Sablemagi, Tweety, I'll say I am proud of Xiao Junzhu; she has guts and was quite quick, unlike that beauty without brain. Crazee, I guess you'll just have to wait and see ... (I think Ace already know the story ... wink, wink) OwlHoot, Athlon, I have sent to you Chapters 2 thru 9. Sky, check your pm. Whiteskwirl, I thought I responded to your pm already. Thanks for the input, I added the dictionary definitions to the text. KChill ... no comment.
Folks, if you have sent me your email and did not receive the file, please let me know. Whiteskwirl and Grundle are helping me hosting the Deer and the Cauldron on their site, but it's not ready yet. I apologize that I am not able to spend a lot of time formatting it. Just to let you know that if something happens here (spcnet), go to their website.
Mu Jianping retorted, “You have lived in the Palace a lot longer than I have, what rules and regulations do you know? If I am afraid of losing my head, I would not come to Kunming to kill that big traitor Wu Sangui.”
Wei Xiaobao took a step forward and shouted, “Quickly confess, who sent you to assassinate? Who else is your conspirator?” While talking, he curled his right thumb, and waved it several times toward his back, indicating that Xiao Junzhu should implicate Xia Guoxiang. His body was covering his thumb; since Xia Guoxiang was standing behind him, he did not see Wei Xiaobao was making signals with his finger and his eyes.
Mu Jianping caught his signals; pointing to Xia Guoxiang, she loudly said, “My conspirator is him! He was the one who sent me here.”
Xia Guoxiang was enraged. “Rubbish!” he shouted.
“You still want to deny?” Mu Jianping said, “You told me to assassinate Wu Sangui. You said that Wu Sangui is extremely evil, everybody hates him to the death. You said … you said that after I assassinated Wu Sangui, you would … you would …” She did not know Xia Guoxiang’s status, plus she was not good in telling lies, hence momentarily she was at a loss.
Wei Xiaobao prompted, “He would be promoted and gain wealth, and hereafter nobody would beat him or curse him?”
“That’s right!” Mu Jianping said loudly, “He said that Wu Sangui often beats him, scolds him, and is very ruthless to him. In his heart he resents it very much; he had always wanted to personally kill Wu Sangui, but … but he didn’t have the guts to do so.” Xia Guoxiang was cursing and yelling, but Mu Jianping did not pay him any attention.
“Be careful of what you say!” Wei Xiaobao shouted, “Do you know who this general is? He is Ping Xi Wang’s son-in-law Xia Guoxiang, Xia Zongbing. Although Ping Xi Wang often beats him, scolds him, it was for his own good.” While saying that, he raised his thumb in front of his chest, indicating that he approved of what she said.
Mu Jianping continued, “This Xia Zongbing told me that as soon as Wu Sangui is dead, he himself will be the Ping Xi Wang. He said that whether the assassination is successful or not, he would let me go, that he would not let me suffer the least bit of suffering. But he actually locked me up in here. Xia Zongbing, I have obeyed your order, I have finished the mission, when are you going to let me go?”
Xia Guoxiang was extremely angry; he thought, “This stinky girl originally did not know me, it was this kid who told her. This muddleheaded kid is playing a joke with laozi in order to save you. Turns out the two of you know each other; I really did not expect it.” He shouted, “If you keep talking nonsense, I’ll beat you until your skin is broken and your flesh lacerated, you are hovering between life and death.”
Mu Jianping was scared; she did not dare to say anything anymore. She thought that if Wei Xiaobao failed to save her, this military officer would definitely deal with her maliciously.
Wei Xiaobao said, “Whatever you want to say, there is no harm in you saying it. This gentleman, Xia Zongbing is my good friend. If it is really he who incited you to assassinate Ping Xi Wang, you can honestly tell me, I will not reveal it to anybody.” While saying that, he repeatedly signaled with his eyes.
Mu Jianping said, “But he … he is going to beat me to death, I don’t dare to speak.”
“In that case,” Wei Xiaobao said, “What you said earlier was the truth.” He sighed, took several steps back, and shook his head.
Xia Guoxiang said, “Daren please understand: rebellious-thief slanders senior official is a common occurrence, naturally you must not take her seriously.”
Wei Xiaobao hesitantly said, “You are not wrong. However, Ping Xi Wang is usually very strict toward Xia Zongbing; Xia Zongbing resents him very much, hence you wanted to kill the old man, your father-in-law. I am afraid a little girl like her cannot fabricate baseless rumor like that. After Ping Xi Wang is completely healed from his wound, I will try to persuade him, so that the two of you, father-in-law and son-in-law, will not become … become water something and fire something.”
Previously, when Xia Guoxiang heard Mu Jianping slandering him, although he was angry, he did not care too much, because his achievement, riches and honor, everything was actually bestowed by Ping Xi Wang; nobody would believe that he would conspire against him. However, if Wei Xiaobao really brought this matter up in front of Ping Xi Wang, his father-in-law might think that he was harboring a grudge, and that he complained to an outsider about it. For the past few years his father-in-law was short-tempered; he dealt with his subordinates even more strictly. If he heard this kind of talks, very likely Xia Guoxiang would suffer some misfortune. Thereupon he hastily said, “Wangye has always treated Xiao Jiang with extreme benevolence, he treated me just like his own son, Xiao Jiang is very grateful to him. Imperial Envoy Daren absolutely must not say such thing to Wangye.”
