I'd probably faint on sight if a killer was standing that close to me.
Gong gong is so creepy!
I'd probably faint on sight if a killer was standing that close to me.
Gong gong is so creepy!
Thanks for the nice update foxs. Looking forward to the next post.
Ali, if you are talking about the amount of text, I am making it up today. If you are talking about the story, I did a quick browsing to the end of the chapter, and I am afraid all you will see will be Hai Laogong and Empress Dowager. I think Jin Yong put too much detail in this chapter.
Tweety, I think it is one of the things that set this story apart from other Jin Yong's stories. This one is more ruthless, with political struggle everywhere. But Wei Xiaobao is one of those lucky protagonists, who always get to hear (eavesdrop) the enemy's supposedly secret discussion.
Sky, you are welcome.
Balikpapan, thanks for dropping by. Are you from Kalimantan (Borneo)? I know someone who live in a city by the same name as your username.
Wei Xiaobao was greatly astonished, "Who are they talking about? Why does the Empress Dowager care about him so much?" He could not help but feeling anxious, "Could he be the Empress Dowager's father? Or her brother? Or perhaps her old lover? That's it, he must be her old lover. If it was her father or brother, it won't be a secret important matter, why should they worry others would hear it? The old turtle has had a hold on her anger, if he wanted her to kill me, the Empress Dowager is afraid of the old turtle, perhaps she would obey him. This is not too good. Luckily laozi is here and hear everything, if the old wh0re dares to kill me, laozi will spill out everything in full detail, I will tell His Majesty and their conspiracy will break apart. I am afraid you cannot be considered a hero or a warrior."
Since Pan Gu split the heaven and earth apart, just a very few people ever dared to call the Empress Dowager the 'old wh0re'. Even those who cursed her secretly in their belly, the number cannot be too many. Wei Xiaobao did not have such fear, even his own mother, whenever she beat him too hard, he would randomly curse her as 'rotten wh0re' or 'stinky wh0re'. Luckily his mother was indeed a prostitute, plus everybody in the brothel had always hurled obscenities to each other anyway, so nobody thought too much about it. When his mother heard the curse, she did not get angry, she only hit his little butts 30% harder, while also throwing curse back at him 'little bastard' or 'little son of a b*tch'. Nothing more than that.
He heard the Empress Dowager was panting anxiously; after half a day she asked, "He ... he ... he ... what is he doing in the Qing Liang Temple?"
"Does Empress Dowager really want to know?" Hai Laogong asked.
"Do you have to ask?" the Empress Dowager retorted, "Of course I want to know."
Hai Laogong said, "My master has left home to become a Buddhist monk."
"Ah!" the Empress Dowager gasped, her breathing became more rapid. "He ... he really has become a monk?" she asked, "You ... you are not deceiving me, are you?"
"Your servant does not dare to deceive the Empress Dowager," Hai Laogong replied, "I don't need to deceive the Empress Dowager."
"Humph," the Empress Dowager snorted, "He is so cruel, he wholeheartedly only ... only thinks about that ... that foxy charmer, so that our country, our empire, our ancestors' hundreds of battles, as well as the established foundation ... are all being thrown to the back of his head. We, mother and son, no ... no longer have any place in his heart."
The more Wei Xiaobao listened, the more astonished he was; he thought, "What country, empire and ancestors' established foundation? The old turtle also calls that person 'my master', so this man ... this man is not the Empress Dowager's old lover?"
Hai Laogong coldly said, "My master has seen through worldly affairs, he has attained great understanding. Ten thousand li of rivers and mountains, affection toward sons and daughters, my master said everything is like floating clouds, everything is no longer in his mind."
The Empress Dowager angrily said, "Why didn't he leave home earlier? Why not leave home later? Why did he have to wait for that ... that foxy charmer's death before he left home? In his heart, country, dynasty, forefathers, wife and child, everything added together, still fall short of that foxy charmer; and that's the reason of his abrupt departure. Humph, since he has left, why did he send you to tell me?" The more she talked, the angrier she was; her voice was sharp and gradually growing louder.
Wei Xiaobao was unspeakably terrified, he had a vague feeling that the person those two were talking about, as well as the circumstances surrounding it, were not a small matter.
Hai Laogong said, "My master implored over and over again that whatever your servant say, I must not divulge anything, I must not let the Empress Dowager and His Majesty know about it. My master said: His Majesty has ascended the throne, there is peace throughout the world, there is not a problem on the four oceans, he feels relieved."
In a harsh voice the Empress Dowager said, "Then why did you tell this to me? Originally I did not know, and I did not want to know. Since in his heart he is unable to stop thinking about that foxy charmer, whether his son ascended the throne or not, whether the world is at peace or not, what does it have to do with whether he feels relieved or not?"
Listening to this point, Wei Xiaobao was greatly astonished, "Are they talking about the Emperor's Papa? The young emperor's Papa, Emperor Shunzhi, has given up his ghost long before the young emperor become the Emperor. Could it be that the Emperor has another Papa?" His knowledge on the imperial household and the Palace matter was very limited, other than knowing that the young emperor's father was Emperor Shunzhi, he was completely ignorant about other things. Even if the Empress Dowager and Hai Laogong spoke ten times clearer, he still could not guess correctly the real situation.
