Zhang Qing (Featherless Arrow)
|Water Margin character|
|Rank||16th, Agile Star (天捷星) of the 36 Heavenly Spirits|
|Tiger Cub Vanguard General of Liangshan|
|Origin||Imperial general from Dongchang Prefecture|
|Hometown||Zhangde Prefecture (present-day Anyang, Henan)|
|First appearance||Chapter 70|
Zhang Qing is a fictional character in the Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 16th of the 36 Heavenly Spirits of the 108 Liangshan heroes and is nicknamed "Featherless Arrow".
The Water Margin describes Zhang Qing as having a waist like a wolf's, arms like those of an ape's and a body like a tiger's. He has a handsome and energetic appearance and is very agile in battle. He is a native of Zhangde Prefecture (present-day Anyang, Henan), and is first introduced in the novel as a general from Dongchang Prefecture. Zhang Qing's famous "flying stones" technique earns him the nickname "Featherless Arrow".
When the Liangshan outlaws attack Dongchang Prefecture, the prefect sends Zhang Qing to lead Dongchang's army to counter the attack. Zhang Qing wins the first battle by injuring Hao Siwen with his flying stones. Song Jiang leads the other outlaws to reinforce Lu Junyi. In the subsequent battles, Zhang Qing injures Liangshan's Xu Ning, Yan Shun, Han Tao, Peng Qi, Xuan Zan, Huyan Zhuo, Liu Tang, Yang Zhi, Zhu Tong, Lei Heng and Suo Chao with his flying stones. Liu Tang is captured after his defeat. The only two Liangshan warriors who manage to put up a fight against Zhang Qing's flying stones are Guan Sheng and Dong Ping, due to their quick reflexes. Guan Sheng succeeds in defending himself from the stones with his guan dao but is unable to switch from defence to attack. Dong Ping succeeds in blocking the stones with his spears but forgets about them when he pursues Zhang Qing after the latter feigns defeat and retreats.
The outlaws gather to discuss a strategy to deal with Zhang Qing. Wu Yong devises a plan to lure Zhang Qing into a trap by the riverbank to seize their supplies. As Wu Yong predicted, Zhang Qing leads his men to attack the convoy protecting the supplies. He stuns Lu Zhishen with his stones but Lu is saved by Wu Song in time. After Zhang Qing enters the trap, Gongsun Sheng uses his magic powers to make the sky overcast. Zhang Qing loses his way in the darkness and falls into the river, where he is captured by Zhang Shun and the Liangshan navy. Song Jiang treats Zhang Qing with respect and manages to persuade him to join their cause of "delivering justice on Heaven's behalf". Zhang Qing tricks the prefect of Dongchang into opening the city gates and the Liangshan forces swarm in and capture the city. Zhang Qing recommends Huangfu Duan, a famous veterinarian, to join Liangshan.
Campaigns and death
Zhang Qing becomes one of the Eight Tiger Cub Vanguard Generals of the Liangshan cavalry. After the outlaws are granted amnesty by Emperor Huizong, Zhang Qing follows them on their campaigns against the Liao invaders and other rebel forces. Zhang Qing strikes fear in the hearts of the Liao army for slaying several Liao generals in battle with his "flying stones" technique. During the Tian Hu campaign, Zhang Qing earns the highest credit of victory for capturing Tian Hu with the help of Qiongying when Tian tried to escape after his defeat. Qiongying is the foster daughter of Wu Li, one of Tian Hu's generals. Zhang Qing had met Qiongying earlier in mystical dreams, and was asked by a mysterious spirit to teach her his "flying stones" technique. In a ruse by Wu Yong, An Daoquan takes on the alias "Quan Ling" and gains entry into Wu Li (Qiongying's stepfather)'s residence in order to heal his arrow wounds, while Zhang Qing accompanies An Daoquan in disguise as his brother "Quan Yu". After gaining the trust of Wu Li with Zhang Qing's handsome appearance and expertise in martial arts, Zhang and Qiongying are married. On their wedding night, Zhang Qing reveals to Qiongying that he is actually one of the Liangshan generals, and Qiongying reveals that she is desperately trying to organise her own forces in order to avenge her parents, whom Tian Hu murdered, and that she is only fighting for Tian to gain the trust of his soldiers.
During the Fang La campaign, Zhang Qing and Dong Ping are assigned to attack Dusong Pass. Fang La's general Li Tianrun fights with Dong Ping and Dong is forced to retreat as his arm has been injured by cannon fire. Zhang Qing replaces Dong Ping and continues the fight with Li Tianrun. He attempts to spear Li Tianrun but misses and the sharp end of his spear is stuck in a tree. Zhang Qing tries to pull his spear out but fails and Li Tianrun seizes the opportunity to stab him in the abdomen and kill him. Upon hearing news of his death, Qiongying cried for days and later brings his body back to his hometown in Zhangde for a proper burial.
"Flying stones" technique
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (July 2010)|
Zhang Qing is a formidable opponent in combat for his "flying stones" technique, although he is ranked average in the use of his primary weapon, the spear, in comparison with the other Liangshan warriors. His "flying stones" technique is to simply fling heavy pebbles and stones at certain points on the face of an enemy with the mere flick of a finger. His stones often strike the enemy with extreme accuracy and power and stun them with the pain which follows. He usually targets the nose, centre of the brows, eyes or mouth. When the enemy is disabled after being hit, he will then proceed to finish off the enemy with his spear. His "flying stones" technique complement his elusiveness on horseback, as he often lures his opponents into a trap by feigning defeat and retreating. The opponent becomes an easy target when he comes nearer as Zhang Qing will attack him with the stones and then kill him. The only drawback of his technique is when his opponents manage to dodge the stones.
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