Seeing Xia Guoxiang was very anxious, Wei Xiaobao smiled and said, “People do not wish to harm the tiger, the tiger wants to harm people. Biting the hand that feeds him is not uncommon in the world. Ping Xi Wang treats me pretty good, I must warn him to be vigilant, so that he won’t fall into his own people’s evil scheme. Ping Xi Wang has strong soldiers and sturdy horses, with countless martial art experts to guard him; if there is any outsider wanting to harm him, how could he succeed? However, inside thief is difficult to guard against, if one of his own people is backstabbing him, I am afraid he cannot dodge it.”
The more Xia Guoxiang heard it, the more frightened he was. He knew perfectly well that Wei Xiaobao was simply making it up, with the sole intention to save this young girl. But Ping Xi Wang tended to be overly suspicious of everything and everybody. Just a few days ago his own brother Wu Sanmei walked into the rear hall but forgot to take the saber hanging on his waist off. He personally tore the saber off and reprimanded him severely. If Wei Xiaobao ever mentioned anything like ‘outside enemy easy to resist, inside thief difficult to guard against’; granted that Ping Xi Wang might not believe him, but these words would plant a root in his heart, and then Xia Guoxiang’s future advancement might be greatly hindered. Thereupon he said in a low voice, “Imperial Envoy Daren’s advice on my promotion and future advancement, Xiao Jiang will forever never dare to forget your, Senior’s great kindness and great benevolence. If Daren has any order, Xiao Jiang will go through water and tread on fire, will not decline under any circumstances. Even if it involves huge responsibility, Xiao Jiang will do my best to accomplish it.”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “I was just giving you food for thoughts. What this little girl said, the Heaven knows, the Earth knows, you know, I know, plus the little girl herself knows, a total of three people. Actually, you should have killed her early on to close her mouth, nice and clean. But now the words have entered my ears; if you want to eliminate potential informants, then you must kill me as well. I have Imperial Bodyguards and troops and generals under my command, right now they are already on guard against this matter, several thousand people are waiting outside the Mansion. If you kill me, you will still find it difficult to overcome this matter.”
Xia Guoxiang’s countenance changed; he bowed with cupped fist and said, “Xiao Jiang will never dare to do that.”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Since you cannot kill us to shut our mouths, sooner or later Ping Xi Wang will hear about this matter. Xia Zongbing, you are the leader of the ten Great Regional Commanders, plus you are the Ping Xi Wang’s son-in-law; I am afraid among the other nine Regional Commanders, as well as other civil and military officials of the Mansion, there are quite a few people are jealous of you [orig. ‘drinking your vinegar’]. As the saying goes: When you open the door, among the seven ingredients: firewood, rice, oil, salt, soy, vinegar and tea, there bound to be a few people who drink vinegar, and add some oil and soy paste. As soon as this rumor is leaked, even for a little bit, Ping Xi Wang’s ears will not be peaceful. Everybody will speak malicious words about you on the Senior’s ears, adding firewood and straw to it, and fan it into flame. Ping Xi Wang is injured; in his illness, how can his temper be good? This … this … ay!” While saying that, he continuously shook his head.
Wei Xiaobao was merely speculating, yet Xia Guoxiang thought that this kid really understood my Mansion’s affair clearly; the number of people who were jealous of me was indeed not a few. He said, “Daren gives Xiao Jiang food for thought, Xiao Jiang can’t thank you enough, but I wonder what should I do?”
“This problem is actually very difficult to solve,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Alright, let me carry some of the responsibility, just hand it over to your friend here. Give this little girl to me, I will take her away, and say that the Princess wants to personally interrogate her.” Lowering his voice, he whispered into Xia Guoxiang’s ear, “Tonight, I will kill her, and announce that she prefers death than confessing her crime; she is tortured, cannot endure it, and thus she meets her fate. Won’t that mean we turn big matter into small, small mater into nothing, clean and clear?”
Xia Guoxiang had already expected that Wei Xiaobao would say those words; he cursed in his heart, “Damn it, muddleheaded stinky kid, you want to save this girl, yet you make it as if you are doing me a favor, that you, the stinky kid, are helping me avoiding big problem. But how did you know this little girl? It really surprises me.” He asked, “Daren, could you confirm again: is she a palace maid serving the Princess? A while ago Xiao Jiang interrogated her, but she does not seem to know the Princess’ appearance and age, as well as general situation around the Palace.”
“She is unwilling to implicate the Princess, naturally she intentionally did not answer your questions correctly,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “This girl is loyal to the Princess, plus she did not fail Xia Zongbing’s great trust. Very good, very good.”
Xia Guoxiang understood that once again Wei Xiaobao was turning this matter around and put the blame on his head; he hastily said, “Daren’s ingenious plan is indeed brilliant. Would Daren please put in writing that you order Xiao Jiang to hand over the prisoner, so that Xiao Jiang can give account for it in front of Wangye?”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and cursed, “Damn it, laozi is totally illiterate, what hand order or foot order is there to write?” Puting his hand into his pocket, he drew a short gun and said, “This is a gift from your Wangye. Take it and show it to Wangye, tell him that I am under the Princess’ order to take the prisoner away. This gun is the proof.”
Xia Guoxiang received the gun with both hands, and put it inside his pocket. He went out and came back with two military officers; he ordered them to open the iron bars, and removed the shackle on Mu Jianping’s feet, but left the handcuffs binding her hands. Xia Guoxiang grabbed the iron chain of the manacles and dragged her out of the Mansion’s gate, where he handed the iron chain over to Wei Xiaobao. He also gave the key to the handcuffs to him, and said in a loud voice, “Imperial Envoy Daren receives Her Highness, the Princess’s order to take the prisoner away for questioning. Everybody must guard the prisoner carefully, don’t let her escape.”
