The Deer And The Cauldron 44

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The Deer And The Cauldron 44
第四十四回 人来绝域原拚命 事到伤心每怕真

Chapter 26-In which Trinket escapes from Peking, and visits Snake Island for the last time; the Leader makes a Last Stand; a Great Hero dies; and Life on Potluck Island is Described

Out of the Wok, and into the Fire-Mystic Dragon Dissension-To the Death!-Return to Potluck Island-New Arrivals on the Shore-Death of a Hero-Negotiations for Sir Zheng’s Release-The Informer Revealed-An Unusual IOU-Potluck Island Idyll-Rules for Trinket’s Harem- Modus Vivendi-The Seasons of Potluck Island-Two Tamardy Edicts-Domestic Details-Earl of Potluck Island

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Out of the Wok, and into the Fire

韦小宝不住叫苦,心想:“要躲开公主,可比躲开追兵还难得多。”眼见东北角上长着一排高粱,高已过人,当下没命价奔去。奔到临近,见高粱田后有两间农舍,此外更无藏身之处,心想追兵马快,转眼便到,当即向高粱丛中钻将进去。忽觉背心上一紧,已被人一把抓住,跟着听见公主笑道:“你怎么逃得掉?”韦小宝无奈,只得回身,苦笑道:“你去躲在那边,等追兵过了再说。”公主摇头道:“不行!我要跟你在一起。”当即爬进高粱田,偎倚在他身旁。两人还没藏好,只听脚步声响,曾柔叫道:“韦香主,韦香主!”韦小宝探头看去,见是曾柔和沐剑屏并肩奔来。韦小宝道:“我在这里,快躲进来。”
‘Oh dear!’ thought Trinket. ‘I can see it’s going to be harder to escape from her than from any number of troopers!’ He spotted a field of tall millet, and made a dash towards it. The stalks were more than a man’s height. It seemed his only hope of getting away from both the Princess and the troopers at the same time. He was just doing his best to hide himself between two of the serried rows of millet, when he felt a yank on the back of his jacket. ‘And where do you think you’re off to?’ It was her again. He laughed nervously. ‘Quick! You hide over there’ ‘No thank you! I’m staying here, right next to you!’ And so they made their way together deeper into the millet field. As they did so, they could hear Zeng Rou’s voice behind them and before long both she and the Little Countess had joined them in their hiding’place. They heard the sound of horsemen coming closer, shouting orders as they continued their search. They must have seen us!’ whispered the startled Princess. ‘No they haven’t! Not yet! Be quiet!’

二女依言钻进。四人走入高粱丛深处,枝叶遮掩,料想追兵难以发见,稍觉放心。过不多时,便听得一队队骑兵从大路上驰过。韦小宝心想:“那日我和阿珂,还有师太师父和那郑克塽臭小子,也是四个人,都躲进了麦秆堆中。唉,倘若身边不是这泼辣公主,却是阿珂,那可要快活死我了。阿珂这时不知在哪里,多半做了郑克塽的老婆啦。双儿又不知怎样了?”忽听见远处有人喝传令,跟着一队骑兵勒马止步,马蹄杂沓,竟向这边搜索过来。公主惊道:“他们见到咱们了。”韦小宝道:“别作声,见不到的。”公主道:“他们这不是来了么?”只听得一人叫道:“反贼的坐骑都倒毙在这里,一定逃不远。大家仔细搜查。”公主心道:“原来如此。这些死马真害人不浅。”伸手紧紧握住了韦小宝的手。辽东关外地广人稀,土地肥沃,高粱一种往往便是千亩百顷,一望无际,高粱一长高,称为“青纱帐起”,藏身其中,再也难以寻着。但北京近郊的高粱地却稀稀落落。韦小宝等四人躲入的高粱地只二三十亩,大队官兵如此搜索过来,转眼便会束手成擒。耳听得官兵越逼越近,韦小宝低声道:“到那边屋子去。”一拉沐剑屏的衣袖,当先向两间农舍走去。三个女子随后跟来。
As they crouched there in the field, Trinket was remembering another occasion, when he and his Shifu the White Nun, with Green Girl and Sir Zheng, had been obliged to hide in a field of sorghum. He was daydreaming about Green, and comparing her (very favourably) with the strident and panicking Princess currently beside him! But it turned out that the Princess was right. The soldiers were closing in on them. The millet field was not particularly large (three or four acres at most). And whereas in the fertile soil of the northeast millet quickly grows into a huge impenetrable forest stretching for miles, here in the countryside not far from Peking it did not do nearly so well. They would surely be found before long. Trinket had meanwhile spotted a couple of peasants’ huts over on the far edge of the field, and thither he now dragged his three women companions.

过了篱笆,推开板门,见屋内无人,屋角里堆了不少农具。韦小宝抢过去提起几件蓑衣,分别交给三女,道:“快披上。”自己也披了一件,头上戴了斗笠,坐在屋角。公主笑道:“咱们都做了乡下人,倒也好玩。”沐剑屏嘘了一声,低声道:“来了!”板门砰的一声推开,进来了七八名官兵。韦小宝等忙转过了头。
They had to crash through a fence and push open a rough plank door to get inside one of the huts. But once there, it seemed they were in luck. The place looked empty, apart from a few farm implements piled in one corner. Trinket found some capes made of woven straw lying on the ground, and handed them out to the girls. He threw one on himself, stuffed a conical straw hat on his head, and squatted in a corner. The Princess giggled. ‘Look at us! A family of peasants in their hovel! What an adventure this is!’ ‘Sh!’ hissed the Little Countess. They’re coming!’ The next minute the door was pushed open and in came seven or eight soldiers. Trinket turned his face away.

隔了一会,只听一人大声道:“这里没人,乡下人都出门种庄稼去了。”韦小宝听这人口音好熟,从斗笠下斜眼看去,原来正是赵良栋,心中一喜。一名军士道:“总兵大人,这四个人……”赵良栋喝道:“大家通统出去,我来仔细搜查,屋子这样小,他妈的,你们都挤在这里,身子也转不过来了。”众军士连声称是,都退了出去。赵良栋大声问道:“这里没面生的人来过?”
After a second’s silence, he heard one of the men say: ‘None of them are in here! The local peasants must have all gone out to work in the fields.’There was something very familiar about that voice! Trinket had a little peep from under his ‘coolie’ hat, and was delighted beyond measure to recognize his deputy in the Valiants, Colonel Zhao Liangdong. ‘But Colonel’ one of the soldiers was in the process of saying, ‘what about those four peasants over there?’ That’s all!’ ordered Zhao brusquely. ‘Out of here now, all of you! An officer can hardly breathe in this little hut, with all you soldiers cramming the place full! Out you go. Leave this to me. I want to question these men on my own.’ The soldiers hurried out, and from the field they could hear their commander loudly cross’questioning the peasants. ‘Have you seen any strangers come this way recently?’

走到韦小宝身前,伸手入怀,掏出两只金元宝、三锭银子,轻轻放在他脚边,大声道:“原来那些人向北逃走了!他们知道皇上大发脾气,捉住了定要砍头,因此远远逃走了,逃得越快越好,这一次可真正不得了!”俯下身来,抱住韦小宝轻轻摇晃几下,转身出门,喝道:“反贼向北逃跑了,大伙儿快追!”
As he said these words, Zhao went over to Trinket and silently deposited a couple of gold ingots and several lumps of silver in front of him. ‘Oh, I see, so they headed off in a northerly direction, did they’ They must have learned how very angry His Majesty is!’ (silent gesticulation) ‘He’s absolutely furious! He wants heads to roll! They’d better get a move on if they don’t want to be caught!’ Zhao gave Trinket the briefest of manly hugs and went back out to the field, shouting’ The fugitives have obviously headed north! After them!’

韦小宝叹了口气,心想:“赵总兵对我总算挺有义气。这件事给人知道了,他自己的脑袋可保不住。”只听得蹄声杂沓,众官兵上马向北追去。公主奇道:“这总兵明明已见到了我们,怎么说……啊,他还送你金子银子,原来是你的朋友。”韦小宝道:“咱们从后门走罢!”将金银收入怀中,走向后进。跨进院子,只见廊下坐着八九人,韦小宝一瞥之间,大声惊呼了出来,转身便逃,只迈出两步,后领一紧,已被人抓住,提了起来。那人冷冷的道:“还逃得了吗?”这人正是洪教主。其余众人是洪夫人、胖头陀、陆高轩、青龙使许雪亭、赤龙使无根道人、黑龙使张淡月、黄龙使殷锦,神龙教的首脑人物尽集于此。还有一个少女则是方怡。
Trinket could not believe his luck. Zhao had risked his own life, for the sake of their friendship. He was deeply touched. He and the girls hurried through the door in the other side of the hut, and emerged into a ramshackle yard. Trinket saw at once that they were not alone. There were eight or nine others sitting in the roughly built shelter that ran down one side of the yard. It did not take Trinket long to recognize them. And once he had, it took him even less time to try to take to his heels and flee. But to no avail. He had not gone more than two steps, when a strong hand caught him by the scruff of the neck and lifted him up into the air’ ‘And where do you think you’re off to?’ The last time he’d heard those words, it had been Princess Ning’s voice. This time, it was a different voice, but a familiar one all the same-a voice he’d have known anywhere. It was Great Leader Hong. And with the Leader were’ his utterly gorgeous wife, Madame Hong; the cadaverous Fat Dhuta; the lean’faced Doctor Lu; and the Blue, Red, Black, and Yellow Dragon Marshals- Xu Xueting, Rootless the Taoist, Zhang Danyue, and Duan Jin. In other words, the entire inner cabal of the Mystic Dragon Sect- including (now) the (very) roaming (and extremely renegade) ex’White Dragon Marshal’at’large, Trinket himself! And with them was the adorably beautiful girl Fang Yi, long the object of Trinket’s romantic affections.

公主怒道:“你拉着他干么?”飞脚便向洪教主踢去。洪教主左手微垂,中指在她脚背上一弹。公主“啊”的一声叫,摔倒在地。韦小宝身在半空,叫道:“教主和夫人仙福永享,寿与天齐。弟子韦小宝参见。”洪教主冷笑道:“亏你还记得这两句话。”韦小宝道:“这两句话,弟子时刻在心,早晨起身时念一遍,洗脸时念一遍,吃早饭时念一遍,吃中饭时念一遍,吃晚饭时念一遍,晚上睡觉时又念一遍。从来不曾漏了一遍。有时想起教主和夫人的恩德,常常加料,多念几遍。”
The Princess didn’t take kindly to the rough way this man was handling Trinket. ‘Get your hands off him!’ she cried, aiming a feisty kick in the direction of the Leader, who replied by sending her spinning off into the corner of the yard with the tiniest flick of the middle finger of his left hand. Trinket was still dangling in mid’air. He cried out feebly. ‘Long Life to Our Leader and His Wife! Blessings be on Them! Your humble disciple Trinket Wei at your service!’ ‘Spare us the rigmarole!’ sneered the Leader coldly. ‘I’m surprised you even remember the words!’ ‘On the contrary!’ protested the still dangling and breathless Trinket. ‘I say them morning and evening, day and night, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, when I go to bed, when I sit on the-‘

洪教主自从老巢神龙岛被毁,教众死的死,散的散,身衅只剩下寥寥几个老兄弟,江湖奔波,大家于“仙福同享,寿与天齐”的颂词也说得不怎么起劲了,一天之中,往往难得听到一次,这时听得韦小宝谀词潮涌,不由得心中一乐,将他放下地来,本来冷冰冰的脸上露出了一丝笑容。
Ever since the destruction by Admiral Shi Lang and his heavily armed flotilla of the Mystic Dragon base on Snake Island, and the consequent death or dispersal of most of the Sect’s members, the Great Leader had been reduced to the life of a hunted exile, tramping around in a desolate fashion with his last few trusty Comrades. They had been on the run for a couple of years. His brief excursion to Fort Albazin after the debacle on Snake Island had been a desperate (and unsuccessful, thanks yet again to Trinket) attempt to use the Russians to shore up his crumbling power. It had been a long while now since this dishevelled band had been able to chant any of the old mantras with any conviction. Hearing a couple of them on Trinket’s lips almost kindled a glow of nostalgic pleasure. The Leader put Trinket down on the ground. There was the faintest trace of a smile on his icy face.

韦小宝道:“手下今日见到教主,浑身有劲精神大振。只是有一件事实在不明白。”洪教主问道:“什么?”韦小宝道:“那天和教主同夫人别过,已隔了不少日子,怎么教主倒似年轻了七八岁,夫人更像变成了我的小妹妹,真正奇怪了。”洪夫人格格娇笑,伸手在他脸上扭了一把,笑道:“小猴儿,拍马屁的功夫算你天下第一。”公主大怒,喝道:“你这女人好不要脸,怎地动手动脚?”洪夫人笑道:“我只动手,可没动脚。好罢!这就动动脚。”左足提起,拍的一声,在公主臀上重重踢了一脚。公主痛得大叫起来。
‘It’s been so long since we last saw each other,’ said the irrepressibly hopeful Trinket. ‘I am amazed to see you both looking so well, and so much younger! Especially Madame Hong! Why she looks like a girl of seventeen. She could be my little sister!’ It always worked. Madame Hong gave a coy laugh, and pinched him on the cheek. ‘Shameless little monkey! You’re the world’s greatest Master of the Sucking Up School of kungfu!’ The Princess, needless to say, was infuriated by this piece of obvious flirtation. ‘You watch your step!’ Madame Hong smiled. ‘Step’ I wasn’t aware of having taken one. But I think I will.’ Whereupon she walked up to Princess Ning and kicked her hard up the backside. The Princess yelped with pain.

只听得马蹄声响,顷刻间四面八方都是,不知有多少官兵已将农舍团团围住。大门推开,十几名官兵涌了进来。当先两人走进院子,向各人瞧瞧,一人说道:“都是些不相干的庄稼人。”韦小宝听说话声音是王进宝,心中一喜,转过头来,见王进宝身边的是孙思克。两人使个眼色,挥手命众军士出去。孙思克大声道:“就只几个老百姓,喂,你们见到逃走的反贼没有?没有吗?好,我们到别地方查去。”韦小宝心念一动:“我这番落入神龙教手里,不管如何花言巧语,最后终究性命难保,还是跟了王三哥他们去,先脱了神龙教的毒手,再要他二人放我。”见王进宝和孙思克正要转身出外,叫道:“王三哥、孙四哥,我是韦小宝,你们带我去罢。”孙思克道:“你们这些乡下人,快走得远远的罢。”王进宝道:“这乡下小兄弟说没钱使,问你身边有没有钱。”孙思克道:“要钱吗?有,有,有!”从怀里掏出一叠银票,交给韦小宝,说道:“北京城里走了反贼,皇上大大生气,派了几千兵马出来捉拿,捉到了立刻就要砍头。小兄弟,这地方危险得紧,倘若给冤枉捉了去,送了性命,可犯不着了。”韦小宝道:“你们捉我去罢,我……我宁可跟了你们。”王进宝道:“你想跟我们去当兵吃粮?可不是玩的。外面有皇上亲派的火器营,带了火铳,砰砰嘭嘭的轰将起来,凭你武功再高,那也抵挡不住。”韦小宝心想:“有火器营,那更加妙了,料来洪教主不敢乱动。”忙道:“我有话要回奏皇上,你们带我去罢。”王进宝道:“皇上一见了你,立刻杀你的头。皇上也不过两只眼睛,一张嘴巴,有什么好见?唔,我们留下十三匹马,派你们十三个乡下人每人看守一匹,过得十年八年,送到北京来缴还,死了一匹,可是要赔的。千万得小心了。”说着便向外走去。韦小宝大急,上前一把拉住,叫道:“王三哥,你快带我去。”突然之间,一只大手按上了他顶门,只听洪教主说道:“小兄弟,这位总爷一番好心,他刚从京城出来,知道皇上的心思,你别胡思乱想。”孙思克大声道:“不错,我们快追反贼去。”韦小宝知道此刻已命悬洪教主之手,他只须内劲一吐,自己立时脑浆迸裂,但此时不死,过不多久总之还是非死不可,大声叫道:“你们快拿我去,我就是韦小宝!”众人一呆,停住了脚步。孙思克哈哈大笑,说道:“韦小宝是个十几岁的少年,你这位老公公快八十岁啦,尖起了嗓子开玩笑,岂不笑歪了人嘴巴?”一扯王进宝的衣袖,两人大踏步出去。
At that moment there was the sound of more cavalry surrounding the yard. Presently a dozen or so soldiers came in, among whom Trinket recognized to his delight his old friends Colonels Wang Jinbao and Sun Sike. ‘No one in here but a bunch of old peasants!’ cried Wang promptly (and very loudly). That’s right!’ called back Sun, immediately getting the idea. He and Wang exchanged glances, and waved their soldiers back out of the yard. ‘Seen any men on the run?’ Sun continued to shout out, as his men left the building. ‘No’ Well, we’d better be on our way then.’ Minutes later, Wang and Sun were indeed on their way, having replenished Trinket’s supplies of money and left him with enough horses for everyone (they assumed that he was with friends). Trinket had tried to persuade them to take him with them. Anything, he thought to himself, even facing a furious Emperor, would be better than dying at the hands of the demented Leader and his rabid crew. But Wang and Sun were too aware of the hunt under way for Trinket, and believed sincerely that they were doing him a favour.

只听吆喝的传令之声响起:“留下十三匹马在这里,好给后面的追兵通消息。把两间茅屋烧了,以免反贼躲藏。”众军士应道:“得令!”便有人放火烧屋,跟着蹄声响起,大队人马向北奔驰。韦小宝叹了口气,心道:“这一番可死定了。王三哥、孙四哥怕我逗留不走,再有追兵到来,就不会给情面了。”只见屋角的茅草已着火焚烧,火焰慢慢逼近。洪教主冷笑道:“你的朋友可挺有义气哪,给了银子,又给马匹。大家走罢。”沐剑屏扶起公主,众人从后门出来,绕到屋前,果见大树下系着十三匹骏马。其中两匹鞍辔鲜明,自是王进宝和孙思克二人的坐骑。各人上马向东驰去,韦小宝等四人给夹在中间。韦小宝只盼有追兵赶来,将自己擒回,小皇帝对自己情义深厚,这次虽然大大得罪了他,未必便非砍头不可,洪教主阴险毒辣,落入他的手中,可不知有多少苦头吃了。但一路行去,再也听不到追兵的蹄声。众人所乘坐骑都是王进宝所选的良驹,奔驰如飞,后面就有追兵,也无法赶及,何况赵、王、孙三总兵早将追兵引得向北而行。一路上除了公主的叫骂之外,谁也默不作声,后来殷锦点了公主的哑穴,她虽有满腔怒气,却也骂不出声了。洪教主率领众人,尽在荒野中向东南奔行,晚间也在荒野歇宿。韦小宝几番使计想要脱逃,但洪教主机智殊不亚于他,每次都不过教他身上多挨几拳,如何能脱却掌握?
They ordered their soldiers to set fire to the little compound, and they all galloped away. Presently the Leader’s party, with Trinket and his three women companions, mounted the fresh horses so kindly provided for them by His Majesty’s troopers, and set off in an easterly direction towards the sea. Trinket and the women were made to ride in the middle, for fear that they would try to break loose and escape. Trinket was still hoping against hope that the troopers would somehow catch up with them and save him from the Leader’s clutches. But it did not happen. At first the Princess kept up a constant stream of princess’like complaints. But after a while Duan Jin, the Yellow Dragon Marshal, decided he had heard enough and closed certain of her points, rendering her conveniently mute for the rest of that day’s voyage. The Leader charted a south’easterly direction, and that night they camped out in the open.

