I think there are many 'wuxia' heroes demonstrating their skills (not as crazily supernatural ones like from Condor Heroes Trilogy) to qualify this as wuxia story.
The Dicky version of the DOMD adaptation took the route of WXB becoming martial arts superhero if anybody wants to see that rewrite. My opinion that made WXB less interesting. Girls in that one are pretty though.
That's my opinion of course. There are people who loved Dicky's version inspite of me putting it as the least favored adaptations that I've seen...except of course the short and stupid adaptation by Steven Chow, well that's not a true adaptation.
Nothing beats the original, and this thread is still my favorite reading the translation of the original is still better than seeing the adaptations with cuts and changes in the storylines.
Thanks a million Foxs, SPC net's hosting of JY's translation is still my favorite and I've reread the translations a few times......condor heroes all 3 of them, smiling proud wanderer, Gulong's Legendary siblings..... well I love chinese wuxia stories. ( maybe I should take lessons on reading chinese eh ? )
Bchin, Sky, Gubrak, you are welcome. Crazee, Ace, I think Athlon is right, why would he care about pay if he already had half a million taels? Smurf, but this is the only wuxia that I know, that the main protagonist is not a 'wu' practitioner.
New Chapter ... almost halfway of the entire novel.
Chapter 25 - The crow flew over old exiled Emperor’s child, the horse stored the red powder of weeping palace beauty.
(Translated by Foxs)
Wei Xiaobao was being carried while they were travelling swiftly; he felt as if they were soaring in the clouds or riding on the fog, the big trees swept pass his sides. He felt that they were climbing the mountain higher and higher, his heart was filled with unspeakable fear, “This bald thief failed to kill me with a stab of his sword, he must be quite upset. Now he wants to use different method, he want to see if by throwing me down from a ten thousand zhang high peak, I, this little bald thief, will die or not.” Sure enough, the monk in white suddenly released his grip and throw Wei Xiaobao down.
Wei Xiaobao screamed, but very soon his back touched the ground; it turned out that he was just being tossed to the ground. The monk in white looked at him coldly and said, “I heard Shaolin Pai has a divine skill to protect the body, so that saber and spear cannot penetrate. I did not expect a little monk like you have also mastered it.”
Wei Xiaobao heard that person’s voice to be clear and bright, carrying thirty percent gentleness and charms; he was rather astonished. When he looked up at the person’s face, he saw a snow-white melon-seed face, with curved eyebrows, and phoenix-like eyes filled with worry. Unexpectedly she was an extremely beautiful woman, roughly thirty years of age. Only her hair was shaved clean, with the incense-stick scar on her head; turned out she was a Buddhist nun. Wei Xiaobao was delighted, “Talking to nuns is always better than talking to monks,” he mused.
Hastily he wanted to sit up, but the pit of his stomach was very painful. Actually, when she stabbed him a moment ago, although the treasured clothes protected his body, so that the sword did not harm his skin and flesh, her internal power was too strong that he felt severe pain. “Aiyo!” he cried out and collapsed again.
The nun coldly said, “I thought there must be something amazing with Shaolin’s divine skill; turns out it is only like this.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “Let me be honest to Shitai, from those thirty-six Shaolin monks in the Hall of Great Strength of Qingliang Temple, one was the Head of Damo Courtyard, one was the Head of Bo’re Hall … aiyo … aiyo … even the Shaolin Pai’s renowned Eighteen Luohan were there; each one was Shaolin Pai’s first class martial art master. Yet all thirty-six men were not your match, one Shitai, alone … aiyo …”
After a short pause, he continued, “If I had only known, I would not enter Shaolin Temple. Aiyo … I’d rather do obeisance to you and take Shitai as my master; it would be a hundred times more superior.”
There was a hint of smile appearing on the grave and stern face of the white-clothed nun. “What’s your name?” she asked, “How long have you been training Shaolin Temple’s unique skills?”
Wei Xiaobao pondered, “She tried to assassinate the Emperor, saying that she wanted to avenge the Great Ming’s Son of Heaven, obviously she belongs to the ‘overthrowing Qing restoring Ming’ group. I just don’t know if she is a friend or a foe of Tian Di Hui; I’d better not to tell her the truth.” Thereupon he said, “I am an orphan from a Yangzhou poor family, my father was killed by Tatar soldiers, from childhood I was sent to the Imperial Palace to become a little eunuch, and was called Xiao Guizi. Later on …”
The nun in white muttered to herself, “Little eunuch Xiao Guizi? I seem to have heard your name. There was a big treacherous official in the imperial court called Oboi; I heard he was killed by a little eunuch, who killed him?”
Hearing the name ‘Oboi’ plus the words ‘big treacherous official’, Wei Xiaobao hastily said, “It was … it was me.”
The nun in white was half believing, half doubting; she asked, “It was really you? That Oboi’s martial art skill was very high; he had the reputation as the Number One Warrior of Manchuria. How did you kill him?”
