Chapter 1

Zhang Qishan’s relationship with the eighty-two villages originated from Er Yuehong’s relationship with the chief tusi. (1)

That year, Er Yuehong hid in the Miao villages to avoid being chased and killed. Due to accidental reasons, Er Yuehong and Qi Tiezui were forced to be in the funeral procession of the chief tusi’s youngest son.

At that time, the village’s guardian had prepared to have the accompanying warriors kill the Chinese porters, gouge out the chief tusi’s eyes, and dismember her body before dumping it in the depths of Death Valley. They were going to lie and say that the youngest son had turned into a zombie and started killing people.

At that time, the chief tusi had already lost all hope, but no one had expected that there were two masters from Changsha’s Mystic Nine hidden among the porters.

When they reached the river surrounded by reeds, Er Yuehong killed all of those in the entourage who had betrayed the chief tusi. Afterwards, he brought her back to the village safely.

At that time, the chief tusi had developed romantic feelings for him, but Er Ye had just lost his wife, so it was difficult for him to have feelings for someone else. The emotions of these two people were delayed, and as a result, it was impossible for them to get together once they the opportunity was missed.

Later, Yin Xinyue took Er Yuehong’s advice and brought Zhang Da Fo Ye to the Miao villages to hide. From then on, Fo Ye’s relationship with the eighty-two villages began.

This was what happened before the birth of this story.

Many years passed and a lot of those in the Mystic Nine died in the war. Most of them died during the Battle of Changsha, where the Xiang River was dyed red with blood.

The Japanese forced Old Dog Wu to use his own dogs to sweep for land mines, so he decided to lure them into stepping on the land mines themselves. He was just about to sacrifice himself when, under the guidance of his lead dog, the group of dogs he had raised unexpectedly jumped onto him to protect him as a series of land mines exploded.

During one battle, Zhang Qishan escaped into the mountains, where he continued to fight the Japanese army with the help of the eighty-two villages.

At that time, Hunan was the core area where they fought against the Japanese. The front line was very long, so the historical environment and geographical location in which this story takes place are very special.

The story occurred in the short period of peace between the two major Changsha battles. The regions involved were almost all over Hunan.

In the eighty-two villages, a chief tusi was appointed to govern every three or four villages. Although this meant that the chief tusi governed more than a dozen mountains, there were a total of seven tusis and thirty-six religious leaders in the eighty-two villages. It was all very complicated.

At that time, disputes happened frequently, and the Japanese spies were able to infiltrate and disintegrate Zhang Qishan’s party many times. They were hoping to obtain the support of some people from the eighty-two villages and cut off the Hunan’s entire intelligence and supply network, which was as complicated as capillaries.

At that time, the key figure in these disputes was an old man. We can’t directly call him by name here, but we can say that he was the most prestigious leader of the eighty-two villages. He had a title, and his status was very high in the Miao ethnic groups’ mythology. Although he didn’t actually manage affairs, he had the absolute highest power among the eighty-two villages.

In order to gain his support, it was said that Zhang Qishan and this leader talked to each other for three days in a secret room. When they reached a subsequent agreement, Zhang Qishan led his people into the mountains to follow through on his promise and stayed there for two months.

It was rumored that Zhang Qishan did something in the mountains for this leader, which was how he received the full support of the eighty-two villages. But no one knew what their agreement entailed. This story was outshone by the other splendid Republican Era legends of the Mystic Nine. No one knew how important this story was, but it should be the most important piece of the entire Mystic Nine historical puzzle.

Here are a few of the details:

Before Zhang Qishan went into the mountain, the leader was almost blind. Since there were no records about his age, no one knew how old this leader really was. But some said that they had never seen anyone who was older than this person. This was one of the details.

What was even stranger was that this old man didn’t sleep. He would sit down and face the depths of the mountains every night, looking at those mountains with his blind eyes until the sun came out.

Year after year, no one had seen him fall asleep. Based on his behavior, people thought that he was waiting for someone. It almost seemed like he was waiting for someone to come out of the depths of the mountain, and he had probably been doing this more for than fifty years.

Zhang Qishan went into the mountains afterwards, so this story seems to have something to do with waiting. Was it possible that the leader felt that he was going to die and wanted Zhang Qishan to help him look for something in the mountains?

From what I had gathered from my investigation, things started to get a little weird. After Zhang Qishan came out of the mountain, the old man stopped going out of his house. Moreover, Zhang Qishan had his people guard the door to the leader’s place, which caused the villagers to spread rumors that Zhang Qishan wanted to seize power to control the villages.

Of course, the village children were very naughty and disobedient, so some of them managed to bypass the guards. When they reached the window and peeked in, they saw that there weren’t any lights on in the leader’s room. They could only rely on the moonlight that was streaming into the room. They saw a giant mound in the middle of the room, and there was something moving in that mound.

The color of the soil wasn’t something that came from the nearby villages, because it was a strange blue-gray color.

The Miao people had a legend about “soil girls”. It was said they were naked women who only lived in the soil. They appeared as naked corpses and seduced any merchants who passed by, dragging them into the soil and eating their flesh and blood.

There were records in western Hunan of rotten female corpses rushing out during mudslides, their abdomens full of human nails. These village girls were generally considered to have encountered misfortunes, but some people said that soil girls were actually those who had been smothered by rocks when the mountain collapsed.

As a result, rumors spread through the village that a soil girl was captured and put in the leader’s room. But a month later, the leader came out of the room and the mound disappeared. Zhang Qishan also became a guest of honor after that.

What exactly did Zhang Qishan do for the leader? What was in the mountain? What was the origin of that soil mound?

I gained some inspiration from something in the local county records and learned the whole truth.

<Introduction> <Table of Contents><Chapter 2>


TN Notes:

(1) Tusi, often translated as “headmen” or “chieftains”, were hereditary tribal leaders recognized as imperial officials by the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties of China. Wiki link here


Merebear note: The start of this chapter is a loose description of the Baiqiao Village arc in the “Mystic Nine” drama. It starts on episode 29 around the 17 minute mark

3 thoughts on “Chapter 1

  1. Huh, Er Yuehong and Qi Tiezi were the ones in the funeral procession for the chief tusi’s son, not Zhang Rishan and Qi Tiezi as in the drama? That explains why Er Yuehong appeared out of nowhere and instantly had the tusi become enamored with him lol, I thought that scene felt out of place. I wonder if this story was written before and after the drama aired? The author can’t even maintain a straight canon when he writes the storylines for both the novel and drama versions lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This story was actually written after the drama. The author published the story last year. 😂 Yes. He has many different ideas for novels and drama. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

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