Hai Laogong said, "Since my master has already left home, your servant ought to also become a monk in the Qing Liang Temple to attend to my master. However, my master told me that he still have something that is burdening him, and instructed your servant to return to the Capital and investigate something."
"What matter is that?" the Empress Dowager asked.
Hai Laogong said, "My master said, although Consort Donggo ..."
The Empress Dowager angrily said, "In front of me, you must not mention that foxy charmer's name!"
"Turns out that fox-spirit is called Consort Donggo," Wei Xiaobao mused, "She must be one of the Palace's Imperial Concubines. The Empress Dowager 's old lover loved this flirty fox and did not love the Empress Dowager, as a result, the Empress Dowager drank a lot of vinegar."
"Yes," Hai Laogong replied, "Empress Dowager forbids me from mentioning her name, your servant won't mention it."
"What did he say about that foxy charmer?" the Empress Dowager asked.
Hai Laogong said, "Your servant does not understand who the Empress Dowager was referring to. My master has never mentioned these words 'foxy charmer'."
The Empress Dowager angrily said, "Naturally he has never mentioned these words, in his heart, it was always 'Empress Duan Jing’. After that foxy charmer died, he ... he conferred a posthumous title of 'Empress' to her. The flattering servants respectfully proposed to grant her a posthumous name, something like 'Empress Xiao Xian Zhuang He Zhi De Xuan Ren Wen Hui’. But since this title did not contain the words 'heavenly sage', he threw a fit. Also, two servant scholars called Hu Guanglong and Wang Xi complied the book 'Quotation from Empress Duan Jing' and spread it all over the world, aren't they afraid of disgrace?"
Hai Laogong said, "Empress Dowager is right, after Consort Donggo returned to heaven, your servant should have called her Empress Donggo. About that book 'Quotation from Empress Duan Jing', your servant frequently has a copy by my side, would Empress Dowager like to take a look?"
"You ... you ... you ..." the Empress Dowager shouted angrily; she took a step forward with labored breathing, but suddenly she seemed to be remembering something. "Hey hey," she laughed, "At that time everybody in the world wanted to curry the Emperor's favor, everybody read the 'Quotation from Empress Duan Jing', the nonsense which those two servants Hu and Wang fabricated. It was considered as 'the heaven's law and earth's principle', something even more important than 'Analects of Confucius' or 'Mencius'. But what about now? Other than a copy in your possession, and perhaps several copies by your master's side, where else can you find this nonsense 'Quotations'?"
Hai Laogong said, "After the Empress Dowager's secret order to ban and destroy this 'Quotation from Empress Duan Jing', who would dare to have the book in his collection? As for my master, although he does not have a single copy by his side, but every single word or sentence that Empress Donggo had ever muttered in her life is firmly recorded in his heart; it definitely surpasses having a copy of 'Quotations' by his side!"
The Empress Dowager said, "He ... he sent you to Beijing to investigate what?"
Hai Laogong replied, "Originally my master instructed me to investigate two matters, but as your servant verified afterwards, those two matters are actually only one."
"What two matters, one matter?" the Empress Dowager asked.
Hai Laogong said, "The first matter was: how did Rong Wang die?"
"You ... you mean that foxy charmer's son?" the Empress Dowager asked.
Hai Laogong said, "Your servant was talking about the prince Empress Duan Jing gave birth to, Prince He Yanrong."
"Humph," the Empress Dowager snorted, "That child only lived not even for four months, he could not be brought up; what's so strange about that?"
Hai Laogong said, "By my master said that Prince Rong contracted acute disease so suddenly. When the summoned court physician examined him, he said that Prince Rong's Foot Yangming Channel of the Stomach, Foot Shaoyin Channel of the Kidney, Foot Taiyin Channel of the Spleen, had all been severed, his internal organs had been ruptured; his death was really strange.”
"Humph," the Empress Dowager said, "Which court physician has this kind of ability? Most likely it was your fabrication."
Hai Laogong did not deny, he simply continued, "When Empress Duan Jing passed away, everybody thought she was broken hearted over King Rong's death, but after careful investigation, it was not so. She died because someone had used 'cutting off technique' to sever her Yinwei and Yinjiao, two channels."
The Empress Dowager coldly said, "I am surprised that he believed your fantasy."
"At first, my master also did not believe it," Hai Laogong said, "Afterwards, your servant conducted an experiment and show it to him. It was not too long after Empress Duan Jing passed away. Within a month, your servant successively cut the Yinwei and Yinjiao, two main channels, of five palace maids. These five palace maids died with the same symptoms and appearance as when Empress Duan Jing was about to die. If it was only one palace maid, we can say it was a coincidence, but all five palace maids displayed the same condition, my master was convinced and did not have any doubt."
"Hey, it's amazing!" the Empress Dowager said, "Unexpectedly in our Palace there is a great expert like you."
