Thread: The Deer and The Cauldron

  1. #1781
    Senior Member crazee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anh Nam View Post
    Thanks Foxs The way you translate we can get a better feel for how Chinese really works compared to English.
    Can't agree more with this...in actual fact as a Chinese born outside China I do not know much about our chinese ancestors and their history.
    I feel JY and the wuxia stories do contribute to us at least some knowledge about chinese culture and history.
    I suppose it's not very accurate but at least it gives us some idea and of course matching these with cross reference to other stories, we get a clearer on the truth and fiction.....hopefully.

    It might not be surprising that we know more of British and american history than chinese history...as our history studies is skewed more towards western ( west as of east asia ) then china.
    cheerio..

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    Foxs,
    I grew up watching a lot of old Cantonese movies and understand many of these sayings. I like them because they have the special meaning in Chinese - i.e. '‘golden branch, jade leaves’, you may translate that to a 'lady' or 'daughter of a well to do family', etc... but that, in my opinion loses a bit of the story-telling.

    I have also read another translation somewhere online where WXB and everything else is translated. I felt the translation actually killed the novel and I gave up after reading the first few pages. Yours is more interesting for me.

    Now that the WXB and the Princess found new way to keep themselves entertained, are they still into the SM stuff? In that case is the Princess really SM or her actions insensitive and looking for attention?

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    Thank you Foxs for the awesome translation! You're amazing!

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    Default Chapter 30 - Part 1

    Crazee, he definitely had different kind of 'values' (compared to other protagonists). Sky, Athlon, Smurf, you think so? Pannonian, would you like me to change everything back to 'tamardy'? Anh, Eagle, that was exactly the reason sometimes I sacrifice 'correct English readability' in lieu of literal translation. As I said, someone else has already done that. Muliono, welcome to the forum. I don't remember seeing your name before, but judging from your number of post, I am guessing that you are new.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 30 – Small town of the southern dynasty leans to be domineering, troops of western provinces are the most light and nimble.
    (Translated by Foxs)

    Wei Xiaobao and the Princess wished that the journey to Yunnan would not reach the end forever, but although the road was long, and the journey was slow, there would be a day when they arrived at the destination. Guizhou province was Wu Sangui’s territory; a massive military force was stationed at Luodian [county], Guizhou. The Princess Jianning’s party had just entered the border of Guizhou province, Wu Sangui had already dispatch his troops and horses to meet them. By the time they entered Yunnan, Wu Yingxiong himself came out to welcome them. Seeing Wei Xiaobao, he did not stop expressing his gratitude.

    According to the royal court protocol, he and the Princess could not see each other before the wedding ceremony. By this time however, the Princess and Wei Xiaobao had been stuck together as by glue; hearing about Wu Yingxiong’s arrival, immediately her willow-like eyebrows went straight up, and she threw a fit.

    That night the Princess told Wei Xiaobao to think of a way to send Wu Yingxiong to see Yan Wang, so that the two of them could live forever as husband and wife. Wei Xiaobao jumped in fright; he thought that there was no harm in sneakily being a fake consort in the night, but he must never be a real consort.

    Seeing him frowning and muttering to himself irresolutely, the Princess angrily said, “Why aren’t you saying anything? Sending that fellow Wu Yingxiong to see Yan Wang was your own idea, it wasn’t mine.”

    “We must send him all right,” Wei Xiaobao said, “But we must wait for a good opportunity before making our move. We must not raise anybody’s suspicion.”

    “Alright,” the Princess said, “I’ll listen to you for the time being. In short, I only want to be with you, I will definitely not share my bed with this fellow. If you don’t send him out to see Yan Wang, if what we are doing is revealed to the world, I will tell Wu Sangui that you have raped me. Even if Huangdi Gege favored you more than this, I am afraid Wu Sangui will still chop you into seventeen or twenty-eight pieces. You are going to see the old man Yan Wang first; just consider it you are preceding Wu Yingxiong as his advance party officer!”

    Wei Xiaobao was enraged; he waved his hand in a slapping motion, and shouted, “Nonsense! When did I ever rape you?”

    The Princess giggled and chuckled, she stretched out her arm to embrace him, while saying in soft voice, “You are such a heartless, short-lived little lover; you slapped me that heavily, aren’t you afraid you might hurt me?”

    One day they arrived at Kunming [prefecture, capital of Yunnan]; they heard bugle horns and a military officer announced, “The Ping Xi Wang welcomes the Princess’ phoenix[1]-self.”

