PAJQ

 

 

Pan An Jing Qi

Pai An Jing Qi (PAJQ)

Amazing Cases
(aka Cases of Strange Mystery, Secret Murder, etc.)

2002

Starring: Alec Su, Wang Yi

Role: Hang Tie Sheng

 

Characters:

Hang Tie Sheng (TS): newly appointed magistrate of "Zhu Shan" (bamboo mountain) province. Also referred to by other terms like "Xian Lin"/ magistrate, "xian tai ye", "Han Da Ren" - Lord Han - a sign of respect by the people. When speaking to the Emperor, he referred to himself as "chen"

Lu Yan Qing (YQ): Hang Tie Sheng's advisor, sometimes referred to as "Shi ye" or "Lu shi ye"

Xin Yi (XY): Hang Tie Sheng's stepmother ("hou mu"); "Auntie Xin" to the young people, and "niang" to TS. Sometimes she was referred to as "Da mei" by people who felt that she was too young for them to call her "Auntie Xin" (as she was only less than 10 years older than her stepson, TS). The Emperor calls her "Da mei zi" (as his sign of endearment for her as they first knew each other through strange circumstances as "commoners" and she did not realize that the man she rescued was the emperor).

The three of them, TS, XY and YQ, had a very good rapport. TS was a very filial stepson who was grateful to XY for looking after his father during his father's sickness, which had allowed him to study with the peace of mind. He gave the credit of his good academic results to her dedication and commitment to his family. XY liked to joke about herself looking for another man to marry, and often told TS off when he called her "niang" in public. She also showed her annoyance when YQ mentioned "mu zi" (mother and son) when referring to both of them. (This is all for comic relief for deep in her heart; she was really proud of him as her "son" and cared for him a lot.) YQ and TS also had a good relationship, they were "ge er men" - as close as brothers since young. XY regarded YQ as her godson.) Their love, care and concern for one another is very touching.

Ning Xiang (LX)
Emperor (EMp)

Episode 1

Crown Prince (CP)
Wu Song (WS): the court official in charge of the imperial guards, and also one of the personal bodyguards for the royalty. He was a "zuo" (left) wei "protector/bodyguard". He could be in charge of the Eastern Palace.
Old Lady Soong (OLS)

Wu Jia Bao (WJB)
: a "convict" TS was supposed to escort to the execution ground)
Yan/"Fu" Da Ren (FTR): a prefect or an official in charge of a prefecture. TS reported to him when he arrived at the city with XY & YQ.

Synopsis:

The story started with three horse riders who stopped to look at the city below them, admiring the view. They were Hang Tie Sheng, the newly appointed magistrate to Zhu Shan province, his advisor, Lu Yan Qing, and his mother, Xin Yi. Their first appointment was to escort a convict to the execution ground but an eclipse occurred and the frightened horse, pulling the cart holding the convict, galloped into a temple instead. When the convict claimed that he was innocent, Tie Sheng decided to appeal for a review of the case. Fu da ren who had given him that case gave in to his request after an argument. The Emperor also decided to let him review the case. On the way to the Zhu Shan province, Tie Sheng and his guards were ambushed. When chasing his assassin, he ended up in a mountain forest where he saw a girl. Later, back at his residency, he learnt that the convict was a musician and the convict's wife was a singer. His suspicions were aroused when he heard that the Crown Prince was also overseeing the case. Meanwhile, the imperial guards took over the Soong family's residency and chased Old Lady Soong, her grandson and servants out. Unable to tolerate this humiliation and insults to her family who had been loyal to the country and Emperor, Old Lady Soong took her life.

*****

TS, YQ & ZY rode to the city to report to a higher court official who was in charge of the "fu" (similar to a governor or a prefect in that area). ("fu" here is the second word of "zheng fu" - "government," but then, during that period, China was not governed by a government but by the emperor, his court officials and officials who were appointed as governors in big cities and magistrates in smaller provinces. TS was a low-ranking magistrate.) That court official's surname is Yan but he was known to the common people and subordinates as "Fu Da Ren."