Wei Xiaobao slowly sat up and narrated how they captured Oboi, how the young emperor gave the order to attack, how Wei Xiaobao unexpectedly managed to stab Oboi with a knife, how he scattered the incense ashes into Oboi’s eyes, and how afterwards he stabbed Oboi’s back in the prison. By this time Wei Xiaobao had already told this story many times, each time he retold the story, he always added a little bit more oil, salt, soybean sauce, vinegar and other spices.
The nun in white listened quietly until he finished. Finally she sighed and muttered to herself, “If it happened like that, those widows of the Zhuang family must really thank you.”
Wei Xiaobao delightedly said, “Did you, Senior, talk about the Zhuang family’s Third Madame? She has already thanked me, and even gave me a servant girl by the name of Shuang’er. By this time she must have already died, she …”
The nun in white cut him off, “How did you know the people from Zhuang family?”
Wei Xiaobao told her the truth. Finally he said, “If you, Senior, do not believe me, you may ask Shuang’er.”
The nun in white said, “You know the Third Madame and Shuang’er; that’s enough. How did you become a monk?”
Wei Xiaobao thought that the matter of the Old Emperor left his home must be concealed; he said, “The Young Emperor sent me to be his proxy to become a monk at Shaolin Temple, and later on he sent me to Qingliang Temple. Shaolin Pai’s martial art that I learned was really very few. In fact, even if I trained for several decades, and have mastered those Wei Tuo Palm, Bo’re Palm, Picking Flower Qin Na, and so on, it won’t be of any use in front of you, Senior.”
Suddenly the nun in white’s countenance sank; she sternly said, “You are a Han, why acknowledge the bandit as your father, risking your life to protect the Emperor? You were indeed born with a slave mentality!”
Wei Xiaobao’s heart turned cold; this accusation was really not easy to respond. When the nun in white assassinated Kangxi, in a moment of desperation he thrust himself in front of Kangxi to shield him. In all honesty, he did not have any thought of flattering the Emperor; he was only thinking that Kangxi was the only person closest to him in this world, he was like a real brother to him, no matter what, he would never let anybody kill Kangxi.
The nun in white coldly said, “Manchurian Tatars came to take away our Great Ming’s world, that may not be considered bad; what’s really bad is Han people who ‘act as accomplice to the tiger’, those who for the sake of seeking their own glory, splendor, wealth and rank, they would do anything.” While saying that, her eyes shot a piercing gaze on Wei Xiaobao’s face. She said slowly, “I’ll throw you down from this mountain peak. I want to know if your ‘protecting body’ divine skill can still be used or not?”
“Of course it can’t be used,” Wei Xiaobao loudly said, “Actually, you don’t even have to throw me down the mountain, you only need to light strike the top of my head with your palm, my skull will immediately shatter into seventeen, eighteen pieces.”
The nun in white said, “Then you were fawning on the Tatar Emperor, what good will it do to you?”
“I was not fawning on him,” Wei Xiaobao loudly replied, “The Young Emperor is my friend. He … he said that he will never raise taxes, that he will cherish the common people. We, Jianghu people, attach most importance to yi qi, we must also cherish the common people.” Actually, toward Kangxi he indeed have yi qi, but ‘cherishing the common people’, even in his dream he had never thought about it. Right now facing the matter of life and death, he had no choice but to lift up high his hat to defend himself.
There was a flash of hesitation on the nun in white’s face; she asked, “He said never to raise taxes and cherish the common people?”
“That’s right, that’s right,” Wei Xiaobao busily said, “I don’t know how many hundred times he said that. He said that when the Tatar Emperor entered the pass, he massacred the common people, which he never should have done. Those ‘Yangzhou’s Ten Days’, ‘Jiading Three Gamblings’, were practically things that are done by beast. In his heart he is restless; therefore … therefore he came to Mount Wutai to burn incense and worship Buddha, he will also issue an imperial decree to exempt Yangzhou and Jiading three years of taxes.” The nun in white nodded.
Wei Xiaobao continued, “That treacherous court official Oboi killed so many loyal and good subjects, the Young Emperor ordered him to stop doing that, he refused flatly. The Young Emperor was enraged, he ordered me to kill him. Good Shitai, if you killed the Young Emperor, the affairs of the imperial court will be taken over by the Empress Dowager. This old wh0re is desperately worse, if she came into power, she would do another ‘Yangzhou’s Ten Days’ or ‘Jiading Three Gamblings’. If you want to kill the Tatars, it would be better if you go and kill that old wh0re the Empress Dowager.”
The nun in white shot a glaring look at him; she said, “In front of my, you must not speak any vulgar rude words.”
“Yes, yes!” Wei Xiaobao said, “In front of you, Senior, in the next seventy, eighty years I will not mention even half a word of vulgar talk.”
The nun in white looked up to the white clouds in the sky, ignoring him completely; after a while, she asked, “What’s not good about the Empress Dowager?”