"Many thanks for Empress Dowager's compliment," Hai Laogong said, "Your servant's technique is different from that of the assailant. However, the principle is the same."
The two of them faced each other in silence, nobody said anything for long time. Hai Laogong coughed softly several times. After a while, he said, "My master sent your servant back to the Capital to investigate who murdered Prince Rong and Empress Duan Jing?"
With a cold laugh the Empress Dowager said, "Do you still need to investigate? In our Palace, other than you, who else has the ability to do such thing?"
"There is someone else," Hai Laogong said, "Empress Duan Jing had always treated your servant with kindness; your servant only wish for many good fortune and long life for her; if I had known beforehand that someone was plotting against her, your servant would risk my old life to thoroughly protect her."
"You are very loyal," the Empress Dowager said, "She was very lucky to retain the service of such a good servant."
Hai Laogong sighed and said, "It's a pity your servant is so useless that I failed to protect Empress Duan Jing."
The Empress Dowager icily said, "He worships Buddha in the morning, recites the scripture in the evening, your Empress Duan Jing will be blessed that she will reincarnate sooner from the eighteenth level of hell, and will rise to the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss sooner too; and that's the end of the story." Her voice was full of 'taking joy in calamity and delight in disaster' tone.
"Worshipping Buddha and reciting scripture are not necessarily useful," Hai Laogong said, "However, the saying 'virtue has its reward, evil has its retribution' is always true." After a short pause, he continued very slowly, "If the evil is not avenged yet, the time has yet to come." The Empress Dowager only snorted.
Hai Laogong said, "Reporting to Empress Dowager: my master instructed your servant to investigate two matters, your servant found out that these two matters are actually one. Who would have imagined that inadvertently I found two more matters?"
"The matters you are investigating are just too many," the Empress Dowager said, "What else did you find?"
Hai Laogong said, "The first one is concerning Consort Zhen."
The Empress Dowager laughed coldly and said, "The younger sister of foxy charmer is simply a little foxy charmer. Why do you mention her?"
"When my master left the Palace, he left behind a letter saying that he would never return," Hai Laogong said, "Your Majesties, the Emperor's Grandmother and the Empress Dowager, were of the opinion that a country must not be without a ruler even for a day. Thereupon you proclaimed to the world that my master had died. In the present age, the number of persons who know this big secret is only six, namely Your Majesties, my master, Reverend Yulin, who followed my master shaving his head, and two servants who wait upon my masters. One of these two servants is the Imperial Bodyguard Chief Hebacha, who at this moment has also left home and became a monk on Mount Wutai, and the other one is your servant Hai Tianfu."
Listening to this point, Wei Xiaobao had started to understand; turned out the one the Empress Dowager referred to as 'he' and the one Hai Laogong referred to as 'my master' was precisely Emperor Shunzhi. The world only knew that he had passed away, but actually because his beloved imperial concubine had died, in his extreme grief he had become a Buddhist monk at the Qing Liang Temple on Mount Wutai. As for the reason behind the imperial concubine's death, from what Hai Laogong has said, seemed to be because of a martial art expert sent by the Empress Dowager to kill her. He could not help but feeling very proud of himself, thinking: "The old turtle says there are only six people in this world who are privy to this big secret, he would not know that there is another one, Wei Xiaobao. Now there are seven." But his self-satisfaction was short lived, soon afterwards it turned into dread. At first he was feeling somewhat secure in the knowledge that he had a backing' he thought that if he had to argue with Hai Laogong in the presence of the Empress Dowager, he would not necessarily lose to the old turtle. Yet this moment he knew that things had turned to the worst for him. If those two find out that he was eavesdropping, even if Hai Laogong did not kill him, the Empress Dowager definitely would not let him off. He heard two light 'clack, clack' noise; unexpectedly it was his own teeth chattering, hastily he bit hard to stop the chatter. Luckily right this moment Hai Laogong was coughing, only the sound of his labored breathing and occasional cough was heard in the quiet night.
 Creator of the universe in Chinese mythology.
 i.e. jealous.
 Loose translation: 'Empress of solemn dedication of filial piety and majestic moral character, proclaimer of tender favor to the humankind'.
 'King' Rong.
 Reference: Mini Facts and Figures of HSDS Chapter 12, by Huang Yushi (wuxiapedia.com), also the 'Yinwei' and 'Yinjiao' channels on the next paragraph.
Wow foxs...taking on this project as well hugh? Thanks! Looks like it will be a great read!!
Thanks for the update foxs.
Why is HGG telling the Empress all these things when he suspects the Empress is behind all this? He now reveals the whereabouts of the former emperor to his enemy. That can't be smart. I wonder what he gains by telling her so much. Perhaps he suspects that he might not live past this night and thus needs to confirm his suspicions?
Thanks foxs for the update.
"Every man dies, but not every man really lives." -BH
Thanks again foxs. As long as you don't mind taking all the time out to translate, I don't think anyone minds the length of these dialogues. It may not be as exciting as the action sequences, but it's one of the things that make the novels so much more interesting than the TV serials. I like having the added detail, background info, etc. as it helps me to understand the characters a lot better.
