The Young Master Lived Begging, part 2

A sudden thought popped up into his head, “How shameful, beating up a dumb farmer’s wife, just because she doesn’t want to give me food?” He tried to catch himself, but since he had used too much strength in the strike, he lost his balance and stumbled. Then, his left foot happened to land on a pile of cow dung. He slipped and fell on his back. 

The farmer’s wife burst into a loud laugh. “You little thief! You’ve got just what you deserve!” She smacked him on his head with her broom and spat on him, then turned around and went into the shack. 

Lin Pingzhi’s anger soared from the humiliation. He got up and found that his hands and face were covered with cow dung. Surprisingly, the farmer’s wife came back out with four boiled corncobs and stuck them into his hands. 

   “Go on, kid, take these! God gave you such a pretty face, even prettier than a girl’s, but you don’t want to apply yourself. You are just a lazy bum! What good are you?” She said with a laugh.

Still angry, Lin Pingzhi made to hurl the corncobs away, but the farmer’s wife grinned, “Very well! Throw them away! Go ahead! Hey, you’ve got guts and you are not afraid to starve! Great! Throw them away, and I will watch you starve!” 

Lin Pingzhi reconsidered, “In order to rescue Father and Mother, and to seek revenge and restore the fame of the Fortune Prestige Escort House, I will have to bear all kinds of humiliation. Starting from today, no matter how hard or humiliating it is, I will just clench my teeth and take it without complaint. To be humiliated by a farmer’s wife is really nothing.” So he said, “Many thanks!” and then took a big bite of a corncob. 

   “I knew you wouldn’t throw them away,” the farmer’s wife smiled. She turned and walked away, still mumbling, “This kid is so hungry; it probably wasn’t him who stole my hen. Ah, the damn husband, if he only had half of this kid’s good temper, my life would be much better.” 

Along the way, Lin Pingzhi sometimes begged for food, and sometimes, just ate wild fruits from the bushes. Luckily, this was a good harvest year in Fujian Province, and most families had extra food left over. Although his face was covered with mud, he spoke with good manners, so people liked him, and it wasn’t too hard for him to beg for food. He tried to ask for information regarding his parents’ whereabouts along the road, but was not able to learn anything. Eight days later, he entered Jiangxi province. He asked for directions to Nancang and went there straightaway. He thought that the Escort House branch in Nancang should have some information. If not, at least he could get some money and a fast horse.

After entering the town of Nancang, he asked someone on the street about the Fortune Prestige Escort House. 

“Fortune Prestige Escort House? Why do you ask? It has been burned down to the ground. Even the neighbors’ houses were burnt down all together. There’s nothing left,” the man answered. 

Lin Pingzhi groaned inwardly. He came to the street of the Escort House and saw with his own eyes that the entire street was littered with debris. He stood there silently for a long time, his heart aching. 

   “It must be those gangsters from the Qingcheng Sword School again. If I cannot have my revenge, I would rather die!” he resolved. 

Without delaying in Nancang, he immediately went on with his trip westward. Several days later, he arrived at Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province. He had thought that the Qingcheng Sword School might have also burned down this Escort House branch, but when he asked people about news regarding the Fortune Prestige Escort House, no one had heard anything. Lin Pingzhi felt great relief and started heading toward the Escort House in big strides. Soon, he arrived at the gate. 

Lin Pingzhi as a Beggar was watching in Changsa
Lin Pingzhi as a Beggar was watching in Changsa

Although the Hunan branch of the Escort House was not as big as the Fuzhou Headquarters Escort House, it too had a huge vermilion gate with two big majestic stone lions sitting on either side. Lin Pingzhi peeked inside, but did not see anyone. 

   “I am almost in rags, and look so awkward; the escorts in this branch might scoff at me.” He hesitated at the doorway.

He raised his head and then noticed that the sign “Fortune Prestige Escort House Hunan Branch” was upside down. “How could the escorts in this branch be so absentminded as to hang the sign upside down?” he was quite surprised. 

Then he turned his head to look at the flags on the flagpoles, and his heart sank. A pair of dirty saddles hung on top of the left flagpole. On the right flagpole was a pair of flower-patterned woman’s pants. The pants were torn to shreds, but still fluttered in the wind. While he looked on in shock, a man walked out from the Escort House. 

  “Hey, you son of a turtle. What are you doing sneaking around here? You trying to steal something?” the man yelled. 

Recognizing that the man had the same kind of accent as Fang Renzhi and Jia Renda, Lin Pingzhi knew that he must have come from Szechwan as well, so he did not even look at him and immediately started walking away. Suddenly, he felt a pain in his backside. The man had given him a hard kick. Infuriated, Lin Pingzhi wanted to turn around and fight the man, but he quashed the urge in an instant. With the Escort House obviously occupied by the Qingcheng Sword School, it was a perfect opportunity for him to try and get information about his parents. All he needed to do was to stay calm. 

Pretending to be just an ordinary person with no skill in Kung Fu whatsoever, he pretended to take a spill onto the ground, and feigned an inability to get up. The man burst into loud laughter and called him “son of turtles” a few more times before walking back inside. Lin Pingzhi stood up slowly and ambled into a small alley. He begged for a bowl of cold rice and ate it.  (To be continued)

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