Wei Xiaobao laughed. “Are you afraid that I would deny taking the prisoner from you?” he said, “Everybody here has seen it, they all have heard it. I cannot deny it even if I wanted to.”
Xia Guoxiang bowed and said, “Daren is making fun of me. Xiao Jiang does not have that intention.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “Go tell Wangye, I am very concerned about the Senior’s well-being, I will come back tomorrow to pay my respect and wish him well.”
Xia Guoxiang bowed again and said, “I do not dare.”
Wei Xiaobao took Mu Jianping back to Anfu Garden, straight into his room. He bolted the door, and asked with a giggle, “Good wife, what has actually happened?”
Mu Jianping’s little face turned deep red from embarrassment; she angrily said, “We have just met and nothing good coming out of your mouth?” She raised her hands, the iron chain of the manacles made ‘ding ding dang dang’ noise. She said, “Remove this thing first, and then we’ll talk.”
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “I have to enjoy some intimacy with you first. As soon as the handcuffs are removed, you won’t be willing.” While saying that, he wrapped his arms around her slender waist and embraced her.
Mu Jianping was greatly anxious. “You … you are bullying me,” she said.
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “Alright, I won’t bully you. You can bully me.” He put his cheek toward her lips and touched it gently, and then taking out the key given by Xia Guoxiang, he unlocked the handcuffs. He pulled her to sit side-by-side with him on the bed before he finally asked her about the story behind Wu Sangui’s assassination.
Mu Jianping said, “Hong Jiaozhu and Madame were very delighted to receive the thing that you sent; they let me take the antidote, so that the poison in my body is neutralized. They sent the Scarlet Dragon Vice Envoy to take me here to see you, so that you will work for them loyally. Madame said that Jiaozhu and Madame knew that you missed me, therefore … therefore …”
Wei Xiaobao grabbed her hand and said, “Therefore they sent you here to become my wife?”
“No, not that,” Mu Jianping anxiously said, “Madame said that they were afraid in your heart you were anxious about me, and would not be able to do your work in peace. She really did not say anything else.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “Madame must have said it, you are simply concealing it from me.”
Mu Jianping said, “If you don’t believe me, when you see Madame later, you can ask her yourself.”
 These seven substances are considered life’s daily necessities in ancient China.
 The phrase ‘written order’ is actually ‘shou yu’, with ‘shou’ means ‘hand’.
Last edited by foxs; 02-12-12 at 09:03 PM.
Wow...Now I realised that i missed Mu Jiangping as well..she's actually loyal and nice to Xiao Bao.
Again the master of strategy had twisted and made use of the situation to the most of his advantage. Pity Xia Guoxiang. It looks like a feather weight boxer fighting a Heavy weight one....not even a feeble chance to retaliate.
Mu Jiangping is very quick witted indeed! I hope she gets more "screentime" in the Yunnan episode of adventures. However, I do know where this part is heading.... Enjoyed the exchange where WXB shows off his blackmailing skill.
I now imagine a short teenager of 15-16 with his voice still cracking having a verbal beat-down with everybody he encounters. Glorious!
So Hong Madam and her people have left the island and come to Yunnan? Interesting.
WXB wanted to save Ah Ke but instead ended up saving Mu Jiangping. Nice!
Thanks Foxs! aiya where is Shuang er??? why haven appear
Anh, you are welcome. Crazee, Smurf, I think by this time WXB was already 15-16 years old; by that age, usually boys' voice already does not sound like children anymore. Sky, I don't think Xiao Junzhu said that Madame has come to Yunnan. Owl, sorry, no Shuang'er for the time being ...
Here is the end of Chapter 31.
Wei Xiaobao saw that she was so anxious that her eyes were brimming with tears; afraid that she would cry because of his teasing, he said warmly, “Alright, alright. Madame did not say that; but what about you? Don’t you miss me? Didn’t you want to see me?”
Mu Jianping turned her head away and nodded gently. Wei Xiaobao said, “What about the Scarlet Dragon Vice Envoy? Why did you assassinate Wu Sangui?”
“We arrived at Kunming three days ago,” Mu Jianping replied, “We wanted to see you right away, but unexpectedly we met my Gege and Liu Shifu outside the western gate.”
“Ah,” Wei Xiaobao exclaimed, “Your Gege and Liu Shifu are in Kunming? I did not know that.”
Mu Jianping said, “Ao Shige, Liu Shige, and the others have also arrived; only Wu Shishu did not come because he fell sick. Everybody has arrived at Kunming to set up a mission to assassinate Princess Jianning.”
Wei Xiaobao was shocked. “Assassinate Princess Jianning?” he asked, “But why? The Princess has never offended your Mu Family.”
“According to my Gege,” Mu Jianping said, “We want to topple the big traitor Wu Sangui, and right now we saw a very good opportunity. The Tatar Emperor is giving his Meizi in marriage to Wu Sangui’s son; if we can assassinate the Princess, the Emperor would definitely blame Wu Sangui for not protecting her satisfactorily. If an imperial decree was issued to chastise him, most probably Wu Sangui would be compelled to rebel.”
Listening to this, the palm of Wei Xiaobao’s hands were wet with cold sweats. He thought, “This plan was very malicious. I was so engrossed in scheming against Wu Sangui that I did not think of protecting the Princess well. If the Mu Palace struck first and gained the upper hand, I would be in a terrible mess.” He asked, “And then what happened?”
