The Legend of the Condor Heroes – Chapter 23

As two people walked in, they were welcomed by the waiter with a face full of smiles and were led through a corridor to a chamber already set with bowls and chopsticks. Huang Rong immediately placed her order and the waiter left to prepare the food.

Under the candlelight Guo Jing saw in the nearby porch more than a dozen of women [‘ji4 nu3’ – courtesan (courtesy of Ren Wo Xing), lit. ‘prostitute’ or ‘hooker’] with heavy makeup sitting in a row. He wondered who they were; he was about to ask when suddenly from the next door chamber he heard Wanyan Honglie’s voice called out, “That’s fine! Let’s have somebody sing to accompany us drinking the wine.”

Guo Jing and Huang Rong looked at each other, they thought, “Just like the saying goes, ‘wearing out the iron shoes to look around, finding the result without any effort’.”

A call was heard, and a woman gracefully stood up and walked toward the next door chamber with a pair of ivory planks in her hand. A short moment later the woman started to sing. Huang Rong inclined her ears to listen to her song:

“The southeast appears victorious, the rivers and lakes (Jianghu) convene, Qiantang River always flourishes from the ancient times. The bridge looks like a painting of smoking willow; the wind blow the wine shop sign and the jade-green curtain, amidst a hundred thousand people. Cloudy trees wind around the sandy dike, angry waves roll up like frosty snow, the sky and the moat around the city are boundless. Rows of pearls line up in the market, the homes compete with each other to show their extravagance. The clear water lake surrounded by three autumn cassia buds and ten ‘li’s of lotuses. Along the clear alleys the water chestnut songs floating through the night, enticing old gentlemen to the lotus-like dolls. A thousand riders gather around the ivory tower, intoxicated by the sound of flute and drum, enjoying the rosy-cloud smoke. A particular day to paint fine scenery, as the phoenix returns to the pond of praise.”

Guo Jing did not understand the yada, yada, yada of her singing, but he did enjoy the gentle tapping of her ivory planks and the melodious flute sound.

As the song finished, both Wanyan Honglie and Yang Kang exclaimed their praise, “You sing very well!”

The woman repeatedly expressed her gratitude, and jubilantly went out with the musicians, wishing Wanyan Honglie many enjoyments.

Wanyan Honglie said, “Son, do you know that this Liu Yong [eternal willow – I think it is a person’s name] poem ‘wang hai chao’ [gazing the ocean tide] has a close relationship with our Great Jin?”

“Your child does not know,” Yang Kang replied, “Would Father please explain?”

Listening to him calling Wanyan Honglie ‘father’ [tie tie – daddy/papa] in an affectionate tone Guo Jing and Huang Rong looked at each other. Guo Jing was angry and broken hearted; he wished he could go over and clutch him, asking for explanation.

He heard Wanyan Honglie replied, “During the prosperous years of our Great Jin, the Jin’s Lord Liang saw this poem by Liu Yong, which praised the beauty of the West Lake’s scenery. Thereupon he sent an emissary to go down south and at the same time dispatching a famous painter to paint the scenery around the City of Lin’an. The painter inserted the Jin Lord image in the painting, sitting on a horseback standing on the peak of Wu Shan [Hill Wu]. The Jin Lord wrote this poem on the painting, ‘Ten thousands of ‘li’s riding on a chariot, how can there be another border to the Jiangnan? Dispatching soldiers by the million to the West Lake, on a horseback standing on Wu Shan’s first peak!’”

“What a grand and heroic spirit!” Yang Kang praised.

Guo Jing was so angry hearing him that he clenched his fist so hard that his knuckles made cracking sounds.

Wanyan Honglie sighed, “Jin’s Lord Liang’s desire to dispatch soldiers to the south and on a horseback standing on Wu Shan did not come true, but his heroic spirit to cross the river is actually inherited by us, his descendants. Once he inscribed this poem on a folding fan: ‘With a great fan in the hand, bringing cool breeze all over the world.’ That’s the kind of ambition he had!”

Yang Kang repeated that poem, “With a great fan in the hand, bringing cool breeze all over the world.” He sounded like he was really impressed by it.

Ouyang Feng let out some laughter and said, “Someday Prince’s dream of having a great authority and standing on Wu Shan will come true.”

[Translator’s note: the words ‘great fan’ in the poem, the original text was ‘da bing’; ‘bing’ can be translated ‘handle’ or ‘hilt’ – referring to the handle of the fan, but can also translated to ‘authority’. Ouyang Feng was referring to the other meaning of the word.]

Wanyan Honglie quietly said, “Do hope Sir’s words will come true. There are too many ears and eyes around here, let us just drink some wine.” And so three people changed the topic of their conversation immediately; they talked about the sceneries, what they saw and heard, about local conditions and social customs.

Huang Rong whispered into Guo Jing’s ear, “They are having a good time drinking wine, I don’t want them to have a good time.” Two people slipped away from their chamber and went to the backyard. Huang Rong took out her flint and ignited the firewood in the shed and spread the fire around.

In a short moment the flame arose and the people shouted in confusions, “Fire!” Then they heard copper gongs were struck noisily.

“Quick, we must go to the front, otherwise we’ll lose track of them again,” Huang Rong said.

Guo Jing was full of hatred, “Tonight I must kill that traitor Wanyan Honglie!” he said.

Huang Rong said, “First we must take Shifu to the palace to eat, afterwards we entreat the Old Urchin to face the Western Poison; only then can we deal with the other two traitors.”

“That’s right,” Guo Jing said.

Amidst the commotion two people walked to the front of the restaurant, just as Wanyan Honglie, Ouyang Feng and Yang Kang three people emerged from the building. Guo Jing and Huang Rong followed them from a distance, along the streets and alleys towards the west market; entering Hotel Guan Gai. Two people waited outside the hotel for a long time without seeing Wanyan Honglie and the others coming back outside, so they concluded that they must be staying in this hotel.

“Let’s return to our place; we fetch the Old Urchin and come back here to deal with them,” Huang Rong said. They went back to Hotel Jin Hua immediately.

Approaching the hotel they heard Zhou Botong’s voice shouting in loud clamor. Guo Jing was scared, he thought his Shifu’s injury was getting worse; he rushed forward anxiously only to see Zhou Botong was squatting on the ground, squabbling with about six, seven boys. Turned out he was betting against these kids in front of the hotel’s gate and he lost; he argued with the kids, but the kids argued back, hence it was so noisy.

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