    Wei Xiaobao urged his horse to move forward, he saw a team of soldiers in bright shining armor, riding on tall horses, galloping to meet them. They dismounted together, and arranged themselves in either side of the road. Amidst the sound of bamboo flute and string instruments, several hundreds young boys wearing red gown with banners in their hands preceding a general stepping out in front of the troops. A herald loudly announced, “Your servant Ping Xi Qin Wang Wu Sangui pays his respect to Your Highness Princess Jianning.”

    Wei Xiaobao looked up and down carefully, sizing up Wu Sangui. He was a man of grand stature, with deep red, almost purple face, he had more white than black in his hair and beard; although he was old, his gait was still strong and healthy as he walked over in big strides. Wei Xiaobao mused, “People all over the world are talking about this old turtle’s reputation, turns out he has this kind of appearance.”

    Seeing he walked to the Princess’ carriage, kneeled down and kowtowed, Wei Xiaobao stood by his side, and said in his heart first, “The old turtle Wu Sangui pays his respect.” But he waited until Wu Sangui finished kowtowing before announcing, “Ping Xi Qin Wang pays his respect.”

    Wu Sangui stood up, walked over toward Wei Xiaobao, and said with a laugh, “And this must be the brave warrior who captured Oboi, the world famous Wei Jueye [master viscount]?”

    Wei Xiaobao paid his respect and said, “I do not dare to accept the honor. Humble officer pays his respect to Wangye.”

    Wu Sangui laughed aloud, grabbed Wei Xiaobao’s hand, and said, “Wei Jueye is kind and virtuous, Xiao Wang [little king, referring to self] has been looking forward to meeting your illustrious self for a long time; please disperse with this perfunctory propriety. Henceforth Xiao Wang, father and son, will rely on Wei Jueye to preserve our existence. If you think we are worthy to receive the favor, please consider us your own famiy.”

    Wei Xiaobao noticed the Yangzhou accent in his speech, and was thirty-percent happy. “Hot piece Mama,” he mused, “Looks like you and I are fellow townsmen.” He said, “I really do not dare to accept the honor; how can humble officer dare to claim connections with people of higher social class?” He also added several percent of Yangzhou accent into his speech.

    Wu Sangui laughed and asked, “So Wei Jueye also from Yangzhou?”

    “Precisely,” Wei Xiaobao replied.

    “That’s even better,” Wu Sangui said, “Xiao Wang’s official residence is Liaodong, but my ancestral home is actually Gaoyou, Yangzhou. We are actually real kinsmen.”

    Wei Xiaobao said in his heart, “Hot piece Mama, turns out you are Gaoyou’s salted duck egg. Yangzhou could produce a big traitor like you, laozi is actually quite ashamed.”

    Wu Sangui and Wei Xiaobao rode side-by-side; they rode in the front, leading the Princess entering the city. The people of Kunming heard that the Princess was about to marry Ping Xi Wang Heir Apparent, the street was already lined with a sea of people, the city was bustling with noise and excitement. There were lanterns everywhere, the archways were decorated, houses and building were adorned with celebratory hanging scrolls; the sound of gongs and drums, mixed with firecrackers, shook the heavens.

    Wei Xiaobao and Wu Sangui entered the city side-by-side. Seeing people were bowing to welcome them, he was very proud of himself. But then he had a second thought, “A Princess as pretty as the flower and jade, coquettish and coy, for no reason is given to that fellow Wu Yingxiong to be his wife, and laozi has to escort his bride for thousands of li, this stinky fellow’s luck in love is indeed too good.” Therefore, he also felt indignant.

    Wu Sangui welcomed the Princess at the Anfu[2] Garden west of the City of Kunming, which was Ming Dynasty’s Qian Guo Gong[3] Mu Family’s former residence. It was a lofty multi-story building, overlooking a garden pavilion with splendid view. As soon as Wu Sangui learned about the Princess was given into marriage to his son, he carried out a large-scale construction effort to renovate the building that it looked completely new. After Wu Sangui, father and son, paid their respect to the Princess from behind a hanging curtain, they accompanied Wei Xiaobao to the Ping Xi Wang Mansion.

