Chapter 6 - Part 2
Wei Xiaobao might be young, but he knew that even if he mentioned the name of the person who sent him, in no way Hai Laogong would spare his life; much less there was indeed nobody sending him; thereupon he said, “Of course somebody has sent me, but I am afraid as soon as I say it, you would jump in fright. Turns out you knew it early on that I am not Xiao Guizi, and have thought this method to torture me. Ha ha, ha ha! You are the one who has fallen into my trick! Ha ha, ha ha!” While laughing heartily, his body made a random movement; bending his right leg, his right hand grabbed the hilt of the dagger. Very slowly he pulled the dagger from its scabbard, without making any noise at all. Even if there were some noise, he was confident his laughter would cover it.
“What trick of yours did I fall into?” Hai Laogong asked.
Wei Xiaobao was talking nonsense; he only wanted to distract him. So he simply continued talking nonsense, “From the first day I have already tasted the poison in the soup. I discussed it over with Xiao Xuanzi, and he said that you are poisoning me …”
Hai Laogong was startled, “His Majesty knew about it?” he asked.
“How could he not know?” Wei Xiaobao replied, “It’s just that at the time I did not know he was the Emperor. Xiao Xuanzi told me not to make a word or movement, just to be careful, so when I took the soup, I only put it in my mouth and spit it out again to the bowl; you could not see anyway.” While speaking, he raised the dagger half a cun by half a cun up, with the tip of the dagger aimed at the pit of Hai Laogong’s stomach. He thought that if he failed to kill him in one stab, even if the dagger stabbed Hai Laogong, with just a palm strike Wei Xiaobao’s own life would be gone.
Hai Laogong was half believing half doubting; with a cold laugh he said, “If you did not drink the soup, how come with one press on your left abdomen, the pain was unbearable?”
Wei Xiaobao sighed and said, “I supposed even though I spat the soup out, I did not rinse my mouth afterwards, the poison is still going down my stomach.” While saying that, the dagger was moved several cun closer.
“That’s very good, then,” he heard Hai Laogong said, “In any case, the poison cannot be neutralized. Your poisoning is somewhat lighter, it will flare-up somewhat slower, your suffering can only be worse.”
Wei Xiaobao laughed aloud; in the midst of the long laughter, he brought his entire strength into his right arm as he lunge the dagger violently toward the pit of Hai Laogong’s stomach. He had already planned that as soon as the dagger hit, he would promptly roll toward the corner of the bed, and then from the corner of the bed he would scuttle out.
Hai Laogong felt a burst of cold air hitting his face; he was slightly surprised, but knew that the opponent had already made a move. He did not have time to think the nature of the attacl; his left hand swept forward to block the incoming blade, his right palm struck out, ‘Bang!’ it hit Wei Xiaobao, sending him flying out, crashing through the window frame, and falling straight onto the flower garden outside the window. Right away he felt severe pain on his left hand; four of his fingers were severed by the dagger.
If not for Wei Xiaobao’s dagger emitted a strong cold air, while he did not have the slightest sign of the incoming attack beforehand, by this time the pit of his stomach would have been stabbed. However, if the dagger was an ordinary one, with the discrepancy between the two persons’ strength being too far, even if the dagger stabbed his chest, it would only be a superficial injury. His internal strength was everywhere; his palm was like iron, as it struck a saber or sword, or shook a flying dagger, he could not possibly injure his own palm. But in all honesty this dagger was simply too sharp. Hai Laogong’s painstaking dozen of year’s cultivation of internal strength unexpectedly could not shake this incoming dagger away, instead, it cut off his four fingers noiselessly. However, his right palm hit Wei Xiaobao squarely on the pit of his stomach; this palm strike was able to break an upright stone tablet and could split a rock, it was not a small matter at all. He guessed that Wei Xiaobao’s internal organs were completely smashed and that he had already died before even flying outside the window.
Hai Laogong laughed coldly and muttered to himself, “He died too easily, this little demon had it too lightly.” After calming himself down, he took out some metal cut medicine from his medicine chest and applied it to his wound. Tearing off the bed sheet, he wrapped his left palm, while muttering, “What kind of weapon did that little demon use? How come it’s this fierce?” Suppressing the severe pain in his hand, he leaped out the window and groped the place where Wei Xiaobao was supposed to fall; he wanted to find the blade that he had never even heard about, the sharp blade that he had never seen before. To his surprise, however, after groping about for a long time, he did not find anything.
Before he was blinded, he was very familiar with the garden outside his window; where the flowers were, where the rocks were, everything was etched in his heart. Obviously he heard Wei Xiaobao had fallen next to the cluster of Chinese peony; there was the possibility that the treasured blade was shaken out of his hand and flew far away, but his body could not possibly disappear, could it?
When Wei Xiaobao was hit by the palm, his breathing was blocked instantly, there was an acute pain in the pit of his stomach, and he felt as if the hundreds of bones on his four limbs were disintegrated to a cun-size pieces. He was thrown onto the ground and nearly passed out. He knew he was at the verge of death; since he was unable to kill Hai Laogong with a single stab, the old turtle would definitely come out to pursue and attack; therefore, with the remaining strength in his body he crawled up. But after taking only two steps, his feet gave up; he slipped and fell again, and rolled down from a sloped ground all the way to the bottom.
