Thank you very much Jiaozhu. Subordinate is thinking of accompanying the White Dragon Envoy. With Jiaozhu and Madame’s great fortune, perhaps I will be able to set up some merit for Jiaozhu, to show a little of subordinate’s sincere appreciation.”
Hong Jiaozhu nodded his head and said, “Lu Gaoxuan is extremely resourceful, his martial art skill is superior, his penmanship is even more proficient, the literary works he made was well organized. Very good, very good, you may go with the White Dragon Envoy.”
Lu Gaoxuan considered carefully, “He said the literary works I made was well organized, could it be that about my fabrication of the writings on the stone tablet, in his heart he has already known it well?”
The Fat Toutuo said, “Reporting to Jiaozhu, Madame: subordinate also wishes to accompany the White Dragon Envoy to Beijing to handle this matter for Jiaozhu.”
The Cult Leader nodded; seeing that the Yellow Dragon Envoy was about to volunteer too, he said, “Too many people already, I am afraid the mission will be compromised. Only the two of you will accompany. In everything, you must follow the White Dragon Envoy’s order, you must not disobey.”
Lu Gaoxuan and Fat Toutuo bowed and said, “Subordinate will do as you bid.”
From her bosom Madame Hong took out a small multi-colored dragon, it was molded from ‘blue copper’ [i.e. bronze], yellow gold, scarlet copper, white silver, and black iron. “White Dragon Envoy,” she said, “This is Jiaozhu’s Five-Dragon Command, I am handing it over to you for the time being. When the several tens of thousands Cult members see this Command, it is the same as they see Jiaozhu in person. In handling this important matter, the life-and-death power is being handed over to you. After rendering the meritorious service, you must return the Command.”
“Yes,” Wei Xiaobao said, with both hands he respectfully received it, while in his heart he mused, “I just want to return to Beijing, and forget about his Divine Dragon Cult or Vicious Tiger Cult. By taking this so-called Five-Dragon Command, from now on I will have more trouble.”
Madame Hong said, “White Dragon Envoy, Lu Gaoxuan and Fat Toutuo, three people stay, the rest of you are dismissed.”
Priest Wugen and the Black Dragon Envoy, Yellow Dragon Envoy, three people saluted and withdrew.
Hong Jiaozhu took out a black porcelain bottle from his pocket and poured three vermillion red pills out. He said, “I commend you that using extreme force of will, the three of you will go to Beijing on a mission, hence I bestow each one of you with a ‘leopard embryo tendon altering pill’.”
Immediately on Fat Toutuo and Lu Gaoxuan’s faces appeared a delight mixed with dread. Bending their right knees, they expressed their gratitude, received the pills, and swallowed it. Wei Xiaobao blindly imitated them, he received the ‘leopard embryo tendon altering pill’ and immediately swallowed it. Shortly afterward, he felt a burst of warm chi rising up in his stomach, following the blood flow, dispersing slowly into his four limbs and hundred bones of his body; it was unspeakably comfortable.
Madame Hong said, “White Dragon Envoy may stay, the rest of you are dismissed.” Fat Toutuo and Lu Gaoxuan, two people withdrew.
Madame Hong smiled and said, “White Dragon Envoy, what kind of weapon do you use?”
Wei Xiaobao said, “Subordinate’s martial art skill is shallow and minuscule, and have not studied any weapon. I only have a dagger to protect myself.”
“Let me look at it,” Madame Hong said.
Wei Xiaobao pulled the dagger from his boot, turned the hilt around and presented it with both hands. Madame Hong took it. After examining it, she praised, “Good dagger!” Pulling a strand of her hair, she let it go. The hair slowly dropped on the edge of the blade, and was cut into two. “Good!” the Cult Leader also praised.
In term of personal character, Wei Xiaobao did not have any strong points, but he had always regarded wealth and worldly possessions extremely lightly; seeing Madame Hong was very delighted with the dagger, he thought that if he wanted to flatter her, he would have to go all out. He said, “Subordinate presents this dagger to Madame. The common saying says it well: rouge, treasured sword must … must be presented to beautiful woman. Among the beautiful women in the world, no one is more beautiful than Madame.” He had heard the storyteller said it many times, ‘the treasured sword must be presented to the martyr, the red powder must be presented to beautiful woman.’ But these two phrases were simply too difficult, he could not remember everything clearly.
Madame Hong giggled tenderly and said, “Good child, you are loyal to us; you are not simply making empty promises. I don’t have anything good to give you, how can I take a child’s belonging? Let me accept your good intention with gratitude. Come, I am going to teach you three self-defense and life-saving styles, it is called the ‘Beauties' Three Moves’. I want you to learn it by heart.”
She stepped down from her seat, took out a handkerchief, and tied the dagger to the outside of her right calf. “Jiaozhu,” she said with a laugh, “I will have to toil your honorable self to help me demonstrate this martial art style.”
With a chuckle Hong Jiaozhu strolled over. Suddenly he reached out with his left hand and grabbed the back of Madame’s neck, and lifted her up in the air. “Ah!” it happened so fast, Wei Xiaobao was so shocked that he cried out.