Wei Xiaobao thought, “The bad things that the Empress Dowager did have nothing to do with this Shitai, I must fabricate some wild accusation and heap it on her head.” He said, “The Empress Dowager said that this is the Great Qing’s world, she wanted to dig the Great Ming’s seventeen, eighteen generations of emperors’ grave, to see if there is any treasures in those graves. She also said that all Han people in the world with the surname of Zhu are no good, they should be executed along with their families unto the third generation, so that they won’t snatch away the Great Qing’s rivers and mountains …”
The nun in white was enraged, with her right palm she slapped a rock, instantly the rock shattered, fragments of rocks flew everywhere. With a stern voice she said, “That woman is so malicious!”
Wei Xiaobao said, “Isn’t she? I advised the Young Emperor that those kind of things must never be done.”
“Humph,” the nun in white snorted and said, “What knowledge do you have? What argument can you give? Why would the Young Emperor listen to your advice?”
Wei Xiaobao said, “My argument was very reasonable. I said, ‘Your Majesty, human being will definitely die. While it is true that the world of the living belongs to you, Manchu people, do you know if Yanluo Wang [King of Hell] of the underworld is Han man or Manchu man? What about Pan Guan [mythological underworld judge], the little demon, the ox head, the horse face, the Black Wuchang [ghost taking away soul after death], White Wuchang? Are they Han people or Manchu people? Each one of them is a Han. In the world of the living you oppress Han people, even if you live to a hundred years, there will come a day you will have to face the calamity.’ The Young Emperor said, ‘Xiao Guizi, how fortunate that you reminded me.’ As a result, the Young Emperor did not want to listen to a word the Empress Dowager was saying. On the contrary, he said that he would grant some money to restore the graves of the Great Ming’s emperors, from Hongwu Yeye [grandfather] all the way to Emperor Chong Zhen. Ah right, there were some Fu Wang, Lu Wang, Tang Wang, Gui Wang [each ‘wang’ means ‘king’], which I am not clear how many emperors in total.”
Suddenly the nun in white’s eyes reddened, and tears started to fall down, drops of tears rolled down from her robe to the grass. After quite a while, she stretched out her sleeve to wipe the tears; she said, “If it is really so, not only you are not disloyal, you have rendered great merit. If my … if the grave of my Great Ming’s previous dynasty’s emperors were dug by this … this evil woman …” Speaking to here, her voice turned into sobs, she was unable to continue. She stood up and walked toward an overhanging cliff.
“Shitai,” Wei Xiaobao called out, “You … must not … must not be shortsighted.” While shouting that, he rushed to pull her left arm. In this short period of time, he had developed a favorable impression toward this beautiful Buddhist nun; he felt that she was simple yet beautiful, lofty and elegant, refined and amiable; from among the women he had met in his life, no one could surpass her. As soon as he pulled, he felt that the sleeve was empty; only now did he realize that she did not have a left arm.
The nun in white turned her head around and said, “You are fooling around! Why would I be shortsighted?”
Wei Xiaobao said, “I saw how grieved you were, I was afraid you were not able to take a lighter view.”
The nun in white said, “If I committed suicide, you would return to the Emperor, henceforth you will be very rich; won’t that be better?”
Wei Xiaobao said, “No, no! I am a little eunuch, I was compelled by circumstances, the Tatars killed my papa, how can I acknowledge bandit as … as my father?”
The nun in white nodded; she said, “You still have conscience.” From her pocket she took more than ten taels and gave it to him, saying, “Use it as your travel expense, go back to Yangzhou, to your native place.”
 Palace beauty, orig. Chinese Gong’E (as in Tao Gong’E).
 Shitai is a term of respect to address Buddhist nuns, the counterpart of Dashi [great master].
that's hilarious that the old nun brought his story and even gave him money
Check out WXFS translated comic of Tian Long Ba Bu
Last updated: 02/04/2008
This section was a good read. It showed that WXB really considered Kangxi as his brother and his new found affection for the mysterious nun is sweet.
Wow, I totally did not know the nun was so young, only in her 30s. I always thought WXB sweet talked the nun in order to save his life. Didn't know he actually liked her so soon after meeting.
Learned something new today. Thanks foxs!
Age wise it makes sense, the Manchus have only occupied China for about 20 years at this point (I think). The white nun's other story probably took place when she was about 16. Well....actually comparing against Auntie Tao the timelines don't make any sense.
I'm very impressed by WXB's history knowledge for someone who never went to school. A random teen nowadays probably can't recount the last 10 presidents of USA.
Yes, WXB already had half a milllion taels, but Kang Xi didn't know that...
You plant a garden and the flowers do not bloom, you poke a stick in the mud and it grows into a tree
WXB probably has a very good memory because he cannot read.
[QUOTE=crazee;1004658]errr..... I cannot read mandarin either why my memory is lousy...heh heh heh
If you are in China your memory will improve or you will always be lost because you can't read the street signs.
Wandering, thanks for dropping by. Sky, Tweety, you are most welcome. Smurf, I remember reading Jin Yong wrote something like WXB was actually very smart, but he was very lazy. Anh, I am sure that if Crazee simply have to, he will suddenly have a good memory. Or if you are like me: I was interested enough to read the story that I learned how to use the (online) dictionary. Ace, that's true, but Athlon and I simply said that WXB won't care about his pay because he already had a lot of money.
