Chapter 9 - Part 1
Chapter 9 - Polishing and refining a rather slanted wall to its completion does not need the intensity that will break a qin into pieces.
(Translated by Foxs)
After three days, Wei Xiaobao reported to Kangxi that he wanted to go out to investigate the remnants of Oboi's defeated clique. Going alone, he headed toward the Fresh Water Well Alley on Dongcheng district of central Beijing. There was a wonton seller, with a pair of wonton pots on a carrying pole, stopping at about a dozen zhang away from the mouth of the alley. When the wonton seller saw Wei Xiaobao, he picked up the long bamboo wonton chopsticks and tapped it against the bamboo tube in which he stored his money. 'Tap, tap, tap', three times, paused, then 'tap, tap', twice, then 'tap, tap, tap', three times again. About several zhang away, there was a man with shoulder pole, selling blue radish. The man used the knife, with which he cut the radish, to tap his shoulder pole with the same rhythm.
Wei Xiaobao guessed that this must be Tian Di Hui's method of transmitting news, so he followed a hawker selling candied fruits dipped in sugar syrup on bamboo skewers entering the alley. They arrived in front of a jet black main gate of a building. There were three men squatting at the door, whitewashing the wall using lime. Seeing Wei Xiaobao, one of them nodded, then tapped the wall several times using the lime brush, the black door immediately opened. Wei Xiaobao walked into a courtyard and entered the main hall, and saw Chen Jinnan had already sat in the hall; immediately he rushed forward and kowtowed.
Chen Jinnan was very delighted, he said, "You are early; nothing's better than that. Originally I wanted to stay for several days to teach you martial art, but I received news yesterday that Fujian has an important matter that needs my immediate attention. This time I can only stay for a day."
In his heart, Wei Xiaobao was happy, "Since you don't have time to teach me martial art, when in the future my training is not good, that will be your problem, you can't blame me." But his face showed disappointment.
Chen Jinnan took a rather thin book from his bosom and said, "This is our school's basic instruction on internal energy cultivation. You must study hard every day." Opening the book, he showed every page had pictures of human figure training the internal energy, along with the mnemonic, which he taught to Wei Xiaobao. For the time being Wei Xiaobao was not able to comprehend completely, he merely memorized it carefully.
Chen Jinnan spent more than four hours explaining the entire set of internal energy cultivation technique; he said, "Our school's martial art puts upright heart and good faith first. You, on the other hand, has a heart like a frisky monkey and a mind like a cantering horse, so you are incompatible with our school martial art, training will be doubly difficult for you; you must especially diligent if you want to succeed. Just remember this: if during training your mind is agitated, your head dizzy and your eyes blur, you must stop immediately. You must calm down first, put your distracting thoughts in order, then you practice from the beginning again, otherwise you'll face a significant danger."
Wei Xiaobao gave his promise. He received the book and put it inside his pocket. Chen Jinnan asked in details the martial art Hai Tianfu taught him. After Wei Xiaobao demonstrating and explaining everything one by one, Chen Jinnan muttered to himself, "You are aware early on that these martial art skills are bogus, it will be completely useless against a real enemy. I just feel strange, why did Tatars' Empress Dowager also teach bogus martial art skill to the Tatars' young Emperor?"
Wei Xiaobao said, "The old wh0re is not the young emperor’s biological mother, moreover … moreover the old wh0re is not a good person, she is a greatly evil person.” He thought that the implication of the old wh0re killing the young emperor’s mother and so on would be too great, so he could not tell his Shifu about it; besides, this matter had nothing to do with his Shifu.
Chen Jinnan nodded. Then he inquired about Hai Tianfu’s character and behavior; he felt that this old eunuch’s conduct and deeds were enshrouded in secrecy. Wei Xiaobao talked for a while, suddenly ‘Wah!’ he broke into a bawl.
“Xiaobao,” Chen Jinnan gently asked, “What is it?”
Sobbing and sniffling, Wei Xiaobao told him about how Hai Tianfu secretly put poison in the soup. Finally he sobbed and said, “Shifu, the poison is incurable. After I am dead, the Green Wood Hall brothers won’t be able to use the old way again.”
“What old way?” Chen Jinnan asked.
Wei Xiaobao said, “Oboi killed Yin Xiangzhu, and I killed Oboi, so everybody wanted me to be the Green Wood Hall’s Xiangzhu. The old turtle Hai killed Wei Xiangzhu, the old wh0re killed the old turtle Hai, but everybody cannot ask the old wh0re to be the Green Wood Hall’s Xiangzhu.”
