The Deer And The Cauldron 29

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The Deer And The Cauldron 29
第二十九回 卷幔微风香忽到 瞰床新月雨初收

Chapter 19-In which Trinket the Viscount travels to Yunnan as an Imperial Marriage Envoy

The Helmsman and the Bloodless Sword-More Talk of Sutras-Prince Kang-Doctor lu and Fat Dhuta, Again The Reluctant Bride-Viscount Wei at Home-Music to Trinket’s Ears-Princess Ning: Her Pain and Her Pleasure Prince Laurie and the Willing Slave-The Satrap-News from the Black Hole-The Satrap’s Study-Outfoxing the Fox-Disposing of a Corpse

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The Helmsman and the Bloodless Sword

韦小宝出宫去和李力世、关安基、玄贞道人、钱老本等人相见。天地会群雄尽皆欢然。李力世道:“属下刚得到讯息,总舵主已到天津,日内就上京来。韦香主也正回京,那真太好了。”韦小宝道:“是,是。那真太好了!”想到再见师父,心下不免惴惴。群雄当即打酒杀鸡,为他接风。傍晚时分,韦小宝将马彦超拉在一旁,说道:“马大哥,请你给我预备一把斧头,还要一柄铁锤,一把凿子。”马彦超答应了,去取来给他。韦小宝命他带到停放那口棺木的园中土屋,说道:“我要打开棺材,放些东西进去。”
A couple of days later, Trinket slipped out to see the Triads, and found them in a state of great excitement. ?We?re expecting a visit from the Helmsman,’ Brother Li told him. ?He was already in Tianjin when we last heard from him. He should reach Peking some time today.? That?s wonderful!? said Trinket, remembering, with a sinking heart, that he had done no training. The Triads bustled about, preparing for their hero?s arrival. Some went out to buy wine, some slaughtered and dressed chickens for a meal. Towards evening, Trinket took Brother Gao aside and asked him for some tools.

马彦超应道:“是!”甚觉奇怪,但香主不说,也不便多问。韦小宝道:“前天夜里,这个死了的朋友托梦给我,说要这件东西。瞧在朋友一场,非给他不可。”马彦超更奇怪了,唯唯称是。韦小宝道:“你给我守在门外,谁也不许进来。”当下推门而入,关上了门,上了门闩。
When, somewhat mystified, Brother Gao supplied him with what he had specified, a chopper and a chisel, Trinket explained why he wanted them. He had had a dream, he said, in which the dead friend whose ashes he had encoffined on an earlier visit had mentioned a few things of sentimental value that he would like to have with him. Today he had brought the things that his friend had asked for and needed the tools to open the coffin with so that he could put them inside. Brother Gao accepted this as a perfectly natural explanation and was not at all surprised when the Lodge Master, on entering the outhouse where the coffin was, shut and bolted the door after him in order to be alone with the dead.

见那口棺木上灰尘厚积,显是无人动过,用凿子斧头逐一撬开棺材钉,推开棺盖,取出包着五部经书的油布包,正要推上棺盖,忽听得马彦超在门外呼喝:“什么人?”接着有人喝问:“陈近南在哪里?”韦小宝吃了一惊:“谁问我师父?”听口音依稀有些熟悉。马彦超道:“你是谁?”又有一人冷冷的道:“不论他躲到了哪里,总能揪他出来。”这人的声音韦小宝入耳即知,却是郑克塽。他更加惊奇:“怎么这臭小子到了这里?”随即想起,先前说话之人乃是“一剑无血”冯锡范。只听得铮的一声,兵刃相交,跟着马彦超闷哼一声,砰的一声倒地。
Noting with satisfaction that there was a thick layer of dust on the coffin-which showed that it had not been disturbed- Trinket set about prising open the lid, using the chisel as a lever and the blade of the chopper as a wedge. Having got the lid off, he took out the oilskin packet containing the five Sutras that he had deposited there before departing on the first of his expeditions to Wutai. He was just about to replace the lid when he heard Brother Gao call out: ‘Who’s that?’ This was followed by a shout. ‘Where’s Chen Jinnan?’ Trinket couldn’t place the voice, though it sounded vaguely familiar. ‘Who are you?’ he heard Brother Gao asking. ‘Don’t worry, we’ll get him out, wherever he’s hiding!’ said another voice that Trinket instantly recognized. It was the sneering, supercilious voice of Zheng Keshuang, his hated rival. He realized now that the first voice must have been that of Zheng’s teacher, Feng, the Bloodless Sword, last seen when he rescued Zheng from the pseudo-tribesmen. There was a clash of swords, a muffled cry from Brother Gao, and the thudding sound of someone falling to the floor.

韦小宝一惊更甚,当下不及细想,纵身钻入棺材,只听得郑克塽道:“这叛贼定是躲在里面。”韦小宝惊惶之下,托起棺盖便即盖上,紧跟着喀喇一声,土屋的木门已被踢破,郑克塽和冯锡范走了进来。韦小宝从棺材内望出去,见到一线亮光,知道慌忙之中,棺材盖并未密合,暗暗叫苦:“糟糕,糟糕!他们要找我师父,却找到了他的徒弟。”忽听得门外有人说道:“公子要找我吗?不知有什么事?”正是师父陈近南的声音。韦小宝大喜:“师父来了!”突然之间,陈近南“啊”的一声大叫,似乎受了伤。跟着铮铮两声,兵刃相交。陈近南怒喝:“冯锡范,你忽施暗算?干什么了?”冯锡范冷冷的道:“我奉命拿你!”只听郑克塽道:“陈永华,你还把我放在眼里么?”语气中充满怒意。陈近南道:“二公子何出此言?属下前天才得知二公子驾临北京,连夜从天津赶来。不料二公子已先到了。属下未克迎迓,还请恕罪。”韦小宝听师父说得恭谨,暗骂:“狗屁二公子,神气什么?”
‘He’s probably hiding in there.’ It was Zheng’?s voice again. Trinket barely had time to jump inside the coffin and pull the lid down when there was a crash and a splintering sound as the barred door was forced violently inwards. In the darkness he could see a seam of light where, because of the projecting nails, the lid didn’t quite meet the edge of the coffin. He wondered if the intruders would notice that it wasn’t properly shut. As he lay there fearfully, each moment expecting to be discovered, he heard another voice, that of his Shifu, speaking from somewhere outside. ‘Were you looking for me, Sir Zheng? What was it you wanted to ask me?’ A moment later there was a loud cry of pain followed by a clash of weapons. ‘Feng Xifan,’ cried the Helmsman, ‘that was a cowardly blow. What reason had you to lie in wait for me?’ ‘I have orders to arrest you,’ said Feng. ‘We can no longer tolerate your insolent behaviour,’ said Zheng, his voice trembling with rage. ‘Little dog-turd!’ muttered Trinket inside the coffin. ‘I certainly intended no disrespect to you, sir,’ said the Helmsman with a deference that Trinket found unbearable. ‘I left Tianjin the moment I heard you were planning a visit and was travelling through the night to get here. I am deeply sorry that I was not in time to welcome you.’

只听郑克塽道:“父王命我到中原来公干,你总知道罢?”陈近南道:“是。”郑克塽道:“你既得知,怎地不早来随侍保护?”陈近南道:“属下有几件紧急大事要办,未能分身,请二公子原谅。属下又知冯大哥随侍在侧,冯大哥神功无敌,群小慑伏,自能卫护二公子平安周全。”郑克塽哼了一声,怒道:“怎么我来到天地会中,你手下这些虾兵蟹将,狐群狗党,对我又如此无礼?”陈近南道:“想是他们不识得二公子。在这京师之地,咱们天地会干的又是反叛鞑子之事,大家特别小心谨慎,以致失了礼数。属下这里谢过。”韦小宝越听越怒,心道:“师父对这臭小子何必这样客气?”郑克塽道:“你推得一干二净,那么反倒是我错了?”陈近南道:“不敢!”随即听到纸张翻动之声,郑克塽道:“这是父王的谕示,你读来听听。”陈近南道:“是。王爷谕示说:‘大明延平郡王令曰:派郑克塽前赴中原公干,凡事利于国家者,一切便宜行事。’”郑克塽道:“什么叫做‘便宜行事’?”韦小宝心想:“便宜就是不吃亏,那有什么难解的?你老子叫你有便宜就占,不必客气。”哪知陈近南却道:“王爷吩咐二公子,只要是有利于国家之事,可以不必回禀王爷,自行处断。”郑克塽道:“你奉不奉父王谕示?”陈近南道:“王爷谕示,属下自当遵从。”郑克塽道:“好,你把自己的右臂砍去了罢。”
‘I am here on the mainland as my father’s representative. Are you aware of that?’ said Zheng. ‘Yes, sir,’ said the Helmsman meekly. ‘Yet ever since I arrived I have met with nothing but insults and humiliations from your Triad rabble,’ Zheng continued. ‘They are ignorant men,’ said the Helmsman. ‘Could they perhaps have been unaware who you were?’ ‘Insolent man, do you presume to question what I am telling you?’ said Zheng. ‘The commission I hold from my father gives me full discretionary powers. Do you know what that means?’ ‘I do,’ said the Helmsman. ‘You may act as you think fit without reporting back to him.’ ‘And as long as I am on the mainland my orders are to be obeyed by everyone-including you.’ ‘Yes, Sir Zheng.’ ‘Very good. Then cut off your right arm!’

陈近南惊道:“却是为何?”郑克塽冷冷的道:“你目无主上,不敬重我,就是不敬重父王。我瞧你所作所为,大有不臣之心,哼,你在中原拚命培植自己势力,扩充天地会,哪里还把台湾郑家放在心上。你想自立为王,是不是?”陈近南颤声道:“属下决无此意。”郑克塽道:“哼!决无此意?这次河间府大会,他们推我为福建省盟主,你知道么?”陈近南道:“是。这是普天下英雄共敬王爷忠心为国之意。”郑克塽道:“你们天地会却得了几省盟主?”陈近南默然。
‘But why?’ asked the Helmsman in astonishment. ‘Because you are a rebel and a traitor,’ said Zheng. ‘The contempt you have shown my person proves your disloyalty to my father. You no longer regard yourself as his subject. You have built up this network on the mainland to be independent of Taiwan. Admit it, you are planning a kingdom of your own!’ The Helmsman was aghast. ‘Such an idea has never entered my mind.’ ‘At the Congress in Hejianfu I was chosen to be the representative for Fujian,’ said Zheng. ‘Do you know how many provinces were given to your Triads?’ The Helmsman said nothing.

韦小宝心道:“他妈的,你这小子大发脾气,原来是喝天地会的醋。”又想:“我老婆的奸夫是我师父的上司,本来这件事很有点麻烦。现下他二人大起冲突,那是妙之极矣。只不过师父中了暗算,身上受伤,可别给他们害死才好。”

只听郑克塽大声道:“你天地会得了三省盟主,我却只有福建一省。跟你天地会相比,我郑家算是老几?我只不过是小小福建省的盟主,你却是‘锄奸盟’总军师,你这可不是爬到我头上去了啦?你心里还有父王没有?”陈近南道:“二公子明鉴:天地会是属下秉承先国姓爷将令所创,旨在驱除鞑子。天地会和王爷本是一体,不分彼此。天地会的一切大事,属下都禀明王爷而行。”郑克塽冷笑道:“你天地会只知有陈近南,哪里还知道台湾郑家?就算天地会当真成了大事,驱逐了鞑子,这天下之主也是你陈近南,不是我们姓郑的。”陈近南道:“二公子这话不对了。驱除鞑子之后,咱们同奉大明皇室后裔姓朱的为主。”郑克塽道:“你话倒说得漂亮。此刻你已不把姓郑的放在眼里,将来又怎会将姓朱的放在眼里?我要你自断一臂,你就不奉号令。这一次我从河间府回来,路上遇到不少危难,却不见有你天地会的一兵一卒来保护我,若不是冯师父奋力相救,我这时候,也不知是不是还留得性命。你巴不得我命丧小人之手,如此用心,便已死有余辜。哼,你就只会拍我哥哥马屁,平时全没将我瞧在眼里。”陈近南道:“大公子、二公子是亲兄弟,属下一般的侍奉,岂敢有所偏颇。”郑克塽道:“我哥哥日后是要做王爷的,在你眼中,我兄弟俩怎会相同?”韦小宝听到这里,已明白了一大半,心道:“这小子想跟他哥哥争位,怪我师父拥他哥哥,受了冯锡范的挑拨,便想乘机除了我师父。”只听郑克塽又道:“反正你在中原势大,不如就杀了我罢。”陈近南道:“二公子如此相遇,属下难以分说,这就回去台湾,面见王爷,听由王爷吩咐便是。王爷若要杀我,岂敢违抗?”郑克塽哼了一声,似乎感到难以回答,又似怕在父亲面前跟他对质。冯锡范冷冷的道:“只怕陈先生一离此间,不是去投降鞑子,出卖了二公子,便独树一帜,自立为王,再也不回台湾去的了。”
Zheng’s voice rose to a shout. ‘Three. And they made you an Honorary President. You are totally without loyalty towards the Zhengs of Taiwan. You place yourself above them.’ ‘The Triad Society was founded on the orders of your grandfather the Marshal,’ said the Helmsman. ‘Its aim is the expulsion of the Tartars and the restoration of the Ming Imperial house. Everything we do is faithfully reported to His Highness in Taiwan and nothing undertaken without his approval. Let me return to Taiwan to face trial. If His Highness finds me disloyal and orders my execution I shall submit willingly to his judgement.’ This seemed, temporarily, to silence Zheng. It was his sinister teacher who answered. ‘Bogus. How can we trust you to go back to Taiwan? If we let you go now, you’ll probably go straight off to the Tartars to betray Sir Zheng, so that you can set up your standard here alone.’

陈近南怒道:“你适才偷袭伤我,是奉了王爷之命吗?王爷的谕示在哪里?”冯锡范道:“王爷将令,二公子在中原便宜行事。不奉二公子号令,便是反叛,人人得而诛之。”陈近南道:“二公子好端端地,都是你在从中挑拨离间。国姓爷创业维艰,这大好基业,只怕要败坏在你这等奸诈小人手里。你姓冯的就算武功天下无敌,我又何惧于你?”冯锡范厉声道:“如此说来,你是公然反叛延平王府了?”陈近南朗声道:“我陈永华对王爷赤胆忠心,‘反叛’二字,再也诬加不到我头上。”郑克塽喝道:“陈永华作反,给我拿下。”冯锡范道:“是。”只听得铮铮声响,兵刃相撞,三人交起手来。陈近南叫道:“二公子,请你让在一旁,属下不能跟你动手。”郑克塽道:“你不跟我动手?你不跟我动手?”连问了两句,兵刃响了两下,似是他问一声,向陈近南砍一刀。
‘Feng Xifan,’ said the Helmsman angrily, ‘was it on His Highness’s orders that you made that cowardly attack on me just now? You have poisoned Sir Zheng’s mind against me. It’s people like you, sowing dissension in our ranks with their lies and intrigues, who ruin our chances of success. You may be the world’s greatest swordsman, Feng Xifan, but I defy you!’ ‘He defies us all,’ shouted Zheng. ‘Arrest the traitor!’ Once more there was a clash of swords. It sounded as if Zheng was joining in, for he heard an anguished cry from the Helmsman entreating him not to. ‘Stand back, Sir Zheng, I beg you! I can’t fight you!’ ‘Can’t you, indeed!’ Zheng shouted back at him.