数日之后,来到海边。陆高轩从韦小宝身边掏出一锭银子,去雇了一艘大海船。韦小宝心中只是叫苦,想到雇海船的银子也要自己出,更是不忿。上船之后,海船张帆向东行驶。韦小宝心想:“这一次自然又去神龙岛了,老乌龟定是要把老子拿去喂蛇。”想到岛上一条条毒蛇绕上身来,张口齐咬,不由得全身发抖,寻思:“怎地想法子在船底凿个大洞,大家同归于尽。”可是神龙教诸人知他诡计多端,看得极紧,又怎有机可乘?
A few days later they finally reached the coast. Doctor Lu helped himself to one of Trinket’s pieces of silver, and went off to hire a boat and the services of a boatman. Soon they were setting out to sea. ‘Here we go again!’ thought Trinket bitterly to himself. ‘Back to jolly old Snake Island! Now watch them feed old Trink to the snakes.’ He imagined himself in a deep pit on the island, surrounded by nasty, writhing (and highly venomous) serpents. He began to tremble with uncontrollable fear.

韦小宝想起以前去过神龙岛两次,第一次和方怡在船上卿卿我我,享尽温柔;第二次率领大军,威风八面;这一次却给人拳打脚踢,命在旦夕,其间的苦乐自是天差地远。自从在北京郊外农舍中和方怡相会,陆行并骑,海上同舟,她始终无喜无怒,木然无语,虽不来折磨自己,但一直不向自己瞧上一眼,有时心想她在洪教主淫威之下,尽管对自己一片深情,却不敢稍假辞色;有时又想多次上了这小婊子的当,阴险狡猾,天下女子以她为最,却又不禁恨得牙痒痒的。
This was his third trip by sea to Snake Island, he reflected miserably to himself. The first had been in the first flush of his infatuation with Fang Yi, and he still had one or two romantic memories of evenings together on deck (even if she had only done it to lure him into a trap). The second trip had been when he was Supreme Commander of the great fleet sent by the Emperor to destroy the Mystic Dragons-that too had had its redeeming moments of glory. The present occasion was truly wretched by comparison. His captors refused to leave him alone for one moment, and were constantly kicking him and hitting him. And the lovely Fang Yi had not so much as looked at him once since they’d run into each other in the peasants’ compound. She probably had no choice, and was obliged to obey the dark whims of her Leader. But Trinket could not help feeling bitter towards her. She always did this to him, she always threw him into utter confusion. She was so pretty, damn it, so seductive, so clever at leading him on. And he fell for it every time! Curse her! She was the cleverest little whore on the face of the earth!

舟行多日,果然是到了神龙岛。陆高轩和胖头陀押着韦小宝、公主、沐剑屏、曾柔四人上岸。殷锦胁迫众舟子离船。一名舟子稍加抗辩,殷锦立即一刀杀了。其余众舟子只吓得魂飞天外,哪里还敢作声,只得乖乖跟随。但见岛上树木枯焦,瓦砾遍地,到处是当日炮轰的遗迹。树林间腐臭冲鼻,路上一条条都是死蛇骸骨。来到大堂之前,只见墙倒竹断,数十座竹屋已荡然无存。洪教主凝立不语。殷锦等均有愤怒之色,有的向韦小宝恶狠狠地瞪视。
After several days at sea, they finally reached Snake Island. Doctor Lu and Fat Dhuta led the captives ashore. It was a desolate sight that greeted their eyes. Scorched trees, and piles of rubble, the result of the protracted and devastating bombardment to which the island had been subjected by Admiral Shi Lang’s fleet a couple of years earlier. The stench of decomposing snake’flesh assailed their nostrils as they wended their way along one of the island trails. When they finally came to the great bamboo assembly hall, they found it in ruins, while the smaller bamboo structures around it had been entirely razed to the ground. The Great Leader stood there in shocked silence, gazing morosely at the scene. His four Dragon Marshals reacted with sheer horror, and several angry glances were cast in Trinket’s direction.

张淡月纵声大呼:“洪教主回岛来啦!各路教众,快出来参拜教主!”他中气充沛,提气大叫,声闻数里。过了片刻,他又叫了两遍。但听得山谷间回声隐隐传来:“回岛来啦!参拜教主!回岛来啦!参拜教主!”过了良久,四下里寂静无声,不但没见教众蜂涌而至,连一个人的回音也没有。洪教主转过头来,对韦小宝冷冷的道:“你炮轰本岛,打得偌大一个神龙教瓦解冰销,这可称心如意了吗?”
The Black Dragon Marshal, Zhang Danyue, drew himself up to his full height and bellowed’ ‘Your Great Leader has returned to the island! Let all Comrades show themselves and do homage!’ His powerful voice carried right across the island. But the only response was the occasional echo reverberating from one of the distant hills. ‘. . . Leader . . . Comrades . . . homage . . .’ Then total silence. Neither sight nor sound of a single member of the Sect. The island seemed utterly deserted. The Great Leader turned towards Trinket. ‘Well’ You and your cannon have done a thorough job of it.’ His voice was icy. There’s nothing left. I hope you are suitably pleased with your work.’

韦小宝见到他满脸怨毒的神色,不由得寒毛直竖,颤声道:“旧的不去,新的不……不来。洪教主重振雄风,大……大展鸿图,再……再创新教,开张发财,这叫做越烧越发,越轰越旺,教主与夫人仙福永享……”洪教主道:“很好!”一脚将他踢得飞了起来,哒的一声,重重摔在地下,周身筋骨欲断,爬不起身。曾柔眼见洪教主如此凶恶,虽然害怕,还是过去将韦小宝扶起。殷锦上前躬身道:“启禀教主,这小贼罪该万死,待属下一刀一刀,将他零零碎碎的剐了。”洪教主哼了一声,道:“不忙!”隔了一会,又道:“这小子心中,藏着一个重大机密,本教兴复,须得依仗这件大事,暂且不能杀他。”殷锦道:“是,是。教主高瞻远瞩,属下愚鲁,难明其中奥妙。”洪教主在一块大石上坐了下来,凝思半晌,说道:“自来成就大事,定然多灾多难。本教一时受挫,也不足为患。眼下教众星散,咱们该当如何重整旗鼓,大家不妨各抒所见。”殷锦道:“教主英明智慧,我们便想上十天十晚,也不及教主灵机一动,还是请教主指示良策,大家奉命办理。”洪教主点了点头,说道:“眼前首要之务是重聚教众。上次鞑子官兵炮轰本岛,教众虽然伤亡不少,但也不过三停中去了一停,余下二停,定是四下流散了。现下令陆高轩升任白龙使,以补足五龙使之数。”
Trinket made a feeble attempt to reply, but the Leader merely walked towards him and kicked him with ferocious force high into the air. Trinket landed with such a mighty thump, he felt as if he had broken every bone in his body and would never be able to walk again. Zeng Rou, though she was greatly intimidated by the Leader’s violent behaviour, walked over and put her arms gently round Trinket, helping him into a sitting position on the ground. Duan Jin, the ever smarmy Yellow Dragon Marshal, promptly offered to slice Trinket up into little pieces, but the Leader had other ideas. ‘Not yet. Not yet. We need to keep him alive for a bit. He may have useful information!’ The Leader sat down on a large boulder, and was lost in thought for a moment. Then’ There is much work to be done here. The Manchu cannon have destroyed much of the island, and many of our Comrades have died. But we must begin the work of reconstruction without delay. First of all, I appoint you, Doctor Lu, to be the new White Dragon Marshal, in place of this degenerate viper in our midst!’

陆高轩躬身道谢。洪教主又道:“青黄赤白黑五龙使即日分赴各地,招集旧部,倘若见到资质可取的少男少女,便收归属下,招旧纳新,重兴神教。”殷锦、张淡月、陆高轩三人躬身道:“谨遵教主号令。”赤龙使无根道人和青龙使许雪亭却默不作声。洪教主斜睨二人,问道:“赤龙使、青龙使二人有什么话说?”许雪亭道:“启禀教主,属下有两件事陈请,盼教主允准。”洪教主哼了一声,问道:“什么事?”许雪亭道:“属下等向来忠于本教和教主,但教主却始终信不过众兄弟,未免令人心灰。第一件事,恳请教主恩赐豹胎易筋丸解药,好让众兄弟心无牵挂,全心全意为教主效劳。”
Doctor Lu fell to his knees and expressed his profound gratitude to the Leader for this honour. ‘Each of you Five Dragon Marshals must now proceed on a tour of the island. You must reassemble your old Branches, wherever possible recruiting new members of appropriate calibre.’ So far as the Leader was concerned, the message was clear’ it was to be business as usual. Three of the Dragon Marshals expressed their assent’ Duan Jin, Zhang, and the newly appointed White Dragon Marshal, Doctor Lu. But the recalcitrant Red Dragon Marshal, Rootless the Taoist, and Xu Xueting (Blue Dragon) remained ominously silent. The Leader glanced at them. ‘Is there something you wish to say?’ It was old Blue who spoke first’ ‘Great Leader, I have always been a loyal and devoted follower. But I feel that over the years you have not trusted us as much as we deserve to be trusted. Things have got to change if we are to regain our morale. And the very first thing we need is the Antidote for the Leopard Embryo Pill. Things can’t go on like this. Give us the Antidote, and you will find that we will serve you with renewed and increased zeal.’

洪教主冷冷的道:“假如我不给解药,你们办事就不全心全意了?”许雪亭道:“属下不敢。第二件事,那些少男少女成事不足,败事有余,一遇上大事,个个逃得干干净净。本教此时遭逢患难,自始至终追随在教主与夫人身边的,只是我们几个老兄弟。那些少年弟子平日里满嘴忠心不二,什么赴汤蹈火,万死不辞,事到临头,哪一个真能出力的?属下愚见,咱们重兴本教,该当招罗有担当、有骨气的男子汉大丈夫。那些口是心非、胡话八道的少男少女,就像叛徒韦小宝这类小贼,也不用再招了。”他说一句,洪教主脸上的黑气便深一层。许雪亭心中栗栗危惧,还是硬着头皮将这番话说完。
‘And if I don’t?’ sneered the Leader. Then I suppose you will serve me with ‘ess zeal, or without any zeal at all’ Is that it?’ ‘Leader!’ protested old Xu. ‘Surely you know me better than that! After all these years! Which brings me to my second point. We need older, more reliable people in our Sect. Those youngsters are all talk and hot air. The minute there’s any real trouble or danger, they run for cover. Who stood by you and Madame Hong, through thick and thin’ It was us elders. We need fewer of those young hoodlums. When all’s said and done, they’re no better than this little urchin here!’ He pointed at Trinket, the disgraced ex’White Dragon Marshal. As Xu spoke, the Leader’s expression had grown darker and darker, and Xu had grown more and more nervous. But having embarked on his speech, he was determined to say it out to the end.

洪教主眼光射到无根道人脸上,冷冷的道:“你怎么说?”无根道人退了两步,说道:“属下以为青龙使之言有理。前车覆辙,这条路不能再走。不经一事,不长一智,既是犯过了毛病,教主大智大慧,自会明白这些少男少女既不管用,又靠不住。便似……便似……”说着向沐剑屏一指,道:“这小姑娘本是我赤龙门属下,教主待她恩德非浅,但一遇祸患,立时便叛教降敌。这种人务须一个个追寻回来,千刀万剐,为叛教者戒。”洪教主的眼光向陆高轩等人一个个扫去,问道:“这是大伙儿商量好了的意思吗?”
‘And you?’ The Leader stared at Rootless. Rootless took a couple of steps away from him. ‘I agree with Blue Dragon Marshal. We must learn new ways. These young people are not what our Sect needs. They do it harm. Take this young creature here!’ (He pointed, not to Trinket, but to the Little Countess.) ‘She’s simply not trustworthy. She betrayed us to the enemy. We must rid ourselves of such elements.’ The Leader looked around him. ‘And you others’ Is this what you all think?’

众人默不作声。过了好一会,胖头陀道:“启禀教主:我们没商量过,不过……不过属下以为青龙使、赤龙使二位的话,是很有点儿道理的。”洪教主眼望张淡月,等他说话。张淡月战战兢兢的道:“本教此次险遭覆灭之祸,罪魁祸首,自然是韦小宝这小贼。属下对这种人,是万万信不过的。”洪教主点点头,说道:“很好,你也跟他们是一伙。陆高轩,你呢?”陆高轩道:“属下得蒙教主大恩提拔,升任白龙使重职,自当出力为教主尽忠效劳。青龙使他们这番心意,也是为了本教和教主着想,决无他意。”殷锦大声道:“你们这些话,都大大的错了。教主智慧高出我们百倍。大伙儿何必多说多话,只须听着教主和夫人的指挥就是了。鞑子兵炮轰本岛,是替本教荡垢去污,所有不忠于教主的叛徒,就此都轰了出来。若非如此,又怎知谁忠谁奸?我们属下都是井底之蛙,眼光短浅,只见到一时的得失,那能如教主这般洞瞩百世?”
There was a long silence. At last Fat Dhuta spoke’ ‘Leader, we have not discussed this matter amongst ourselves. But I feel that Red Dragon Marshal and Blue Dragon Marshal are basically right.’ The Black Dragon Marshal and Doctor Lu also indicated their agreement with Xu Xueting. The only one to stand apart from his revolting Comrades was the ever shifting Yellow Dragon Marshal, Duan Jin, who in unctuous tones expressed his belief that the Great Leader’s infallible wisdom was to be placed higher than all other considerations. ‘This destruction of our island can serve to purge our Sect of any refractory elements, Leader’ he ventured. ‘We are counting on you to lead us ever forwards, as you always have done in the past!’

许雪亭怒道:“本教所以一败涂地,一大半就是坏在你这种马屁鬼手里。你乱拍马屁,于本教有什么好处?于教主又有什么好处?”殷锦道:“什么马屁鬼?你……你……你这可不是反了吗?”许雪亭怒道:“你这无耻小人,败坏本教,你才是反了。”说着手按剑柄。殷锦退了一步,说道:“当日你作乱犯上,背叛教主,幸得教主和夫人宽宏大量,这才不咎既往,今日……今日你又要造反吗?”许雪亭、无根道人、张淡月、陆高轩、胖头陀五人一起瞪视教主,含怒不语。洪教主转过头去瞧向殷锦,眼中闪着冷酷的光芒。殷锦吃了一惊,又退了一步,说道:“教主,他……他们五人图谋不轨,须当一起毙了。”洪教主低沉着嗓子道:“刚才你说什么来?”
Xu Xueting finally lost his temper. ‘It’s arse’lickers like you that got us into this mess in the first place!’ he cried angrily. ‘Your sycophantic, snivelling nonsense is of no use to anyone!’ ‘Me, a sycophant?’ protested Duan Jin. ‘Why, you’re the one who tried to start a mutiny and failed. Remember’ You’re the one who almost succeeded in dividing us among ourselves. Remember’ And here you go again!’ He and Xu Xueting had their hands on their sword’hilts. All the others who had lined up with Xu stared silently at the Leader. The Leader turned slowly towards Duan Jin and fixed him with an icy, cruel gaze. It sent a chill to the very core of Duan Jin’s being. He retreated a step. ‘Leader, these men must be disciplined. They must be put to death.’ ‘What were you saying just now?’

殷锦见他神色不善,更是害怕,颤声道:“属下忠……忠……忠于教主,跟这些反贼势……势不两立。”洪教主道:“咱们当日立过重誓,倘若重提旧事,追究算帐,那便如何?”殷锦只吓得魂飞天外,说道:“教……教主开恩,属下只是一片忠心,别……别无他意。”洪教主道:“当日我和夫人曾起了誓,倘若心中记着旧怨,那便身入龙潭,为万蛇所噬,这件事早已一笔勾销,人人都已忘得干干净净,就只你还念念不忘,一有机会,便来挑拨离间,到底是何用意?有何居心?”殷锦脸上已无半点血色,双膝一屈,便即跪倒,说道:“属下知错了,以后永远不敢再提。”洪教主森然道:“本教中人起过的毒誓,岂可随便违犯?这誓若不应在你身上,便当应在我身上。你说该当是你身入龙潭呢,还是我去?”
The Leader’s voice was muffled and sinister. Duan Jin trembled. ‘I was only doing my best to-‘ ‘You were talking about things that happened in the past. Bad things. Things I thought we had all agreed to forget. Let me remind you, we took an oath!’ The Leader’s voice was intense, threatening. ‘We agreed to let bygones be bygones. Remember’ To forgive and forget. Remember’ And what was to be the punishment for anyone who didn’t forgive and forget’ For anyone who tried dredging up old disagreements, old grudges, old mutinies’ Remember’ We agreed that any such person was be thrown into the Dragon Pool, to be consumed by ten thousand snakes! Remember?’ Duan Jin’s face was by now utterly bloodless with terror. He collapsed to his knees. ‘Leader! I’ll never do it again!’

殷锦大叫一声,倒退跃出丈许,转身发足狂奔。洪教主待他奔出数丈,俯身拾起一块石头掷出,呼的一声,正中殷锦后脑。他长声惨呼,一跃而起,重重摔了下来。扭了几下,便即毙命。洪教主眼见许雪亭等五人联手,虽然凭着自己武功,再加上夫人和殷锦相助,足可克制得住,但教中元气大伤之后,已只剩下寥寥数人,殷锦只会奉承谄谀,并无多大真实本事,若再将这五人杀了,自己部属荡然无存。他于顷刻间权衡轻重利害,便即杀了殷锦,以平许雪亭等五人的怒气。
But even as he said the words Duan Jin himself knew it was hopeless. He turned and fled. The Leader let him run for a couple of seconds. Then he stooped to pick a stone from the ground and threw it. The stone whistled through the air, and struck Duan Jin on the back of his head. He uttered a ghastly cry, lurched forward, and fell heavily to the ground. His limbs twitched once or twice, and he was dead. The Leader had made a very quick calculation. He could probably have taken on all five rebels, and won. His kungfu skills were second to none. But then what’ Who would he have left’ He knew Duan Jin for a fawning, shifty knave. He always had been. This was a time of deep crisis for the Sect. Its very backbone had been seriously damaged. If there was to be any hope of repairing that damage, he would need every man he could get. The decision had taken him only a couple of seconds. And now Duan Jin was dead.