    Ping Xi Wang Mansion was located on Mount Wu Hua[4], which was the former palace of Ming Dynasty’s Emperor Yong Li. The palace encompassed a vast area of several li square. After Wu Sangui occupied the palace, over the last few years he constantly added multi-story expansions and pavilions. By this time, the lofty towers and engraved walls, the red pavilions and jade-green ponds, hardly differed from the inner courtyards of the Imperial Palace.

    A grand banquet was already prepared in the main hall. All civil and military officials under Wu Sangui’s banner came to accompany the guests. Naturally the Imperial Envoy, high-ranking official Wei Xiaobao sat at the seat of honor.

    After three rounds of drink, Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Wangye, back in Beijing, I often heard people say that you wanted to rebel …” Wu Sangui’s countenance turned ashen instantly, the countenance of a hundred or so officials also changed, only to hear Wei Xiaobao continued, “… as I came to the Mansion today, I knew that those people were talking rubbish.”

    Wu Sangui calmed down somewhat. “Please Wei Jueye understand,” he said, “Despicable and lowly people are jealous of me and always try to plant false evidence against me; you must never believe them.”

    “That’s right,” Wei Xiaobao said, “I think that the reason you wanted to rebel is no more than to be the Emperor. But His Majesty’s Palace is not as magnificent as yours, his clothes are not as beautiful as yours. His Majesty’s food was under my management, but I am very ashamed to say that it is not as delicious as your mansion’s. Being the Ping Xi Wang, you live a much more comfortable life than His Majesty; why would you want to be the Emperor? When I get back to Beijing, I will report to His Majesty that Ping Xi Wang is definitely not going to rebel. Even if you are asked to be the Emperor, you, Senior, would never be willing.”

    In that instant, the main hall was quiet, all the officials halted their cups in the air and did not drink, they all stared at him, not understanding his ‘neither fish nor fowl’ speech; their hearts were pounding. Wu Sangui’s face alternated between red and white; he was at a loss of how to respond. He thought, “From what he said, obviously the Emperor has already suspected that I intend to rebel.” With no other choice, he let out a hollow laugh and said, “His Majesty is wise and filial, he always makes determined efforts to govern. Indeed, of all the virtuous Emperors of the past, no one is as good as him.”

    “That’s right,” Wei Xiaobao said, “‘Raw bird fish soup’ [niao sheng yu tang, see Chapter 14], stepping down gracefully.”

    Wu Sangui was startled; after a while, he understood that Wei Xiaobao meant to say ‘Yao Shun Yu Tang’ [also Chapter 14]. He said, “Humble minister admires His Majesty’s frugal virtue, actually I do not dare to live a sumptuous life every day; it’s just that the holy graciousness has swept vast, the Princess is here to marry, we do not dare to be negligent in hospitality, and have to put our heart and soul in serving the Princess and Wei Jueye. After the wedding is over, we will have to save greatly.” He thought that when this fellow returned to Beijing, he would report to the Emperor that I indulge in a life of luxury in here, of course the Emperor will get mad; it would be best if I can close his mouth.

    Who would have thought that Wei Xiaobao shook his head and said, “Still, having money to spend, live an indulgent life is better. You are the Wangye, if you do not live off your wealth, why bother being a Wangye? If you dislike having too much gold and silver, afraid that you won’t be able to spend it, I can help you spending it, why can’t I? Ha ha!”

    As soon as he said those words, Wu Sangui was greatly delighted, as if a large chunk of rock in his heart had just fallen to the ground; thinking that if you are willing to accept money, won’t that be easy?

    Hearing him openly asking for money during the banquet, the civil and military officials were beaming from ear to ear, they all thought that he was just a kid after all, dealing with him should be easy. Everybody was drinking merrily, while in their hearts they were thinking of how to present the bribe. The former awkward and terrified atmosphere was swept clean, everyone sang the praises of his achievements and virtue, tooted their horns and licked his behind, and then dispersed after a happy time.

    Wu Yingxiong personally escorted Wei Xiaobao back to An Fu Garden. They entered the main hall and were seated. Wu Yingxiong presented a brocade box with both hands, saying, “Here are some change; would Wei Jueye please accept to cover your incidental expenses? When your honorable-self is returning to the north, Fu Wang [father king] will have another way to compensate for Wei Jueye’s trouble.”

    Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “There is no need to stand on ceremonies. When I left the Capital, His Majesty said to me, ‘Xiao Guizi, everybody says that Wu Sangui is a treacherous court official. Go and personally investigate for me whether he is a loyal minister or a treacherous official. You must a bit more cautious, don’t make any mistake.’ So I said, ‘Your Majesty, please set your heart at ease, your servant will open my eyes wide, from start to finish I will investigate clearly.’ Ha ha, Xiao Wangye, don’t you agree that loyal or treacherous will be decided by just a mouth?”

    Wu Yingxiong could not help but was secretly enraged, “Your Great Qing’s rivers and mountains were handed over by my father so that you could lay your foundation. After the great undertaking, you forget favors and violate justice by coming to investigate whether we, father and son, are loyal or treacherous. In that case, it seems that the Princess is given to marriage is not necessarily out of good intention.” He said, “We, father and son, are loyal and devoted in working for His Majesty. Even if we became dogs or horses, we could not ever repay His Majesty’s benevolence.”

    Wei Xiaobao crossed his leg and said, “That’s right, I always knew you are most loyal. If His Majesty did not trust you, he would never have you as his Meifu [younger sister’s husband]. Xiao Wangye, as soon as you become the Emperor’s Meifu, you will rise eight levels, your promotion will come very quickly.”

    “That is due to His Majesty’s vast and mighty heavenly grace,” Wu Yingxiong said, “I can’t thank Wei Jueye enough for helping me maintaining my social circle.”

    Wei Xiaobao said in his heart, “I am helping you to be the little turtle, I wonder if you will be deeply grateful.”

    After sending off Wu Yingxiong, he opened the brocade box to see the contents. Insider there were ten packs of banknotes, each pack consisted of forty sheets, each sheet worth five hundred taels; altogether there were two hundred thousand taels of silver. Wei Xiaobao was pleasantly surprised; he mused, “He is very extravagant with gifts, two hundred thousand taels for incidental expenses. If laozi needs large spending money, how much will I get? One million, two millions?”

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    [1] Orig. ‘luan’ – a mythical bird related to Phoenix.

    [2] An – calm/safe/peace, Fu – abundant/mound.

    [3] Qian – abbreviation for Guizhou province, Guo – country, Gong – Duke.

    [4] Wu – five, Hua – abbreviation for China.

  5. #1785
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    WOW, 200,000 taels of silver. I don't know what is today's exchange rate for silver, but that sounds like an awful lot of money. Even $200,000 would be enough for me. Ah, WXB is leading a good life.

    Thank you, foxs!

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    Thanks foxs.

    Wu Sanguine is making a big mistake by underestimating WXB. Wonder how WXB is going to destroy him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tweety365 View Post
    WOW, 200,000 taels of silver. I don't know what is today's exchange rate for silver, but that sounds like an awful lot of money. Even $200,000 would be enough for me. Ah, WXB is leading a good life.

    Thank you, foxs!
    Well, at that time, even an official of the firsk rank's salary was only about 500 taels of silver a year, and they already live quite lavishly with that salary.
    You plant a garden and the flowers do not bloom, you poke a stick in the mud and it grows into a tree

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    Hi Foxs, yes I'm new to the forum. I spent the last few weeks reading through your translations of Lu Xiaofeng and then this, The Deer & the Cauldron. WXB is the first fictional anti-hero character I've known. I remember watching the '84 TVB Tony Leung/Andy Lau DOMD and also Stephen Chow's Royal Tramp adaptations, but reading your translation is a much much much richer experience.

    You're doing very amazing work, again thank you from the bottom of my heart!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by tweety365 View Post
    WOW, 200,000 taels of silver. I don't know what is today's exchange rate for silver, but that sounds like an awful lot of money. Even $200,000 would be enough for me. Ah, WXB is leading a good life.

    Thank you, foxs!
    If these stories are of any truth, imagine bribery and corruption in China those days must be really rampant and open....
    Imagine, 200,000 and for small change..... how to decline ?
    I suppose XB must be thinking of how many more spring court he can open with it.....maybe franchise out heh heh heh....
    cheerio..

  10. #1790
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    Quote Originally Posted by muliono View Post
    Hi Foxs, yes I'm new to the forum. I spent the last few weeks reading through your translations of Lu Xiaofeng and then this, The Deer & the Cauldron. WXB is the first fictional anti-hero character I've known. I remember watching the '84 TVB Tony Leung/Andy Lau DOMD and also Stephen Chow's Royal Tramp adaptations, but reading your translation is a much much much richer experience.