Chen Jinnan burst out laughing; attentively he checked Wei Xiaobao’s pulse and asked detailed questions about the pain on his lower abdomen. He reached out toward Wei Xiaobao’s lower abdomen and using his finger he pressed, sometime lightly, another time heavily, on the acupoints all around his lower abdomen. After muttering irresolutely to himself for half a day, he said, “Don’t be afraid! Maybe Hai Tianfu’s poison does not have any antidote in the world, but I can force the poison out using my internal energy.”
Wei Xiaobao was delighted, he repeatedly said, “Thank you very much Shifu!”
Chen Jinnan took him inside and had him lying on the bed. With his left hand he pressed the Shan Zhong acupoint on the pit of Wei Xiaobao’s stomach, with his right hand he pressed the Da Zhui acupoint on his back. After a while, Wei Xiaobao felt two streams of heat slowly flowed downward and around his stomach; his body felt am unspeakable comfort, he became drowsy and fell asleep. In his blurry state, he suddenly felt an unspeakable pain in his tummy. “Aiyo!” he cried out, and woke up. “Shifu!” he shouted, “I … I want to poop!”
Chen Jinnan led him out to the door of the latrine. Wei Xiaobao had just untied his pants when the excrement spurted straight out, the stench was really unbearable, followed by a lot of vomiting from his mouth.
Wei Xiaobao returned to his bedroom, his limbs felt weak and painful, he was barely able to stand up. Chen Jinnan smiled and said, “Good! Eighty, ninety percent of the poison in your system is out, the remaining is not dangerous anymore. Here I have twelve efficacious detoxifier pills; take it for twelve days, the remaining poison will be driven off completely from your body.” From his pocket he took out a small porcelain bottle and handed it over to Wei Xiaobao.
Wei Xiaobao received it with deep gratitude in his heart. “Shifu,” he said, “Do you still have some more pills for yourself? You give all to me, if you get poisoned …”
With a faint smile Chen Jinnan said, “If others think of poisoning me, it’s not going to be easy.”
The sky darkened, it was evening. Chen Jinnan told the servant to serve dinner, which he ate with Wei Xiaobao. Seeing they were only having four ordinary dishes, Wei Xiaobao thought, “Shifu is a great hero, but the way he eats is so casual.” Since he knew the poison inside his body had been repelled, his heart was free from worry; he ate and served his Shifu with smile on his face, he looked genuinely happy.
After dinner, Wei Xiaobao poured tea for his Shifu. Chen Jinnan took several sips, and then said, “Xiaobao, my wish for you is that you will be a good child. As soon as I have free time, I am coming back to Beijing to teach you martial art.”
“Yes,” Wei Xiaobao replied.
“Alright,” Chen Jinnan said, “You’d better return to the Palace now. The Tatars are very sly, although you are very smart, after all, you are very young; you must be very careful in everything.”
“Shifu,” Wei Xiaobao said, “I feel very stifled living in the Palace, when can I go roaming the Jianghu with you?”
Chen Jinnan stared at his face and said, “You must endure patiently for several more years, and set up several great merits for our Society. By that time … in several more years your voice will change, your facial hair will grow, then you can’t pretend to be an eunuch anymore. By that time you can get out of the Palace.”
Wei Xiaobao thought, “Whether I do good deeds or bad deeds in the Palace, none of you will know. If you are thinking of deposing me of the Xiangzhu position, it’s not going to be easy. In the future I will be a grown up, my martial art will have been trained well, perhaps by then you won’t want to depose me.” Thinking hither, he was happy. “Yes, yes,” he said, “Shifu, I am leaving.”
Chen Jinnan stood up; holding Wei Xiaobao’s hand he said, “Xiaobao, the Tatars have the situation under control, this great undertaking of fighting the Qing restoring the Ming is very difficult. In the Palace, you are in the face of danger at all times. You are such a young child, you haven’t learned any real ability, actually, I am quite worried over you. It’s just that since we already entered Tian Di Hui, ourselves do not belong to us anymore; as long as it is beneficial to our movement of fighting the Qing restoring the Ming, even if we fully aware there is a pit in front of us, we must still jump in. It’s a pity … it’s a pity that you cannot stay by my side often, so I can teach you well. I only hope that in the future you can spend more time with me. Right now our Society’s brethrens respect you because they are looking at my face, but I cannot look after you for a lifetime. In the future, whether people will respect you, whether they will look at you, it all depends on you.”
