Before the Xuanyuan dais.
Original translation by Foxs
While the two were joking around, there were footsteps coming from the staircase, the three old beggars who just went out with Yang Kang returned. They walk straight towards Guo Jing and Huang Rong’s table then bowed in respect.
The middle beggar had fair skin and plump, his face was full of white beard. If his clothes were not full of patches, he would look like a rich and noble gentleman. He smiled before he even spoke; his face was gay and friendly, he said, “That beggar surnamed Lu has just secretly carried out his poisonous hand against the two of you. We did not like what we saw; therefore, we come here to help.”
Guo Jing and Huang Rong were startled, they asked, “What poisonous hand?”
That beggar asked, “That old beggar was not willing to dine with you, was he?”
Huang Rong shivered with fear, she asked, “Did he put poison in our food?”
The beggar sighed and said, “It is our Beggar Clan’s misfortune that we have such crafty traitor among us. This old beggar is highly skilled in using poison; as soon as his finger lightly flicked, the poison hidden in his finger nail would immediately mixed with the food and wine; even a deity would not suspect. Your poisoning is already deep; in an hour time nobody would be able to save your lives.”
Huang Rong did not believe what he said, she asked, “We do not have any enmity against him, why would he poison us?”
The beggar replied, “Most likely you two said something offensive to him. Please hurry and take this antidote, only then the two of you can be saved.” After speaking he took out a package of powdered medicine from his pocket and put it into two wine cups and poured the wine in then he implored Jing, Rong two people to drink it immediately.
Just a moment ago Huang Rong saw them went to see Yang Kang, she was suspicious. How could they take some medicine just like that based on what he just said? So she asked, “That gentleman surnamed Yang is our acquaintance. Could the three of you invite him to come and see us?”
“Of course,” that beggar replied, “But that traitorous disciple’s poison is too severe. You should take this antidote quickly, or otherwise it will be too late.”
Huang Rong said, “We are extremely grateful for your good intention. Would you please sit down and drink several cups with us? I often thought about the Beggar Clan’s eleventh Clan Leader single handedly battled a group of warriors at Beigu Mountain; using only a stick and his pair of palms to strike down the five tyrants of Luoyang; what a hero he was.”
During the time she and Guo Jing were together with Hong Qigong binding some woods to make a raft at MingXia [Bright Red Cloud] island, Hong Qigong would often tell her stories about some past major events within the Beggar Clan, so she would not be completely ignorant when she became the Clan Leader in the future. That Beggar Clan’s eleventh Clan Leader’s achievement was one of the stories she heard from Hong Qigong. When the three old beggars heard her suddenly talk about former Clan Leader they look at each other in astonishment, they were wondering how a youngster like her would know about such matter.
Huang Rong again said, “The Hong Bangzhu’s [Clan Leader] Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms have no equal under the heaven, I wonder how many stances have the three of you learned?”
Ashamed look appeared on the three beggars’ faces; they had not learned even one stance from the Clan Leader’s Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms, they were inferior even from an eight-bag disciple Li Sheng who mastered one stance ‘Divine Dragon Swings its tail’.
Huang Rong continued, “That Lu Zhanglao [Elder Lu] who poisoned us just a moment ago; I think his skill is just ordinary. Last month the Western Poison Ouyang Feng invited me to drink three poisoned wine, now that was somewhat better. Why don’t you drink these two cups of poisoned wine yourselves?” She shoved the two cups with powdered medicine in front of the three beggars.
The three beggars’ countenances slightly changed; they knew she was purposely talking nonsense and was not willing to drink the medicine. The Elder with the rich man appearance smiled and said, “Miss is suspicious, naturally we cannot force you. Only our good intention will be wasted. Let me just show one thing to convince Miss. Please take a look at my eyes; tell me if you see anything unusual.”
Guo Jing and Huang Rong looked at his eyes, only to see a pair of narrow eyes on the middle of a meaty fat face, like a pair of two slits on his face; but the eyeballs were glistening, they looked very clear and bright. “What’s so strange about his eyes?” Huang Rong wondered in her heart, “They look like a pair of sparkling pig eyes.”
That beggar continued, “You two look into my eyes, surely you may not lose your concentration. Now you are feeling your eyelids are heavy, your minds are losing consciousness, your whole bodies are tired and weary; these are the signs of poisoning. Just close your eyes to sleep.” His voice was soothing and pleasing to the ears while intoxicating at the same time, making Guo Jing and Huang Rong felt really tired and sleepy; as if their strength was drained from their bodies.
Huang Rong slightly felt something was wrong; she tried to turn her head to avoid gazing at his eyes, but it seemed like she captivated by his eyes, she could not help looking back at him.
That beggar again said, “We are here by the lake side, the air is so cool and refreshing. You two should sleep soundly in this cool breeze. Sleep! Sleep! It is extremely comfortable. Sleep nicely!” As he spoke, his voice sounded increasingly gentle, sweet, and soothing. Guo Jing and Huang Rong unconsciously yawned repeatedly, put their heads down on the table and fell fast asleep.
Without knowing how many hours had passed, two people finally woke up dazed and confused; cool breeze caressed their bodies, made them feel the chill in the air. Their ears faintly heard a noise similar the sound of waves of the ocean. Slowly they opened their eyes and saw a clear bright moon that just rose up behind the eastern side of the mountain amidst a cloudy fog.
Two people were very shocked. The sun was still high up when they were drinking wine at the front of the tavern at Yueyang, how come in a blink of an eye the sky had turned dark? Dazed and confused they tried to stand up, they were even more shocked to feel their hands and feet were bound by ropes. They tried to shout but their mouths were stuffed with cloths, pricking and hurting their tongues.
Huang Rong knew it must be that white and fat beggar; but how he did it, she had no idea, for in that moment she could not think too much. She cast a sidelong glance and saw Guo Jing lying beside her, making an effort to struggle free; her anxiety was, for the most part, gone.