    You're doing very amazing work, again thank you from the bottom of my heart!!
    Stephen Chow's adaptation is really trash....it practically does not do JY's novel justice at all....
    Tony Leung....I still feel this adaptation is the most hilarious while keeping to the scrip of the story, unlike Dickey's version where he over acts.....
    cheerio..

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    Thanks Foxs

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    I hope at some point WXB grows up and realizes he's making himself look amateurish everytime he accepts one of these bribes. Right now he's still young so...but you can't tell he's not maturing at the same rate as the Emperor.Thanks for the translation,Foxs, and the welcome back. Haven't been doing too much just enjoying the holiday season and trying to start the new year off right. Hope everyone had a great holiday.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KChill View Post
    I hope at some point WXB grows up and realizes he's making himself look amateurish everytime he accepts one of these bribes. Right now he's still young so...but you can't tell he's not maturing at the same rate as the Emperor.
    I'd say that's his tactic to make people underestimate him. With his fortune, he hardly need this kind of small change.
    But by acting greedy, pervy and childish, he fooled almost EVERY one he encountered. Stupid ones, but even very smart people are fooled.

    The emperor have his priveleges to protect him, WXB only have his wits. He's sent to the most dangerous mission on his own...

    I like one scene of Jordan Chan's adaption. Kangxi get a 4-word advice from his mother "hide deeply, don't expose", more or less to don't show all your cards at the start. And WXB is the master of this.
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    If WXB created a manual of Accumulating Massive Amounts of Wealth, this would surely be under the chapter how to make your enemy underestimate you and willingly hand over millions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smurf120 View Post
    If WXB created a manual of Accumulating Massive Amounts of Wealth, this would surely be under the chapter how to make your enemy underestimate you and willingly hand over millions.
    Did The Godfather learn from WXB or was it the reverse ?

    “A friend should always underestimate your virtues and an enemy overestimate your faults”
    Mario Puzo
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    The Godfather
    cheerio..

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    Thanks Foxs! have been catching up on the stories and its funny to see how wxb can always manage to handle diff situation with diff ppl with ease lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by athlonkmf View Post
    I'd say that's his tactic to make people underestimate him. With his fortune, he hardly need this kind of small change.
    But by acting greedy, pervy and childish, he fooled almost EVERY one he encountered. Stupid ones, but even very smart people are fooled.
    There's no acting ... he is all of the above. But you are right that people are falling for it and pigeon-holing him with these surface characteristics, unaware the guile and deviousness lurking below. He has quite a formidable dagger hiding behind his smile.

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    Default Chapter 30 - Part 2

    Tweety, Ace, Crazee, I seem to recall hiring a large carriage cost WXB three taels. Let's just say that the driver can only hire his cart for 300 days a year, that means his income was 900 taels a year. Sky, KChill, Athlon, Smurf, CFT, I agree, I think it was his biggest strength, regardless of whether he was acting or not, he was able to make the enemies underestimate him. Just think about the different factions he associate himself with, he managed to carry himself without betraying anybody. That was quite a feat. Muliono, Anh, OwlHoot, you are most welcome; I quite enjoy this story too. It's different.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The next day Wu Yingxiong invited the Imperial Minister Marriage Envoy to visit the military drill ground to inspect the troops. Wei Xiaobao and Wu Sangui stood side-by-side on the reviewing platform. Two Du Tong [Commander/Lieutenant General] under Ping Xi Wang’s command led several dozen Zuo Ling [Company Commander] in full battle gear, with helmet on their heads and full armor, dismounted in front of the platform and saluted. Following which, team-by-team troops and horses performed demonstration under the platform.

    After the border guards came the newly organized Wu Ying Zhong Yong [five-battalion loyal and brave] troops and Wu Ying Yi Yong [five-battalion righteous and courageous] troops; each battalion was led by a Zong Bing Tong [regional commander]. From the formation and the demonstration, it was obvious that these troops were ‘strong soldiers and sturdy horses’, a well-trained and powerful army.

    Although Wei Xiaobao was completely without any knowledge of military affairs, seeing the majestic display of the troops, with unending flow of one team after another, he said to Wu Sangui, “Wangye, today I really submit to you. I am the Commander of the Valiant Cavalry Brigade, our Valiant Cavalry Brigade is His Majesty’s personal troops, but I am ashamed to mention it. If we were to fight your Zhong Yong Brigade and Yi Yong Brigade, our Valiant Cavalry Brigade would be routed, would definitely flee to the wilderness.”

