Two killers in the tempest.
Original translation by Moinllieon
“Alright, let’s fight again!” Wanyan Hongxi proclaimed out loud.
Unexpectedly, the forward scouts came back with a different report. “The Ong Khan is here to personally welcome the two Jin Princes!” Temujin, Jamuka, and Senggum immediately rode forward to greet him.
From the dust clouds an army emerged. With several hundred personal guards with him, the Ong Khan rode up, rolled off of the back of his horse in one easy movement, then with his adopted sons Temujin and Jamuka at his side, approached and kneeled before the two princes. He was a rather chubby man with glittering silver hair. He wore a robe made of the finest black leopard furs that was held in place by a golden belt around his waist. The way he carried himself was one of great dignity and confidence. Wanyan Honglie hurriedly got off his own horse and returned the gesture, but Wanyan Hongxi remained on his horse and merely replied by cupping his fists.
“Your humble servant just heard the news of the Naimans’ rudeness and was worried that Your Highnesses might have been disturbed. Your humble servant brought a force here as soon as possible. But fortunately, due to Your Highness’s awe-inspiring presence, the three kids were able to defeat them.” The Ong Khan spoke.
Next, he took the lead and courteously led the Wanyan brothers all the way back to his own ger. The inside of his ger was covered with leopard and fox furs and well fitted with the finest furniture and wares. Even his personal guards were dressed in more luxurious clothing than those of Temujin’s guard, not to mention Temujin and his son. The bellowing of horns continuously sounded for several kilometers surrounding the ger; men and horses bustled about, giving an atmosphere of something great going on. Never had the Wanyan brothers seen anything approaching such grandeur since they’ve been outside the Great Wall.
After the ceremony of bestowing the title was finished, everyone settled down. That night, Ong Khan held a huge banquet in the big ger to celebrate the arrival of the Wanyan brothers. Scores of female slaves danced for entertainment as the banquet progressed late into the night; it became quite lively, and was miles apart from the simple and slightly backwater reception they received from Temujin’s tribe. Wanyan Hongxi was having one hell of a time; two female slaves had caught his fancy and he was pondering ideas in his head. It never occurred to him to talk to Ong Khan.
After about half of the koumiss had been consumed, Wanyan Honglie turned to the Ong Khan. “Your heroic deeds are known far and wide; even we who reside within the Great Wall have long admired your greatness. But I really want to meet some of the heroes of the younger generation of Mongolians.” He said.
“Well, my two adopted sons just happen to be the two greatest heroes of Mongolia.” The Ong Khan responded with a smile. Senggum, his own son who sat to one side, did not react well on hearing this and began downing one cup of koumiss after another.
“Your own son is another hero, why aren’t mentioning him?” Wanyan Honglie asked, taking note of Senggum’s displeasure.
“After I die, he will naturally take over my tribe.” The Ong Khan smiled and replied. “But can he compare with his two adopted brothers? Jamuka is smart and intelligent. Temujin is even more brave and courageous; he started with nothing and made himself into what he is today with his own hands. What Mongol warrior wouldn’t want to put his life in their hands and serve them?”
“Does that mean that the generals under hero Ong don’t compare to Temujin Khan’s generals?” Wanyan Honglie queried. Noticing that there was a hint of instigation in his words, Temujin shot a look towards Wanyan Honglie and mentally prepared himself for what might come next.
The Ong Khan slowly stroked his beard and did not reply. Instead he took another gulp from his cup of koumiss.
“The last time, when the Naiman came and stole several thousand of my livestock, it was only because of Temujin and his ‘Four Aces’ that we were able to get the livestock back. Even though he doesn’t have many men under him, each and every one of them is skilled and brave. Your Highnesses must have witnessed that first hand today.” Senggum’s face turned even angrier as he slammed the gold cup in his hand onto the table, causing a loud bang.
“What good am I really? What I have today is simply because of the attention and care that my adopted father showered on me.” Temujin hurried to add.
“His ‘Four Aces’? Who are they? I want to meet them.” Wanyan Honglie changed the subject as well.
“Why don’t you summon them inside?” The Ong Khan asked Temujin. Temujin lightly clapped his hands and four men walked into the ger.
The first one looked gentle and scholarly with a white, clean face; he was the master of strategy, Muqali. The second man had a strong, sturdy build and his eyes were as piercing as an eagles; he was none other than Temujin’s good friend, Bogurchi. The third man was short but agile and his steps were light and swift; he was Tolui’s master Boroqul. The last one’s face and hands were covered with battle scars and his face was blood red; this was the man who had saved Temujin’s life so many years ago, Tchila’un. The four of them were the founding generals in rise of Mongolia and were called the ‘Four Aces’ by Temujin.
After looking at them, Wanyan Honglie praised each one some what, and then awarded all of them with a big cup of koumiss.
“On the battle field today, there was a general with a black cape who led the charge through enemy formations, nobody could stop him; do you know who he was?” Wanyan Honglie inquired after the ‘Four Aces’ had finished their drinks.
“That’s a Squad Leader that I just recruited,” Temujin answered. “Everyone calls him Jebe.”
“Then why don’t we invite him in for a drink as well?” Wanyan Honglie suggested. Temujin turned and issued the command.
Jebe entered the ger and properly gave thanks for the reward of a drink. He was just about to drink when he was interrupted.
“How dare you, a measly Squad Leader, drink from my gold cup?” Senggum shouted. Jebe was shocked and furious, but stopped the cup as it came up to his lips. He looked over at Temujin for the proper course of action. In Mongolian culture, stopping someone from drinking is an enormous insult. Not to mention that this was done in front of all these people, how could anyone bear such an insult?
“For my adopted father’s sake, I’m going to let Senggum get away with this insult.” Temujin decided turning to Jebe.
“Bring it over here. I’m thirsty, let me drink it!” He took the cup from Jebe’s hands and drank all of its contents in one gulp. Jebe shot an angry look towards Senggum, turned, and began to walk out of the ger.
“Come back here!” Senggum commanded fiercely, but Jebe just ignored him and walked out of the ger with his head held high.
“Even though Brother Temujin has his ‘Four Aces’, I have something that could defeat all four of them as soon as I let it loose.” Unhappy that things were not working out to his liking, Senggum changed the subject. He chuckled when he said that. Even though he called Temujin brother, he was not an anda of Temujin; he only did it because his father was Temujin’s adopted father.
“Really? What could that be? What could be that powerful?” Wanyan Hongxi’s interest was piqued by that statement.