If Hai Laogong did not have his fingers cut, the noise of Wei Xiaobao rolling down the slope would naturally not escape his ears; however, he was severely wounded, he was distraught with anxiety, in addition, even in his dream he would not think that after being hit by his palm, this little demon would not die. Although he did hear some noise, he did not give it further thought as the cause of the noise.
The sloped ground was quite long, Wei Xiaobao rolled for more than ten zhang before stopping. He struggled hard to stand up and slowly walked away; the muscle and bones in his entire body were unbearably painful, luckily the dagger was still tightly grasped in his hand. He rejoiced inwardly, “The old turtle hit me and sent me out the window just now, unexpectedly I did not stab myself with the dagger, I was extremely lucky.” Inserting the dagger into his boot, he thought, “My masquerade has been unmasked, the old turtle already know I am a fake goods, I cannot live in the Palace anymore. Too bad the four hundred fifty thousand tael of money has turned into an empty joy. His granny, where has there ever been one man who has this kind of stroke of luck? An ill-gotten gain worth four hundred fifty thousand taels. In other word, laozi has gained a four hundred fifty thousand tael wealth, but laozi is too extravagant, in just one night I spent it all until nothing’s left. Don’t you think it’s so awesome?” Bragging in his heart, he could not help but feeling very proud of himself.
He also thought, “That little palace maid is still waiting for me; in any event, I cannot leave the Palace on the third watch in the middle of the night, I might as well go and see her. Aiyo …” He put his hand into his pocket to feel the small carton box, and found that the box had been squeezed flat; he thought, “I’ll still show it to her, so she won’t be too anxious waiting for me. I’ll tell her I fell down and squeeze the preserved fruits and candy mushy, turning it into a pile of cow dung. But this pile of cow dung is sweet and fragrant, and taste outstandingly good. Ha ha, hot piece mama, have you even eaten cow dung so sweet and fragrant? Laozi has.”
The more he thought, the more he felt amused; he sped up his steps toward the Empress Dowager’s Palace of Compassion and Peace. But as he walked faster for only several steps, there was an acute pain on the pit of his stomach, forcing him to slow down. Arriving at the Palace of Compassion and Peace, he saw the palace gate was closed. “It’s bad,” he thought, “I did not think this gate would be closed; how am I going to get in?”
While he was wondering what to do, suddenly the palace gate was pushed open noiselessly, followed by a little palace maid’s head appeared. Under the moonlight he was able to see clearly that it was indeed Rui Chu. He saw she smile and beckon to him. Wei Xiaobao was delighted; he slipped in quietly.
Rui Chu closed the gate and then in a low voice whispered in his ear, “I was afraid you are not coming; I have been waiting here for a long time.”
“I am late,” Wei Xiaobao said in a low voice, “On my way here I stumbled upon a stinky and hard-to-deal-with old turtle; I tripped and fell down.”
“Is there any sea turtle in the garden?” Rui Chu said, “I have never seen one. You … are your hurt from the fall?”
In his determination to come here, Wei Xiaobao was able to endure the pain, but as soon as Rui Chu asked, he felt in his entire body there was not a place where it did not hurt; he could not help but groaning. Rui Chu pulled his hand and asked in low voice, "Which part hurts?"
Wei Xiaobao was just about to reply when suddenly he saw a shadow flitted across on the ground; when he raised his head, he saw an enormous eagle flying over the wall and gently landed on the ground. He was really shocked and nearly let out a shout. Under the moonlight he saw the giant eagle stood up like a human. Turned out it was not a giant eagle at all, but a human. This person had a slim built with a hunched back; who else but Hai Laogong himself?
Originally, Rui Chu was facing Wei Xiaobao, so she did not see Hai Laogong had come, but seeing Wei Xiaobao turn his head and stare with terror-stricken expression on his face, she also turned her head around. Wei Xiaobao reached out with his left hand to cover her mouth and pressed rather hard to prevent her from making the least bit of noise. His right hand shook anxiously, signaling her not to make any noise. Rui Chu nodded. Wei Xiaobao slowly took his hand off her mouth while his gaze was fixed on Hai Laogong.
He saw Hai Laogong was standing perfectly still, as if he was listening attentively to the sound of movement around him. It was a moment later that he finally walked forward slowly. Seeing Hai Laogong did not walk toward them, Wei Xiaobao let out a breath quietly. "The old turtle is really formidable," he said in his heart, "Although he is blind, unexpectedly he is able to pursue me to this place." He also thought, "As long as this little palace maid and I do not make any sound, the old turtle cannot possibly find me."
Hai Laogong had walked several steps forward, but suddenly he jumped up and landed in front of Wei Xiaobao. Reaching out with his left hand, he grabbed Rui Chu's neck. "Ah!" Rui Chu cried, but her throat was quickly pinched that the cry was muffled.