    Wu Sangui was very proud of himself; he said with a laugh, “Wei Jueye’s compliment, I am ashamed and dare not accept. Xiao Wang was born of military family; training troops is my original occupation.”

    They heard the booming artillery sound, the troops shouted together, their voice shook the four corners of the field. Wei Xiaobao was greatly shocked, his knees turned to jelly, his buttocks dropped into his chair, and his face turned ashen immediately.

    Wu Sangui snickered inwardly, “You are merely a puppet minister by the Emperor’s side, relying on graceful words and flowering speech to coax the young Emperor’s favor; other than that, what fart do you have? A yellow-mouthed little kid whose smell of mother’s milk not yet dried, unexpectedly can become a Viscount, the Valiant Cavalry Brigade Commander, and Imperial Envoy Minister. Clearly the young Emperor is confused; how can he assign you as his trusted aide?” He did not have any regard toward Kangxi to begin with, and now that he had seen Wei Xiaobao’s worthless appearance, he was even more delighted, thinking that the imperial court did not have any capable person, nothing to worry about.

    After the troop inspection was finished, Wei Xiaobao took out the Emperor’s Imperial Edict and handed it over to Wu Sangui, saying, “This is His Majesty’s Imperial Edict, why don’t Wangye read it for everybody to hear?”

    Wu Sangui kneeled down to receive it; he said, “It is His Majesty’s Imperial Edict, it would be better if the Imperial Envoy read it out loud.”

    Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “It recognizes me, but I do not recognize it. I am totally illiterate; how can I read?”

    Wu Sangui laughed; he held the Imperial Edict with both hands, turned toward the troops and read it out loud. His voice was clear and sonorous, backed with abundant chi, sentence-by-sentence reached far away. The tens of thousands troops on the field bent their knees to kneel; they listened in absolute silence [orig. the crow and peacock made no sound].

    The Imperial Edict commended Ping Xi Qin Wang’s excellent service and heavy merit, his diligence in handling the royal matter, in guarding the border, in pacifying the non-Han ethnics. Without exception all the generals and soldiers under his command had rendered merit, all were to be promoted one level and to be granted some rewards. After the reading of the Imperial Edict was done, Wu Sangui kowtowed to the north and called out, “Respectfully thank Your Majesty’s grace, long live Your Majesty!”

    All the troops echoed, “Respectfully thank Your Majesty’s grace, long live Your Majesty!”

    This time Wei Xiaobao was prepared, he was not startled; but as tens of thousands troops shouted their earth-shattering shout, his heart was shaken, he could not stand steadily.

    Returning to the Ping Xi Wang Mansion, Wu Sangui consulted with him the Princess’ wedding day. Wei Xiaobao knitted his brows and looked very unhappy.

    Wu Sangui said, “The fourth of next month is the ecliptic propitious day, having a wedding would have great luck, great profit. What does Wei Jueye think about that date?”

    Wei Xiaobao mused, “Once the Princess is given in marriage to Wu Yingxiong, I can’t be the fake consort anymore.” He said, “Don’t you think it is too soon? The Princess getting married is not a small matter. Wangye should give everything thorough consideration. Let me be honest with you: Empress Dowager and His Majesty the Emperor dote on this Princess very much. If there is anything less than perfect, it won’t be too convenient for us as the servants.”

    Wu Sangui was apprehensive; he thought, “You deliberately make things difficult, are you not trying to extort bribe?” He laughed and said, “Yes, yes. I leave it all to Wei Jueye’s discretion. Whatever it is that you think is inappropriate, please give us direction, we will strive to do it for you. If the fourth is too rushing, the sixteenth of next month is also an extremely good day, it does not clash with the Princess and my son’s birth date, all taboos are off.”

    “Very well!” Wei Xiaobao said, “I will ask for instructions from the Princess; let’s see what she has to say.”

    Returning to Anfu Garden, he found a lot of Yunnan officials were already waiting to have an audience with him. Wei Xiaobao received their gifts, spoke some perfunctory words, and sent them away. Remembering that ever since his arrival in Yunnan he had not seen his sworn brother Yang Yizhi, he sent a messenger to Wu Yingxiong, asking him to sent Yang Yizhi over to see him.

    Yang Yizhi did not appear, it was Wu Yingxiong who personally came to see him, saying, “Wei Jueye, Fu Wang has sent Yang Yizhi on a mission and he has not returned yet; he cannot come to serve Jueye.”