While admiring the scenery and the sight of the city in the distance, TS referred to the female rider "niang" (mother) who obviously did not like him to call her that in public. She reminded him that she was less than 10 years older than he, and that she might want to remarry. TS teased her that since she was his mother he would most certainly call her "niang." She added that he would "hai wo jia mu zhu ju" ("cause me to be unmarried," implying that public knowledge of their "mother & son" relationship would make her ineligible for marriage. All this was said in jest. YQ was mouthing her words, indicating that this conversation must have replayed umpteen times). She asked him who would look after her, then. TS happily replied that he certainly would do so, as he was grateful to her for looking after his father during the latter's sickness, allowing him (TS) to study with the peace of mind, and be a top scholar as a result. XY also forbade YQ to mention the phrase "mu zi" (mother and son).

XY, looking with awe and respect at the imperial guard who sped past them on horseback, remarked that those in imperial guard uniform ("guan fu") indeed set them apart from others (looked different, "bu yi yang"). YQ presented TS with a word to foretell his future, "hong" ("red" - which could imply that he would have a great future, that he would be popular. This word has many other implications and would be used later often to refer to the different situations the characters found themselves in. Can be humorous if one understands the meaning behind the use of the word in various situations.)

TS hoped that YQ was right. YQ reminded them that if they did not hurry, they might not get their job done and would be in deep trouble. TS's response, "shi, shi ...", reflected their camaraderie and TS's respect for YQ.

They reached the "fu" (prefecture) where they were to present themselves before they began their first posting. The court official, referred to "Fu Da Ren" was barely awake. He was sometimes referred to "Yan Zhi fu" ("Yan Zhi" was his name, "fu" was a reference to his position/status as well as the place he was in charge of. He could be a small city governor.) He ignored the presence of TS and YQ, but eagerly greeted the imperial guard who handed him a document.

TS thought that he woke up specially to see them and thanked him, apologizing for waking him up. FDR scornfully replied that nothing but the news he was waiting for would get him out of bed – the approval of an execution. He decided to let TS and YQ escort the convict to the execution ground as their first assignment, and be responsible for the execution.

*****

On the street, the villagers were eager to have a look at the "jiang yang da dao" ("hai dao" normally refers to a pirate, but "yang" is even bigger than the sea, "hai." "dao" could refer to a bandit or a pirate. "jiang yang da dao" may imply that this is a pirate greatly feared by many.)

XY proudly told one villager that "that" was her son. Man in surprise, "That pirate?" In annoyance, she replied, "What pirate? The magistrate, "xian tai ye"! "nian qing (young), wei feng (dignified), xiao sha (sauve/gallant), nei ge (that one)"!"

The villager looked at both of them incredulously and walked away. To herself smugly, "Aye, you noticed that I look young."

Villagers wondered why the box carrying the convict was all sealed and started speculating that he must be a serial killer, fearsome, etc. However, one said that regardless how frightening he was, even if he had three heads and six shoulders, there was nothing to be afraid of, as he would not be able to escape (fly away) in the presence of so many guards.

A sudden gust of wind, sky darkened. The horse panicked, carting the convict away. A chaotic situation. TS yelled for someone to hold on to the horse and not to let go, as he did not want it to hurt anybody.

*****

In front of the temple, YQ was baffled and wondered why it happened (zhen me hui zi yang), commented "tian (sky) gou (dog) chi (eat) ri (sun) " (eclipse). TS asked the others not to panic, to keep cool.

TS: "Everybody has seen the horse pulling the cart carrying the convict into the temple; believe that there is no alternative route to go (mei you di er tiao lu ke zou). Go in and arrest him."

*****

When inside the temple, he asked for confirmation that the man kneeling before the statue was the "convicted pirate", Wu Jia Bao. TS noticed that WJB was gagged and asked YQ to undo the gag.

The convict immediately pleaded innocence, "Innocent! Innocent, I'm no notorious pirate, I have not killed anybody!" When Jia Baowas knocked unconscious by one of the guards, TS asked why the guard knocked him out and who had given him the permission to do so. The guard replied that he thought WJB was threatening Tie Sheng, and was afraid that WJB might hurt TS.

Holding the gag, YQ felt that was an "eye-opener" (an enlightenment) and told TS that once the gag was in a person's mouth, the person could not utter a word (jiu shen me hua dou shuo bu chu lai le). The guard asked TS to continue the journey to execution ground but TS replied that they would not be going there but to the "fu".