张淡月和陆高轩躬身说道:“教主言出如山,诛杀奸邪,属下佩服之至。”许雪亭、无根道人、胖头陀三人也齐道:“多谢教主。”这五人平素见殷锦一味吹牛拍马,人品低下,对他十分鄙视,此刻见教主亲自下手将他处死,都是大感痛快。
The five survivors expressed their gratitude, and praised their Leader for his wisdom and judgement. Mystic Dragon Dissension The Leader now proceeded to deal with the causes of their dissatisfaction.

洪教主指着韦小宝道:“非是我要饶他性命,但这小子知道辽东极北苦寒之地,有一个极大宝藏。若不是由他领路,无法寻到。得了这宝藏之后,咱们重建神教就易如反掌了。”顿了一顿,又道:“适才你们五人说道,那些少男少女很不可靠,劝我不可重蹈覆辙。本座仔细想来,也不无道理。这就依从你们的主张,今后本教新招数众之时,务当特别郑重,以免奸徒妄入,混进教来。”许雪亭等脸有喜色,一齐躬身道谢。
But first he pointed to Trinket. ‘I want you all to know’ he said, ‘that I spared this little viper’s life not out of any sentimental sense of mercy, but because he knows the secret whereabouts of a great treasure, buried somewhere in the north’east. He can lead us to this treasure, and with it we will rebuild our great movement.’ He continued’ ‘As for your suggestion that we place less confidence in younger members, I have thought about it and have come to the conclusion that you are right after all. From now on we must be more discerning when recruiting new members.’ They all looked pleased to hear this, and bowed to express their appreciation of their Leader’s change of heart.

洪教主从身边摸出两个瓷瓶,从每个瓶中各倒出五颗药丸,五颗黄色,五颗白色。他还瓶入怀,将药丸托在左掌,说道:“这是豹胎易筋丸的解药,你们每人各服两颗。”许雪亭等大喜,先行称谢,接过药来。洪教主道:“你们即刻就服了罢。”五人将药丸放入口中,吞咽下肚。洪教主脸露微笑,道:“那就很好……”突然大喝:“陆高轩,你左手里握着什么?”
Next the Leader produced two porcelain bottles from one of his inside pockets, and from each bottle he took five pills’ five yellow and five white. Then he put the bottles back in his pocket. These,’ he said, pointing to the pills, all of which were now in his left hand, ‘are the Antidote for the Leopard Embryo Pill. You must each take two, one of each colour.’ Xu Xueting was the first to express his thanks and take his two pills. The others followed suit. ‘Swallow them straight away,’ said the Leader. The five men duly swallowed their pills. ‘Good.’ There was the faintest trace of a smile on the Leader’s face. Then suddenly he shouted’ ‘And what about you, Doctor Lu’ What’s that in your left hand?’

陆高轩退了两步,道:“没……没什么。”左手下垂,握成了拳头。洪教主厉声道:“摊开左手!”这一声大喝,只震得各人耳中嗡嗡作响。陆高轩身子微晃,左手缓缓打开,嗒的一声轻响,一粒白色药丸掉在地下。许雪亭等四人均各变色,素知陆高轩识见不凡,颇有智计,他隐藏这颗白丸不肯服食,必有道理,可是自己却已吞下了肚中,那便如何是好?洪教主厉声道:“这颗白丸是强身健体的大补雪参丸,何以你对本座存了疑心,竟敢藏下不服?”陆高轩道:“属下……不……不敢。属下近来练内功不妥,经脉中气血不顺,因此……因此教主恩赐的这颗大补药丸,想今晚打坐调息之后,慢慢服下,以免贱体经受……经受不起。”
Doctor Lu stepped forward. ‘Me’ Nothing!’ But his left hand was still tightly clenched. ‘Open it!’ cried the Leader. His thundering voice set their ears ringing. Doctor Lu swayed unsteadily. He opened his fist slowly, and a white pill fell to the ground. The others were appalled. Doctor Lu was the Sect’s expert in all matters pharmacological. If he had not wanted to swallow the white pill, it was certainly for a good reason. And the four of them had already swallowed theirs. ‘That white pill is a highly efficacious tonic’ said the Leader, speaking forcefully. ‘It is known as Snow Ginseng. Why do you not trust me?’ ‘Of course I trust you, Leader!’ protested Doctor Lu. ‘It’s just that I’ve been feeling a little out of sorts lately. Weak. Out of joint. I thought I’d take my pill this evening after I’ve done my yoga-‘

洪教主脸色登和,说道:“原来如此。你何处经脉气血不顺?那也容易得紧,我助你调顺内息便是了。你过来。”陆高轩又倒退一步,说道:“不敢劳动教主,属下慢慢调息,就会好的。”洪教主叹了口气,道:“如此说来,你终究信不过我?”陆高轩道:“属下决计不敢。”洪教主指着地下那颗白丸,道:“那么你即刻服下罢,要是服下后气息不调,我岂会袖手不理?”陆高轩望着那颗药丸,呆了半晌,道:“是!”俯身拾起,突然中指一弹,嗤的一声响,药丸飞过天空,远远掉入了山谷,说道:“属下已经服了,多谢教主。”洪教主哈哈大笑,说道:“好,好,好!你胆子当真不小。”
‘What’s the problem’ Come over here and I’ll see what I can do for you.’ Doctor Lu understandably did not seem to relish the idea of receiving healing from the Leader-not at that precise moment. He recoiled still further. ‘Still not trust me?’ CHANhKltt ‘Oh no, Leader! It’s not that!’ ‘Then take your pill! Novel’ Doctor Lu stooped to retrieve the pill. And then suddenly he gave a flick of his finger and the little white pill went whizzing through the air, far, far away to some distant valley. There, Leader! I’ve taken it!’ ‘You’ve got a nerve!’ The Leader gave one of his sinister approximations to a laugh.

陆高轩道:“属下忠心为教主出力,教主既已赐服解药,解去豹胎易筋丸的毒性,却又另赐这颗毒性更加厉害的百涎丸。属下无罪,不愿领罚。”许雪亭等齐问:“百涎丸?那是什么毒药?”陆高轩道:“教主采集一百种毒蛇、毒虫的唾涎,调制而成此药。是否含有剧毒,倒不大清楚,说不定真有大补之效,也未可知。只不过我胆子很小,不敢试服。”许雪亭等惊惶更甚,同时抢到陆高轩身边,五人站成一排,凝目瞪视洪教主。洪教主冷冷地道:“你怎知这是百诞丸?一派胡言,挑拨离间,扰乱人心。”陆高轩向方怡一指,说道:“那日我见到方姑娘在草丛里捉蜗牛,我问她干什么,她说奉教主之命,捉了蜗牛来配药。教主那条百涎丸的单方,我也无意之中见到了。虽说这百涎丸的毒性要在三年之后才发作,但一来,这百涎丸只怕教主从未配过,也不知是否真的三年之后毒性才发;二来,属下还想多活几年,不愿三年之后便死。”洪教主脸上黑气渐盛,喝道:“我的药方,你又怎能瞧见?”
‘Leader, it was kind of you to give us the Leopard Embryo Antidote. The yellow one. But I really don’t think I deserved the second pill, the white one, the Serpent Bane.’ The others hurried over to Doctor Lu’s side, more terrified than ever. They stared at the Leader. ‘And what makes you so sure the white pill contains Serpent Bane’ You are just trying to make trouble.’ Doctor Lu pointed to Fang Yi. ‘One day I found her out in the long grass collecting snails. She said you needed them for some drug you were making. And then by chance I came across the formula for this Serpent Bane. I know it’s supposed to be three years before it takes effect. But in the first place, you’ve never tried to make it before, and so you might have made it up wrong. And in the second place, I’m not sure I want to die, even in three years’ time.’ The Leader’s face was darker than ever.

陆高轩斜眼向洪夫人瞧了一眼,说道:“夫人要属下在教主的药箱中找药给她服食,这条单方,便在药箱之中。”洪教主厉声道:“胡说八道!夫人就算身子不适,难道不会问我要药,何必要你来找?我这药箱向来封锁严固,你何敢私自开启?”陆高轩道:“属下并未私自开启。”洪教主喝道:“你没私自开启?难道是我吩咐你开的……”一转念间,问洪夫人:“是你开给他的?”洪夫人脸色苍白,缓缓点了点头。洪教主道:“你要找什么药?为什么不跟我说?”洪夫人突然满脸通红,随即又变惨白,身子颤了几下,忽然抚住小腹,喉头喔喔作声,呕了不少清水出来。洪教主皱起眉头,温言问道:“你什么不舒服了?坐下歇歇罢!”
‘And tell me pray, how was it you, as you put it, “came across the formula” I was using?’ Doctor Lu glanced at Madame Hong. ‘It was your Lady. She wanted me to fetch her some drugs from the medicine chest. I found it there.’ ‘Rubbish! Why would my wife need to go to you for drugs’ She would have come to me. And besides, I keep that chest locked at all times. How did you manage to break into it without my knowing?’ ‘I didn’t.’ ‘You’re not going to tell me that I opened it for you!’ The Leader was getting louder and louder, more and more hysterical. He turned to Madame Hong. ‘Or did you open it for him?’ Her beautiful face was deathly pale. She nodded her head slowly. ‘Wny didn’t you come to me for it?’ She flushed deeply, and then the next minute all the colour drained out of her face again. She staggered a little, and clutched at her stomach. She made a retching sound, and began vomiting. The Leader frowned. He spoke softly to her’ ‘What’s the matter, my dear’ Sit down and rest a little.’

建宁公主突然叫道:“她有了娃娃啦。你这老混蛋,自己要生儿子了,却不知道?”洪教主大吃一惊,纵身而前,抓住夫人手腕,厉声道:“她这话可真?”洪夫人弯了腰不住呕吐,越加颤抖得厉害。洪教主冷冷的道:“你想找药来打下胎儿,是不是?”除陆高轩外,众人听了无不大奇。洪教主并无子息,对夫人又十分疼爱,如果夫人给他生下一个孩儿,不论是男是女,都是极大美事,何以她竟要打胎?料想洪教主这一下定是猜错了。哪知洪夫人慢慢点了点头,说道:“不错。我要打下胎儿。快杀了我罢。”
‘know what the matter is!’ It was the Princess who blurted this out. Somehow she always managed to put her foot in it ‘She’s pregnant! She’s having a baby! Why, you silly old man, your own wife’s having a baby and you didn’t even know!’ The Leader looked totally stunned. He lurched forward and took hold of Madame Hong’s wrist. ‘Is what she says true?’ Madame Hong was still bent double, vomiting, shaking violently. Suddenly the Leader’s tone changed. Now he was his icy self again. ‘You were trying to have an abortion, weren’t you’ That’s it! You were trying to get rid of the child!’ Apart from Doctor Lu, the others were following this with utter disbelief. If Madame Hong really was pregnant, surely this should be a source of joy. It would be the Leader’s first child. Why should she want to be rid of it’ Surely he must be wrong in this assumption. But then she nodded, very slowly and deliberately. ‘Yes. You’re right. I wanted to get rid of the baby. Go on, kill me!’

洪教主左掌提起,喝道:“是谁的孩子?”人人均知他武功高极,这一掌落将下来,洪夫人势必立时毙命,不料她反而将头向上一挺,昂然道:“叫你快杀了我,为什么又不下手?”洪教主眼中如欲喷出火来,低沉着嗓子道:“我不杀你,是谁的孩子?”洪夫人紧紧闭了嘴,神色甚是倔强,显是早将性命豁出去了。洪教主转过头来,瞪视陆高轩,问道:“是你的?”陆高轩忙道:“不是,不是!属下敬重夫人,有如天神,怎敢冒犯?”洪教主的眼光自陆高轩脸上缓缓移向张淡月、许雪亭、无根道人、胖头陀,一个个扫视过去。他眼光射到谁的脸上,谁便打个寒战。洪夫人大声道:“谁也不是,你杀了我就是,多问些什么。”公主叫道:“她是你老婆,这孩子自然是你的,又瞎疑心什么?真正胡涂透顶。”洪教主喝道:“闭嘴!你再多说一句,我先扭断了你脖子。”
The Leader raised his right hand. The edge of his all’crushing palm was poised above her head. ‘Whose is the child?’ They all knew that if that palm ever came down, she would be a dead woman. To their ever increasing astonishment, she merely raised her head and said proudly’ ‘I said kill me! Go on! Do it!’ The Leader’s eyes blazed. ‘I’m not going to kill you,’ he muttered thickly. ‘Just tell me who the father is!’ She held her lips fiercely closed. He looked at the men around him one after another. They all trembled at his gaze. ‘It’s none of them!’ said Madame Hong. ‘Go on, kill me. You’re wasting your time.’ ‘She’s your wife,’ said the Princess. ‘It’s your baby, you silly old man! ‘Will you shut up’ roared the Leader. ‘Another word from you and I’ll wring your neck!’

公主不敢再说,心中好生不服。她哪里知道,洪教主近年来修习上乘内功,早已不近女色,和夫人伉俪之情虽笃,却无夫妇之实,也正因如此,心中对她存了歉仄之意,平日对她加倍疼爱。这时他突然听得夫人腹中怀了胎儿,霎时之间,心中愤怒、羞愧、懊悔、伤心、苦楚、憎恨、爱惜、恐惧诸般激情纷至沓来,一只手掌高高举在半空,就是落不下去,一转头间,见许雪亭等人脸上露出惶恐之意,心想:“这件大丢脸事,今日都让他们知道了,我怎还有脸面做他们教主?这些人都须杀得干干净净,不能留下一个活口。只消泄漏了半点风声,江湖上好汉人人耻笑于我,我还逞什么英雄豪杰?”他杀心一起,突然右手放开夫人,纵身而前,一把抓住了陆高轩,喝道:“都是你这反教叛徒从中捣鬼!”
The Princess decided to try keeping her mouth closed for a bit. What she did not know was that for several years now the Leader had been practising an advanced form of yoga, and as part of this practice he had been abstaining from sexual intercourse of any kind. He and Madame Hong were a devoted couple, in their own strange way, but their love had for some time found no physical expression. Ironically, that was one reason why the Leader treated her with such unusual tenderness and consideration. The knowledge that she was now pregnant (and had tried to procure an abortion) had completely overwhelmed him. He was filled with a thousand and one conflicting emotions’ anger, shame, regret, remorse, wounded pride, hatred, love, fear. All at the same time. And then there was the terrible loss of face that he would suffer if all of this became public knowledge. How could he ever hope to carry on as Leader’ How could he ever command respect’ He looked around him. No, these men must all die. Every one of them. That was the only way out of this! And then the secret would die with them. He let go of Madame Hong, and marched on Doctor Lu. This is all your fault, you meddling, treacherous fool!’

陆高轩大叫:“你想杀人灭……”一个“口”字还没离嘴,脑门上啪的一声,已被洪教主重重击了一掌,登时双目突出,气绝而死。许雪亭等见了这情状,知道洪教主确是要杀人灭口,四人一齐抽出兵刃,护在身前。许雪亭叫道:“教主,这是你的私事,跟属下可不相干。”洪教主纵声大呼:“今日大家同归于尽,谁也别想活了。”猛向四人冲去。胖头陀挺起一柄二十来斤重的泼风大环刀,当头砍将过去,势道威猛之极。洪教主侧身让开,右掌向张淡月头顶拍落。许雪亭一对判官笔向洪教主背心连递两招,同时无根道人的雁翎刀也已砍向他腰间。洪教主大喝一声,跃向半空,仍向张淡月扑击下来。
‘If you’re going to-‘ Even as Doctor Lu cried out, before he could get out the words ‘kill us all’, the Leader’s palm came down on the crown of his head with devastating force. The Doctor’s eyes started out of their sockets, and he fell dead to the ground. The others saw the wild desperation in the Leader’s eyes, and prepared themselves for a fight to the death. Fat Dhuta unsheathed his heavy ringed sword, the one known as Whirlwind. It weighed over thirty pounds. He lunged into the attack, and the Leader dodged to one side, at the same time bringing his right palm chopping down on to the Black Dragon Marshal’s head. The Blue Dragon Marshal launched a double attack on the Leader’s back with his twin clubs, and the Red Dragon Marshal swung his Goose Feather sword at the Leader’s midriff. The Leader gave a mighty cry and leapt into the air. As he came back down again, he directed himself at Black Dragon.

张淡月手使鸳鸯双短剑,霎时之间向上连刺七剑,这一招“七星聚月”,实是他生平的力作,七剑刺得迅捷凌厉之极。洪教主右掌略偏,在他左肩轻轻一按,借势跃开。张淡月大叫一声,在地下一个打滚,翻身站,但觉左边半身酸痛难当,叫道:“今日不杀了他,谁都难以活命。”四人各展兵刃,又向洪教主围攻上去。这四人都是神龙教中的第一流人物,尤以胖头陀和许雪亭更是了得。胖头陀大环刀上九个钢环当啷啷作响,走的纯是钢猛路子。许雪亭的判官双笔却是绵密小巧之技,招招点向对方周身要穴。无根道人将雁翎刀舞成一团白光,心想今日服了百涎丸后,性命难久,在临死之前定当先杀了这奸诈凶狠的大仇人,是以十刀中倒有九刀是进攻招数,只盼和敌人同归于尽。张淡月想起当日因部属办事不力,取不到《四十二章经》,若不是得无根道人和许雪亭之助,早已为洪教主处死,自己已多活了这些时候,这条命其实是捡来的,这时左臂虽然剧痛,仍是奋力出剑。洪教主武功高出四人甚远,若要单取其中一人性命,并不为难,但四人连环进击,杀得一人,自己难免受伤。斗得四十回合后,胸中一股愤懑难当之气渐渐平息下来,心神一定,出招更是得心应手,一双肉掌在四股兵刃的围攻中盘旋来去,丝毫不落下风,眼见张淡月左剑刺出时渐渐无力,心想这是对方最弱之处,由此着手,当可摧破强敌。
Black Dragon was wielding his twin double short’swords. He employed a fast move (for which he was well known) called Seven Stars Clustered Around the Moon, aiming several short sharp jabs at the Leader, who replied with a light palm’chop with his right hand, bringing it down on Black Dragon’s left shoulder and leaping out of his way. Black Dragon cried out with pain, and did a somersault, but when he stood up again he could feel a numbing pain running down the entire left-hand side of his body. And so the battle raged. The fiercest of the Leader’s adversaries was without doubt the indomitable Fat Dhuta. Whirlwind’s nine rings clanged loudly as he swung it through the air. Black Dragon’s clubs were by comparison delicate weapons, dancing nimbly through the air as they sought out the Leader’s Vital Points. And the movement of Red Dragon’s Goose Feather sword created a whirling pattern of light. All of them had swallowed the poison, and none of them felt that they had anything to lose.

