Recuperating in a secret chamber.
Original translation by Foxs
Huang Rong had just walked two steps when she turned her head and saw Guo Jing’s suspicious look, as if he could see the murderous look on her own face; she thought, “I don’t have any problem killing Shagu, but later on Jing Gege might ask me about it.” She further thought, “He might not ask me about it; he might not even raise this matter, ever. But in his heart he might harbor hatred to me, that won’t be good. All right, we’ll just have to take this big risk.” She closed the door immediately and looked around the room carefully.
On the western corner near the roof of that small room there was a small ventilation window about one foot square, where the sunlight entered the room through a sheet of clamshell curtain. By this light they were able to see everything inside the room. The ventilation hole was dusty. Huang Rong took out her dagger and cleaned up the ventilation hole. The bad smell in the room still lingered, but they seemed unable to think about it. In light of the life and death experience they faced earlier, the smelly and dusty room felt like paradise to them.
Guo Jing leaned on the wall; he smiled slightly and said, “There is no better place for us to treat my injury than in this room. Only we are accompanied by two dead people. Are you afraid?”
In her heart Huang Rong was actually scared, but she determined not to think about it. She said with a smile, “One was my Shige [martial brother], he certainly won’t harm me; the other was a rice bucket government official. Alive he wouldn’t scare me, become a ghost he could scare me even less by becoming a ghost.”
Immediately she kicked two sets of skeletons towards the northern corner of the room. She took the straw mat of the watermelon and spread it out on the ground; then she piled up the several dozens of watermelon around it within arms reach. “What do you think?” she asked.
“Very good,” Guo Jing replied, “Now we can start.”
Huang Rong helped him to sit on the straw; she also sat cross-legged on his left. When she lifted her head, she saw a small hole eyelet the size of a coin on the wall right in front of her. She looked through it and to her delight she saw a mirror on which she could see the entire room outside. Apparently the people who built this secret room had planned it thoroughly; so when they were hiding inside this room from the enemies, they could still observe the activity outside through the mirror. Only it had been a long time and the mirror was covered with thick dust. She took out a handkerchief and wrapped her index finger with it; then she poked inside the hole to clean the mirror.
She saw Shagu was sitting on the ground throwing pebbles around, her mouth humming some tune, but Huang Rong could not hear clearly what she was singing. Huang Rong pressed her ear to the hole to listen; turned out Shagu was humming a lullaby, “Swing, swing, swing; swing to the grandmother’s bridge; grandmother calls me the precious baby …”
At first Huang Rong felt funny, but then the more she listened, the more she felt the touching emotion that song brought. Her heart overflowed with tender affection. She could not help but think: Could it be this song was the one her mother sang to her when she was little …? “If my mother did not die, would she sing like this to me?” Thinking of this her eyes turned moist.
Guo Jing saw her sad expression and said, “What are you thinking? My injury is not that bad, don’t feel so sad.”
Huang Rong put out her hand to wipe her tears and said, “Quickly teach me the internal energy cultivation technique.” Thereupon Guo Jing started to slowly recite the ‘treating injury’ chapter of the Nine Yin Manual.
There was a saying among the martial art practitioners, ‘learn how to take a beating first before learning how to beat someone,’ So the most basic lesson in martial art was how to take a beating without getting seriously injured. When the martial art became more profound, the practitioner must learn how to protect their own body and defend their own lives, sealing acupoints to treat an injury, setting up broken bones and curing poison wound, and all kinds of advance techniques. Better techniques would result in better skill; it did not matter if one’s martial art skill was unmatched, there would come a day when he would fall. The ‘treating injury’ of the Nine Yin Manual explained how a highly skilled martial artist would use his own internal energy to treat the injury, how to circulate the energy in internal injury treatment. As for the broken bones or weapon-inflicted wounds or other external injury treatment, it was assumed that the person who practiced the Manual did not need further instructions.
Huang Rong needed to listen only once and she would remember forever. There were several unclear passages in the Manual, which they needed to discuss in detail. One had a strong foundation in Quanzhen Sect’s internal energy cultivation, the other had an extraordinary intelligence; with some deliberations they were able to understand almost everything. And so Huang Rong held out her right hand, clasping Guo Jing’s left, they started to train diligently according to the technique from the Manual.
After training for four hours they took a short break. Huang Rong’s left hand grabbed a knife and cut a watermelon, which she divided into parts and fed some to Guo Jing, all the while their hands were clasping each other. Training for several hours more, the tightness in Guo Jing’s chest gradually lessened, the warm energy from Huang Rong’s palm slowly dispersed into his body’s hundreds of bones, the soreness on his waist was indeed gradually reduced. He thought the technique contained in this Manual was truly incomparable; he did not dare to be negligent and proceeded diligently.
When the time came for them to take the third break, the light streaming from the ventilation window gradually dimmed. It was near dusk. Not only did Guo Jing feel his chest a lot less constricted, but Huang Rong also felt invigorated. Two people chatted before continuing their training. Suddenly they heard footsteps running quickly and stop in front of the inn then several people came in.
An insolent voice shouted, “Quickly get some dishes out, your masters here are starving!”
They recognized that the voice belonged to San Tou Jiao [Three-headed Scaly Dragon] Hou Tonghai. Guo Jing and Huang Rong looked at each other in surprise. Huang Rong quickly looked into the small hole and to her surprised she saw on the mirror not only Hou Tonghai, but Wanyan Honglie, Ouyang Feng, Yang Kang, Peng Lianhu and the others. Huang Rong did not know where Shagu went to play.
Hou Tonghai slapped the table and made quite a racket, but nobody came out. Liang Ziweng went out and walked around the building. He frowned and said, “Nobody lives here.” Hou Tonghai volunteered to go to the village and buy some wine and dishes.
Ouyang Feng found a spot protected from the blowing wind and spread some straw; then he carried his nephew and gently placed him on the straw, let him calmly lie down to heal from his broken legs.
Peng Lianhu said with a laugh, “Those palace guards, although they are useless, they are everywhere like a ghost haunting us, so for the whole day we did not have time to even stop and eat. Wangye [Prince, lit. king master], you are a northerner, yet you know that by the Qiantang River there is a desolate village and led all of us here. Truly nothing is hidden from your knowledgeable mind.”