*****

Back at the "fu", FDR & his lackey were shocked to see both of them. TS claimed that the fact the horse had pulled the cart carrying the convict into the temple, he suspected that Jia Bao might be innocent. FDR was annoyed, admonishing him for being irresponsible, for disregarding the law; added that he (TS) should not be bothered by "sky dog ate sun" or "sky horse flew in the sky," that he should not delay in carrying out the execution.

TS told him that WJB had claimed to be innocent but FDR rebutted that every convict would claim innocence and commanded him to carry out the order. TS refused as that concerned a life, reminding him that a person once dead, could not be revived, hence he would not take it lightly. He suggested reviewing the case.

YQ wanted to tell FDR that his beard was on fire but was snubbed by FDR who said that YQ was not in the position to speak. (YQ happily and willingly kept quiet.). FDR insinuated that TS had been bribed by the convict's family. When TS tried to tell him that his beard was on fire, the lackey told him to answer the question seriously and not evade the question. TS complied, explaining that he did not know about the case until he arrived at the "fu", and reminded them that they were the ones who passed the case to him and he had no communication with the convict's family, even right up to the time they reached the temple. He did not know how the convict looked like until then. "According to his conscience" (honestly speaking), the man did not look like a criminal.

FDR asked TS whether he was accusing him of abusing his authority, that he had given a wrong judgment. He showed his anger, (the wordplay on "smoke" - ironical as he was oblivious that his beard was on fire and giving out smoke. The fire was caused by the cigarette his lackey was holding.) Only when the lackey noticed that FDR's beard was on fire that both panicked, FDR yelling for someone to put out the fire!

After the fire was put out, FDR complained that his teeth were almost knocked out. Lackey scolded TS for his impudence, for hitting Ta Ren's face. TS innocently replied that he had risked his life to put out the fire and asked them to have a look, "ni qiao." YQ added, "Isn't the fire put out?" He pointed that luckily TS was swift, otherwise, the fire would have spread to FTR's body, and then, the problem would be worse. TS joined in with wide eyes, "shi ya."

Lackey warned them to be careful of what they were doing, not to create trouble but to do as told or else their future would be ruined. Lackey asked YQ what he should do as TS's advisor, implying that he did not carry out his duties properly. YQ also "innocently & humbly" accepted the blame, responding with "bei chen (subordinate) gai si (deserves to die)". Lackey continued admonishing him for being softhearted, easily swayed by the convict's claim of innocence, asking him where his commitment to "protect the common people" was. YQ made use of lackey's four word phrase about protecting the common people and reminded him that if the convict claimed that he was innocent, then he was allowed to appeal from the lower court of justice to the higher level of justice, even right up to the Emperor's court of justice.

TS exhorted the justice of this legal system in which he believed the good people would not be victimized and the villains could not escape. Hence, he challenged FDR, asking him why then he was preventing the case from being reviewed. FTR submitted to TS's request in the end, lamenting that it was not as easy as TS thought, that there were a number of procedures to follow, reports to write, requests and notices to be written. Told TS to go back first and wait for his answer. He complained that TS was making a mountain out of a molehill, that he had even messed up his face.

*****

Outside FDR's house, YQ asked TS what was going to happen. TS reminded YQ that he had used the word "hong" (red) to foretell his future, and told YQ, "Well, you should be happy now for you are right. First we met a 'hong chai' (red guard/constable), now we can use 'hong' to 'liao jie' (untangle this knot/end this case/solve this case)."

YQ panicked. TS believed that the moment they left the place, FDR would immediately write an adverse report to let TS "jian hong" (see red - not the English meaning of getting angry, but to mean getting into trouble, such as see the red blood gushing out when being beheaded - he gestured with his hand going across his neck).

YQ surprised that TS could still remain so calm. TS reassured him that he would not take his head lightly. However, he did hope that WJB's case would be brought to the Emperor"s attention.

*****

In the palace, the Emperor seeked the court officials' opinions. They felt that the case should be reviewed as the villagers had witnessed the whole incident, especially the convict's claim that he was innocent. Not reviewing the case would incur the villagers' wrath and cause discontent, which would be difficult to stop from spreading elsewhere.