To the Death!

韦小宝见四人斗得激烈,悄悄拉了拉曾柔和沐剑屏的衣袖,又向公主打个手势,要她不可作声。四人转过身来,蹑手蹑脚的向山下走去。洪教主等五人斗得正紧,谁也没见到,就算见到了,也无人缓得出手来阻拦。四人走了一回,离洪教主等已远,心下窃喜。韦小宝回头一望,见那五人兀自狠斗,刀光闪烁,掌影飞舞,一时难分胜败,说道:“咱们走快些。”四人加紧脚步,忽听得身后脚步声响,两人飞奔而来,正是洪夫人和方怡。四人吃了一惊,苦于身上兵刃暗器都已在被擒之时给搜检了去,方怡也还罢了,洪夫人却甚是厉害,料想抵敌不过,只得拚向奔逃。奔出数十步,公主脚下被石子一绊,摔倒在地,叫出声来,韦小宝心想:“她肚子里有我的孩儿,可不能不救。”回身来扶。却见洪夫人几个起落,已跃到身前,叉腰而立,说道:“韦小宝,你想逃吗?”韦小宝笑道:“我们不是逃,这边风景好,过来玩耍玩耍。”
Seeing the five men locked in mortal combat, Trinket tugged Zeng Rou and the Little Countess by the sleeve, and gestured to the Princess to be silent. The four of them tiptoed down the hill. They had started to put some ground between themselves and the ongoing fight, and Trinket was urging them to get a move on, when they heard footsteps behind them. Madame Hong and Fang Yi were running after them. They too feared the worst, and having no weapons left (all their weapons had been taken, even Trinket’s poisoned darts), had decided that their only course was to run away. Then the Princess tripped on a stone, and Trinket, knowing that she was pregnant, stopped to help her. The next minute, there was Madame Hong, standing in front of him. ‘Running away, are you?’ Trinket laughed. ‘No no! We just thought we’d pop over here to admire the view!’

洪夫人冷笑道:“好啊,你们来赏玩风景,怎不叫我?”说话之间,方怡也已赶到。沐剑屏和曾柔见韦小宝已被洪夫人截住,转身回来,站在韦小宝身侧。沐剑屏对方怡道:“方师姊,你和我们一起走罢。他……他……”说着向韦小宝一指,说道:“……一直待你很好的,你从前也起过誓,难道忘了吗?”方怡道:“我只忠心于夫人,唯夫人之命是从。”沐剑屏道:“你不过服了夫人的药,我以前也服过的……”
‘You might have asked me if I wanted to enjoy it with you!’ replied Madame Hong sarcastically. As they were talking, Fang Yi came level with them. Zeng Rou and the Little Countess, seeing that Trinket had been waylaid by Madame Hong, came back to be by his side. The Little Countess spoke to Fang Yi. ‘Why don’t you come along with us’ He’s always been so good to you, and you did once promise to be his-‘ ‘I take my orders from Madame Hong!’ ‘You mean, you get your drugs from Madame Hong!’ cried the Little Countess. ‘I know all about that. I did too once!’

韦小宝恍然大悟,才知方怡过去一再欺骗自己,都是受了洪夫人的挟制,不得不然,心中对她恼恨之意登时释然,说道:“怡姊姊,你同我们一起去罢。”这“怡姊姊”三字,是上次他和方怡同来神龙岛、在舟中亲热缠绵之时叫惯了的,方怡乍又听到,不禁脸上一红。突然之间,只听得洪教主大声叫道:“夫人,夫人!阿荃,阿荃!你……你到哪里去了?”
Trinket was listening to this little exchange and it suddenly dawned on him that both the girls (Fang Yi and the Little Countess) had been at different times under the control of Madame Hong. That was why they had treated him so badly, tricking him and leading him into one trap after another. It all became clear. Now that he understood that they had been acting under coercion, he felt much better inclined towards Fang Yi. ‘Dear sister Fang,’ he said, ‘why don’t you come with us?’ Fang Yi flushed. His words immediately made her think of the happy days they had spent together on their cruise to Snake Island. True, she had been acting under orders even then. But there was more to it than that. Suddenly the voice of the Great Leader could be heard up above them on the hillside, shouting’ ‘Su Quan! Su Quan! Where are you?’

呼声中充满着惊惶和焦虑,显是怕洪夫人弃他而去。但洪夫人恍若不闻。洪教主又叫了几声,洪夫人始终不答。韦小宝等五人都瞧着洪夫人,均想:“你怎么不答应?教主在叫你,为什么不回去?”只见洪夫人脸上一阵晕红,摇了摇头,低声道:“咱们快走,坐船逃走罢!”韦小宝又惊又喜,问道:“你……你也同我们一起走?”洪夫人道:“岛上只一艘船,不一起走也不成。教主要杀我,你不知道吗?”脸上又是一红,当先便走。众人向山下奔出数丈,只听得洪教主又大声叫了起来:“夫人,夫人!阿荃,阿荃!快回来!”
His voice was full of fear. Fear that Madame Hong had left him. But she seemed not to have heard. He cried out again. Still she did not respond. The others were puzzled by her behaviour. All she did was shake her head. Again and again. Her face was flushed. ‘Let’s go!’ she whispered. ‘Let’s find the boat and get away from here while we still can!’ Trinket stared at her in delighted disbelief. ‘You mean you want to come with us!’ ‘There’s only one boat on the island. We all have to leave together. He’s going to kill me! Didn’t you see!’ She flushed, and hurried on ahead. The Leader could be heard shouting again: ‘Su Quan! Come back!’

突然有人长声惨叫,显是临死前的叫嚷,只不知是许雪亭等四人中的哪一个。洪教主大叫:“你瞧,你瞧!张淡月这老家伙给我打死了。他一生一世都跟在我身边,临到老来,居然还要反我,真是胡涂透顶。阿荃,阿荃!你怎不回来?我不怪你,这件事我原谅你了。啊!他妈的,你砍中我啦!哈哈,胖头陀,这一掌还不要了你的狗命?你脑筋不灵,怎么跟着人家,也来向我造反,这可不是死了吗?哈哈。”洪夫人停住脚步,脸上变色,说道:“他已打死了两个。”韦小宝急道:“咱们快逃。”发足便奔。猛听得洪教主叫道:“你这两个反贼,我慢慢再收拾你们。夫人,夫人,快回来!”
And then they heard a chilling scream from higher up on the hill. It was the last cry of a dying man. But whose cry it was, they could not tell. IHtUtbKAINU IHt LAULUKUN ‘So much for you, Black Dragon!’ cried the Leader. That serves you right for turning against me! Su Quan! Su Quan! Come back! I’ll forgive you! I’ll forgive you everything!’ Then another death cry. ‘Well fought, Dhuta! But I won’t be hearing from you again in a hurry!’ Madame Hong stopped in her tracks for a moment. ‘You hear that’ He’s gone completely berserk! He’s already killed two of them!’ ‘Hurry up!’ cried Trinket. ‘We’ve no time to lose!’ ‘I’ll come back for you two later!’ As the Leader shouted out these words, they saw him hurtling down the hill towards them, still crying’ ‘Su Quan! Su Quan! Come back!’

声音愈叫愈近,竟是从山上追将下来。韦小宝回头一看,只见洪教主披头散发,疾冲过来,这一吓只吓得魂飞魄散,没命价逃跑。许雪亭大叫:“截住他,截住他。他受了重伤,今日非杀了他不可。”无根道人叫道:“他跑不了的。”两人手提兵刃,追将下去。不多时韦小宝等已奔近海滩,但洪教主、许雪亭、无根道人三人来得好快,前脚接后脚,都已奔到山下,三人身上脸上溅满了鲜血。洪教主大喝:“夫人,你为什么不答应我?你要去哪里?”许雪亭叫道:“夫人不要你啦!她有了个又年轻又英俊的相好。”洪教主大怒,叫道:“你胡说!”
He was getting closer and closer. Trinket looked back, and saw him coming, his long hair streaming in the wind, racing down the hill. He was a terrifying sight. ‘Stop him!’ cried the Blue Dragon Marshal, Xu Xueting, trailing him in hot pursuit. ‘He’s already wounded! We must finish him off today!’ To which the Red Dragon (Rootless) added’ ‘He’ll never get away now!’ The two of them came rushing down the hill after the Leader. By now Trinket and his women companions were almost at the water’s edge. But the three men were not far behind them, running like madmen, their faces spattered with blood. ‘Why won’t you say anything?’ cried the Leader. ‘Where are you going?’ ‘Your lady’s found a younger man,’ Xu Xueting taunted him. ‘She doesn’t want you any more!’ ‘Nonsense!’

纵身过去,左掌向许雪亭头顶猛力击落。许雪亭左手还了一笔,无根道人也已赶到,挥刀向洪教主腰间砍去。此时洪教主的对手已只剩下两人,但他左腿一跛一拐,身手已远不如先前灵活。洪教主叫道:“阿荃,你瞧我立刻就将这两个反贼料理了。那四个小贱人,你都先杀了罢。只留下那小贼不杀,让他带我们去取宝。”他口中叫嚷,出掌仍是雄浑有力。许雪亭和无根道人难以近身。洪夫人微微冷笑,向沐剑屏等人逐一瞧去。
The Leader lurched angrily towards Xu Xueting, and brought his right palm down sharply on his head. Xu replied with a left’hand swing of his clubs, and Rootless joined in the fray, swinging his mighty Goose Feather sword at the Leader’s exposed midriff. The Leader had these two formidable adversaries to deal with. And he was already wounded in his left leg and limping badly. ‘Su Quan!’ he called out desperately. Til fix these two. You kill the four girls-but spare the boy! He’ll lead us to the treasure.’ Even as he spoke he was thrashing out with both palms. Xu Xueting and Rootless could still not get quite close enough to harm him. There was a strange smile on Madame Hong’s face, as she studied the four girls one by one.

韦小宝叫道:“夫人,这四个小妞,你只要伤得一人,我立刻自杀,做了鬼也不饶你。大丈夫一言既出,什么……什么马难追。”情急之下,连“死马难追”也想不起来了。突然间啪的一声响,许雪亭腰间中掌,他身子连晃,摔倒在地。洪教主哈哈大笑,飞足踢去。许雪亭跃起急扑,这一脚正中他胸口,喀喇声响,胸前肋骨登时断了数根,可是洪教主的右腿却已牢牢被他抱住。洪教主出力挣扎,竟然摔他不脱。无根道人飞快抢上,挥刀砍落。洪教主侧头避过,反手出击,噗的一响,无根道人小腹中掌,但这一刀也已砍入洪教主右肩。无根道人口中鲜血狂喷,都淋在洪教主后颈,待要提刀再砍,雁翎刀已斩入了洪教主肩骨,手上无力,再也拔不出来。洪教主叫道:“快……快来……拉开他。”洪夫人也不知是吓得呆了,还是有意不出手相助,眼看三人纠缠狠斗,竟站在当地,一动也不动。许雪亭抓起地下一根判官笔,奋力上送,插入了洪教主腰间。洪教主狂呼大叫,左脚踢出,将许雪亭踢得直飞出去,跟着左肘向后猛撞,无根道人身子慢慢软倒。洪教主哈哈大笑,叫道:“这些……反贼,哪……哪一个是我敌手?他们……他们想造反,咳咳……咳咳,还不是……还不是都给我杀了。”转过身来,向着洪夫人道:“你……你为什么不帮我?”
‘Madame!’ cried Trinket. ‘Harm a single one of them, and I’ll kill myself and then I’ll come back as a ghost and haunt you!’ There was a sudden thump, and Xu Xueting went staggering down to the ground, struck in the midriff by the Leader’s palm. The Leader gave a savage laugh, and followed up with a flying kick that caught Xu in the chest, smashing a number of his ribs. But the Leader was unable to withdraw his foot. It was stuck fast in Xu’s ribcage. Struggle as he might, he could not get it free. He was caught. Rootless hurled himself with renewed vigour into the attack, swinging his great blade. The Leader dodged to one side, and countered with a reverse punch. In one and the same moment, his fist drove itself into Rootless’ belly, and Rootless’ sword hacked its way deep into the Leader’s shoulder’blade. Rootless, blood spurting from his mouth onto the back of the Leader’s neck, tried to raise his sword for another hack, but found it so deeply embedded in the shoulder’blade that he was unable to pull it out. ‘Help me!’ cried the Leader. ‘Won’t anybody help me?’

洪夫人摇摇头,说道:“你武功天下第一,何必要人帮?”洪教主大怒,叫道:“你也反我?你也是本教的叛徒?”洪夫人冷冷的道:“不错,你就只顾自己。我如帮你,终究还是不免给你杀了。”洪教主叫道:“我扠死你,我扠死你这叛徒。”说着向洪夫人扑来。
Madame Hong just stood there. Whether she was too frightened to move, or simply unwilling to help, it was impossible to tell. Motionless, she watched the three men enmeshed in their death struggle, literally jointed into one another. Xu Xueting grabbed hold of one of his clubs from the floor, and managed to ram it into the Leader’s side. The Leader, screaming with pain and thrashing his legs around wildly, succeeded in kicking Xu free of him, and then landed a powerful reverse elbow jab in Rootless’ groin, sending him crumpling to the ground. ‘See! They’re … no match for me!’ The Leader half laughed, half gasped. ‘They thought they could mutiny against me-and they’re all dead!’ He turned to Madame Hong. ‘Why didn’t you help me?’ She shook her head. ‘You’re the best fighter in the world. You don’t need to be helped. And anyway,’ (here she allowed herself a sarcastic smile), ‘what would have been the point of helping you’ You’d only have killed me in the end!’ ‘So you’re against me as well! Then I will kill you, I’ll throttle you, you treacherous bitch!’ cried the Leader, throwing himself at her.

洪夫人“啊”的一声,急忙闪避。洪教主重伤之余,行动仍是迅捷之极,左手抓住了她右臂,右手便扠在她颈中,喝道:“你说,你说,你反不反?你说不反,我就饶了你。”洪夫人缓缓道:“很久很久以前,我心中就在反你了。自从你逼我做你妻子那一天起,我就恨你入骨。你……你杀死我好了。”洪教主身上鲜血不断的流到她头上、脸上,洪夫人瞪眼凝视他,竟是目不稍瞬。洪教主大叫:“叛徒,反贼!你们个个人都反我,我……我另招新人、重组神龙教!”右手运劲,洪夫人登时透不过气来,伸出了舌头。
She darted to one side with a short cry. Despite his wounds and his recent exertions, the Leader was still capable of extraordinary speed and agility. With one hand he seized her arm, with the other he gripped her by the throat. ‘Go on, say it!’ he screamed. ‘Are you for me or against me’ Just say you’re for me, and I’ll forgive you everything!’ She spoke slowly’ ‘For a very long time now I’ve been against you. Ever since the day you forced me to marry you. Ever since that day, I’ve hated you to the very marrow of my bones! Go on, kill me!’ The Leader’s blood was running all over her. Her head and her face were dripping with his blood. She stared at him, wide-eyed. ‘You’re all against me!’ he cried. ‘Every one of you! But I’m not done yet! I shall find new people, I shall build a new Mystic Dragon Sect!’ He squeezed his hand tighter and tighter round her throat. She found it harder and harder to breathe. Her tongue protruded from her mouth.

韦小宝在旁瞧得害怕之极,眼见洪夫人立时便要给他扠死,从沙滩上拾起一块大圆石,用力向洪教主背上掷去,噗的一声,正中背心。洪教主眼前一黑,扠在洪夫人颈中的手便松了,转身叫道:“你……你这小贼,我宝藏不要了,杀了你再说。”挥掌向韦小宝打去。韦小宝飞步便逃。洪教主发足追来,身后沙滩上拖着一道长长的血迹。韦小宝知道这一次给他抓住了,决难活命,没命价狂奔。突然间嗤的一声响,背上衣衫被洪教主扯去了一块,若不是韦小宝身穿护身宝衣,说不定背上肌肉也被扯去了一条,他大惊之下,奔得更加快了,施展九难所授的“神行百变”轻功,在沙滩上东一弯、西一溜的乱转,洪教主几次伸手可及,都给他在千钧一发之际逃了开去。他如笔直奔逃,毕竟内力有限,早就给抓住了。但这“神行百变”是铁剑门绝技,再加上木桑当年另创新变,实是精奇奥妙之至。韦小宝“神行”是决计说不上,那“百变”两字和他天性相近,倒也学得了三四成。因此虽非武功高手,却也算得是当世武林中数一数二逃命的“高脚”。
Trinket was standing there on the beach watching all of this in terror. He could see that any minute now she was going to die. He picked up a stone and threw it at the Leader, striking him in the small of the back. For a moment the Leader almost lost consciousness. He loosened his grip on Madame Hong’s throat, and turned towards Trinket. ‘As for you . . . bane of my life! To hell with the treasure! I’ll kill you anyway!’ And he swung a palm wildly at Trinket. Trinket stepped nimbly aside. The Leader stumbled after him, leaving a trail of blood on the beach. Trinket ran for all he was worth. He knew that once the Leader had him in his grasp, he was as good as dead. The next minute he felt the Leader’s hand catch hold of a corner of his shirt. The fabric tore away, and Trinket ran faster still. He tried the Hundred Flights taught him by the White Nun, dashing here and there on the beach, and every time he just succeeded in eluding the Leader. He had never in his life mastered any of the serious forms of kungfu, but when it came to the Art of Escape, Trinket was a Grand Master.

洪教主吼叫连连,连发数掌。韦小宝躲开了两掌,第三掌终于闪躲不了,砰的一响,正中后心,两个筋斗翻了出去。幸好洪教主重伤之余,掌力大减,韦小宝又有宝衣护身,虽然给打得昏天黑地,却也并未受伤。他正要爬起,突觉肩头一紧,已被洪教主双手揪住。这一来,他一颗心当真要从胸腔中跳了出来,大骇之下,当真是饥不择食,慌不择路,一低头,便从洪教主胯下钻了过去,蓦地想到,这正是洪教主当年所教“救命三招”之一的上半截,这招叫做“贵妃骑牛”还是“西施骑羊”,这当儿哪里还记得起?奋力纵跃,翻身骑上了洪教主的头颈。这一招本来他并未练熟,就算练得精熟,要使在洪教主这一等一的大高手身上,那也绝无可能。但洪教主奋战神龙教四高手,在发见夫人舍己而去之时,心神慌乱,接连受伤,此时肩头雁翎刀深砍入骨,小腹中又插入了一枝判官笔,急奔数百丈后流血无数,内力垂尽,双手揪住韦小宝时早已酸软无力,被他一挣便即挣脱,骑入了颈中。韦小宝骑上了他肩头,生怕掉将下来,自然而然的便伸手抱住他头,双手中指正好按在他眼皮上。洪教主脑海中陡然如电光般一闪,记得当年自己教他这一招,一骑上敌人项颈,立即便须挖出敌人眼珠,想不到自己一世英雄,到头来竟命丧这小顽童之手,而他所使的招数,却又是自己所授,当真是报应不爽了,想起自己一生杀人无算,受此果报也不算冤枉,不禁长叹一声,垂下了双手。这口气一松,再也支持不住,仰天便倒。韦小宝还道他使什么厉害家数,急忙跃出逃开。只听得洪教主喘息道:“阿荃,阿荃,你……你过来。”
The Leader roared like a lion, and struck out again and again with his palms. Finally he struck home, and sent Trinket tumbling head over heels across the sand. But the Leader’s strength was waning, and the blow had not seriously wounded Trinket. He scrambled to his feet, but no sooner had he done so than he felt the Leader’s hands close in on his shoulders. That was when he had the inspiration’ he would use one of the special moves that the Leader himself had taught him on his very first visit to the island-one of the Three Heroes. Normally he would not have stood a chance against such a man. But by now the Leader was both physically and emotionally drained. Trinket was able to remember enough of the move to twirl himself around, and swing himself between the Leader’s legs. Then he executed a smart somersault and sprang up onto the Leader’s head and shoulders, pressing his index fingers on the Leader’s brow, and his middle fingers on his eyeballs. The Leader sank helpless to the ground. ‘Su Quan . . .’ he groaned. ‘Come here!’