Madame Hong bent her body slightly, she twisted her slender waist, and kicked backward with her left leg toward the Cult Leader’s lower abdomen. The Cult Leader pulled back to evade. Madame Hong seized the opportunity to turn around and wrapped her left arm around Jiaozhu’s neck. Unexpectedly her right hand grabbed the dagger and stabbed it against the middle of Jiaozhu’s back. “This is the first move,” she said with a laugh, “It’s called ‘the imperial concubine’s retrospect’. Remember this.”
The move was very neat and agile, Wei Xiaobao watched with ‘heart untroubled, spirit pleased’. “Wonderful!” he cheered loudly, while thinking, “When Fat Toutuo grabbed me and lifted me up the other day, I did not have the least bit of technique. If I had learned this move early on, I would have stabbed him to death.”
The Cult Leader gently laid Madame Hong on the ground. Madame Hong tied the dagger back on the outside of her calf and lay facing down on the floor. Jiaozhu stretched out his right foot to step on her lower back. Pretending he was holding a knife in his hand, he placed his hand behind her neck and said with a laugh, “Do you surrender?”
Wei Xiaobao thought, “In this situation, what can I do? Naturally I would call out loudly ‘Surrender’.”
Suddenly he saw Madame pulled her head toward her own chest, naturally the enemy’s knife threatening her neck fell into empty air. Seizing this opportunity, she rolled on the ground and drilled through under Jiaozhu’s crotch. Grabbing the dagger with her right hand, once again she punched the middle of Jiaozhu’s back, only the sharp point of the dagger was facing up. If it were real enemy, this dagger would naturally pierce the enemy’s back.
Wei Xiaobao loudly cheered again, “Good!”
Jiaozhu waited for her to tie the dagger again before pulling both of her hands behind her back. With his left hand he held both of her wrists; pretending to hold a weapon in his right hand, he placed the weapon on her soft, white neck, while saying with a laugh, “This time you can’t run away.”
Madame also laughed and said, “Watch carefully!” Her right foot kicked forward lightly, a white light flashed, the dagger had already cut off the handkerchief tying it to her calf and flew away. She hooked with her right foot and nudged the hilt of the dagger. The dagger shot swiftly back toward her throat.
“Careful!” Wei Xiaobao cried out in fear. He saw she shrank her body down, the dagger shot swiftly toward the Cult Leader’s chest. The Cult Leader let her hands go and threw his body back with face up in the ‘iron panel bridge’ stance. ‘Pop!’ the dagger flitted across his chest and penetrated the bamboo wall behind him, straight up to the hilt.
When Madame Hong hooked with her foot and kicked the dagger, Wei Xiaobao had already jumped in fright. When he saw the dagger was flying toward her throat, she appeared not to be able to evade, but then the dagger flew toward the pit of Jiaozhu’s stomach; this time he was sure the dagger would hit him, but unexpectedly Jiaozhu was able to dodge. These turns of events were extremely dangerous that just by watching from the side, Wei Xiaobao was stunned with ‘heart alarmed, trembling in fear’, and the word ‘Good’ that was already in his throat could not get out.
Madame Hong laughed. “What do you think?” she asked.
Wei Xiaobao reached out to grab the back of a chair as if he was about to fall. “It scared me to death,” he said.
Hong Jiaozhu, Hong Antong, and Madame saw his paled countenance, indicating he was terribly frightened. Hearing his words, they were more delighted than listening to one thousand, ten thousand words of praise. These two people had superior martial art skill, just another word of praise from a little child was not enough to make them happier, but seeing he was so concerned, they knew he was truly loyal to them. Madame Hong asked a rhetorical question, “The dagger was not shot toward you, what are you scared of?”
“I was afraid … I was afraid it would hurt Madame and … and Jiaozhu,” Wei Xiaobao replied.
Madame Hong laughed. “Silly kid,” she said, “How could it easily hurt Jiaozhu? This move is called ‘the flying swallow circle around overhead’. It is not very easy to practice. Jiaozhu’s divine skill is unrivalled, even if he did not know it beforehand, this move won’t hurt him. But in the world, other than him, I am afraid the number of people who are able to dodge this surprise strike is not too many.”
Immediately she explained in details the technique to practice the ‘Beauties' Three Moves’. Although the style only had three moves, all four limbs of the body were heavily involved; she taught him how to pull the dagger, how to pull down the head, the speed, the position, the force, as well as the accuracy of the movements, must be just perfect.
The second move, where she lay on the ground, was called the ‘Xiao Lian [lit. little pity] lies in disarray’. Madame Hong explained, “This ‘Beauties' Three Moves’ uses the names of the beauties of the ancient times. If it was practiced by a man, unavoidably it would be rather indecent; luckily you are only a child, so it’s not a big deal.”
Wei Xiaobao learned every move and every style, while Madame Hong patiently and carefully correcting his mistakes. After teaching him for more than two hours she finally considered it enough. But she insisted that Wei Xiaobao must be able to use it perfectly, he must train hard for a long time, especially the third move ‘the flying swallow circle around overhead’; a slight mistake, he would have killed himself. Madame Hong instructed him to make a blunt dagger made of lead, the size and the weight must be the same as his dagger, to be used during practice.