韦小宝大急,轻轻将棺材盖推高寸许,望眼出去,只见郑克塽和冯锡范分自左右夹攻陈近南。陈近南左手执剑,右臂下垂,鲜血不断下滴,自是给冯锡范偷袭所伤。冯锡范剑招极快,陈近南奋力抵御。郑克塽一刀刀横砍直劈,陈近南不敢招架,只是闪避,变成了只挨打不还手的局面,加之左手使剑不便,右臂受伤又显然不轻。韦小宝心下焦急:“风际中、关夫子、钱老本他们怎么一个也不进来帮忙?这样打下去,师父非给他们杀了不可。”但外面静悄悄地,土屋中乒乒乓乓的恶斗,外间竟似充耳不闻。
Trinket raised the coffin-lid a little and peeped out. The Helmsman was holding his sword in his left hand. His right arm, dripping with blood from the deep wound that Feng had inflicted on him as he entered, hung useless at his side. Already dis advantaged by fighting left-handed, he was nevertheless contriving, for the time being at any rate, to parry the swift cut and thrust of the master swordsman Feng Xifan; but since, from a mistaken sense of loyalty, he had decided not to defend himself against Zheng- merely swerving and dodging from the repeated swipes that the cowardly young man was aiming at him but never countering them with his sword-it seemed doubtful that he would be able to hold out much longer. Trinket couldn’t understand why the Triads didn?t come running to his aid. Surely the noise being made must have been heard by now in the next building.

只见冯锡范挺剑疾刺,势道极劲,陈近南举剑挡格,双剑立时相粘。郑克塽挥刀斜砍,陈近南侧身避开。郑克塽单刀横拖,嗤的一声轻响,在陈近南左腿上划了一道口子。陈近南“啊”的一声,长剑一弹而起,冯锡范就势挺剑,正中他右肩。陈近南浴血苦战,难以支持,一步步向门口移动,意欲夺门而出。冯锡范知他心意,抢到门口堵住,冷笑道:“反贼,今日还想脱身么?”
Just at that moment, as the Helmsman raised his sword to parry a particularly violent thrust from Feng, their two blades locked, exposing the Helmsman’s side and enabling Zheng to take a swinging blow at it. The Helmsman tried to twist his body out of the way, but Zheng’s sword caught him on the left leg, slicing deeply into the flesh. As he cried out in pain, their swords unlocked and Feng drew his own sword back, then, lunging forwards, drove the point of it forcefully into the Helmsman?s right shoulder. Bleeding now from three wounds, the Helmsman could barely defend himself any longer and was retreating step by step towards the door. Fearing that he might escape, Feng leapt into the doorway and blocked his exit. ‘Oh no you don’t! You’re not getting away from us now. ‘

韦小宝只盼冯锡范走到棺材之旁,就可从棺材中挺匕首刺出,便以客店中杀喇嘛的手法杀了他。这一招“隔板刺人”原是他的生平绝招,远胜拳术高手的“隔山打牛”。可是冯锡范越斗越远,却如何刺得着他?郑克塽喝道:“反贼,还不弃剑就缚?”韦小宝眼见情势危急,心想今日舍了性命也要相救师父,逼紧了喉咙,突然吱吱的叫了两声。
Trinket wanted to save his Shifu from what now looked like certain death, but what could he do? If only Feng Xifan had been nearer the coffin, he might have been able to stab him from behind, but he was beyond his reach. All he could think of was to find some way of distracting his attention. Raising his voice to its highest pitch, he uttered two shrill little squawks. ‘Eek, eek!’

注:郑成功生子郑经等十人。郑经于康熙元年继位为明延平郡王,生子克塽、克塽等八人。克塽年最长,庶出,是陈永华之婿,后为监国世子。次子克塽为冯锡范之婿。郑克塽继位时年仅十二岁,本书因故事情节所需,加大了年纪,与史实有出入。

冯锡范等三人一听,都吃了一惊。郑克塽问道:“什么?”冯锡范摇了摇头,手上丝毫不缓。韦小宝又吱吱吱的叫了三下。郑克塽怕鬼,吓得打了个寒战。突见棺材盖一开,一团白色粉末飞了出来,三人登时眼睛刺痛,呛个不住。原来尸体入殓,棺材中必放大量石灰,当日马彦超曾购置了装入,此刻韦小宝抓起一大把,撒了出来。
The three men turned in astonishment and gazed towards the coffin. ‘What was that?’ cried Zheng in alarm. But Feng merely shook his head and returned to the attack. ‘Eek, eek, eek!’ squawked Trinket desperately from the coffin; and as Zheng stared at it in horror, pale and shaking with fright, the lid rose and a cloud of white powder flew out of it. Quickly it spread through the room, causing the three men to choke and cough, and blinding and burning their eyes. Before the corpse is put into a coffin, it is usual to cover the bottom with a sprinkling of lime. Brother Gao, meticulous in his preparations, had not neglected this detail when getting things ready for the obsequies of Trinket?s imaginary friend, and Trinket had found a generous layer of it already there when the coffin was delivered. It had taken him only a few seconds to scrape up a full handful of it and toss it into the room.

冯锡范情知决非鬼魅,急跃而前,闭住了眼睛,俯身向棺材中挺剑刺落。突的一声,剑尖刺入棺材盖,正待拔剑再刺,突觉右边胸口一痛,知是中了暗算,急忙纵身跃起,后心重重撞在墙上。他武功了得,左手按住胸前伤口,右手将一柄剑使得风雨不透,护住身前。韦小宝在棺材中“隔板刺人”,一刺得手,握着匕首跳了出来,只见冯锡范、郑克塽和陈近南三人都紧闭双目,将刀剑乱挥乱舞,见冯锡范虽然胸口中剑,却非致命之伤,要待欺近前去再加上一剑,但冯郑二人刀剑舞得甚紧,实不敢贸然上前。此刻时机紧迫,待得他二人抹去了眼中石灰,睁眼见物,那就糟了,一时徨无策,只得左手抓起石灰,一见冯锡范或郑克塽伸手去抹眼睛,便一把石灰撤将过去。撒石灰原是他另一项拿手绝招。只掷得几下,冯锡范觉到石灰掷来的方位,一招“渴马奔泉”,挺剑直刺过来。韦小宝大骇,急忙坐倒,噗的一声,那剑插入了棺材之中。韦小宝连爬带滚,逃出门外。冯锡范提剑在棺中连连劈刺,还道敌人仍然在内。以他武功修为,韦小宝狼狈万状的进出,本可立时察觉,只是陡然间眼不见物,胸口受伤,一时心神大乱,又知陈近南武功卓绝,不在自己之下,强敌在侧,实是凶险无比,惶急间全没想到陈近南也已眼不见物,只盼杀了暗算之人,立即逃出。他在棺材中刺得数下,都刺了个空,随即一招“千岩竞秀”,剑花点点,护住身周,听得左边并无兵刃劈风之声,当下向左跃去,肩头在墙上一撞,靠墙而立。这么一阵全力施为,胸前伤口中更是鲜血迸流。他微一睁眼,石灰粉末立时入眼,剧痛难当,生怕眼睛就此瞎了,不敢再睁,背靠墙壁,一步步移动,心想只须挨墙移步,便能找到门户所在,一出门外,地势空旷,就易于脱险了。
Feng Xifan, confident that the source of the eerie squawks and the powdered lime was no ghost but a person of flesh and blood, leapt towards the coffin, still keeping his eyes closed, and stabbed into it with his sword. As he did so he felt an agonizing pain between the ribs of his left side and knew that he had fallen into a trap. It was, of course, Trinket, who had jumped out of the coffin and dealt what he hoped was a fatal blow with his dagger before rushing for the doorway, scattering more lime as he went. Feng opened his eyes but hastily closed them again, blinded afresh by the lime. Clutching with his left hand the bleeding wound in his chest, he lurched blindly towards the wall, hitting it finally with his left shoulder. Then, sword in hand, he slid his way towards the doorway, keeping his shoulder to the wall.

韦小宝站在门口,见他移动身子,已猜知他心意,只待他摸到门口时刺他一剑,但想此人武功太高,就算刺中,他临死时回手一剑,自己小命不免危危乎哉,于是将匕首轻轻插入门框约莫两寸,见冯锡范离门已不过两尺,突然尖声叫道:“我在这……”一个“里”字还没出口,冯锡范出招快极,一剑斩落,当的一声响,长剑碰到匕首,断为两截,半截断剑跳将上来,在他额头上一斩,这才跌落。韦小宝早已躲到了土屋之侧,心中怦怦乱跳。只听得冯锡范大声吼叫,疾冲而出。韦小宝回到门口,但见陈近南和郑克塽仍在挥舞刀剑。强敌既去,他对这郑家二公子可丝毫不放在心上,叫道:“师父,那‘一剑无血’已给我斩得全身是血,逃之夭夭了。你请出来罢。”陈近南一怔,问道:“谁?”韦小宝道:“是弟子小宝。”陈近南大喜,横剑当胸,不再舞动。
Trinket saw him coming from outside the door and was for a moment at a loss to know what he should do. Then, with a sudden flash of inspiration, he drove his dagger a couple of inches into the door-jamb so that it projected horizontally at about the height of his head. Drawing back a little behind the wall, careful to keep his head at the same height as the dagger, he called out in his squeaky ghost-voice: ‘Here I am!’ At once Feng?s sword flashed out, but only to bisect itself on the dagger’s adamantine blade. The end half flew into the air and fell to the ground, striking Feng’s head on the way. Wounded and tricked once more, with a cry of pain and rage, he rushed through the door and across the garden, leaving a trail of blood behind him. Peering through the doorway, Trinket saw Zheng and the Helmsman standing apart with their backs towards each other, eyes tightly closed and waving their swords about in front of them. Now that Feng Xifan was out of the way, he felt able to deal with Zheng. But first he must reassure his Shifu. ‘Shifu,’ he called out, ‘it’s all right now. I’ve dealt with the Bloodless Sword. He’s just run off, covered all over in blood.’ The Helmsman ceased waving his sword. ‘Who’s that?’ ‘It’s me,’ said Trinket, ‘your disciple-Trinket.’

韦小宝叫道:“张大哥、李二哥、王三哥,你们都来了,很好,很好。这姓郑的臭小子还不放下兵器投降,你们一齐上去,把他乱刀分尸了罢!”郑克塽大吃一惊,哪知他是虚张声势,叫道:“师父,师父!”不听冯锡范回答,微一迟疑,便即抛下了手中单刀。韦小宝喝道:“跪下!郑克塽双膝一曲,跪倒在地。韦小宝哈哈大笑,拾起单刀,将刀尖轻轻抵住郑克塽咽喉,喝道:“站起来,向右,上前三步,爬上去,钻进去!”韦小宝叫一句,郑克塽便战战兢兢的遵命而行,爬入了棺材。韦小宝哈哈大笑,抢上前去,推上了棺材盖,拿起那包经书负在背上,说道:“师父,咱们快洗眼去。”拉着陈近南的手,走出土屋。
He turned and shouted over his shoulder to imaginary allies. ‘Brother Zhang, Brother Li, Brother Wang, I’m glad you’ve come. If this Zheng person doesn’t drop his sword now and surrender, just cut him down!’ This put Zheng in a panic. He began calling out for Feng, but when there was no reply, he quickly dropped his sword. ‘Kneel down!’ said Trinket. Zheng tremblingly obeyed. ‘Now,’ said Trinket, going over and holding the blade of his dagger to Zheng’s throat, ‘stand up!’ Zheng stood up. ‘Turn right! Three steps forward!’ This brought Zheng to the side of the coffin. ‘Now get in!’ Zheng, too scared to protest, stepped into the coffin and mechanically lay down in it, whereupon Trinket, laughing out loud as he did so, banged down the lid. ‘Shifu,’ he said, going up to the Helmsman and taking him by the hand, ‘we must go now and see about your eyes.’

走得七八步,只见马彦超倒在花坛之旁,韦小宝吃了一惊,上前相扶。马彦超道:“救总舵主要紧,属下只是给封了穴道,没甚干系。”陈近南俯下身来,在他背心和腰里推拿了几下,穴道登时解了。马彦超道:“总舵主眼睛怎样?”陈近南皱眉道:“石灰。”马彦超道:“得用菜油来洗去,不能用水。”
挽住他手臂快步而行。
A little way outside the outhouse they came upon Brother Gao, lying inert beside a bed of flowers. They thought he was dead until he spoke. ‘I’m all right, Master. I’ve just had my points closed, that’s all. See to the Helmsman first, that’s what matters. I can wait.’ The Helmsman nevertheless bent down and applied the appropriate pressures to his upper back and waist to release him from his paralysis. As soon as he could move and was on his feet again, he inquired what was the matter with the Helmsman’s eyes. ‘Lime,’ said the Helmsman curtly. ‘You’ll have to wash them with cooking-oil,’ said Brother Gao. ‘You mustn’t, whatever you do, use water. Come with me, sir. I’ll see to it.’

韦小宝道:“我马上就来。”回进土屋,提起斧头,将七八枚棺材钉都钉入棺材盖中,说道:“郑公子,你躺着休息几天。算你运气,欠我的一万两银子,一笔勾销,也就不用还了。”大笑一阵,走回大厅。只见马彦超已用菜油替陈近南洗去眼中石灰,又敷好了他身上伤口。厅上风际中、钱老本、玄贞道人等躺满了一地,陈近南正在给各人解穴。原来冯锡范陡然来袭,他武功既高,又攻了众人个措手不及。风际中等并非聚在一起,闻声出来应战,给他逐一点倒。众人都是恼怒已极,只是在总舵主面前,不便破口大骂。马彦超说了韦小宝使诡计重创冯锡范的情形,众人登时兴高采烈,都说这厮如此奸恶,只盼石灰便此弄瞎了他双眼。陈近南双目红肿,泪水仍不断渗出,脸色郑重,说道:“钱兄弟、马兄弟,你们去洗了郑二公子眼中石灰,请他到这里来。”钱马二人答应了。
Seeing that his Shifu was in competent hands, Trinket temporarily excused himself and ran back into the outhouse. He could hear that his prisoner had been trying to raise the lid. The nails, when he slammed it down, could not have penetrated very deeply. With the back of the chopper he banged six or seven of them in. ‘You can rest quiet now, Sir Zheng,’ he said. ‘Forget about the ten thousand taels you owe me! I’ll make you a present of them!’ Picking up the oilskin packet in which the Sutras were wrapped, he walked back, still laughing, across the little garden and up into the hall. He found the floor there strewn with bodies. Butcher Qian, Father Obscurus, and the rest were lying about in all directions, immobile but alive. Brother Gao had already washed the Helmsman’s eyes with oil and was now binding up his wounds. As soon as he had finished, the Helmsman set about unlocking the pressure points of the recumbent Triads. On their feet once more, they began exclaiming indignantly against Feng’s treachery, expressing the hope, when they learnt what had happened in the outhouse, that the lime had blinded him permanently. The Helmsman, however, whose own eyes were red and swollen and continuously running with tears, gravely ordered Butcher Qian and Brother Gao to find Sir Zheng and attend to his eyes, too. Having done so, they were to invite him into the hall.

韦小宝突然“啊”的一声,假装晕倒,双目紧闭。陈近南左手一伸,拉住了他手臂,问道:“怎样?”韦小宝道:“我……我刚才……吓……吓得厉害,生怕他们害死了师父……这会儿……这会儿手脚都没了力气……”陈近南抱着他放在椅上,道:“你休息一会。”原来韦小宝自知用石灰撒人眼睛,实是下三滥的行径,当年茅十八曾为此打了他一顿,虽然群雄大赞他机智,但想他们是我属下,自然要拍马屁,师父是大英雄、大豪杰,比之茅十八又高出十倍,定要重责,索性晕在前头,叫他下不了手,当真要打,落手也好轻些。钱马二人匆匆奔回大厅,说道:“总舵主,没见到郑二公子,想是他已经走了。”陈近南皱眉道:“走了?不在棺材里么?”钱马二人面面相觑,土屋中棺材倒是有一口,但郑二公子怎么会在其中?
As they hurried off to do his bidding, Trinket gave a little cry and appeared to faint. Early in his career his use of lime as a weapon had earned him a beating. He had a strong presentiment that, in the Triads’ code of honour, nailing your defeated foe in a coffin might have even more painful consequences. The others carried him to a chair and were crowding round him solicitously when Gao and Qian returned and told them that Zheng was nowhere to be seen. The Helmsman frowned. ‘But isn’t he in the coffin?’ The two men exchanged puzzled glances. They had observed a coffin, but could not see how anyone could have got inside it.