洪夫人向他走近几步,但离他身前一丈多远便站住了。洪教主道:“你肚里……的孩子,究竟……究竟是谁的?”洪夫人摇头道:“你何必定要知道。”说着忍不住斜眼向韦小宝瞧了一眼,脸上一阵晕红。洪教主又惊又怒,喝道:“难道……难道是这小鬼?”洪夫人咬住下唇,默不作声,那显然便是默认了。洪教主大叫:“我杀了这小鬼!”纵身向韦小宝扑去。
Madame Hong started moving towards him, but stopped when she was about a yard from where he was lying. ‘Whose … whose child is it that you are carrying?’ he gasped. She shook her head. ‘Why do you want to know so badly?’ Even as she said this, she could not prevent herself from glancing coyly at Trinket, and blushing. ‘No!’ cried the Leader. ‘Not him! It can’t be true!’ Not only had Trinket used on him the very kungfu tricks he had taught him, he had had the effrontery to make his lady, the beautiful Madame Hong, pregnant. Madame Hong bit her lip and was silent. Her silence was eloquent. ‘I’ll kill the little fiend!’

但见洪教主满脸是血,张开大口,露出残缺不全的焦黄牙齿,双手也满是鲜血淋漓,这般扑将过来,韦小宝只吓得魂不附体,缩身一窜,又从洪夫人胯下钻了过去,躲在她身后。洪夫人双臂张开,正面对着洪教主,淡淡的道:“你威风了一世,也该够了!”洪教主身在半空,最后一口真气也消得无影无踪,啪哒一声,摔在洪夫人脚边,恶狠狠的道:“我是教主,你们……你们都该听我……听我的话,为什么……为什么……都反我?你们……你们都不对,只有……只有我对。我要把你们一个个都杀了,只有我一人才……才仙福永享……寿……与天……天……天……”最后这个“齐”字终于说不出口,张大了口,就此气绝,双目仍是大睁。
The Leader threw himself at Trinket. It was a terrifying sight. His face smeared with clotted gore, his broken yellow teeth staring from his gaping mouth, his hands dripping with fresh blood. In sheer terror Trinket darted for cover between Madame Hong’s legs. She held out both her arms, and looked straight into the Leader’s face. ‘It is over!’ she said calmly. ‘You’ve ruled the roost for long enough!’ ‘I’m the Leader!’ he snarled. ‘My orders must be obeyed! Why are you all against me’ You’re wrong! I’m right! I’ll kill you all! Then I’ll be the only one to survive and enjoy a Long Life and-‘ But before he could get the word ‘Blessings’ out, he was dead. His mouth hung open. His eyes stared lifelessly in front of him.

Return to Potluck Island

韦小宝爬开几步,翻身跃起,又逃开数丈,这才转身,只见洪教主躺在地下毫不动弹,过了良久,走上两步,摆定了随时发足奔逃的姿式,问道:“他死了没有?”洪夫人叹了口气,轻声道:“死了。”韦小宝又走上两步。问道:“他……他怎么不闭上眼?”
Trinket scrambled to his feet and did a backwards somersault. Then he ran another few yards before finally plucking up the courage to turn around and look. The Leader was still lying motionless on the sand. He stole forwards a step or two, and then adopted his ‘I’m ready to escape at any moment!’ position. ‘Is he dead?’ Madame Hong sighed. ‘He’s dead.’ She spoke very quietly. Trinket took another couple of steps forward. ‘How come his eyes aren’t closed?’

突然间啪的一声响,脸上重重吃了个耳光,跟着右耳又被扭住,正是建宁公主。她又在韦小宝屁股上踢了一脚,骂道:“你这小王八蛋,他不闭眼,因为你偷了他老婆。你……你怎么又跟这不要脸的女人勾搭上了。”
Before this question could be answered, Trinket found himself being subjected to a violent assault-his ears boxed, his bottom kicked-from the Princess. ‘You filthy turtle! You know perfectly well why he can’t close his eyes in peace, the poor bastard! Because you messed around with his wife! You just couldn’t keep your dirty little hands off her, could you!’

洪夫人哼了一声,伸手提起建宁公主后颈,啪的一声,也重重打了她个耳光,一挥手,公主向后便跌。这一来韦小宝可就苦了,公主右手仍是扭住他耳朵,她身子后跌,只带得韦小宝耳朵剧痛,扑在她身上。洪夫人喝道:“你说话再没规矩。我立刻便毙了你。”公主大怒,跳身起来,便向洪夫人冲去。洪夫人左足一勾,公主又扑地倒了。公主第三次冲起再打,又给摔了个筋斗,终于知道自己武功跟人家实在差得太远,坐在地下,又哭又骂,她可不敢骂洪夫人,口口声声只是:“小王八蛋!死太监!小畜生!臭小桂子!”
Madame Hong uttered an irritable ‘humph!’ and seized the Princess by the scruff of the neck. Then she boxed her ears, and sent her flying with a sweep of her hand. The Princess tumbled backwards, but never for a second let go of Trinket. ‘Any more of your insolence’ cried Madame Hong, ‘and I’ll kill you!’ The Princess was not one to be intimidated. She leapt up, and threw herself at Madame Hong, who tripped her with her left foot. Three times the Princess came back for more, and three times she was sent sprawling. She eventually got the message and sat down and started bawling. ‘Filthy turtle! Foul eunuch! Smelly Laurel!’ She noticeably refrained from abusing Madame Hong.

韦小宝抚着耳朵,只觉满手是血,原来耳朵根已被公主扯破了长长一道口子。洪夫人低声道:“我跟他总是夫妻一场,我把他安葬了,好不好?”语声温柔,竟是向韦小宝恳求准许一般。韦小宝又惊又喜,忙道:“好啊,自该将他葬了。”拾起地下的一根判官笔,和洪夫人两人在沙滩上掘坑,方怡和沐剑屏过来相助,将洪教主的尸体埋入。
Trinket was still tending a pair of sore ears. He saw blood on his hands, and realized that the Princess had actually ripped a piece out of one of his ears. He heard Madame Hong speaking. ‘He and I were husband and wife. I should like to bury him properly, if you will allow it.’ Her voice was strangely quiet and full of tenderness. For Trinket the strangest thing of all was that she was asking him for his permission. It gave him a thrill of delight. ‘Of course you must,’ he replied. Together they used the various discarded weapons lying on the beach to dig a hole in the sand. The Little Countess and Fang Yi helped them lower the Leader’s body into the hole.

洪夫人跪下磕了几个头,轻声说道:“你虽然强迫我嫁你,可是……可是成亲以来,你自始至终待我很好。我却从来没真心对你。你死而有知,也不用再放在心上了。”说着站起身来,不禁泪水扑簌簌的掉了下来。她怔怔的悄立片刻,拭干了眼泪,问韦小宝道:“咱们就在这里住下去呢,还是回中原去?”韦小宝搔头道:“这地方万万住不得,洪教主、陆先生他们的恶鬼,非向我们索命不可,当真乖乖不得了。不过回去中原,小皇帝又要捉我杀头,最好……最好是找个太平的地方躲了起来。”
Madame Hong now knelt by the side of the grave, and kowtowed several times. ‘It’s true you forced me to marry you against my will,’ she began, in that soft voice of hers, thrilling even in grief. ‘But over the years, you showed your devotion. In your way. You never did me any harm. And what did I ever give you in return’ Not my love. I never loved you! There-now I have told you the truth! And it’s too late!’ When she got to her feet, there were tears on her cheeks. She stood there a while, lost in thought. Then she wiped away her tears, and turned to Trinket’ ‘Well, are we going to stay here’ Or return to the mainland?’ Trinket shook his head. ‘We can’t possibly stay here. Just think of all the ghosts that’ll be after us. But if we go back, the Emperor will want my head. We need to find somewhere safe and quiet.’

突然间想到一个所在,喜道:“有了。咱们去通吃岛,那里既没恶鬼,小皇帝又找我不到。”洪夫人问道:“通吃岛在哪里?”韦小宝向西一指,笑道:“那边这个小岛,我叫它通吃岛。”洪夫人点头道:“你既喜欢去,那就去罢。”不知如何,对他竟是千依百顺。韦小宝大乐,叫道:“去,去,大家一起都去!”过去扶起公主,笑道:“大伙儿上船罢!”公主挥手便是一掌,韦小宝侧头躲过。公主怒道:“你去你的,我不去!”
A thought occurred to him. ‘Why not Potluck Island’ There aren’t any ghosts. And the Emperor will never think of looking for us there.’ He pointed to the island on the western horizon. ‘It’s over there.’ ‘Then that’s where we should go.’ Madame Hong seemed to want to go along with his every thought. ‘Excellent!’ cried Trinket. ‘Let’s go then, all of us!’ He went over to the Princess and pulled her up from the ground. ‘Let’s all get into the boat and go!’ She swung at him and he ducked. ‘You can go if you like! I’m not going anywhere! I’m staying here!’

韦小宝道:“这岛上有许许多多恶鬼,无头鬼,断脚鬼,有给大炮轰出了肠子的拖肠鬼,有专摸女人大肚子的多手鬼……”公主听得害怕之极,顿足道:“还有你这专门胡说八道的嚼蛆鬼。”左足飞出,在韦小宝屁股上重重一脚。韦小宝“啊”的一声,跳起身来。洪夫人缓步走过去。公主退开几步。洪夫人道:“以后你再打韦公子一下,我打你十下,你踢他一脚,我踢你十脚。我说过的话,从来算数。”公主气得脸色惨白,怒道:“你是他什么人,要你这般护着他?你……你自己老公死了,就来抢人家的老公。”方怡插口道:“你自己的老公,还不也死了?”
‘Are you sure?’ replied Trinket. This island’s crawling with ghosts, you know. All kinds of them. Headless ghosts. Legless ghosts. Ghosts whose guts have been blown out and are trailing behind them. Ghosts with lots of hands who feel up ladies-‘ The Princess was trembling with fear despite herself. She stamped her foot. ‘And horrible, dirty little ghosts like you who lie and fib and never stop making a thorough nuisance of themselves!’ Out went her left foot, and landed a nasty kick on Trinket’s long’suffering backside. He gave a cry and leapt into the air. It turned into a showdown between the Princess and Madame Hong, who came running to the defence of her new Lord and Master, threatening to give the Princess ten times over everything that she gave Trinket. ‘And who exactly do you think you are!’ sneered the Princess. ‘Just because your old man’s dead and gone, does that mean to say you can come stealing other people’s husbands?’ To which Fang Yi replied: ‘And what about you? Isn’t your husband dead too?’

公主怒极,骂道:“小贱人,你老公也死了。”洪夫人缓缓的道:“以后你再敢说一句无礼的言语,我叫你一个人在这岛上,没一个人陪你。”公主心想这泼妇说得出做得到,当真要自己一个人在这岛上住,这许多拖肠鬼、多手鬼拥将上来,那便如何是好?她一生养尊处优,颐指气使,这时只好收拾起金枝玉叶的横蛮脾气,乖乖的不再作声。韦小宝大喜,心想:“这个小恶婆娘今天遇到了对头,从此有人制住她,免得她一言不合,伸手便打。”举手摸摸自己被扯伤的耳朵,冗自十分疼痛。洪夫人对方怡道:“方姑娘,请你去吩咐船夫,预备开船。”方怡道:“是。”又道:“夫人怎地对属下如此客气,可不敢当。”洪夫人微笑道:“咱们今后姊妹相称,别再什么夫人属下的了。你叫我荃姊姊,我就叫你怡妹妹罢。那毒丸的解药,上船后就给你服,从此以后,再也不用担心了。”方怡和沐剑屏都欢喜之极。
In the end the Princess (who had been used to having her way all her life) had to swallow her pride. She did not want to be left alone on the island. And in Madame Hong she knew she had met her match. Trinket was delighted to observe this new development. He had never been able to cope with this princess’shrew on his own-his ears were still hurting to prove it. Madame Hong spoke to Fang Yi. ‘Sister dear, will you tell the boatman to get ready. We must set sail.’ ‘Certainly, Madame. But tell me, why are you being so polite to me all of a sudden?’ Su Quan (for so we must now always call her, since her husband Leader Hong was dead and her new allegiance was to Trinket) smiled. ‘From this day forth, we must all be sisters. No more “Madame” this, or “Princess” that. And as for you, Fang Yi, once we’re on the boat, I shall give you the Antidote.’ Fang Yi was happy beyond belief at the thought of being liberated from her Mystic Dragon drug’induced oppression and servile dependence.

一行人上得船来,舟子张帆向西。韦小宝左顾右盼,甚是得意。洪夫人果然取出解药,给方怡服了,又打开船上铁箱,取出韦小宝的匕首、“含沙射影”暗器、银票等物,还给了他。曾柔等人的兵刃也还了。韦小宝笑道:“今后我也叫你荃姊姊,好不好?”洪夫人喜道:“好啊。咱们排一排年纪,瞧是谁大谁小。”各人报了生日年月,自然是洪夫人苏荃最大,其次是方怡,更其次是公主。曾柔、沐剑屏和韦小宝三人同年,曾柔大了他三个月,沐剑屏小了他几天。
They boarded the boat, and set sail in a westerly direction. Trinket gazed happily out to sea. Madame Hong gave Fang Yi her Antidote. Then she opened the metal chest on the boat, and gave Trinket back his dagger, his poisoned darts, and his money-all CHAP I tK 16 the things that had been taken from him when he had fallen into the Leader’s hands. Zeng Rou and the others also had their weapons returned. Now that they were to be sisters, it was important to establish seniority. They all gave their dates of birth, including Trinket. Su Quan was the oldest; then came Fang Yi followed by Princess Ning. Trinket, Zeng Rou, and the Little Countess were all born in the same year. Zeng Rou was three months older than Trinket, the Little Countess a few days younger.

苏荃、方怡等四女姊姊妹妹的叫得甚是亲热,只公主在一旁含怒不语。苏荃道:“她是公主殿下,不愿跟我们平民百姓姊妹相称,大家还是称她为公主殿下罢。”公主冷冷的道:“我可不敢当。”想到她们联群结党,自己孤零零的,而这没良心的死太监小桂子,看来也是向着她四人的多,向着自己的少,伤心之下,忍不住放声大哭。韦小宝挨到她身边,拉着她手安慰,柔声道:“好啦,大家欢欢喜喜的,别哭……”公主扬起手来,一巴掌打了过去,猛地里想起苏荃说过的话来,这一掌去势甚重,无法收住,只得中途转向,拍的一声,却打在自己胸口,“啊”的一声,叫了出来。众人忍不住都哈哈大笑。公主更是气苦,伏在韦小宝怀里大哭。韦小宝笑道:“好啦,好啦。大家不用吵架,咱们来赌,我来做庄。”可是在洪教主的铁箱中仔细寻找,韦小宝那两颗骰子却再也找不到了,自是陆高轩在搜查他身体之时,将两颗骰子随手抛了。韦小宝闷闷不乐。苏荃笑道:“咱们用木头来雕两粒骰子罢。”韦小宝道:“木头太轻,掷下去没味道的。”曾柔伸手入怀,再伸手出来时握成了拳头,笑道:“你猜这是什么?”韦小宝道:“猜铜钱吗?那也好。总胜过了没得赌。”曾柔笑道:“你猜几枚?”韦小宝笑道:“三枚。”曾柔摊开手掌,一只又红又白的手掌中,赫然是两粒骰子。韦小宝“啊”的一声大叫,跳起身来,连问:“哪里来的?哪里来的?”曾柔轻笑一声,把骰子放在桌上。韦小宝一把抢过,掷了一把又一把,兴味无穷,只觉这两权骰子两边轻重时时不一,显是灌了水银的假骰子,心想曾柔向来斯文腼腆,怎会去玩这假骰子骗人钱财?一凝思间,这才想起,心下一阵欢喜,反过左手去搂住了她腰,在她脸上一吻,笑道:“多谢你啦,柔姊姊,多亏你把我这两颗骰子一直带在身边。”

曾柔满脸通红,逃到外舱。原来那日韦小宝和王屋派众弟子掷骰赌命,放了众人,曾柔临出营帐时向他要了这两颗骰子去。韦小宝早就忘了,曾柔却一直贴身而藏。骰子虽然有了,可是那几个女子却没一个有赌性,虽然凑趣陪他玩耍,但赌注既小,输赢又是漫不在乎,玩不到一顿饭功夫,大家就毫不起劲,比之在扬州的妓院、赌场、宫中、军中等处的滥赌狠赌,局面实有天壤之别。韦小宝意兴索然,嚷道:“不玩了,不玩了,你们都不会的。”想起今后在通吃岛避难,虽有五个美人儿相陪,可是没钱赌,没戏听,这日子可也闷得很。再说,在岛上便有千万两金子、银子,又有何用?金银既同泥沙石砾一般,赢钱也就如同泥沙石砾了。而双儿生死如何,阿珂又在何处,时时挂在心头,岂能就此撇下她两个不理?他越想越没趣,说道:“咱们还是别去通吃岛罢。”
The Princess was the only one not to enter into the new sisterhood idea with any enthusiasm. She felt left out and neglected, and ended up bursting into tears. Trinket did his best to comfort her. He suggested a game of dice to cheer everyone up. Zeng Rou somewhat bashfully produced the dice he had given her many months earlier, and Trinket was touched that she should have kept them with her all this time. He gave her a hug and thanked her, much to her embarrassment. They tried throwing the dice, but after a few rounds Trinket stopped the game. Playing with girls was not much fun, he reflected to himself. And then he started thinking ahead, to the place they were heading for, and to what his new life was going to be like on Potluck Island. Being an exile on a remote island did not promise to be great fun. There was going to be no money to gamble with for a start, and nothing to spend his winnings on anyway. And then he started thinking of the two other women who were so important in his life’ Doublet and Green. What had become of them’ It was not as if he could just forget about them. ‘Let’s not go to Potluck Island!’ he said to Madame Hong.