JoeLee, welcome. gqonmars, you are welcome. Sky and Smurf, you'll just have to wait ... Pannonian, LOL ... I still remember one time you told me someone else was working on HSDS, and it turned out to be one of those 'Gu Long-ization' (is that a word? ) of Jin Yong's work. It was hilarious. Stan, I kind of agree with you, and that was one of the reason I started this project, i.e. I also want to know the details, not just the story.
I will be busy these coming three weeks, but I will try my best to keep up. I will try to finish Chapter 6 by the end of this week, but I might need to take a short break before Chapter 7.
A moment later, Hai Laogong said, "At that time Consort Zhen committed suicide to follow her master, everybody in the imperial court commended her to no end. But there were many people who quietly said Consort Zhen was forced by the Empress Dowager to die the sacrificial death; suicide was not her original intention."
The Empress Dowager said, "Sooner or later those leaderless, uncontrollable rebellious ministers will have to be dealt with."
"But what they said is not entirely incorrect," Hai Laogong said, "Consort Zhen did not willingly and gladly committed suicide."
"Are you saying that I forced Consort Zhen to die?" the Empress Dowager said.
"This word 'force' can be omitted altogether," Hai Laogong said.
"What are you talking about?" the Empress Dowager asked.
Hai Laogong said, “Consort Zhen was murdered, not forced to commit suicide. Your servant had interrogated in details the undertaker, to find out Consort Zhen condition when she was prepared for burial. The bones in her entire body were broken into one cun pieces, even her skull had become fragments. I seem to remember the type of skill to kill people this way is called ‘Transforming Bones Soft Palm’. Would Empress Dowager tell me if this is so?”
“How do I know?” the Empress Dowager said.
“Your servant heard that there is such skill ‘Transforming Bones Soft Palm’ in the world,” Hai Laogong said, “When someone is hit, there won’t be anything unusual on his entire body, but after a year or half a year, the bones in his body would slowly disintegrate. However, the assassin who killed Consort Zhen evidently has not mastered this skill to proficiency yet. At first, when the undertaker was tidying up Consort Zhen’s appearance, he did not see anything unusual, but when he put the body into the coffin that night, suddenly the body felt like it did not have any bones at all, the entire body turned soft. He was scared because he had never seen anything like it, he only knew that the corpse had undergone a change, but at that time he did not dare to say anything. Your servant threatened and bribed, I had used I don’t know how many types of tortures before he finally revealed the actual facts. After the practitioner of this skill ‘Transforming Bones Soft Palm’ hit people, two, three days later the victim’s bones disintegrate, I am afraid his proficiency cannot be considered completely profound. Empress Dowager, based on your sacred judgment, won’t you agree with me?”
The Empress Dowager gloomily said, “Although it can’t be considered profound, somehow it accomplished its purpose.”
“Naturally it is very useful, (cough … cough … ) very useful!” Hai Laogong said, “After killing Consort Zhen, he also killed Empress Xiao Kang.”
“His granny,” Wei Xiaobao thought, “This old emperor’s empresses are so many; there is another Empress Xiao Kang. Perhaps the number of his empresses is more than our young misses at the Lovely Spring Courtyard.”
The Empress Dowager’s voice trembled as she said, “You … why did you mention Empress Xiao Kang’s name?”
Wei Xiaobao did not know that Empress Xiao Kang was Kangxi’s birth mother; hearing the huge change in the Empress Dowager’s voice, he only felt strange, but could not figure out the reason. He heard Hai Laogong said, “The undertaker who prepared Empress Xiao Kang for burial was the same one who also prepared Consorts Donggo and Zhen.”
“That undertaker deserves to die,” the Empress Dowager said, “What other rubbish did he say? He falsely accused people in the Palace’s matters; for his crime he ought to be executed along with all his relatives.”
Hai Laogong said, “If the Empress Dowager wanted to kill him, now it is too late.”
“Have you killed him first?” the Empress Dowager asked.
“It’s not that,” Hai Laogong said, “More than two years ago, your servant sent him to the Qing Liang Temple on Mount Wutai to report everything he knew to my master, and then I told him to go far away into the uncivilized territory and live incognito there, to avoid the disaster of him being murdered.”
With a trembling voice the Empress Dowager said, “You … you … what a sinister scheme!”
“The one with sinister scheme is someone else,” Hai Laogong said, “Your servant is ashamed of being inferior to that person.”
The Empress Dowager was silent for half a day before asking, “You came to see me tonight, what is your intention?”
“Your servant wanted to inquire of the Empress Dowager of one matter, so I can report it back to my master,” Hai Laogong said, "Empress Duan Jing, Empress Xiao Kang, Consort Zhen, Prince Rong, four people all died an unnatural death; consequently, my master also abandoned his position and left home to become a monk. The person responsible for this evil scheme is a martial art expert within the Palace. Braving death, your servant comes here to inquire of the Empress Dowager: who is this martial art expert? Your servant is getting old, my eyes are blind, plus I am suffering from an incurable disease; I am like a candle in the wind, yet if I cannot investigate and find out the truth, I will not die with eyes closed."