Wei Xiaobao thought, “When I give money to others, if not two hundred taels, I would give at least a hundred taels, how can I be happy with your little bit of money? This Shitai’s heart is soft, I might as well exploit her goodness.” Without accepting the money, he suddenly fell to his knees and embraced her legs, while crying loudly.
The nun in white knitted her brows and said, “What are you doing? Stand up, stand up.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “I … I don’t want money.”
The nun in white said, “Then why are you crying?”
Wei Xiaobao said, “I have no father no mother, I never have anybody loving me. Shitai, you … you are like my mother. I often think that … that how nice would it be to have a mother who loves me dearly.”
The nun in white blushed, “Pei!” she spat softly and said, “Rubbish! I have left home …”
“Yes, yes!” Wei Xiaobao said. He stood up with tearstains across his face. Crying at will was one of his consummate skills.
The nun in white hesitantly said, “I need to go to Beijing anyway, in that case I’ll take you along. But you are a little monk …”
Wei Xiaobao thought, “Returning to Beijing? Nothing can be better than that.” Thereupon he hastily said, “I am a fake little monk. As soon as we are down the mountain, I’ll change clothes, then I won’t be little monk anymore.”
The nun in white nodded. Still not saying anything, she simply walked down the mountain peak with Wei Xiaobao following behind her. When they came across steep path, which was hard to pass, the nun in white grabbed his collar and lightly and nimbly jumped down. Wei Xiaobao praised her endlessly, saying that although Shaolin Pai’s martial art was well known throughout the world, it was not even close to hers. The nun in white simply turned a deaf ear, until Wei Xiaobao spoke seven, eight times, she said, “Shaolin Pai’s martial art has its own origin, little child is like a frog at the bottom of a well, you must not talk an idle talk. Just your divine skill of protecting your body, so that saber and spear cannot penetrate, I don’t have that kind of skill.”
On an impulse Wei Xiaobao said, “The divine skill of protecting my body is fake.” Untying his outer garment, he revealed his vest and said, “This is the vest that cannot be penetrated by saber and spear.”
The nun in white reached out to pull, while sending her strength to the tip of her finger. This pull was very powerful that even steel wire would be pulled apart, but unexpectedly the vest did not move the slightest bit. She smiled and said, “So that’s how it is. I was feeling strange, even if Shaolin internal energy is indeed marvelous, based on your young age, you would not have trained it to this level of maturity.”
Now that one suspicion in her heart was resolved, she was very happy. She laughed and said, “Child, you are indeed an honest person.”
Wei Xiaobao was secretly amused; in all his life, it was the first time somebody ever praised him to be honest, it was indeed rare. He said, “I am not that honest to anybody else, but I don’t know why, I just want to be honest to Shitai. Most likely because I consider you to be my … my mama …”
The nun in white said, “Later on you must not say those things, it is very unpleasant to hear.”
“Yes, yes,” Wei Xiaobao said, while in his heart he said, “You stabbed me on my chest, it is still very painful. I called you ‘mama’ several times, now we are even.” When he called someone ‘mama’, he was actually cursing that person as a prostitute. While he was feeling smug, he cast a glance toward the nun in white, and saw her lofty and magnificent aura, which he could not help but to revere; he felt quite regretful that he had called her ‘mama’ several times.
He stole a glance toward the nun in white again, and saw her eyes were brimming with tears, as if she was about to cry; he felt quite strange. Naturally he did not know that at the moment the nun in white was thinking, “I should have thought about that vest. Didn’t he … he also have something like that?”
The nun in white and Wei Xiaobao went down the mountain from the north side, heading eastwards. They arrived at a small town, Wei Xiaobao immediately went to buy some clothes, and turned himself into a young master of a rich family. Even when he was dressed up as a lama to protect Shunzhi leaving the Qingliang Temple, naturally the several hundred thousand taels of banknotes had never left his body. Along the way he ordered the restaurant owners and innkeepers to prepare fine vegetarian cuisine. He was very attentive in attending to the nun in white. The nun in white was very particular toward the quality of the vegetarian dishes, as if she was coming from a very rich family; she was completely different from those Shaolin monks. Although she was not intentionally picky, but when the vegetarian dishes were exquisite, she would eat several chopsticks more.
Wei Xiaobao had a lot of money, as long as certain thing was available in the market, whether it was ginseng, swallow’s nest, fu ling, white mushroom, ‘money’ mushroom, no matter how expensive, he would simply buy it. When he was in charge of the imperial kitchen, whenever the Empress Dowager and the Emperor were celebrating Buddha’s birthday or Guanyin’s birthday, they would want to abstain from meat dishes and would request vegetarian dishes; therefore, he was quite an expert in selecting vegetarian dishes. Sometimes the restaurant’s chef did not know how to prepare certain dishes, he would then go to the kitchen to give directions. As a result, the dishes were seventy, eighty percent similar to those of the imperial kitchen.
