The Legend of the Condor Heroes – Chapter 39

Qiu Qianren face turned deathly pale, he realized his precarious situation; but suddenly he got an idea, “Why do you want to kill me?” he called out.

The scholar replied, “You have done all kinds of evil deeds; everybody deserved to punish you.”

Qiu Qianren lifted his face to the sky and laughed, “Speaking about martial art, you rely on numbers to bully me, certainly I am not your match. But speaking about right and wrong, good and evil, hey, hey … Qiu Qianren is not alone. Whoever among you who has never killed anybody or done anything wrong; you can start punishing me. I will stretch out my neck to die in your hand; if I even creased my eyebrows; don’t consider me a real man.”

Reverend Yideng heaved a deep sigh, he was the first to step back then he lowered his head and sat cross-legged on the ground. Everybody else was deeply affected by Qiu Qianren’s words; each thought how they have committed countless errors in their lives. The Fisherman, Woodcutter, Farmer, and the Scholar were all high-ranking government officials of the Dali country; they had killed people. Although they were acting in enforcing the justice, in the end they had unavoidably made some mistakes.

Zhou Botong and Ying Gu looked at each other; they recalled the love and hate between them, and each felt ashamed. During the expedition to the west Guo Jing had killed numerous people, and he still blamed himself for that. Huang Rong remembered how she had made her father suffer, how she was being an unfilial daughter, and how many times she had deceived others; truly she had committed not a few faults of her own.

Qiu Qianren thought that his speech had silenced everybody, now it was a good time to slip away; therefore, with big strides he walked pass Guo Jing’s left side to leave. He saw Guo Jing step aside to let him go; he exerted his strength and about to flee when suddenly a bamboo stick appeared from behind the mountain rock, blocking his way. This bamboo stick was so swift, Qiu Qianren’s left palm flew up, his wrist made a turn, trying to catch the stick’s end; but unexpectedly the stick poked three times swiftly, targeting three major acupoints on his chest. Qiu Qianren was shocked; he felt that the bamboo stick’s incoming force was like a strong wind. He was unable to neither parry nor evade, and had no choice but step backwards and thus return to where he started, by the edge of the cliff. From behind the rock a dark shadow appeared with the stick in his hand, and then stood up in front of him.

“Shifu!” Guo Jing and Huang Rong cried out. The ‘jiu zhi shen gai’ [nine-fingered divine beggar] Hong Qigong had arrived.

“Stinky beggar, you come to meddle. It’s not time for the sword meet yet,” Qiu Qianren cursed.

“I came to get rid of a traitor. Who wants to have a contest with you?” Hong Qigong said.

“Fine! What a great hero and warrior [actually, here he used the term ‘da ying xiong da xia shi’ – I don’t know how to differentiate ‘ying xiong’ and ‘xia’] you are, and I am a traitor. You are a good man and have never committed any misconduct,” Qiu Qianren said.

“That’s correct,” Hong Qigong replied, “During my lifetime the Old Beggar has killed 231 people; all these 231 people were wicked, if not greedy and corrupt officials, then they were local bullies or criminals who oppressed common people; they were all evil people who had no regard of justice and honor. The Old Beggar is a glutton, but in all my life I have never killed an innocent person. Qiu Qianren, you are the 232nd person!”

His speech had made Qiu Qianren shiver with fear; he felt like his life had been taken from him. Hong Qigong continued, “Qiu Qianren, your Iron Palm Clan’s past Clan Leader Shangguan Jian Nan was a true hero; he devoted his entire life to serve the country, he was loyal till the day he died. Didn’t your master advise you to be a real man? You succeeded your master as the Iron Palm Clan Leader; yet you colluded with the Jins, betraying your own country. When you die, do you have any face to meet your master and Shangguan Jian Nan, Shangguan Bangzhu? You climb Mount Hua in a vain attempt to compete against other martial art experts to win the ‘Number One Martial Artist in the World’. Not only your martial art is inferior to everybody else’s; but even if your martial art were matchless, which hero of this world would want to submit to a traitor who sells his own country?”

This speech was like a bucket of cold water drenched over Qiu Qianren; everything he had ever done in the past dozens of years came into his mind one by one. He remembered his master’s instructions. How his master at his deathbed had imparted the Iron Palm Clan rules and regulations after he assumed the Clan Leader position; earnestly warning him to be a patriot, loyal to his country and love its people. Who would have thought that the older he got, the stronger his martial art became, the more he forgot his oath to love his country; he has become a traitor and a criminal, killing people who oppose his personal ambition. He fell deeper and deeper, until the clan members who were loyal and righteous left him, and in their place he took criminals as his disciples. He went as far as changing the upright Iron Palm Clan into a gang of bandits; sheltering evil people and support their evil practices; carrying out all kinds of evil things.

He lifted up his eyes to see the bright moon in the sky; he lowered his eyes to see Hong Qigong’s bright pair of eyes with a penetrating gaze looking at him. Suddenly his conscience was awakened; he felt that among all of his life conducts not one could be called honorable. His body was drenched in cold sweats; he sighed, “Hong Bangzhu, you are right.” He turned around and jumped into the canyon below.

Hong Qigong was holding tight his bamboo stick to guard against Qiu Qianren lest he would launch a sudden attack from shame. This person’s martial art is nothing to be trifled with; in his desperation his attack must be really fierce. Not in a million years would he expect him to suddenly attempt to commit suicide. He was stunned, but suddenly a grey shadow flew by his side; Reverend Yideng had arrived at the cliff edge. Initially he was sitting cross-legged, and when he moved, he was still cross-legged. His left arm stretched out and grabbed Qiu Qianren’s feet, pulled him strongly back to safety.

“Zhan zai, zhan cai!” he said, “The sea of bitterness knows no bounds; turn around and you will see the shore. You have already repented of your previous wrong doings; it’s not too late to become a new man.”

Qiu Qianren wept loudly, he knelt down in front of Yideng. He had millions of things he wanted to say, but was unable to utter a single word.

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