The Deer And The Cauldron 21

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The Deer And The Cauldron 21
第二十一回 金剪无声云委地 宝钗有梦燕依人

Chapter 15-In which Trinket returns to Peking and meets Princess Ning is made a Manchu Bannerman Colonel and sent to the Shaolin MonasterYi encounters the Wang Wu Clan en route; and, as Father Treasure, meets Two Very Interesting Young Ladies

Back in the Palace-The Tomboy Princess-Emperor and Shifu-Mistress and Slave-The Bannerman ColonelGambling on the March-Father Treasure-Green Girl and Blue Girl-Green Girl and Blue Girl again, in Strange Circumstances

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Back in the Palace

不一日,海船到达秦皇岛,弃船登岸,到了北京。韦小宝道:“我要想法子混进皇宫去,可不知哪一天方能得手,大伙儿须得找个安身之所。”当下陆高轩去租了一所住宅,是在宣武门头发胡同,甚是清静,一行人搬了进去。安顿已毕,韦小宝独自出来,到甜水井胡同天地会的落脚处去一看,见住客已换了个茶叶商,打着会中切口问了几句,那人瞠目不知,显是会中已搬了地址。再踱去天桥,心想八臂猿猴徐天川就算也给逼着入了神龙教,不在天桥,会中其余兄弟高彦超、樊纲、钱老本等或许可以撞上。哪知在天桥来回踱了几转,竟见不到一个。
Some days later their ship berthed at Qinhuangdao and they disembarked and continued their journey by land. ‘I’ve got to think of some way of getting inside the Palace,’ Trinket told his companions when they finally reached Peking, ‘but I don’t know how long this job is going to take. I think we’d better first look for somewhere safe to stay.’ Doctor Lu made this his responsibility and rented a house for them in Hair Lane in a quiet part of the North City near the Gate of Military Proclamation. As soon as they had moved in there and were comfortably settled, Trinket went off on his own to make contact with his Triad friends at their headquarters in Sweet Water Lane; but the place had now become a tea emporium and and his muttered password evoked only a blank stare. It was clear that the new occupant was not a Triad and that the Triads had moved their headquarters to somewhere else in the city. He made his way to the Bridge of Heaven, reasoning that even if Xu Tianchuan, the Eight-Armed Ape, wasn’t at his usual stand, having perhaps, like himself, been forced to join the Mystic Dragon Sect, he was bound to run into one or other of the Brothers somewhere in that area. But though he tramped round the whole of it three times, he didn’t catch sight of a single one of them.

当下来到西直门上次来京住过的客店,取出三两银子,抛在柜上,说要一间上房。掌柜见他出手阔绰,招呼得十分恭敬。韦小宝又取五钱银子,塞进店小二手里,仍要上次住的那间天字第三号上房,碰巧这房并无住客,店小二算是白赚了五钱银子。韦小宝喝了杯茶,躺在炕上闭目养神,听得四下无声,拔出匕首,撬开墙洞,顺治皇帝交给他的那部经书好端端的便在洞里。他打开油布,检视无误,将砖块塞回墙洞。胖头陀已成自己下属,不必再叫侍卫来护送经书,于是把经书揣入怀中,径向禁城走去。走到宫外,守门侍卫见一个少年穿着平民服色,直向宫门走来,喝道:“小家伙,干什么的?”韦小宝笑道:“你不认识我么?我是宫里的桂公公。”那侍卫向他仔细一看,认了出来,果真是皇上身边的大红人桂公公,忙满脸堆笑,说道:“桂公公,你穿了这身衣服,嘻嘻。”韦小宝笑道:“皇上差我去办一件要紧事,赶着回话,来不及换衣服了。”那侍卫道:“是,是。桂公公红光满面,这趟差事定然顺手得很,皇上定有大大赏赐。”
Abandoning the search, he made his way to the inn near the West Straight Gate where he had stayed last time he was in the city and where he had hidden the copy of the Sutra in Forty-Two Sections entrusted to him by the Old Emperor. By generous tipping he was able to obtain the same upper room, which by a stroke of luck was unoccupied, and after a brief rest on the bed, having first made sure that there was nobody around outside, he used his dagger to prise the brick out of the wall behind which the Sutra was concealed. To his relief it was still there in the hole. He took it out and undid the oilskin wrapping. After a brief inspection to make sure it was unharmed, he thrust it into the inside pocket of his gown, replaced the brick, slipped out of the inn, and hurried off to the Palace. A little trouble with the guard on the Palace gate was quickly resolved when he identified himself and explained that he was disguised as a commoner because he had been on a secret mission and was hurrying back to report.

韦小宝回到自己住处,换了太监服色,将经书用块旧布包了,径到上书房来见皇帝。康熙听得小桂子求见,喜道:“快进来,快进来。”韦小宝快步走进,只见康熙站在内书房门口,喜孜孜的道:“他妈的,小桂子,快给我滚进来,怎么去了这么久?”这“他妈的”三字,他只在韦小宝面前才说,已憋得甚久。韦小宝跪下磕头,说道:“恭喜皇上,天大之喜!”
Back once more in his own room in the Palace, he changed into his eunuch’s uniform, wrapped the Sutra in an old cloth, and went straight to the Upper Library to see the Emperor. Apprised of his coming, a beaming Kang Xi stood in the doorway of the inner library to welcome him. Tamardy, Laurie!’ he cried joyfully. ‘What a long time you’ve been away! Bugger in!’ (Kang Xi’s ventures into the vernacular were sometimes a little wild. Fortunately it was only Trinket who ever heard them.) Trinket knelt and kowtowed. ‘Congratulations, Your Majesty! It’s very good news.’

康熙一听,便知父王果然尚在人世,心头一阵激荡,身子晃了几下,伸手扶住门框,说道:“进来慢慢的说。”胸口一酸,险些掉下泪来。韦小宝走进内书房,回身将房门关了,上了门闩,在四周书架后巡了一趟,不见另有侍候皇帝的太监,才低声说道:“皇上,我在五台山上见到了老皇爷。”康熙紧紧抓住他手,颤声道:“父皇……果然在五台山出了家?他……他说什么?”
Kang Xi knew that this meant his father was alive and well. A surge of emotion caused him to reel momentarily, so that he had to clutch the side of the doorway to steady himself. ‘Come inside,’ he said. ‘I want to hear everything.’ His voice was trembling. After following him inside, Trinket closed and barred the door and looked carefully behind the bookcases before embarking on his story. ‘Well, I saw His Old Majesty in the Wutai Mountains,’ he began in a low voice. Kang Xi grasped his hand. ‘So … so he did go there and become a monk. What did he say?’

韦小宝于是将在清凉寺中如何会见老皇爷,如何西藏的喇嘛意图加害,自己如何奋勇救护,拚命保驾,如何幸得少林十八罗汉援手等情一一说了。这件事本已十分惊险,在他口中说来,另行加多了三分,自己的忠心英勇,那更是足尺加五。只听得康熙手中捏了把汗,连说:“好险,好险!”又道:“咱们即刻派一千名护卫上山,加意卫护。”韦小宝摇头道:“老皇爷多半不愿意。”于是又将顺治的言语一一转述。康熙听父亲叫自己不用去五台山相会,又赞自己:“他是好皇帝,先想到朝廷大事,可不像我……”这几句话,忍不住放声哭了出来,说道:“我一定要去,一定要去!”韦小宝待他哭了一会,取出经书,双手呈上,说道:“老皇爷要我对你说:‘天下事须当顺其自然,不可强求,能给中原百姓造福,那是最好。倘若天下百姓都要咱们走,那么咱们从哪里来,就回哪里去。’老皇爷又要我对你说:‘要天下太平,“永不加赋”四字,务须牢牢紧记。他能做到这四字,便是对我好,我便心中欢喜。’”康熙怔怔听着,眼泪扑簌簌的流在包袱之上,双手发抖,接了过去,打开包袱,见是一部《四十二章经》,翻了开来,第一页写着“永不加赋”四个大字,笔致圆柔,果是父亲的亲笔,呜咽道:“父皇训示,孩儿决不敢忘。”他定了定神,细细询问顺治身子是否安康,现下相貌如何,在清凉寺中是否清苦之极。韦小宝一一据实禀告。康熙一阵伤心,又大哭起来。
Trinket told him about his meeting with the Old Emperor. He also told him about the attempt made by the Tibetan lamas to kidnap him and how he, Trinket, helped by the Eighteen Lohans from the Shaolin Monastery, had frustrated them. He may perhaps have embroidered the facts a little, particularly when speaking of the part he had played himself in that affair. The young Emperor was horrified. ‘How terrible! I must send a thousand of the guards there immediately.’ Trinket shook his head. ‘I don’t think His Old Majesty would want that.’ He went on to tell him how the Old Emperor had praised his son, saying that Kang Xi was a better Emperor than he had been and must always continue to work for the welfare of his people. Kang Xi broke down and wept. When Trinket handed him the Sutra the Old Emperor had given him, tears fell on the cloth wrapping. They fell even faster when Kang Xi saw the inscription, Never Raise Taxes, on the flyleaf and recognized his father’s own writing.

韦小宝灵机一动:“他妈的,我也陪他大哭一场,他给我的赏赐一定又多了许多,反正眼泪又不用钱买。”说哭便哭,抽噎了几下,眼泪长流,呜呜咽咽的哭得凄惨之极。康熙虽然悲痛难忍,哭泣出声,但自念不可太失身分,因此不住强自抑制。韦小宝却有意做作,竟然号啕大哭。这件本事,他当年在扬州之时,便已十分拿手,母亲的毛竹板尚未打上屁股,他已哭得惊天动地,而且并非干号,而是货真价实的泪水滚滚而下,旁人决计难辨真伪。康熙哭了一会,收泪问道:“我想念父皇,因而哭泣,你却比我哭得还要伤心,那为什么?”
‘Tamardy!’ thought Trinket. ‘If he’s going to carry on like this, I might as well cry too for company. A few tears don’t cost anything: they might even add a bit to my reward.’ He had always cried easily. In Yangzhou, across his mother’s knee, the tears had started falling even before her cane had made contact with his bottom. Soon he was putting on a very convincing performance. Somewhat surprised at seeing Trinket’s real tears, Kang Xi checked his own weeping and asked the reason for them.

韦小宝道:“我见你哭得伤心,又想起老皇爷温和慈爱,对我连声称赞,说我不顾性命的保驾,很喜欢我,心中更加难过了。”一面说,一面呜咽不止,又道:“若不是我知道你挂念,赶着回来向你禀报,真想留在五台山上服侍老皇爷,也免得担心他给坏人欺侮。”
‘Boo-hoo,’ sobbed Trinket, ‘I was just thinking how kind His Old Majesty was to me when I saw him on Wutai. If I hadn’t known how anxious you’d be if I didn’t return, I’d have stayed on to look after him. I’m worried that someone else might try to harm him.’

康熙道:“小桂子,你很好,我一定重重有赏。”韦小宝眼泪还是不断流下,抽抽噎噎的道:“皇上待我已经好得很,我也不要什么赏赐了,只盼老皇爷平安,我们做奴才的就快活得很了。”他在神龙岛上走了这一遭,耳听得人高呼“教主永享仙福,寿与天齐”,丝毫不以为耻,不免脸皮练得更厚,拍马屁的功夫大有长进,但教讨人欢喜,言语更是夸张。

康熙信以为真,说道:“我也真担心父皇没人服侍。你说那个行颠和尚莽莽撞撞,甚是粗笨,父皇身边没个得力的人,好教人放心不下。小桂子,难得父皇这样喜欢你……”
‘I’m worried about that too,’ said Kang Xi. ‘I tell you what, Laurie. It’s a good thing my father has taken a liking to you, because although I really need you here, a good son ought to put his father’s needs Erst and—’

韦小宝听到这里,张大了口,合不拢来,心里暗暗叫苦:“啊哟!啊哟!这次老子要倒大霉,老子吹牛吹得过了份。”只听康熙续道:“……本来嘛,我身边也少不了你。不过做儿子的孝顺父亲,手边有什么东西,总是挑最好的孝敬爹爹。你是我最得力的手下,年纪虽小,却十分能干,对我父子都忠心耿耿……”韦小宝心中大叫:“乖乖龙的东,我的妈呀!你派老子去五台山陪老和尚,宁可叫我坐牢。”果然听得康熙说道:“这样罢,你上五台山去,出家做了和尚,就在清凉寺中服侍我父皇……”韦小宝听得局势紧急,不但要陪老和尚,自己还得做小和尚,大事之不妙,无以复加,不等他说完,忙道:“服侍老皇爷是好得很,要我做和尚,这个……我可不干!”康熙微微一笑,说道:“也不是要你永远做和尚。只不过父皇既一心清修,你也做了和尚,服侍起来方便些。将来……来……你要还俗,自也由得你。”言下之意,是说日后顺治老了,圆寂归西,你不做和尚,谁也不会加以阻拦。饶是韦小宝机变百出,这时却也束手无策,他虽知小皇帝待自己甚好,但既出口差遣,倘若坚决不允,不但前功尽弃,说不定皇帝一翻脸,立即砍了自己脑袋,可不是好玩的,哭丧着脸,道:“我……我可又舍不得你……”哇的一声,哭了出来,这一次却是半点不假,千真万确,乃是真哭,只不过并非为了忠君爱主之心,实在是不愿去当小和尚。
Trinket’s jaw dropped. ‘Holy ting-a-ling bells!’ he thought. ‘Idiot! Why did I say that? He’s going to send me back to Wutai to be a monk and look after his dad.’ And this was just what Kang Xi now proposed. Trinket began sobbing again, this time with genuine feeling. ‘I can’t bear the thought of leaving you,’ he said between sobs—not because he thought there was the slightest chance of Kang Xi changing his mind, but by way of explaining his tears.