陈近南道:“咱们去瞧礁。”领着众人走向土屋。韦小宝大急,只得跟在后面,双手揉擦屁股,心道:“屁股啊屁股,师父听到我将那臭小子赶入了棺材,你老兄难免要多挨几板了,真正对不住之至。”来到土屋之中,只见满地都是石灰和鲜血,果然不见郑克塽的人影。陈近南明明听得韦小宝逼着郑克塽爬入棺材,这时棺材盖却钉上了,疑心大起,问道:“小宝,你将二公子钉入了棺材里么?”韦小宝见师父面色不善,赖道:“我没有。说不定他怕师父杀他,自己钉上了。”陈近南喝道:“胡说!快打开来,别闷死了他。快,快!”钱老本和马彦超拿起斧头凿子,忙将棺材钉子起下,掀开棺材盖,里面果真躺着一人。陈近南叫道:“二公子!”将那人扶着坐起。众人一见,都是“啊”的一声惊呼。陈近南手一松,退了两步,那人又倒入棺材。众人齐声叫道:“是关夫子!”在这一刹那间,众人已看清棺材中那人乃是关安基。
‘We’ll go and have a look,’ said the Helmsman. They trooped over in a little knot behind him, Trinket hanging back in the rear. All over the floor of the outhouse there was blood and lime. The Helmsman’s face darkened as his eye lit on the coffin. ‘Trinket, did you nail Sir Zheng in that coffin?’ he asked angrily. ‘No,’ said Trinket, ‘I didn?t do it. He must have done it himself. He probably thought if you found him he would be killed.’ ‘Nonsense!’ said the Helmsman. ‘Get that lid off at once, before he suffocates!’ Butcher Qian and Brother Gao set to at once with chopper and chisel and soon had the lid off the coffin. Needless to say, there was a man lying inside it. ‘Sir Zheng!’ said the Helmsman, and made haste to raise up the reclining figure. A cry escaped the others as he did so, and the Helmsman himself, looking into the man’s face, released the body and jumped back in horror. It was Brother Guan-Big Beaver.

陈近南抢上又再扶起,只见关安基双目圆睁,已然毙命,但身子尚自温暖,却是死去未久。众人又惊又悲,风际中、玄贞道人等跃出墙外察看,已找不到敌人踪迹。陈近南解开关安基衣衫,只见他胸口上印着一个血红的手印,失声叫道:“冯锡范!”玄贞道人怒道:“确是冯锡范!这红砂掌是他昆仑派的独门武功。这恶贼重伤之余,片刻间便去而复回,当真……他妈的,他要救郑二公子那也罢了,怎地却害死了关二哥?”众人纷纷怒骂。关安基的舅子贾老六更是呼天抢地的大哭。陈近南黯然不语。
They raised him up again. When they felt the body, it was still warm, but he was quite definitely dead. Father Obscurus knelt down and undid Big Beaver’s jacket and his shirt. There was a seal?mark on his chest, a blood?red hand. ‘Feng Xifan,’ he said. ‘All members of the Kunlun School use that mark. Cruel devil! Wasn’t it enough to rescue Sir Zheng? Why did he need to kill Big Beaver as well?’ Scarface, Big Beaver’s son-in-law, began to wail. The other Triads broke out in curses. The Helmsman alone remained morosely silent.

众人回到大厅。钱老本道:“总舵主,二公子与大公子争位,那是众所周知的。咱们天地会向来秉公行事,大公子居长,自然拥大公子。二公子早就把你当作了眼中钉,这次更受了冯锡范的挑拨,想乘机除了你。今日大伙儿更得罪了二公子,这么一来,只怕王爷也要信他们的谗言了。总舵主此后不能再回台湾去了。”
‘The Marshal was always so good to me,’ he said presently with a sigh, ‘and I have always done my utmost to repay him by giving loyal service to his successors. Up to now I have met with nothing but courtesy and consideration from his son, the Prince. The Prince knows I am loyal. I can’t believe he would want me killed.’ ‘His eight sons are all at each other’s throats to get the succession,’ said Father Obscurus. This Sir Zheng is only one of them. If he can do this to you here on the mainland, who knows what damage he might do to you, with a dangerous rat like Feng to help him, when he gets back to Taiwan? Whatever you say about the Prince, blood, as we all know, is thicker than water.’

陈近南叹了口气,说道:“国姓爷待我恩义深重,我粉身碎骨,难以报答。王爷向来英明,又对我礼敬有加,王爷决不是戕害忠良之人。”玄贞道人道:“常言道:疏不间亲。二公子咬定我们天地会不服台湾号令,在中原已是如此,到得台湾,更有什么分辩的余地?他郑家共有八位公子,大家争权夺位,咱们天地会用不着牵涉在内。总舵主,咱们秦桧固然不做,却也不做岳飞。”钱老本道:“总舵主忠心耿耿,一生为郑家效力,却险些儿给二公子害死,这口气无论如何咽不下。”陈近南又叹了口气,说道:“大丈夫行事无愧于天地,旁人要说短长,也只好由他。只是万万料想不到,竟会有此变故。刚才若不是小宝机智,大伙儿都已死于非命了……唉,可惜关二哥……”韦小宝听师父并不追究撒石灰、钉棺材之事,登时宽心,生怕他只是一时想不起,须得立即岔开话头,说道:“咱们这么一闹,只怕左邻右舍都知道了,要是报知官府,只怕……只怕……须得赶快搬家。”陈近南道:“正是。我心神不定,竟没想到此节。”
‘An honourable man must do what he has to do regardless of how others traduce or revile him,’ said the Helmsman with another sigh. ‘Still, I never imagined that anything like this might happen. Good heavens! If it hadn’t been for the resourcefulness of young Trinket here, we might all of us have been murdered. But poor Guan!’ he added, remembering that one of them had been murdered. Trinket wasn’t sure what ‘resourcefulness’ was, but the Helmsman’s words sounded like praise and he was relieved not to be reprimanded. Before his Shifu could have time to reflect on the dishonourable means that had been used to rescue him, he made haste to change the subject. ‘We’ve been making such a racket here today,’ he said, ‘I’m sure the neighbours must have heard. Hadn’t we better move our headquarters somewhere else?’ ‘You are absolutely right,’ said the Helmsman. ‘If my mind were in a more settled state, I should have suggested it myself.’

当下众人匆匆在花园中掘地埋葬了关安基的尸身,洒泪跪拜,携了随身物件,便即分批离去。天地会群雄在京中时时搬迁,换个一住所乃是家常便饭。韦小宝生怕师父考问武功,乘机辞别,回去皇宫。
A grave was hurriedly dug in the garden for Big Beaver and as soon as they had finished burying him and had knelt and kowtowed at the graveside and bidden him a tearful farewell, they set about getting their things together for a move of house. The dangerous nature of their work necessitated frequent changes of domicile, so they were used to removals and able to take this latest one in their stride. Pretending that he was needed at the Palace, Trinket took his leave of the Helmsman and left the Triads to their packing.

More Talk of Sutras

他来到自己住处,闩上房门,将六部经书逐一拆开,果见每部经书封皮的夹缝中,都有许多羊皮碎片。他取出碎片,将书画缝起还原,缝不到半部,便觉厌烦,心想:“双儿如在这里就好了,她此刻多半还在少林寺外等我。我给九难师父捉了去,这好丫头一定担心得要命,得派人去叫她来。”又缝了几针,眼睛已不大睁得开,藏好经书便睡。
Back in his room at the Palace, having first carefully barred the door, Trinket unwrapped the five copies of the Sutra he had retrieved from the coffin, added the bordered blue copy he had taken from the fat man’s hiding-place in the false Empress Dowager’s bedroom, and set about unstitching the covers of all six and extracting the cut-up pieces of parchment that were hidden inside them. Carefully sweeping the little mound of pieces into the bag in which the pieces from the poisoned Sutra had been kept, he began the task of sewing the covers up again. He found sewing tedious indeed, he was only halfway through the first cover when he began to tire of it and suddenly thought of Doublet, whose nimble fingers would have had this job finished in no time-poor Doublet, who was probably still languishing in her lodgings beneath the Shaolin Monastery where he had left her so many weeks ago, and who was probably wondering what on earth had become of him! He must find some means of sending for her at the earliest opportunity. After a few more stitches he was so sick of the whole business that he threw the book down in disgust and went to bed.

次日一早去上书房侍候听旨。康熙说道:“明日便有朝旨,派你送建宁公主去云南,赐婚给那姓吴的小王八蛋。”韦小宝道:“是。只可惜没服侍得皇上几天,又要远离。”康熙低声道:“太后跟我说了一件大事,这次你去云南,就可乘机办一办。”韦小宝应了。康熙道:“太后说道,那恶婢假冒太后,原来有个重大阴谋,她想查知我们满洲龙脉的所在,要设法破了。”韦小宝冲口而出:“这老婊子罪大恶极!”急忙伸手按住嘴巴,自知在皇帝面前骂这等粗话,未免太过不敬。岂知康熙丝毫不以为意,跟着道:“对!这老婊子当真不是东西。太后忍辱忍苦,宁死不说,才令老婊子奸计不逞。上天保佑,太后所以得保平安至今,却也全仗了不肯吐露这个大秘密。”
First thing next morning he waited on Kang Xi in the Upper Library and was informed that his appointment as Marriage Envoy charged with the duty of escorting Her Highness the Princess Ning to Yunnan was to be announced in Court next day. After telling him this, Kang Xi dropped his voice and assumed a more confidential tone. ‘There’s something very important, besides this marriage business, that I want you to do for me when you get to Yunnan. I’ve just been talking about this to the Empress Dowager. It seems that the vile woman who was impersonating her was trying to discover the secret of the Dragon Line which controls the destiny of the Manchus. Her intention, or that of the people she was working for, was to break the line by digging into it in order to undermine our power. The secret is somehow hidden inside the eight copies of a book, the Sutra in Forty-Two Sections.’

韦小宝早已知道,却道:“皇上,这个天大的秘密,你最好别跟我说。多一人知道,多一分泄漏的危险。”康熙赞道:“你越来越长进啦,懂得诸事须当谨慎。不过你跟我办事以来,从来没泄漏过什么。倘若连你都信不过,我是没人可以信得过的了。”韦小宝周身数百根骨头,每根骨头登时都轻了几两几钱,跪下磕头,说道:“皇上如此信得过,奴才就是把自己舌头割了,也不敢泄漏半句皇上交代的话。”
Trinket, who had probably known about this a great longer than the Emperor and who, at that very moment, had got six of the eight copies in his room, expressed amazement. Feeling himself on dangerous ground, he thought it safer to behave formally, as a loyal subject rather than as a friend. ‘Should Your Majesty be telling me this?’ he asked, with feigned anxiety. ‘The fewer people know, the more chance there is of the secret staying a secret.’ ‘Good for you, Trinket!’ said Kang Xi. ‘You are learning fast. But I think I can trust you. If I can?t trust you, I don?t know who I can trust.’ Trinket felt a pang of remorse. He disguised his confusion by dropping to his knees and kowtowing. ‘I won?t betray your trust, I promise, Your Majesty,’ he said. ‘I would rather cut my tongue out than give away any secret of yours.’

康熙点点头,说道:“我大清龙脉的秘密,原来藏在八部四十二章经之中。”韦小宝假作惊异,连声道:“咦,奇怪,有这等事?这可万万想不到!”康熙续道:“当年摄政王爷进关之后,将八部经书分赐八旗旗主。八旗之中,正黄、正白、镶黄上三旗的兵马是天子自将,但田地财物,仍分属三旗旗主管领。正黄旗的经书,父皇一直放在身边,带了去五台山,后来命你拿回来赐给我。镶白旗旗主因事获罪,镶白旗的经书没入宫中,父皇赐了给端敬皇后。”韦小宝心道:“老皇爷宠爱端敬皇后,最好的东西自然要赐给她。要是换作我,八部经书一古脑儿没入宫中,全都赐了给她。”康熙续道:“老婊子害死端敬皇后,自然也就占了她的经书。鳌拜是镶黄旗旗主。那日派你去抄鳌拜的家,老婊子要你找两部经书,一部便是镶黄旗的,另一部是正白旗的。”韦小宝道:“是。早知老婊子这样坏,奴才便回禀老婊子说找不到,将经书悄悄献给皇上。”
And for the moment at any rate, he really meant it. ‘know,’ said Kang Xi kindly, at the same time motioning to him to get up. ‘That’s why I’m telling you this. Now then, these eight copies of the Sutra are bound in the colours of the Eight Banners– the four plain ones, yellow, white, red, and blue, and the four bordered ones, yellow, white, and blue with red borders, and red with a white border. When the power of the Manchus was first established in China, the Regent Dorgon gave one copy to the Head of each of the Banners. This was a safety measure–the secret is divided up between the eight copies, so unless you can get all eight together, there is no means of knowing it. Three copies were kept in the Imperial Household? the plain white, the plain yellow, and the bordered yellow. You yourself have seen all three of them. Two of them you found among Oboi?s things when his estate was confiscated. You were ordered to hand them in to that evil woman.’ ‘I wish I hadn’t,’ said Trinket

康熙笑道:“那时咱们既不知老婊子是假太后,又不知这四十二章经中有这等重大干系,你如这样胡闹,我非……非打你屁股不可。”韦小宝道:“是,是。”心道:“打打屁股就算了吗?那你也甭客气啦!”问道:“另外那部正白旗的,不知鳌拜是哪里来的?”康熙道:“他害死了正白旗旗主苏克萨哈,将家产、财物,连经书一起占了去。哼,这逆贼死有余辜。”韦小宝道:“是。这样一来,老婊子手里有了三部经书啦。”康熙道:“岂止三部?她又派御前侍卫副总管瑞栋,去跟镶红旗旗主和察博为难。当时我不知什么缘故,和察博这家伙一向跟鳌拜勾结,我也不去理会。现下想来,自然是去取他的赐经。瑞栋又莫名其妙的失了踪,定是给老婊子杀了灭口。”韦小宝忙道:“是,是。皇上料事如神。”心道:“你认定瑞栋是给老婊子杀的,我又赞过你料事如神,那就已敲钉转脚。日后你就算知道瑞栋是我杀的,也已不能转口,再来向我查问了。否则的话,你就承认自己不是料事如神。身为皇上,岂可料事不如神而如鬼?”康熙道:“如果我所料不错……”韦小宝忙道:“决计不错。”康熙道:“……老婊子手中已有了四部经书。可是有一件事奇怪得很,父皇赐我的那部正黄旗经书,我一直放在上书房桌上,却忽然不见了。你想又有谁这么大胆,竟敢到上书房来偷盗物事?”韦小宝道:“能出入上书房,又胆敢擅自拿书的,只有……只有……”
‘If you hadn’t done, you would have been in serious trouble,’ said Kang Xi. ‘At that time I myself didn’t know that she was an impostor.’ ‘How did Oboi come to have two copies?’ said Trinket. ‘One of them was his as Head of the Bordered Yellow Banner. The other, the plain white one, belonged to his co-Regent, Suksaha. When Oboi had Suksaha executed on trumped-up charges, he took over his copy of the Sutra along with all the rest of his estate. The plain yellow one was my father’s. He took it with him to Wutai when he became a monk. You brought it back to give me, remember, with a message from him inside it, after your first visit to the monastery. I used to keep it here on my desk but recently I found that it had gone missing. There?s only one person I can think of who could have taken it.’

