The Water Margin describes Sun Erniang as a fierce woman with a vicious and murderous look on her face. She has strong arms and legs that resemble clubs. She is well dressed and uses heavy cosmetics, which makes her resemble a yaksha and earns her the nickname "Female Yaksha". She is highly-skilled in martial arts.
Sun Erniang's father passes by Cross Slope one day and Zhang Qing attempts to rob him. Sun Erniang's father defeats Zhang Qing in the fight. He recognises Zhang Qing's talent for martial arts and accepts Zhang as an apprentice and marries his daughter to him later.
Zhang Qing and Sun Erniang run a tavern at Cross Slope in Mengzhou. They lure unwary travellers into their tavern for drinks and knock them out using drugs. They kill their victims and rob them of their valuables. They also make meat buns with human flesh fillings from their victims and serve them to customers. Sun Erniang attends to the tavern most of the time while her husband travels around and mingles with other jianghu figures.
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