康熙大为感动,轻拍他肩头,温言道:“这样罢,你去做几年和尚,服侍我父皇,然后我另行派人来,接替你回到我身边,岂不是好?父皇不许我去朝见,我却是非去不可的。那时候你又可见到我了,也不用隔多久。小桂子,你乖乖的,听我吩咐,将来我给你一个好官做。”眼见韦小宝哭个不住,安慰他道:“你在庙里有空,就读书识字,以便日后做官,做个大官。”
Kang Xi patted him kindly on the shoulder. There, there, Laurie! I’ll be visiting the monastery from time to time. It’s not as if you’ll never see me again. I’ll probably be paying a visit there in a month or two. Anyway, there’s nothing to stop you becoming a layman again in the course of time. You can learn to read and write while you’re in the monastery, so that when the time comes I’ll be able to give you a really important post.’

韦小宝心想:“将来做不做大官,管他妈的,眼前这个小和尚怕是做定了。”转念一想:“我到得五台山上,胡说八道一番,哄得老皇爷放我转来,也非难事。只说小皇帝没我服侍,吃不下饭,这次离开他一两个月,便瘦了好几斤,老皇爷爱惜儿子,定然命我回宫。”此计一生,便即慢慢收了哭声,说道:“你差我去办什么事,原是赴汤蹈火,在所不辞,别说去做和尚,就是乌龟王八蛋,那也做了。皇上放心,我一定尽心竭力,服侍老皇爷,让他老人家身子康强,长命百岁……还有……永享仙福,寿与天齐。”
Trinket knew that ‘when the time comes’ meant when Shun Zhi, who might yet live forty years, had died, so he was scarcely comforted. He didn’t, in any case, want to end his days as a high-ranking Manchu official. However, his busy mind was soon thinking of ways in which he could deceive the Old Emperor into releasing him. For example, he might impress on that tender soul how much the Young Emperor was pining for his favourite eunuch, unable to eat properly and losing weight. The prospect cheered him and he promised Kang Xi continuing devotion in his new role.

康熙大喜,笑道:“你出京几个月,居然学问也长进了,成语用得不错。怎地在五台山上耽了这么久?不容易见到老皇爷,是不是?”韦小宝心想神龙岛之事,还是不说为妙,答道:“是啊,清凉寺的住持方丈,还有那位玉林老法师,说什么也不肯认庙里有老皇爷,我又不好点破,只得在山上一座座庙里转来转去的做法事,今天到显通寺去打醮,明天又到佛光寺放焰口。五台山几千个大和尚小和尚,我少说也识得了一千有零。若不是那些恶喇嘛来啰唣老皇爷,只怕我今天还在布施僧衣斋饭呢。”康熙笑道:“你这下可破费不少哪!花了的银子,都到内务府去领还罢。”他也不问数目,心想韦小宝立了大功,又肯去做小和尚,他爱开多少虚头,尽可自便。

不料韦小宝道:“不瞒皇上说,上次你派我去抄鳌拜的家,奴才是很有点儿好处的。当时不好意思跟你禀报。这次去五台山,见到老皇爷,受了他老人家的教训,明白对皇上什么坏事都不可做,于是把先前得的银子,都布施在庙里了,也算是奴才帮皇上积些阴德,盼望菩萨保祐,老皇爷和皇上早日团圆。这笔钱本来是皇上的,不用再领了。”心想你父子早日团圆,我也可少做几天小和尚;同时有了这番话,日后如果有人告发,说我抄鳌拜家时吞没巨款,此刻也已有了伏笔:“我早代你布施在五台山上啦,还追问什么?”
To show his pleasure, Kang Xi gave Trinket carte blanche to reimburse himself from the Privy Purse for the expenses he had incurred on this last mission. But Trinket confessed that he had already helped himself rather generously while supervising, with Songgotu, the confiscation of Oboi’s estate, and that, moved to repentance by the teaching and example of the Old Emperor, he had used the money pocketed on that earlier occasion, which strictly speaking was the Emperor’s own, for pious donations during his Wutai visit. ‘I shall be nicely covered now if there’s ever an inquiry,’ he thought. But Kang Xi, suspecting nothing, was impressed.

康熙一听,更是欢喜,连连点头,问道:“五台山好不好玩?”当下韦小宝说了些五台山上的风景。康熙听得津津有味,说道:“小桂子,你先去,我不久就来。咱们总得想法子迎接父皇回宫,他老人家倘若一定不肯还俗复位,那么在宫里清修,也是一样。”韦小宝摇头道:“那恐怕难得紧……”忽听得书房门外靴声橐橐,一个清脆的女子声音叫道:“皇帝哥哥,你怎么还不来跟我比武?”说着砰砰几声,用力推门。康熙脸露微笑,道:“开了门。”
Kang Xi was curious to hear more about Wutai and its temples, but their conversation was interrupted by the sound of footsteps outside and a ringing female voice. ‘Emperor-brother, when are you going to give me that fight?’ This was followed by some hefty knocks on the door and the rattle of someone trying impatiently to get in. ‘Better open it,’ said Kang Xi with a somewhat rueful smile. The Tomboy Princess

韦小宝心想:“这是谁?难道是建宁公主?”走到门边,拔下门闩,打开房门。一个身穿大红锦衣的少女一阵风般冲进来,说道:“皇帝哥哥,我等了你好久,你老是不来,怕了我啦,是不是?”韦小宝见这少女十五六岁年纪,一张瓜子脸儿,薄薄的嘴唇,眉目灵动,颇有英气。康熙笑道:“谁怕了你啦?我看你连我徒儿也打不过,怎配跟我动手。”那少女奇道:“你收了徒儿,那是谁?”康熙左眼向韦小宝一眨,说道:“这是我的徒儿小桂子,他的武功是我一手所传。快来参见师姑建宁公主。”韦小宝心想:“果然是建宁公主。”他知道老皇爷共生六女,五女夭殇,只有这位公主长大(按:建宁公主其实是清太宗之女,顺治之妹。建宁长公主的封号也要到康熙十六年才封。顺治的女儿和硕公主是康熙的姊姊,下嫁鳌拜之侄。但稗官小说不求事事与正史相合,学者通人不必深究),是皇太后亲生。韦小宝极怕皇太后,平时极少行近慈宁宫,公主又不到皇帝的书房来,因此直至今日才得见到。他听了康熙的话,知道是他兄妹闹着玩,便即凑趣,笑嘻嘻的上前请安,说道:“师侄小桂子叩见师姑大人,师姑万福金……”
A fifteen- or sixteen-year-old girl dressed entirely in crimson brocade rushed like a whirlwind into the room as soon as Trinket had unbarred the door. She had a fine, oval face with strikingly thin lips and a lively, somewhat imperious expression. Because of his fear of the Empress Dowager, Trinket avoided the Hall of Maternal Tranquillity as much as possible and had never met most of its occupants; but he knew that one of them was the Empress Dowager’s own daughter, Princess Ning, and guessed that this was her. ‘Emperor-brother,’ said the Princess, ‘you promised to give me a fight. Why do you keep putting it off? Are you afraid?’ ‘Afraid?’ said Kang Xi, laughing. ‘I doubt you’re even a match for my pupil here. I’m sure you’re not good enough for me\’ He winked at Trinket, who gathered that he had been given a new role to play. He began formally presenting himself. ‘I’m Laurie, Your Highness. His Majesty has been good enough to teach me some kungfu. May I humbly—’

建宁公主嘻嘻一笑,突然间飞起一脚,正中韦小宝下颏。这一脚踢来,事先竟没半点朕兆,韦小宝又屈了一腿,躬身在她足边,却哪里避得开?他一句话没说完,下巴上突然给重重踢了一脚,下颚合上,登时咬住了舌头,只痛得他“啊”的一声,大叫出来,嘴巴开处,鲜血流了满襟。康熙惊道:“你……你……”建宁公主笑道:“皇帝哥哥,你的徒儿功夫脓包之极,我踢一脚试试他本事,他竟然避不开。我瞧你自己的武功,也不过如此了。”说着格格而笑。韦小宝大怒,心中不知已骂了几十句“臭小娘,烂小娘”,可是身在皇宫,公主究是主子,又怎敢骂出一个字来?康熙慰问韦小宝:“怎么?舌头咬伤了?痛得厉害么?”
As he bowed down low she gave a little laugh and, without any warning, just as his head had reached its lowest level, shot out a foot and caught him squarely on the jaw, driving it upwards so that his teeth bit almost through his tongue. When he opened his mouth and cried out in pain, the blood flowed freely down the front part of his gown. Kang Xi was aghast, but the Princess only laughed. This pupil of yours is useless, Emperor-brother,’ she said. ‘He couldn’t even dodge the little kick I gave him. I don’t suppose you’re much better.’ ‘Are you all right, Laurie?’ Kang Xi asked with concern. ‘Your tongue must be very painful.’

韦小宝苦笑道:“还好,还好!”舌头咬伤,话也说不清楚了。建宁公主学着他口音,道:“还好,还好,性命丢了大半条!”又笑了起来,拉住康熙的手:“来,咱们比武去。”
‘Not too bad,’ said Trinket, trying hard to smile, though his tongue hurt so badly he could hardly speak. ‘Dod doo bad,’ the Princess mimicked. Tbe odely half dead and I’be feeling very sad.’ She grabbed her Imperial brother by the hand. ‘Come on!’ she said. ‘Let’s have this fight!’

先前皇太后教康熙武功,建宁公主看得有趣,缠着母亲也教,皇太后点拨了一些。她见母亲敷衍了事,远不及教哥哥那样用心,要强好胜,便去请宫中的侍卫教拳。东学几招,西学几式,练得两三年下来,竟也小有成就。前几日刚学了几招擒拿手,和几名侍卫试招,大家当然相让,个个装模作样,给小公主摔得落花流水。她知众侍卫哄她高兴,反而不喜,便去约皇帝哥哥比武。康熙久不和韦小宝过招,手脚早已发痒,御妹有约,正好打上一架。两人在小殿中动起手来。康熙半真半假,半让半不让,五场比试中赢了四场。建宁公主气不过,又去要母亲教招。皇太后重伤初愈,精神未复,将她撵了出来。她只得再找侍卫,又学了几招擒拿手,约好了康熙这天再打。不料韦小宝回宫,长谈之下,康熙早将这场比武之约忘了。他得到父皇的确讯,悲喜交集,心神恍惚,哪里还有兴致和妹子闹玩,说道:“此刻我有要紧事情,没空跟你玩,你再去练练罢,过几天再比。”建宁公主一双弯弯的眉毛蹙了起来,说道:“咱们江湖上英雄比武,死约会不见不散,你不来赴约,岂不让天下好汉耻笑于你?你不来比武,那就是认栽了。”这些江湖口吻,都是侍卫们教的。康熙道:“好,算我栽了。建宁公主武功天下第一,拳打南山猛虎,足踢北海蛟龙。”
The Princess had once or twice in the past watched the Empress Dowager giving Kang Xi lessons in kungfu and begged that she might have some herself; but the Empress Dowager, though not refusing outright, had been unwilling to give her much of her time, so she had gone off and badgered members of the Palace Guards to teach her. As they did their best to humour her and fell down each time she touched them, she considered herself a champion. But though she had picked up a good deal of the lingo, there was precious little else that she had learned from them. As a fighter she was negligible and had been beaten easily when she challenged her brother to a fight. Having recently got her Guards instructor to teach her a little Catch-Can, she was now anxious to make another trial of her skill. But Kang Xi was in no mood to indulge her. ‘Not now,’ he said. ‘I’m really too busy. Train a bit longer and we’ll have a match another time.’ -. The Princess frowned. ‘You promised. Refusing a challenge counts as defeat.’ ‘All right,’ said Kang Xi. ‘I concede defeat. Princess Ning is the champion. Her punch can knock out the Tiger of the South and her kick eliminate the Dragon of the North.’

建宁公主笑道:“足踢北海毛虫!”飞起一脚,又向韦小宝踢来。韦小宝侧身闪避,她这一脚就踢了个空。她眼见皇帝今天是不肯跟自己比武的了,侍卫们身材魁梧,倘若真打,自己定然打不过,这个小太监年纪高矮都和自己差不多,身手又甚灵活,正好拿来试招,说道:“好!你师父怕了我,不敢动手,你跟我来。”康熙向来对这活泼伶俐的妹子很是欢喜,不忍太扫她兴,吩咐:“小桂子,你去陪公主玩玩,明日再来侍候。”
‘You mean the Little Worm of the North,’ said the Princess, aiming another kick at Trinket, which this time, however, he sidestepped with the agility of a trained fighter. The Princess could see that her brother wasn’t going to fight with her; and since Trinket was about her size and appeared to have had some training, she decided that he would do instead. ‘Very well,’ she told Trinket. ‘You’ll have to fight me, since your teacher’s too scared.’ ‘Yes, Laurie, you go and play with her,’ said Kang Xi, who had always had a soft spot for his tomboyish sister and didn’t like to disappoint her. ‘We can continue our discussion tomorrow.’

建宁公主突然叫道:“皇帝哥哥,看招!”握起两个粉拳,“钟鼓齐鸣”,向康熙双太阳穴打去。康熙叫道:“来得好!”举手一格,转腕侧身,变招“推窗望月”,在她背上轻轻一推。公主站立不定,向外跌了几步。韦小宝嗤的一声笑。公主老羞成怒,骂道:“死太监,笑什么?”一伸手,抓住了他右耳,将他拖出书房。韦小宝若要抵挡闪避,公主原是抓他不住,但终究不敢无礼,只得任由她扭了出去。建宁公主扭住他耳朵,直拉过一条长廊。书房外站着侍候的一大排侍卫、太监们见了,无不好笑,只是忌惮韦小宝的权势,谁也不敢笑出声来。
As they were on their way out, she suddenly stopped, squared up to Kang Xi, and raised her fists. ‘Watch this, Emperor-brother!’ She tried to execute a Double Drumbeat on him, driving her fists against his temples; but Kang Xi was too quick for her, parrying with an Opening the Window defence which sent her reeling. Trinket could not help laughing at her discomfiture, which so enraged her that she seized his ear and twisted it painfully, then marched, still holding him by it, out of the Library and down the long corridor outside, past the eunuchs and guards, who, though they dared not show it, were no doubt entertained by the spectacle of the Emperor’s favourite bowed down and trotting along behind her.