康熙道:“建宁公主!”韦小宝不敢接口,心道:“这次你是真的料事如神。”康熙道:“老婊子派女儿来偷了我这部经书,这一来,她手里已有五部了。”韦小宝道:“咱们快去慈宁宫搜查。老婊子光着身子逃出宫去,什么也没带。”心中怦怦而跳:“此刻皇上如到我屋中一查,小桂子便有一百个脑袋,也都砍了。”康熙摇头道:“我早细细搜过了,什么也查不到。只查到一套僧袍,老婊子那个相好,原来是个和尚。哈哈,哈哈!”韦小宝跟着大笑,笑得两声,觉得甚为无礼,忙忍住了笑。康熙仍放声大笑,说道:“不过那矮冬瓜抱着老婊子逃走之时,我瞧到他留着一头长发,这倒奇了。多半他也是假扮宫女,头发是假的。这家伙又矮又胖,老婊子什么汉子不好偷,却去找这样个矮冬瓜。”韦小宝笑道:“这矮冬瓜武功很高。相貌英俊的,未必有本事偷进宫来。上次那个假宫女,也就丑得很。”康熙笑道:“那也说得是。”顿了一顿,续道:“另外三部经书,分别在正红旗、正蓝旗、镶蓝旗三旗手中。正红旗的旗主目下是康亲王,我已命他将经书献上来。”韦小宝心想:“康亲王那部经书,那天晚上已给人偷了去,此刻在我手中。康亲王怎么还献得出?这一下老康可要大糟而特糟了。”
‘Princess-?’ Trinket began, but thought he had better not say it. Kang Xi nodded. ‘Princess Ning.’ ‘But that means that the Old Whore-I’m sorry, I mean that bad woman has got three of the eight copies.’ (One of the three, the plain yellow one, he had himself destroyed by impregnating it with poison and throwing it to the lamas, but before that it had for a while been in the false Empress Dowager’s possession.) ‘I’m afraid the Old Whore,’ said Kang Xi as if he rather enjoyed calling her that, ‘has got more than just three. The Head Bannerman who held the bordered white copy had to forfeit it because of some misdemeanour and my father gave it to the Empress Donggo. When the Old Whore murdered the Empress Donggo she would almost certainly have got hold of her copy of the Sutra. And the traitor Colonel Rui, who was her accomplice, is suspected of having stolen the copy belonging to Hochabo, the Head of the Bordered Red Banner, shortly before he disappeared; so it is highly probable that she has got that one, too. That makes five. I’ve been calling the remaining copies in. Prince Kang holds the plain red one. I’ve already asked him for it and he should be sending it shortly.’ ‘Poor old Kang!’ thought Trinket, who had seen Prince Kang’s skinny bodyguard, Qi Yuankai, stealing it from the Prince’s private chapel, and had then taken it himself.

康熙又道:“正蓝旗旗主富登年岁尚轻,我刚才问过他。他说上一任的旗主嘉坤在攻打云南时阵亡,一切后事都是吴三桂给料理的。吴三桂交到他手里的,只是一颗印信、几面军旗,还有几万两银子,此外什么都没有了。”韦小宝道:“这部经书定是吴三桂吞没了。”康熙道:“是啊。因此你到了吴三桂府中,仔细打听这件事,想法子把经书取了来,吴三桂这厮老奸巨滑,千万不能让他得知内情。”韦小宝道:“是,奴才随机应变,设法骗他出来。”康熙皱起眉头,在书房中踱来踱去,说道:“镶蓝旗旗主鄂硕克哈是个大胡涂蛋,我要他呈缴经书,他竟说好几年前就不见了。我派了侍卫到他家搜查,一无踪迹,我已将他下在天牢,叫人好好拷问,到底是当真给人盗去了,还是他隐匿不肯上缴。”韦小宝道:“就怕也是老婊子派人去弄了来,也不知是明抢还是暗偷。”心想:“这可不是冤枉老婊子,明抢暗偷之人,多半便是那矮冬瓜。”又道:“倘若也是老婊子得了去,这六部经书却又到了何处?”随即微感懊悔:“我这句话可说错了,自己太也吃亏。我说老婊子得了六部经书,得了六部经书的其实是韦小宝。这么一来,我岂不成了老婊子?”
‘As for Oshokha, the Head of the Bordered Blue Banner, he’s an old fool,’ Kang Xi continued. ‘When I asked him for his copy, he said he had lost it. I had him arrested and sent to the Tianlao prison. He’s being questioned there right now.’ ‘Poor old Oshokha!’ thought Trinket. He knew about the Tianlao prison and he knew what ‘questioning’ meant. The bordered blue copy was the one stolen by the false Empress Dowager’s fat lover which he had found in the closet and added to his collection. No amount of torture would reveal its whereabouts to Oshokha’s interrogators. ‘That only leaves the plain blue copy,’ said Kang Xi. ‘Fudeng, the Head of the Plain Blue Banner, is only a boy. When we asked him for his copy, he said he had never had one. His father died fighting in Yunnan and his estate, after he died, was administered by Wu Sangui. Fudeng says all he ever got from Wu Sangui was a seal, a few regimental banners, and a sum of money. It’s obvious that Wu Sangui must have kept back the Sutra for himself.’ ‘Suppose–‘ Trinket hesitated. ‘Yes?’ ‘Suppose the Old Whore is working for Wu Sangui.’

康熙道:“老婊子到底是什么来历,此刻毫无线索可寻。她干此大事,必有同谋之人。她得到经书之后,必已陆续偷运出宫,要将这六部经书尽数追回,那就难得很了。好在太后言道,要寻找大清龙脉的所在,必须八部经书一齐到手,就算得了七部,只要少了一部,也是无用。咱们只须把康亲王和吴三桂手中的两部经书拿来毁了,那就太平无事。咱们又不是去寻龙脉,只消不让人得知,那就行了。不过失了父皇所赐的经书,倘若从此寻不回来,我实是不孝。哼,建宁公主这小……小……”康熙这一声骂不出口,韦小宝肚里给他补足:“小婊子!”
‘Precisely. We don’t know, of course, but if that were so, Wu Sangui would end up with six of the eight copies. That is why it is so important that you should find some means of locating the plain blue copy when you are in Yunnan and getting it back to me. If I can just lay my hands on those two copies, the plain red and the plain blue, the secret is safe. We can forget about the others.’ He fell silent and began pacing to and fro, frowning. Evidently he was deep in thought. Trinket, wondering what he could be thinking of, would have been surprised to learn that the young Emperor was trying to decide just how much he ought to tell this little urchin he had befriended and to whom up to now he had confided all his secrets. For just as there were things Trinket knew about the copies of the Sutra that he hadn’t told the Emperor, so there were things the Emperor knew that he hadn’t yet told Trinket.

这时康熙心中所想到的,是顺治在五台山金阁寺僧房中嘱咐他的话:“儿啊,你精明能干,爱护百姓,做皇帝是比我强得多了。那八部《四十二章经》中所藏地图,是一个极大藏宝库的所在。当年我八旗兵进关,在中原各地掳掠所得的金银财宝,都藏在这宝库之中。宝库是八旗公有,因此地图要分为八份,分付八旗,以免为一旗独吞。关内汉人比咱们满洲人多过百倍,倘若一齐起来造反,咱们万万压制不住,那时就当退回关外,开了宝库,八旗平分,今后数百年也就不愁温饱。”康熙当时便想起了父皇要韦小宝带回来的话:“天下事须当顺其自然,不可强求,能给中原苍生造福,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。”听得顺治又说:“我满清唾手而得天下,实是天意,这中间当真十分侥幸。咱们不可存着久居中原之心,可别弄得满洲人尽数覆灭于关内,匹马不得出关。”康熙口中唯唯称是,心中却大不以为然:“我大清在中原的大业越来越稳,今后须当开疆拓土,建万世不拔之基,又何必留什么退步?一留退步,只有糟糕。父亲出了家,心情恬退,与世无争,才这样想。”果然听得父亲接下去道:“不过当年摄政王吩咐各旗旗主:关外存有大宝藏之事,万万不能泄漏,否则满洲王公兵将心知尚有退步,遇上汉人造反,大家不肯拚死相斗,那就大事去矣。因此八旗旗主传交经书给后人之时,只能说经中所藏秘密,关及满清的龙脉,龙脉一被人掘断,满洲人那就人人死无葬身之地。一来使得八旗后人不敢忽起贪心,偷偷去掘宝藏;二来如知有人前去掘宝,八旗便群起而攻,竭力阻止。只有一国之主,才能得知这真正秘密。”康熙回思当日的言语,心中又一次想到:“摄政王雄才大略,所见极是。”
What Kang Xi knew and Trinket didn’t was that this talk of a fateful Dragon Line was nothing more than a blind. The map, whose cut-up pieces were divided up and concealed inside the eight copies of the Sutra, was a map showing not Dragon Lines but the location of a vast underground treasury in which all the loot-the bullion, the art treasures, the jewellery, and precious stones- amassed in the course of the Manchu conquest of China had been deposited. In the long talk that Kang Xi had had with his father, sitting alone with him in the temple hall of the Golden Pavilion Monastery, Kang Xi had learned that the Regent Dorgon had hidden this treasure there as an insurance against future failure.

The Manchus were greatly outnumbered by the Chinese they had conquered. If, through weakness or misfortune, they should ever be driven out, the stored-up riches would enable them to begin a new life in their old homeland. But the Regent knew about human greed and ambition. Although, as a precaution, he had divided the fragmented pieces of map up between the Heads of the Eight Banners, there was always the possibility that a greedy or ambitious Head Bannerman might somehow get possession of all eight copies and seize the treasure for himself.

Hence the fiction about the Dragon Line whose severance would bring about the universal destruction of the Manchus. Only the Emperor was to know the secret of the treasure. Shun Zhi had told it to the Empress Dowager before he withdrew from the world, instructing her to pass it on to his little son when he came of age. It was this duty that had sustained her throughout the dreadful years of her confinement, though, as it turned out, Kang Xi had heard the secret from Shun Zhi himself before she was rescued. ‘My son,’ Shun Zhi had said, ‘the Chinese are many and we are few. We must rule them with justice and kindness and seek to win their hearts. If we cannot do so and they rebel against us, we must go back to where we came from. The treasure there will sustain us.’

Kang Xi loved and respected his gentle father, but he did not share his opinions. He could see that Manchu rule was becoming consolidated; moreover, he was a clever, ambitious youth and looked forward to a long and prosperous reign in which he would weld the two races into a single people. To have one’s eye constantly on the possibility of escape, of running away from the difficulties and living comfortably elsewhere, would be demoralizing. He resolved to remove the possibility of anyone, himself included, being able to find the treasure by destroying one or two of the eight copies of the Sutra which were the key to its whereabouts. He also resolved not to say anything to Trinket about the treasure.

向韦小宝瞧了一眼,心道:“小桂子虽然忠心,却也只能跟他说龙脉,不能说宝库。这小子日后年纪大了,怎保得定他不起贪心。太后昨天对我说,父皇当年决意出家之时,将这大秘密告知了太后,要她等我年长之后转告,太后所以忍辱偷生,正是为了这件大事。她可不知我已到五台山去见到了父皇,也幸而如此,太后没给老婊子害死。”
‘I believe I could trust him now,’ he thought. ‘But who knows what he will turn out to be like when he is older?’ Having reached that decision, he ceased his pacing up and down and chatted with him for a few minutes before giving him the informal nod that allowed him to leave.

韦小宝见康熙来回踱步思索,突然心念一动,说道:“皇上,倘若老婊子是吴三桂派进宫来的,他……他手里就有七部经书。”康熙一惊,心想此事倒是大有可能,叫道:“传尚衣监!”过了一会,一名老太监走进书房磕头,乃是尚衣监的总管太监。康熙问道:“查明白了吗?”那太监道:“回皇上:奴才已仔细查过,这件僧袍的衣料,是北京城里织造的。”康熙嗯了一声。韦小宝这才明白:“原来皇上要查那矮冬瓜的来历。衣料是京里织造,就查不到什么了。”那太监又道:“不过那套男子内衣内裤,是辽东的茧绸,出于锦州一带。”康熙脸上现出喜色,点点头道:“下去罢。”那太监磕头退出。康熙道:“只怕你料得对了,这矮冬瓜说不定跟吴三桂有些瓜葛。”韦小宝道:“奴才可不明白了。”康熙道:“吴三桂以前镇守山海关,锦州是他的辖地。这矮冬瓜或许是他的旧部。”韦小宝喜道:“正是,皇上英明,所料定然不错。”康熙沉吟道:“倘若老婊子逃回云南,你此行可多一分危险。你多带侍卫,再领三千骁骑营军士去。”韦小宝道:“是,皇上放心。最好奴才能将老婊子和矮冬瓜都抓了来,千刀万剐,好给太后出这口气。”

康熙拍拍韦小宝的肩膀,微笑道:“你如能再立此大功,给太后出了这口气,嘿嘿,你年纪太小,官儿太大,我倒有些为难了。不过咱们小皇帝、小大臣,一块儿干些大事出来,让那批老官儿们吓得目瞪口呆,倒也有趣得紧。”韦小宝道:“皇上年纪虽小,英明远见,早已叫那批老东西打从心眼儿里佩服出来。待您再料理了吴三桂,那更是前无来者,后无古人。”康熙哈哈大笑,说道:“他妈的,前无古人,后无来者。你这家伙聪明伶俐,就是不学无术,不肯读书。”韦小宝笑道:“是,是。奴才几时有空,得好好读他几天书。”其实韦小宝粗鄙无文,康熙反而欢喜,他身边文学侍从的臣子要多少有多少,整日价诗云子曰听得多了,和韦小宝说些市井俗语,颇感畅快。

Prince Kang

韦小宝辞了出来,刚出书房,便有一名侍卫迎上来,请了个安,低声道:“韦副总管,康亲王想见您,不知韦副总管有没有空?”韦小宝问道:“王爷在哪里?”那侍卫道:“王爷在侍卫房等候回音。”韦小宝道:“他亲自来了?”那侍卫道:“是,是。他说想请韦副总管去喝酒听戏,就是担心皇上有要紧大事差韦副总管去办,您老人家分不了身。”韦小宝笑道:“他妈的,我是什么老人家了?”来到侍卫房中,只见康亲王一手拿着茶碗,坐着呆呆出神,眉头皱起,深有忧色。他一见韦小宝进来,忙放下茶碗,抢上来拉住他手,说道:“兄弟,多日不见,可想杀我了。”韦小宝明知他为了失却经书之事有求于己,但见他如此亲热,也自欢喜,说道:“王爷有事,派人吩咐一声就行了,赏酒赏饭,卑职还不巴巴的赶来么?你这样给面子,却自己来找我。”康亲王道:“我家里已预备了戏班子,就怕兄弟没空。这会儿能过去坐坐吗?”
As Trinket left the Upper Library, a guard stepped up and informed him that Prince Kang was waiting for him in the mess-room of the Palace Guards. It was unprecedented for a Prince of the Blood to wait on a eunuch in the Palace, but Trinket had no difficulty in guessing the reason why he was being treated with such exaggerated politeness. The Prince was sitting slumped in a chair, frowning distractedly and twiddling nervously with a teacup, but he jumped up, all smiles, as soon as Trinket walked into the mess. ‘Your Highness,’ said Trinket, ‘you really shouldn’t do this. If you want to see me, you only have to send for me.’ ‘You are so busy these days, dear boy,’ said the Prince, ‘I wasn’t sure I could get you. I have hired some excellent players that I particularly want you to see. Could you possibly find time to come round, now for a meal?’

韦小宝笑道:“好啊,王爷赏饭,只要不是皇上吩咐我去办什么急事,就是我亲生老子死了,卑职也要先扰了王爷这顿饭再说。”两人携手出宫,乘马来到王府。康亲王隆重款待,极尽礼数,这一次却无外客。
Trinket having expressed himself entirely at the Prince’s disposal, the Prince took him by the hand and led him to the Palace gate where two horses were being held in readiness for them to mount. An elaborate meal awaited them at the Prince’s residence, but there was no sign of any players. The Prince pressed dish after dish on his solitary guest, showering him meanwhile with compliments-on his courage, his resourcefulness, the extraordinarily valuable service he gave the Emperor, and so on and so forth-while Trinket, laughing inwardly, wondered when, if ever, he would come to the point.

