Zhang Qing (Featherless Arrow)
|Water Margin character|
|First appearance||Chapter 70|
|Rank||16th, Agile Star (天捷星) of the 36 Heavenly Spirits|
|Tiger Cub Vanguard General of Liangshan|
|Ancestral home / Place of origin||Zhangde Prefecture (present-day Anyang, Henan)|
Zhang Qing is a fictional character in 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 novel describes Zhang Qing's appearance as such: a handsome, energetic and agile warrior with a waist like a wolf's, arms like an ape's, and a body like a tiger's. He is from Zhangde Prefecture (彰德府; present-day Anyang, Henan), and is first introduced in the novel as an imperial general serving in Dongchang Prefecture (東昌府; in present-day Liaocheng, Shandong). He is nicknamed "Featherless Arrow" because of his "flying stones" technique, which he uses in combat. This technique allows him to, with the mere flick of a finger, fling pebbles and small stones at an opponent's face with extreme accuracy. When his opponents are stunned and temporarily disabled after being hit, he will use the opportunity to kill or capture them.
When the outlaws from Liangshan Marsh attack Dongchang Prefecture, the prefect orders Zhang Qing to lead Dongchang's army to counter the outlaws. Zhang Qing wins the first battle after injuring Hao Siwen with his flying stones. In the subsequent battles, he 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 heroes who manage to put up a fight against his flying stones are Guan Sheng and Dong Ping, due to their quick reflexes. Guan Sheng succeeds in defending himself from the stones with his Great Blade 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 while the latter feigns defeat and pretends to 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 at 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 convince him to join the outlaw band at Liangshan. Zhang Qing tricks the prefect of Dongchang Prefecture into opening the city gates; the Liangshan forces swarm in and capture the city. He also 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. He strikes fear in the hearts of the Liao army for slaying several Liao generals in battle with his "flying stones" technique.
During the campaign against the rebel leader Tian Hu, Zhang Qing earns the highest credit for victory after capturing Tian with the help of Qiongying, the foster daughter of one of Tian's generals. Zhang Qing marries Qiongying and they have a son, Zhang Jie (張節).
During the final campaign against the rebel leader Fang La, Zhang Qing and Dong Ping are assigned to attack Dusong Pass (獨松關; located south of present-day Anji County, Huzhou, Zhejiang), where they encounter the enemy general Li Tianrun. Dong Ping fights with Li but is forced to retreat after his arm is injured by cannon fire. Zhang takes over Dong's place and continues fighting with Li. He tries to spear Li but misses and the sharp end of his spear gets stuck in a tree. Li seizes the opportunity to stab him in the abdomen and kill him when he is trying to pull out his spear.
Zhang Qing's body is brought back to Zhangde Prefecture and given a proper burial.
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