The Empress Dowager coldly said, "Since you have been blind early on, it does not matter whether you die with eyes closed or not."
Hai Laogong said, "Although your servant is blind, my heart is bright as snow."
The Empress Dowager said, "If your heart is bright as snow, why do you need to come here and ask me?"
"It's better if I can understand it clearly," Hai Laogong replied, "So that I won't mistreated the innocents. These past several months, your servant has diligently doing some investigation, I want to find out who is this martial art master who is hiding in the Palace? At first it was an extremely difficult investigation, but by lucky coincidence, I found out that His Majesty knows martial art."
The Empress Dowager laughed coldly and said, "His Majesty knows martial art, so what? Are you saying that he killed his own mother?"
"Sin, sin!" Hai Laogong said, "This kind of disobedience to parents must not be even mentioned. If your servant has ever said such thing, when I die I will enter the hell where my tongue will be pulled out; if I have ever had that thought, when I die I will not escape from the suffering of my brain being scoured in the underworld." He coughed several times before continuing, "Your servant has a little eunuch by my side, his name is Xiao Guizi ..."
Wei Xiaobao's heart turned cold, "The old turtle is starting to talk about me." He heard Hai Laogong continued, " ... he is about a year or two younger than His Majesty. His Majesty is very fond of him, every day they were having martial art and wrestling match, and practice martial art together. Xiao Guizi learned martial art from your servant. Although it's not much, but for a child his age, it can be considered not easy." Hearing Hai Laogong complimenting him, Wei Xiaobao could not help by feeling very proud of himself.
The Empress Dowager said, "A famous teacher trains a fine student, there are no poor soldiers under a good general."
"Thank you very much for Empress Dowager's compliment," Hai Laogong said, "However, when this Xiao Guizi fought His Majesty, nine times out of ten he would lose. No matter what kind of martial art your servant taught him, His Majesty 's martial art skill was always a notch higher than his. It seems that the Shifu who taught His Majesty martial art is a lot better than your servant. Your servant had thought it over, the only martial art master in the Palace is this expert. As long as I can find this expert, then the assassin who killed two empresses, one imperial consort and one prince won't be difficult to trace."
“So that's how it is," the Empress Dowager said, "You talk round and round in circle is just so that you can tell me this."
Hai Laogong said, "The Empress Dowager said, 'A famous teacher trains a fine student'; the other side of the coin is also true, 'A fine student must come from a famous teacher'. His Majesty is able to use eight by eight, sixty-four styles 'Ba Gua Roaming Dragon Palm', the person who taught him this palm technique will most likely also know the ‘Transforming Bones Soft Palm’."
"Have you found out the martial art master's identity?" the Empress Dowager asked.
"I have," Hai Laogong replied.
The Empress Dowager laughed coldly, "You are such a crafty schemer," she said, "You taught Xiao Guizi to practice martial art with His Majesty for the last half a year or so, is to find out His Majesty's Shifu."
Hai Laogong sighed, "I don't have any choice," he said, "Xiao Guizi is a sinister and ruthless little scoundrel. It was he who used poison and blinded your servant's eyes. If I was not considering that I have to investigate this important matter to find the absolute truth, I would have not let this scoundrel to live until today."
The Empress Dowager laughed aloud and said, "What a clever child that Xiao Guizi; he poisoned your eyes blind. Very good, just wonderful. Tomorrow I am going to reward him well."
"Many thanks, Empress Dowager," Hai Laogong said, "If Empress Dowager would conduct an elaborate funeral for him, in the underworld Xiao Guizi will be very grateful for Empress Dowager's great kindness."
"You have already killed him?" the Empress Dowager asked.
Hai Laogong said, "Your servant has exercised patience toward him for a long, long time; after this, I won't have any other use for him."
Wei Xiaobao was shocked and angered at the same time, he thought, "The old turtle has known all along that I am not Xiao Guizi, he also knew early on that I poisoned his eyes blind. Turns out he is only exploiting laozi; this is called striking vicious blow slowly. He taught me martial art was only so that he could see His Majesty's martial art. His granny, if I had known it, I should have not tell him His Majesty's martial art in detail. Your granny, the old turtle thinks I am dead, but laozi is clearly still alive. Later I am going to play ghost and scare you until you piss in your pants."
Hai Laogong sighed and said, "My master has always been short-tempered, whatever he wants must be done. It's a pity that although he was the Son of Heaven, his beloved was murdered by others, and he was helpless to save her life. Even after becoming a monk, my master can never forget Consort Donggo. When your servant left the Qing Liang Temple to return to the Palace, my master has written with his own hand an imperial edict and handed it over to your servant. He wanted your servant to investigate and find out who murdered Consort Donggo, no, Empress Duan Jing. He ordered your servant to execute the assailant on the spot."
"Humph," the Empress Dowager said, "He has become a monk, can he write any imperial edict? Those who have left home must not think about killing and harming people, don’t you think it’s not fit of his calling?”