饭罢,康亲王邀他到书房之中,说些闲话,赞他代皇上在少林寺出家,积下无数功德善果,又赞他年纪轻轻,竟已做到御前侍卫副总管、骁骑营都统,前程实是不可限量。韦小宝谦逊一番,说以后全仗王爷提携栽培。康亲王叹了一口气,说道:“兄弟,你我是自己人,什么都不用瞒你,做老哥的眼前大祸临头,只怕身家性命都难保了。”韦小宝假装大为惊奇,说道:“王爷是代善大贝勒的嫡派子孙,铁帽子王,皇上正在信任重用,有什么大祸临头了?”康亲王道:“兄弟,你有所不知。当年咱们满清进关之后,每一旗旗主,先帝都赐了一部佛经。我是正红旗旗主,也蒙恩赐一部。今日皇上召见,要我将先帝赐经呈缴。可是……可是我这部经书,却不知如何,竟……竟给人盗去了。”韦小宝满脸讶异,说道:“真是希奇!金子银子不妨偷偷,书有什么好偷?这书是金子打的么?还是镶满了翡翠珠宝,值钱得很?”康亲王道:“那倒不是,也不过是寻常的经书。可是我没能好好保管先帝的赐物,委实是大不敬。皇上忽然要我呈缴,只怕是已经知道我失去赐经,要追究此事。兄弟,你可得救我一救。”说着站起身来,请下安去。韦小宝急忙还礼,说道:“王爷这等客气,可不折杀了小人?”
At last, when the meal was over, the Prince invited him into his private study and it all came out. The Prince was in trouble, real trouble. When the dynasty was founded, he explained, the Heads of the Eight Banners had each been given a copy of a Sutra bound in the colour of his own banner. As Head of the Plain Red Banner, he was supposed to be looking after the plain red one, but now the Emperor had asked for it back and the wretched thing had been stolen. If the Emperor found out he hadn’t got it, he was as good as dead. Poor old Oshokha had lost his copy and now he was in the Tianlao prison being given the works. The Prince, as he mentioned it, could almost feel his own flesh being torn. ‘Save me, brother!’ he said, almost tearfully, dropping on one knee-to the great consternation of Trinket, who knelt on both his own before raising the Prince up to his feet. ‘You know I’d do anything for you,’ said Trinket. ‘I’d even give you my head.’

康亲王愁眉苦脸的道:“兄弟,你如不给我想个法子,我……我只好自尽了。”韦小宝道:“王爷也未免把事情看得太重了。我明日将这件事奏知皇上,最多也不过罚王爷几个月俸银,或者交宗人府申斥一番,哪有性命交关之理?”康亲王摇头道:“只要保得性命,就真把我这亲王的王爵革去,贬作庶人,我也已谢天谢地,心满意足了。镶蓝旗旗主鄂硕克哈就因为丢了赐经,昨儿给打入了天牢,听说很受了拷打,皇上派人严审,那部经书到底弄到哪里去了。”说着脸上肌肉抖动,显是想到了身入天牢、备受苦刑的惨酷。韦小宝皱眉道:“这部经书当真如此要紧?啊,是了,那日抄鳌拜的家,太后命我到他家里去找两部什么三十二章经、四十三章经什么的。王爷不见了的,就是这个东西么?”康亲王脸上忧色更深,说道:“正是,是四十二章经。一抄鳌拜的家,太后什么都不要,单要经书,可见这东西非同小可。兄弟可找到了没有?”韦小宝道:“找是找到了。鳌拜那厮把经书放在他卧房的地板洞里,找得我出了一身大汗。这经书有什么希奇?我给你到和尚庙里去要他十部八部来,缴给皇上就是。”康亲王道:“先皇钦赐的经书,跟和尚庙里的寻常佛经大不相同,可混冒不来。”韦小宝神色郑重,说道:“这样倒真有点儿麻烦了。不知王爷要我办什么事?”

康亲王摇摇头,说道:“这件事我实在说不出口,怎……怎能要兄弟去做欺君之事?”韦小宝一拍胸膛,道:“王爷但说不妨。你当韦小宝是朋友,我为你送了这条小命,也是一场义气。好,你去奏知皇上,就说这部经书我韦小宝借去瞧瞧,却不小心弄丢了。皇上这几天很喜欢我,最多打我一顿板子,未必就会砍了我的头。”康亲王道:“多谢兄弟的好意,但这条路子恐怕行不通。皇上不会相信兄弟借经书去看。”韦小宝点头道:“我虽然做过和尚,但西瓜大的字识不了一担,借经书去看,皇上恐怕不大相信。咱们得另想法子。”康亲王道:“我是想请兄弟……想请兄弟……想请兄弟……”连说三句“想请兄弟”,却不接下去,只是眼望韦小宝,瞧着他脸上的神气。韦小宝道:“王爷,你不必为难。做兄弟的一条小性命……”左手抓住自己辫子,右手在自己头颈里一斩,做个双手捧着脑袋送上的姿势,说道:“已经交了给你,只要不是危害皇上之事,什么事都听你吩咐。”
He proceeded to suggest one or two ways, none of them practicable, in which he might help. The least helpful was his suggestion that the Emperor should be told that he, Trinket, had borrowed the Sutra and lost it. (It was common knowledge that he couldn’t read.) It became clear, when the Prince had, as tactfully as he could, disposed of all these proposals, that he had some scheme of his own in mind, but it took a great deal of persuading to get him to say what it was. When finally he did so, it appeared that he wanted Trinket to steal a copy of the Sutra either from the Emperor himself or from the Empress Dowager. He had gathered a number of skilled workmen together who would, as soon as they could set eyes on the Sutra, work day and night to produce a perfect copy. This would then be bound in the appropriate cover and presented to the Emperor. The stolen copy would, of course, be smuggled back to wherever it had come from.

康亲王大喜,道:“兄弟如此义气深重,唉,做哥哥的别的话也不多说了。我是想请兄弟到太后或是皇上身边,去偷一部经书出来。我已叫定了几十名高手匠人,等在这里,咱们连夜开工,仿造一部,好渡过这个难关。”韦小宝问道:“能造得一模一样?”康亲王忙道:“能,能,定能造得一模一样,包管没有破绽。做了样子之后,兄弟就把原来的经书放回,决不敢有丝毫损伤。”其实他明知仓卒之间仿造一部经书,要造得毫无破绽,殊所难能,他是想将真假经书掉一个包,将假经书让韦小宝放回原处,真的经书呈缴皇帝。料想韦小宝不识之无,难以分辨真伪,将来能不发觉,那是上上大吉,就算发觉,也已连累不到自己头上。只是这番用意,此刻自是不能直言。韦小宝道:“好,事不宜迟,我这就想法子去偷,王爷在府上静候好音便了。”康亲王千恩万谢,亲自送他到门外,又不住叮嘱他务须小心。韦小宝回到屋中,将几十片羊皮碎片在灯下拼凑,心想八部已得其七,就算空下一些,也能拼个大概出来。哪知足足花了大半个时辰,连地图的一只角也凑不起来。他本无耐心,厌烦起来,便不再拼,当下将千百片碎片用油纸包了,外面再包了层油布,贴身藏好。心想:“老康是正红旗旗主,他这部经书自然是红封皮的,明儿我另拿一部给他便是。”
To the Prince’s delight Trinket had no objection to stealing from the Emperor. He even seemed eager to begin. The sooner I get to work on this the better,’ he said, and rose to go. The Prince insisted on seeing him out as far as the roadway outside, urging him, again and again, to be careful. Back in his room in the Palace, Trinket took out his little collection of Sutras and surveyed them. Any of them would do to lend to the Prince except for the plain red one-the one that the Prince said had gone missing. He decided to select the one with the bordered white cover which he had already started sewing. Having completed, with much difficulty and a good deal of cursing, the stitching together of the two layers of parchment, he pasted the silk onto them and weighted it down to dry.

次日清晨,将镶白旗经书的羊皮面缝好,粘上封皮,揣在怀中,径去康亲王府。康亲王一听他到来,三脚两步的迎了出来,握住他双手,连问:“怎样?怎样?”韦小宝愁眉苦脸,摇了摇头。康亲王一颗心登时沉了下去,说道:“这件事本来为难,今日未能成功……”韦小宝低声道:“东西拿到了,就怕你十天半月之内,假冒不成。”康亲王大喜,一跃而起,将他一把抱住,抱入书房。众亲随、侍卫见王爷这等模样,不由得都暗暗好笑。韦小宝将经书取出,双手送将过去,问道:“是这东西吗?”康亲王紧紧抓住,全身发抖,打开书函一看,道:“正是,正是,这是镶白旗的赐经,因此是白封皮镶红边儿的。咱们立刻开工雕版。兄弟,你得再教我一个法儿,怎生推搪得几天。嗯,我假装从马上跌了下来,摔得头破血流,昏迷不醒。待得冒牌经书造好,再去叩见皇上,你说可好?”
First thing next morning he stood at the Prince’s gate with the ‘stolen’ Sutra concealed beneath his gown. The Prince came bounding out to meet him as soon as his arrival was announced. ‘Any luck?’ When Trinket nodded, the Prince was so overjoyed that he picked him up in his arms and carried him all the way to his study to the astonishment and no little amusement of the guards and attendants who saw him as he passed. ‘It will take your workmen days to make a copy of this Sutra,’ said Trinket. Why don’t you just change this cover for a red one and hand it in straight away’ You can put the bordered white cover on your workmen’s copy when it’s ready. With a bit of luck-provided they can finish within a week or so-the Emperor will never find out that it’s been missing.’

韦小宝摇头道:“皇上英明之极,你掉这枪花,他心中犯了疑,你将西贝货儿呈上去,皇上细细一看,只怕西洋镜当场就得拆穿。这部书跟你失去的那部,除了封皮颜色之外,还有什么不同?”康亲王道:“就只封皮颜色不同,另外都是一样。”韦小宝道:“这个容易,你将这部书换个封皮,今日就拿去呈给皇上。”康亲王又惊又喜,颤声道:“这……这……宫里失了经书,查究起来,只怕要牵累到兄弟。”韦小宝道:“我昨晚悄悄在上书房里偷了出来,没人瞧见的。就算有人瞧见,哼哼,谅这狗崽子也不敢说。我跟你担了这个干系便是。”康亲王心下感激,不由得眼眶也湿了,握住他双手,再也说不出话来。
The Prince had secretly been intending to do this anyway, but was none the less touched by his young friend’s thoughtfulness. It was true’ if he had delayed handing in the Sutra for a week or two-by pretending that he was ill or had had an accident-the Emperor would very likely have smelt a rat and might well have discovered that the copy was a fake. When Trinket left to hurry back to the Palace, the Prince’s eyes were quite moist with gratitude as he wrung the hands of his little saviour, his heart too full for words.

Doctor Lu and Fat Dhuta, Again

韦小宝回到宫中,另行拿了两部经书,去寻胖头陀和陆高轩。他想正黄旗的经书上浸满了毒水,给桑结喇嘛抢去了;镶白旗的给了康亲王;剩下五部之中,镶黄、正白两部从鳌拜家中抄来,镶蓝从老婊子的柜中取得,这三部书老婊子都见过的,这时老婊子如在洪教主身边,呈上去可大不妙。正红旗是从康亲王府中顺手牵来,镶红旗是从瑞栋身上取得,老婊子虽知来历,却也不妨。于是交给胖陆二人的是一部正红,一部镶红。胖陆二人早已等得望眼欲穿,见他突然到来,又得到了教主所要的两部经书,当真喜从天降。
Alone in his room in the Palace he once more surveyed his little hoard. It was high time, he decided, that he sent a couple of these Sutras to the Leader of the Mystic Dragon Sect, but which two was it to be’ Of the five now left, three were ones he had taken from the false Empress Dowager’s bedroom’ the plain white and bordered yellow ones from the secret compartment in her bed and the bordered blue one from the closet in which her balloon-like lover had been hiding. He couldn’t send any of them, because she was probably back on Snake Island by now and would realize as soon as she saw them that he was playing a double game. It would have to be the two red ones, the plain red one which had once been Prince Kang’s and the bordered red one which he had removed from the dead body of Lieutenant-Colonel Rui. After stitching up the covers and sticking down the silk, he took them with him to the lodgings where, during all these past months, Fat Dhuta and Doctor Lu had been staying while waiting for instructions from him. Needless to say they were delighted to see him-even more so when they heard that he had succeeded in getting hold of two copies of the Sutra.

韦小宝道:“陆先生,你将经书呈给教主和夫人,说道我打听到,吴三桂知道另外六部经书的下落。我白龙使为教主和夫人办事,忠字当头,十万死百万死不辞,因此要到云南去赴汤蹈火,找寻经书。胖尊者,你护送我去再为教主立功。”胖陆二人欣然答应。胖头陀道:“陆兄,白龙使立此大功,咱二人也跟着有了好处。教主赐下豹胎易筋丸的解药,你务必尽快差妥人送到云南来。”
Trinket charged Doctor Lu with the task of delivering them to the Leader. When you see him,’ he said, ‘tell him I’ve found out that Wu Sangui knows where the other six copies are and that I’m going to Yunnan to see what more I can find out about them. It’s going to be a dangerous mission, but for the Leader and Madame Hong I’d lay my life down if necessary. Long Life to the Leader! Blessings be on Him!’ ‘Long Life to the Leader! Blessings be on Him!’ the other two echoed dutifully. ‘If he gives you the Leopard Pill Antidote,’ said Trinket, ‘make sure you send someone reliable with them.’

陆高轩连声称是,心想:“白龙使小小年纪,已如此了得。教主这大位,日后非传给他不可。我此刻不乘机讨好于他,更待何时?”说道:“这解药非同小可,属下决不放心交给旁人,定当亲自送来。白龙使,属下对你忠心耿耿,定要服侍你服了解药之后,属下和胖兄再服。否则就算豹胎易筋丸药性发作,属下有解药在手,宁死也决不先服。”
Doctor Lu told himself that this young White Dragon Marshal, who had already, while still only a boy, achieved so much, might well turn out to be the Leader’s successor. He determined to waste no time in getting into his good books. ‘I wouldn’t dream of sending them,’ he said. ‘If he gives me the Pills, I shall bring them to you myself. And the Dhuta and I will see to it that you have your dose before we do.’

韦小宝笑道:“很好,很好,你对我如此忠心,我总忘不了你的好处。”陆高轩大喜,躬身道:“属下恭祝白龙使永享清福,寿比南山。”韦小宝心想:“我只比教主低了一级,永享清福,寿比南山,倒也不错了。”
Being himself a master in the art of flattery, Trinket knew that he was being flattered, but was gratified none the less. While the doctor began preparing for his departure, he told Fat Dhuta that he wanted him to accompany him to Yunnan. After discussing arrangements for getting him into his retinue, he hurried back to the Palace. This all happened in the early morning of the day after he took the copy to Prince Kang.

The Reluctant Bride

他回宫不久,便有太监宣下朝旨,封韦小宝为一等子爵,赐婚使,护送建宁公主前赴云南,赐婚平西王世子吴应熊。吴应熊封三等精奇尼哈番,加少保,兼太子太保。韦小宝取钱赏了太监,心想:“倒便宜了吴应熊这小子,娶了个美貌公主,又封了个大官。说书先生说精忠岳传,岳飞岳爷爷官封少保,你吴应熊臭小子如何能跟岳爷爷相比?”转念又想:“皇上封他做个大官,只不过叫吴三桂不起疑心,迟早会砍他的脑袋。鳌拜可也不是官封少保吗?对,对,岳飞岳少保也给皇帝杀了。可见官封少保,便是要杀他的头。下次皇上如果封我做少保,可得死命推辞。”当下去见皇帝谢恩,说道:“皇上,奴才这次去云南跟你办事,你有什么锦囊妙计,那就跟我说了罢。”康熙哈哈大笑,说道:“小桂子没学问。锦囊妙计,是封在锦囊之中的,天机不可泄漏,怎能先跟你说?”韦小宝道:“原来如此。可惜我不识字,皇上若有锦囊妙计,须得画成图画。皇上,上次你吩咐我去清凉寺做主持,这道圣旨,画得可挺美哪。”康熙笑道:“自古以来,圣旨不用文字而用图画,只怕以咱们君臣二人开始了。”韦小宝道:“这叫做前无古人,后无来者。”康熙笑道:“很好。你记心好,教了你的成语,便记住了。”韦小宝道:“皇上教的,我总记得,别人教的,可记来记去总记不住,也不知是什么道理。好比一言既出,什么马难追,这匹什么马,总是记不住。”说到这里,太监禀报建宁公主前来辞行。康熙向韦小宝望了一眼,吩咐进见。建宁公主一进书房,便扑在康熙怀里,放声大哭,说道:“皇帝哥哥,我……我……我不愿嫁到云南,求你收回圣旨罢。”
Shortly after he got back to the Palace, his appointment as Marriage Envoy to the Satrap’s court in Yunnan was formally announced and the title of Viscount publicly conferred on him. Honorary titles were at the same time conferred in absentia on the Satrap’s son, Wu Yingxiong, as future brother-in’law of the Emperor. After the investiture, while he was in the Upper Library chatting informally with the Emperor, the Princess Ning was announced. No sooner was the announcement made than she came rushing in and threw herself weeping on the Emperor’s neck. ‘I don’t want to go to Yunnan!’ she sobbed. ‘I don’t want to be married! Please, Emperor’brother, have the Edict cancelled! And tell Her Majesty to stop refusing to see me!’

