Anh, you are most welcome. Tweety, while I agree with you and Smurf, I think for the common people, Chen Jinnan was their hope. It was a desperate time, they would have followed anybody who step forward as a leader. CFT, thanks for the confirmation. OwlHoot, aren't you glad we do not live in an era where the ruler can do anything they want?
Anybody miss Wei Xiaobao?
Chapter 49 – Good government official adorned the carriage by strengthening it with fur coat, lone visitor suspected the heart of an old friend.
(Translated by Foxs)
Wei Xiaobao returned to the capital in triumph. When the main force arrived outside the city of Beijing, the high-ranking ministers of the imperial court greeted them at the city gate. Wei Xiaobao led Tong Guogang, Songgotu, Ma La, A’erni, Ma Qi, Peng Chun, Sabusu, Lang Tan, Ba Hai, Lin Xingzhu, and the others to have an audience with Kangxi. The Emperor spoke to them warmly, encouraged and exhorted everybody. He issued an edict, promoting Wei Xiaobao to be the First-class Duke of Luding [deer and cauldron]; Tong Guogang, Songgotu and the others high-ranking officials, as well as military officers and common soldiers, all received promotion and reward.
In the next several days, Kangxi repeatedly summoned Wei Xiaobao, asking him the details about the capture of Yakesa, about the talk to define the boundary, and so on. Wei Xiaobao reported everything according to the fact, surprisingly he did not exaggerate or blow his horn. Kangxi was extremely delighted; he praised Wei Xiaobao by saying that he had made a lot of progress. Kangxi also bestowed rewards to his seven wives and two sons.
One day Kangxi held a banquet in honor of the Great General Fuyuan, the Duke of Deer and Cauldron Wei Xiaobao and various ministers who had rendered great merit. During the banquet Kangxi discussed two poems, all the members of the Hanlin Imperial Academy who attended the banquet respectfully joined the discussion, celebrating the heroic deed and magnificent triumph.
After the feast, carrying the precious things bestowed by the Emperor, immensely proud of himself, Wei Xiaobao went out of the Palace. With an officer shouting in front of him and his personal guards thronged behind him, he went home in a ceremonial procession. Suddenly by the main street someone shouted, “Wei Xiaobao, you are a dog thief who forget favors and violate justice!”
Wei Xiaobao was shocked, especially since he thought the voice sounded familiar. Turning his head sideways, he saw a big man ran from under the eaves to the middle of the street, pointed his finger to him and cursed, “Wei Xiaobao, I want to hack you, this little thief, to pieces. You are a Han, yet you surrendered to the Manchurian Qing, becoming Tatar’s hunting dog and slave. You murdered your own Shifu, you killed your own good Xiongdi, today the Tatar Emperor bestowed you the title Duke and Marquis, you have glory, splendor, wealth and rank, you are showing off your air. Your granny, laozi will stab a white blade into you, and it will be red on exit, I will stab your little thief’s body using your Ma’s blade seventeen or twenty eight times. I want to see if you can still be a Tortoise Duke, a Turtle Duke?” The big man was naked from the waist up, his chest was covered in long, shaggy black hair, his eyebrows were thick, his eyes big, his expression looked fierce and malicious; he was none other than Mao Shiba, who had taken Wei Xiaobao to Beijing in the past.
While Wei Xiaobao was stunned, a dozen or so personal guards already surrounded Mao Shiba. From his leg wrappings Mao Shiba pulled a short blade to fight back. The personal guards moved together, some placed their blades on Mao Shiba’s neck, some snatched away the short blade in his hand, some pounced on him and dragged him down to the ground and tied him up.
Mao Shiba was still cursing incessantly, “Wei Xiaobao, you little thief, son of a wh0re, that year laozi took you to Beijing, it was my biggest mistake. I have wronged Chen Jinnan, Chen Zongduozhu, I have wronged the heroes and warriors of Tian Di Hui. Today laozi no longer wish to live, I want to let everybody in the world know that you, Wei Xiaobao has betrayed your friends to seek glory, a dog thief who forget favors and violate justice; in your desire to be promoted and gain wealth, you have become the Tatar Emperor’s hunting dog …”
The personal guards struck his mouth, Mao Shiba was still cursing incessantly. Wei Xiaobao hastily shouted his personal guards to stop, he told them not to use violence. A personal guard took out a handkerchief and stuffed it into Mao Shiba’s mouth. Mao Shiba was still grunting endlessly, presumably he was still cursing.
Wei Xiaobao ordered his personal guard, “Bring this man inside, guard him well, don’t give him trouble, give him wine and food, in a moment I will interrogate him personally.”
When he was back at his mansion, Wei Xiaobao arranged a feast in his study room, and invited Mao Shiba to accompany him. Afraid that he might resort to violence, he asked Su Quan and Shuang’er, two women to accompany him, dressed as personal guards. His personal guards dragged Mao Shiba inside. Wei Xiaobao ordered them to remove the shackles on Mao Shiba’s hands and feet, and then he ordered the personal guards to withdraw.
