Legendary Amazons

Western Xia loomed up as an influential power during the reign of Emperor Renzong, Song Dynasty. It invaded into Song’s territory forcefully, aiming to dominate the whole of China. A bloody battle kicked off at Tianmenguan Pass. Yeung Chungbo, a general for protecting the border, fought bravely for more than one month though he was greatly outnumbered by the enemy. Worn out and short of provisions, he could not see the occurrence of backup troops from the court. After burying another batch of dead soldiers, Chungbo ordered to kill war horses to let all soldiers have a good dinner before carrying out the last fight against Yin Qi’s troops. All soldiers fought to the last minute against heavy odds. Chungbo also received dozens of wounds. However, he continued to stand heroically in the battlefield, staring at the enemy with his eyes glowing with fire. Chungbo flied a home-pigeon to his beloved wife Muk Kwaiying in time before he lost the battlefield. The pigeon, tied with a strand of black hair which was a token of love between Chungbo and Kwaiying, hovered a long time overhead before it disappeared into the sky. Within Tianbo Mansion, Muk Kwaiying woke up with a start from a nightmare concerning Chungbo’s death. Before she could calm down, she saw the home pigeon tied with a strand of black hair flying to the window. Kwaiying burst into tears, as she understood what it meant. It was the pigeon that had been conveying the deep yearning between Chungbo and Kwaiying many times. However, this time it brought back ill news as its white wings were blotted with blood, and its neck was tied with the love token with Chungbo. Kwaiying knew that the black hair would be kept by Chungbo so long as he lived! So Chungbo had died in the battlefield! Two days later would be Chungbo’s birthday. Kwaiying decided to keep this secret and let all people of Yeung family celebrate Chungbo’s birthday happily. On the same day of Chungbo’s birthday, Yeung Wenguang, the son of Chungbo and Kwaiying, would have his 18-year-old adult ceremony. Early in the morning, Kwaiying, Infanta Chai (Kwaiying’s mother-in-law), and Taijun (Infanta Chai’s mother-in-law) came to the memorial temple to pray for Chungbo and Wenguang. They were divided concerning the career of Wenguang. Infanta Chai expected Wenguang to be a man of letters, while Taijun hoped him to be a warrior. Kwaiying indicated that it was up to Wenguang in making the decision. While debating, they were startled to hear a huge explosion. It was Wenguang that had blown open the wall and run out of the mansion, because he had been restricted for too long. He didn’t come back until the banquet in the evening. While all people were waiting anxiously, the reputed official Fan Zhongyan came to tell the bad news: Tainmenguan was lost, and Chungbo died! The birthday-celebration hall turned into a mourning hall. All the Yeung family members were in deep mourning due to the loss of Chungbo. Unexpectedly, Great Tutor Pang and Wang Qiang came to announce an imperial edict. Wenguang was required to lead 10,000 soldiers as the spearhead fighting against Western Xia. Everyone understood their conspiracy of wiping out the Yeung family offspring by the hand of Western Xia. However, imperial edict allowed no disobey! Infanta Chai opposed it resolutely. She proposed a competition to decide whether Wenguang was suitable for the task. Knowing Wenguang’s wish, Kwaiying hinted to Paifeng to let her make a deliberate mistake when competing against Wenguang. Wenguang won, and Infanta Chai had to let him go. All ladies of the family decided to join the army in a bid to protect Wenguang. Paifeng and some maid servants shaved head to demonstrate their resolution of eradicating Western Xia intruders. Kwaiying herself recalled the scenes 18 years ago: She met with Chungbo before Muk Village and launched a ridiculous "forced marriage". She came back to reality and vowed to protect Wenguang. Just as Taijun, Kwaiying and other widows protected inexperienced Wenguang on the march absorbedly, Western Xia cavalry put all to rout wherever they go, seizing large scope of Song Dynasty’s territory. Wenguang saw a batch of Western Xia scouts when they reached the border. Fresh on the battlefield, Wenguang was so excited that he left the main force on his own and chased after the enemy scouts. Though Wenguang killed the scouts smartly, he was scolded severely by Kwaiying for his imprudence. On the contrary, Infanta Chai sang highly of her grandson Wenguang. They ended conversation unhappily. After encamping in the evening, Kwaiying studied the border situation by herself. Infanta Chai came over to apologize, saying that she was not really opposed to Kwaiying, but was only trying to maintain the dignity of the chief commander Wenguang. Kwaiying was moved. While they were talking, Wenguang also came to apologize. He had realized his recklessness under the education of Qiniang. Seeing her son get matured, Kwaiying almost burst into tears. Then, word came that the enemy arrived in advance. To cope with the enemy, Taijun decided to divide the troops into five divisions, which were to gather at Huangtu Town after fulfilling respective tasks. Battle