Mu Jianping said, “My Gege told me to dress as a palace maid to get close to the Princess and assassinate her. They were waiting outside to provide support. As soon as I succeeded, they would get me out. The Scarlet Dragon Vice Envoy heard their plan, he told me that since the White Dragon Envoy is in charge of protecting the Princess; if we killed the Princess, perhaps you would be implicated. I thought that he was right, and I wanted to discuss it with you. Unexpectedly Liu Shifu found out about it, he killed the Scarlet Dragon Vice Envoy with a chop of the saber.” Speaking to this point, her body trembled slightly; obviously she was recalling the circumstance at that time, and still had lingering fear.
Wei Xiaobao held Mu Jianping’s hands tightly and comforted her, “Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid. You did that for my sake, I appreciate that very much.”
Mu Jianping’s tears trickled down her face; sobbing and sniffling she said, “But … but when you saw me, you bullied me, and … and you did not believe me.”
Wei Xiaobao lifted her hand and slapped it on his own face. “Scoundrel, you deserve to die, I’ll kill you, you son of a wh0re!” he cursed himself.
Mu Jianping hastily pulled his hand and said, “No, I don’t want you to beat yourself, to curse yourself.”
Wei Xiaobao lifted her hand again and gently slapped it on his own cheek; he said, “Wei Xiaobao still deserves to die. Your good wife, the dear little precious thing from Mu Family was caught by Wu Sangui, why didn’t you rescue her earlier?”
“Haven’t you rescued me out?” Mu Jianping said, “But we must think of a way to also save Gege and Liu Shifu.”
Wei Xiaobao was slightly startled. “Your Gege and Liu Shifu are also captured?” he asked.
“The night before last,” Mu Jianping told him, “The place where we stayed was suddenly surrounded by Wu Sangui’s guards. There were so many of them, there were more than twenty among them with superior martial art skill. We were only a few, and were overwhelmed by sheer numbers. Ao Shige was killed on the spot. My Gege, Liu Shifu and I were captured by them.”
Wei Xiaobao sighed and said, “Ao Shixiong was killed by the big traitor; what a pity, what a pity.” He also asked, “After you were captured, how did you manage to assassinate Wu Sangui?”
“Assassinate Wu Sangui?” Mu Jianping asked, “I did not. Naturally I wanted to kill the big traitor, but … but those evil men put me in fetters and handcuffs, how can I assassinate him?”
The more Wei Xiaobao listened, the more surprised he was. “You were captured the evening of the day before yesterday?” he asked, “Where were you in the last two days?”
“I was always locked up in a dark room,” Mu Jianping said, “Just today they took me to be locked up in that dungeon. Not too long afterwards, you came in.”
Wei Xiaobao had a nagging feeling in his heart that something was wrong; clearly he had fallen into Xia Guoxiang’s big trap, but as for what actually went wrong, he could not say. After hesitating for a moment, he asked, “Today Wu Sangui was assassinated, he received quite a heavy injury; was it you who assassinated him?”
“Of course not,” Mu Jianping replied, “I have never seen Wu Sangui. Will he die?”
Wei Xiaobao shook his head, “I don’t know,” he said, “Have you ever told them your identity or background?”
“I have not,” Mu Jianping replied, “I did not say anything. The military officer who interrogated me was very mad; he asked me whether I was mute. Wei Dage, you have also said that I was a mute.”
Wei Xiaobao gently kissed her cheek; he said, “You are my dear little mute. I also said that I was going to carve a little turtle on your face.”
Mu Jianping was shy and delighted at the same time, her eyes were brimming with tenderness, but she did not dare to turn her head to look at him. But Wei Xiaobao was too busy thinking to notice, “Why did Xia Guoxiang want Xiao Junzhu to pretend to be a palace maid? Right, he must be testing me, whether I knew Mu Palace people or not. This time I rescued Xiao Junzhu, it was a clear indication that we belong to the same group. He spread a trap, and luring me to tread on it and fall into it. This time laozi was not careful and has fallen into his trap. This is bad; this is really bad. Now that laozi is in this big mess, what is my next step to get out of this mess?”
Although he was sharp-witted and crafty, when all is said and done, he was still young. In dealing with a really important matter, he was not Wu Sangui, Xia Guoxiang, those extremely sly old traitors’ match. His heart was anxious, his body was drenched in sweats. “My dear good wife,” he said, “Please wait here, I must discuss with other people how we are going to rescue your Gege and Liu Shifu.”
Immediately he went to the western wing. After summoning the Tian Di Hui warriors, he explained the situation clearly. As soon as Xu Tianchuan and the others heard it, they all agreed that there was something really fishy going on.
Xuanzhen said, “Could it be that Wu Sangui was able to see through our stunt of impersonating Hantiemo and have him killed?”
Qian Laoben said, “I wonder how did Wu Sangui get the information that he managed to capture the Mu Palace friends in the middle of the night?”
Wei Xiaobao’s heart was moved. “There is a fellow in the Mu Palace called Liu Yizhou,” he said, “This man harbors a grudge against me, plus his character is ‘greedy for life, afraid of death’. Most likely he was the one who disclose the information under interrogation.”
“Probably so,” Qian Laoben said, “But Wei Xiangzhu, you are the Tatar Emperor’s favorite and trusted Imperial Envoy Minister, no matter what the big traitor can’t possibly suspect you to have any connection with the Mu Palace people. There must be something else in this matter …” Knitting his brows, he pondered deeply.
