“At today’s meeting we have the valiant people of the Jianghu world in attendance,” Elder Liang continued, “Any one of these valiant people deserves to be our leader. However, with so many valiant people around, we do not know how to pick one. Therefore, again after careful consideration, we twelve smelly beggars, decided on an election method that’s less than perfect. The method is this: We would like the heroes to show their skills on this stage. Who’s strong and who’s weak, will be evident to all.”
His speech was received with a soft murmur from the audience in every direction. Elder Liang continued, “But I want to stress one very important point. In today’s match, as soon as somebody is touched by an opponent, the match has to stop. If anybody is heavily injured or even dies here, we cannot bear the heavy responsibility. If any of you has any grudge against anybody else, we would ask that you do not try to solve the grudge on this stage. If you ignore this warning, then our Clan does not have any choice but to act accordingly.”
Having said this, he again sent his piercing gaze across the field. Elder Liang thought it was necessary to issue this warning, because if blood were involved in the election process, and valiant people fight violently with each other, then Guo Jing and Huang Rong’s effort to unite the country would be in vain. Elder Liang implied that whoever took any advantage to commit murder would be attacked by all the Beggar Clan’s members.
The valiant people in attendance today were aware that the Beggar Clan Chief election would be exciting; listening to Elder Liang’s speech they began to assess their own abilities. The Seniors, like clan or sect leaders, and those who had a high reputations in the Jianghu world, obviously did not want to fight over the Chief position. They had too many things at stake; not only the shame of defeat, but their reputation as well. Only those forty years and younger were excited and wanted to try. But since there were so many other valiant people around, plus the fact they had to win over the hearts of tens of thousands of beggars, nobody was bold enough to step up. They thought that to compete early meant they had to defeat more people.
After waiting some time, there were still no takers, then Elder Liang shouted, “Except for some Seniors and Heroes who live in seclusion, I can safely say that all the valiant people under the sky are gathered here. Whoever is willing to honor our Clan is welcome to give us a lesson or two. Our own Beggar Clan disciples who think they have some ability are also welcome to step up.”
After repeating his invitation several times there came a loud shout; “I am coming!” A shadow was seen jumping on to the stage. The audience was startled. This man was huge, like a giant, maybe over 300 jins; the stage swayed a little bit when he landed. Without showing any respect he put his hands on his hips and said with a loud voice, “I am the Thousand-Jin-Giant, Tong Dahai. I don’t want to be Clan Chief, but who ever want to fight let them come.”
Everybody laughed. They thought they would enjoy a funny show from this silly giant.
“Brother Tong,” said Elder Liang, smiling, “This stage is not a sparring ring. If Brother does not wish to become our Chief, then I would ask that you leave.”
Tong Dahai shook his big head, “This is obviously a sparring ring, who said it is not? If you don’t want a fight, why did you invite people up here?” Before Elder Liang had a chance to respond, he quickly said, “All right. Why don’t you fight me?” Having said this he immediately thrust his fist toward Elder Liang’s face.
Elder Liang leaped back, still smiling, “Brother Tong, I am an old man. How could I face your huge fist?”
The giant laughed heartily. With a delighted look on his face he said, “You go away …” but before he could finish his sentence, a shadow flashed by, and on that stage stood a beggar with ragged clothes.
That beggar was around thirty years of age and had six bags on his back. He was one of Elder Liang’s own grand martial disciples. He was also a rash man that could not contain himself upon seeing Tong Dahai being disrespectful toward his Grand Martial Master. “Brother Tong, you are not worthy to fight my Grand Martial Master,” he said, “Let me join you for three stances.”
“Nothing better than that!” the giant shouted, and without asking the beggar’s name, he thrust his fist toward the beggar’s chest, “Watch out!”
The beggar turned his back and “smack!” that fist hit the sack on his back.
Tong Dahai felt his fist was hitting something soft and slippery. “What’s inside your bag?” he asked.
The beggar snickered. “What’s a beggar’s usual catch?” he asked in response.
Tong Dahai was shocked. “Snake …!” he cried.
“Yes, it’s a snake!” the beggar answered.
Tong Dahai was half disgusted and half furious. He sent another fist toward the beggar’s face. But the beggar was quick. In a flash he leaped high into the air and did a somersault and again turned his back toward the giant.
Tong Dahai was afraid the snake would bite him, or perhaps his fist would hit the snake’s fangs; his movements became awkward since he was trying to avoid hitting the beggar’s back. He delivered a right foot kick instead. The beggar knew the giant was afraid and he wanted to have some fun. While rolling himself on the stage, he quickly took his backpack and placed it on his calf. Actually the snake inside his bag was tame, and it had no venomous teeth, but Tong Dahai did not know this. He was getting anxious because his attacks gave him no desirable results. Suddenly the beggar’s right hand grabbed his chest. “Wu Zixu lifts high the Thousand-Jin-Giant [play of words: ‘wu zi’ means ‘five kids’],” he said, and lifted the giant’s body high in the air.
Because the ‘zi gong’ [purple palace] accupoint on his chest was sealed, Tong Dahai was helpless, and the audience burst into laughter.
“Let him go! Don’t be rude!” barked Elder Liang, but he could not help laughing too.
“All right,” the beggar complied. He let the giant go, and jumping down from the stage, he vanished amongst the crowd.
Tong Dahai’s face was purple with rage; he was embarrassed and angry at the same time. “Stinky beggar!” he cursed, “Come! Let’s fight again with weapons. What good is running away like that? Stinky Beggar! Sickly Beggar!” The beggars just laughed, and nobody paid him any attention.