With a smile on his face Wei Xiaobao said, “Mao Dage, long time no see, how are you?” [reminder: in Chinese, ‘how are you?’ is ‘ni hao?’ – ‘are you good?’]
“What’s so good or not good about me?” Mao Shiba angrily replied, “Originally I was perfectly all right, but ever since I met you, I became not good.”
Wei Xiaobao said with a laugh, “Mao Dage, please sit back and relax, let Xiongdi toast you three cups of wine to cool your temper first. How did Xiongdi offend Mao Dage, you may curse me after drinking; it won’t be too late by then.”
Mao Shiba took a large stride forward and shouted, “I will beat you, this little thief to death first before I drink the wine.” Swinging his rice-bowl size fist, ‘whoosh!’ he punched Wei Xiaobao’s face.
Su Quan dashed forward and stretched out her left hand to grab Mao Shiba’s wrist. She lightly twisted it, and then using her right hand she tapped his shoulder twice. Instantly half of Mao Shiba’s body went numb; he could not help but fell sitting down into a chair. He was shocked and angered at the same time; struggling hard he leaped up and cursed, “Little thief …”
Su Quan stood behind him, with both hands she seized the ‘jian zhen’ [shoulder chaste] acupoints on his shoulder, and then she lightly pressed downward. Mao Shiba was unable to withstand, he fell back into the chair again. He was a big and tall man, he was at least twice as big as Su Quan, but with her profound martial art she was able to control him; it was as if with hands and feet tied he was forced to sit down. He was even more enraged as with a loud voice he said, “Today laozi cursed you, this little traitor (to Han), in the middle of the street, I have already given up any hope of staying alive. I just want the people throughout the world to know that you are a despicable and shameless man who betrayed your master and your friends …”
“Mao Dage,” Wei Xiaobao said, “I was away on a mission for His Majesty, it was to attack the Luocha demons, not to kill any Han people; you can’t call me a traitor to Han.”
Mao Shiba said, “Then … then why did you kill your Shifu Chen Jinnan?”
“How could I kill my Shifu?” Wei Xiaobao anxiously asked, “My Shifu was clearly murdered by that fellow Zheng Keshuang.”
“You still deny it?” Mao Shiba angrily rebuked him, “The Tatar Emperor’s damn imperial edict cannot state it more clearly than that.”
Wei Xiaobao was startled, “His Majesty’s imperial edict?” he said, “How … how can it say that I killed my Shifu?” Totally confused, he turned his eyes toward Su Quan.
Su Quan said, “A few days ago His Majesty promoted you to be a first-class duke, he issued a statement listing your meritorious service as the basis of granting you the title. I don’t know who wrote the statement, but it says that you ‘recommending able generals, sweeping away and pacifying the rebel Wu, recovering Taiwan as our territory, leading the army into battle, capturing cities, propagating the national prestige in foreign country’, which are true. However, there are a few words like, 'Capturing and beheading Tian Di Hui rebel leaders Chen Jinnan, Feng Jizhong, and the others, successfully crumbling the pillar, creating setback leading to total collapse, putting the bandits into confusion, leading them to renew their faces and wash their hearts'. Those words are incorrect."
Wei Xiaobao frowned. "What exactly is renewing the faces and wash the hearts?" he asked.
Su Quan said, "The statement says you captured Chen Jinnan, Feng Jizhong, and the others, and killed them, scarring Tian Di Hui people so that they do not dare to rebel anymore."
Wei Xiaobao jumped and cried out, "How … how can there be such thing? Isn't this wrongly accusing me?"
Su Quan slowly shook her head. "Feng Jizhong was a spy, we did kill him, the imperial edict was not wrong," she said, "However, it has an extra three characters, 'Chen Jinnan'."
Wei Xiaobao anxiously said, "Chen Jinnan was my benevolent master, I … how could I harm him, the Senior? His Majesty … His Majesty's imperial edict … ay … when you saw the imperial edict, why didn't you tell me?"
Su Quan said, "We discussed this matter over, the imperial edict has three extra characters 'Chen Jinnan', if you knew about it, you would be greatly unhappy."
Wei Xiaobao understood that 'We discussed this matter over' means his seven wives talked it over together; turning his head, he looked at Shuang'er. Shuang'er nodded. Wei Xiaobao said, "Mao Dage, my Shifu was definitely not harmed by me. Feng Jizhong was Tian Du Hui's traitor, he secretly disclosed information to the Emperor …"
With a cold laugh Mao Shiba said, "So you are actually the good guy?"
Wei Xiaobao dejectedly sat down and said, "I will explain to His Majesty, I will ask him to change ... to change ... to change ..." He said the words 'to change' three times, but knew for sure that just because there were three extra characters 'Chen Jinnan' in the imperial edict, Kangxi would not issue another imperial edict to amend it. He thought, "I wonder which dog thief blabbed too much and told His Majesty that I killed Shifu. In His Majesty's eyes, it was the evidence of my loyalty, but … but … how can I, Wei Xiaobao, still be considered a human being?" His heart was anxious, "Wah!" he suddenly cried. "Mao Dage, Quan Jiejie, Good … Good Shuang'er," he called out, "I did not kill my Shifu!"