Qi Biaoqing said, “My guess is that the big traitor did not suspect Wei Xiangzhu to have any connection with the Mu Palace people; it was just a coincidence.”
Wei Xiaobao busily asked, “What do you mean it was just a coincidence?”
“Most likely the one assassinating the big traitor was indeed that palace maid who served the Princess, Wang Ke’er,” Qi Biaoqing said, “Everybody said the same thing, I don’t think they are making it up.”
“Yes, yes,” Wei Xiaobao said, “That Wang Ke’er is really missing; she must have been caught by the big traitor.”
Qi Biaoqing said, “The big traitor naturally expected that the Princess would send Wei Xiangzhu to ask for her maid back. Looking at the Princess and the Imperial Envoy Daren’s faces, he won’t have any choice but to release her; but he actually is unwilling to set the assassin free. By lucky coincidence, they caught the Mu Family’s Xiao Junzhu. Hence they say that she was the assassin. When Wei Xiangzhu came to the prison and looked at her, naturally you would say that she was not Wang Ke’er. This way, Wei Xiangzhu would have your hands bound and would be unable to do anything about it.”
Wei Xiaobao slapped his thigh. “Right, right,” he said, “After all, Qi San Ge is a scholar, your thinking is very clear and logical. Even if they did not capture Mu Family’s Xiao Junzhu, they would randomly find a girl and press me to accept it, saying, ‘Imperial Envoy Daren, here is the assassin, do you, Senior, want her? If you want her, just take her away, don’t be polite. She is not a palace maid serving the Princess? That’s wonderful!’ His granny, at that time, the most laozi could say would be that the Princess is missing a palace maid, and ask them to diligently seek for her within the Kunming city walls, but I could not insist on taking the prisoner away. To their surprise, I knew the Mu Family’s Xiao Junzhu, it must be beyond their expectation. If the big traitor bring this matter up, it won’t be easy for me to dodge the question.”
“Wei Xiangzhu,” Qi Biaoqing said, “Things have come to this, you have no choice but to tough it out with Wu Sangui. Tell him that you have received the Emperor’s Imperial Edict to make friends with the Mu Family.”
Wei Xiaobao was reminded by his speech; he laughed aloud and said, “That’s right, that’s right. I released Wu Lishen and his gang, it was indeed …” But speaking to this point, he held his tongue, thinking, “His Majesty personally ordered me to release Wu Lishen and the others, but I definitely cannot tell them this.” Thereupon he changed the subject, “Although I can say that I received the Emperor’s Imperial Edict, I am afraid I cannot deceive the big traitor.”
Qian Laoben said, “To really deceive the big traitor, naturally it won’t be easy. But if Wei Xiangzhu stick to your statement that it was the Emperor’s idea, even if the big traitor do not believe it, he would not have any choice. In short, Wei Xiangzhu must not become hostile to him, wait till we are out of Yunnan Guizhou, two provinces, then we won’t have to be afraid of him.”
Xu Tianchuan nodded and said, “This is a brilliant plan. The big traitor has committed shameful deeds, inevitably he is overly suspicious, he is afraid the young Emperor would find out his plan to rebel.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “The Mu Palace people knew very well that I am on imperial order to protect the Princess, yet they still wanted to assassinate her; indeed they did not uphold yi qi too much. If Wu Lishen, Wu Er Ge was here, he would definitely not approve.”
Qi Biaoqing said, “They knew that Wei Xiangzhu ‘live in Cao camp but his heart is in Han camp’, it’s not that he is really faithful in working for the Tatar Emperor, for this reason, they might have some misgivings in this matter. Although our Tian Di Hui made a bet with the Mu Palace, but everybody unites against a common enemy. Liu Dahong and the others have resounding reputation as real men, we simply cannot watch with folded arms and ignore them.”
However, speaking about how to save Mu Jiansheng, Liu Dahong, and the others, this matter was really not easy, the warriors could not come out with the best plan. After discussing it for a long time, Wei Xiaobao said, “I am afraid we cannot use any of these plan. I am going to see the big traitor again, then we’ll look for another opportunity.”
After the warriors were dismissed, Wei Xiaobao thought, “Perhaps Ah Ke that my wife of mine did not really go to assassinate the big traitor, neither was she captured by the enemy. Perhaps it was all false report from outsiders.”
He went to Jiu Nan room, but did not see Ah Ke. “Shifu,” he asked, “Is Shijie here?”
Jiu Nan only stared at him blankly. “Has Wu Sangui released her?” she asked, “He … he knows?” When speaking the last sentence, her expression looked different, her voice was slightly trembling.
Wei Xiaobao felt strange, “Wu Sangui knows what?” he asked.
Jiu Nan was silent. A moment later, she asked, “How is the big traitor’s injury?”
“Very heavy,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “Disciple has just went to see him, he was still unconscious, perhaps he won’t live.”
A happy expression appeared on Jiu Nan’s face briefly; immediately her brows were knitted again as she said in a low voice, “Must really let him know.”
Wei Xiaobao wanted to ask what is it that she wanted him to know, but looking at his Shifu’s grave expression, he did not dare to ask too much; he then excused himself.
In his heart, he still had a one-in-ten-thousand hope; hence he went around to inquire about Ah Ke’s whereabouts. Usually this palace maid ‘Wang Ke’er’ very rarely made an appearance, in her disguise, her beauty was well covered, hence nobody paid her any attention. All the palace maids, eunuchs and Imperial Bodyguards in Anfu Garden said that they had never seen her. An Imperial Bodyguard remarked, “Wang Ke’er? Isn’t she the palace maid who went to assassinate Ping Xi Wang? Has Ping Xi Wang released her? But I have not seen her.”