韦小宝道:“好啦,快放手,你要到哪里,我跟着你去便是。”公主道:“你这横行不法的大盗头子,今日给我拿住了,岂可轻易放手?我先行点了你的穴道再说。”伸出食指,在他胸口和小腹重重戳了几下。她不会点穴,这几下自然是乱戳一气。韦小宝大叫:“点中穴道啦!”一交坐倒,目瞪口呆,就此不动。公主又惊又喜,轻轻踢了他一脚,韦小宝毫不动弹。公主喝道:“起来!”韦小宝仍是不动。公主还道自己误打误撞,当真点中了他穴道,道:“我来给你解穴!”提足在他后腰一踢。韦小宝心道:“这臭小娘见解不开我的穴道,还要再踢。”当下“啊”的一声,跳了起来,说道:“公主,你的点穴本领当真高明,只怕连皇上也不会。”
‘All right, all right,’ said Trinket. ‘Let go of my ear and I’ll follow you anywhere!’ ‘You’re a dangerous criminal,’ said the Princess. ‘Now that I’ve arrested you, I can’t possibly let you go. I shall have to immobilize you.’ She pointed a finger and jabbed it into his chest. ‘Oh, I’m paralysed!’ said Trinket, entering into the spirit of the thing by sitting down hard on the ground and freezing into immobility. ‘Get up!’ she said, and gave him a few gentle kicks. Then, as he still hadn’t moved, she kicked him again, this time very hard, in the kidneys. Trinket decided that enough was enough and jumped up with a great ‘Ow!’ That one released me,’ he said. ‘I don’t think even your Emperor-brother could have done that.’

公主道:“你这小太监奸滑得很,我几时会点穴了?”但见他善伺人意,也自喜欢,说道:“跟我来!”韦小宝跟随着她,来到他和康熙昔日比武的那间屋子。公主道:“闩上了门,别让人来偷拳学师。”韦小宝一笑,心道:“凭你这点微末功夫,有谁来偷拳学师了!”当即依言关门。公主拿起门闩,似是要递给他,突然之间,韦小宝耳边嘭的一声,头顶一阵剧痛,就此人事不知了。
‘Smarmy villain!’ said the Princess. ‘Who said I know anything about Vital Points?’ (She didn’t.) But secretly she was rather pleased that he was playing along with her. ‘Follow me!’ she said. She led him to the room in which he and Kang Xi used to do their sparring. When they were inside, she told him to bar the door. ‘I don’t want anyone stealing my methods,’ she said. ‘Silly bitch!’ thought Trinket. ‘What do you know about kungfu that anyone would want to steal?’ He closed the door; but when he turned to get the door-bar, he found the Princess holding it. He thought she had picked it up to hand it to him, but the next moment there was an explosion in his ears and a sharp pain in the crown of his head and he fell down unconscious.

待得醒转,睁眼只见公主笑吟吟的扠腰而立,说道:“窝囊废的,学武之人,讲究眼观六路,耳听八方。我打你这一下,你怎么不防备?还学什么武功?”韦小宝道:“我……我……”只觉头痛欲裂,忽然左眼中湿腻腻的,睁不开来,鼻中闻到一股血腥味,才知适才已给这一门闩打得头破血流。公主一摆门闩,喝道:“有种的,快起身再打。”呼的一声,又是一闩打在他肩头。
When he came to, she was standing over him grinning, one hand on her hip, the other still holding the door-bar. ‘You really are useless,’ she said. ‘A kungfu fighter needs eyes in the back of his head. You don’t seem to have learnt anything.’ His head felt as if it was split in two, and from the sickly smell that filled his nostrils he knew that the stickiness which prevented him from opening his left eye properly must be caused by blood from his broken crown. ‘Get up and fight, if you’re a man!’ shouted the Princess, aiming a blow at his shoulder.

韦小宝“啊”的一声,跳起身来。公主挥门闩横扫,掠他脚骨。韦小宝侧身闪避,伸手去夺门闩。公主叫道:“来得好!”门闩挑起,猛戳他胸口。韦小宝向左避让,不料那门闩翻了过来,砰的一声,重重打中了他右颊。韦小宝眼前金星乱冒,踉跄几步。公主叫道:“你这绿林大盗,非得赶尽杀绝不可。”门闩猛力横扫,韦小宝扑地倒了。公主大喜,举门闩往他后脑猛击而下。韦小宝只听得脑后风声劲急,大骇之下,身子急滚,砰的一声,门闩打在地下。公主大叫:“啊哟!”这一下使力太重,震得虎口剧痛,大怒之下,在他腰间重重一脚。韦小宝叫道:“投降,投降!不打了!”公主举门闩击落,这一下打中他小腹,拍的一声,幸好打中在他怀中所藏的五龙令上,韦小宝刚欲跃起,又摔了下来。公主一闩又是一闩,怒骂:“你这死太监,我要打你,你敢闪开?”
He got to his feet and tried to wrest the door-bar from her, but while they were struggling it caught him a crack on the right cheek-bone which made him see stars. ‘Bandit!’ she cried. ‘Highwayman! Scum like you must be exterminated!’ She swung the door-bar in a great sweep and Trinket went down again, this time on his face. Pleased with her handiwork, she raised the bar in both hands and aimed at the back of his head. It would undoubtedly have brained him if he had not rolled away in time. As it was, it hit the floor with a mighty thump and hurt her hand. ‘Horrible little eunuch!’ she screamed in rage. ‘How dare you dodge away when I’m trying to hit you!’

公主力气虽不大,但出手毫不容情,竟似要把他当场打死。韦小宝惊怒交集,奋力转身跃起。公主举闩迎面打来,韦小宝左手挡格,喀喇一响,臂骨险断。他心念急转:“公主明明不是跟我闹着玩,干么要打死我?啊!是了,她受了皇太后嘱咐,要取我性命!”一想到此节,决不能再任由她殴打,右手食中两根手指“双龙抢珠”,疾往公主眼中戳去。公主“啊哟”一声,退了一步。韦小宝左足横扫,公主扑地倒了,大叫:“死太监,你真打么?”韦小宝夹手夺过门闩,便要往她头顶击落,只见她眼中露出又是恐惧、又是恼怒的神色,心中一惊:“这是皇宫内院,我这一门闩打下去,那是大逆不道之事,除非将她杀了,用化尸粉化去,否则后患无穷。”这么一迟疑,手中高举的门闩便打不下去。
More blows followed when he had struggled once more to his feet, including one that nearly broke his arm. This isn’t playing,’ thought Trinket. ‘She’s out to kill me. The Empress Dowager must have put her up to this!’ Princess or no princess, he wanted to stay alive. In desperation he went for her eyes, and when she recoiled in fear, tripped her up with his foot, picked up the door-bar, and raised it up to strike. But almost at once he knew that he couldn’t do it. If he did, he would be guilty of high treason, the penalty for which was considerably worse than death by door-bar.

公主骂道:“死太监,拉我起来。”韦小宝心想:“她真要杀我,可也不容易。”当即伸左手拉她起来。公主道:“你武功不及我,只不过我不小心绊了一交而已。刚才你已叫过投降,怎地又打?男子汉大丈夫,怎么不守武林中的规矩?”韦小宝额头鲜血淋漓,迷住了眼睛,伸袖子去擦。公主笑道:“你打输了,没用东西。来,我给你擦擦血。”从怀中取出一块雪白手帕,走近几步。韦小宝退了一步,道:“奴才可不敢当。”公主道:“咱们江湖上英雄好汉,须当有福同享,有难同当。”便用手帕去抹他脸上血渍。韦小宝闻到她身上一阵幽香,心中微微一荡,此时两人相距甚近,见到她一张秀丽的面庞,皮色白腻,心想:“这小公主生得好俊!”
‘Horrible little eunuch!’ said the Princess while he hesitated. ‘Help me up. You’re no match for me. I just tripped over, that’s all.’ Almost without thinking what he was doing, he helped her to her feet. The blood from his head-wound was trickling down over his face and blinding him. He tried wiping it with his sleeve. ‘Useless creature, let me wipe it for you,’ said the Princess. ‘On River and Lake, people are supposed to help each other when they are in trouble.’ She took out a snow-white handkerchief and set about wiping the blood from his face. They were standing very close and he could smell the scent she was wearing. Suddenly he realized that she was rather pretty.

公主道:“转过身来,我瞧瞧你后脑的伤怎样。”韦小宝依言转身,心想:“先前我可是多疑了,原来小公主真是闹着玩的,只不过她好胜心强,出手不知轻重。”公主伸手轻轻抚摸他后脑的伤处,笑问:“痛得厉害么?”韦小宝道:“还好……”突然之间,韦小宝背心一阵剧痛,脚下被她一勾,俯跌在地。原来公主悄悄取出藏在小蛮靴中的短刀,冷不防的忽施偷袭,左足踏住他背脊,提刀在他左腿右腿各戳一刀,笑道:“痛得厉害么?你说‘还好’,那么再多戳几刀。”韦小宝大骇,暗叫:“老子要归位!”背上有宝衣护身,短刀戳不进去,腿上这两刀也非重伤,却已痛得他死去活来,想要施展洪夫人所教的第二招“小怜横陈”脱身,一来先受伤,没了气力,一来这一招并未练熟,挣了一挣,想要从她胯下钻到她背后,但行动太慢,身子甫动,屁股上又吃了一刀,只听她格格笑道:“痛得厉害么?”韦小宝道:“厉害之极了。公主武功高强,奴才不是你老人家的对手。江湖上的……好汉,大英雄,捉住了人,一定饶他性命。”公主笑道:“死罪可恕,活罪难饶。”蹲身便坐在他屁股上,喝道:“你动一动,我便一刀杀了你。”韦小宝道:“奴才半动也不动。”可是公主刚好坐在他伤口上,痛得不住呻吟。
‘I was wrong,’ he thought. ‘She’s not trying to kill me, she really is playing. It’s just that she’s overdoing it a bit,’ But his martyrdom was not over yet. Turn round,’ she said, and he did so obediently: but instead of a gentle touch on his head he felt a sharp pain in the small of his back and an encircling leg round both of his which brought him once more face downwards on the floor. Next moment she was stabbing the back of his legs with a knife she had extracted from one of her little boots. ‘Is that painful?’ she asked. ‘If you say “Not too bad” again, I shall do it harder,’ ‘It’s very painful indeed,’ said Trinket. ‘If this really was River and Lake, you’d release me, now that I’m in your power.’ ‘Ah, some crimes can’t be forgiven,’ said the Princess. ‘A great pirate like you must first be made to confess.’

公主解下他腰带,将他双足缚住,用刀割了他衣襟,又将他双手反剪缚住,笑道:“你是我的俘虏,咱们来练一招功夫,叫做……叫做‘诸葛亮七擒孟获’。”满清皇族人人对三国故事十分熟悉,《三国演义》她已看过三遍。韦小宝看过这戏,忙道:“是,是,诸葛亮擒孟获七擒七纵,建宁公主擒小桂子,只消一擒一纵。你一放我,我就不反了。你比诸葛亮还厉害七倍。”公主道:“不成!诸葛亮要火烧藤甲兵。”韦小宝吓了一跳,忙道:“奴才不……不穿藤甲。”公主笑道:“那么烧你衣服也一样。”韦小宝大叫:“不行!不行!”公主怒道:“什么行不行的,诸葛亮要烧便烧,藤甲兵不得多言。”见桌上烛台旁放着火刀火石,当即打燃了火,点了蜡烛。韦小宝叫道:“诸葛亮并没有烧死孟获。你烧死了我,你就不是诸葛亮,你是曹操!”公主拈起他衣角,正要凑烛火过去点火,忽然见到他油光乌亮的辫子,心念一动,便用烛火去烧他辫尾。头发极易着火,一经点燃,立时便烧了上去,嗤嗤声响,满屋焦臭。韦小宝吓得魂飞天外,大叫:“救命,救命!曹操烧死诸葛亮啦!”公主握着他辫根,不住摇晃,哈哈大笑,道:“这是一根火把,好玩得紧。”转眼之间,火头烧近,公主放脱了手。韦小宝顷刻间满头是火,危急中力气大增,一弹而起,挺头往公主怀里撞去。公主“啊哟”一声,退避不及,韦小宝已撞上她小腹,头上火焰竟然熄灭。公主双手扑打衣衫上焦灰断发,只觉小腹疼痛,又惊又恐,提足在韦小宝头上乱踢。踢得几下,韦小宝已晕了过去。
She bound his feet with his own belt, then tied his hands behind him with a strip of cloth cut from his gown. With mounting horror he watched her go to a table at the side of the room on which were some candlesticks and a tinder-box and light one of the candles. She was going to burn him! She did in fact hold the candle-flame to a corner of his gown, but soon grew impatient when it didn’t at once catch fire. Then her eye lit on his long, glossy pigtail and she gleefully set fire to that. A flame leapt up and engulfed his head, and the whole room was filled with the acrid smell of burning hair. Such was his panic that he managed, trussed up as he was, to struggle to his feet and ram his burning head into her stomach. The flames were extinguished and the Princess was temporarily winded; but having recovered herself, she kicked him in the head and, for the third time, he fainted.

迷糊中忽觉全身伤口剧痛,醒了过来,发觉自己仰躺在地,胸口袒裸,衣衫、背心、内衣竟然都被解开了,公主左手抓着一把白色粉末,右手用短刀在他胸口割了一道三四分深的伤口,将白粉撒入伤口。韦小宝大叫:“你干什么?”公主笑道:“侍卫说,他们捉到了强盗恶贼,贼人不招,便在他伤口里加上些盐,痛得他大叫救命,那就非招不可。因此我随身带得有盐,专为对付你这等江湖大贼。”韦小宝但觉伤口中阵阵抽痛,大叫:“救命,救命,我招啦!”
This time when he came to, she was standing over him with a packet of white stuff in her hands. ’This is salt,’ she said. ‘I got this tip from the guards. They say it’s very good for getting a confession,’ Using her knife again, she cut away the front of his gown and made a few incisions in his chest into which she proceeded to rub some of the salt. Then she rolled him over and sprinkled some of it into the cuts she had made in his legs. His whole body was now in such anguish that he was nearly mad with pain.

