Hey guys, sorry about the yearlong wait. I said I was going to start on this last year but was busy so I didn't have time to get on it. Here is what I have so far and I will try to do some each week. If anyone wants to help out or wants to edit this, please feel free to.
(chap 15 cont...)
Madame Ma was originally standing still on one side with her head down, her back towards everyone. She had overheard what Elder Xu said, so she slowly turned around and in a quiet voice said: "My husband was unfortunate and passed away, I only know how to cursed my fate at not being able to born any children to continue the Ma bloodline..." Her voice although quiet, yet clear, caused the words that entered the ears of everyone who heard to shed tears. Her tone until this point was emotional, but now it seemed to be choked by tears. All the heroes in the forest after hearing her talked was touched all the way to their soul. With one cry Zhao Qiansun made everyone laughed, Ah Zhu made everyone amazed, but Madame Ma made everyone sorrowful.
Madame Ma continued, "After I had buried my husband, I went through the belongings he left behind, in the place with the Buddhist scriptures there was a letter that was sealed with wax. On the cover of the letter it was written: "In case that I died peacefully, burn this letter immediately. If opened, then my soul in heaven (yellow river) will not be able to rest in peace. But if I died in a suspicious manner, this letter must be handed over to all the Beggar clan elders to read together. This matter is of utmost importance, must not be failed.”
When Madame Ma talked to this point, the entire forest was quiet, a needle falling to the ground could still be heard. She paused for a moment then continued, “I saw that since my husband wrote seriously thus, I know this matter is important so I immediately searched for Bangzhu to hand over this letter. It was coincidence that Bangzhu along with the clan elders are at Jiang Nan regarding matters of revenge for my dead husband. Because of that I have not yet been able to hand over the letter.
People there noticed a different shift in her tone, emphasizing “coincidence” and then “because of that”. Together everyone looked at Qiao Feng from the corner of their eyes.
Qiao Feng all afternoon had dealt with the devious plot directed at himself, although he had suppressed Quan Guanqing and the clan elders’ rebellion, he has not yet put this matter to rest. Now after he heard Madame Ma speak, he now felt lighter inside than before, his complexion calm and thought to himself, “Whatever plot these people are planning, come out and say it and be done with it. In this lifetime I have never done anything to be ashamed of so why would I be scared of someone trying to slander me.”
Madame Ma continued, “I know that this letter has implications to the clan, and since Bangzhu and clan elders were not at Luoyang, I dare not delay so I immediately went to Zhengzhou to see Elder Xu and ask him to take charge of this matter. As for what this matter is… Elder Xu, please explain to everyone here.
Elder Xu coughed a few times before speaking, “This matter if spoken out loud involves matters of gratitude and grudges. I foresee that the consequences are very hard to imagine.” Those few sentences conveyed a deep worrisome meaning. He slowly opened a clothe bag from his shoulders, took out the letter, and said “This is the will of Ma Dayuan. Great ancestors, grandfather, and father of Dayuan, many generations have belonged to the Beggar clan, and had been if not clan elders then at least 8 bags members. I knew Ma Dayuan since he was little and are very familiar with handwritings of his. The words on this letter are definitely Ma Dayuan’s handwriting. When Madame Ma handed me this letter, the wax seal on it has not been touched. I was afraid it held important matters and dare not delay it so I opened it immediately without waiting for the other Elders. When opening the letter, the Iron Faced Judge of Mt. Taishan Shan Zheng was there as witness.”
Shan Zheng spoke up, “What he said was true. I was there to visit Elder Xu at that moment when he opened the letter.”
Elder Xu opened the envelop taking out the letter and said, “I examined the letter inside and saw that it was not written by Ma Dayuan and was a little surprised. The beginning of the letter was to: Brother Jiantong, and this is even more weird. Jiantong is the name of Wang Bangzhu - the former Bangzhu of the Beggar Clan. If the person who wrote this letter was not a good friend of his, then they would not addressed him as such. Moreover Wang Bangzhu had passed away for a long time, so who would write a letter to him? At this point I have not yet read what was written in the letter but immediately skipped to the end to see the name on the signature. Upon reading it I was even more surprised. At that point I couldn’t contain myself and exclaimed ‘So it was him!’ Brother Shan was curious and peeked his head over to see and also exclaimed ‘So it was him!’”