Seeing him suddenly broke into crying, the three people were stunned. Su Quan hastily came over and wrapped her arms around his shoulder, she said tenderly, "That Zheng Keshuang killed your Shifu at Tong Chi Island, all of us have seen it with our own eyes." She took out a handkerchief and helped him wiping his tears. It was only now that Mao Shiba saw that this 'personal guard' with strong martial art skill was actually a woman; he could not help feeling greatly amazed.
Wei Xiaobao suddenly remembered something. "Mao Dage," he said, "That fellow Zheng Keshuang is also in Beijing; let us confront him directly. I'll say he will not dare to deny. Right, right! Let us go now …"
Right this moment, suddenly they heard outside the door the personal guard loudly said, “Imperial edict is here. Imperial Bodyguard Duo Zongguan has arrived to announce the Imperial Decree.”
Wei Xiaobao stood up and went to the door to welcome the guest; he saw Dolong walked in with a smile on his face. Wei Xiaobao kowtowed to the north, while respectfully wishing the Holy Sage well. Dolong waited until Wei Xiaobao finished the ceremony before saying, “His Majesty’s instruction: he wants to personally interrogate the rebel thief who cursed you on the street.”
Wei Xiaobao’s heart turned cold; he said, “That … that man? Xiongdi has already arrested him and questioned him in details; turns out he is a mad man. This man babbled about Jade Emperor, Taishang Laojun [Taoist deity], that kind of nonsense. Xiongdi could not make any sense of it. After I had him flogged for a while, I let him go. How did His Majesty find out about this matter? Actually it’s not a big deal …”
Listening to this point, Mao Shiba could not bear anymore; he slapped the table so hard that the bowls and cups jumped up and crashed onto the floor, ‘bing bing bang bang!’ “Damn Wei Xiaobao,” he cursed loudly, “Who is the mad man? The man who cursed the Tatar Emperor on the street today was Laozi! Laozi is not afraid to be hacked to pieces, do you think Laozi is afraid to see the damn Tatar Emperor?”
Wei Xiaobao groaned inwardly; he was hoping he could fool Kangxi and Dolong, and then he would let Mao Shiba go. Who would have thought that this man was completely oblivious of his intention to protect him; he insulted the Emperor in public, even if Mao Shiba had eighteen heads, he would not be able to protect even one. [Reminder: the ‘shiba’ in Mao Shiba’s name means ‘eighteen’.]
Dolong sighed and said, “Xiongdi, you have exceptional yi qi toward Jianghu friends, for that I am full of admiration. In this matter you have done your best, it can be considered extreme benevolence, utmost duty already. Let’s go.”
Mao Shiba walked to the door in large strides; suddenly he turned back and shot a mouthful of saliva toward Wei Xiaobao’s face. Wei Xiaobao’s mind was tumultuous, it was too late for him to dodge, ‘slap!’ the saliva hit right between his eyes. Several personal guards immediately pulled their weapons and rushed toward Mao Shiba. Wei Xiaobao waved his hand and sadly said, “Forget it, don’t give him any trouble.” Dolong’s men took out a pair of handcuffs and shackled Mao Shiba.
Wei Xiaobao pondered, “His Majesty personally interrogates Mao Dage, I guarantee before he even asks three questions, he would have him pushed out and beheaded. I must go to see His Majesty immediately. No matter what I have to think of a way to save him.” He said to Dolong, “I want to go asking His Majesty, to explain everything clearly; don’t let this crude man come across His Majesty.”
The party arrived at the Palace. Wei Xiaobao heard that the Emperor was in the Upper Study Room, immediately he went over asking for an audience. Kangxi summoned him in. Wei Xiaobao kowtowed several times before standing up.
Kangxi said, “The man who cursed you and cursed me on the street today, he is your good friend, isn’t he?”
Wei Xiaobao replied, “Your Majesty can see clearly for ten thousand li, there is nothing that you need to guess twice.”
“Does he belong to Tian Di Hui?” Kangxi asked.
“He has not officially joined the Society,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “But he knew quite a number of people in the Society. He admires my Shifu very much. Your Majesty’s imperial edict says that I killed Shifu, as soon as he heard that he was very angry, hence he reprimanded me severely. As for toward Your Majesty, he did not dare to be disrespectful even for half a word.”
Kangxi smiled and said, “You have made a clean break with Tian Di Hui, from now on you won’t have any dealings with them, is that right?”
“Yes,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “This time I went to fight the Luocha demons, your servant did not bring any Tian Di Hui people.”
Kangxi asked, “If later on your old Tian Di Hui friends come to find you, what are you going to do?”
Wei Xiaobao replied, “Your servant simply will not see them, so that everybody will not feel uncomfortable.”
Kangxi nodded and said, “For that reason in that statement I personally added Chen Jinnan and Feng Jizhong, two names, to spare you a lot of trouble in the future. Xiao Guizi, one man cannot always have his feet on two boats. If you are loyal to me, single-mindedly work for the imperial court, you must not tread the muddy water of Tian Di Hui anymore. If you are determined to become Tian Di Hui’s Xiangzhu, then you must single-mindedly rebel against me.”