The nun in white was habitually quiet; often times she did not speak a single word all day. Wei Xiaobao showed her utmost respect, he did not dare to talk nonsense at all. One day they arrived in Beijing. Wei Xiaobao looked for a large inn. As soon as he entered, he gave a ten taels tip. Although the innkeeper thought that for a nun to stay in an inn was somewhat too lofty, but this rich young master was very liberal with money, hence he gave a very attentive reception. The nun in white seemed to regard everything as it should be, she never questioned anything.
After lunch, the nun in white said, “I want to go to the Coal Hill.”
“Coal Hill?” Wei Xiaobao asked, “That is the place where Emperor Chongzhen returned to Heaven. We must kowtow several times there.”
Coal Hill was located next to the Imperial Palace, they were able to reach it in a very short period of time. Arrived at the hill, Wei Xiaobao pointed his finger at a big tree and said, “Emperor Chongzhen hanged himself on that tree.”
The nun in white reached out to caress the tree, her arm did not stop trembling, tears streamed down her face, suddenly she cried out and dropped on her knees.
Seeing her deep grief, Wei Xiaobao wondered, “Could it be that she knew Emperor Chongzhen?” His heart was moved, “Is it possible that she is just like Tao Gugu, a palace maid in Imperial Palace of the Great Ming? Perhaps she was Emperor Chongzhen’s imperial concubine. No, her age is not right, she looks younger than the old wh0re, she can’t be Emperor Chongzhen’s imperial concubine.”
He heard her cry was extremely sorrowful that she nearly could not breathe; he could not help but shedding some tears as well. He dropped on his knees and kowtowed to the tree several times.
The nun in white wept in sorrow for a long time. Finally she stood up to embrace the tree trunk. Suddenly her entire body trembled and she lost her consciousness, her body slowly slid down. Wei Xiaobao was shocked; hastily he held her up and called out, “Shitai, Shitai, wake up quickly!”
After quite a while, the nun in white slowly regained her consciousness. After calming herself down, she said, “Let’s go to the Imperial Palace to take a look.”
“Very well,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Let’s go back to the inn first. I’ll fix a eunuch uniform for me, Shitai also needs to change, I’ll take you into the Palace.”
The nun in white angrily said, “How can I wear Tatars’ eunuch uniform?”
“Yes, yes,” Wei Xiaobao said, “In that case … in that case … I got it, Shitai can be a lama. There are usually a lot of lamas going in and out of the Palace.”
“I don’t want to dress as a lama either,” the nun in white said, “I’ll just rush into the Palace like this, who can stop me?”
“Yes,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Even those Imperial Bodyguards are not able to stop Shitai. It’s just that … by doing this inevitably you will have to abandon the Buddhist monastic disciple against taking life. Shitai will be preoccupied with killing people, you won’t be able to quietly look at other things.” He was really unwilling to follow the nun in white breaking into the Palace just like that.
The nun in white nodded. “You are right,” she said, “Tonight I will take advantage of the darkness to break into the Palace. You wait for me in the inn, so that you won’t meet any danger.”
“No, no,” Wei Xiaobao said, “I am coming with you. If you enter the Palace alone, I won’t feel at ease. I am very familiar with the Palace like my own home; I know the places, I know the people. Whichever place you want to go, I can take you there.” The nun in white did not answer; she only stared blankly.
By the second watch that night [around 9-11pm], the nun in white and Wei Xiaobao left the inn and went to the Palace’s wall. Wei Xiaobao said, “Let us circle to the northeast corner, the Palace wall on that side is rather low; that is where the sula and odd jobs workers live, no imperial bodyguards ever patrol there.”
Following his direction, the nun in white went to the thirteenth row on the north side; grabbing the back of Wei Xiaobao’s waist, she lightly leaped into the Palace. Wei Xiaobao said in a low voice, “This side is the Le Shou [lit. happy and long life] Hall and Yang Xing [mental/spiritual cultivation] Palace. Shitai, which place do you want to see?”
The nun in white muttered softly, “I want to see everything.”
Going west from Le Shou Hall and Yang Xing Palace, winding around a long corridor, passing the Xuan Qiong Bao Dian [black/mysterious dome throne hall], the Jing Yang Gong [bright yang/positive Palace], Zhong Cui Gong [pure bell palace], they finally arrived at the imperial garden. Although it was dark, the nun in white was still walking very fast; winding and turning around the pathways, she did not have the slightest degree of hesitation. Whenever they came across the Imperial Bodyguards or the night watchmen on patrol, she simply hid behind a building’s corner or behind the bushes.
Wei Xiaobao was greatly amazed, “How can she be this familiar with the Palace situation? She must have lived in the Palace before.” Following her going over the imperial garden, they continued westward, going out of Kun Ning Gate, and arrived outside the Kun Ning Palace.
The nun in white hesitated. “Doesn’t the Empress live here?” she asked.
Wei Xiaobao said, “The Emperor is not married yet, there is no Empress. Previously the Empress Dowager lived here, but now she moved to the Palace of Compassionate and Peaceful [Ci Ning]. Presently the Kun Ning Palace is unoccupied.”