Shan Zheng nodded his head hinting that it happened exactly like that.
Zhao Qiansun sneaked in “Mister Shan, what you did was not right. This is a secret letter of the Beggar Clan. You are not a 1 bag member of the clan, nor a 2 bag, nor even a lowly street beggar who goes around asking for food. How come you dared to peek at a secret letter belonging to others?” Everyone there thought that he was like a madman but now he actually made sense. Shan Zheng’s faced turned red and hurriedly said, “I… I only looked at the signature at the end of the letter and not what was actually written in that letter.” Zhao Qiansun replied, “If one stole 1000 gold one is a thief, if one stole 1 copper one is still a thief. The amount of money is different. But stealing a large amount is still stealing and stealing a small amount is still stealing. Sneaking a glance at a letter belonging to others is not an act of a gentlemen. If you are not a gentlemen then you are a shameless person, and a shameless person is someone everyone should look down upon. If you are already a shameless person then you deserved to die.”
Shan Zheng raised his hand to keep his five sons from acting rashly. Just let him talk nonsense and see where this goes. Though he was boiling on the inside, he calmly thought to himself that there was something more to this, and asked himself “This person just met me and he’s already trying to stir up trouble, did he already had grudge with me from the past perchance? In Jianghu there are not many who doesn’t give face to the name Thaishan Shan jia. Why can’t I figure it out?”
Everyone else was waiting for Elder Xu to say the name of the person in the letter to see what kind of person he is that caused Elder Xu and Shan Zheng to both be shocked. While they all were trying to think of this matter, Zhao Qiansun started speaking out of turn with some other nonsense causing many people to stare at him in anger.
Granny Tan suddenly spoke up, “What is everyone looking at? Every word my senior martial brother said was the truth.” Zhao Qiansun saw Granny Tan spoke up for him, felt estactic inside, and said, “Everyone look here, even Lian Xiaojuan agrees, so how can I be in the wrong. Whatever Lian Xiaojuan have said or done in the past had never been wrong.”
But suddenly another but shockingly similar voice to Zhao Qiansun cut in, “That is right. Whatever Lian Xiaojuan says or do has never been wrong. She married Grandpa Tan, and did not married me… she did not married wrong at all!” The person who said that was A’Zhu. Starting at the moment when Zhao Quinsun talked bad about Murong Fu, she was still holding a grudge inside so she couldn’t help herself from making fun of him. Zhao Quinsun after hearing that didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, and fell victim to the specialty of the Murong famly move – turning one’s special move against them. (I don’t know how to translate this idiom Help??)
Immediately there were two faces looking at A’Zhu intimately and full with approval, on there right there was Grandpa Tan’s and on the left there was Shan Zheng.
A person’s shadow flashed and Granny Tan jumped in front of A’Zhu with a raised palm and slapped her hard in the face and piqued “Whether I marry right or wrong, what does it have to do with a lowly servant girl like you?” She raised her hand very fast that even though A’Zhu wanted to dodge it, she couldn’t. Another person even if next to her wouldn’t even be fast enough step in to help. A loud squeak of pain was heard and on the powder white face of A’Zhu there was purple hand print.
Zhao Qiansun laughed out loud, “This smelly girl deserved her lesson. Who told her to be gossipy about other people’s business.”
A’Zhu with tears running down her cheeks started crying out loud. Grandpa Tan stepped up and stuck his hand into his pocket pulling out a small jade box, opened it, and started spreading ointment onto the face of A’Zhu. Granny Tan slapped her skillfully and quickly, raising her palm and pulling it back in just a single motion. Grandpa Tan applying ointment to her face had to use many different motions but it was even faster than Granny Tan’s slap. A’Zhu didn’t even get a chance to move and the ointment were already on her face, her bruised face suddenly started to heal and feel better. At the same time in her left hand she was holding something. She opened her palm to see a small jade box, seeing that she knew that Granpa Tan just gave her a box of special ointment to treat her injury. A’Zhu, as soon as she started crying had suddenly started smiling.