公主嘻嘻一笑,说道:“你这脓包,这么快便招,有什么好玩?你要说:‘老子今日落在你手里,要杀要剐,皱一皱眉头的不是好汉。’我再割你几道伤口,盐放得多些,你再求饶,那才有趣哪。”韦小宝大怒,骂道:“他妈的,你这臭小娘……喂喂,我不是骂你,我……我不是好汉,我招啦,我招啦!”公主叹了口气,要将盐末丢掉,转念一想,却将盐末都撒在他伤口之中,正色道:“我是建宁派掌门人,武功天下第一,擒住了你这无恶不作的大盗……”韦小宝道:“好,好,我是江洋大盗,今日艺不如人,给武功天下第一的建宁派掌门人擒住,有死无生。江湖上道得好:杀人不过头点地。在下既然服了,也就是了。”公主听他满口江湖汉子的言语,与张康年等侍卫说给她听的相同,心中就乐了,赞道:“这才对啦,既然要玩,就该玩得像。”韦小宝心中“臭小娘、烂小娘”的痛骂,全身伤口痛入了骨髓,一时捉摸不到她到底是奉太后之命来杀死自己,还是不过模拟江湖豪客行径,心想这臭小娘下手如此毒辣,就算不过拿我玩耍,老子这条命还得送在她手里,忽然想起当日恐吓沐剑屏这条计策颇有效验,小姑娘们都怕鬼,当下强忍疼痛,说道:“老子忽然之间,又不服了。掌门老师,你如有种,就放了我,咱们再来比划比划。你要是怕老子武功高强,不敢动手,那就一刀将我杀了。我变了冤鬼,白天跟在你背后,晚上钻在你被窝里,握住你脖子,吸你的血……”

公主“啊”的一声大叫,颤声道:“我杀你干么?”韦小宝道:“那么快放我!”公主道:“不放!死太监,你吓我。”拿起烛台,用烛火去烧他脸。烛火烧上脸,嗤的一声,韦小宝吃痛,向后一仰,右肩奋力往她手臂撞去。公主手臂一动,烛台落地,烛火登时熄了。她大怒之下,提起门闩,又夹头夹脑向他打去。韦小宝疼痛难当,害怕之极:“这次再也活不成了。”大叫一声:“我死了。”假装已死,再也不动。公主怒道:“你装死!快醒转来,陪我玩!”韦小宝毫不动弹。公主轻轻踢了他一脚,见他丝毫不动,柔声道:“好啦,我不打你了,你别死罢。”韦小宝心想:“我死都死了,怎能不死?狗屁不通。”公主拔下头发上的宝钗,在他脸上、颈中戳了几下,韦小宝忍痛不动。公主柔声道:“求求你,你……你……别吓我,我……我不是想打死你,我只是跟你比武打架,大家玩儿,谁叫你……谁叫你这样脓包,打不过我……”突然察觉到韦小宝鼻中有轻微的呼吸之声,她心中一喜,伸手去摸他心口,只觉一颗心兀自跳动,笑道:“死太监,原来你没死。这一次饶了你,快睁开眼来。”

韦小宝仍然不动,公主却不再上他当了,喝道:“我挖出你的眼珠,教你死后变成个瞎鬼,找不到我。”拿起短刀,将刀尖指到他右眼皮上。韦小宝大惊,一个打滚,立即滚开。公主怒道:“坏小鬼头,你又来吓我。我……我非刺瞎你的眼睛不可。”跳将过去,伸足猛力踏住他胸口,举刀往他右眼疾戳下去。这一下可不是假装,她和身猛刺,刀势劲急,不但要戳瞎他眼睛,势必直刺入脑。韦小宝双腿急曲,膝盖向她胸口撞去,拍的一声,公主身子一晃,软软摔倒。韦小宝大喜,弯了身子,伸手拔出靴筒中匕首,先割开缚住双脚的衣襟,一站起身,便在公主头顶上重重踢了一脚,教她一时不得醒转,这才将匕首插入桌腿,转过身来,将缚住双手的腰带到刃锋上去轻轻擦动,只擦得两下,腰带便即断了。

他舒了一口长气,死里逃生,说不出的开心,身上到处是伤,痛得厉害,一时也不去理会,心想:“如何处置这臭小娘,倒是件天大的难事。听她口气,似乎当真是跟我玩耍,倘若是奉太后之命杀我,干么见我装假死,反而害怕起来?可是小孩子玩耍,哪有玩得这么凶的?是了,她是公主,压根儿就没把太监宫女当人,人家死也好,活也好,她只当是捏死一只蚂蚁。”越想越气,向她胸口又是一脚。
He knew now that she was only playing but that, to this spoiled, unfeeling girl, eunuchs and maids-of-honour were scarcely human, and killing one of them was of no more consequence than squashing an ant. The thought that he was only an ant to her made him furious. Rage gave him superhuman strength. Wriggling about as she bent over him, he kicked out with both his feet and caught her in the solar plexus, knocking all the wind from her body and laying her out temporarily unconscious. In the brief respite this gave him he managed, by several contortions, to extract the dagger from his boot with one of his bound hands and cut through the belt which bound his feet. Then he plunged the dagger into a leg of the table, sat on the floor with his back to it, and freed his hands by rubbing the cloth which bound them against the blade. Though the whole of his body was in agony, a great happiness swept over him. He went over to the Princess and kicked her once more in the stomach.

不料这一脚,却踢得她闭住的气息顺了。公主一声呻吟,醒了转来,慢慢支撑着站起,骂道:“死太监,你……”韦小宝正自恼怒,伸手拍拍两个耳光,当胸一拳,右足横扫,公主又即跌倒。他跳将上去,倒骑在她背上,双拳便如擂鼓,往她腿上、背上、屁股上用力打去,叫道:“死小娘、臭小娘,婊子生的鬼丫头,老子打死了你。”公主大叫:“别打,别打!你没规矩,我叫太后杀了你,叫……叫皇帝杀了你,凌……凌迟处死。”
Curiously, this second kick had the effect of bringing her back to consciousness. She gave a little sigh, opened her eyes, and got up slowly on her feet. Almost at once she began cursing him: ‘Horrible little eunuch . . . !’ But Trinket’s wrath was now thoroughly roused and he slapped her hard on both cheeks. Then he punched her in the chest and sent her sprawling by sweeping her feet from under her with his leg. When she tried to get up, he sat down on her facing her feet and began fiercely pummelling every part of her that he could reach, legs, back, and bottom. ‘Stinking little tart!’ he cried, as his fists flailed down on her. ‘Whore’s abortion! I’ll kill you!’ ‘Don’t you dare!’ she screamed. ‘I’ll tell my mother. I’ll tell the Emperor. I’ll have you executed by a thousand cuts,’

韦小宝心中一寒,便即住手,转念又想:“打也打了,索性便打个痛快。”挥拳又打,骂道:“老子操你十八代祖宗,打死你这臭小娘!”打得几下,公主忽然嗤的一笑。韦小宝大奇:“我如此用力打她,怎么她不哭反笑?”从桌腿上拔出匕首,指住她颈项,左手将她身子翻了过来,喝道:“笑什么?”只见她眉眼如丝,满脸笑意,似乎真的十分欢畅,并非做作,听她柔声说道:“别打得那么重,可也别打得太轻了。”韦小宝摸不着头脑,只怕她突施诡计,右足牢牢踏住她胸口,喝道:“你玩什么花样,老子才不上当呢。”
This gave him pause. Execution by a thousand cuts, sometimes known as the Slow Process, was a particularly nasty form of death, a lingering farewell to this world, during which bits of the body were sliced away one by one. But then he thought that now he’d started, he might just as well go on, so that, whatever the consequences, at least he would have had the satisfaction of giving her a good thrashing. ‘I don’t give a damn,’ he said. ‘Damn you! And all your ancestors!’ He laid into her again, but after a few more thumps she gave a little giggle. Trinket stopped in surprise. He pulled his dagger from the table-leg and, using his free hand to turn her over, pointed it threateningly at her throat. ‘What’s so funny?’ The Princess’s face was full of smiles. ‘You can go on hitting me if you like,’ she said coyly ‘only not quite so hard.’ Trinket was mystified. Was this some sort of trap? He put his dagger away and placed a foot on her chest. ‘Don’t try anything,’ he said. ‘I’m not falling for any more of your tricks.’

公主身子一挣,鼻中嗯嗯两声,似要跳起身来。韦小宝喝道:“不许动。”在她额上用力一推,公主又即倒下。韦小宝只觉伤口中一阵阵抽痛,怒火又炽,拍拍拍拍四下,左右开弓,连打她四个耳光。公主又是嗯嗯几声,胸口起伏,脸上神情却是说不出的舒服,轻声说道:“死太监,别打我脸。打伤了,太后问起来,只怕瞒不了。”韦小宝骂道:“臭小娘,你这犯贱货,越是挨打越开心,是不是?”伸手在她左臂上重重扭了两把,公主“哎唷,哎唷”的叫了几声,皱起眉头,眼中却孕着笑意。韦小宝道:“他妈的,舒不舒服?”
She tried to raise her head, but he pushed her back by her forehead. Then she let fly a kick. It caught him on one of the salt-filled cuts, which were already throbbing painfully. In a fury he began slapping her—left, right, left, right—on both sides of her face. ‘Don’t hit my face,’ she said. ‘If you hurt my face, the Empress Dowager will notice it and start asking questions.’ He gritted his teeth and gave her a couple of savage pinches on her left arm. ‘Aiyo, aiyo!’ she cried and frowned a little: but there was a look almost of happiness in her eyes. ‘Tamardy!’ said Trinket. ‘You liked that, didn’t you!’

公主不答,缓缓闭上眼睛,突然间飞起一脚,踢中韦小宝大腿,正是一处刀伤的所在。韦小宝吃痛,扑上去按住她双肩,在她臂上、肩头、胸口、小腹使劲力扭。公主格格直笑,叫道:“死太监,小太监,好公公,好哥哥,饶了我罢,我……我……真吃不消啦。”
She kicked again. This was too much. He tied her hands and feet up with both their belts, knelt on her shoulders, and began pinching her all over as hard as he could. She laughed. ‘Horrible little eunuch! I mean dear eunuch, darling eunuch! Have mercy!’

她这么柔声一叫,韦小宝心中突然一荡,心想:“她这么叫唤,倒像是方姑娘在海船中跟我说情话的模样。”怒气大减,然而她到底打什么主意,实是难测,于是依样画葫芦,解下她腰带,将她双手双脚绑住。公主笑道:“死小鬼头儿,你干什么?”韦小宝道:“叫你别打坏主意害人。”站起身来,呼呼喘气,全身疼痛,又欲晕去。公主笑道:“小桂子,今天玩得真开心,你还打不打我?”韦小宝道:“你不打我,我又怎敢打你?”公主道:“我动不来啦,你就是再打我,我也没法子。”韦小宝吐了一口唾沫,道:“你不是公主,你是贱货。”在她屁股上踢了一脚。
Trinket got up, panting. His body hurt all over and he felt he was going to faint. His anger had subsided somewhat, giving way to a sensation rather like the one he had experienced when he was with Fang Yi on the voyage; but he still couldn’t make her out. ‘This is fun,’ she said. ‘Can’t we go on playing?’ ‘Fun!’ said Trinket. ‘Your “playing” has just about killed me.’ ‘I can’t hurt you while I’m tied up,’ said the Princess.’ You can go on hitting me though if you like.’ He spat. ‘You’re no Princess,’ he said. ‘You’re a little tart.’

公主“哎唷”一声,道:“咱们再玩么?”韦小宝道:“老子性命给你玩去了半条,还玩?我现在扮诸葛亮,也要火烧藤甲兵,把你头发和衣服都烧了。”公主急道:“头发不能烧……”嘻嘻一笑,说道:“你烧我衣裳好了,全身都烧起泡,我也不怕。”韦小宝道:“呸,你不怕死,老子可不陪你发颠。我得去治伤了,伤口里都是盐,当真好玩么?”这时才相信公主并无杀害自己之意,将她手上缚着的腰带解开。公主道:“真的不玩了?那么明天再来,好不好?”语气中满是祈求之意。韦小宝道:“要是太后和皇上知道了,我还有命么?”公主慢慢站起,道:“只要我不说,太后和皇上怎会知道?明天你别打我脸。身上伤痕再多也不打紧。”韦小宝摇头道:“明天不能来。我给你打得太厉害,一两个月,养不好伤。”公主道:“哼,你明天不来?刚才你骂我什么?说操我的十八代祖宗。我的十八代祖宗,就是皇帝哥哥的十八代祖宗,是皇阿爸的十七代祖宗,太宗皇帝的十六代祖宗,太祖皇帝的十五代祖宗……”韦小宝目瞪口呆,暗暗叫苦,突然灵机一动,说道:“你不是老皇爷生的,我骂你的祖宗,跟皇上、老皇爷,什么太祖皇帝、太宗皇帝全不相干。”公主大怒,叫道:“我怎么不是老皇爷生的?你这死太监胡说八道,明天午后我在这里等你,你这死太监倘若不来,我就去禀告太后,说你打我。”说着捋起衣袖,一条雪白粉嫩的手臂之上,青一块,黑一块,全是给他扭起的乌青。韦小宝暗暗心惊:“刚才怎么下手如此之重。”公主道:“哼,你明天不来,瞧你要命不要?”
‘Are you really not going to play any more?’ she asked. ‘Let’s meet again tomorrow, then.’ He shook his head. ‘I can’t come tomorrow. It will take me more than a day to get over these injuries. More like a month, I should think.’ He began untying the belts round her hands and feet. ‘You must come tomorrow,’ she said. ‘I shall be waiting here for you at the same time. If you don’t come, I shall show the Empress Dowager what you’ve done to me.’ She rolled up one of her sleeves and showed him her arm. It was entirely covered with black and blue bruises where he had pinched her.