started at the first sign of dawn. Taijun with 6,000-soldier main force confronted the enemy in the middle. Kwaiying and Wenguang with 1,000 soldiers ambushed in the flank. Unexpectedly, Western Xia commander hung fake Chungbo in the frontline and burnt him in order to irritate the Yeung family troops. This sent the Yeung family troops into uncontrollable grief and indignation. Wenguang wanted to seize back his father’s corpse immediately, but all people knew it was a conspiracy of the enemy. Kwaiying persuaded Wenguang again and again to stop him from sinking into the enemy’s trap. However, Wenguang took his own course stubbornly. Kaiying had to usurp the position of marshal and change the banner into "Muk". Losing reasons due to love for his father, Wenguang escaped from the camp and broke into the enemy formation by himself! Kwaiying and other female warriors arrived in time. After hard fighting, they couldn’t get Wenguang out of danger, but lost trace of him. Kwaiying was severely wounded. Qiniang and Daniang died one by one. The Yeung family troops suffered a heavy loss. As Taijun assigned the main force to reinforce Wenguang, she had to play the "Empty City" trick and retreat hurriedly, leaving important weapons such as arrow machines behind. At night, a crowd of border villagers came to the battlefield to bury Song soldiers and tidy up trophies. Wenguang, buried under corpses, found dimly that his spear was being pulled out. He mustered up his last strength to spring up and press down the person. Just when he wanted to exert a deadly strike, he saw a girl under his body: Little Douzi. After a bloody struggle, Kwaiying led her followers out of the enemy’s besiegement. While she was in lonely meditation, Bajie walked up to console her. They talked of some past stories: Chungbo’s father Yeung Yanzhao wanted to execute him as he married Kwaiying and disobeyed military law. Kwaiying made a military pledge and broke through the enemy’s Tianmen Formation in order to save Chungbo. While they recollected these memories emotionally, they believed that Wenguang was still alive. After coming back to himself again, Wenguang found himself in a huge cave. He walked out of the cave and saw a strapping man guiding two teams fighting each other. His drum-beating style and formations were the same with the Yeung family. While he was in curiosity, Little Douzi told her that the middle-aged man was just his father Yeung Chungbo! Father and son met each other excitedly. The fact was when Tianmenguan Pass was lost, Little Douzi’s grandpa together with his clansmen saved Chungbo in a bid to make up for the gratitude that Chongbo’s father Yeung Yanzhao rescued his life earlier. However, Little Douzi’s grandpa died heroically. To repay the kindness of Little Douzi’s grandpa, Chungbo stayed there after his wounds healed. He trained the clansmen and sought opportunities of assaulting Western Xia. Wenguang asked why Chungbo didn’t send a message back home. Chungbo said that he held a warrior’s reputation to be more important than his life. Since he lost the battle, he preferred to let others think he was dead. Now that Wenguang understood the pains of his mother and all grandmas, he condemned his father’s neglect of them. Chungbo apologized sincerely, which caused the guilty conscience of Wenguang. Wenguang regretted greatly on thinking that his recklessness led to his mother’s usurping the marshalcy and committing the capital crime. Learning that Kwaiying was in danger, Chungbo decided immediately to lead the clansmen to gather with Taijun and Kwaiying at Huangtu Town. At the same time, Wang Qiang led the backup force toward the border. Hearing of Kwaiying’s usurping the marshalcy, Wang ordered: A severe punishment must be executed! When Taijun and Liuniang’s troops were marching toward Huangtu Town, they encountered the ambush of the enemy outside Hungry-wolf Valley. Kwaiying and Baniang came to reinforce them in time. However, as they were apparently outnumbered by the enemy, Taijun and Kwaiying were forced to retreat into Hungry-wolf Valley. Liuniang and Paifeng were blocked out of the valley. Just as Kwaiying expected, the enemy launched a fire attack once they were forced into the valley. Kaiying bellowed by the bluff. Seeing the misty sky and towering ancient trees, Kwaiying found a way out. She ordered maid servants to take off their chain armours, out of which Kwaiying wove several iron ropes. Sanniang shot the iron ropes to the other side of the bluff. Some strong soldiers climbed onto the ropes and formed a man-bridge. The Western Xia soldiers were still feeling lucky that Kwaiying and her troops had all been choked to death inside the valley. Then they found strong smoke and fire pressing in behind. Liuniang, Panfeng and Siniang were returning like for like, making huge fireballs and assaulting them. Western Xia soldiers retreated into the valley in panic, and were all buried in the fire. After escaping successfully, Kwaiying’s group converged with Liuniang finally. Taijun pardoned Kwaiying’s behavior of usurping the marshalcy. Kwaiying’s wound broke up and she fell down. The troop marched toward Huangtu Town hurriedly. Several groups of