Master of Taohua Island.
Original translation by foxs
What he saw was six people – five men and one woman entering the hall, they were the Six Freaks of Jiangnan. They have been wandering around the north and south, and on that particular day had arrived at the Tai Lake, where they met some Jianghu people on a boat who received them attentively.
They have left their hometown for such a long time that they did not know the current affair of the martial arts world. They weren’t sure who these people were, so Zhu Cong exchanged some pleasantries with them. Turned out these people were Chief Zhang and his men from the Village of the Returning Wind.
They have received order from Lu Guanying to guard the lake and to report any unusual activities. They did not know who these six people were, and since these six wield weapons, they inclined to think these six were the enemies of the Old Village Master. Therefore, Manager Zhang acted in utmost prudence and received the six cordially, inviting them to enter the village; while at the same time sent report to the Village Master immediately.
Guo Jing however, was ecstatic to see his six masters. Quickly he knelt down and greeted them one by one, “First Master, Second Master, Third Master, Fourth Master, Sixth Master, and Seventh Master! All of you are here! This really is wonderful!” He was rather boorish; but through his spontaneity everybody could see his sincerity and genuine delight.
The Six Freaks were angry with him over Huang Rong affair, yet in all honesty they loved him dearly. They were pleasantly surprised to see him and all angers simply vanished into the thin air.
“Child, where is that female demon of yours?” Han Baoju could not help scolding him.
Han Xiaoying however, had a pair of sharp eyes. She saw Huang Rong wearing men’s clothing sat among the people. She tugged Han Baoju’s sleeve and whispered, “Calm down. We will talk this over later.”
Initially Village Master Lu also suspected that his enemies had arrived, but then he saw that these six were total strangers to him; moreover, Guo Jing had addressed them as his masters. He was relieved. Cupping his fists in respect he apologized, “I am invalid on the legs; please forgive me for not standing up to welcome you,” and immediately gave order to prepare another banquet table for the guests.
Without wasting another second Guo Jing immediately introduced his Masters. Village Master Lu was delighted, he said, “I have heard your illustrious names and admired you for a long time. It is very fortunate to finally meet you in person today.” His manner was very cordial.
Qiu Qianren on the other hand, did not show any interest in these six guests. He simply smiled faintly and kept eating and drinking.
Han Baoju was irritated and could not keep his temper. “And who is this gentleman?” he asked.
“I am pleased to introduce to you, Six Masters,” Village Master Lu proudly said, “This is the highly respected Senior of the Wulin world, the Taishan (Mount Tai) and the Big Dipper (or Big Bear) Constellation [meaning – the ultimate] of this present age.”
The Six Freaks were startled. “Is he the Peach Blossom Island Master Huang Yaoshi?” asked Han Xiaoying. “Could he be the nine-fingered divine beggar – Hong Qigong?” asked Han Baoju.
Village Master Lu smiled and explained, “No, he is neither. He is the iron palm floating on the water, Senior Qiu.”
“He is Senior Qiu Qianren?” Ke Zhen’E asked, surprised by the revelation.
Qiu Qianren laughed heartily, his face was smug.
By that time the villagers had finished preparing a new banquet table and the Six Freaks took their seats. Guo Jing wanted to sit with his masters. He tugged Huang Rong’s hand to go together, but Huang Rong simply smiled and shook her head. She was not willing to sit with the Six Freaks.
Village Master Lu laughed and said, “I thought Brother Guo did not know martial arts. Who would have known that you are the disciple of the well-known Masters. Truly my eyes are blind, could not see the hidden treasure right in front of me …”
Guo Jing stood up. “My skill is mediocre,” he said, “I was indeed taught by my Masters. I do not dare to show off in front of Village Master. I beg your forgiveness.”
Ke Zhen’E was delighted listening to their conversation. He was proud that Guo Jing was well-behaved.
Qiu Qianren suddenly said, “The Six Freaks of the South Jiangnan are the prominent characters of the Jianghu world. This old man has a very important matter to deal. It would be great if I could acquire your valuable assistance.”
“Senior Qiu was just about to explain the matter when the six guests arrived,” explained the Village Master. “Now would Senior please enlighten us?”
Qiu Qianren complied, he said, “For us who live in the Jianghu world, the ultimate purpose of our existence is chivalry: helping the suffering people. Right now we see it with our own eyes the Jin army is moving south. If our Song Dynasty cannot discern good from bad and is not willing to surrender, as soon as the war breaks I wonder how many lives will perish? As the saying goes, ‘shun tian zhe chang, ni tian zhe wang’ [following Heaven’s will means prosperity, opposing Heaven’s will means death]. Therefore, this old man is going to the South to make contact with the valiant people of the South; to take arms together with the Jin army and attack the Song Dynasty from both sides, to render it helpless, and thus it does not have any choice but surrender. If we succeed, not only we will gain riches and honor, but the gratefulness of the common people as well. That way our martial arts skills are not useless, and we do not render these two characters ‘xia yi’ (chivalry) in vain.”
Hearing this, the Six Freaks’ countenances were flushed. Both Han brother and sister were ready to open their mouths. Luckily Quan Jinfa – who sat between them, quickly pulled their sleeves and signaled with his eyes toward the Village Master, hinting that they should wait to see how the master would respond.
So far Village Master Lu had showed great admiration to Qiu Qianren; but to suddenly listen to his speech he was unable to restrain his great surprise. He forced a smile and said, “Even though Junior is unworthy, my body is as worthless as mere grass, but I have never dared to forget loyalty. The Jin army is going south to attack my country; they mean harm to the people. Junior will certainly join other Jiangnan heroes to fight the invaders to my death. Senior, what you just said, was that to test me?”
“Brother Lu, how could you be so short sighted?” Qiu Qianren asked. “What good is it to help the Song fight the Jin? Most likely you will end up as Yue Wu Mu, who suffered a tragic death at the Crisis Pavilion.”
Listening to this the Village Master Lu was shocked and angered at the same time. Initially he thought he could count on Qiu to help him deal with the Twin Killers of Dar Wind; who would have thought that he was persuaded to betray his own country instead. It was useless to possess a high skill of martial arts if the person had such a low character and this shameless. He flicked his sleeve and said, “Junior is facing a formidable enemy even tonight. I was going to ask Senior to help me uphold the justice; but since we do not hold the same value, I do not dare to entertain your honorable presence even if blood would splash from my neck. Please!” He cupped his fists. His intention was clear; he did not want the guest to stay any longer.