康熙本来自幼便喜欢这个妹子,但自从得知假太后的恶行之后,连带的对妹子也生了厌憎之心,将她嫁给吴应熊,实是有心陷害,这时见她哭得可怜,倒有些不忍,但事已至此,已难收回成命,拍拍她肩膀,温言道:“女孩子长大了,总是要嫁人的。我给你拣的丈夫可很不错哪。小桂子,你跟公主说,那吴应熊相貌挺英俊的,是不是?”韦小宝道:“正是。公主,你那位额驸,是云南省有名的美男子,上次他来北京,前门外有十几个姑娘打架,打出了三条人命。”建宁公主一怔,问道:“那为什么?”韦小宝道:“平西王世子生得漂亮,天下有名。他进京那天,北京城里成千成万的姑娘太太们,都挤着去瞧。有十几个姑娘你挤我,我挤你,便打起来啦。”建宁公主破涕为笑,啐道:“呸!你骗人,哪有这等事?”韦小宝道:“公主,你猜皇上为什么派我护送你去云南?又吩咐我多带侍卫兵勇,妥为保护?”公主道:“那是皇帝哥哥爱惜我。”韦小宝道:“是啊,这是皇上的英明远见,深谋远虑。你想,额驸这样英俊潇洒,不知有多少姑娘想嫁给他做夫人,现今给你一下子占了去,天下不知道打翻了多少醋缸子、醋坛子、醋罐子、醋瓶子。有些会武艺的姑娘一怒,说不定要来跟你为难。虽然公主自己武功高强,终究寡不敌众,是不是?因此奴才这一次护送公主南下,肩头的担子可真不轻,要对付这一队糖醋娘子军,你想想,可有多难?”建宁公主笑道:“什么糖醋娘子军,你真会胡说八道。”她这时笑靥如花,脸颊上却兀自挂着几滴亮晶晶的泪珠,向康熙道:“皇帝哥哥,小桂子送我到了云南之后,就让他陪着我说话儿解闷,否则我可不去。”
Kang Xi had always had a soft spot for this tomboyish princess. It was only recently, since he found out that she wasn’t really his half-sister but the daughter of his mother’s murderess, that he had begun to dislike her. Seeing her now so distressed, and knowing only too well the cause for the real Empress Dowager’s refusal to see her impostor’s love-child, he began to melt. ‘I can’t do that,’ he said. ‘An Edict can’t be cancelled. Anyway, every girl has to get married some time or other; and I’ve chosen a very good husband for you. Tell her, Laurie, you’ve met Wu Yingxiong’ he’s a very handsome young man, isn’t he?’ Trinket began singing the young man’s praises and gave so droll an account of the Peking maidens fighting each other in the streets for a sight of him that she burst out laughing. ‘Emperor-brother,’ she said, ‘if I go to Yunnan, you must let me keep Laurie to make me laugh.’

康熙笑道:“好,好,让他多陪你些时候,等你一切惯了再说。”建宁公主道:“我要他永远陪着我,不让他回来。”韦小宝一伸舌头,道:“那不成,你的驸马爷倘若见我惹厌,生起气来一刀将我砍了,没了脑袋的小桂子,可不能陪公主说话解闷了。”建宁公主小嘴一扁,道:“哼,他敢?”康熙道:“小桂子,你去云南之前,有件事先给我查查。上书房里不见了一部佛经,这事可有点奇怪,连这里的东西,竟也有人敢偷!”说到最后一句话时,语气已颇为严峻。韦小宝应道:“是,是。”建宁公主插口道:“皇帝哥哥,你这部佛经是我拿的。嘻嘻。”康熙道:“你拿去干什么?怎么没先问过我?”公主笑道:“是太后吩咐我拿的。太后说,皇帝每天要办千百件军国大事,问你要部佛经这等小事,便不用来麻烦你啦。”康熙哼了一声,便不言语了。建宁公主伸伸舌头,央求道:“皇帝哥哥,你别为这件事生我的气。以后我去了云南,便想再来这里拿你的书,可也来不了啦。”康熙听她说得可怜,心肠登时软了下来,温言道:“你去了云南,要什么东西,尽管向我要好了。”顿了一顿,说道:“平西王府里,又有什么东西没有?”韦小宝从上书房出来,众侍卫、太监纷纷前来道贺。每个侍卫都盼能得他带去云南,吴三桂富可敌国,这一趟美差,发一笔财是十拿九稳之事。
‘Well, he can stay on a bit, perhaps,’ said Kang Xi. ‘By the way,’ his face now assumed a sterner expression, ‘a Sutra has gone missing from my desk. I suppose you haven’t any idea who could have taken it?’ ?Oh, I did,’ said the Princess gaily. ?Mother said she wanted it for saying prayers for your safety or something, so I took it for her. Don?t worry,’ she said forlornly, when she saw his frown? ?I shan?t be able to take your books from you when I?m far away in Yunnan.? She was so guileless and so appealing that Kang Xi began to feel quite sorry that he was banishing her. ‘You must always let me know if there is anything you want when you are living there,’ he said. ?Not that it?s very likely there will be,’ he added, half to himself. Wu Sangui?s court is probably richer than mine. ‘

Viscount Wei at Home

到得午夜,康亲王又进宫来相见,喜气洋洋的道:“兄弟,经书已呈缴给了皇上。皇上很是高兴,着实夸奖了我几句。”韦小宝道:“那好得很啊。”康亲王道:“你不日就去云南,今日哥哥作个小东,一来庆贺你封了子爵,二来给你饯行。”携着他手出得宫来,这次却不是去康亲王府,来到东城一所精致的宅第。这屋子虽没康亲王府宏伟,但雕栋画梁,花木山石,陈设得甚是奢华。康亲王道:“兄弟,你瞧这间房子怎样?”韦小宝笑道:“好极,漂亮之极!王爷真会享福。这是小福晋的住所么?”
Shortly after midday Prince Kang saw Trinket in the Palace. He was looking very happy. ‘I’ve handed in the Sutra,’ he told Trinket. The Emperor was very pleased. He even praised me.’ ‘I’m glad,’ said Trinket. ‘As you’ll soon be off to Yunnan, I’ve organized a little party for you,’ said the Prince. Tardy it’s to congratulate you on the viscountcy and partly it’s a way of saying goodbye.’ They left the Palace hand in hand. This time, however, Trinket found himself being taken not to the Prince’s residence but to a little mansion in the East City. Though tiny compared with the Prince’s residence, everything about it, both gardens and buildings, was exquisite. What do you think of this place?’ asked the Prince. ‘It’s beautiful,’ said Trinket. ‘Who does it belong to? One of your wives?’ (He didn’t like to say ‘your mistress’.)

康亲王微笑不答,邀他走进大厅。厅上已等着许多贵官,索额图、多隆等都出来相迎,“恭喜”之声,不绝于耳。康亲王笑道:“咱们今日庆贺韦大人高升,按理他该坐首席才是。不过他是本宅主人,只好坐主位了。”韦小宝奇道:“什么本宅主人?”康亲王笑道:“这所宅子,是韦大人的子爵府。做哥哥的跟你预备的。车夫、厨子、仆役、婢女,全都有了。匆匆忙忙的,只怕很不周全,兄弟见缺了什么,只管吩咐,命人到我家里来搬便是。”韦小宝惊喜交集,自己帮了康亲王这个大忙,不费分文本钱,不担丝毫风险,虽然明知他定有酬谢,却万想不到竟会送这样一件重礼,一时说不出话来,只道:“这……这个……那怎么可以?”
The Prince just smiled and said nothing. In the main reception hall a number of distinguished guests were waiting. As Trinket entered, all of them crowded forwards to congratulate him on his elevation, Songgotu and Dolong among the foremost. ‘We’re here to celebrate your appointment,’ said the Prince, ‘so I suppose by rights we ought to put you in the place of honour; however, as you’re the host, I’m afraid we can’t.’ ‘What do you mean?’ said Trinket. This is your residence, Lord Wei,’ said Prince Kang, laughing. ‘You can’t sleep in the Palace any longer now that we know you’re not a eunuch. The coachmen, the cooks, the manservants, and maidservants here are all yours. I’ve tried to get everything ready for you in time, but it’s been rather a rush. If you find anything missing, just send round to my place and let me know.’ Trinket knew that the Prince felt grateful to him, but hadn’t expected the reward to be of such magnificence. ‘But. . .’ he stammered, ‘but. . . You can’t possibly give me all this!’

康亲王捏了捏他手,说道:“咱哥儿俩是过命的交情,哪还分什么彼此?来来来,大伙儿喝酒。哪一位不喝醉的,今日不能放他回去。”这一席酒喝得尽欢而散。韦小宝贵为子爵,大家又早知他那太监是奉旨假扮的,便不能再回宫住宿了。这一晚睡在富丽华贵的卧室之中,放眼不是金器银器,就是绫罗绸缎,忽想:“他奶奶的,我如在这子爵府开座妓院,十间丽春院也比下去了。”
‘Of course I can!’ said the Prince. ‘Didn’t I tell you long ago? we are brothers! Now, everybody,’ he cried to the assembled guests, ‘no one gets out of here tonight until he is drunk!’ ‘Grandmother’s!’ thought Trinket hours later, as he drifted hazily sleepwards in his sumptuous bedroom, where everything his bleary eyes lit on seemed to be made of gold or silver or something precious. ‘What a wonderful whorehouse this would make!’Music to Trinket’s Ears

次日一早去见九难,告知皇帝派他去云南送婚。九难道:“很好,我陪你一起去。”韦小宝大喜,转头向阿珂瞧去。九难道:“阿珂也去。”韦小宝更是喜从天降,这个喜讯,便是皇帝连封他一百个子爵也比不上。从九难处告辞出来,便去天地会新搬的下处。
Next day Trinket went to see the White Nun to tell her that he was being sent to Yunnan. At once she proposed to accompany him on the journey. When it became clear that she would be bringing the Green Girl with her, Trinket felt that this was very much better than being made a viscount. From the White Nun’s lodgings he went on to the new headquarters of the Triads.

陈近南沉吟道:“鞑子皇帝对吴三桂如此宠幸,一时是扳他不倒的了。不过这实是大好机会。小宝,吴三桂这奸贼不造反,咱们要激得他造反,激不成功,就冤枉他造反。我本该和你同去,只是二公子和冯锡范回到台湾之后,必定会向王爷进谗,料想王爷会派人来查询天地会之事。我得留在这里,据实禀告。这里的众兄弟,你都带了去云南罢。”
The Helmsman, when he heard about Trinket’s mission, at once saw this as an opportunity for tricking or goading the Satrap into rebellion. They could then stand by and watch the Satrap’s forces and the Imperial forces destroy each other or wear each other out. He would have liked to go along with Trinket, he said, in order to help put this plan into operation, but Sir Zheng and his evil mentor, Feng the Bloodless Sword, were back in Taiwan now and Sir Zheng’s father the Prince, in response to the slanders they were no doubt pouring into his ear, would probably be sending someone to the mainland soon to investigate. Let the other Triads accompany Trinket to Yunnan. He would stay on alone to face whatever charges were being made against him.

韦小宝道:“就怕冯锡范这家伙又来加害师父,这里众位兄弟还是留着相助师父罢,否则弟子放心不下。”陈近南拍拍他肩膀,温言道:“难得你如此孝心。冯锡范武功虽强,你师父也不见得就弱于他了。这次他只不过攻了咱们个出其不意,一上来躲在门后偷袭,先伤了我右臂。下次相遇,他未必能再占到便宜。诛杀吴三桂是当前第一大事,咱们须得倾全力以赴。只盼这里的事情了结得快;我也能赶来云南。咱们可不能让沐家着了先鞭。”韦小宝点头道:“倘若给沐王府先得了手,今后天地会要奉他们号令,可差劲得很了。”陈近南伸手搭他脉搏,又命他伸出舌头瞧瞧,皱眉道:“你中的毒怎么又转了性?幸好一时也不会发作。我传你的内功暂且不可再练,以防毒性侵入经脉。”韦小宝大喜,心道:“你叫我不练功夫,这是你自己说的,以后可不能怪我。”又想:“这豹胎易筋丸当真厉害,连师父也不知是什么东西,但盼陆先生快些送来解药才好。”
Trinket was uneasy about this. He suspected that the same precious pair would be sent over to carry out the ‘investigation’ and use it as a pretext for making a second, perhaps successful, attempt to carry out their murderous design. But the Helmsman patted him kindly on the shoulder and assured him that he was able to look after himself. He also took Trinket’s pulse and looked at his tongue to see if he had fully recovered from the poison administered by Old Hai. His frown suggested that he was discontented with what he found. He told Trinket to put off doing his kungfu exercises until his body was completely free of it. This, needless to say, was music to Trinket’s ears.

Princess Ming’ Her Pain and Her Pleasure

数日后诸事齐备,韦小宝率领御前侍卫、骁骑营、天地会群雄、神龙教的胖头陀等人,辞别了康熙和太后,护送建宁公主前赴云南。九难和阿珂扮作宫女,混入人群之中。天地会群雄和胖头陀也都乔装改扮,算是韦小宝的亲随,穿了骁骑营军士的服色。韦小宝胯下康亲王所增的玉骢马,前呼后拥,得意洋洋的往南进发,他已派人前往河南,通知双儿南来,盼能和她在途中会合,此时唯一美中不足的,便是身边少了这个温柔体贴的俏丫头。
A few days later, preparations having finally been completed, the Princess, with her retinue of eunuchs and female attendants and a large military escort made up of soldiers of the Valiant Regiment and members of the Palace Guards under the command of the Marriage Envoy, Lord Wei (as Trinket was now to be called), took leave of the Emperor and started off on the long journey to Yunnan. Disguised as waiting-women, the White Nun and the Green Girl had little difficulty in finding a place among the more menial of Princess Ning’s attendants, where there would be little likelihood of their coming into contact with her, while Fat Dhuta and the Triads of the Green Wood Lodge, dressed in the uniform of the Valiants, were passed off by Trinket as orderlies forming a sort of personal bodyguard. Riding at the head of the glittering cavalcade as it wound its way from the city and out into the countryside, Trinket, perched high on the back of Jade Flower, the magnificent grey that Prince Kang had presented to him on their first meeting, experienced a rare feeling of elation.

一路之上,官府尽力铺张供应,对这位赐婚使大人巴结奉承,马屁拍到了十足十。韦小宝心花怒放,自从奉旨出差以来,从未有如这次那么舒服神气,心想:“老婊子不争气,只生了一个女儿,倘若一口气生他妈的十七八个,老子专做赐婚大臣,送了一个又一个。这一辈子吃喝玩乐,金银珠宝花差花差,可比干什么都强了。”
To the officials in the towns they passed through on their way, an Imperial Marriage Envoy escorting a Princess of the Blood was a personage only slightly less exalted than the Emperor. Everywhere he was received with smiles and flattery; at every stopping-place the same civic welcome, the same lavish entertainment awaited him.