“Yes,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “Losing my face is not important, but I must not disgrace Shifu.”
Chen Jinnan shook his head, “You must never lose your face,” he said.
“Yes, yes,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “I lose Xiao Guizi’s face is alright. Xiao Guizi is a Tatar eunuch, so if we lose Xiao Guizi’s face, we are losing a Tatar’s face; then we are fighting the Qing restoring the Ming.” Chen Jinnan heaved a deep sigh; in all honesty he did not know how he was going to teach Wei Xiaobao.
Wei Xiaobao returned to the Palace and back to his room. Songgotu had handed him several dozens of banknotes, altogether there were four hundred sixty six thousand five hundred taels. Wei Xiaobao looked carefully at these bank notes over and over, in his heart he was very happy. What happened was: in order to curry Wei Xiaobao’s favor, Songgotu had originally promised him four hundred fifty thousand taels; after Oboi’s property was sold, the price was actually higher than the initial estimate by more than ten thousand taels.
Wei Xiaobao looked at the banknotes for quite a while before he put them away. Then fetching out the martial art book Chen Jinnan gave him, he followed the secret passed on to him by sitting cross-legged and started to practice. When looking at the print of numbers in silver and vermillion ink on the banknotes, his expression was beaming and buoyant, but as soon as he looked at the martial art theory, instantly his interest waned, much less from among hundreds of characters written on the book, he did not recognize even a single one. After practicing for less than an hour he felt his mind blurry and his eyes tired; he dropped onto his bed and fell asleep immediately.
When he woke up the next morning, he went straight to the Study Room to wait on the Emperor. Upon returning to his room, he practiced again; but before long he unexpectedly fell asleep again. The martial art Chen Jinnan taught him was extremely not easy to learn; without an enormous willpower, it would be hard for him to pass the first obstacle. Wei Xiaobao was intelligent and astute, but he lacked the willpower to do anything. As soon as he sat and started to practice, he felt the difficulty was incomparable; he became drowsy and wanted to sleep.
By the time he awoke, it was already in the middle of the night. He thought, “Shifu told me to practice, but his martial art is extremely tedious. But if I goof off and do not practice, next time I see Shifu and he ask me, he would find out I do not make the least bit of progress, and then he would be greatly dissatisfied. Perhaps he would even strip me of my Green Wood Hall Xiangzhu position.”
He got up, picked up the book and looked again, then sat cross-legged and practiced according to the theory. Before long, his eyes grew very heavy again; he was unable to resist his desire to sleep. “They have planned to tear down the bridge after crossing the river anyway,” he thought, “It doesn’t matter if I am a great bridge of blue stone slab, or a rotten wood log bridge, they will still tear it apart. It doesn’t matter if I practice martial art or not.” Since he had found an excuse not to train, his heart was relieved; hence he dropped his head and fell asleep, snoring loudly.
Since he did not have to practice martial art, he passed his days freely and leisurely. When the twelve pills were gone, the pain in his lower abdomen had also disappeared. During the day he would wait on Kangxi at the Upper Study Room for several hours, and whenever he was free, he would throw the dice with the Wen brothers and the others. Presently he was a rich and powerful person with wealth of several hundred thousand taels, hence he did not need to cheat in throwing the dice; however, gambling against these ‘cattle’, he would feel an unspeakable discomfort if he did not cheat. Naturally the Wen brothers, Ping Wei, Lao Wu, and the others owed him more and more money. Lucky for them that Wei Xiaobao had never demanded payment, plus Hai Tianfu was no longer alive, so that even though the Wen brothers and the others were heavily in debt, they were not too worried.
As for the business of the Catering Department, he had his subordinate eunuchs doing the work. Each month on the second and sixteenth days the eunuch manager would deliver four hundred taels to Wei Xiaobao’s room. At this time Songgotu had already distributed several tens of thousands taels on Wei Xiaobao’s behalf to the imperial concubines, eunuchs with authority, and the imperial bodyguards all over the Palace. Wei Xiaobao’s face, as well as the fact that he was Kangxi’s favorite, was already well-known. In the last several months, he had quite a reputation within the Palace, everybody who met him would smile and greet him.
 Lit. ‘mutton’ and ‘big spine’, respectively. If you want to know more about acupoints, I remember wuxiapedia has some explanations, written by Huang Yushi.