The Legend of the Condor Heroes – Chapter 21

Huang Rong stopped after a while and lifted her head. When she saw that Hong Qigong’s clothes were wet with her tears, she smiled and said, “I didn’t manage to kill that evil jerk, what a pity!” She then told the whole story to him. Hong Qigong was silent for a moment before saying, “Master is useless now. That jerk is better than you in martial arts. For now you can only pit your wits against him.” Huang Rong said, “Master, after resting a few days, you’d recover and then take his useless life with one palm, won’t that settle it?”

Hong Qigong regretfully said, “I’ve been poisoned by the poisonous snake as well as Western Poison’s deadly palm. I’ve already used all my martial abilities to purge the poison but there is some left within me. Even if I survive, my martial arts would be affected. Your master is just another old man without any powerful skills.” Huang Rong quickly said, “No, no, Master, you won’t, you won’t!” Hong Qigong said, “I the old beggar have never taken this seriously, but now it has come to this, I can’t deny it.”

He paused, then said gravely, “Child, Master hasn’t got a choice, but I have to request a huge favour from you – it’s extremely difficult to accomplish – will you accept?” Huang Rong hastily said, “Yes, yes! Master, tell me.” He sighed, then said, “Our time together as master and disciple is not long, I didn’t get to teach you much martial arts. Now that you’re also facing a strong opponent, I have no choice but to entrust a great burden to you, or I would not be at ease.”

Huang Rong saw that usually he was carefree and easygoing but this time he was so hesitant, so she knew it must be some extremely important responsibility, so she said, “Master, please tell me. Your injuries are caused by you trying to help your disciple escape from Peach Blossom Island. Even if I died a horrible death, I would hardly be able to repay you. I’m just afraid I’m too young to carry out your instructions.” Hong Qigong happily said, “So you agree to it?” Huang Rong said, “Yes. Please say it.”

Hong Qigong stood up unsteadily and cupped his hands, bowing to the north and said, “Ancestors, the Beggars’ Clan you founded has come to my hands. I am unfortunately incapable of bringing virtue to our clan. Today the matter is urgent and I have to pass on my responsibility. May Ancestors in Heaven bless us and help this child avoid trouble and also to bring our clan to greater heights.” When he finished, he bowed to the north. Huang Rong was shocked and curious when he said that.

Hong Qigong said, “Child, kneel down.” Huang Rong knelt down and Hong Qigong took his green bamboo rod and raised it over his head. He saluted it and placed it in her hands. Huang Rong was extremely shocked and said, “Master, you want me to be the Beggars’ Clan… the Beggars’ Clan…” Hong Qigong said, “Exactly, I am the 18th generation Leader of the Beggars’ Clan, and you are hence the 19th Leader. Now let’s thank our ancestors.”

At this stage Huang Rong did not dare to disobey and could only imitate Hong Qigong’s actions and bowed with both hands cupped. Hong Qigong suddenly coughed and spat out some phlegm which landed on Huang Rong’s clothes. Huang Rong was secretly sad and thought, “Master’s injuries are indeed serious – he doesn’t even have the strength to spit properly.” She pretended that nothing was amiss, however. He sighed, “When the Beggars pay obeisance to you in future, there will be a disgusting ritual. Ah, this will be hard on you.”

Huang Rong smiled, thinking, “The beggars are filthy and rough, how could any of that be missing?” Hong Qigong drew a long breath. His face was pale but in his heart it was as though he has just put down a large rock and he was very pleased. Huang Rong helped him lie down. He said, “Now that you’re the Leader, I am an Elder in the Clan. Although the Elders are respected by the Leader, but when there’s something to be done the Leader has to give the order. This rule was laid down by our Ancestors, so you must follow it to the letter. When the Leader relays an order, all the beggars must obey you.”

Huang Rong became depressed and worried, thinking, “On this deserted island, I don’t know how we can return to the Central Plains. Moreover Brother Jing is dead, and I have no desire to live, but suddenly Master wants me to be some whatever Clan Leader and command all the beggars under the sky, how on Earth am I going to do that?” But when she saw her master’s condition, she did not want to worry him further, so she could only agree to anything he proposed.

Hong Qigong said, “On the 15th day of the 7th month of this year, the 4 Elders of our Clan will hold a gathering at the lakeside Cave-Courtyard of the Yue Yang City to hear my announcement for the new Leader. You only need to bring the bamboo rod there and they will understand my intention. Every matter within the Clan will be dealt with by the 4 Elders, so I can leave it to them. But I have to send you this adorable doll into the midst of the filthy beggars; this is really hard on you.”

He then laughed heartily but because of his injury, he coughed before he finished laughing. Huang Rong massaged his back for a while before he stopped coughing. Hong Qigong sighed, “This old beggar is really useless now, ah, I don’t know when I’ll recover, so I have to rush into teaching you the [Dog Beating Skill].” Huang Rong was wondering why this rod skill had such a horrible name. She then thought that no matter how fierce a dog could be, she could kill it with one punch, so she saw no need to learn this skill, but her master was gravely serious, so she could only agree.

Hong Qigong said, “Although you are now the Clan Leader, you don’t have to change your personality; if you want to be playful and mischevious, go ahead and be, we are all beggars, we have no restrictions and we do as we please. If this won’t do and that won’t do, we might as well be judges and ministers. If you do not think highly of the [Dog Beating Skill], just say it simply!”

Huang Rong laughed, “Disciple is wondering what kind of dog could be so tenacious that it requires a specialised skill to handle it.” Hong Qigong said, “Now that you’re the head of all the beggars, you’ll have to act like one. With your rich dress and your rich girl’s attitude, the dog would be only too pleased to listen to you, why would you need to hit it? But if us beggars run into such dogs the it’s a different story. The old saying is: the poor not armed with rods get bullied by dogs. You have never been poor, you don’t know what it’s like to be one.”

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