苏荃道:“那你说去哪里?”韦小宝想了想,道:“咱们都去辽东,去把那个大宝藏挖了出来。”苏荃道:“大家安安稳稳的在荒岛上过太平日子,不很好吗?就算掘到了大宝藏,也没什么用。”韦小宝道:“金银珠宝,成千成万,怎会没用?”方怡道:“鞑子皇帝一定派了兵马到处捉你,咱们还是躲起来避避风头,过得一两年,事情淡了下来,你爱去辽东,那时大伙儿再去,也还不迟。”韦小宝问曾柔和沐剑屏:“你两个怎么说?”沐剑屏道:“我想师姊的话很是。”曾柔道:“你如嫌气闷,咱们在岛上就只躲几个月罢。”见韦小宝脸有不豫之色,又道:“我们天天陪你掷骰子玩儿,输了的罚打手心,好不好?”韦小宝心道:“他妈的,打手心有什么好玩?”但见她脸带娇羞,神态可爱,不禁心中一荡,说道:“好,好,就听你们的。”方怡站起身来,微笑道:“过去我很对你不住,我去做几个菜,请你喝酒,算是向你赔罪,好不好呢?”韦小宝更是高兴,忙道:“那可不敢当。”方怡走到后梢去做菜。方怡烹饪手段着实了得,这番精心调味,虽然舟中作料不齐,仍教人人吃得赞声不绝。韦小宝叫道:“咱们来猜拳。”沐剑屏、曾柔和公主三人不会猜拳,韦小宝教了她们,“哥俩好”、“五经魁首”、“四季平安”的猜了起来。公主本来闷闷不乐,猜了一会拳,喝得几杯酒,便也有说有笑起来。在船中过得一宵,
‘Where do you suggest then?’ ‘Why don’t we go up to the North’East and dig up that treasure?’ ‘I thought we agreed that we wanted a quiet time for a while,’ was her reply. The Emperor will have men looking for you everywhere,’ said Fang Yi. ‘Let’s lie low for a year or two. Wait for things to quieten down a bit.’ Zeng Rou and the Little Countess were of the same opinion. In the end, Trinket gave in. As if to reward him, Fang Yi offered to cook him a meal’ ‘I’d like to make up for all the horrible things I’ve done to you in the past.’ Fang Yi turned out to be a marvellous cook, and performed miracles with the limited ingredients on board the little boat. They all enjoyed their meal, and then Trinket taught them how to play the drinking’game known as Guess Fingers. Even the Princess joined in, and after a few cups of wine she began to stop sulking and cheer up a bit.

次日午后到了通吃岛。只见当日清军扎营的遗迹犹在,当日权作中军帐的茅屋兀自无恙,但韦小宝大将军指挥若定的风光,自然荡然无存了。韦小宝也不在意下,牵着方怡的手笑道:“怡姊姊,那日就是在这里,你骗了我上船,险些儿将这条小命,送在罗刹国。”方怡吃吃笑道:“我跟你赔过不是了,难道还要向你叩头赔罪不成?”韦小宝道:“那倒不用。不过好心有好报,我吃了千辛万苦,今日终究能真正陪着你了。”沐剑屏在后叫道:“你们两个在说些什么,给人家听听成不成?”方怡笑道:“他说要捉住你,在你脸上雕一只小乌龟呢。”苏荃道:“咱们别忙闹着玩,先办了正经事要紧。”当即吩咐船夫,将船里一应粮食用具,尽数搬上岛来,又吩咐将船上的帆篷、篙桨、绳索、船尾木舵都拆卸下来,搬到岛上,放入悬崖的一个山洞之中。韦小宝赞道:“荃姊姊真细心,咱们只须看住这些东西,这艘船便开不走,不用担心他们会逃走。”话犹未了,忽听得海上远处砰的一响,似是大炮之声,六人都吃了一惊,向大海望去。只见海面上白雾瀰漫,露中隐隐有两艘船驶来,跟着又是砰砰两响,果然是船上开炮。韦小宝叫道:“不好了!小皇帝派人来捉我了。”曾柔道:“咱们快上船逃罢。”苏荃道:“帆舵都在岸上,来不及装了,只好躲了起来,见机行事。”六人中除了公主,其余五人都是多历艰险,倒也并不如何惊慌。苏荃又道:“不管躲得怎么隐秘,终究会给官兵搜出来。咱们躲到那边崖上的山洞里,官兵只能一个个上崖进攻,来一个杀一个,免得给他们一拥而上。”韦小宝道:“对,这叫做一夫当关,瓮中捉鳖。”苏荃微笑道:“对了!”公主却忍不住哈哈大笑。韦小宝瞪眼道:“有什么好笑?”公主抿嘴笑道:“没什么。你的成语用得真好,令人好生佩服。”韦小宝这三分自知之明倒也有的,料想必是自己成语用错了,向公主瞪了一眼。
At noon the next day they reached Potluck Island. Madame Hong supervised the disembarking, giving the boatman orders to carry all the provisions ashore, and to store the sails, oars, cables, and rudder in a cave (thus ensuring that he did not try to get away without them). New Arrivals on the Shore Just as they were finishing the unloading of their things, they heard a great explosion out at sea. There were two junks out in the bay, which continued to fire their guns. ‘It must be the Emperor’s men come after me!’ cried Trinket. ‘Let’s try to get away in our boat!’ suggested Zeng Rou, But Madame Hong pointed out that they had only just finished dismantling the equipment, and it would take far too long to bring it all back from the cave. The only course open to them was to hide somewhere on the island itself.

六人进了山洞。苏荃挥刀割些树枝,堆在山洞前遮住身形,从树枝孔隙间向外望去。只见两艘船一前一后,笔直向通吃岛驶来。后面那艘船还在不住发炮,炮弹落在前船四周,水柱冲起。韦小宝道:“后面这船在开炮打前面那艘。”苏荃道:“正是。原来两艘船互相打仗。”韦小宝喜道:“那么这两艘船,恐怕不是来捉我们的。”苏荃道:“但愿如此。只不过他们来到岛上,见到船夫,一问就知,非来搜寻不可。就算我们抢先杀了船夫,也来不及掩埋尸首了。”韦小宝道:“前面的船怎地不还炮?真是没用。最好你打我一炮,我打你一炮,大家都打中,两艘船一起沉入海底。”
They decided to hide in another cave high up in the cliff. Madame Hong cut down some branches to camouflage the entrance. Through the screen of branches they looked out to sea, and saw the two junks still heading straight for the shore. The junk further away continued to fire its guns, and the cannon’balls fell around the boat nearest to them, sending great plumes of water into the air. It soon became clear that the further boat was in fact pursuing the nearer one, and that they were not after Trinket at all. ‘Why isn’t the front one firing back?’ said Trinket. Then they’d both end up at the bottom of the sea-all the better for us!’

前面那船较小,帆上吃满了风,驶得甚快。突然一炮打来,桅杆断折,帆布烧了起来。韦小宝等忍不住惊呼。前船登时倾侧,船身打横,跟着船上放下小艇,十余人跳入艇中,举桨划动。其时离岛已近,后船渐渐追近,水浅不能靠岸,船上也放下小艇,却有五艘。前面一艘逃,后面五艘追。不多时,前面艇中十余人跳上了沙滩,察看周遭情势。有人纵身呼道:“那边悬崖可以把守,大家到那边去。”韦小宝听这呼声似是师父陈近南,待见这十余人顺着山坡奔上崖来。奔到近处,一人手执长剑,站在崖边指挥,却不是陈近南是谁?韦小宝大喜,从山洞中跃出,叫道:“师父,师父!”
The front junk was the smaller of the two, but it had the wind in its sails, and was moving faster, until it took a direct hit on its mast, and its sails all went up in flames. It started to capsize. A small skiff was launched, and from the cave they could see a dozen men jumping into it and rowing for all they were worth. They reached shallow water and the big junk pursuing them was unable to come any closer to the shore. It too launched five small TOW’ boats. In a matter of minutes the skiff from the first junk was on the beach and the dozen men inside it were ashore, scouting up and down the beach, spying out the land. One of them spotted the cave in the cliff. ‘Let’s take cover up there!’ he shouted. Trinket could have sworn he knew that voice. Surely it was his Shifu, the Helmsman, Chen Jinnan! The little band of men scrambled up the cliffside. The man in front held a long sword, and directed the others up the cliff path. As he drew closer, there was no longer any doubt. It was Chen Jinnan. Trinket leapt excitedly out of the cave. ‘Helmsman! Shifu!’

陈近南一转身,见是韦小宝,也是惊喜交集,叫道:“小宝,怎么你在这里?”韦小宝飞步奔近,突然一呆,只见过来的十余人中一个姑娘明眸雪肤,竟是阿珂。他大叫一声:“阿珂!”抢上前去。却见她身后站着一人,赫然是郑克塽。既见阿珂,再见郑克塽,原是顺理成章之事,但韦小宝大喜若狂之下,再见到这讨厌家伙,登时一颗心沉了下来,呆呆站定。旁边一人叫道:“相公!”另一人叫道:“韦香主!”他顺口答应一声,眼角也不向二人斜上一斜,只是痴痴的望着阿珂。忽觉一只柔软的小手伸过来握住他左掌,韦小宝身子一颤,转头去看,只见一张秀丽的面庞上满是笑容,眼中却泪水不住流将下来,却是双儿。韦小宝大喜,一把将她抱住,叫道:“好双儿,这可想死我了。”一颗心欢喜得犹似要炸开来一般,刹时之间,连阿珂也忘在脑后了。
Chen spun around, and was both surprised and delighted to see Trinket. ‘What on earth are you doing here?’ Trinket hurried forward. And then it was his turn to have the shock of his life. Standing there before him, in the Helmsman’s band of followers, was the bright’eyed, the snowy’skinned, the ravishingly beautiful Ah Kor’ Green Girl herself! ‘Green!’ he cried, and threw himself forward. And then he saw who was standing behind her’ the Insufferable, the abominable, the despicable bounder and cad, Sir Zheng, Zheng Keshuang himself! Trinket’s expression of ecstasy froze on his face, and was replaced by a gloomy, silent stare. Even as he was standing there speechless, caught between feelings of joy and utter dismay, he felt a little hand wrap itself around his own, and when he turned, there was another sweet, smiling face that he knew so well. It was Doublet’s, and tears were streaming down her cheeks. Trinket threw his arms around her in delight and hugged her. ‘Dearest Doublet! How I’ve missed you!’ He was so happy, he was ready to explode with joy. He had forgotten Green already.

陈近南叫道:“冯大哥,风兄弟,咱们守住这里通道。”两人齐声答应,各挺兵刃,并肩守住通上悬崖的一条窄道,原来一个是冯锡范,一个是风际中。韦小宝突然遇到这许多熟人,只问:“你们怎么会到这里?”双儿道:“风大爷带着我到处寻你,遇上了陈总舵主,打听到你们上了船出海,于是……于是……”说到这里,喜欢过度,喉头哽着说不下去了。这时五艘小艇中的追兵都已上了沙滩,从崖上俯视下去,都是清兵,共有七八十人。当先一人手执长刀,身形魁梧,相隔远了,面目看不清楚,那人指挥清兵布成了队伍。一队人远远站定,那将军一声令下,众兵从背上取下长弓,从箭壶里取出羽箭,搭在弓上,箭头对准了悬崖。陈近南叫道:“大家伏下!”遇上这等情景,韦小宝自不用师父吩咐,一见清兵取弓在手,早就隐隐妥妥的缩在一块岩石之后。只听那将军叫道:“放箭!”登时箭声飕飕不绝。悬崖甚高,自下而上的仰射,箭枝射到时劲力已衰。冯锡范和风际中一挺长剑,一持单刀,将迎面射来的箭格打开去。
‘We must secure this path!’ ordered the Helmsman. Feng Xifan (the Bloodless Sword-Insufferable’s sinister mentor), and the Triad Brother Feng Jizhong, took up positions on either side of the path leading up the cliff to the cave, swords drawn at the ready. Doublet explained to Trinket that Brother Feng had taken them everywhere looking for him. ‘We heard you’d set out to sea. And finally we’ve found you!’ She was about to burst into tears again. The five row’boats in pursuit had now reached the shore, and seventy or eighty Imperial troops could be seen making their way along the beach towards them. There was a tall commanding officer, who ordered them to line up and string arrows to their bows. Trinket recognized him at Shi Lang. Take cover!’ shouted the Helmsman. Trinket was already hiding behind a large rock. ‘Fire!’ The Manchu officer gave the order, and a shower of arrows was released, but the cliff was too high and they fell well short of the mark, or at the most fell feebly to the ground in front of the cave. Feng Xifan with his long sword, and Brother Feng Jizhong with his cutlass, stood there knocking away the arrows with their blades as they fell from the sky.

冯锡范叫道:“施琅,你这不要脸的汉奸,有胆子就上来,一对一跟老子决一死战。”韦小宝心道:“原来下面带兵的是施琅。行军打仗,这人倒是一把好手。”只听施琅叫道:“你有种就下来,单手独斗,老子也不怕你。”冯锡范道:“好!”正要下去,陈近南道:“冯大哥,别上他当。这人卑鄙无耻,什么事都做得出。”冯锡范只走出一步,便即住足,叫道:“你说单打独斗,干么又派五艘小艇……他妈的,是六艘,连我们的艇子也偷去了,臭汉奸,你叫小艇去接人,还不是想倚多为胜吗?”施琅笑道:“陈军师,冯队长,你两位武功了得,施某向来佩服。常言道识时务者为俊杰,还是带了郑公子下来,一齐投降了罢。皇上一定封你二位做大大的官儿。”施琅当年是郑成功手下的大将,和周全斌、甘辉、马信、刘国轩四人合称“五虎将”。陈近南是军师。冯锡范武功虽强,将略却非所长,乃是郑成功的卫士队长。施琅和陈冯二人并肩血战,久共患难,这时对二人仍以当年的军衔相称。悬崖和下面相距七八丈,施琅站得又远,可是他中气充沛,一句句话送上崖来,人人听得清楚。郑克塽脸上变色,颤声道:“冯师父你……你不可投降。”冯锡范道:“公子放心。冯某只教有一口气在,决不能投降鞑子。”陈近南虽知冯锡范阴险奸诈,曾几次三番要加害自己,要保郑克塽图谋延平郡王世子之位,但此时听他说来大义凛然,好生相敬,说道:“冯大哥,你我今日并肩死战,说什么也要保护二公子周全。”冯锡范道:“自当追随军师。”郑克塽道:“军师此番保驾有功,回到台湾,我必奏明父王,大大的……大大的封赏。”陈近南道:“那是属下份所当为。”说着走向岸边察看敌情。韦小宝笑道:“郑公子,大大的封赏倒也不必。你只要不翻脸无情,害我师父,就多谢你啦。”郑克塽向他瞪了一眼。韦小宝低声道:“师姊,咱们不如捉了郑公子,去献给清兵罢。”阿珂啐道:“一见了面,就不说好话。你怎么又来吓他?”韦小宝笑道:“吓几下玩儿,又吓不死的。就算吓死了,也不打紧。”阿珂呸了一声,突然间脸上一红,低下头去。
‘Come up here, Shi Lang!’ cried Feng Xifan the Bloodless Sword. ‘Come and fight me, if you have the guts, you spineless traitor!’ ‘You come down here!’ returned Shi Lang. ‘Come down and fight me in single combat!’ The Helmsman held Feng back. ‘And you, Chen Jinnan!’ called out Shi Lang, deliberately refusing him any title, almost as an act of provocation. ‘Do the sensible thing! If you and Lieutenant Feng surrender now, I am sure the Emperor will appoint you both to posts of distinction.’ He still called Feng Xifan ‘lieutenant’, which was the rank he had held when he, Shi Lang, as one of Coxinga’s Five Great Generals, had defected from Coxinga’s army to join the Manchus. Both Helmsman Chen and Feng Xifan had fought under him in the past, during many a campaign. But they both made it immediately clear to Shi Lang (and to Sir Zheng, who in his usual pusillanimous manner had showed signs of wavering for a moment), that they had not the slightest intention of switching sides. They would rather fight it out to the death.

韦小宝问双儿:“大家怎么在一起了?”双儿道:“陈总舵主带了风大爷和我出海找你。我想起你曾到这通吃岛来过,跟陈总舵主说了,便到这里来瞧瞧。途中凑巧见到清兵炮船追赶郑公子,打沉了他座船,我们救了他上船,逃到这里。谢天谢地,终于见到了你。”说到这里,眼圈儿又红了。韦小宝伸手拍拍她肩头,说道:“好双儿,这些日子中,我没一天不记着你。”这句话倒不是口是心非,阿珂和双儿两个,他每天不想上十次,也有八次,倒还是记挂双儿的次数多了些。陈近南叫道:“众位兄弟,乘着鞑子援兵未到,咱们下去冲杀一阵。否则再载得六艇鞑子兵来,就不易对付了。”众人齐声称是。这次来到岛上的十余人中,除了陈、冯、邓、风以及阿珂、双儿外,尚有天地会会众八人,郑克塽的卫士三人。陈近南道:“郑公子、陈姑娘、小宝、双儿,你们四个留在这里。余下的跟我冲!”长剑一挥,当先下崖。冯锡范、风际中和其余十一人跟着奔下,齐声呐喊,向清兵队疾冲而前。清兵纷纷放箭,都给陈、冯、风三人格打开了。
Doublet explained to Trinket (who understandably wondered how they had all arrived together on Potluck Island) that she and the Helmsman and Brother Feng had been on their way to the island, when they passed a boat carrying Sir Zheng, Green Girl, and Feng Xifan. The boat had been hit by a cannon’ball from a pursuing Imperial junk, and they had been able to save Sir Zheng and his people and bring them along with them. The Helmsman decided that it would be to their advantage to do battle now, before any further Imperial reinforcements came ashore. There were over a dozen of them’ the Helmsman, Feng Xifan, Sir Zheng, Brother Feng Jizhong, Green, Doublet, together with eight other miscellaneous Triads, and three of Sir Zheng’s personal guards. The Helmsman ordered Sir Zheng, Green, Trinket, and Doublet to mount guard on the cave, while the others went into the attack. He led the charge down the cliffside, brandishing his sword in the air. The others followed him shouting warlike cries. The Imperial troops fired another volley of arrows, which were all deflected by the expert swordsmanship of the Helmsman, Feng Xifan, and Brother Feng Jizhong.