“Let’s take a look,” the nun in white said. Arriving just outside the Kun Ning Palace, she stretched out her hand to push the window frame. Exerting a little bit of strength, with a soft ‘chi, chi’ noise, the window latch broke easily. She pulled the window open and leaped inside. Wei Xiaobao crawled in to follow.
Kun Ning Palace was the Empress’ personal quarter, Wei Xiaobao had never been there before. The Palace had been unoccupied for a long time, the smell of dust and mold assaulted their nostrils. Under the soft glimmer of the moonlight through the paper on the window, Wei Xiaobao vaguely saw the nun in white was sitting on the edge of the bed, without moving at all. After a while, he heard the dripping noise as her tears flowed onto the front piece of her robe. Wei Xiaobao thought, “Right, she is just like Tao Gugu; she must be a maid in the Palace who was serving the previous dynasty’s empress.”
He saw she was looking up at the beam of the roof. “Empress Zhou had … had killed herself in here,” she said in a low voice.
“Yes,” Wei Xiaobao replied. The doubt in his heart was gone; he asked in a low voice, “Shitai, would you like to see my Gugu?”
The nun in white was surprised. “Your Gugu?” she asked, “Who is she?”
“My Gugu is surnamed Tao,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “Her name is Tao Hongying …”
“Hongying?” the nun in white cried out in shock.
Wei Xiaobao said, “That’s right. Perhaps you know her. My Gugu was a former maid who served Princess Chang of Emperor Chongzhen.”
“Alright, alright,” the nun in white said, “Where is she? Quickly … quickly call her to see me.” All along she had been cool and collected, ever since that day when she tried to assassinate Kangxi at the Qingliang Temple, even though she moved very fast, she had never lost her calm. But this time her voice unexpectedly appeared to be very anxious.
“I can’t call her tonight,” Wei Xiaobao said.
“Why? Why?” the nun in white asked.
Wei Xiaobao said, “My Gugu is very loyal to the Great Ming, one time she assassinated the Tatars’ Empress Dowager, unfortunately she did not die, hence she has to hide in the Palace. She will have to see my secret signal first, and then we can meet the next night.”
“Very good,” the nun in white said, “That girl Hongying has guts. What secret signal you have to make?”
“My Gugu and I have arranged it well,” Wei Xiaobao said, “I will have to make a pile of rock in the burning ground, and stick a piece of wood on it. She will know.”
 Kun – one of the Eight Trigram (Ba Gua), symbolizing earth/female principle. Ning – peaceful.
Crying at will was one of his consummate skills.<<< OMG!..hahahhaha
Thanks Foxs! this hero is unique and fun..
It's so emotional.
Imagine asking someone whom he see regal disguising as eunuch...
I suppose he have no other ideas.... and he was worried she will get caught.
Crydee, Anh, Sky, Crazee, you are welcome. This chapter has more details but not much action.
The nun in white said, “Let us go make the secret signal then.” Leaping out the window, she pulled Wei Xiaobao’s hand, went out the Long Fu [grand happiness] Gate, passed Yong Shou [eternal long life] Palace, Ti Yuan [Primary Form] Court, Bao Hua [defending China] Court, and continued northward to the Burning Ground. Wei Xiaobao picked up a piece of wood charcoal and drew a sparrow on a piece of wood. He gathered some rocks and made a pile, and then stuck the piece of wood on the pile of rocks.
“Someone’s coming!” the nun in white suddenly said.
The Burning Ground was the place where the waste from the Palace was burned; it was very unusual that someone would come over here in the middle of the night. Wei Xiaobao pulled the nun in white’s hand and took her hiding behind a large earthen jar. They heard the intermittent sound of footsteps; somebody was hurrying over. The person stood still while scanning the area, and was slightly startled to see the wooden piece Wei Xiaobao stuck onto the pile of rocks. Immediately she came over and picked it up. As soon as the person turned around, the moonlight shone on her face. Recognizing her face, Wei Xiaobao was greatly delighted to see that it was indeed Tao Hongying.
“Gugu,” he called out, “I am here,” and walked out from behind the earthen jar.
Tao Hongying rushed forward to meet him; holding her arms around him, she happily said, “Good child, finally you are here. Every night I come here to take a look, hoping that I may see your face earlier.
“Gugu,” Wei Xiaobao said, “There’s someone here who wants to see you.”
Tao Hongying was slightly taken aback; releasing her embrace, she asked, “Who is it?”
The nun in white stood up and said in a low voice, “Hongying, you … do you still recognize me?”
Tao Hongying did not expect there was someone else behind the earthen jar; she was startled and retreated three steps back, her right hand reached to her waist to draw a dagger. “Who … who are you?” she asked.
The nun in white sighed and said, “Turns out you don’t recognize me anymore.”
Tao Hongying said, “I … I can’t see your face; you … you are …”
The nun in white slightly turned her body sideways, so that the moonlight shone on half of her face. She said in low voice, “Your appearance has also changed a lot.”
With a trembling voice Tao Hongying said, “You are … you are …” Suddenly she threw her dagger away and called out, “Princess, is it you? I … I …” Throwing herself forward, she embraced the nun in white’s legs. Prostrating herself on the ground, she sobbed, “Princess, to be able to see you today, I … even if I have to die instantly, I … I will die happy.”