Hai Laogong said, “Buddhists also pay particular attention to karma and retribution. Those who harm others will not have a good end. However, your servant has damaged the passage through which my vital energy circulates when training martial art, resulting in incessant coughing and shortage of breath; my entire body is ill, and now I am blind, it’s even more hopeless for me.”
“That’s right,” the Empress Dowager said, “You are sick and blind; even if you have this secret imperial edict, how are you going to execute it?”
Hai Laogong sighed and said, “I can’t, I can’t! Your servant ask to be excused, I am leaving now.” Finished speaking, he turned around and slowly walked toward the exit.
Wei Xiaobao felt as if a large stone was being lifted up of his heart; he mused, “When the old turtle has left, I will be alright. He only knows that I have died, he won’t come looking for me anymore. Laozi will slip out the Palace gate early tomorrow morning; in case the old turtle is looking for me, laozi will assume your identity, will take your surname, from now on I am Hai Xiaobao.”
“Wait a moment!” the Empress Dowager said, “Hai Tianfu, where are you going?”
“Your servant has reported everything clearly to the Empress Dowager,” Hai Laogong said, “I am going back to wait for death.”
“The matter he entrusted to you,” the Empress Dowager said, “Aren’t you going to do it?”
“Your servant has the desire yet lacking the strength to do so,” Hai Laogong said, “Moreover, I do not have the guts to start a rebellion today.”
 Orig. 'golden mouth'.
Last edited by foxs; 09-22-10 at 03:11 PM.
You are welcome, Sky. Thanks for dropping by.
“Hey, hey,” the Empress Dowager laughed, “You are very understanding, your waiting upon us these many years is not in vain.”
“Yes, yes!” Hai Laogong said, “Many thanks for Empress Dowager’s grace. This grievance is as deep as the ocean floor; it has to wait until His Majesty is older before it can be vindicated.” He coughed twice, and then said, “The way he dealt with the arrest of Oboi is very brilliant. His Majesty’s own mother was murdered, before too long, His Majesty will definitely deal with this matter. It’s a pity … it’s a pity your servant will not live until that time, I cannot wait that long.”
The Empress Dowager took several steps forward and harsly said, “Hai Tianfu, come back here.”
“Yes,” Hai Laogong said, “What instruction does the Empress Dowager have for me?”
The Empress Dowager sternly said, “Just now you speak nonsense to me, this … this utterly absurd talk, have you … have you told His Majesty?” Her voice trembled, she seemed to be extremely agitated.
Hai Laogong said, “Tomorrow early in the morning I am going to report to His Majesty; it’s just that … that I was itching to get on with it tonight that I came to report to the Empress Dowager first.”
“Very good, very good,” the Empress Dowager said.
Suddenly the sound of a strong gust of wind arose, followed by loud ‘Bang! Bang!’ noise. Wei Xiaobao was startled; he could not restrain himself from craning his neck to look. He saw the Empress Dowager was circling around Hai Laogong with amazingly swift footwork, a palm by a palm she struck toward Hai Laogong’s body. Surprisingly, Hai Laogong held his ground and counterattacked with his palms. Wei Xiaobao’s shock was not mild; “How can the Empress Dowager fight the old turtle? Turns out the Empress Dowager also know martial art.”
Each one of the Empress Dowager’s palm strike generated a strong gust of wind, a sign that her palm carried an extremely violent power. Hai Laogong’s two feet were nailed on the ground, he met each palm strike with his own palm, but his palm did not generate any noise. Yet after fighting for a long time, Empress Dowager did not seem to gain any advantage over him. Suddenly she leaped up and delivered a downward strike with both palms from the air. Hai Laogong flipped his left palm over to meet the incoming attack, while delivering a blow with his right palm toward the Empress Dowager’s abdomen. ‘Clap!’ the palms collided with each other. The Empress Dowager flew backward. Hai Laogong staggered, his body swayed and he had to get hold of a stump to steady himself.
In a stern voice the Empress Dowager shouted, “Good servant, you … you … deceived me; it was Shaolin … Shaolin martial art you taught Xiao Guizi, but you are from Kongtong Pai.”
Gasping for breath, Hai Laogong replied, “I don’t dare, we are even! The Empress Dowager taught Wudang Pai’s martial art to His Majesty, with the purpose of fooling your servant. But … but that ‘Transforming Bones Soft Palm’ is Snake Island’s martial art; your servant has known about it for several years.”
Wei Xiaobao had to think hard before he could understand. “His granny,” he mused, “The old turtle is very crafty, he taught me some ‘Big Grappling Technique’ and some 'Great Compassion Great Sorrow Thousand-Leaf Hand', which are Shaolin Pai’s martial art, so that the Empress Dowager would think that he is from Shaolin, but actually he is from that hot piece mama Kongtong Pai. Too bad Empress Dowager’s fake Wudang Pai’s ‘Ba Gua Roaming Dragon Palm’ could not deceive the old turtle.” He also thought, “Turns out His Majesty’s martial art was taught by the Empress Dowager.”