The name "Hang Tie Sheng" sounded familiar to him and when EMp was reminded by the eunuch that he was the top scholar, he immediately decided to let TS review the case and carry out an investigation.

*****

At the well, FDR waited anxiously. The Crown Prince ("tai zi ye") appeared, annoyed that FDR should want to meet him. CP made a mockery of FDR's beard, comparing it to a "shan yang hu" (a goatee) and adding that it was a fitting image. FDR pleaded with CP to save him (from his troubles), claiming that he did it to please him, This infuriated CP further, who told him to stop wailing like a ghost and to relate what had happened.

FDR reminded him of his attraction to a songstress at a teahouse two months earlier. FDR discovered that the accompanying musician, a qin-player, was the husband, and set him up, so as to get the girl for CP. CP was shocked and angry when he heard that FDR had set WJB up. FDR tried to calm CP down, all the time claiming that he did it for CP, to make him happy, to fulfil his heart's desire, and all that he wanted to do was to serve CP.

CP was not happy at all, "Huang tang" (implying it was a load of nonsense, that FDR had got it all wrong, that FTR was full of misconceptions). FDR blamed TS for spoiling his plans, that the execution of WJB was approved. However, if the case was reviewed, FDR claimed that he was not worried about his insignificant "lan ming" (rotten life) but he was afraid that WJB might unwittingly revealed evidence that might cast suspicions on CP. FDR added that even a thousand knife cuts on him would not recompense what he had done but claimed that he was anxious like an ant over the CP. Hence, he could not help but seek the prince's advice/suggestions.

CP was furious that not only had FDR messed up but FDR had also pushed the blame and responsibility to CP, expecting him to pick the pieces up. Only when CP stabbed FDR's hand did FDR admit that he was wrong in assuming that what he had done was right and that he deserved to die for messing up. He begged CP to save him. FDR's physical pain pacified CP.

He turned his annoyance on TS whom he regarded as "somebody's dog biting my dog" (ren jia de gou yao le zi ji de gou). In that case, he felt that he could not stand aside or not help FDR. Asked FDR where TS was. Was told that TS was escorting WJB to Zhu Shan province.

*****

TS and the guards, escorting the convict to Zhu Shan, reached a valley. AMBUSHED! During the duel, TS asked assassin whether he was trying to kill him to silence him. He then mocked the assassin for his bad temper and poor upbringing, for fighting. At one stage, assassin told him that TS was too careless but TS replied that he wanted to keep one of the assassins alive for the sake of obtaining information. That assassin escaped but not before he dropped something. On picking it up, TS discovered that it was token/tile (yao pai) carried by someone working in the palace. (It said, "da nei" - "nei" means inside/within).

*****

Pursuing the assassin, TS found himself deep in the mountain forest. (mmm ... watch the next part before reading the narration ....)

Picking himself up from where he had fallen, he wondered whether his eyes were playing tricks, that he was seeing things, saying that it was impossible to find a girl in that wild remote part of the mountain.

He saw the girl crouched by the rock, and asked whether she was hurt. She warned him not to move forward or he would have regrets (hou hui). TS teased her that threatening people could not be her normal habit. Seeing her reactions, he quickly reassured her that he was not making fun of her but wished to let her know that he was surprised/shocked; that he would like to thank her for what had happened earlier on, telling her that he would never ever forget it. However, the girl did not want to talk to him any further (wo bu yao geng ni shuo le) and flew away.

(Sit back and enjoy what comes next.)

*****

TS, supporting the girl, "Lady, it is not that I want to hurry you but are you able to go move down slowly ... for I am not able to hold on any longer." The girl thanked him and flew away before TS could say any more to her.

*****

Back to XY and YQ: XY praised TS for his foresight. TS had predicted that there would be an ambush and had advised them to take WJB by another route while he acted as the decoy. This ensured their safe journey to Zhu Shan province. In the same breath, she commented, "unlike somebody who likes to foretell others' future and is never accurate when the prediction is of good fortune but very accurate when it comes to prediction that is of misfortune."

YQ protested earnestly, asking her to be reasonable/fair and argued that his use of "hong" was justified as the EMp had allowed TS to review WJB's case, a good (hong) sign. XY asked whether he (YQ) had seen a target board with the bullseye in the centre and asked him what colour that was. Red. She said that TS would be like that target.

