Thanks for reading, everybody. I know there won't be any surprises, since the official English version is already out, but still, it is nice to know I am not the only one who is looking forward to the complete/unabridged version of this story. Forgive me for my slow speed.
Chapter 3 – Talisman tucked inside the sleeve encircles and divides the room, unexpected success of an auger out of the sack.
(Translated by Foxs)
In less than a day they had reached Beijing, by the time they entered the city, it was already afternoon. Mao Shiba warned Wei Xiaobao to be careful in everything he say or do, it was the capital, government’s eyes and ears were numerous, they should not expose any mistake.
“What mistake?” Wei Xiaobao said, “You are the one who should not expose any mistake. Aren’t you here to challenge Oboi to a duel? Just go out and find him.” Mao Shiba let out a forced laugh without answering. When he said he was going to find Oboi and challenge him the other day, it was on an impulse while his frame of mind was in rage. Although he was a hot-headed and crude warrior, after all, he had been wandering the Jianghu for more than twenty years, how could he not know that Oboi was an important official in command of ten thousand men? How could he have a martial art competition with an ordinary Jianghu man? His own martial art skill was only a second or third class, if Oboi was indeed the Manchu’s number one warrior, most likely Mao Shiba was not Oboi’s match. However, he had boasted in front of Wei Xiaobao, he simply must go to Beijing. He was thinking he would take this child strolling around Beijing for about ten days or half a month, enjoying the scenery of the capital, merrily drinking and eating, and then he would send the child back to Yangzhou. Undoubtedly Oboi was unwilling to have a martial art contest, so he did not have any choice, it was not because he did not dare, so Wei Xiaobao could not mock him as gutless. In a very slim chance that Oboi agreed to have a duel, Mao Shiba would definitely stake his old life to fight him.
The two of them reached a small wine shop in the western part of the city. Mao Shiba ordered some food and wine. While he was drinking, two men entered the wine shop, one old, the other young. The old one was roughly sixty years old, while the young one looked around eleven or twelve. Both were wearing strange looking attire. Wei Xiaobao did not know what kind of people they were, but Mao Shiba was aware that those two were eunuchs from the Imperial Palace. The old one had a sickly complexion, his back was bent at the waist, and did not stop coughing, as if he was suffering from a serious illness. The young one was helping him, slowly walking to sit at a table.
With a shrill and raspy voice the old eunuch said, “Bring me some wine!” The wine shop attendant responded repeatedly and hastily took out some wine. The old eunuch took out a package wrapped in paper from his side and opened it. Very carefully he used the tip of his fingernail to scoop a little bit of its content and dissolved it into the wine. He put the medicine package inside his pocket before picking up the wine cup and slowly drank the wine. A short moment later he went into convulsion; his body shook continuously.
The wine shop attendant panicked. “What is it? What happened?” he asked.
“Get out of the way!” the little eunuch shouted, “It’s none of your business!” The wine shop attendant bowed and forced a smile, he walked away, but did not stop looking at the two.
The old eunuch used both of his hands to prop himself on the table, his teeth chattered, his body shook more and more violently. A moment later, even the table was shaking that the chopsticks on the table fell down to the floor.
The little eunuch panicked, “Gong-gong,” he said, “How about another dose?” while reaching out to fetch the medicine package from his pocket. He was about to open the package when with a shrill voice the old eunuch said, “No … no … I don’t want …” His expression looked pressing. The little eunuch held the medicine package in his hand, he did not dare to open it.
Right that moment they heard footsteps outside the inn’s door, seven big men walked in. They all naked on top, but wore leather pants on the bottom, with their hair braided into pigtails on top of their heads. Their entire body was unsightly greasy, glistening under the light, it seemed like their bodies, from head to toes, were smeared with some kind of oil. All seven of them had sturdy muscle like young dragon, their chests were hairy, and their mouth were covered in black mustache, when they stretched out their arms, all their palms were huge with thick fingers. Seven men sat on two tables and shouted in their mumbling speech, “Bring out the wine and some beef and fat chicken, the quicker the better!”