female warriors met in Huangtu Town finally. Then, Wang Qing’s assistant general came to convey a surprising message: Yeung Wenguang was in Wang Qiang’s camp. Muk Kwaiying and Taijun were required to go there and discuss how to tackle with the enemy! All knew this was a conspiracy of Wang Qiang. Once Kwaiying got there, she would be executed by Wang Qing, who had been holding hatred for the Yeung family. So everyone tried to stop Kwaiying, however, Kwaiying insisted that it was worthwhile if her death can exchange for Wang Qiang’s dispatching troops and preventing more deaths. What’s more, so long as there was news for Wenguang, she, as a mother, would not miss it, sink or swim. At the same time, Chungbo and Wenguang saw the camp of Song’s backup troop. Learning that Wang Qiang was the commander, Chungbo frowned. Kwaiying, Taijun and Infanta Chai couldn’t see Wenguang at all when they reached Wang Qiang’s camp. Kwaiying asked Wang Qiang to dispatch troops, but was suppressed by Wang with the accusation of usurping the marshalcy. While they were in a deadlock, Wenguang occurred. This sent Kwaiying into a wild joy and Wang Qiang into a panic! Wang Qiang pulled himself together soon. He said he would not send troops until Wenguang executed Kwaiying himself. Wenguang fell into a rage and tried to kill Wang. Wang seized him up with the accusation of assassination. In this critical moment, Chungbo showed up after arranging the plan of escaping. All people were mingled with surprise and joy! Wang Qiang demanded Chungbo to choose to kill Kwaiying or Wenguang. Or he would not dispatch troops. Chungbo chose to kill Kwaiying due to the pressure of military law. While Wang Qiang cheered, Kwaiying also cheered. Kwaiying explained that Chungbo had implemented the military law and put righteousness above family feelings! However, how she would die, under the hand of an executioner or in the battlefield, would be decided by herself! Wang was stunned. Some Song soldiers disguised by the clansmen arranged by Chungbo in advance rushed in to take away Kwaiying under the "help" of Liu Fu. Though Wang was taken surprise, he continued to stick to his principal of dispatching troops: Yeung Chongbo must take Kwaiying back for punishment. Wenguang, Taijun and Infanta Chai were detained as hostage. Chungbo arrived at Huangtu Town to join Kwaiying. After witnessing life and death respectively, they two had many words for each other, but didn’t know how to utter them out. They could only nestle together in the wall tower quietly. Kwaiying told Chungbo she cherished a wish: If she couldn’t live with him all life, she’s rather choose to die with him together in the battlefield! Chungbo was touched. They two kissed each other passionately. Just amid this once-in-a-blue-moon sweet moment, the enemy arrived. The decisive battle came finally. Kwaiying and other female warriors confront the enemy, while Chungbo and some border villagers disguised themselves into Western Xia soldiers, destroying the enemy’s weapons and formation inside. Though the Yeung family soldiers were brave and intelligent, they were absolutely outnumbered: 6,000 versus 90,000! Wuniang, Sanniang, Zou Erniang and Geng Erniang died one after another. Chungbo also suffered an internal injury. Wenguang arrived with the backup troop in this pivotal moment! The fact was: Wang Qiang kept sitting back though the word of a decisive battle came to the camp. Infanta Chai took him down with the accusation of delaying military opportunities. Liu Fu gave the military token to Taijun, who dispatched the troops. In spite of Wenguang’s reinforcement, Kwaiying was at her last gasp due to severe wound and physical overdraft. When Wenguang fought with the enemy’s leader Yin Qi, he penetrated his spear into Chungbo’s body due to Yin Qi’s trick! Though seriously wounded, Chungbo clasped Yin Qi closely, and let Wenguang kill Yin Qi by continuing to penetrate through his own body. Wenguang shed tears, and didn’t know what to do. Suddenly, a forceful hand slapped his right arm, and Wenguang involuntarily pierced the spear through Chungbo’s body, and Yin Qi’s body as well. Wenguang looked back in astonishment: It was his mother Kwaiying! With Yin Qi’s death, the two sides saw a result soon. Chungbo and Kwaiying hugged each other for ever! The border crisis was resolved finally. The righteous official Fan Zhongyan suggested Emperor Renzong to execute Wang Qiang who framed the loyal generals, and forgive Kwaiying’s crime of usurping the marshalcy, but bestow her posthumously the title of Western-Expedition Marshal! …… One year later, Wenguang and Little Douzi had their son: Yeung Huaiyu. Wenguang was appointed as Assistant Marshal of Westward March. He went to the battlefield again! When marching on the endless plains, Wenguang saw in illusion Chungbo and Kwaiying riding to him. They smiled to him in satisfaction…… All vicissitudes of life came to a conclusion. The offspring would go on bravely along the path beaten out by predecessors. The Yeung family warriors’ dauntless patriotism will have a niche in the temple of fame! They deserve the admiration of later generations! ……

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