Outside, XY confirmed TS's intuition that WJB was not a criminal when she told him that he was only a musician, a "qin-shi." She suspected that he was set up by a high court official who was attracted to his wife and wanted to get rid of him. TS asked XY whether WJB knew who that official was but unfortunately, he didn't. XY suggested that it could be "Yan Chi fu" himself, that "shi lang" (coloured wolf - a pervert). She was worried for TS who was clearly involved in the plot as the assassin was trying to kill him. TS agreed and showed her the "yao pai" the assassin had dropped. ("yao" - waist; "pai" - tile, as in mahjong tiles; signboard; label; piece of wood with words engraved on it. "yao pai" - a wooden tile with engraved words, worn at the waist. The "yao pai" TS found had the words "da nei" written on it. "da" means big and "nei", inside. All those working in the palace and have the authority to move around would have to carry that "yao pai".)

YQ showed TS an official document informing them that the Crown Prince (also referred to as "dian xia") would be overseeing the case.

*****

Imperial guards arriving at Zhu Shan province, passed the arch/portal presented to the Soong Family for their loyalty to the country and emperor, as that family had lost three generations of males in battles while defending the country. Wu Song, the court official in charge of the imperial guards said mockingly that it was a surprise that such a place which was not worthy even to move one's bowels (or something to that effect as he had spoken with great contempt for that place - "la shi" - move one's bowels) could raise such people.

At Soong's residency, Old Lady Soong welcomed them and was initially happy to hear that the prince wanted to stay at her place until Wu Song remarked that the ancestral altar was unsightly and should not be in the presence of the prince. He made an order for the ancestral tablets to be removed. OLS was upset and asked them how they could just come and remove the ancestral tablets. WS replied that it was her honour to have her place selected to accommodate the prince and that he had already been polite to her by only removing the tablets which were only inanimate objects (or wood) to him, otherwise he would have removed the whole family.

The angry OLS asked him how they could be so lawless and asked the housekeeper to get more help. However, they, including OLD and her grandson, Bao Er, were all thrown out into the street instead. OLS ordered them to leave or else she would report them to the magistrate. WS laughed at her, claiming that the magistrate represented the prince, adding mockingly that the magistrate who was only a "sesame seed" compared to the prince, would not dare go against the Prince.

OLS pointed to the portal and reminded that it was presented to the Soong family for their loyalty and for sacrificing three generations of her family members. The arrogant WS replied mockingly that he had seen that piece of stone, so what; moreover, everyday, some people would die ... it was just that more people in her family died than in others; WS asked aggressively who she was trying to scare off.

Infuriated by his disrespect, she lamented that her family had been loyal to the country and emperor, sacrificing three generations of her family to battles, while defending the country. She and her grandson were the only ones left. She reminded him that what her family had given to the country were fresh blood, loyalty and a heap of bones. Yet she was chased out of her house. She questioned whether that was how they repay her family's loyalty to the country and emperor. She told them off, saying that they should not behave in this manner, that even if the Emperor came, he could not behave in this manner. WS hit her, saying that he had enough. Bao Er tried to hit him but his neck was caught in WS's grasp instead. He threatened to kill BE, while telling OLS that it was her honour that CP was staying at her place.

OLS cried to WS to let BE go but he would not release his hold, asking OLS to make a choice, her grandson or her house. The housekeeper asked OLS to "suan le" (let it be/not to pursue further), to "tui yi bu" (to retreat a step), that is, to give in to WS. BE asked his granny to save him ("jiu wo").

Upset and depressed, OLS said that she couldn't do anything to protect him, lamenting that WS had gone overboard with his bullying; questioning where justice was. She decided to use her life to seek justice ....

*****

BE begged OLS to wake up, and not to forsake him. WS claimed that he was not responsible for her death; that she was the one who chose to hit her head against the wall. BE threatened to report him to the magistrate and ran off.

In the street, WS chased after him, shouting at him to stop, to stand still. BE ran to a deadend, banging on doors, asking someone to open the doors but nobody answered. He climbed up a tree but fell.

(end of episode 1)

Episode 2


translated by moondream


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