As soon as he heard the word ‘Princess’, to say that Wei Xiaobao was mildly surprised was a gross understatement. But immediately he recalled the story Tao Hongying had told him: she was a palace maid serving the previous dynasty, and all along had been attending Princess Chang. When the Roaming King Li Zicheng broke into Beijing, with a sword in his hand Chongzhen wanted to kill Princess Chang, but chopped her arm instead. In that confusion Tao Hongying passed out. By the time she regained her consciousness, the Emperor and the Princess had disappeared.
Wei Xiaobao cast a glance toward the nun in white, thinking, “She lost an arm, and she is very familiar with the situation of the Palace, plus she wept at the Kun Ning Palace; I should have guessed it early on. She appears this noble, how could she be a palace maid? I realized it only now; I am really stupid.”
He heard the nun in white asked, “Have you always lived in the Palace these days?”
Still sobbing, Tao Hongying replied, “Yes.”
The nun in white said, “This child says that you have assassinated the Tatars’ Empress Dowager; that’s very good. It’s just that … that you put yourself in trouble.” Speaking to this point, she could not stop the tears from streaming down her face.
Tao Hongying said, “Princess has a ‘ten-thousand gold body’, you must not stay in here. Let your servant escort you out of the Palace right away.”
The nun in white sighed and said, “I have not been a princess for a long time.”
“No, no,” Tao Hongying said, “In your servant’s heart, you are a princess forever, you are my Princess Chang.”
The nun in white let out a mournful laugh. Under the moonlight, the tears on her cheek glistened, making the laughter even more dismal. She said slowly, “Does anybody live in Ning Shou [peaceful long life] Palace nowadays? I want to take a look.
Tao Hongying said, “Ning Shou Palace … nowadays is … is the residence of Tatars’ Princess Jianning. It’s just that these days, Tatars’ Emperor, Empress Dowager and the Princess are not in the Palace; I don’t know where they are. There are only several palace maids and court eunuchs remain in Ning Shou Palace; let your servant kill them all. Princess, please.” Ning Shou Palace was the princess’ personal quarter; it was precisely this Princess Changping of the Great Ming’s former residence.
The nun in white said, “You don’t need to kill anybody. We are only going to take a look.”
“Yes,” Tao Hongying said. She did not know that Princess Changping had mastered exceedingly good, arhat-like martial art; she thought that Wei Xiaobao brought her into the Palace in disguise. Having met her former master by accident, her heart was excited, she would not think twice about rushing onto a mountain of blades or going into a deep fryer for her, let alone only going to the Princess’ old residence.
Immediately the three of them went north, out of the Xi Tie [western iron] Gate, turned east passed the Shun Zhen [loyal] Gate, through Bei Wu Suo [northern five-building], the tea storehouse, arriving outside the Ning Shou Palace.
In a low voice Tao Hongying said, “Let your servant drive off the palace maids and the eunuchs.”
“No need,” the nun in white said. Stretching out her hand, she pushed the gate, the latch broke with only a light noise. The palace gate opened, the nun in white walked in.
Although the dynasty had changed, the Palace’s custom did not change at all. Since Ning Shou Palace was the nun in white’s old home, she knew very well where the palace maids and the court eunuchs were. Without waking up anybody, she sealed their acupoints one by one to make them lose their consciousness, before going to the princess’ bedroom.
Tao Hongying was pleasantly surprised. “Princess,” she said, “I did not expect your martial art skill to be this superb!”
The nun in white sat on the bed, thinking back of what had happened here more than twenty years ago, where once she drew a portrait of someone, and had shared the same pillow with this someone. And now the world was occupied by the Tatars, her own bedroom was occupied by a Tatar princess, while that someone was far away, in a remote area tens of thousand li away; this life, this age, it would be hard for them to meet each other again.
[Author’s note: for the story of Princess Changping of the Great Ming, please read my unworthy manuscript ‘Sword Stained with Royal Blood’.]
Tao Hongying and Wei Xiaobao waited on her on the side without making any noise. After quite a long time, the nun in white sighed and gravely said, “Light the candle.”
“Yes,” Tao Hongying said, and lit the candle.
They saw the wall, the table and chair, were full of sabers, swords, whips and other weapons, just like a room of a warrior; it did not look like a ‘golden branch, jade leaves’ princess’ bedroom at all.
The nun in white said, “Turns out this princess is also good at martial arts.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “This Tatar princess has a very strange character; not only she loves to beat people, she also likes people beating her. But her martial art skill is sloppy and ordinary, she can’t even beat me.” He cast a glance toward the bed, recalling the day when he hid underneath the Princess’ quilt, and was seized by the Empress Dowager. If not for the Five-Dragon-Command fell down from his pocket, right now he would be a little eunuch in the underworld, serving Yanluo Wang’s princess.
The nun in white said in a soft voice, “My paintings, my books; did she throw everything away?”
“Yes,” Tao Hongying replied, “I am afraid that barbarian woman only knows several characters, what does she know about paintings and books?”