Suddenly cold sweat appeared on his back, “Aiyo, not good!” he mused, “The Empress Dowager knows the ‘Transforming Bones Soft Palm’, could it be … could it be that those four people were killed by the Empress Dowager? Aiyo! It’s alright if it were someone else, but the Emperor’s own mother was killed by her. If Hai Laogong told the Emperor, won’t it be a terrible disaster? If His Majesty did not kill the Empress Dowager, the Empress Dowager will definitely kill His Majesty. What … what should I do?” His only thought was to break into a run immediately, to escape this battleground as soon as he can, and then notify the Emperor, telling him to be extremely careful. But he was so scared that his body felt limp and painful; he desperately wanted to run away, but his feet seemed to be nailed fast to the ground that he was unable to move even for half a fen.
He heard the Empress Dowager said, “Since it has come to this, do you still think you can escape with your life tonight?”
Hai Laogong replied, “Empress Dowager is free to summon the imperial bodyguards. The more people come the better, then your servant can speak all kinds of things in their ears; at least one of them can convey the truth to His Majesty’s ears.”
“Humph,” the Empress Dowager coldly laughed, “You have calculated everything.” She spoke very slowly, while constantly regulating her breathing.
“Empress Dowager must take care of your sacred body,” Hai Laogong said, “Do not damage your vital passages.”
“You must take care yourself!” the Empress Dowager said.
Originally, Hai Laogong’s martial art skill was higher than the Empress Dowager’s, but since he was blind, he was not her match. However, a few years previously he had ascertained from the undertaker that the killer of Consort Donggo and Consort Zhen had used the ‘Transforming Bones Soft Palm’, a sinister and ruthless technique, which was secretly taught only by the master of the Snake Island off the coast of Liaodong peninsula. It’s just that at that time he did not know who the killer was. Thereupon he took the dangerous risk of secretly learned a special technique to counter the ‘Transforming Bones Soft Palm’. Although his body suffered major injury, he had actually mastered the technique.
Afterwards, Wei Xiaobao and Emperor Kangxi practiced martial art together. Hai Laogong speculated that the person teaching the Emperor martial art was the assailant who murdered Consort Donggo, Empress Xiao Kang, and the others; therefore, sooner or later he would have to face the great battle. He was fully aware that Wei Xiaobao killed Xiao Guizi and poisoned his eyes blind. Yet he let Wei Xiaobao to accompany him as Xiao Guizi, thinking that this child was very young, plus they were total strangers to each other, so there must be someone else behind him. He tried to lure Wei Xiaobao in every way to reveal who had sent him here, since he believed that person most likely was the murderer. However, Wei Xiaobao was not sent by anybody to begin with, so he really did not have anything to reveal; otherwise, even if he was ten times smarter, he was indeed very young and his experience very shallow, how could he able to evade Hai Laogong’s tactful inquiries?
Although Hai Laogong’s inquiry did not bear any fruit, he figured the two of them could play the game, thereupon he taught Wei Xiaobao martial art. But his teachings were ridden with errors and omissions, he deliberately let the opponent to think that he was from Shaolin Pai, and that his martial art skill was average. As he made his move this time, the Empress Dowager indeed had fallen into his scheme.
About six months ago, the Empress Dowager had guessed that Hai Laogong was from Shaolin Pai, yet Hai Laogong already knew that her Wudang Pai martial art was fake. Two people, one had seeing eyes, the other blind, they came from opposite school of thought in term of martial art study. Hai Laogong knew his opponent’s situation very well, yet the Empress Dowager had an incorrect assessment of her opponent. It was not because the Empress Dowager had a poor knowledge and experience, it was simply because Hai Laogong had found the facts from the undertaker’s mouth, while all along the Empress Dowager was in the dark. Furthermore, in Hai Tianfu’s heart, he had already considered the person who taught the Emperor martial art as his mortal enemy, while it was only now that the Empress Dowager realized Hai Tianfu intended to bring her to her doom. Otherwise, she could have issued an imperial edict to the imperial bodyguards to put Hai Tianfu to death; she did not need to personally deal with him.
Hai Laogong thought that since his eyes were blind, he must provoke the opponent to strike first and only then would he be able to wait leisurely for the enemy to exhaust herself, and thus with several moves he could seize the victory. It so happened that after talking for half a day, the Empress Dowager did not reveal anything; in the end, he was unable to ascertain who had killed Consort Donggo, Empress Xiao Kang and the others.
The ‘Transforming Bones Soft Palm’ was a ruthless, heretical and vicious technique from an unorthodox martial art school; by conventional reasoning, it may be assumed that unless it is trained for approximately twenty years, the practitioner won’t reach the proficiency level. Empress Dowager was the daughter of Chief Horqin of Borjigit Clan, her parents were of a royal background, for several generations her family had held high-ranking office in royal court. When she was still a maiden, it was extremely difficult for her to step out of her mansion even for a single step. From her childhood, she was waited upon by countless wet nurses and maidservants; how could she ventured far away to the dangerous Snake Island and learn this kind of heretical martial art? Even if she wanted to learn martial art, she would have learned some ‘eight-section brocade’, or ‘five-animal exercise’ and the like, superficial techniques to strengthen her body; it was inconceivable that she would learn the ‘Transforming Bones Soft Palm’. It was more likely that among her trusted aides, the court eunuchs and palace maids, there was a martial art master who received the Empress Dowager’s order to make the move on her behalf. Who would have thought that as soon as Hai Laogong mentioned that he was going to report to the Emperor, the Empress Dowager became anxious and without careful consideration she went into action by personally confronting the enemy? This way, not only the Empress Dowager admitted that she was the murderer of those four people, but as the three palms collided, she had received serious internal injury. Hai Laogong painstakingly planned and prepared this mission for several years, once he saw the mission accomplished, he could not help but feeling greatly relieved.