After being busy for the whole day and night, Wei Xiaobao was very tired. Returning to his room, he made some small talk with Mu Jianping, and then put his head down on the bed and fell asleep immediately.
Last edited by foxs; 02-12-12 at 09:02 PM.
Thanks so much foxs! Loving it!
Sablemagi, you are welcome. Looks like only you and I this time.
Chapter 32 – Breaking singing voice continued by string instrument, dancing sleeve capable of listening to prolonged guest’s boasting.
(Translated by Foxs)
The next day he went to find out about Wu Sangui’s injury. Wu Sangui’s second son came out to meet him, thanking the Imperial Envoy officer for his visit, telling him that Wu Sangui’s condition did not change, that right now he was sleeping peacefully, that it was inappropriate to disturb him. Wei Xiaobao asked about Xia Guoxiang, but was told that he was on duty leading the troops to quell a disturbance, to guard against the unrest among the people, and that there was some changes going on in the city. When asked about Wu Yingxiong’s condition, he did not give specific answer.
Wei Xiaobao had a faint feeling that there was great suspicion rising within the Ping Xi Wang Mansion, almost to the point of hostility. If he insist on rescuing the Mu Palace people, it would be difficult to succeed. Rescuing Ah Ke would be more difficult than difficult. Perhaps he would stir up the Palace to resort to force immediately and thus he would only deliver his own little life in Kunming.
Another day passed. He was having a discussion with Qian Laoben, Xu Tianchuan, Qi Biaoqing, and the others, when Gao Yanchao walked in, announcing that an old Taoist Priestess was seeking an audience. Wei Xiaobao was surprised. “Old Taoist Priestess? Why is she looking for me? Is she asking for alms?”
“Subordinate asked her the purpose of her visit,” Gao Yanchao replied, “She said she received orders to deliver a letter to the Imperial Envoy Daren.” While saying that, he presented a letter in yellow envelope.
Wei Xiaobao frowned and said, “I must trouble Gao Dage to open and look, what is written in there?”
Gao Yanchao opened the envelope and took out a piece of yellow paper, looked at it for a moment, and read, “Ah Ke in trouble …”
As soon as Wei Xiaobao heard those four words, he sprang up and anxiously said, “What Ah Ke in trouble?” The Tian Di Hui warriors did not know about Jiu Nan and Ah Ke; they all just stared at him with a blank look on their faces.
Gao Yanchao said, “That’s what’s written in this letter. It has neither a head nor a tail, and there is no signature either. It only says for you to come with the bearer, to take the trouble of visiting the writer to discuss a plan to save her.”
Wei Xiaobao asked, “Is the Taoist Priestess outside?”
Gao Yanchao has just said one sentence, “She is outside,” Wei Xiaobao had already bolted out the door.
When he reached the side room beside the front door, he saw a grey-haired Taoist Priestess sitting on a wooden bench, waiting for him. The Imperial Bodyguard on duty loudly announced, “Imperial Envoy Minister has arrived.”
The Taoist Priestess stood up and bowed to pay her respect. Wei Xiaobao asked, “Who sent you to see me?”
The Taoist Priestess said, “Would Daren please step out? You will find out at the appointed time.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “Where are we going?”
“Please come with Pindao [impoverished Taoist, referring to self],” the Taoist Priestess said, “It’s not convenient to talk here.”
“Very well,” Wei Xiaobao said, “I will come with you.” He shouted, “Prepare a carriage, saddle the horse!”
“Would Daren take the carriage?” the Taoist Priestess said, “That way we won’t alarm other people.”
Wei Xiaobao nodded. He went out the door together with the Taoist Priestess and climbed into the carriage. Afraid that it was the enemy’s trap, Xu Tian Chuan, Qian Laoben, and the other followed some distance away. The Taoist Priestess gave the direction they were to take, the carriage headed west, and went out of the western city gate. Seeing the landscape was getting more and more desolate, Wei Xiaobao was feeling slightly uneasy; he asked, “Where are we going?”
“We will arrive soon,” the Taoist Priestess replied.
After traveling for more than three li later, they turned north. The road narrowed, it was barely enough for one carriage. Shortly afterwards they arrived in front of a tiny Buddhist nunnery. “We are here,” the Taoist Priestess said.
Wei Xiaobao jumped down the carriage. He saw a wooden tablet on top of the door to the nunnery. There were three characters written on the tablet, the first one was ‘Three’, the other two he did not recognize. Turning his head and taking a glance, he saw Gao Yanchao and the others in the distant, presumably they would wait around this place; thereupon he followed the Taoist Priestess into the nunnery.
He saw all around him the nunnery was untainted by even a speck of dust. The courtyard was adorned with several bushes of camellia, and a Chinese redbud tree [Cercis chinensis]. In the middle of the sacrificial hall there was an image of Guanyin [Goddess of Mercy] in white. The image’s appearance was very beautiful, in the dignified Buddhist imagery, there was thirty-percent of prettiness.
Wei Xiaobao mused, “I heard among Wu Sangui’s wife, there is one nicknamed Four-sided [or Four-Faced] Guanyin, there is also one nicknamed Eight-sided [or Eight-Faced] Guanyin. I wonder if they are really as pretty as Guanyin Pusa [Bodhisattva]. Damn it, the big traitor’s luck in love is not shallow.”
