Dangerous river rapids.
Original translation by Foxs
Mu Nianci let Huang Rong hold her right hand; she looked at the fallen flowers floating on the water and said, “When I saw him kill Ouyang Ke I thought he was going to repent from his evil ways. Moreover I saw the two masters from the Beggar Clan were so respectful toward him when they went to the west. I’ve met those two Beggar Clan uncles before; they were Senior Qigong’s trusted aides. Seeing them treat him that way I was very happy; so I followed them till we get to Yuezhou, where the Beggar Clan was having their congress on Mount Jun.
Before then he quietly told me that he had received Hong Enshi’s [Benevolent Master Hong] order to become the Beggar Clan’s Bangzhu [Clan Leader]. I was surprised and happy. In all honesty it was hard to believe, but I saw even the highest ranking Elders of the Beggar Clan treat him with utmost respect, I didn’t have any choice but to believe him. I am not a member of the Beggar Clan, so naturally I could not participate in the congress and had to wait for him in Yuezhou city. I thought that as he become the leader of the Beggar Clan heroes he would be able to do much good for the people and the country, to achieve great things, and in the future would be able to repel the invaders and avenge adoptive father and mother.
That night my mind went back and forth and I couldn’t sleep; I thought from now on everything would be all right. It was almost daybreak when I finally felt tired and was about to fall asleep when suddenly he jumped in from the window. I jumped in fright; I thought he was having some ideas towards me. But he actually spoke in low voice, ‘Meizi [younger sister, term of endearment], things did not go well, we must go.’ I was surprised and asked him what happened; he said, ‘There was an internal dispute in the Beggar Clan; the Dirty Clothes Faction refused to accept Hong Bangzhu’s order. The Clean Clothes Faction and the Dirty Clothes Faction battled each other in this new Clan Leader business; many people were killed.’ I was shocked, ‘What should we do?’ I asked. He said, ‘Because too many people has died, I withdrew my nomination, I did not want to become the Clan Leader anymore.’ Taking the entire situation into consideration, I thought he was doing the right thing. He said further, ‘The Clean Clothes Faction did not want to let me go; fortunately Qiu Bangzhu from the Iron Palm Clan came to my assistance and helped me leave Mount Jun. Right now we’d better go to the Iron Palm Mountain first and we’ll talk it over later.’ I did not know whether the Iron Palm Clan was a good clan or an evil one; but since he said so, I followed him.
When we got to the Iron Palm Mountain, I did not see the Qiu Bangzhu from the Iron Palm Clan, but I was watched over with cold eyes. I noticed that the Iron Palm Clan’s behavior was sneaky, I saw strange things everywhere. I said to him, ‘Although you did not become the Beggar Clan leader, you shouldn’t walk away from them. I think you’d better find your Shifu, the Changchun Zi [Eternal Spring] Qiu Daozhang [Taoist Priest], and ask him to gather the heroes of the Jianghu to uphold the justice, to help the Beggar Clan elect a person of virtue and prestige within their clan to assume the Clan Leader position to avoid a bloodbath within the clan. Hence you will be fulfilling Hong Enshi’s order to you.’ He mumbled indistinctly, neither said yes nor no; but actually raised the matter of his marriage with me. I rebuked him severely; he became angry. We ended up having a heated argument.
The next day I started to regret my harshness; I thought even though he could not differentiate the important from the trivial, friends from foe, and oftentimes acted childish, nevertheless he was always kind to me. I felt I was being too hard on him, no wonder he was mad at me. That evening the more I thought about it the more restless I became. I lit a lamp to write a note, saying I did not blame him. Quietly I went to his room; I was going to slip the note through his window, but suddenly I heard him talking with somebody. I took a peek from the window; I saw a rather short white-bearded old man, he was wearing a yellow coarse-linen short robe, with a large palm leaf fan in his hand.”
Guo Jing and Huang Rong exchanged glances, they both thought, “I wonder if he was Qiu Qianren or Qiu Qianzhang?”
Mu Nianci continued, “That old man took a small porcelain vial from his pocket and put it on the table, he said, ‘Brother Yang, if your fiancée does not listen to you, that is a very simple matter. Just take some medicinal powder from this vial and put it in a cup of green tea, let her drink it, I guarantee you will enjoy a wedding night tonight.”
As Jing and Rong two people heard this, they both thought, “It was Qiu Qianzhang.”
Mu Nianci continued, “To my surprise that boy Yang Kang beamed with joy and repeatedly said thanks. I was so angry that I almost passed out. A moment later that old man took his leave. Quietly I followed behind him. After it was far enough, I pounced on him, I beat his chest and struck him down. If I were not in a dangerous place, I would’ve taken a knife and killed him right then and there. I repeatedly hit him until he passed out, then I searched his body. This old man’s pocket really did contain many things; some rings, broken sword, a piece of brick, and all kinds of strange things. I think all of them are things to harm people. I also found a book. I didn’t know what it was, but I thought it might be useful somehow, so I put it in my pocket. The more I thought, the madder I became. I made up my mind to deal with Yang Kang.
I went back to Yang Kang’s room. Who would have thought that he was standing at the door? He smiled at me and said, ‘Meizi, please come in.’ Early on I have decided that tonight I must make myself clear to him, so I went in. He pointed to the porcelain vial on the table and smiled, ‘Meizi,’ he said, ‘Can you guess what’s inside this vial?’ I was angry, ‘Who knows all these kinds of dirty things?’ I said. He smiled and said, ‘A friend gave it to me a moment ago, he said if I take some of this medicinal powder and put it in a cup of green tea and give it to you, then everything will happen as I wish.’ His words have actually blown me away, my anger vanished immediately. I took that porcelain vial and threw it out over the window. ‘Did you do it?’ I asked. ‘I respect and adore Meizi like a deity, how can I engage myself in this kind of filthy business?’ he replied.”
Guo Jing nodded his head, “Brother Yang has done the right thing,” he said. “Humph,” Mu Nianci snorted but did not say anything. Huang Rong recalled that day on the Iron Palm Mountain she peeked through the window and saw Yang Kang sit on the edge of the bed, embracing her and talking softly with Mu Nianci. At that time Mu Nianci was smiling, her face was tender. Apparently that happened after she threw the vial away.
“And then what happened?” Guo Jing asked. Zhou Botong told him that whenever somebody was telling a story, a ‘And then what happened?’ every now and then would help keep the story-teller’s interest high; but unexpectedly Mu Nianci’s face turned red, she turned her head away and hang her head low without saying anything.