The Empress Dowager’s injury was indeed not light; several times she tried to regulate her breathing, but always failed. She slowly said, “Hai Tianfu, you love to groundlessly fabricate rumors and talk nonsense. Although His Majesty is young, he is very clear-headed. Let’s see if he would believe you, or he would believe me.”
“Naturally at first His Majesty will not believe your servant,” Hai Laogong replied, “Most likely he will issue an imperial edict to have your servant killed immediately. However, after a few years, he may think carefully, the more he thinks, the more likely that he gain a clearer understanding. Empress Dowager, your clan has always enjoy honor and glory for generations, the empresses of Founding Emperor, as well as my master’s, all came from your mansion. It’s a pity that this glory, splendor, wealth and rank will be finished under Kangxi’s imperial court.”
“Humph,” the Empress Dowager snorted; she coldly said, “Very good, very good!”
Hai Laogong continued, “My master ordered your servant, as soon as the murderer is found, no matter who it was, I am to immediately execute him. It’s a pity your servant’s is lacking, I am not the Empress Dowager’s match, without any better option, I must leave this place and submit a report to His Majesty.” Finished speaking, he slowly walked toward the exit.
The Empress Dowager secretly cursed her luck; just when she was about leap and attack, suddenly a gust of wind came by; Hai Laogong abruptly turned around and charged toward her with a fierce palm strike. Hai Laogong had received Emperor Shunzhi’s order to execute Consort Donggo’s murderer, and he was determined to accomplish this task. He was talking about submitting a report to the Emperor and other things, his main objective was to harass the Empress Dowager’s mind, to incite her anxiety and anger, so that she could not regulate her breathing, and thus he could launch the ‘ten thousand catties thunderbolt’ strike.
Although this strike was noiseless, it carried the entire power he cultivated all his life. Just now, by listening attentively to the Empress Dowager’s voice, he was able to locate her position with accuracy within a few cun; once he launched a palm strike, it went straight toward the acupoint on the pit of her stomach. The Empress Dowager did not anticipate he was able to move this swiftly; she moved sideways wanting to evade, as long as she was able to move quickly several times, this wicked traitor was a blind man, he would not be able to pinpoint her exact location, and then the battle would be under her control, for other than parrying the attack with his palm, he would not have the capability to counterattack. Who would have thought that as soon as she moved, Hai Laogong’s palm had already arrived? The pressure was so strong that she could not even breathe, and had no choice but sending her strength to her right palm to meet the attack. She had planned to step back immediately after delivering the strike, but Hai Laogong’s palm carried an enormous sucking force, which rendered her helpless to pull back. She had no choice but transmitting all her strength to her right palm and thus engaging him in an internal energy battle.
Feeling the opponent’s internal strength surging in a steady stream, Hai Laogong was rejoicing secretly; his eyes were blind, if he had to fight a moving battle, he would be in a very disadvantageous situation, however, in internal energy battle, it did not matter whether he could see or was blind. Since the Empress Dowager had been injured, her chi circulation was obstructed, she could not recover even in three quarters of an hour. In this kind of internal energy battle, he must try to drain her strength, so that she would be paralyzed and die. Therefore, he sent out Yin force with left palm and Yang force with his right. After battling for a while, Yin and Yang were gradually reversed; now the left palm was sending Yang force, while the right sending Yin.
To Wei Xiaobao who was watching, it only looked like Empress Dowager's one palm was balancing Hai Laogong's two palms, there was not the slightest bit of danger. He did not know that Hai Laogong's palm strength was like a stone mill; it slowly turned just like stone mill grinding grain into powder, grinding the Empress Dowager's internal energy bit by bit. Wei Xiaobao was hiding behind the fake rocks, he was afraid Empress Dowager might detect his presence. Occasionally he would stick out his head to see, and would immediately hide again, suddenly he saw a flashing white light, hastily he looked out and saw the three palms of the two people were still locked to each other, however, a short blade had appeared in the Empress Dowager's left hand, the dagger was moving slowly toward Hai Laogong's abdomen. He was ecstatic; "Wonderful, wonderful!" he cheered in his heart, "Very soon the old turtle will return to the damn heaven."
Last edited by foxs; 09-23-10 at 10:48 PM.
Thanks foxs for the great translations!
It's such a dangerous situation for WXB, yet he still remembers the king. I love their friendship.
After watching several tv adaptations, I still don't understand why Hai gong gong went to confront the Empress Dowager. Reading the novel is definitely more enlightening.