Original translation by Foxs
Two people walked forward following the mountain pathway and before long the pathway had come to an end. Ahead was a stone bridge about one foot wide, perched in between two mountain peaks, covered with cloud that the other end was invisible. If this stone bridge were laid on the ground, it would act just like a narrow alley, nothing to be afraid of; but under the stone bridge was a deep canyon. Just looking at it would cause the heart to tremble with fear, let alone walk across it.
Huang Rong sighed, “This Emperor Duan hid himself really well. If an enemy came full of enmities arrived to this place, half of his hatred would disappear first,” she said.
“Why did that fisherman say Emperor Duan has left this mortal world?” Guo Jing asked, “He really caused my heart unrest.”
“I really cannot guess what he meant by that,” Huang Rong replied, “Looking at his face he didn’t seem to be lying. He also said that our Shifu saw it with his own eyes when Emperor Duan passed away.”
“Things have come this far, we can only move forward and not go back,” Guo Jing said. He squatted to carry Huang Rong on his back, and then with his lightness kungfu walked toward that stone bridge.
The stone bridge’s surface was bumpy, plus it was enveloped in thick cloud all year long, which made it exceptionally slippery. The slower they walked the higher was the chance for them to fall down. Hence Guo Jing dashed forward quickly. After about seven, eight ‘zhang’s later suddenly Huang Rong called out, “Careful, the bridge’s broken ahead.”
Guo Jing also saw that the stone bridge was suddenly broken with about seven, eight feet gap in between. Instead of slowing down he ran faster and borrowing the momentum he leaped across the gap.
Huang Rong had already gone through terrible danger; early on she had already disregarded life and death. She laughed and said, “Jing Gege, your flying is not as steady as the white eagles.”
Dashing through a section, jumping over a gap, very soon they had crossed seven such gaps. Across the mountain ahead they saw a stretch of flat land. Suddenly they heard someone was reading aloud. Looked like they had arrived at the end of the stone bridge, but at the end of the bridge there was actually a very long gap, almost a ‘zhang’ wide [about 10 feet or 3 meters]. On the other side of the gap a scholar was sitting cross-legged, a book in his hand, from which he was reading aloud. Behind the scholar there was another short gap.
Guo Jing halted, he stood firm on the bridge, he was at a loss of what to do next, “Jumping over this gap is not too difficult,” he thought, “But that scholar is sitting right in the middle of the bridge; other than the place he occupies, there is no place I can set my feet on.” Thereupon with a loud voice he called out, “Juniors are seeking audience with your Honorable Master, we are asking Uncle to show us the way.”
The scholar’s head was swaying while he read with rapt attention, as if he did not hear Guo Jing. Guo Jing raised his voice and called out one more time, the scholar still turned a deaf ear to him. “Rong’er, what do we do?” Guo Jing said in a low voice.
Huang Rong frowned without saying anything, she looked at the place where that scholar was sitting and realized this matter could be complicated. The stone bridge was so narrow that fighting on it meant a life and death situation. Even if Guo Jing won, they were coming to seek help, how could they harm anybody? She looked at the scholar again, who still did not pay any attention, and could not help but secretly feel worried. She tried to listen to what the scholar was reading, and found out that it was the widely common book of ‘lun yu’ [Analects of Confucius]. He was reading: “An evening in the spring time, the spring garments were ready. Five, six people wearing hat, six, seven people were young. Taking a bath by the river bank, the breeze made the fountain dance, and the song carried back by the wind.”
He was reading with flourish and ardent interest, sighing three times, resembling the spring breeze carrying the song faraway, like he was enjoying the book immensely. Huang Rong thought, “If I want him to open his mouth, I must provoke him.” Thereupon she sneered and said, “It’s useless even if you read the Confucian Analects a thousand times but do not understand the Master’s sublime words with deep meaning.”
The scholar was startled and stopped reading immediately. He raised his head and said, “What sublime words with deep meaning? Please enlighten me.”
Huang Rong took a good look on that scholar; he looked to be around forty years of age, ‘xiao yao jin’ [scholar hat] on his head, a folding fan in his hand, a long black beard under his chin, truly he had a scholar’s appearance. She coldly laughed and asked, “Sire, do you know how many disciples Confucius had?”
The scholar smiled, “What’s so difficult about that?” he said, “Confucius had 3000 disciples altogether, among those, 72 were his best students.”
“From the 72 disciples, some were old and some were young,” Huang Rong continued, “Do you know how many disciples wore hat [meaning ‘older’] and how many were young?”
The scholar was startled and said, “It was not recorded in the Confucian Analects; other classics and commentaries also do not have that information recorded.”
“I said it’s useless if you do not understand the Master’s sublime words with deep meaning, did I say anything wrong?” Huang Rong asked. “I clearly heard you read just a moment ago, ‘Five, six people wearing hat; six, seven people were young.’ Five times six is thirty, there were 30 older disciples; six times seven is forty-two, there were 42 younger disciples. You add two numbers together and you will get exactly 72 people. I see you are reading without understanding. Hey! Dangerous! Really dangerous!”
The scholar heard how she made a strong argument on an obscure matter in the classic book, he could not stifle his laugh, but in his heart he also admitted her intelligence and quick-wit. He smiled and said, “Young Miss really has a mind filled with poetry books. My utmost admiration. You want to see my Shifu, may I know for what business?”
Huang thought, “If I say we are here to seek treatment, he will certainly do his utmost to make things difficult for us. But his question cannot be left unanswered. Fine. He was reading the ‘Confucian Analects’, I will also quote from Confucius to dodge his question.” Thereupon she said, “A Sage I don’t have to see! A Gentleman, I may see. A friend came from afar, isn’t that a delight to the heart?”
The scholar looked up to the sky and laughed hard for half a day. “All right, all right,” he said, “I have three subject tests for you. If you pass, I will take you to see my Shifu. But if you fail even one, I will have to ask you two to go back to where you came from.”
“Aiyo!” Huang Rong said, “I haven’t read too many books, if it is too difficult I might not be able to answer.”
“Not difficult, not difficult,” the scholar said, “I have a poem here, inside it hidden my origin in four characters. Let’s see if you can guess it.”
“Good, a riddle!” Huang Rong said, “It should be interesting. Please say it.”
The scholar twisted his beard and started to recite, “Six scriptures have been in the chest for a long time, one sword for ten years has been sharpened in the hand …”