这一日到了郑州,知府迎接一行人在当地大富绅家的花园中歇宿。盛宴散后,建宁公主又把韦小宝召去闲谈。自从出京以来,日日都是如此。韦小宝生怕公主拳打脚踢,每次均要钱老本和马彦超随伴在侧,不论公主求恳也好,发怒也好,决不遣开两人单独和她相对。这日晚饭过后,公主召见韦小宝。三人来到公主卧室外的小厅。公主要韦小宝坐了,钱马二人站立其后。
At Zhengzhou the local magistrate had arranged for them to be housed in the gardens of a local millionaire. When the welcoming banquet was over, the Princess invited Trinket to come and sit for a while with her in the pavilion where she was lodged. She had been trying to get him on his own with her ever since they started their journey, but remembering the torments she had inflicted on him when she had got him alone with her in the past, he had so far been careful to take Butcher Qian and Brother Gao with him whenever he went to call on her, refusing, however much she stormed or cajoled, to dismiss them. On this occasion they were standing one on each side of him behind his chair, while the Princess sat in another chair with a female attendant on either side fanning her with a long-handled fan. The room they were sitting in was a lounge-like reception room giving on to the Princess’s bedroom.

其时正当盛暑,公主穿着薄罗衫子,两名宫女手执团扇,在她身后拨扇。公主脸上红扑扑地,嘴唇上渗出一滴滴细微汗珠,容色甚是娇艳,韦小宝心想:“公主虽不及我老婆美貌,也算是一等一的人才了。吴应熊这小子娶得了她,当真艳福不浅。”公主侧头微笑,问道:“小桂子,你热不热?”韦小宝道:“还好。”公主道:“你不热,为什么额头这许多汗?”韦小宝笑着伸袖子抹了抹汗。一名宫女捧进一只五彩大瓦缸来,说道:“启禀公主,这是孟知府供奉的冰镇酸梅汤,请公主消暑消渴。”公主喜道:“好,装一碗给我尝尝。”
It was the height of summer and very hot. The Princess was wearing the thinnest of dresses, but her face was flushed and there was a fringe of tiny sweat-beads on her upper lip. It occurred to Trinket that she was very pretty. She smiled at him mockingly. ‘Are you very hot, Laurie?’ she asked. ‘Not too bad,’ he said, though he was dripping with sweat and feeling wretchedly uncomfortable in his formal clothes. A female attendant entered carrying a large, polychrome jar containing some sort of liquid. ‘Iced sour-plum drink, Your Highness,’ she announced. ‘It’s a present from Prefect Meng. He thought it might help you to keep cool in this dreadful heat.’ ‘Let me try some,’ said the Princess.

一名宫女取过一只碎瓷青花碗,斟了酸梅汤,捧到公主面前。公主取匙羹喝了几口,吁了口气,说道:“难为他小小郑州府,也藏得有冰。”酸梅汤中清甜的桂花香气#?漫室中,小小冰块和匙羹撞击有声,韦小宝和钱马二人不禁垂涎欲滴。公主道:“大家热得很了,每人斟一大碗给他们。”韦小宝和钱马二人谢了,冰冷的酸梅汤喝入口中,凉气直透胸臆,说不出的畅快。片刻之间,三人都喝得干干净净。公主道:“这样大热天赶路,也真够受的。打从明儿起,咱们每天只行四十里,一早动身,太阳出来了便停下休息。”
A little bowlful was ladled out and handed to her, together with a porcelain spoon. She dipped the spoon in it and tasted. The fragrant scent of the drink and the tinkling sound of the little pieces of ice made the mouths of Trinket and his companions water almost painfully. ‘How clever of them to have ice in a place like Zhengzhou!’ said the Princess. This is so refreshing. You must all of you have some!’ Three more bowlfuls were ladled out and handed to Trinket, Qian, and Gao. They thanked her and sipped. The cool drink was indescribably delicious. They drained the bowls eagerly and the Princess insisted that they should each of them have one more. ‘From tomorrow onwards,’ she said, ‘now that the weather is so hot, we ought to travel no more than twelve miles a day. We should start off very, very early and stop to rest as soon as the sun gets up.’

韦小宝道:“公主体贴下人,大家都感恩德,就只怕时日耽搁久了。”公主笑道:“怕什么?我不急,你倒着急?让吴应熊这小子等着好了。”韦小宝微笑,正待答话,忽觉脑中一晕,身子晃了晃。公主问道:“怎样?热得中了暑么?”韦小宝道:“怕……怕是刚才酒喝多了。公主殿下,奴才要告辞了。”公主道:“酒喝多了?那么每人再喝一碗酸梅汤醒酒。”韦小宝道:“多……多谢。”宫女又斟了三碗酸梅汤来。钱马二人也感头脑晕眩,当即大口喝完,突然间两人摇晃几下,都倒了下来。韦小宝一惊,只觉眼前金星乱冒,一碗酸梅汤只喝得一口,已尽数泼在身上,转眼间便人事不知了。也不知过了多少时候,昏昏沉沉中似乎大雨淋头,待欲睁眼,又是一场大雨淋了下来,过得片刻,脑子稍觉清醒,只觉身上冰凉,忽听得格的一笑,睁开眼睛,只见公主笑嘻嘻的望着自己。韦小宝“啊”的一声,发觉自己躺在地下,忙想支撑起身,哪知手足都已被绑住,大吃一惊,挣扎几下,竟丝毫动弹不得。但见自己已移身在公主卧房之中,全身湿淋淋的都是水,突然之间,发觉身上衣服已被脱得精光,赤条条一丝不挂,这一下更是吓得昏天黑地,叫道:“怎……怎么啦?”烛光下见房中只公主一人,众宫女和钱马二人都已不知去向,惊道:“我……我……”公主道:“你……你……你怎么啦?竟敢对我如此无礼?”韦小宝道:“他们呢?”
‘Your Highness is very thoughtful,’ said Trinket. ‘I’m sure we’re all very grateful. But it’s going to make it a very long journey.’ ‘Who cares!’ said the Princess, gaily. ‘If I’m not worried, why should you be? Let Wu Yingxiong wait a bit-it’ll do him good!’ Trinket wanted to reply, but a sudden dizziness overcame him and his body began swaying a little. On either side of him, in rapid succession, first Butcher Qian and then Brother Gao keeled over and fell to the floor. A moment later Trinket himself was sliding into unconsciousness. How long he remained this way he could only guess. His return to consciousness was precipitated by what he thought was a heavy shower of rain but was in fact the Princess emptying a pail of water over him. The first thing he became aware of was that he was cold and wet all over; the second, that he could not move because his hands and feet were tied. A little giggle caused him to open his eyes. Only then did he discover that he was lying stark naked in the Princess’s bedroom while the Princess herself stood over him, amusedly surveying her handiwork. ‘Where are the other two?’ he asked.

公主俏脸一沉,道:“你两个从人,我瞧着惹厌,早已砍了他们脑袋。”韦小宝不知这话是真是假,但想这公主行事不可以常理测度,钱马二人真的给她杀了,也不希奇。一转念间,已猜到酸梅汤中给她作了手脚,问道:“酸梅汤中有蒙汗药?”公主嘻嘻一笑,道:“你真聪明,就可惜聪明得迟了些。”
‘Oh, I’ve cut their heads off,’ she said lightly. ‘I was sick of their always hanging around when you came to see me.’ He didn’t know whether to believe her or not. ‘I suppose the drink was drugged,’ he said. ‘Oh, how clever of you to guess!’ She laughed sarcastically.

韦小宝道:“这蒙汗药……你向侍卫们要来的?”自己释放吴立身等人之时,曾向侍卫要蒙汗药。后来这包蒙汗药在迷倒桑结等喇嘛时用完了,这次回京,立即又要张康年再找了一大包来,放在行囊之中,“匕首、宝衣、蒙汗药”,乃小白龙韦小宝攻守兼备的三大法宝。建宁公主平时向众侍卫讨教武功,和他们谈论江湖上的奇事轶闻,向他们要些蒙汗药来玩玩,自是半点不奇。公主笑道:“你什么都知道,就不知道酸梅汤中有蒙汗药。”韦小宝道:“公主比奴才聪明百倍,公主要摆布我,奴才缚手缚脚,毫无办法。”口头敷衍,心下筹思脱身之策。公主冷笑道:“你贼眼骨溜溜的乱转,打什么鬼主意啊?”提起他那把匕首扬了扬,道:“你只消叫一声,我就在你肚上戳十八个窟窿。你说那时候你是死太监呢,还是活太监?”韦小宝眼见匕首刃上寒光一闪一闪,心想:“这死丫头、瘟丫头,行事无法无天,这把匕首随便在我身上什么地方轻轻一划,老子非归位不可,只有先吓得她不敢杀我,再行想法脱身。”说道:“那时候哪,我既不是死太监,也不是活太监,变成了吸血鬼,毒僵尸。”公主提起脚来,在他肚子上重重一踹,骂道:“死小鬼,你又想吓我!”韦小宝痛得“啊”的一声大叫。公主骂道:“肚肠又没踏出来,好痛吗?喂,你猜猜看,我踏得你几脚,肚肠就出来了?猜中了,就放你。”韦小宝道:“奴才一给人绑住,脑子就笨得很了,什么事也猜不中。”公主道:“你猜不中,我就来试。一脚,二脚,三脚!”数一下,伸足在他肚子踹一脚。韦小宝叫道:“不行,不行,你再踏得一脚,我肚子里的臭屎要给你踏出来了。”公主吓了一跳,便不敢再踏,心想踏出肚肠来不打紧,踏出屎来,那可臭气冲天,再也不好玩了。韦小宝道:“好公主,求求你快放了我,小桂子听你吩咐,跟你比武打架。”公主摇头道:“我不爱打架,我爱打人!”刷的一声,从床褥下抽出一条鞭子来,拍拍拍拍,在韦小宝精光皮肤上连抽了十几下,登时血痕斑斑。

公主一见到血,不由得眉花眼笑,俯下身去,伸手轻轻抚摸他的伤痕。韦小宝只痛得全身犹似火炙,央求道:“好公主,今天打得够了,我可没得罪你啊。”公主突然发怒,一脚踢在他鼻子上,登时鼻血长流,说道:“你没得罪我?皇帝哥哥要我去嫁给吴应熊这小子,全是你的鬼主意。”韦小宝忙道:“不,不。这是皇上自己的圣断,跟我可没干系。”公主怒道:“你还赖呢?太后向来最疼我的,为什么我远嫁云南,太后也不作声?甚至我向太后辞行,太后也是不理不睬,她……她可是我的亲娘哪!”说着掩面哭了起来。韦小宝心道:“太后早就掉了包,老婊子已掉成了真太后,她恨你入骨,自然不来睬你。不臭骂你一顿,已客气得很了。这个秘密,可不能说。”公主哭了一会,恨恨的道:“都是你不好,都是你不好!”说着在他身上乱踢。韦小宝灵机一动,说道:“公主,你不肯嫁吴应熊,何不早说?我自有办法。”公主睁眼道:“骗人,你有什么法子?这是皇帝哥哥的旨意,谁也不能违抗的。”韦小宝道:“人人都不能违抗皇上的旨意,那是不错,可是有一个家伙,连皇上也拿他没法子。”公主奇道:“那是谁?”韦小宝道:“阎罗王!”公主尚未明白,问道:“阎罗王又怎么啦?”韦小宝道:“阎罗王来帮忙,把吴应熊这小子捉了去,你就嫁不成了。”公主一怔,道:“哪有这么巧法?吴应熊偏偏就会这时候死了?”韦小宝笑道:“他不去见阎罗王,咱们送他去见便是。”公主道:“你说把他害死?”韦小宝摇头道:“不是害死,有些人忽然不明不白的死了,谁也不知道是什么缘故。”公主向他瞪视半晌,突然叫道:“你叫我谋杀亲夫?不成!你说吴应熊这小子俊得不得了,天下的姑娘人人都想嫁他。你如害死了他,我可不能跟你干休。”说着提起鞭子,在他身上一顿抽击。韦小宝只痛得大声叫嚷。公主笑道:“很痛吗?越痛越有趣!不过你叫得太响,给外面的人听见了,可不大英雄气概。”韦小宝道:“我不是英雄,我是狗熊。”公主骂道:“<脏话>!原来你是狗熊。”

这位金枝玉叶的天潢贵裔突然说出如此粗俗的话来,韦小宝不由得一怔。公主顺手拿起一只袜子,乃是从韦小宝脚上除下来的,一把塞在他嘴里,提起鞭子又狠狠抽打。打了几下,韦小宝假装晕死,双眼反白,全身不动。公主骂道:“小贼,你装死?我在你肚子上截三刀,如果你真的死了,就不会动。”韦小宝心想这件事可试不得,急忙扭动挣扎。公主哈哈大笑,提起鞭子又打,皮鞭抽在他精光的肌肉上,劈劈拍拍,声音清脆。她打了十几鞭,丢下鞭子,笑嘻嘻的道:“诸葛亮又要火烧藤甲兵了。”韦小宝大急:“今日遇上了这女疯子,老子祖宗十九代都作了孽。”只听公主自言自语:“藤甲兵身上没了藤甲,不大容易烧得着,得浇上些油才行。”
She began to torment him then. This time it was even worse than the martyrdom she had subjected him to that first time in her room in the Palace. The reason, he discovered when he began to remonstrate with her, was her distress at the fact that her mother recently seemed to have turned against her and was refusing to see her (she still had no idea, apparently, that the Empress Dowager was now a different person); she believed that this, together with the fact that she was being banished into distant matrimonial exile, , was all Trinket’s doing. Nothing he said could persuade her to the ma moutn and Jaying into him with a horsewhip. Tiring at last of beating him, she threw down the whip. ‘It would be better to burn you,’ she said. ‘I think I shall need some oil. I’ll be back in a minute.’

说着转身出外,想是去找油。韦小宝拚命挣扎,但手足上的绳索绑得甚紧,却哪里挣扎得脱,情急之际,忽然想起师父来:“老子师父拜了不少,海大富老乌龟是第一个,后来是陈总舵主师父、洪教主寿与天齐师父、洪夫人骚狐狸师父、小皇帝师父、澄观师侄老和尚师父、九难美貌尼姑师父,可是这一大串师父,没一个教的功夫当真管用。老子倘若学到了一身高强内功,双手双脚只须轻轻这么一迸,绳索立时断了,还怕什么鬼丫头来火烧藤甲兵?”正在焦躁惶急、怨天尤人之际,忽听得窗外有人低声说话:“快进去救他出来。”正是九难美貌尼姑师父。这句话一入耳,韦小宝喜得便想跳了起来,就可惜手足被绑,难以跳跃。又听得阿珂的声音说道:“他……他没穿衣服,不能救啊!”韦小宝大怒,心中大骂:“死丫头,我不穿衣服,为什么不能救,难道定要穿了衣服,才能救么?你不救老公,就是谋杀亲夫。自己做小寡妇,好开心么?”
She went out of the bedroom, presumably to look for oil. Trinket decided that she really must be mad and that this time he stood little chance of coming out of his ordeal alive. As he lay there, in agony of both mind and body he heard female voices outside the bedroom window. ‘Now get in there at once and save him!’ ‘I can’t. He hasn’t got any clothes on.’ It was the White Nun and the girl it pleased him to call his wife. ‘Oh, you stupid girl!’ he thought. ‘Are you going to stand by and see your husband burned?’