“Yes, yes!” the wine shop attendant replied, while busily setting up chopsticks. “Master Guest,” he asked, “What would you like to eat?”
“Are you deaf?” one of the men bellowed. Another man suddenly reached out and grabbed the wine shop attendant on his waist, raising his arm straight up, he brought the attendant up in the air. The wine shop attendant’s hands and feet flailing randomly, he cried out ‘Wah! Wah!’ in fright. The men roared in laughter. The one holding the attendant flung him outside the shop, 'Bang!' the attendant hit the ground. "Aiyo! Mommy!" the wine shop attendant cried out. The men laughed even louder.
In low voice Mao Shiba said, "What they are doing is a wresting technique. The victim must be thrown far away; if he fell close by, he could spring up and counter-attack."
"Do you know any wrestling?" Wei Xiaobao asked.
"I haven't learned it," Mao Shiba replied, "This kind of 'hard' skill is useless against a martial art expert."
"Can you beat them, then?" Wei Xiaobao asked.
Mao Shiba said with a laugh, "What good is it for me to beat those boorish men?"
"But you are alone against the seven them, you will definitely lose," Wei Xiaobao said.
"They are not my match," Mao Shiba said.
Wei Xiaobao suddenly raised his voice, "Hey, big men, my friend here says he alone can beat the seven of you."
"Don't create trouble!" Mao Shiba sternly said. But Wei Xiaobao liked nothing better than creating trouble. Seeing without any reason those seven men tossed the wine shop attendant that he was half-dead half-alive, his heart was angered; hearing Mao Shiba said that he alone could beat the seven of them, he deliberately provoked them, with the hope that Mao Shiba would teach them a lesson.
The seven big men turned their gaze toward Mao and Wei, two people. "Little baby," one of them said, "What did you say?"
Wei Xiaobao replied, "My friend here says, you bullied the wine shop attendant, you cannot be considered hero or warrior. If you have guts, come and fight him."
One of the men glowered and said to Mao Shiba, "Son of a b*tch, did you say that?"
Mao Shiba knew those seven men were Manchurian wrestlers; at first he did not want to create any trouble, but first of all, he was angry just by looking at a Manchu, secondly, the Manchu was cursing him. Lifting up the wine pot, he threw it toward the man's face. The man reached out to catch the pot; to his surprise, however, in this throw Mao Shiba had used his internal strength. 'Crack!' the wine pot hit the man's arm. "Aiyo!" the man cried out for he felt severe pain on his arm. Another man pounced on Mao Shiba, which he responded by a flying kick. Manchurian wrestlers very seldom used their legs, the man was unable to dodge this kick, his lower abdomen was squarely hit, he was sent flying backward.
The other five men cursed, "Scoundrel bastard!" and pounced together. Mao Shiba was quick and agile, unleashing his qin na skill, his elbow struck his palm hacked, in a short time he managed to knock down four men. The last one slanted his body sideways to take Mao Shiba's palm on his shoulder, while he reached out to grab Mao Shiba's lower back and lifted him up. He was about to turn Mao Shiba's body around to dash his head against the stone steps; Mao Shiba suddenly launched a chain kick, 'puff! puff!' twice his feet landed on the pit of that man's stomach. The man's mouth opened, blood spurted out wildly, his grab loosened instantly.
The man fell face up, Mao Shiba followed and kicked him hard with both feet on the pit of his stomach, then with both palms he launched the 'tornado brushing the willow', hacking diagonally down toward the back of the first man, the one hit by the wine pot. 'Crack!' several of the man's ribs were broken; he scrambled onto a table.
With one hand Mao Shiba pulled Wei Xiaobao and said, "Little demon, you really know how to get into trouble, let's go quickly!'