先前乘船水战,施琅所乘的是大战船,炮火厉害,陈近南等只有挨打的份儿。这时近身接战,清兵队中除了施琅一人以外,余下的都武功平平,怎抵得住陈、冯、风三个高手?天地会兄弟和郑府卫士身手也颇了得,这十四人一冲入阵,清兵当者披靡。韦小宝道:“师姊,双儿,咱们也下去冲杀一阵。”阿珂和双儿同声答应。郑克塽道:“我也去!”眼见韦小宝拔了匕首在手,冲下崖去,双儿和阿珂先后奔下。郑克塽只奔得几步,便停步不前,心想:“我是千金之体,怎能跟这些下属同去犯险?”叫道:“阿珂,你也别去罢!”阿珂不应,紧随在韦小宝身后。韦小宝武功虽然平平,但身有四宝,冲入敌阵之中,却是履险如夷。哪四宝?第一宝,匕首锋锐,敌刃必折;第二宝,宝衣护身,刀枪不入:第三宝,逃功精妙,追之不及;第四宝,双儿在侧,清兵难敌。持此四宝而和高手敌对,固然仍不免落败,但对付清兵却绰绰有余,霎时间连伤数人,果然是威风凛凛,杀气腾腾,心想:“当年赵子龙长坂坡七进七出,那也不过如此。说不定还是我韦小宝……”众人一阵冲杀,清兵四处奔逃。陈近南单战施琅,一时难解难分。冯锡范和风际中却将众兵将杀得犹如砍瓜切菜一般,不到一顿饭时分,八十多名清兵已死伤了五六十人,残兵败将纷纷奔入海中。众水军水性精熟,忙向大船游去。这一边天地会的兄弟死了二人,重伤一人,余下的将施琅团团围住。施琅钢刀翻飞,和陈近南手中长剑斗得甚是激烈,虽然身陷重围,却丝毫不惧。韦小宝叫道:“施将军,你再不抛刀投降,转眼便成狗肉之酱了。”
They made short work of the soldiers, who were only average fighters and soon fled in every direction. The Helmsman himself took on Shi Lang in single combat, while Feng Xifan and Brother Feng Jizhong polished off the remaining soldiers one by one, littering the beach with fifty or sixty corpses. Such Imperial troops as managed to survive swam back to their ships. Two Triad Brothers were killed, and one wounded. The remaining Triads now encircled Shi Lang. Shi Lang, though hard pressed by Chen Jinnan, and surrounded by so many men, showed no signs of losing heart. ‘Surrender, Admiral Shi!’ cried Trinket, who had now rushed down with Doublet and Green to join in what was left of the fray. (Sir Zheng had decided to stay behind in the cave, so as not to ‘endanger his person’, which was so ‘precious to the cause’, and so on.) ‘If you don’t surrender,’ continued Trinket, ‘you’ll be made into minced meat and fed to the dogs!’

施琅凝神接战,对旁人的言行不闻不见。斗到酣处,陈近南一声长啸,连刺三剑,第三剑上已和施琅的钢刀粘在一起。他手腕抖动,急转了两个圈子,只听得施琅“啊”的一声,钢刀脱手飞出。陈近南剑尖起处,指住了他喉头,喝道:“怎么说?”施琅怒道:“你打赢了,杀了我便是,有什么话好说?”陈近南道:“这当儿你还在自逞英雄好汉?你背主卖友,英雄好汉是这等行径吗?”施琅突然身子一仰,滚倒在地,这一个打滚,摆脱了喉头的剑尖,双足连环,疾向陈近南小腿踢去。陈近南长剑竖立,挡在腿前。施琅这两脚倘若踢到,便是将自己双足足踝送到剑锋上去,危急中左手在地下一撑,两只脚硬生生的向上虚踢,一个倒翻筋斗向后跃出,待得站起,陈近南的剑尖又已指在他喉头。施琅心头一凉,自知武功不是他对手,突然问道:“军师,国姓爷待我怎样?”这句话问出来,却大出陈近南意料之外。刹那之间,郑成功和施琅之间的恩怨纠葛,在陈近南脑海中一晃而过,他叹了口气,说道:“平心而论,国姓爷确有对你不住的地方。可是咱们受国姓爷的大恩,纵然受了冤屈,又有什么法子?”施琅道:“难到要我学岳飞含冤而死?”陈近南厉声道:“就算你不能做岳飞,可也不能做秦桧,你逃得性命,也就是了。男子汉大丈夫,岂能投降鞑子,去做猪狗不如的汉奸?”施琅道:“我父母兄弟、妻子儿女又犯了什么罪,为什么国姓爷将他们杀得一个不剩?他杀我全家,我便要杀他全家报仇!”陈近南道:“报仇事小,做汉奸事大。今日我杀了你,瞧你有没有面目见国姓爷去。”

施琅脑袋一挺,大声道:“你杀我便了。只怕是国姓爷没脸见我,不是我没脸见他。”陈近南厉声道:“你到这当口,还振振有词。”欲待一剑刺入他咽喉,却不由得想到昔日战阵中同生共死之情。施琅在国姓爷部下身先士卒,浴血苦战,功劳着实不小,若不是董夫人干预军务,侮慢大将,此人今日定是台湾的干城,虽然投敌叛国,绝无可恕,但他全家无辜被戮,实在也是其情可悯,说道:“我给你一条生路。你若立誓归降,重归郑王爷麾下,今日就饶了你性命。今后你将功赎罪,尽力于恢复大业,仍不失为一条堂堂汉子。施兄弟,我良言相劝,盼你回头。”最后这句话说得极是恳切。施琅低下了头,脸有愧色,说道:“我若再归台湾,岂不成了反覆无常的小人?”陈近南回剑入鞘,走近去握住他手,说道:“施兄弟,为人讲究的是大义大节,只要你今后赤心为国,过去的一时胡涂,又有谁敢来笑你?就算是关王爷,当年也降过曹操。”
Shi Lang paid him no heed, but fought on for some considerable time against the Helmsman. In the end, however, he was no match for Chen’s superb swordsmanship, and he found himself pinned to the ground, with the Helmsman’s sword’tip at his throat. ‘And do you think the Grand Marshal was right to treat me the way he did?’ he cried (the Grand Marshal being the great Resistance hero Coxinga). Shi Lang’s desperate cry threw the Helmsman into utter disarray. There was no doubt in his mind that Shi Lang had in fact been greatly wronged by Coxinga, who in his later years developed noticeable maniacal tendencies and became intensely jealous of Shi’s popularity. He had caused Shi Lang’s entire family to be put to death. Shi Lang had fought bravely and brilliantly for Coxinga’s father, Zheng Zhilong, and his desire for revenge was, in a sense, understandable. And yet his betrayal of the cause was surely unforgivable’ The Helmsman hesitated. He had always been a man of honour, and even now he was reluctant to take Shi Lang’s life. ‘Come back to our side, and I will spare you!’ he replied. ‘Swear to devote your remaining days to fighting the Manchus and I will spare your life. You are a fine soldier. We all know that. There is so much you could still contribute to our cause.’ ‘Himl Contribute to our cause!’

突然背后一人说道:“这恶贼说我爷爷杀了他全家,我台湾决计容他不得。你快快将他杀了。”陈近南回过头来,见说话的是郑克塽,便道:“二公子,施将军善于用兵,当年国姓爷军中无出其右。他投降过来,于我反清复明大业有极大好处。咱们当以国家为重,过去的私人恩怨,谁也不再放在心上罢。”郑克塽冷笑道:“哼,此人到得台湾,握了兵权,我郑家还有命么?”陈近南道:“只要施将军立下重誓,我以身家性命,担保他决无异心。”郑克塽冷笑道:“等到他杀了我全家性命,你的身家性命赔得起吗?台湾是我郑家的,可不是你陈军师陈家的。”陈近南只气得手足冰冷,强忍怒气,还待要说,施琅突然拔足飞奔,叫道:“军师,你待我义气深重,兄弟永远不忘。郑家的奴才,兄弟做不了……”陈近南叫道:“施兄弟,回来,有话……”突然背心上一痛,一柄利刃自背刺入,从胸口透了出来。
The Helmsman heard a sneering voice behind him. It was Sir Zheng, who had meanwhile (once the danger was over) made his way down from the cave. ‘All he wants to do is take revenge on my family, and wipe us all out! Let him come back to Taiwan, and it will be the end of our cause more like!’ At these words, Shi Lang made a desperate attempt to escape. ‘I will vouch for him myself,’ said Chen Jinnan. ‘And who do you think you are, to do such a thing?’ Sir Zheng’s voice sounded positively twisted. ‘Do you rule Taiwan’ I thought it was my family, not yours, that had charge of the island.’ And as the Insufferable spoke these words, the Helmsman felt something cold and metallic enter his body from behind, and come out in front through his chest.

这一剑却是郑克塽在他背后忽施暗算。凭着陈近南的武功,便十个郑克塽也杀他不得,只是他眼见施琅已有降意,却被郑克塽骂走,知道这人将才难得,只盼再图挽回,万万料不到站在背后的郑克塽竟会陡施毒手。当年郑成功攻克台湾后,派儿子郑经驻守金门、厦门。郑经很得军心,却行止不谨,和乳母通奸生子。郑成功得知后愤怒异常,派人持令箭去厦门杀郑经。诸将认为是,乱命”,不肯奉命,公启回禀,有“报恩有日,候阙无期”等语。郑成功见部将拒命,更是愤怒,不久便即病死,年方三十九岁。台湾统兵将领拥立郑成功的弟弟郑袭为主。郑经从金厦回师台湾,打垮台湾守军而接延平王位。郑成功的夫人董夫人以家生祸变,王爷早逝,俱因乳母生子而起,是以对乳母所生的克塽十分痛恨,极立主张立嫡孙克塽为世子。郑经却不听母言。陈近南一向对郑经忠心耿耿,他女儿又嫁克塽为妻,董夫人和冯锡范等暗中密谋,知道要拥立克塽,必须先杀陈近南,以免他从中作梗,数次加害,都被他避过。不料他救得郑克塽性命,反遭了此人毒手。这一剑突如其来,谁都出其不意。
Sir Zheng had taken advantage of the confusion of the moment to stab him from behind. This cowardly act was certainly in character. But it must also be seen in the context of the complex intrigue that was unravelling in the ‘court’ of the Zheng family on Taiwan. The Helmsman was and always had been unswerving in his loyalty to Coxinga’s eldest son, Zheng Jing, who was still alive and held the title of Prince of Yanping. First in line to succeed the Prince was his elder son, Zheng Kezang, born to the family wet’nurse. The Insufferable Sir Zheng was the Prince’s second son, but he had ambitions. He was supported in these ambitions, and in particular in his claim to the succession, by his own mother (the Lady Dong), who was Prince Zheng’s official wife, and by the sinister Feng Xifan, to whose daughter he was officially betrothed. One of the last remaining obstacles to their plans to put Insufferable on the princely throne was the Helmsman, who continued to support (and was father’in’ law to) the elder brother. By striking this cowardly blow, Sir Zheng was clearing the way for his own rise to power.

Death of a Hero

冯锡范正要追赶施琅,只见韦小宝挺匕首向郑克塽刺去。冯锡范回剑格挡,嗤的一响,手中长剑断为两截。但他这一剑内劲浑厚,韦小宝的匕首也脱手飞出。冯锡范跟着一脚,将韦小宝踢了个筋斗,待要追击,双儿抢上拦住。风际中和两名天地会兄弟上前夹攻。韦小宝爬起身来,拾起匕首,悲声大喊:“这恶人害死了总舵主,大伙儿跟他拚命!”向郑克塽冲去。郑克塽侧身闪避,挺剑刺向韦小宝后脑。他武功远较韦小宝高明,这一剑颇为巧妙,眼见韦小宝难以避过,忽然斜刺里一刀伸过来格开,却是阿珂。她叫道:“别伤我师弟!”跟着两名天地会兄弟攻向郑克塽。冯锡范力敌风际中和双儿等四人,兀自占到上风,拍的一掌,将一名天地会兄弟打得口喷鲜血而死。忽听得郑克塽哇哇大叫,冯锡范抛下对手,向郑克塽身畔奔去,挥掌又打死了一名天地会兄弟。他知陈近南既死,这伙人以韦小宝为首,须得先行料理这小鬼,即伸掌往韦小宝头顶拍落。
Trinket immediately pulled out his dagger and lunged at Sir Zheng. Feng Xifan (who had himself gone in pursuit of the escaping Shi Lang) returned to close in on Trinket, and in the next second the dagger fell from Trinket’s hand and he felt himself being kicked through the air. Doublet and the Triads joined in the fray. Trinket scrambled to his feet and retrieved his dagger. ‘That evil creature has killed the Helmsman!’ he cried. ‘He mustn’t get away with it!’ Sir Zheng, for his part, had succeeded in bringing his own sword to within inches of Trinket’s skull, when his thrust was blocked-by Green! ‘Don’t you dare harm my brother’in’arms!’ she cried. Two Triads came to her aid. Feng Xifan, meanwhile, was taken on by Doublet, Brother Feng Jizhong, and two other Triads. He succeeded in killing one of the Triads. Then in answer to a pathetic plea for help from Sir Zheng, he rushed over to his side and disposed of another Triad who was making trouble there. The Helmsman was dead. Now he must deal with Trinket. This was Feng’s thinking. He swung his palm down towards Trinket’s head.

双儿叫道:“相公,快跑!”纵身扑向冯锡范后心。韦小宝道:“你自己小心!”拔足便奔。冯锡范心想:“我如去追这小鬼,公子无人保护。”伸左臂抱起郑克塽,向着韦小宝追来。他虽抱着一人,还是奔得比韦小宝快了几分。韦小宝回头一看,吓了一跳,伸手便想去按“含沙射影”的机括,这么脚步稍缓,冯锡范来得好快,右掌已然拍到。这当儿千钧一发,如等发出暗器,多半已给他打得脑浆迸裂,只得斜身急闪,使上“神行百变”之技,逃了开去。冯锡范这一下冲过了头,急忙收步,转身追去。韦小宝叫道:“我师父的鬼魂追来了!来摸你的头了!”说得两句话,松得一口气,冯锡范又赶近了一步。后面双儿和风际中衔尾急追,只盼截下冯锡范来。韦小宝东窜西奔,变幻莫测,冯锡范抱了郑克塽,身法究竟不甚灵便,一时追他不上。双儿和风际中又在后相距数丈。
‘Watch out, Master!’ cried Doublet, throwing herself at Feng’s back. ‘You watch out too!’ yelled Trinket, taking to his heels. Feng Xifan now grabbed Sir Zheng under his left arm (he did not wish to leave him unprotected), and went in pursuit of Trinket. Even weighed down in this way, he was still too fast for Trinket, who headed for the cliff. Feng was delighted. There was only the one narrow path leading upwards, with the sheer cliff’face on one side, and a precipitous drop on the other. He would be able to comer him there. As Trinket began to stagger up the path towards the cave, struggling to evade Feng Xifan’s grasp, he yelled out frantically’ ‘Wives! To the rescue! Or you’ll all be widows!’ Su Quan had been watching with the others from the mouth of the cave. She could see that Feng was a more than formidable fighter but, nothing daunted, she now emerged from the cave ana swung her sword at him. He was taken aback by this, and almost lost his balance. He paused for a moment before kicking at her and sending her sword flying into the air. In that split second, Trinket was able to turn and take aim, releasing a shower of his poisoned darts. The deadly little projectiles embedded themselves in the bodies of both Feng and Sir Zheng. Feng let out a great cry and dropped Sir Zheng to the ground. They both began tumbling down the cliffside. Doublet and Brother Feng Jizhong, who had raced after them and were already halfway up the narrow path, jumped aside as the two of them went crashing down.

追逐得一阵,韦小宝渐感气喘,情急之下,发足便往悬崖上奔去。冯锡范大喜,心想你这是自己逃入了绝境,眼见这悬崖除了一条窄道之外,四面临空,更无退路,反而追得不这么急了。只是韦小宝在这条狭窄的山路上奔跑,“神行百变”这功夫便使不出来,他刚踏上崖顶,冯锡范也已赶到。韦小宝大叫:“大老婆、中老婆、小老婆,大家快来帮忙啊,再不出来,大家要做寡妇了。”他逃向悬崖之时,崖上五女早已瞧见。苏荃见冯锡范左臂中挟着一人,仍是奔跃如飞,武功之强,比之洪教主也只稍逊一筹而已,早已持刀伏在崖边,待冯锡范赶到,刷的一刀,拦腰疾砍。冯锡范先前听韦小宝大呼小叫,只道仍是扰乱人心,万料不到此处果然伏得有人,但见这一刀招数精奇,着实了得,微微一惊,退了一步,大喝一声,左足微晃,右足突然飞出,正中苏荃手腕。苏荃“啊”的一声,柳叶刀脱手,激飞上天。韦小宝正是要争这顷刻,身子对准了冯锡范,右手在腰间“含沙射影”的机括上力掀,嗤嗤嗤声响,一篷绝细钢针急射而出,尽数打在冯锡范和郑克塽身上。冯锡范大声惨叫,松手放开郑克塽,两人骨碌碌的从山道上滚了下去。双儿和风际中正奔到窄道一半,见两人来势甚急,当即跃起避过。郑冯两人滚到悬崖脚边,钢针上毒性已发,两人犹似杀猪似的大叫大嚷,不住翻滚。总算何惕守入华山派门下之后,遵从师训,一切阴险剧毒从此摒弃不用,这“含沙射影”钢针上所喂的只是麻药,并非致命剧毒,否则以当年五毒教教主所传的喂毒暗器,见血封喉,中人立毙,冯郑二人滚不到崖底,早已气绝。饶是如此,钢针入体,仍是麻痒难当,两人全身便似有几百只蝎子、蜈蚣一齐咬噬一般。冯锡范虽然硬朗,却也忍不住呼叫不绝。韦小宝、双儿、风际中、苏荃、方怡、沐剑屏、公主、曾柔、阿珂等先后赶到,眼见冯郑二人的情状,都相顾骇然。
By the time the two men finally came to rest at the foot of the cliff, the poison was starting to work. They were both screaming like stuck pigs and writhing violently on the ground. Lady Iron Hand, when she became a disciple of the Mount Hua School, had renounced the use of the virulent poisons that she had once specialized in as Leader of the Five Poisons Sect. The poison with which the tips of Trinket’s darts had been anointed was merely a knockout formula; it did not kill. If it had been one of her lethal potions, the two men would have died long before they reached the foot of the cliff. This did not prevent it from being extremely painful. Feng and Sir Zheng felt as if their bodies were crawling with hundreds of biting scorpions and other highly poisonous creepy’erawlies. Even that hardened warrior Feng Xifan was screaming like a child. Trinket hastened to the scene, followed by Doublet, Brother Feng Jizhong, Su Quan, Fang Yi, the Little Countess, the Princess, Zeng Rou, and Green Girl. They were aghast at the sight of the two men writhing in agony on the ground.