只听九难道:“你闭着眼睛,去割断他手脚的绳索,不就成了?”阿珂道:“不成啊。我闭着眼睛,瞧不见,倘若……倘若碰到他身子,那怎么办?师父,还是你去救他罢。”九难怒道:“我是出家人,怎能做这种事?”韦小宝虽然年纪尚小,也是个十几岁的少年男子,赤身露体的丑态,如何可以看得?韦小宝只想大叫:“你们先拿一件衣服掷进来,罩在我身上,岂不是瞧不见我了?”苦于口中塞着一只臭袜子,说不出话,而九难、阿珂师徒二人,却又殊乏应变之才。她二人扮作宫女,以黄粉涂去脸上丽色,平时生怕公主起疑盘问,只和粗使宫女混在一起,从不见公主之面。这一晚隐约听得公主卧室中传出鞭打和呼叫之声,便到卧室窗外来察看,见到韦小宝被剥光了衣衫绑着,给公主狠狠鞭打。窗外九难师徒商议未决,建宁公主又已回进室来,笑嘻嘻的道:“一时之间也找不到猪油、牛油、菜油,咱们只好熬些狗熊油出来。你自己说,不是英雄,是狗熊,狗熊油怎生模样,我倒没见过。你见过没有?”说着拿起桌上烛台,将烛火去烧韦小宝胸口肌肤。韦小宝剧痛之下,身子向后急缩。公主左手揪住他头发,不让他移动,右手继续用烛火烧他肌肤,片刻之间,已发出焦臭。九难大惊,当即推开窗户,提起阿珂投入房中,喝道:“快救人!”自己转过了头,生怕见到韦小宝的裸体,紧紧闭上了双眼。阿珂给师父投入房中,全身光溜溜的韦小宝赫然便在眼前,欲待不看,已不可得,只得伸掌向建宁公主后颈中劈去。公主惊叫:“什么人?”伸左手挡格,右手一晃,烛火便即熄灭。但桌上几上还是点着四五枝红烛,照得室中明晃晃地。阿珂接连出招,公主如何是她敌手?喀喀两声响,右臂和左腿被扭脱了关节,倒在床边。她生性悍狠,口中仍是怒骂。阿珂怒道:“都是你不好,还在骂人?”突然“啊”的一声,哭了出来,心中无限委屈。公主一呆,便不再骂,心想你打倒了我,怎么反而哭了起来?阿珂抓起地下匕首,割断韦小宝手上绑住的绳索,脸上已羞得飞红,掷下匕首,立即跳出窗去,飞也似的向外直奔。九难随后跟去。
Just at that moment the Princess came back into the bedroom carrying a little bottle. Having poured some oil from it onto his chest, she took one of the lighted candles from the dressing-table and was approaching him with it intending to set him on fire when there was a brief commotion outside the window. ‘Quick! Now! I command it!’ The Green Girl came flying into the room (half pushed, half thrown by the White Nun), knocked the candlestick flying that the startled Princess had raised to strike her with, and after a brief struggle succeeded-almost effortlessly, for the Princess was in no way her match-in throwing her to the floor, one shoulder and one of her knees dislocated; then, with burning cheeks, hardly daring to look at what she was doing, she hastily severed the bonds that tied Trinket’s hands and feet before rushing to the window and scrambling out again.

卧房中闹得天翻地覆,房外宫女太监们早已听见。但他们事先曾受公主叮嘱,不论房中发出什么古怪声音,不奉召唤,谁也不得入内,哪一颗脑袋伸进房来,便砍下了这颗脑袋。众人面面相觑,脸上神色极是古怪。这位公主自幼便爱胡闹,千希百奇的花样层出不穷,大家许多年来早已惯了,谁也不以为异。公主的亲生母亲本是个冒牌货色,出身于江湖草莽,怎会好好管束教导女儿?顺治出家为僧,康熙又是年幼,建宁公主再闹得无法无天,也无人来管。适才她命宫女太监进来将晕倒了的钱老本、马彦超二人拖出,绑了起来,各人已知今晚必有怪事,只是万万料不到公主竟会给人打得动弹不得。韦小宝听得美貌尼姑师父和阿珂已然远去,当即掏出口中塞着的袜子,反身关上了窗,骂道:“臭小娘,狐狸精油你见过没有?我可没有见过,咱们熬些出来瞧瞧。”向她身上踢了两脚,抓住她双手反到背后,扯下她一片裙子,将她双手绑住了。公主手足上关节被扭脱了骱,已痛得满头大汗,哪里还能反抗?韦小宝抓住她胸口衣衫,用力一扯,嗤的一声响,衣衫登时撕裂,她所穿罗衫本薄,这一撕之下,露出胸口的一片雪白肌肤。韦小宝心中恨极,拾起地下的烛台,点燃了烛火,便来烧她胸口,骂道:“臭小娘,咱们眼前报,还得快。狐狸精油我也不要熬得太多,只熬酸梅汤这么一碗,也就够了。”公主受痛,“啊”的一声。韦小宝道:“是了,让你也尝尝我臭袜子的滋味。”俯身拾起袜子,便要往她口中塞去。公主忽然柔声道:“桂贝勒,你不用塞袜子,我不叫便是。”
As the Princess lay, cursing but helpless beside him, Trinket painfully sat up and removed the smelly sock from his mouth. ‘Horrible, stinking little bitch!’ he said. ‘It’s time you tasted a bit of your own medicine.’ He silenced her curses with the sock, ripped her dress off, and began beating and beating her with the whip. He didn’t keep it up for very long though, partly because the violent action was making his own weals more painful, but more than that because the strange, exultant look in her eyes disgusted him. In spite of the dreadful pain she must be in, she was almost enjoying herself. He took the sock out again. ‘Dear Laurie, Prince Laurie,’ she pleaded, ‘you can go on beating me if you like, but please first put my joints back!’

“桂贝勒”三字一入耳,韦小宝登时一呆,那日在皇宫的公主寝室里,她扮作奴才服侍他时,也曾如此相称,此刻听得她又这样昵声相呼,不由得心中一阵荡漾。只听她又柔声道:“桂贝勒,你就饶了奴才罢,你如心里不快活,就鞭打奴才一顿出气。”韦小宝道:“不狠狠打你一顿,也难消我心头之恨。”放下烛台,提起鞭子便往她身上抽去。公主轻声呼叫:“哎唷,哎唷!”媚眼如丝,樱唇含笑,竟似说不出的舒服受用。韦小宝骂道:“贱货,好开心吗?”公主柔声道:“我……奴才是贱货,请桂贝勒再打重些!哎唷!”韦小宝鞭子一抛,道:“我偏偏不打了!”转身去找衣衫,却不知给她藏在何处,问道:“我的衣服呢?”公主道:“求求你,给我接上了骱罢,让……奴才来服侍桂贝勒穿衣。”韦小宝心想:“这贱货虽然古怪,但皇上派我送她去云南,总不成杀了她。”骂道:“操你奶奶,你这臭小娘。”心道:“你妈是老婊子,老子没胃口。你奶奶虽然也好不了,可是老子没见过。”公主笑问:“好玩吗?”韦小宝怒道:“你奶奶才好玩。”拿起她手臂,对准了骱骨,用力两下一凑,他不会接骨之术,接了好几下才接上,公主只痛得“哎唷,哎唷”的呼叫不止。待替她接续腿骨上关节时,公主伏在他背上,两人赤裸的肌肤相触,韦小宝只觉唇干舌燥,心中如有火烧,说道:“你给我坐好些!这样搞法,老子可要把你当老婆了。”
This was the voice she had used when she was playing with him in the Palace, pretending to be his slave. His anger subsided somewhat and he set about trying to do as she asked. Because of his lack of experience, his clumsy efforts must have caused her agony, yet though she gasped and winced at each attempt, she somehow forbore to cry out. When he finally succeeded in getting her joints back in place, he was straddling her body and bending over her, his bare flesh touching her own. He was old enough now to be aroused and the fact of his arousal was becoming more than a little obvious. ‘We’d better get dressed,’ he said huskily. ‘If we hang around like this, I shall begin treating you like a wife.’

公主昵声道:“我正要你拿我当老婆。”手臂紧紧搂住了他。韦小宝轻轻一挣,想推开她,公主扳过他身子,向他唇上吻去。韦小宝登时头晕眼花,此后飘飘荡荡,便如置身云雾之中,只觉眼前身畔这个贱货狐狸精说不出的娇美可爱,室中的红烛一枝枝燃尽熄灭,他似睡似醒,浑不知身在何处。正自昏昏沉沉、迷迷糊糊之际,忽听到窗外阿珂叫道:“小宝,你在这里么?”韦小宝一惊,登时从绮梦中醒觉,应道:“我在这里。”阿珂怒道:“你还在这里干什么?”韦小宝惊惶失措,道:“是!不……不干什么。”想推开公主,从床上坐起身来,公主却牢牢抱住了他,悄声道:“别去,你叫她滚蛋,那是谁?”韦小宝道:“是……是我老婆。”公主道:“我……我是你老婆,她不是的。”阿珂又羞又怒,一跺脚,转身去了。韦小宝叫道:“师姊,师姊!”不听得答应,两片温软的嘴唇贴了上来,封住了口,再也叫不出声了。
‘But I want to be treated like a wife,’ said the Princess, clinging on to him, and Trinket, unprotesting, yielded himself to something he had known about and heard people talk about and even witnessed from his earliest childhood but whose unimaginable, intoxicating delight he had never dreamed of. He had already reached the height of bliss and was lying inert beside her when he heard the voice of the Green Girl calling outside.’ ‘Laurie, where are you? Are you all right?’ Trinket sat up, pushing the Princess away from him. ‘I’m in here,’ he called back. ‘Why are you still there?’ she said angrily. ‘What are you doing in there?’ A moment later her head appeared at the window, only to be withdrawn again with a little shriek. ‘Who is that girl?’ asked the Princess. ‘She’s my-my wife,’ said Trinket. ‘But I’m your wife,’ said the Princess, pulling him down again and sealing his lips with a kiss. She kept him there with her for the rest of the night.

次晨韦小宝穿好衣衫,蹑手蹑足的走出公主卧室,一问在外侍候的太监,知道钱老本和马彦超无恙,兀自被绑在东厢房中。他稍觉放心,自觉羞惭,不敢去见两人,命太监快去释缚。回到自己房中,一时欢喜,一时害怕,不敢多想,钻入被窝中便即睡了。这日午后才和九难见面,他低下了头,满脸通红,心想这一次师父定要大大责罚,说不定会一掌打死了自己,不料九难毫不知情,反而温言相慰,说道:“这小丫头如此泼辣,当真是有其母便有其女。可伤得厉害么?”韦小宝心中大定,道:“还好,只……只是……幸亏没伤到筋骨。”见阿珂瞪眼瞧着自己,道:“多蒙师父和师姊相救,否则她……她昨晚定然烧死了我。”阿珂道:“你……你昨晚……”突然满脸红晕,不说下去了。韦小宝道:“她……公主……下了蒙汗药,师姊跳进房来救了我,可是她……那时药性还没过,我走不动。”
At dawn next morning, having found out where she had put his clothes, he crept silently from the room and asked the eunuchs outside what had become of his two companions. He learned that they were both unharmed but were lying still bound in an adjoining room. Too ashamed to go in and face them, he asked the eunuchs to release them and slunk back to his own room in another part of the garden to get some sleep. He didn’t see the White Nun until after noon. When he did, he was so ashamed that he couldn’t look her in the eye and he could sense that he was blushing. In spite of his fears, however, she didn’t strike him dead or even upbraid him but merely remarked that the Princess was her mother’s daughter and inquired after his hurts. ‘If it hadn’t been for you and Sister Kor,’ said Trinket gratefully, ‘I think she would have killed me.’ He could feel the Green Girl’s eyes boring into him. They were full of hatred and indignation. Her cheeks were aflame. ‘I… she … the Princess drugged me,’ he stammered. ‘I had to wait for the effects to wear off before I could get away.’

九难心生怜惜,说道:“我虽收你为徒,却一直没传你什么功夫,不料你竟受这小丫头如此欺侮。”韦小宝倘若有心学练上乘武功,此时出声求恳,九难自必酌量传授,只须学成少许,便终身受用不尽。但任何要下苦功之事,他都避之惟恐不及,昨晚被公主绑住了鞭打焚烧,心中怨怪众师父不传武功,此刻师父当真要传了,他却哼哼唧唧的呻吟,说道:“师父,我头痛得紧,好像要裂开来一般,身上皮肉也像要一块块的掉下来。”九难点头道:“你快去休息,以后跟这小丫头少见为是,当真非见不可,也得带上十几个人在一起,她总不能公然跟你为难。她给的饮食,不论什么,都不能吃喝。”韦小宝连声称是,正要退出,九难忽问:“她昨晚为了什么事打你?难道她不知皇帝很喜欢你么?”韦小宝道:“她……她不愿嫁去云南,说是我出的主意。咱们师徒俩对付她母亲之事,好像小贱人也知道了。”这样轻轻一句谎话,便将公主昨晚打他的缘由,一大半推到了九难身上。九难点头道:“定是她母亲跟她说过了,以后可得加倍小心。”心想:“那日我在宫中对付假太后,手段甚是狠辣。但那日小宝没露面,难道竟给假太后看出了端倪,以致命她女儿下手报复?”
The White Nun blamed herself for not having given him lessons in self-defence. She offered to begin training him at once, but Trinket excused himself on the grounds that his head ached and he was still suffering from the effects of his beating.

Prince Laurie and the Willing Slave

一行人缓缓向西南而行。每日晚上,公主都悄悄叫韦小宝去陪伴。韦小宝初时还怕师父和天地会的同伴知觉,但少年人初识男女之事,一个娇媚万状的公主缠上身来,哪肯割舍不顾?便算是正人君子,也未必把持得定,何况他从来不知伦常礼法为何物。起初几日还偷偷摸摸,到后来竟在公主房中整晚停宿,白天是赐婚使,晚上便是驸马爷了。众宫女太监一来畏惧公主,二来韦小宝大批银子不断赏赐下来,又有谁说半句闲话?那晚阿珂扭脱公主手足关节,公主自然要问韦小宝这个“师姊”是谁。韦小宝花言巧语一番,公主性子粗疏,又正在情浓之际,便也不问了。两个少年男女乍识情味,好得便如蜜里调油一般。公主收拾起刁蛮脾气,自居奴才,一见他进房,便跪下迎接,“桂贝勒,桂驸马”的叫不住口。当日方怡骗韦小宝去神龙岛,海船之中,只不过神态亲昵,言语温柔,便已迷得他六神无主,这一会真个销魂,自是更加颠倒。两人只盼这一条路永远走不到头。阿哥虽然杂在宫女队中,韦小宝明知她决不会如公主这般对待自己,竟然也就忍得不去讨好勾搭。
Slowly, by short stages, their progress to the south-west continued. Each evening the Princess would send for Trinket to come to her secretly and spend the night with her. Since that first night together she had dropped her fierce ways and become gentle and docile. Trinket was the Marriage Envoy by day, but every night he became Prince Laurie and the Princess his willing slave. The bliss they had first experienced in each other’s company quickly became indispensable to them. For a while Trinket went in fear and trembling that the White Nun or the Triads might find out, but soon his nights with her had become an eagerly awaited routine and he began to wish that the journey could go on for ever. The Princess’s eunuchs and women were too afraid of her to talk, and Trinket was so generous with his money that most of them were in any case only too happy that a liaison which enriched them should continue.

这一日来到长沙,陆高轩从神龙岛飞马赶来相会,带了洪教主的口谕,说道教主得到两部经书甚是喜悦,嘉奖白龙使办事忠心,精明能干,实是本教大大的功臣,特赐“豹胎易筋丸”的解药。韦小宝这些日子来胡天胡帝,早忘了身有剧毒,听他如此说,却也喜欢,当下和陆高轩及胖头陀服了解药。胖陆二人又躬身道谢,说道全仗白龙使建此大功,二人才得同蒙教主恩赐灵药,除去身上的心腹之患。陆高轩又道:“教主和夫人传谕白龙使,余下六部经书,尚须继续寻访。白龙使若能再建奇功,教主不吝重赏。”韦小宝道:“那自然是要努力的。教主和夫人恩重如山,咱们粉身碎骨,也难以报答。”胖陆二人齐声道:“教主永享仙福,寿与天齐。白龙使永享清福,寿比南山。”韦小宝微笑不语,心道:“清福有什么好享?日日像眼下这般永享艳福,寿比南山才有点儿道理。”
When they reached Changsha, Doctor Lu arrived with the Leopard Embryo Antidote Pills and a message from the Leader of the Mystic Dragon Sect. The Leader was delighted with his White Dragon Marshal and urged him to keep up the good work. A brilliant future awaited him if he could obtain all six of the remaining Sutras. ‘A Long Life to the Leader! Blessings be on Him!’ Fat Dhuta and the doctor dutifully intoned. ‘And blessings, too, on the White Dragon Marshal!’ they added. ‘Blessings?’ thought Trinket. ‘Well, I suppose I’m not doing too badly for the moment!’

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