到此情景,韦小宝欲不屈服,亦不可得,只好点头道:“我明天来陪你玩便是,不过你不能再打我了。”公主大喜,道:“你来就好,我再打你,你也打还我好了。咱们江湖上好汉,讲究恩怨分明。”韦小宝苦笑道:“再给你打一顿,我这条好汉就变成恶鬼了。”公主笑道:“你放心,我不会当真打死你的。”
‘All right,’ he said. Til come on condition that you don’t hit me any more.’ After some argument she agreed. ‘Whenever I try playing with one of the guards or one of the other eunuchs,’ she said, ‘they won’t fight back properly. The only person who’s ever given me a proper fight is the Emperor, and even he has never really hurt me like you did. So don’t worry, Laurie, I shan’t kill you. I can’t afford to lose you.’

顿了一顿,又道:“最多打得你半死不活。”见他脸色有异,嫣然一笑,柔声道:“小桂子,宫里这许多太监侍卫,我就只喜欢你一个。另外那些家伙太没骨气,就是给我打死了,也不敢骂我一句‘臭小娘、贱货……’”学着他骂人的腔调:“婊子生的鬼丫头!嘻嘻,从来没人这样骂过我。”韦小宝又好气,又好笑,道:“你爱挨骂?”公主笑道:“要像你这样骂我才好。太后板起脸训斥,要我守规矩,我可就不爱听了。”韦小宝道:“那你最好去丽春院。”心想:“你去做婊子,臭骂你的人可就多了。老鸨要骂要打,嫖客发起火来,也会又打又骂。”公主精神一振,问道:“丽春院是什么地方?好不好玩?”韦小宝肚里暗笑,道:“好玩极了,不过是在江南,你不能去。你只要在丽春院里住上三个月,包你开心得要命,公主也不想做了。”公主叹了口气,悠然神往,道:“等我年纪大了,一定要去。”韦小宝正色道:“好,好!将来我一定带你去。大丈夫一言既出,死马难追。”他这句“驷马难追”总记不住,“什么马难追”是不说了,却说成“死马难追”。公主握住他手,说道:“我跟那些侍卫太监们打架,谁也故意让我,半点也不好玩。只有昨天皇帝哥哥跟我比武,才有三分真打,不过他也不肯打痛、扭痛了我。好小桂子,只有你一个,才是真的打我。你放心,我决计不舍得杀你。”

突然凑过嘴去,在他嘴唇上亲了一亲,脸上一红,飞奔出房。韦小宝霎时间只觉天旋地转,一交坐倒,心想:“这公主只怕是有些疯了,我越打她骂她,她越开心。他妈的,这老婊子生的鬼丫头,难道真的喜欢我这假太监?”想到她秀丽的面庞,心下迷迷糊糊,缓缓站起,支撑着回屋,筋疲力竭,一倒在床,便即睡着了。
Quite suddenly she leant forwards and gave him a kiss, then turned and fled, blushing, from the room. Trinket sat down heavily, his head spinning. She must be a bit mad, this Princess. The more you hit her and swore at her, the more she seemed to like it. Tamardy!’ he thought. ‘Can she really have taken a fancy to me? I’m supposed to be a eunuch!’ But for the time being he was feeling too muzzy to think properly. Slowly getting to his feet, he dragged himself off to his room, where, utterly exhausted, he threw himself down on the bed and went straight to sleep.

这一觉直睡了五个多时辰,醒转时天色已黑,只觉全身到处疼痛,忍不住呻吟,站起身来想洗去伤口中盐末,哪知一解衣服,伤口鲜血凝结,都已牢牢粘在衣上,一扯之下,又是一阵剧痛,不免又再“臭小娘、烂小娘”的乱骂一顿,当下洗去盐末,敷上金创药。
He must have slept for about five hours, because it was already getting dark when he awoke. His whole body hurt so much that he could hardly help crying out, and when he got up and went to wash the salt out of his wounds, he found that the blood from them had congealed and stuck to his clothes, making it agony to undress. He did eventually succeed in undressing, all the time cursing the hateful girl who was responsible for his suffering, and when he had washed and dried the numerous cuts and stab-wounds she had inflicted, he sprinkled them liberally with wound-powder.

Emperor and Shifu

次日去见小皇帝,康熙见他鼻青目肿,头发眉毛都给烧得七零八落,大吃一惊,登时料到是那宝贝御妹的杰作,问道:“是公主打的?受的伤不重吗?”韦小宝苦笑道:“还好。师父,徒儿丢了您老人家的脸,只好苦练三年,再去找回这场子,为你老人家争光。”
Trinket went on duty next day sporting two black eyes. His nose, cheeks, and lips were swollen and his eyebrows and most of his hair, including his long, glossy pigtail, had been burnt away. Kang Xi knew that this was the handiwork of his precious sister, but was shocked by the extent of the damage. ‘Did the Princess do this?’ he asked. ‘I hope you’re not seriously injured.’ ‘It’s not too bad,’ said Trinket, managing a rueful smile. ‘I’m afraid I let you down badly, Majesty. I’ll have to train at least another three years before I can be a credit to you.’

康熙本来担心他怒气冲天,求自己给他出头,不过御妹虽然理屈,做主子的殴打奴才,总是理所当然之事,但如不理,却又怕他到了五台山上,服侍父皇不肯尽心,正感为难,听他这么说,竟对此事并不抱怨,只当作一场玩耍,不由得大喜,笑道:“小桂子,你真好!我非好好赏赐你不可。你想要什么?”韦小宝道:“师父不责弟子学艺不精,弟子已经感激万分,什么赏赐都不用了。”顿了一顿,说道:“师父传授弟子几招高招,以后遇险,不会再给人欺侮,也就是了。”
Kang Xi was relieved that he was taking his beating in good part. He had been worried that Trinket might ask him to side with him against the Princess, which he could not possibly have done, since she was a member of the ruling class whose prerogative it was to beat servants as and when they pleased. In that case Trinket might have carried his resentment with him to the Wutai Mountains and been considerably less enthusiastic about serving the Old Emperor. ‘You’re a good fellow,’ he said. ‘I really must do something to reward you. What would you like?’ ‘Perhaps you could give me a few tips that I could use in future combat,’ said Trinket. Kang Xi was rather tickled.

康熙哈哈大笑,道:“好,好!”当下将太后所传武功,拣了几招精妙招数传授给他。这几招擒拿手法虽然也颇不凡,但比之洪教主夫妇所传的六招却差得远了。韦小宝以前和他比武,这几招也见他用过,此时一加点拨,不多时便学会了。韦小宝心想:“以前和他摔交,便似朋友一般。但他是皇帝,我是奴才,这朋友总是做不久长。这次回北京来,眼见他人没大了多少,威风却大得多了,‘小玄子’三字再也叫不出口,不如改了称呼,也是拍马屁的妙法。”当即跪下,咚咚咚磕了八个响头,说道:“师父在上,弟子韦小宝是你老人家的开山大弟子。”康熙一怔,登时明白了他的用意,一来觉得挺好玩,二来确也不喜他再以“小玄子”相称,笑道:“君无戏言!我说过是你师父,只好收了你做徒弟。”
‘All right,’ he said, and proceeded to demonstrate a few of the methods he had learned from the Empress Dowager. When Trinket thought he had mastered them, he dropped to his knees and kowtowed, knocking his head altogether eight times on the floor. ‘Majesty, will you be my Shifu, and have Trinket Wei as your first pupil?’ Since his return from the island he had noticed that, though Kang Xi had not grown physically during his absence, he had gained considerably in authority and self-importance and was no longer the carefree Misty with whom he had romped and wrestled in the past. Kang Xi, for his part, saw that they could no longer pretend to be equals, even when they were alone, and rather welcomed the new teacher-pupil relationship that Trinket was offering him. ‘All right,’ he said. ‘I was the one who started this and an Emperor shouldn’t go back on his word. I accept you as my pupil. Only you must never let anyone else know about this.’

叫道:“来人哪!”两名太监、两名侍卫走进书房。康熙道:“转过身来。”四人应道:“是。”但规矩臣子不得以背向着皇帝,否则极为不敬,四人不明康熙用意,只微微侧身,不敢转身。康熙从书桌上拿起一把金剪刀,走到四人身后。四人又略略侧身。康熙看了看四人的辫子,见其中一名太监的辫子最是油光乌亮,左手抓住了,喀的一声,齐发根剪了下来。那太监只吓得魂飞天外,当即跪倒,连连叩头,道:“奴才该死,奴才该死!”康熙笑道:“不用怕,赏你十两银子。大家出去罢!”四人莫名其妙,只觉天威难测,倒退了出去。
He called for service, and two guards and two eunuchs came running in. Kang Xi made them stand in a row, shoulder to shoulder, then, taking a pair of scissors from his desk, he walked along behind them, selected the largest, glossiest pigtail of the four, and cut it off. It belonged to one of the eunuchs. The wretched fellow, scared out of his wits, dropped down on his knees and began kowtowing. ‘Your Majesty, Your Majesty,’ he whimpered, ‘forgive me, forgive me.’ ‘Don’t be afraid,’ said Kang Xi. ‘I award you ten taels compensation. Now be off with you all!’ The pigtail-less eunuch got up, and the four of them, totally nonplussed, walked backwards, bowing, from the room. The ways of Heaven and the whims of Princes were alike unfathomable. Who were they to question them?

康熙将辫子交给韦小宝,笑道:“你就要去做和尚,公主烧了你头发,看来也是天意。上天假公主之手,吩咐你去落发为僧。你先把这条假辫子结在头上,否则有失观瞻。”韦小宝跪下道:“是,师父爱惜徒弟,真是体贴之至。”康熙笑道:“你拜我为师,可不许跟旁人说起。我知你口紧,谨慎小心,这才答应。你若在外招摇,我掌门人立时便废了你武功,将你逐出门墙。”韦小宝连称:“是,是,弟子不敢。”康熙和他比武摔交,除了太后和海大富之外,宫中始终并无旁人得知,心想闹着玩收他为徒,只要决不外传,也不失皇帝的体面,但他生性谨细,特意叮嘱一番。康熙坐了下来,心想:“太后阴险毒辣,教我武功也决不会当真尽心,否则她将人打得骨节寸断的厉害功夫,怎地半招也不传我?我虽做了师父,其实比之这小子也强不了多少,没什么高明武功传他。少林寺的和尚武功极高,此番父皇有难,也是他们相救……”想到此处,心中有了个主意,说道:“你去休息养伤,明天再来见我。”
‘You’d better take this,’ Kang Xi said, handing Trinket the pigtail when the two of them were once more alone together. ‘You won’t need any hair when you’re a monk, but in the meantime this will make you look a bit more presentable.’ Trinket kowtowed his thanks and stood watching him expectantly. The young Emperor had sat down at his desk and appeared to be lost in thought. Here he was, pretending to be Trinket’s teacher, Kang Xi was thinking, yet in actual fact neither of them was much good at kungfu, or would be of much use to his father in a crisis. Who were the great masters of self-defence? Probably the most dependable to have around you in times of need were the monks of the Shaolin Monastery, where the arts of self-defence had been preserved and cultivated for centuries. A plan began forming itself in his mind. ‘You can go now,’ he told Trinket. ‘Come and see me again tomorrow.’

Mistress and Slave

韦小宝回到下处,命手下太监去请御医来敷药治伤。伤处虽痛,却均是皮肉之伤,并未伤及筋骨,太医说将养得十天半月,便即好了,不用担心。他吃过饭后,便去应公主之约,心头七上八下,既怕她再打,却又喜欢见她。
When Trinket got back to his room, he sent for one of the Imperial Physicians, who assured him, after examining his wounds and applying medication to them, that although they were so painful, they were only superficial and ought to heal up in a couple of weeks or so; then, after finishing his lunch, he went off to keep his appointment with the Princess. Rather surprisingly, though apprehensive that she might try to hurt him again, he found himself quite looking forward to seeing her.

一推开门,公主一声大叫,扑将上来。韦小宝早已有备,左臂挡格,右足一勾,右手已抓住了公主后领,将她按得俯身下弯。公主笑骂:“死太监,今天你怎么厉害起来啦。”韦小宝抓住她左臂反扭,低声道:“你不叫我好桂子、好哥哥,我把你这条手臂扭断了。”
As soon as he entered the room, she was on him with a shout; but this time he was ready for her. He warded off the blow and soon had her bending forwards with an arm twisted behind her back. ‘Horrible little eunuch!’ she cried. ‘A bit livelier today than yesterday, aren’t you!’ ‘My name’s Laurie, if you don’t mind,’ said Trinket. ‘Just say “Laurie”, will you, or “dear Laurie”, unless you want me to break your arm.’

公主骂道:“呸,你这死奴才!”韦小宝将公主的手臂重重一扭,喝道:“你不叫,我将你这条手臂给扭断了。”公主笑道:“我偏偏不叫。”韦小宝心想:“小娘皮的确犯贱。我越打她,她越欢喜。”左手拍的一声,在她臀上重重打了一拳。公主身子一跳,却格格的笑了起来。韦小宝道:“他妈的,原来你爱挨打。”使劲连击数拳。公主痛得缩在地下,站不起来,韦小宝这才停手。公主喘气道:“好啦,现下轮到我来打你。”韦小宝摇头道:“不,我不给你打。”心想这小娘下手如此狠辣,给她打将起来,随时随刻有性命之忧。公主软语求恳,韦小宝只是不肯。

公主大发脾气,扑上来又打又咬,给韦小宝几个耳光,推倒在地,揪住头发,又打了一顿屁股,心想屁股也打了,也不用客气啦,伸手在她全身到处乱扭。公主伏在他脚边,抱住了他两腿,将脸庞挨在他小腿之间,轻轻磨擦,娇媚柔顺,腻声道:“好桂子,好哥哥,你给我打一次罢,我不打痛你便是。”韦小宝见她犹似小鸟依人一般,又听她叫得亲热,心神荡漾,便待答允。公主又道:“好哥哥,你身上出血,我见了比什么都喜欢。”
But the Princess was unwilling to admit herself beaten, and put up a struggle. He gave her a few thumps, and she smilingly informed him that she only felt really happy when she saw his blood flowing.