    Wei Xiaobao was quite disappointed. “I wonder where he is going?” he asked, “And when is he coming back?”

    Wu Yingxiong’s countenance changed slightly; he said, “He … he went to Tibet, it’s far away from here; this time … I am afraid Wei Jueye won’t be able to see him.”

    Noticing his vague answer, Wei Xiaobao thought, “His words is incomplete and not honest; what trick is he playing?” He asked, “I wonder what mission Yang Xiong is doing in Tibet? How long has he been gone?”

    “Nothing important,” Wu Yingxiong replied, “The Tibetan Lama sent someone to deliver a gift, Fu Wang then sent Yang Yizhi to send a gift in return. He left a few days ago.”

    “It’s very unfortunate,” Wei Xiaobao said.

    After sending Wu Yingxiong off, the more he thought, the more he felt something was amiss. They knew very well that he was a good friend of Yang Yizhi; why was it that as he arrived in Yunnan, Yang Yizhi happened to be sent away on a mission, and not a moment later or a moment sooner? Wei Xiaobao had just arrived in Yunnan, Wu Sangui sent Yang Yizhi away, it seemed like Wu Sangui intentionally did not want Yang Yizhi to meet Wei Xiaobao. Immediately he summoned Zhao Qixian and Zhang Kangnian, two people, and ordered them to have a drink and gamble with Wu Sangui, father and son’s bodyguards, to try to make discreet inquiry about Yang Yizhi.

    When he met the Princess that evening, he mentioned to her that the wedding date had been set to be the sixteenth of the next month. The Princess said, “I want you to send this fellow Wu Yingxiong to see Yan Wang before the wedding day; otherwise, during the ritual [of kneeling to heaven and earth] I will scream and yell. I don’t want to marry him no matter what.”

    Wei Xiaobao’s mood was already bad, hearing her like that, his temper flared. He stomped his feet and stormed out of the room. The Princess grabbed and pulled his hand, but he flung her away heavily, and rushed out of the room. The Princess screamed and yelled, but he pretended not to hear.

    After sitting alone for half a day, he was bored; thereupon he called for a dozen or so Imperial Bodyguards to throw dice and gamble with him; only then did he feel better.

    Gambling to the middle of the night, Zhao Qixian and Zhang Kangnian entered the room. Wei Xiaobao had the dice in his hand, but had not tossed it down yet; seeing the two of them, he laughed and said, “Right now the banker is lousy, if you want to lay your bet, better do it early.”

    Zhao Qixian said, “The matter which Fu Zongguan [deputy chief] ordered us to do, subordinates have found some information.”

    “Good!” Wei Xiaobao said, and tossed the dice. He got heaven’s gate. After paying the upper and lower gates, he pulled the two men’s hands and took them to the side room. “What is it?” he asked.

    Zhao Qixian said, “Reporting to Fu Zongguan: that Yang Yizhi really did not go to Tibet. Turns out he violated something and Ping Xi Wang locked him up.”

    Wei Xiaobao knitted his brows. “What did he do?” he wondered aloud.

    Zhao Qixian said, “Subordinates had some drink with some mansion’s guards, we mentioned that we knew this man surnamed Yang, and wanted to invite him to drink and gamble with us. A guard said, ‘So you are looking for Yang Yizhi? He has gone to Hei Kanzi [lit. black/dark raised ground, or simply black hole in the ground].’ I asked him where Hei Kanzi is. Another guard scolded the first guard as talking rubbish, saying that he loves to joke, telling me not to believe him.”

    “Hei Kanzi?” Wei Xiaobao muttered to himself.

    “We knew something’s fishy here,” Zhao Qixian continued, “After drinking with them for a while, we excused ourselves. On the way back here, we asked around and found out that He Kanzi is a big prison. It was then that we know Yang Yizhi has been locked up by Ping Xi Wang. As for what crime he did, I was afraid I might arouse suspicion, hence I did not dare to ask too much.”

    “Where is Hei Kanzi?” Wei Xiaobao asked.

    “About five li southwest of Wu Hua Palace,” Zhao Qixian replied.

    Wei Xiaobao nodded. “Right,” he said, “Both Dage have worked hard. Go back outside to play, be the bankers on my behalf.”

    Zhao and Zhang, two people, were greatly delighted; they went out to gamble. They knew that to be bankers on Wei Xiaobao’s behalf means if they lost, it would be considered his loss, if they won, they would enjoy their share. Either way, it was an assignment with great benefit.