The Taoist Priestess led him to the eastern side chamber, and served him tea. Wei Xiaobao opened the teacup lid, a burst of delicate fragrance greeted his nostrils. The tea inside the cup was dark green, unexpectedly it was a freshly brewed Longjing tealeaves. He felt a bit strange, “These Longjing tealeaves were brought all the way from Jiangnan to this place, the price would be prohibitive. How can the Taoist Priestesses or Buddhist nuns in this nunnery be this ostentatious?”
The Taoist Priestess returned with a lacquered wooden tray in her hands, with assortment of eight different delicacies, arranged on white tray cloth. There was pine-nut candy, hickory cake, walnut flakes, rose cake, apricot candy, mung bean cake, lily crackers, and osmanthus scented red bayberry preserved in honey. All were Suzhou-style light refreshments, and all were exceptionally exquisite. Wei Xiaobao was not a stranger to this kind of Jiangnan delicacies, when he was at the Yangzhou brothel in the past, when the patrons arrived and the procuress [lit. female brothel keeper] wanted to entertain the guests, taking advantage when nobody was watching, he often nibbled a slice or two pieces. Unexpectedly coming across an old friend in a tiny Buddhist nunnery in Yunnan, he was very happy. “Laozi is back at the Yangzhou’s Lovely Spring Courtyard,” he mused. After serving the light refreshments, the Taoist Priestess withdrew immediately.
There was a copper incense burner on the small side table, a thin wisp of blue smoke rose up in spirals, the scent was that of precious sandalwood incense. Wei Xiaobao was familiar with this kind of scent; each time he came to see the Empress Dowager at the Palace of Compassionate and Peaceful, he would always smell this sandalwood fragrance. Suddenly he sprang up in fear. “Aiyo! Not good! Could it be that the old wh0re is here?”
He heard intermittent sound of footsteps outside the door. A woman walked in. She put her palms together toward Wei Xiaobao and said, “Nun [or Priestess, see footnote] Jijing pays her respect to Wei Daren.” Her voice was clear and supple, she spoke in Suzhou accent.
The woman was approximately forty-years old, she was wearing light yellow Taoist gown, she had a beautiful face [orig. ‘like painting’], so clear and attractive that it was difficult to describe with words. In all his life Wei Xiaobao had never seen such a beautiful woman. He was holding the teacup with both hands, and was about to drink; but right now his mouth was open wide, unexpectedly he was unable to close it. In that instant he was dumbstruck and was at a loss to know what to do. The woman smiled and said, “Wei Daren, please sit down.”
“Yes, yes,” Wei Xiaobao absent-mindedly replied. His knees went soft, he plopped down into his chair, the tea in his hand splashed, the front piece of his jacket was immediately wet for the most part.
In all her life, the beautiful woman had seen many men all over the world lost their soul and dropped their spirit when they saw her for the first time, hence she was not the least bit surprised; but Wei Xiaobao was only a fifteen, sixteen years old teenager, unexpectedly he was also intimidated by her peerless glowing countenance. The beautiful woman smiled and said, “Wei Daren is young yet have great talent. I heard that in the past Gan Luo became the prime minister at the age of twelve, Wei Daren actually do not lose to him.”
“I don’t dare,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Aiyo! All those women, Xishi, Yang Guifei, are definitely inferior to you.”
The beautiful woman raised her sleeve to cover half of her jade cheek; she smiled sweetly, immediately hundreds of charms grew without restraint. Following which her countenance turned solemn as she said, “Xishi, Yang Guifei, they all women with cruel fate. Xiao Nuzi [little/lowly woman, referring to self] only regrets that the Heaven bestowed me with such countenance, and thus harming the common people under the heavens, making their lives miserable. Because of that I now live with the clear lantern of Buddha as my companion, persistently live in repentance. Ay, even if I strike through the wooden fish [Buddhist instrument] or chant the sutra until it rots, I still cannot redeem even one of the ten thousand sins of my past.” Speaking to this point, her eyes turned red, she could not stop the tears from flowing down.
Wei Xiaobao did not understand what she was talking about, but seeing how when she smiled the divine light was meeting and parting, how in her distress she looked so lovely and moving, he could not help but feeling compassion toward her. He did not even know her background, but the blood in his breast bubbled up, he only felt that even if his body was torn and his bones crushed for her sake, he would take it ‘as sweet as syrup’ [an idiom from the Book of Songs: to endure hardship gladly]. Striking his chest he stood up and fervently said, “Who bullied you? I will stake my life for you. Whatever difficulty you have, please feel free to hand it over to me. If I cannot deal with it, I, Wei Xiaobao, will cut my head and give it to you.” While saying that, he raised his right palm and chopped it heavily on the back of his own neck. Such a lofty spirit of a real man was indeed rare, but this time it was not the least bit superficial.
The beautiful woman stared at him for half a day; she said with a sob, “Wei Daren’s righteousness reaches the cloud in the sky, Xiao Nuzi does not know how to repay it.” Bending her knees, she suddenly kneeled down and gracefully prostrated herself in front of him.
“Not right, not right,” Wei Xiaobao called out. Promptly he also dropped down on his knees and ‘dong, dong, dong’, kowtowed to her several times, saying, “You are immortal descending into the world, Guanyin Pusa reincarnated; you deserve my kowtows.”
The beautiful woman said in a low voice, “I really don’t deserve this.” Holding out her hands, she pulled his arms and helped him up. The two of them stood up together.
