Excerpt from Passionate Wastrel, Infatuated Hero, translated by Sara K.
That day, when Zhao Guan and Qing Zhu were alone together in the room, he thought of something, and couldn’t help but ask “Sister Qing, do you know who my father is?” The matter had always been on his mind, and he finally had a chance to ask Qing Zhu. Qing Zhu, a bit surprised, replied “Guan, during all these years, has somebody come looking for you?”
Zhao Guan told her about Cheng Da and Yun Longying each claiming him as their son. Qing Zhu replied “Only those two, nobody else?” Zhao Guan, stunned, said “You mean there is someone else?”
Qing Zhu raised her head, pondered for a moment, and answered “Guan, your mother has already passed away, and she never told me herself who your father is, so really, I also do not know. But I know that after your birth, your mother sent three letters altogether, telling three men that you are their son. The year before you were born, your mother and Wastrel were very close [‘Wastrel’ is Cheng Da’s nickname – Sara K.]. Wastrel was with her practically every night, so I know that he got a letter. I also sometimes saw Sect Leader Yun come looking for your mother. Hearing what you say, these two clearly got your mother’s letters. As for the third letter, I do not know who received it.”
Zhao Guan, startled, said ‘Sister Qing, you were at my mother’s side back then, how can you not know who the third man is?” Qing Zhu answered “I only heard about the third man, I never actually saw him. Your mother once briefly mentioned what happened with him. She said that he was at that time going to enter a duel with some opponent, and that the opponent asked her to poison him, so that he would lose the duel the next day. Your mother went to find this man, and spent a steamy night with him. She admired his heroic mettle, and did not poison him. What happened at the duel the following day, I do not know, but I think that this man probably won. But your mother never told anybody who this man actually is. This all happened almost exactly 10 lunar months before your were born, so I figure that the third letter was sent to him.”
Zhao Guan couldn’t help himself from being stumped by this. Having two fathers was already strange enough, he never thought that he also had this mysterious third dad. He asked “Sister Qing, do you have even the slightest clue who this third letter-recipient is?”
Qing Zhu shook her head, and replied “I just know that in martial arts circles he is a well-known upholder of justice and a superior martial artist. As to who he is, I have never been able to guess.” Leaning her head she pondered for a moment, and then said “Guan, I thought of one more thing. Your mother said that when she named you, she considered who was most likely to be your father.”
Zhao Guan, surprised, said “My name?” Qing Zhu replied “Yes. You mother said at the time that she thought you were probably Wastrel’s or this third man’s child. She picked the name ‘Guan’ from the ‘Da’ in ‘Cheng Da’, as in the word ‘dáguān’ [‘dáguān’ means ‘philosophy’ or ‘broadness of perspective’ in Mandarin – Sara K.] Zhao Guan then said “So my name ‘Zhao’ is almost certainly connected to this third man.” Qing Zhu replied “Most likely”.
Zhao Guan muttered to himself, then said “Maybe his family name is also ‘Zhao’? Are their any great fighters in the martial arts circles with the family name ‘Zhao’? Or maybe ‘Zhao’ appears in a different part of his name?” Qing Zhu replied “I have previously thought of the Qing sect’s leader, Zhao Zixiang, but he is quite old and aged, he’s far off in Wuhan, and his martial arts skills are merely average. It can’t be him. The previous leader of the Beggars’ sect, Zhao Man, also has the family name ‘Zhao’, but he passed away many years ago. One of the Nine Venerables is called Zhao Beng, but he’s more than a generation too old. He must be at least 80 years old. As for other masters in the martial arts circles with the name ‘Zhao’ … I haven’t heard of any.”
Zhao Guan, preoccupied with this question, thought to himself “Mother herself was very capable. Uncle Cheng Da and Sect Leader Yun are both extraordinary, courageous men, yet this third man seems to be even more so. Don’t know who he actually is? He received mother’s letter, why has he never come looking for me? Is he even still alive?” He thought about how his mother intentionally concealed all this. He thought and thought about it, yet it was difficult to guess who this man might be, so he could only put this matter in the back of his mind.