    Wei Xiaobao was depressed. “Yang Dage must have committed a grave offense, otherwise Wu Yingxiong would not have lied to me by saying that he was sent to Tibet. If not grave offense, those two, father and son, would probably look at my face and let him out. Since Wu Yingxiong has already lied to me, if I plead on his behalf, they might adamantly deny, perhaps they would immediately kill him and destroy his body to eliminate the trace; henceforth the dead cannot testify. If I want to rescue him, I must use brute force. Even if Wu Sangui is angry, laozi is not afraid of him, I think he won’t dare to be hostile to me.”

    Immediately he sent for Li Lishi, Feng Jizhong, Gao Yanchao, Qian Laoben, Priest Xuanzhen, Xu Tianchuan, and the other Tian Di Hui warriors. He explained the situation and asked them how to save Yang Yizhi.

    “Wei Xiangzhu,” Li Lishi said, “We have to do it! If we can rescue this Yang Dage, that’s the best. If we cannot, Wu Sangui would think that you want to deal with him, naturally he would think that you are under the Emperor’s order. If we do not scare him half dead, we might force him to rebel sooner.”

    “Precisely,” Wei Xiaobao said, “I am only afraid that he might rebel right away, and then he might grab our heads so that all of us will spend our time gambling inside the big jail Hei Kanzi; that might be far from good.”

    Priest Xuanzhen said, “As soon as we see something is amiss, all of us must jump onto fast horses and make a dash.”

    Wei Xiaobao said, “I want you to think of a way to rescue people, I will invite this fellow Wu Yingxiong and detain him here. We can use him as a hostage so that Wu Sangui will not dare to act rashly.”

    Qian Laoben said, “Wei Xiangzhu’s move is brilliant. Tomorrow we will scout around Hei Kanzi’s surrounding, and then dressed as Wu Sangui’s attendants, we will break into the prison and take the prisoner out.”

    In the afternoon of the next day, Wei Xiaobao sent a messenger to invite Wu Yingxiong for a feast and discussion about the wedding. The main hall of the Anfu Garden was filled with the sound of string and woodwind instruments, with wine and meat in abundance. The Tian Di Hui warriors had already changed into Ping Xi Wang Mansion Guards’ uniform and went to the Hei Kanzi jail.

    Wei Xiaobao secretly ordered Valiant Cavalry Brigade sergeants and the Imperial Bodyguards to secure the perimeter and keep an eye on Wu Yingxiong’s guards; while he and Wu Yingxiong were drinking wine and watching the opera. The troupe presented a Kunqu opera[5], ‘Zhong Kui[6] married the younger sister’. Five little demons tumbled around, crawling in and out the tables, displaying various martial art skills. It was very lively. Wei Xiaobao cheered and applauded again and again, and gave the troupe a generous tip.

    While the show was in progress, someone sneaked behind him, and lightly tugged his sleeve. Wei Xiaobao turned his head around and saw that it was Gao Yanchao. Gao Yanchao nodded slowly. Wei Xiaobao knew the mission went well. He was greatly delighted. “Xiao Wangye,” he said to Wu Yingxiong, “Please continue watching, I want to go pee.”

    Wu Yingxiong mused, “This little rascal is so vulgar.” He laughed and said, “Jueye, please do as you wish.”

    Wei Xiaobao went to the rear hall, and saw not one of Tian Di Hui warriors was missing; he said happily, “Very good, very good, all Xiongdi did not suffer any harm; did you manage to get him out?” Seeing everybody’s grim expression, he knew there must be something else.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    [5] Kunqu opera, influential musical theater originating in Kunshan, Jiangsu province during Yuan Dynasty.


    [6] Zhong Kui, mythological character, supposed to drive away evil spirit.

  19. #1799
    Senior Member athlonkmf's Avatar
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    That's strange... Sheung Er is still nowhere to be found?
    Proud to be part of http://www.asianfanatics.net/

    *********************************

  20. #1800
    Senior Member crazee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by athlonkmf View Post
    That's strange... Sheung Er is still nowhere to be found?
    Err... Me thought, only i missed her....

    Thanks Foxs,

    XB is really a friend and goes to rescue a friend in trouble.
    Inspite of his playfulness and wittiness, his "yi chi" is really good.

    I"m really enjoying this.....
    cheerio..

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