Seeing several drops of tears hanging on her cheeks, sparkling and translucent like beads of pearl, Wei Xiaobao busily stretched out his sleeve and gently wiped her face. “Don’t cry, don’t cry,” he said tenderly, “Even a gargantuan problem, we will deal with it fair and square.”
Based on that beautiful woman’s age, she could be his mother. But in her appearance, manners, speech and expression, there was sweetness, charm, grace and loveliness that other people could not help but feeling tenderness and pity toward her. “Actually, why are you sad?” Wei Xiaobao asked.
The beautiful woman replied, “After Wei Daren saw the letter, you came immediately, Xiao Nuzi is really grateful …”
“Aiyo!” Wei Xiaobao exclaimed, as he slapped his own forehead, “Muddle head! It is for Ah Ke’s sake …” He stared blankly at the beautiful woman; suddenly he came into realization, “You are Ah Ke’s Mama!” he loudly said.
The beautiful woman said in a low voice, “Wei Daren is very smart. I was not going to tell you, but you have guessed correctly.”
“That was easy,” Wei Xiaobao said, “The two of you look very much alike, but … but Ah Ke Shijie is inferior to … to your beauty.”
A blush appeared on the beautiful woman’s face, her bright, smooth and white, soft skin exuded a tender pink color, as if she had just applied a layer of rouge on her jade-white face. “You call Ah Ke your Shijie?” she asked in a low voice.
“Yes,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “She is my Shijie.” Without concealing anything, he told her how he first met Ah Ke, how he was beaten by her that his arm bones were dislocated, how he did obeisance to Jiu Nan and took her as his master, how they came together to Kunming. He even told her how he adored Ah Ke, but Ah Ke did not even consider him in her eyes; all kinds of feeling and reasons, he calmly gave her a straightforward account. Only about Jiu Nan’s real identity, as well as his intention to bring Wu Sangui’s conspiracy to a bad end, which he thought the implication would be too great, he skipped completely and did not mention even a single word.
The beautiful woman listened quietly. When he finished, she sighed and said quietly, “How can a wife be involved in something of a paramount importance? A hero is helpless to overcome his passion. Young beauty is the source of trouble. The problem at hand can’t be more clear. Wei Daren has a future full of promise …”
Wei Xiaobao shook his head. “Not right, not right,” he said, “Young beauty is the source of trouble; I have heard the storytellers said the same thing, that Daji, Yang Guifei, were responsible for causing the harm of the nation. Actually, if there was no wretched man, no wretched emperor in the world, even if the woman was more beautiful, she can’t possibly bring the harm to the country. Everybody said that for the sake of Chen Yuanyuan, Ping Xi Wang surrendered to the Qing Dynasty. In my opinion, if Wu Sangui was really loyal to the Ming Dynasty, eighteen Chen Yuanyuan would not make his granny Wu Sangui surrenders to the Qing Dynasty.”
 Orig. ‘chu jia ren’ – those who left home to become monk or nun (applicable to either Buddhist or Taoist). Jijing literally means ‘peace’ or ‘quiet’. Reminder: ‘Daren’ (lit. big person) is the term used by commoner/subordinate to address government official/superior.
 Xi Shi (c. 450 BC), famous Chinese beauty, foremost of the Four legendary beauties, given by King Gou Jian of Yue as concubine to King of Wu as part of a successful plan to destroy Wu. Yáng Guìfēi, or Yang Yuhuan (719-756), famous Tang beauty, consort of Emperor Xuanzhong, blamed for extravagance and killed as a scapegoat during the Anshi rebellion.
 Daji (c. 11th century BC), mythical fox spirit and concubine of the last Shang Dynasty Emperor Zhou Xin.
Thanks for the update foxs.
I like WXB's last statement. He doesn't blame the beautiful women for the lost of the nation but lays everything on the greedy and ambitious men and I think he's right. Sometimes its a curse to be too beautiful, especially in the ancient time.
Thanks Foxs... wow 2 episodes in a row...it's a bonus reading them...
My Notebook went down and was unable to login at all over the weekend....
Hopefully I'll get a better unit soon....
Hey fox, thank for the files and the translations. I wasn't able to get on spcnet the past week. Got this cloudfare error all the time.... Maybe others have that problem too...
Proud to be part of http://www.asianfanatics.net/
Getting more and more interesting! Is Ah Ke's mom the reason Wu Sangui betrayed his country? Fascinating. that's why Jiu nan dislikes her so much?
Would love to see some kungfu action. Jiu Nan versus Mdm Hong from Shen Long Jiao or something.
[Wei Xiaobao shook his head. “Not right, not right,” he said, “Young beauty is the source of trouble; I have heard the storytellers said the same thing, that Daji, Yang Guifei, were responsible for causing the harm of the nation. Actually, if there was no wretched man, no wretched emperor in the world, even if the woman was more beautiful, she can’t possibly bring the harm to the country. Everybody said that for the sake of Chen Yuanyuan, Ping Xi Wang surrendered to the Qing Dynasty. In my opinion, if Wu Sangui was really loyal to the Ming Dynasty, eighteen Chen Yuanyuan would not make his granny Wu Sangui surrenders to the Qing Dynasty.”]
WXB speaks with great insight on this matter - even though he himself has fallen to temptation numerous number of times. But none of the temptation has caused him to betray friends, but become "friends" with the enemy, which is strange and fortunate for him (e.g. becoming Nun's student for Ah Ke).
Sorry - strange happenings this weekend and unable to sign in spc this weekend. Hopefully things settle down for me this week.
How can we resist her magic charm? Not just only a country, even I would give her the world.
Oh I almost forget to thank Foxs.