The nun in white raised her left arm, her sleeve waved lightly, the candle light was extinguished immediately. She said, “Come with me out of the Palace.”
“Yes,” Tao Hongying replied. And then she remembered something, “Princess,” she said, “Your skill is this superb, if you catch the Tatar Empress Dowager, you could compel her to hand over those several copies of sutra, then you could break the Tatars’ dragon vein.”
“What sutra? What Tatars’ dragon vein?” the nun in white asked.
Thereupon Tao Hongying briefly narrated the origin of the eight copies of the Forty-two-chapter Sutra. The nun in white silently listened to the end, and then after thinking deeply for half a day she said, “If those eight copies of sutra really hide such a great secret, with which we can break the Tatars’ dragon vein, then nothing can be better than that. When the Tatar Empress Dowager returns to the Palace, we will come again.”
The three of them left Ning Shou Palace, went out the Imperial Palace via the same wall bordering the northern thirteen-row, [Anybody familiar with the Forbidden City please feel free to jump in and help me out with these names] and returned to the inn to rest. Tao Hongying and the nun in white stayed in one room. After being separated for more than twenty years, tonight unexpectedly she could share the same room same bed with her former master, Tao Hongying was delighted beyond measure; how could she fall asleep again for the rest of the night?
Wei Xiaobao, on the other hand, was thinking, “I have five copies of sutra in my hands, one copy is in the Emperor’s hands, while the other two copies are unknown. This Princess Shitai wants to force the old wh0re to hand over the sutra; naturally she won’t be able to give her anything. I’d better in a few words urge Princess Shitai to kill her, and thus get rid of the nail in His Majesty and my eyes.”
For the next several days, the nun in white and Tao Hongying stayed in the inn without putting a foot outside. Every day Wei Xiaobao went out and asked around whether the Emperor had returned to the Palace. By the morning of the seventh day, he saw Prince Kang, Songgotu, Dolong, and the others leading a large group of Imperial Bodyguards, marching around several large sedan chairs, entering the Palace. Hence he knew the Emperor had returned. Sure enough, not too long afterwards, he saw parties of royal princes [qin wang bei lei] and ministers of various departments enter the Imperial Palace one after another, to pay their respects and wish the holy sage well.
Wei Xiaobao returned to the inn to report. “Very good,” the nun in white said, “I am going into the Palace tonight. Since the Tatar Emperor has returned, the security must be several times more strict than the last time. The two of you better stay in the inn and wait for me.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “Princess Shitai, I am coming with you.”
Tao Hongying also said, “Your servant wishes to follow Princess. Your servant and this child is well-acquainted with the topography of the Palace, we won’t be in any danger.” Since she had been reunited with her former master, she was unwilling to part with her even for a single step, no matter what. The nun in white nodded, consenting to their request.
That night the three of them entered the Palace via the same route, and went straight to Ci Ning Palace [compassionate and peaceful] where the Empress Dowager resided. All around was extremely quiet, the nun in white led them circle around to the back of the palace. Grabbing Wei Xiaobao’s lower back, she leaped over the wall and landed without making any sound. When Tao Hongying leaped, the nun in white supported her waist with her left sleeve so that when she landed, she also did not make any noise.
Wei Xiaobao pointed to the side window of the Empress Dowager’s bedroom, indicating that that was where the Empress Dowager lived, and then he led them into the back garden. It was the dwelling place of Ci Ning Palace’s palace maids. They saw pale yellow light from all three windows of the building. The nun in white peeked inside from a crack on the window and saw a dozen or so palace maids were sitting side-by-side on a bench, each one lowered her head and knitted her eyebrows, unmoving as if they were in meditation. The nun in white quietly lifted up the curtain and entered the Empress Dowager’s bedroom. Wei Xiaobao and Tao Hongying followed her in.
Four red candles were shining on the table, but there was nobody inside. Tao Hongying said in a low voice, “Your servant has opened three suitcases and looked all-around the drawers, but did not even see the sutra’s shadow; that’s when the Tatar Empress Dowager and that fake palace maid walked in … Aiyo, somebody’s coming!”
Wei Xiaobao gave her sleeve a tug and hastily he ducked behind the bed. The nun in white nodded, with Tao Hongying she also hid behind the bed. They heard a female voice outside the room, “Ma, I have completed the task you asked me to do, what are you going to give me as a reward?” It was Princess Jianning’s voice.
And then they heard the Empress Dowager’s voice, “Ma sent you to do a small task, and you are asking for a reward. How unreasonable is that?” While talking, the two of them entered the bedroom.
Princess Jianning said, “Aiyo, so that was a small task? If Huangdi Gege [big brother the emperor] found out, he would know that I took it; he would definitely be raging mad.”
The Empress Dowager sat down and said, “Just a Buddhist scripture, what’s the big deal? We went to Mount Wutai to offer sacrifice, it was for the purpose of asking the Bodhisattva to bless and protect. When we return to the Palace, we must continue chant the sutras and pray to Buddha, only then will the Bodhisattva be happy.”