Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Cin cu ling

This is the first Tonghong Giok's work I have read. It's a very interesting story, quite captivating. The Indonesian title was 'Left-handed swordsman', although I think the main character, 21 year-old Ling Kun-gi, was not left-handed. His teacher, an ex-Shaolin-monk, was. So kungfu-moves taught to Ling Kun-gi were left-handed version, which confused his opponents. Ling Kun-gi's teacher was also a master of disguise.

This book was published in 1979, the original title is 'Zhen zhu ling' (Cin cu ling). It referred to a peanut sized pearl with the word 'Ling' on it. Ling means 'order'.

Tong family in the north was famous with their secret weapons and poisons, while Un family in the south famous with anesthetic/drug. Head of the family of both were missing. Under each of their pillows, a pearl with character 'Ling' was found. Then a Shaolin monk who excelled in medicine was also missing. Ling Kun-gi happened to have a similar pearl from his heirloom, so his teacher asked him to see if the pearl found in the Shaolin monk's case was the same as his. Ling Kun-gi's mother had been missing for a year, so he also used this opportunity to see if the cases were connected. Ling Kun-gi's pearl and the pearl from the case turned out to be different in size. [Ling Kun-gi's pearl was the size of a quail egg.]

It seemed that Mr. Tong, Mr. Un and the Shaolin monk had been kidnapped by the same group. Following this pattern, then a Mr. Cu would be the next target. Ling Kun-gi went to the Cu's and disguised himself as Mr. Cu. He was kidnapped and met the 3 missing persons. The kidnappers wanted them to make an antidote to counteract a very deadly poison. Ling Kun-gi's pearl, le liong-cu, could treat any kind of poison, so when he put the pearl in a bowl of poison, the poison turned into water. Knowing that "Mr. Cu" could make the antidote, a group called pek-hoa-pang (White Flower), kidnapped "Mr. Cu" from the previous kidnappers.

The first group of kidnappers was from hek-liong-hwe (Black Dragon), an enemy of pek-hoa-pang. Pek-hoa-pang was afraid of hek-liong-hwe because the latter had the deadly poison. But now as pek-hoa-pang had the antidote, they made a plan to attack hek-liong-hwe. Ling Kun-gi was made the leader of the attack, but later he found out that the master of pek-hoa-pang had planned to sacrifice him and his group.

In hek-liong-hwe's headquarters, Ling Kun-gi found the secret of his own family. His father was the previous leader of hek-liong-hwe, killed in a betrayal; and his mother, who was pregnant- had to flee. His mother had taught him the 3 moves of their family swordsplay, but in the heart of hek-liong-hwe's headquarters, Ling Kun-gi learnt the rest 9 moves. Our hero's next move was, of course, to avenge his father's death. I think when he killed the last enemy he forgot to ask about his father's remains.

It's not clear why the first group of kidnappers left cin-cu-ling under pillows. It was an obvious clue that the three kidnappings were connected. Perhaps the leader of the kidnappers wanted to fish out the owner of the le-liong-cu. Le-liong-cu was originally belonged to the leader of hek-liong-hwe, and when Ling Kun-gi's mother ran to save herself 21 years ago, she had taken the pearl with her. With this pearl in his pocket, the leader of hek-liong-hwe could went under a pool of deadly poison in their headquarters, into a secret cave.

Ling Kun-gi was described as a handsome young man, perhaps too handsome, that all girls whom he met fell in love with him. It doesn't really make sense, but as it's entertaining, it's ok then. He ended up with four wives, looked like the author didn't want the readers felt sorry for any broken-hearted girl.

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