韦小宝吓了一跳,怒道:“不行!”提起左足,在她头上踢了一脚,道:“放开了,我要去了。跟你磨在一起,总有一日死在你手里。”公主叹道:“你不跟我玩了?”韦小宝道:“太危险,时时刻刻会送了老命。”公主格格一笑,站起身来,道:“好!那么你扶我回房去,我给你打得路也走不动了。”韦小宝道:“我不扶。”公主扶着墙壁,慢慢出去,道:“好桂子,明儿再来,好不好?”忽然左腿一屈,险些摔倒。韦小宝抢上去扶住。公主道:“好桂子,劳你的驾,去叫两名太监来扶我回去。”韦小宝心想一叫太监,只怕给太后知道,查究公主为什么受伤,只要稍有泄漏,那可是杀头的罪名,只得扶住了她,道:“我扶你回房就是。”公主笑道:“好桂子,多谢你。”靠在他肩头,向西而行。公主的住处在慈宁宫之西、寿康宫之侧。
This made Trinket completely lose his temper, and he gave her such a trouncing that she ended up helpless on the floor. After much pleading, and only after she had promised not to try hitting him again, he consented to help her up and support her on her way back to her apartment, which was on the west side of the Hall of Maternal Tranquillity where the Empress Dowager lived.

两人渐渐走近慈宁花园,韦小宝想起太后的神气,心下栗栗危惧。两人行到长廊之下,公主忽然在他耳边轻轻吹气。韦小宝脸上一红,道:“不……不要……”公主柔声道:“为什么?我又不是打你。”说着将他耳垂轻轻咬住,伸出舌尖,缓缓舐动。韦小宝只觉麻痒难当,低声道:“你如咬痛了我耳朵,我可永远不来见你了。大丈夫一言既出,死马难追。”公主本想突然间将他耳垂咬下一块肉来,听了这句话,不敢再咬,只腻声而笑,直笑得韦小宝面红耳赤,全身酸软。

到了公主寝宫,韦小宝转身便走。公主道:“你进来,我给你瞧一件玩意儿。”这时建宁宫中的四名太监、四名宫女站在门外侍候,韦小宝已不敢放肆,只得跟了进去。公主拉着他手,直入自己卧室。两名宫女跟着进来,拿着热手巾给公主净脸。公主拿起一块手巾,递给韦小宝。韦小宝接过,擦去脸上汗水。两名宫女见公主对这小太监居然破格礼遇,连对太后皇上也没这样客气,而这小太监竟也坦然接受,无礼之极,不由得都是呆了。
As soon as they arrived at the entrance, he turned to go. ‘No, come inside,’ she said. ‘There’s something I want to show you.’ There were four eunuchs and four Palace ladies on duty outside, so he couldn’t argue. He had to submit while she took him by the hand and led him through to her bedroom. Soon two Palace ladies came in with hot towels. The Princess took one and wiped her perspiring face with it, then handed one to Trinket. The women goggled somewhat to see the Princess treating a mere eunuch almost more politely than she did her own mother.

公主一瞥眼见了,瞪眼道:“有什么好看?”两名宫女道:“是,是!”弯腰退出,哪知已然迟了,公主一伸手,向近身一名宫女眼中挖去。那宫女微微一让,一声惨呼,眼珠虽没挖中,脸上却是鲜血淋漓,自额头直至下巴,登时出现四条爪痕。两名宫女只吓得魂飞天外,疾忙退出。公主笑道:“你瞧,这些奴才就只会叫嚷求饶,有什么好玩?”韦小宝见她出手残忍,心想这小婊子太过凶恶,跟她母亲老婊子差不多,还是及早脱身为是,说道:“公主,皇上差我有事去办,我要去了。”公主道:“急什么?”反手关上了门,上了门闩。韦小宝心中怦怦乱跳,不知她要干什么怪事。
‘What are you staring at?’ she shouted, going for the eyes of the nearer one with her nails. Fortunately she missed the woman’s eyes, but left deep red scratch-marks beside her left eye, from which the blood trickled down to her chin. The two women dashed from the room in terror. ‘You see what whining slaves they are!’ said the Princess. ‘Nobody will stand up to me but you.’ Trinket wondered what she was planning to do next.

公主笑道:“我做主子做了十五年,总是给人服侍,没点味道,今儿咱们来换换班。你做主子,我做奴才。”韦小宝双手乱摇,道:“不行,不行。我可没这福气。”公主俏脸一沉,说道:“你不答应吗?我要大叫了,我说你对我无礼,打得我全身青肿。”突然纵声叫道:“哎唷,好痛啊!”韦小宝连连作揖,说道:“别嚷,别嚷,我听你吩咐就是。”这是公主寝宫,外面有许多太监宫女站着侍候,她只消再叫得几声,立时便有人涌将进来,可不比那间比武的小屋,四下无人。公主微微一笑,说道:“贱骨头!好好跟你说,偏偏不肯听,定要敬酒不吃吃罚酒。”韦小宝心道:“你才是贱骨头,主子不做做奴才。”公主屈下一膝,恭恭敬敬的向他请个安,说道:“桂贝勒,你要安息了吗,奴才侍候你脱衣。”韦小宝哼了一声,道:“我不睡。你给我轻轻的捶捶腿。”公主道:“是!”坐在地下,端起他右足,搁在自己腿上,轻轻捶了起来,细心熨贴,一点也没触痛他伤处。韦小宝赞道:“好奴才胚子,你服侍得我挺美啊。”伸手在她脸颊上轻轻扭了一把。公主大乐,低声道:“主子夸奖了。”
‘I’m tired of always being a mistress,’ she said. Today we’ll change places. You can be the master and I’ll be your slave.’ Trinket objected, but when she threatened to scream blue murder and then claim that he had assaulted her, he submitted in order to keep her quiet. She sat him down in a chair and made him a deep curtsey. ‘Now, Prince Laurie,’ she said, ‘I’m sure Your Highness would like to rest. Let me help you undress.’ ‘No, thank you,’ said Trinket. ‘I don’t feel like sleeping yet. You can give me a very gentle massage if you like.’ ‘Very good,’ said the Princess eagerly, and kneeling with one knee on the floor, she laid one of his legs across her other knee and began to massage it, taking great care to avoid the parts that were still sore. After a while she took his boot off and began massaging his foot. Thank you, slave,’ said Trinket, pinching her gently on the cheek. ‘I think you made a very good job of that.’ The Princess was delighted.

除下他靴子,在他脚上轻捏一会,换过他左足,捶了半晌,又脱下靴子按摩,说道:“桂贝勒,你睡上床去,我给你捶背。”韦小宝给她按摩得十分舒服,心想这贱骨头如不过足奴才瘾,决不能放我走,便上床横卧,鼻中立时传入幽香阵阵,心想:“这贱骨头的床这等华丽,丽春院中的头等婊子,也没这般漂亮的被褥枕头。”公主拉过一条薄被,盖在他身上,在他背上轻轻拍打。韦小宝迷迷糊糊,正在大充桂贝勒之际,忽听得门外许多人齐声道:“皇太后驾到!”他这一惊非同小可,忙欲跳起。
When she had finished giving the same treatment to the other leg, she asked him to lie down. ‘Now, Prince Laurie, if you will lie down on the bed, I’ll massage your back for you.’ Trinket could see that he would never get away until he had let her go through with this, so he got up on to what was the most luxuriously appointed, ravishingly perfumed bed he had ever come across and lay down on his side. The Princess drew a quilt over him and began gently pummelling his back. Trinket was growing drowsy and just beginning, in his drowsiness, to enter fully into the spirit of his new role, when there was a chorus of voices outside the apartment: ‘Her Imperial Majesty the Empress Dowager!’ He sat up with a start.

公主神色惊惶,颤声道:“来不及逃啦,快别动,钻在被窝里。”韦小宝头一缩,钻入了被中,隐隐听得打门之声,只吓得险些晕去。公主放下帐子,转身拔开门闩,一开门,太后便跨了进来,说道:“青天白日的,关上了门干什么?”公主笑道:“我倦得很,正想睡一忽儿。”太后坐了下来,问道:“又在搞什么古怪玩意儿了,怎么脸上一点也没血色?”公主道:“我说倦得很啊。”
There’s no time to get away,’ said the Princess in a great panic. ‘Get under the bedclothes and don’t move!’ Trinket quickly lay down again and disappeared beneath the quilt. Through it, almost fainting with terror, he could hear the muffled sound of someone thumping on the door. The Princess drew the bed-curtains together and ran to unbar the door. As soon as it was open, the Empress Dowager came striding in. ‘Barring the door in broad daylight! What does this mean?’ ‘I’m feeling very tired,’ said the Princess, forcing a smile. ‘I was just about to lie down and have a sleep.’ The Empress Dowager seated herself in a chair. ‘What mischief are you up to this time?’ she said. ‘Your face is as white as a sheet.’ ‘I told you,’ said the Princess. ‘I’m very tired.’

太后一低头,见到床前一对靴子,又见锦帐微动,心知有异,向众太监宫女道:“你们都在外面侍候。”待众人出去,说道:“关上了门,上了闩。”公主笑道:“太后也搞什么古怪玩意儿吗?”依言关门,顺着太后的目光瞧去,见到了靴子,不由得脸色大变,强笑道:“我正想穿上男装,扮个小子给太后瞧瞧。你说我穿了男装,模样儿俊不俊?”
As the Empress Dowager looked around her, her glance lit on a pair of men’s boots by the side of die bed. She also thought she could detect a slight movement of the bed-curtains. ‘Go and wait outside, all of you,’ she said to the eunuchs and women who attended her. When they had all trooped out, she ordered the Princess to shut and bar the door. The Princess did this witJh an ill grace, then, following her mother’s steely glance, she noticed the boots beside die bed and coloured. ‘Oh, those,’ she said lighdy. ‘I’ve been dressing up. I was going to ask you what you thought. I think I make rather a handsome boy.’

太后冷冷的道:“得瞧床上那小子模样儿俊不俊?”陡地站起,走到床前。公主大骇,拉住太后的手,叫道:“太后,我跟他闹着玩儿……”太后手一甩,将她摔开几步,捋起帐子,揭开被子,抓住韦小宝的衣领,提了起来。韦小宝面向里床,不敢转头和她相对,早吓得全身簌簌发抖。公主叫道:“太后,这是皇帝哥哥最喜欢的小太监,你……你可别伤他。”太后哼了一声,心想女儿年纪渐大,情窦已开,床上藏个小太监,也不过做些假凤虚凰的勾当,算不了什么大事,右手一转,将韦小宝的脸转了过来,拍拍两记耳光,喝道:“滚你的,再教我见到你跟公主鬼混……”突然间看清楚了他面貌,惊道:“是你?”
‘I’d like to see what that boy in the bed looks like,’ said the Empress Dowager grimly, striding over, drawing the curtains apart, and lifting up the quilt. She seized die hapless Trinket by the collar and raised him up from the bed. He was shaking in every limb but was careful to keep his head turned away from her. ‘Don’t hurt him!’ cried the Princess. ‘He’s one of the Emperor’s favourite eunuchs,’ The Empress Dowager was not seriously worried by her discovery. She assumed that the Princess, having reached an age at which die first stirrings of sexual awakening are felt, was playing at ‘mothers and fathers’—harmlessly, in this case, since the playfellow she was experimenting with was a eunuch. She forced him to turn his face towards her and dealt it a couple of slaps. ‘Now be off!’ she said. ‘And don’t let me see you anywhere near Her Highness again!’ But tiien she looked more closely and realized who it was. ‘Oh!’ she said in surprise. ‘So it’s you?

韦小宝一转头,说道:“不是我!”这三字莫名其妙,可是当此心惊胆战之际,又有什么话可说?太后牢牢抓住他后领,缓缓道:“天堂有路你不走,地狱无门闯进来。你对公主无礼,今日可怨不得我。”公主急道:“太后,是我要他睡在这里的,不能怪他。”太后左掌在韦小宝脑门轻轻一拍,左臂提起,便却运劲使重手击落,一掌便毙了他。韦小宝于万分危急之中,陡然想起洪教主所授那招“狄青降龙”,双手反伸,在太后胸前摸了一把。太后吃了一惊,胸口急缩,叱道:“你作死!”韦小宝双足在床沿上一登,一个倒翻筋斗,已骑在太后颈中,双手食指按住她眼睛,拇指抵住她太阳穴,喝道:“你一动,我便挖了你眼珠出来!”
‘No,’ said Trinket somewhat illogically, ‘it’s not,’ The Empress Dowager took a firmer grip on his collar. ‘Since you seem to deliberately run towards trouble,’ she said, ‘you can hardly blame me for the consequences.’ ‘I asked him to lie down in my bed,’ said the Princess. ‘It really isn’t his fault.’ The Empress Dowager ignored her and, raising her free hand high up in the air, prepared to deliver a blow mat would send Trinket speeding from this world to the next. In frantic desperation he resorted to one of the disreputable kungfu tricks that the Leader of the Mystic Dragon Sect had taught him—the third of the Three Heroes. He caused her to disengage by putting his hands behind him and squeezing her breasts. Then, stamping with his feet on the edge of the bed, he executed a clumsy back-somersault which landed him on her shoulders. As he straddled her neck from behind, he pressed his thumbs against the Greater Yang point on her temples and held a finger over each eye. ‘If you move,’ he said, ‘I’ll gouge your eyes out.’