韦小宝微一定神,喘了几口气,抢到陈近南身边,只见郑克塽那柄长剑穿胸而过,兀自插在身上,但尚未断气,不由得放声大哭,抱起了他身子。陈近南功力深湛,内息未散,低声说道:“小宝,人总是要死的。我……我一生为国为民,无愧于天地。你……你……你也不用难过。”韦小宝只叫:“师父,师父!”他和陈近南相处时日其实甚暂,每次相聚,总是担心师父查考自己武功进境,心下惴惴,一门心思只是想如何搪塞推诿,掩饰自己不求上进,极少有什么感激师恩的心意。但此刻眼见他立时便要死去,师父平日种种不言之教,对待自己恩慈如父的厚爱,立时充塞胸臆,恨不得代替他死了,说道:“师父,我对你不住,你……你传我的武功,我……我……我一点儿也没学。”
Trinket took a few deep breaths and tried to compose himself. Then he hurried over to where the Helmsman still lay, transfixed by Sir Zheng’s sword. His Shifu was still breathing. Trinket took him in his arms and let out a great howl of grief. Chen Jinnan, victor of many battles, master of many levels of kungfu, had still a small reservoir of Inner Force untapped. Trinket,’ he said, in a still quiet voice. ‘We must all of us die. My whole life has been dedicated to my country. I have no regrets. Do not take it too hard.’ ‘Shifu! Shifu!’ cried the distraught Trinket. It was true that, in all these years, he had never actually spent much time with the had been not to betray his own (缺)?’ his own inadequacy as a disciple. But nonetheless, in his own self’effacing way, the Helmsman had always been like a father to him. Like the father he had never known. He felt his heart bursting within him. He felt an uncontrollable impulse to die in the Helmsman’s place. ‘Shifu!’ he sobbed. ‘I’m so sorry! I never learned any of the kungfu you tried to teach me!’

陈近南微笑道:“你只要做好人,师父就很喜欢,学不学武功,那……那并不打紧。”韦小宝道:“我一定听你的话,做好人,不……不做坏人。”陈近南微笑道:“乖孩子,你向来就是好孩子。”韦小宝咬牙切齿的道:“郑克塽这恶贼害你,呜呜,呜呜,师父,我已制住了他,一定将他斩成肉酱,替你报仇,呜呜,呜呜……”边哭边说,泪水直流。陈近南身子一颤,忙道:“不,不!我是郑王爷的部属。国姓爷待我恩重如山,咱们无论如何,不能杀害国姓爷的骨肉……宁可他无情,不能我无义,小宝,我就要死了,你不可败坏我的忠义之名。你……你千万要听我的话……”他本来脸含微笑,这时突然面色大为焦虑,又道:“小宝,你答应我,一定要放他回台湾,否则,否则我死不瞑目。”
Chen Jinnan smiled wanly. ‘I just want you to be a good man. Then I will be happy. It really doesn’t matter how good your kungfu is.’ Til do as you say, Shifu! I promise I will! I’ll be good! I won’t do anything bad! I promise!’ Chen smiled again. ‘You’re a good boy! You always were a good boy!’ ‘As for that vile murderer Zheng Keshuang…’ Trinket clenched his teeth in bitter rage and sobbed violently. ‘He’s at my mercy now! I’ll cut him into little pieces. I’ll avenge you, Shifu!’ Tears were pouring down his cheeks. Chen Jinnan trembled as he hastened to reply. ‘No! You must not do that! Never forget that I owe allegiance to his father Prince Zheng. Prince Zheng’s father, the Grand Marshal Coxinga, was my great friend and protector all his life. We must never hurt his flesh and blood. However wicked he may be, I must never betray the trust placed in me by his grandfather! It is a matter of honour! Trinket, I am a dying man. You must promise me this one thing-not to stain my honour! You must promise!’ His gentle smile had given way to an expression of intense anxiety and concern. ‘Promise me, Trinket, that you will set him free, and let him return to Taiwan. Or my spirit will not be able to rest in peace.’

韦小宝无可奈何,只得道:“既然师父饶了这恶贼,我听你……听你吩咐便是。”

陈近南登时安心,吁了口长气,缓缓的道:“小宝,天地会……反清复明大业,你好好干,咱们汉人齐心合力,终能恢复江山,只可惜……可惜我见……见不着了……”声音越说越低,一口气吸不进去,就此死去。韦小宝抱着他身子,大叫:“师父,师父!”叫得声嘶力竭,陈近南再无半点声息。苏荃等一直站在他身畔,眼见陈近南已死,韦小宝悲不自胜,人人都感凄恻。苏荃轻抚他肩头,柔声道:“小宝,你师父过去了。”
Trinket had no choice. ‘Since it is your will, Shifu, I promise to let the wretch live!’ Chen seemed greatly comforted by Trinket’s words. He gave a long sigh. ‘Trinket. . .’ He was speaking very slowly now. ‘You must take good care of everything, when I’m gone. The Triads, and the great cause of the Resistance. The Manchus must be overthrown! The Ming must be restored! I know that if the Chinese people unite against their enemy, they will prevail one day! But alas! I will not be here to see that day. . . .’ His voice was already fading away. His breathing faltered. The life was gone from him. Trinket held him in his arms and howled’ ‘ ; ,,; ” ;. . ‘Shifu! Shifu!’ But the Helmsman was silent. Su Quan and the others were all deeply moved by this touching scene. She stroked Trinket gently on the shoulder, and comforted him’ , Trinket, your Shifu has passed away.’

韦小宝哭道:“师父死了,死了!”他从来没有父亲,内心深处,早已将师父当成了父亲,以弥补这个缺陷,只是自己也不知道而已;此刻师父逝世,心中伤痛便如洪水溃堤,难以抑制,原来自己终究是个没父亲的野孩子。苏荃要岔开他的悲哀之情,说道:“害死你师父的凶手,咱们怎生处置?”韦小宝跳起身来,破口大骂:“辣块妈妈,小王八蛋。我师父是你郑家部属,我韦小宝可没吃过你郑家一口饭,使过郑家一文钱。你奶奶的臭贼,你还欠了我一万两银子没还呢。师父要我饶你性命,好,性命就饶了,那一万两银子,赶快还来,你还不出来吗?我割你一刀,就抵一两银子。”口中痛骂不绝,执着匕首走到郑克塽身边,伸足向他乱踢。
‘He’s dead!’ sobbed Trinket. It was as if he was mourning the loss of his own father. The Helmsman’s death brought it home with a devastating intensity. Trinket was now doubly fatherless. He was more alone in the world than ever. Negotiations for Sir Zheng’s Release Su Quan made an effort to turn Trinket’s mind to other things. ‘How are we going to deal with this criminal who killed your Shifu?’ she asked. Trinket suddenly pulled himself together, and began abusing Zheng Keshuang where he lay on the sand. ‘You filthy, putrid turtle! You disgusting, murdering traitor! My Shifu may have owed things to your family, but I don’t owe you anything! Out of respect for him, I’ll spare your miserable worthless life! But don’t expect that to be the end of everything. You still owe me ten thousand taels-remember’ From when I let you go in Yangzhou. You obviously aren’t planning on repaying me. So I’ll help myself. I’ll give you a cut for every tael.’ He had his dagger out and was holding it close to Zheng’s body, and all the time he was speaking he was kicking him.

郑克塽身上的毒针远较冯锡范为少,这时伤口痛痒稍止,听得陈近南饶了自己性命,当真大喜过望,可是债主要讨债,身边却没带着银子,哀求道:“我……我回到台湾,一定加十倍,不,加一百倍奉还。”韦小宝在他头上踢了一脚,骂道:“你这狼心狗肺、忘恩负义的臭贼,说话有如放屁。这一万刀非割不可。”伸出匕首,在他脸颊上磨了两磨。郑克塽吓得魂飞天外,向阿珂望了一眼,只盼她出口相求,突然想到:“不对,不对!这小贼最心爱的便是阿珂,此刻她如出言为我说话,这小贼只有更加恨我,这一万刀就一刀也少不了。”说道:“一百万两银子,我一定还的。韦香主,韦相公如果不信……”韦小宝又踢他一脚,叫道:“我自然不信!我师父信了你,你却害死了他!”心中悲愤难禁,伸匕首便要往他脸上刺落。郑克塽叫道:“你既不信,那么我请阿珂担保。”韦小宝道:“担保也没用。她保过你的,后来还不是赖帐。”郑克塽道:“我有抵押。”韦小宝道:“好,把你的狗头割下来抵押,你还了我一百万银子,我把你的狗头还你。”郑克塽道:“我把阿珂抵押给你!”
I’l pay you everything I owe you when we get back to Taiwan!’ pleaded Sir Zheng. ‘I’ll pay you ten times over-‘ Trinket kicked him in the head. ‘You filthy pig! You shameless turtle! Your promises are not worth a fart! No, I think I’d rather have those cuts.’ He ran the tip of his dagger across the Insufferable’s face. Sir Zheng nearly fainted out of sheer terror. He looked at Green Girl pleadingly to come to his aid. But then he thought better of it. ‘If she sticks up for me, it’ll only maKe HIOLL^IO v.^,.^. – little shit’s crazy about her!’ ‘Lodge Master Wei,’ he stammered, trying another tack. ‘I’ll pay you a hundred times over! I promise to pay you a million taels. Can’t you trust me?’ ‘Trust you’ Of course I can’t trust you! My Shifu trusted you, and look where it got him’ He was just itching to start carving up Sir Zheng’s face. ‘Perhaps I should give you some sort of guarantee?’ suggested Sir Zheng. ‘Yes!’ Trinket quipped back. ‘Like your head! Then when you’ve paid me what you owe me, you can have it back.’ ‘I was thinking of Green.’

霎时之间,韦小宝只觉天旋地转,手一松,匕首掉落,嗤的一声,插入泥中,和郑克塽的脑袋相距不过数寸。郑克塽“啊哟”一声,急忙缩头,说道:“我把阿珂押给你,你总信了,我送了一百万两银子来,你再把阿珂还我。”韦小宝道:“那倒还可商量。”阿珂叫道:“不行,不行。我又不是你的,你怎能押我?”说着哭了出来。郑克塽急道:“我此刻大祸临头,阿珂对我毫不关心,这女子无情无义,我不要了。韦香主如肯要她,我就一万两银子卖断了给你。咱们两不亏欠,你不用割我一万刀了。”韦小宝道:“她心里老是向着你,你卖断了给我也没用。”郑克塽道:“她肚里早有了你的孩子,怎么还会向着我?”韦小宝又惊又喜,颤声道:“你……你说什么?”郑克塽道:“那日在扬州丽春院里,你跟她同床,她有了孩子……”
Trinket had not anticipated this. For a moment he was thrown into a complete spin, and in his confusion dropped the dagger, which drove itself into the sand an inch or so from Sir Zheng’s head. He gave a cry of terror and pulled his head in. ‘You can have Green as a security, if that’ll help you trust me,’ Sir Zheng went on. ‘You can have her for now. Then when I pay you the money, you can give her back to me.’ ‘Let me think about that for a moment’ said Trinket. ‘Definitely not!’ cried Green, glowering angrily at Sir Zheng. ‘I don’t belong to you! You can’t pawn me!’ She was clearly outraged. Then she began wailing loudly. This was too much for Sir Zheng. ‘Just listen to her! Obviously she doesn’t care for me in the least if she won’t help me in my hour of need! I tell you what, Lodge Master Wei, I’ll make you an offer. I’ll sell her to you outright! That way we’ll be quits.’ ‘What’s the point?’ protested Trinket. ‘She’d still be pining for you all the time-‘ ‘That’s what you think,’ returned Sir Zheng. He had decided to throw caution to the winds. ‘Not now she won’t, now that she’s carrying your child!’

阿珂大声惊叫,一跃而起,掩面向大海飞奔。双儿几步追上,挽住她手臂拉了回来。阿珂哭道:“你……你答应不说的,怎么……怎么又说了出来?你说话就如是放……放……”虽在羞怒之下,仍觉这“屁”字不雅,没说出口来。郑克塽见韦小宝脸上神色变化不定,只怕他又有变卦,忙道:“韦香主,这孩子的的确确是你的。我跟阿珂清清白白,她说要跟我拜堂成亲之后,才好做夫妻。你……你千万不可多疑。”韦小宝问道:“这便宜老子,你又干么不做?”郑克塽道:“她自从肚里有了你的孩子之后,常常记挂着你,跟我说话,一天到晚总是提到你。我听着好生没趣,我还要她来做什么?”阿珂不住顿足,脸上一阵红,一阵白,怒道:“你就什么……什么都说了出来。”这么说,自是承认他的说话不假。
At this Green let out a great cry, buried her face in her hands, and ran down towards the sea. Doublet followed her and held her hand. ‘You promised me you’d never tell anyone!’ cried Green. ‘I’m sick to death of her!’ said Sir Zheng. ‘I’ve had enough of her. Ever since she spent the night with you in Yangzhou, and got herself pregnant, she does nothing but think about you, talk about you, dream about you. . . . Honestly, I’ve had enough of it! That’s the truth!’ Green’s face went from bright red to deathly pale. ‘Now you’re telling them everything}.’ she wailed. Trinket was in seventh heaven.

韦小宝大喜,道:“好!那就滚<脏话>臭鸭蛋罢!”郑克塽也是大喜,忙道:“多谢,多谢!祝你两位百年好合,这份贺礼,兄弟……兄弟日后补送。”说着慢慢爬起身来。韦小宝呸了一声,在地下吐了口唾沫,骂道:“我这一生一世,再也不见你这臭贼。”心想:“我答应师父今日饶他性命,日后却不妨派人去杀了他,给师父报仇。只要派的人不是天地会的,旁人便怪不到师父头上。”三名郑府卫士一直缩在一旁,直到见韦小宝饶了主人性命,才过来扶住郑克塽,又将躺在地下的冯锡范扶起。郑克塽眼望海心,心感踌躇。施琅所乘的战船已然远去,岸边还泊着两艘船,自己乘过的那艘给清兵大炮轰得桅断帆毁,已难行驶,另一艘则算完好,那显是韦小宝等要乘坐的,决无让给自己之理。他低声问道:“冯师父,咱们没船,怎么办?”冯锡范道:“上了小艇再说。”一行人慢慢向海边行去。
‘Right then! Oh well, in that case, you’d better just bugger off hadn’t you, you stinking little tamardy dog’turd!’ Thanks! Thank you, thank you!’ Sir Zheng hastened to reply. ‘I wish the two of you many years of happiness together. I’ll bring you my wedding present some other time.’ He picked himself slowly up off the ground. Trinket spat a great noisy gob of phlegm on the sand right beside the Insufferable. ‘And don’t forget’ I want my money, but I never want to set eyes on your ugly mug ever again, as long as I live!’ Secretly he was thinking to himself’ ‘I promised my Shifu today to let him go, alive. But that won’t stop me from sending someone else later to kill him and avenge my Shifu’s death. I just won’t send a Triad. That way no one will be able to accuse my Shifu of having been disloyal to his precious Zheng Family!’ Meanwhile Sir Zheng had roused Feng Xifan (who had also been recovering from the darts), and with his three surviving retainers staggered down to the sea to find a boat.

突然身后一人厉声喝道:“且慢!韦香主饶了你们性命,我可没饶。”郑克塽吃了一惊,只见一人手执钢刀奔来,正是天地会好手风际中。郑克塽颤声道:“你……你是天地会的兄弟,天地会一向受台湾延平王府节制,你……你……”风际中厉声道:“我怎么样?给我站住!”郑克塽心中害怕,只得应了声:“是。”风际中回到韦小宝身前,说道:“韦香主,这人害死总舵主,是我天地会数万兄弟不共戴天的大仇人,决计饶他不得。总舵主曾受国姓爷大恩,不肯杀他子孙。韦香主又奉了总舵主的遗命,不能下手。属下可从来没见过国姓爷,总舵主的遗命也不是对我而说。属下今日要手刃这恶贼,为总舵主报仇。”韦小宝右手手掌张开,放在耳后,侧头作倾听之状,说道:“你说什么?我耳朵忽然聋了,什么话也听不见。风大哥,你要干什么事,不妨放手去干,不必听我号令。我的耳朵生了毛病,唉,定是给施琅这家伙的大炮震聋了。”这话再也明白不过,风际中要杀郑克塽,尽可下手,他决不阻止。眼见风际中微有迟疑之意,韦小宝又道:“师父临死之时,只是叫我不可杀郑克塽,可并没吩咐我保护他一生一世啊。只要我不亲自下手,也就是了。天下几万万人,个个可以杀他,又有谁管得了?”风际中一拉韦小宝的衣袖,道:“韦香主借一步说话。”两人走出十余丈,风际中停了脚步,说道:“韦香主,皇上一直很喜欢你,是不是?”韦小宝大专,道:“是啊,那又怎样?”

风际中道:“皇上要你杀总舵主,你不肯,自己逃了出来,足见你义气深重。江湖上的英雄好汉,人人都是十分佩服。”韦小宝摇了摇头,凄然道:“可是师父终究还是死了。”风际中道:“总舵主是给郑克塽这小子害死的,不过皇上交给韦香主的差使,那也算是办到了……”韦小宝大是诧异,问道:“你……你为什么说这……这等话?”
‘Lodge Master!’ Trinket heard a voice whisper in his ear. He turned to see the Triad Brother Feng Jizhong. ‘Lodge Master! Just because you promised the Helmsman not to kill this man, that does not mean other people can’t kill him. Me, for example. The Helmsman wasn’t speaking to me!’ Trinket held his hand up to his ear. ‘I’m afraid I really can’t hear what you’re saying! Must be all those cannon’balls falling all over the place! All those guns going off! I must be going deaf! Anyway, whatever it is you’re planning to do, you’d better just go ahead and do it!’ The message was clear enough. ‘And another thing, Lodge Master,’ said Feng Jizhong. ‘Once I’ve killed him, once he’s out of the way, you can take the credit for killing the Helmsman!’ This time Trinket abandoned any pretence of being deaf. Take the credit for it’ What on earth do you mean?’

风际中道:“皇上心中,对三个人最是忌惮,这三人不除,皇上的龙庭总是坐得不稳。第一个是吴三桂,那不用说了。第二个便是总舵主,天地会兄弟遍布天下,反清复明的志向从不松懈,皇上十分头痛。现今总舵主死了,除去了皇上的一件大心事……”韦小宝听到这里,脑海中突然灵光一闪:“是你,是你,原来是你!”
‘I mean with the Emperor. You know that there are three men the Emperor wants to get rid of. The first, of course, is Satrap Wu. The second is the Helmsman. Well, we all know that you didn’t do it. And I’m going to do what’s necessary to avenge the Helmsman’s death. But the Emperor doesn’t know all of that. If he can be made to think that you’re the one who killed the Helmsman, you’ll have done exactly what he wanted you to do in the first place! You’ll be back in his favour!’ Trinket stared at Feng in utter astonishment. Something had suddenly dawned on him.

The Informer Revealed

‘So it was you!’ Trinket thought to himself.

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