The two of them dashed toward the door of the shop. But they only took two steps when they saw the stooped-down old eunuch was standing at the door. Mao Shiba reached out to lightly push his right arm, he only wanted him to push him aside. To his surprise, as his palm touched the old eunuch's shoulder, Mao Shiba felt a violent jolt; he could not help but stagger and fell several steps sideways, his right waist bumped into a table, immediately the table toppled over.
The momentum of the fall had brought Wei Xiaobao along. Wei Xiaobao yelled, “Aiyo hey, Mommy, it hurts! I am dead!”
Mao Shiba quickly held on to the table and only then was he able to stand. He felt his entire body was boiling, as if he was roasted alive. He was greatly shocked inwardly. He looked at the old eunuch; he saw the old eunuch was still bending down at the waist and did not stop coughing, seemingly oblivious of what had just happened. Mao Shiba knew that he had met an expert today, most like the other side was using sorcery; otherwise, even if one had a much higher level of martial art skill than himself, one could not possibly turn his light push into a tremendous force like that. Although there existed skill such as 'borrowing force to counter-attack' within the martial art study, this kind of 'with four liang pulling a thousand jin' technique needs opponent's large force to produce a large force reaction; there has never been any skill turning a light force into a large one.
Mao Shiba turned around; grabbing Wei Xiaobao, who was still screaming and yelling, he bolted toward the rear of the shop. Yet after taking only three steps, he heard a coughing and saw the old eunuch had already stood in front of him. Mao Shiba was startled, exerting all his strength into his feet, he leaned forward as if he wanted to pounce of the opponent, but just as quick he sprang backward. Before his feet even touch the ground, he felt a light force on his back. Hastily his left hand struck backhandedly, but it hit an empty air. His body was thrown forward and landed on the bodies of two men. It was a heavy fall, fortunately the men were fat and sturdy, with their thick flesh as cushion, they did not suffer any injury.
Those two men's legs were broken, they were unable to stand; however, their hands were unaffected. Immediately they used their wrestling skill to grab Mao Shiba firmly. Mao Shiba wanted to struggle free, but his limbs were devoid of any strength; turned out the acupoint on his back was sealed by the old eunuch.
Mao Shiba fell face down, he was unable to see what was happening behind his back, he only heard the old eunuch was coughing continuously, and blaming the young eunuch with weak voice, "You want me to take another dose, aren't you deliberately trying to kill me? Just another half of a dose more, then my old life would be gone. (Cough ... cough ... cough ... cough.) You, little lid, really want to create trouble."
The young eunuch said, "Child really did not know; next time I will not dare."
"Will there be next time?" the old eunuch said, "Ay, I don't even know if I will live in a few days. (Cough ... cough ... cough ... cough.)"
"Gong-gong," the little eunuch said, "Where did this man come from? I am afraid he is a rebel thief."
"Friends," the old eunuch addressed the men, "Which palace are you from?"
"In response to Gong-gong's question," one of the men replied, "We are from Zheng Wangye's Palace. If not for Gong-gong's help by catching this rebel thief, we might lose a lot of face today."
"Humph," the old eunuch said, "Just ... just consider it a coincidence. (Cough ... cough ... cough.) You don't have to raise any alarm, just send this man and that child to the catering department of the Imperial Palace, tell them they are wanted by Hai Lao-gong."
The men responded with one voice. The old eunuch said, "Why haven't you called a sedan chair? Looking at my condition, do you think I can still walk?" The little eunuch complied and dashed out the door. The old eunuch bent down on a table, while still coughing nonstop.
Seeing Mao Shiba was captured, Wei Xiaobao remembered a storyteller once said, "Living on a green mountain, no need to fear there won't be any firewood to cook." Must smear some grease on the soles of the feet, execute the thirty-sixth stratagem, if all else fails, retreat! Creeping quietly along the wall, he wanted to slip away from the back of the shop. Seeing that nobody was paying attention, he was feeling very happy inwardly when the old eunuch flicked his finger, sending a chopstick flying toward Wei Xiaobao. The chopstick stabbed the back of his right knee.
 Term to address a court eunuch.
 grab and capture, grappling technique.
 Old eunuch.