他这一招并未熟练,本来难以施展,好在他站在床上而太后站在地下,一高一低,倒骑容易,而挖眼本来该用中指,却变成了食指,倒翻筋斗时足尖勾下了帐子。这招使得拖泥带水,狼狈不堪,洪教主倘若亲见,非气个半死不可。虽然手法不对,但招式实在巧妙,太后还是受制,变起仓卒,竟然难以抵挡。公主哈哈大笑,叫道:“小桂子不得无礼,快放了太后。”韦小宝右腿一提,右手拔出匕首,抵在太后后心,这才从她颈中滑下。忽然啪的一声,一件五色灿烂的物事落在地下,正是神龙教的五龙令。太后大吃一惊,道:“这……这……东西……怎么来的?”韦小宝想起太后和神龙教的假宫女邓炳春、柳燕暗中勾结,说不定这五龙令可以逼她就范,说道:“什么这东西那东西,这是本教的五龙令,你不认得吗?好大的胆子!”
The Princess burst out laughing. ‘Naughty, naughty!’ she said. ‘Let the Empress go, Laurie!’ Trinket raised his right foot and drew the dagger from his boot. Then he slid down from the Empress Dowager’s shoulders, all the time keeping the dagger aimed at a Vital Point on her back. While he was executing these manoeuvres, the Five Dragon Disc had slipped out of his inside pocket. It now fell to the floor with a metallic clink. The Empress Dowager looked down at it and gasped. That—that thing!’ she cried. ‘How did it get here?’ Trinket already knew that she must have some connection with the Mystic Dragon Sect from the fact that she had harboured two of its members, Liu Yan, otherwise known as Sister Swallow, and the cross-dressing Deng Bingchun, both of them disguised as her ladies-in-waiting. He wondered if she would know about the disc and submit to its authority. It was worth a try. ‘What do you mean, that thing!’ he said. ‘How dare you! Don’t you recognize the Five Dragon sign when you see it? Don’t you know what it means?’

太后全身一颤,道:“是,是!”韦小宝听她言语恭顺,不由得心花怒放,说道:“见五龙令如见教主亲临,洪教主仙福永享,寿与天齐。”太后颤声道:“洪教主仙福永享,寿与天齐。”俯身拾起五龙令,高举过顶。韦小宝伸手接过,问道:“你听不听我号令?”太后道:“是,谨遵吩咐。”韦小宝道:“教主宝训,时刻在心。制胜克敌,无事不成!”太后跟着恭恭敬敬的念道:“教主宝训,时刻在心。制胜克敌,无事不成。”直到此刻,韦小宝才嘘了口气,放开匕首,大模大样的在床沿坐了下来。太后向公主道:“你到外面去,什么话也别说,否则我杀了你。”公主一惊,应道:“是。”向韦小宝看了一眼,满心疑惑,道:“太后,是皇帝哥哥的圣旨么?”康熙年纪渐大,威权渐重,太监宫女以及御前侍卫说到皇上时,畏敬之情与日俱增,公主也早知太后对皇帝颇为忌惮。太后点头道:“是。他是皇帝的亲信,有要紧事跟我说,可千万不能泄漏了,在皇帝跟前,更加不可提起。免得……免得皇帝恼你。”公主道:“是,是。我可没这么笨。”说着走出房去,反手带上了房门。
‘I do, I do,’ said the Empress Dowager, trembling all over. ‘Very good, then repeat after me,’ said Trinket: ‘Long Life to Our Leader! Blessings be on Him!’ ‘Long Life to Our Leader! Blessings be on Him!’ . ‘Obey His Teachings!’ Trinket intoned. ‘Follow Him to Victory!’ ‘Obey His Teachings! Follow Him to Victory!’ she echoed reverentiy. Inwardly sighing with relief, Trinket put away his dagger and seated himself imperiously on the bed. The Empress Dowager turned to the Princess. ‘Go outside!’ she said. ‘And don’t breathe a word of this to anyone, or I shall kill you.’ She looked as if she meant it, too. The Princess glanced wonderingly at Trinket. ‘Is this some secret business of Emperor-brother’s?’ she asked. ‘Yes,’ said the Empress Dowager. ‘And when you see him, you mustn’t let on that you know about it, or he will be very angry.’ ‘I’m not that stupid,’ said the Princess, and obediently left the room.

太后和韦小宝面面相对,心中均怀疑忌。过了一会,太后道:“隔墙有耳,此处非说话之所,请去慈宁宫详谈可好?”听她用了个“请”字,又是商量的口吻,不敢擅作主张,韦小宝更加宽心,随即又想:“这老婊子心狠手辣,骗我到慈宁宫中,不要使什么诡计,加害老子?”便点了点头,低声道:“我是本教新任白龙使,奉洪教主命令,出掌五龙令。”太后登时肃然起敬,躬身道:“属下参见白龙使。”
After a few moments, during which Trinket and the Empress Dowager looked at each other in silence, the Empress Dowager suggested, very deferentially that if they wanted to talk, it would be safer if they did so in the Hall of Maternal Tranquillity. Trinket nodded. But first, he thought, he had better explain the disc. ‘I’m the new White Dragon Marshal,’ he said, in a very low voice. ‘I’m here on the Leader’s instructions. He gave me the disc when he sent me out on my mission.’ The Empress Dowager bowed to him submissively. ‘Your servant,’ she murmured.

虽然韦小宝早已想到,太后既和黑龙门属下教众勾结,对洪教主必定十分尊敬,这五龙令对她多半有镇慑之效,但万万想不到她自己竟然也是神龙教中的教众,以她太后之尊,天下事何求不得,居然会去入了神龙教,而且地位远比自己为低,委实匪夷所思,眼见她恭恭敬敬的行礼,不由得愕然失措。
‘So she’s only an ordinary Comrade,’ he thought. ‘I’m actually higher up than her.’ He found it hard to imagine how a person of such exalted rank came to be a rank and file member of the Sect.

太后见他默默不语,还道他记着先前之恨,甚是惊惧,低声道:“属下先前不知尊使身份,多有得罪,十分惶恐,还望尊使大度宽容。”但见他年纪幼小,竟在教中身居高位,终究难以尽信,随即想到,近年来教主和夫人大举提拔少年,教中老兄弟或被屠戮,或被疑忌,权势渐失,这小孩新任白龙使,绝非奇事。又想:“就算他是真的白龙使,我此刻将他杀了,教中也无人知晓。这小鬼对我记恨极深,让他活着,那可后患无穷。”杀机既动,眼中不由自主的露出狠毒之色。
While he was musing on this, she mistook his silence to mean that he was feeling resentment. The red marks where she had slapped him were still plainly visible on his face. ‘I had no idea until now who you were,’ she said. ‘I hope you will forgive me for anything I did or said while I didn’t know.’ She wondered for a moment if this boy really could be who he said he was; but then she remembered hearing that the Leader and his wife had lately begun a campaign to import new blood into the Sect and that several of the old guard had been killed or fallen into disgrace. ‘Probably he really is the new White Dragon Marshal,’ she thought, ‘but in that case I’m in for a hard time. I know how much he hates me. Better kill him now, before he can do me any harm. No one need know I did it.’ At the mere idea of it, an evil gleam came into her eye.

韦小宝立时惊觉,暗道:“不好,老婊子要杀我。”低声道:“刚才我擒住你的手法,你可知是谁传授的?”太后吃了一惊,回想这小鬼适才所使手法,诡秘莫测,一招间便将自己制住,正是教主的手段,颤声道:“莫非……莫非是教主的亲传?”韦小宝笑道:“教主传了我三十招杀手,洪夫人传了我三十招擒拿手,比较起来,自然教主的手法厉害得多。不过他老人家的招数,一出手就取人性命,我不想杀你,因此只用了夫人所传的一招‘飞燕回翔’。”他吹牛不用本钱,招数一加便加了十倍。太后却毫不怀疑,知道洪夫人所使的许多招数,确是都安上个古代美人的名字,不由得出了身冷汗,寻思:“幸亏他只以洪夫人的招数对付我,倘若使出教主所传,此刻我早已性命不在了。”此刻哪里还敢有加害之意?恭恭敬敬的道:“多谢尊使不杀之恩。”韦小宝得意洋洋的道:“我没挖出你眼珠,比之夫人所授,又放宽三分了。”这话倒是不假,适才要挖太后眼珠,本来也可办到,只是她重伤之余,全力反击,也必取了他性命。太后越想越怕,道:“多谢手下留情,属下感激万分,必当报答尊使的恩德。”
Trinket noticed it with alarm. ‘She’s going to kill me,’ he thought. ‘I must say something to scare her.’ ‘I suppose you know who taught me that trick I played on you just now,’ he said. ‘It wasn’t… it wasn’t the Leader, was it?’ she asked nervously. They both taught me a lot,’ boasted Trinket. The moves the Leader taught me were all lethal. I decided to combine one of his Three Heroes with one of her Three Beauties—it’s called Princess Flying Swallow—because I didn’t want to kill you. Even so, I didn’t do it properly. To do it properly I should have gouged your eyes out. I left that bit out so you didn’t get hurt.’ The Empress Dowager shivered. ‘You are very kind,’ she said. ‘I shall try to find some way of showing you my gratitude.’

韦小宝本来一见太后便如耗子见猫,情不自禁的全身发抖,哪知此刻竟会将她制得帖帖服服,见她诚惶诚恐的站在面前,心中那份得意,当真难以言宣。他提起左腿,往右腿上一搁,晃了几晃,低声道:“这次随本使从神龙岛来京的,有胖头陀和陆高轩二人。”太后道:“是,是。”心想胖陆二人是教中高手,居然为他副贰,适才幸而没有鲁莽,倘若将他打死了,别说教主日后追究,即是胖陆二人找了上来,那也是死路一条,眼见他双颊上指痕宛然,正是自己所打的两个耳光所留,颤声道:“属下过去种种,委实罪该万死。尊使大人大量,后福无穷。”韦小宝微微一笑,道:“白龙使钟志灵背叛教主,教主和夫人已将他杀了,派我接掌白龙门。黑龙使张淡月办事不力,教主和夫人很是生气,取经之事,现下归我来办。”
‘I’ve brought Fat Dhuta and Doctor Lu with me on this mission,’ said Trinket nonchalantly, at the same time picking up the Five Dragon Disc and putting it back in his inner pocket. ‘Oh,’ said the Empress Dowager, instantly abandoning all thought of killing him. She knew these two senior members of the Sect and was aware how formidable they were. If they were his subordinates in this mission (whatever it was), she would, by killing him, be signing her own death-warrant. ‘Marshal Zhong was a traitor and had to be killed,’ said Trinket. ‘I’m his replacement. And the Leader was so dissatisfied with Black Dragon’s failure to get the Sutras, that he’s given me the job.’

太后全身发抖,道:“是,是。”想起几部经书得而复失,这些日子来日夜担心,终于事发,颤声道:“这件事说来话长,请尊使移驾慈宁宫,由属下详禀。”韦小宝点头道:“好。”心想此事之中不明白地方甚多,正要查问,便站起身来。太后转身去拔了门闩,开了房门,侧身一旁,让他先行。韦小宝大声道:“太后启驾啦!”太后低声道:“得罪了!”走出门去。韦小宝跟在后面。数十名太监宫女远远相随。两人来到慈宁宫。
The Empress Dowager could see that she would soon be having to answer questions about these Sutras—something she had been dreading ever since the three copies she had been at such pains to acquire had gone missing. The Sutras, yes, that’s a long story,’ she said. ‘If you don’t mind coming with me to the Hall of Maternal Tranquillity, I’ll try to explain what has happened.’ Trinket nodded and rose to his feet to go. Having removed the door-bar and opened the door, the Empress Dowager stood politely aside for him to go through; but Trinket knew better than to go first. ‘Her Imperial Majesty is about to leave,’ he sang out in his best official voice, whereupon the Empress Dowager, murmuring, ‘Excuse me!’ as she did so, stepped out into the throng of eunuchs and ladies-in-waiting, who followed in a little column behind her as she made her way, with Trinket at her heels, to the Hall of Maternal Tranquillity.

太后引他走进卧室,遣去宫女,关上了门,亲自斟了一碗参汤,双手奉上。韦小宝接过喝了几口,心想:“我今日的威风,只有当年顺治老皇爷可比。就算是小皇帝,太后也不会对他如此恭敬。”心中又是一阵大乐。太后打开箱子,取出一只锦盒,开盒拿出一只小玉瓶,说道:“启禀尊使:瓶中三十颗‘雪参玉蟾丸’,乃是朝鲜国王的贡品,珍贵无比,服后强身健体,百毒不侵。其中十二颗请尊使转呈教主,十颗请转呈教主夫人,余下八颗请尊使自服,算是……算是属下一点儿微末心意。”韦小宝点头道:“多谢你了。但不知这些药丸跟‘豹胎易筋丸’会不会冲撞?”太后道:“并无冲撞。恭喜尊使得蒙教主恩赐‘豹胎易筋丸’,不知……不知属下今年的解药,教主是否命尊使带来?”
There she led Trinket into her bedroom, and, having dismissed her attendants, shut and barred the door. When he was seated, she gave him ginseng tea to drink, waiting on him like a servant. He began to detect something that she and her daughter had in common: they both seemed to feel some need to be humiliated and to wait on people. While Trinket was sipping his tea, the Empress Dowager got out a small jade bottle containing thirty precious Body-Strengthening Pills, a present to her from the King of Korea, she said. Eight of them were for Trinket, the others he was to give to the Leader and Madame Hong when he next saw them. This brought up the subject of the Leopard Embryo Pills, and she asked him anxiously whether by any chance he had brought her the annual antidote; from which he deduced that she, too, had been made to take the pills and that her dependence on the antidote was the Leader’s way of exercising remote control over her.

韦小宝一怔,道:“今年的解药?”随即明白,太后一定也服了“豹胎易筋丸”,教主每年颁赐解药,却又解得并不彻底,须得每年服食一次,药性才不发作,否则她身处深宫,高手侍卫无数,教主本事再大,也不能遥制,笑道:“你我二人都服了豹胎丸,那解药自不能由我带来了。”太后道:“是。不过尊使蒙教主恩宠,属下如何能比?”韦小宝心想:“她吓得这么厉害,可得安慰她几句。”说道:“教主和夫人说道,只要你尽忠教主,不起异心,努力办事,教主总不会亏待你的,一切放心好了。”太后大喜,说道:“教主恩德如山,属下万死难报。教主仙福永享,寿与天齐。”韦小宝心想:“你本来是皇后,现下是皇太后,除了皇帝,天下就是你最大。神龙教再厉害,也决不能和你相比,却何以要入教,听命于教主?那不是犯贱之至么?是了,多半你与你女儿一样,都是贱骨头,要给人打骂作贱,这才快活。”他年纪太小,毕竟世事所知有限,一时也猜不透其中关窍所在。太后见他沉吟,料想他便要问及取经之事,不如自行先提,说道:“那三部经书,属下派邓炳春和柳燕二人呈交教主,他老人家想已收到了?”韦小宝一怔,心想:“假宫女邓炳春是陶姑姑所杀,柳燕死于方姑娘剑下,有什么经书呈交教主?”不明她用意所在,说道:“你说有三部经书呈给了教主?这倒不曾听说过。教主说黑龙使搞了这么久,一无所得,很是恼怒,险些逼得他自杀。”太后脸现诧异之色,道:“这可奇了。属下明明已差邓炳春和柳燕二人,将三部经书专程送往神龙岛。那自然是在柳燕为尊使处死之前的事。”韦小宝道:“哦,有这等事?邓炳春?就是你那个秃头师兄吗?”太后道:“正是。尊使日后回到神龙岛,传他一问,便知分晓。”
No, said Trinket, he hadn’t brought the antidote, but he was sure that if she continued to be loyal and obedient, it wouldn’t be long coming. ‘Those Sutras you mentioned,’ said the Empress Dowager, thinking that she had best get a word in about them first, before she was asked anything. ‘I sent Deng Bingchun and Swallow with three of them to give the Leader. I hope he got them all right.’ ‘Not that I know of,’ said Trinket. ‘In fact, the Leader was complaining that Black Dragon had failed to bring him a single one of them. Black Dragon was very nearly made to kill himself.’ The Empress Dowager’s face assumed an expression of astonishment. ‘How strange! I gave Deng and Swallow explicit orders to take them to Snake Island. That was before you were obliged to kill Swallow, of course.’ ‘Deng Bingchun—is that the bald fellow you had here?’ Trinket asked innocently. ‘Yes,’ said the Empress Dowager. ‘When you get back to Snake Island, ask to see him. He’ll be able to tell you what happened.’

韦小宝突然省悟,心道:“是了,邓炳春为陶姑姑所杀,这老婊子只道我毫不知情。她失去了三部经书,生怕教主怪罪,将一切推在两个死人头上,这叫做死无对证,倒也聪明得紧。哪知道这三部经书却在老子手中。这番谎话去骗别人,那是他妈的刮刮叫,别别跳,偏偏就骗不到老子。我暂时不揭穿你的西洋镜。”说道:“你既已取到三部经书,功劳也算不小,其余五部,还得再加一把劲。”太后道:“是,属下从早到晚,就在想怎生将另外五部经书取来,报答教主的恩德。”韦小宝道:“很好!其实你如此忠心,那豹胎易筋丸中的毒性,便一次给你解了,也是不妨。不久我见到教主,一定给你多说几句好话。”太后大喜,躬身请了个安,道:“尊使大恩,属下永不敢忘。最好属下能转入白龙门,得由尊使教导指挥,更是大幸。”韦小宝道:“那也容易办到。不过你入教的一切经过,须得跟我详说,毫不隐瞒。”太后道:“是,属下对本门座使,决不敢有半句不尽不实的言语……”
‘Clever!’ thought Trinket. ‘Deng Bingchun gets the blame. She knows dead men tell no tales.’ But what he actually said was: ‘Well, you’ve already done very well to get those three. Now we’ve got to find the other five. I’ll tell the Leader how well you’ve done next time I see him and put in a good word for you.’ The Empress Dowager made him a deep curtsey. That’s very good of you. I really am most grateful. In fact, if you will allow me, I’d like to apply for a transfer from the Black Dragon Branch to the White Dragon Branch so that I can be under your command.’ ‘No problem,’ said Trinket. ‘But first I’ll need a full account of everything you’ve done since you first joined the Sect. I want to know everything.’ ‘Certainly,’ said the Empress Dowager. ‘I promise not to conceal anything from you, Marshal.’

The Bannerman Colonel

忽然门外脚步声响,一名宫女咳嗽一声,说道:“启禀太后:皇上传桂公公,说有要紧事,命他立刻便去。”韦小宝点点头,低声道:“你一切放心,以后再说。”太后低声道:“多谢尊使。”朗声道:“皇上传你,这便去罢。”韦小宝道:“是,太后万福金安。”
Before the Empress Dowager could begin, there was a sound of footsteps and the discreet cough of a lady-in-waiting outside the door. ‘Your Majesty, His Majesty the Emperor wants to see Laurie Goong-goong on important business. He says could you send him over right away, please.’ Trinket nodded to her to comply. ‘It’s all right,’ he whispered. ‘We can finish our talk later.’ Thank you,’ she whispered back; then, loudly, The Emperor wants to see you. You’d better go now.’ ‘Yes, Your Majesty. Thank you, Your Majesty,’ said Trinket in his official Goong-goong voice.

出得门来,只见八名侍卫守在慈宁宫外,微微一惊,心想道:“可出了什么事?”快步来到上书房。康熙喜道:“好,你没事。我听说你给老贱人带了去,真有些担心,生怕她害你。”韦小宝道:“多谢师父挂怀,那老……老……她问我这些日子去了哪里?我想老皇爷的事千万说不得,连山西和五台山也不能提,可是我又不大会说谎,给她问得紧了,我情急智生,便说皇上派奴才去江南,瞧瞧有什么好玩的玩意儿,便买些进宫。又说,皇上吩咐别让太后知道,免得太后怪罪皇上当了皇帝,还是这般小孩子脾气。”康熙哈哈大笑,拍拍他肩头,说道:“这样说最好。让老贱人当我还是小孩子贪玩,便不来防我。你不大会说谎吗?可说得挺好啊。”韦小宝道:“原来还说得挺好吗?奴才一直担心,生怕这样说皇上要不高兴呢。”康熙道:“很好,很好。刚才我怕老贱人害你,已派了八名侍卫去慈宁宫外守着,倘若老贱人不放你走,我便叫他们冲进去抢你出来,真要跟她立时破脸,也说不得了。”韦小宝跪下磕头道:“皇帝师父恩重如山,奴才弟子粉身难报。”康熙道:“你好好去服侍老皇爷,便是报了我对你的恩遇。”韦小宝道:“是。”
When he got outside he found eight Palace Guards waiting for him. Wondering what on earth could have happened, he almost ran on his way to the Upper Library. Thank goodness you’re all right!’ said Kang Xi joyfully when he saw him enter. ‘I was really worried when I heard that that vile woman had gone off with you. I was afraid she might try to murder you.’ Thank you for worrying about me, Shifu,’ said Trinket. ‘Actually the Old Wh—I mean, Her Majesty—only wanted to find out where I’d been all this time. I didn’t dare tell her I’d been to the Wutai Mountains in case she suspected something, so I said I’d been to the South to buy some knick-knacks for you.’ Kang Xi laughed. ‘Good. That should put her off the scent. She’ll think my interests are childish still.’

康熙从书桌上拿起一个密封的黄纸大封套,说道:“这是封赏少林寺众僧的上谕,你挑选四十名御前侍卫,二千名骁骑营官兵,去少林寺宣旨办事。办什么事,在上逾中写着,到少林寺后拆读,你遵旨而行就是。现下我升你的官,任你为骁骑营正黄旗副都统,那是正二品的大官了。你本是汉人,我赐你为满洲人,咱们这叫作入满洲抬旗。正黄旗是皇帝亲将的旗兵,骁骑营更是皇帝的亲兵。那御前侍卫副总管的官儿仍然兼着。”他知韦小宝不学无术,年纪又小,当真做官是做不来的,因此两个职位都是副手。韦小宝道:“只要能常在皇帝师父身边,官大官小,奴才弟子倒不在乎。”说着大力磕头谢恩,心想:“我好好是个汉人,现在摇身一变,变作满洲鞑子了。”又想:“皇帝师父叫我不忙去清凉寺去做小和尚,却先带兵去少林寺颁旨,封赏救驾有功的诸位大师,多半是让我出出风头。这叫做先甜后苦,先做老爷,后打屁股。”
He picked up a large yellow envelope from his desk. ‘Before you go to Wutai, I want you to go south to Mount Song, and make your way to the Shaolin Monastery. This is a Secret Edict for the monks there which I want you to deliver for me. You are to pick forty of the Palace Guards and a thousand men of the Valiant Regiment to go with you. The Edict is to be opened and read when you get there. It will tell you what you are to do next. I’m awarding you Manchu nationality and appointing you Second-in-Command of the Valiant Regiment of the Plain Yellow Banner and Deputy-Intendant of the Palace Guards, the two appointments to run concurrently. Your rank will continue to be that of Lieutenant-Colonel.’ Trinket kowtowed. ‘So I’m a Manchu now, am I?’ he thought. Thanks a lot! I suppose this is my consolation prize for offering to be a monk. I get the sweetie first and the nasty medicine after. It should be the other way round!’

康熙将骁骑营正黄旗都统察尔珠传来,逾知他小桂子其实并非太监,而是御前侍卫副总管,真名韦小宝,为了要擒杀鳌拜,这才派他假扮太监,现已赐为旗人,属正黄旗,升任骁骑营正黄旗副都统。察尔珠当鳌拜当权之时,大受倾轧,本已下在狱中,性命朝夕不保,幸得鳌拜事败,这才获释,对擒杀鳌拜的韦小宝早已十分感激,听得皇上命他为自己之副,心中大喜,当即向他道贺,说道:“韦兄弟,咱哥儿俩在一起办事,那是再好也没有了。你是少年英雄,咱们骁骑营这一下可大大露脸哪。”韦小宝谦虚一番。察尔珠打定了主意,这人大受皇帝宠幸,虽说是自己副手,其实自己该当做他副手,只要讨得他的欢心,日后飞黄腾达,不在话下。康熙道:“我有事差韦小宝去办,你们两人下去,点齐人马。韦小宝今晚就即出京,不用来辞别了。”将调动骁骑营兵马的金牌令符交给了韦小宝。
Kang Xi had the Plain Yellow Banner commander, Colonel Chalju, summoned and explained to him that Trinket was now to become his deputy in the Valiants. Chalju understood perfectly well that, as the Emperor’s favourite, Trinket would now in effect be the commander, but was perfectly happy to play second fiddle to him: he had suffered greatly under Oboi’s regency and was glad to welcome the young hero who had removed his tormentor. Kang Xi handed Trinket the gold token of his command and told him that his marching orders were for that very evening and that there was no need to see him again before he left the city.

韦小宝接过金牌,磕头告别,心想:“老婊子干什么要入神龙教,这事还没查明,那也不打紧,多半是犯贱,下次回宫时再去问她。”又想:“昨晚给公主打了一顿,全身疼痛,一觉睡到大天光,没能去见陶姑姑,不知她在宫中怎样,下次回官,得跟她会上一会。”
Kowtowing once again, Trinket took his leave, mentally noting that the Empress Dowager’s story would now have to wait until he got back to the Palace, whenever that might be, and that there would now be no time to find out how Auntie Tao was doing.

当下二人去见御前侍卫总管多隆。韦小宝取出康熙先前所书那张任他为御前侍卫副总管的上谕,给他看了,多隆又是连声道贺,道:“韦兄弟要挑那些侍卫,尽管挑选,只要皇上点头,要我陪你去一遭也成。”韦小宝笑道:“那可不敢当。保护皇上,责任重大,多总管想出京去逛逛,却不大容易了。”多隆笑道:“下次我求皇上,咱哥儿俩换一换班,你做正的,我做副的,有什么出京打秋风的好差使,让做哥哥的去走走。”韦小宝点了张康年、赵齐贤两名侍卫,叫二人召约一批亲近的侍卫。察尔珠点齐二千名骁骑营军士。各参领、佐领参见副都统。皇帝赏给少林寺僧人的赐品,也即齐备,装在几十辆车上。皇帝要做什么事,自是叱嗟立办,只两个多时辰,一切预备得妥妥帖帖。韦小宝本该身穿骁骑营戎装,可是这样小码的将军戎服,一时之间却不易措办。察尔珠想得周到,将自己的一套戎装送给了他,传了四名巧手裁缝跟去,在大车之中赶着修改,吩咐他们晚上不能睡觉,赶好了衣衫才许回京,倘若偷懒,重责军棍。韦小宝抽空回到头发胡同,对陆高轩和胖头陀道:“今日已混进了宫中,盗经之事也已略有眉目。”吩咐他二人在屋中静候消息,不可轻易外出,以免泄漏机密。陆胖二人见他办事顺利,两天之间便有了头绪,均感欣慰,喏喏连声的答应。韦小宝命双儿改穿男装,扮作书僮,随他同行。
After seeing his friend Dolong, the Chief Intendant of the Palace Guards, and arranging for two of the latter’s trusted lieutenants, his own friends Zhang Kangnian and Zhao Qixian, to select another thirty-eight for the expedition, he slipped off to Hair Lane in the West City, leaving Chalju to decide which of the Valiants should go with him. He told Fat Dhuta and Doctor Lu that he had managed to gain an entry into the Palace and that the business of stealing the Sutras was well in hand. ‘Better lie low here until you hear from me again,’ he told them. We don’t want anyone to find out what we are up to.’ They were pleased to learn that he had made such a good start and gladly agreed to do as he had said. He made Doublet dress up as a boy. She was to go with him on the expedition as a sort of junior batman. When he got back to the Palace, accompanied by Doublet, he found that Chalju had thought of everything. As there was no uniform available that would fit him, Chalju had rustled up four highly skilled tailors to whom he had given a spare uniform of his own and whom he had told to sit in one of the wagons while they were on the march and alter it to fit someone of Trinket’s size. If they showed any sign of idling, he told them, they would discover what an army-style flogging was like.

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