The three test questions.
Original translation by Sunnysnow
When Huang Rong returned back to the inn for the night, she though in her heart how she had done a good deed and was extremely delighted. Following that, she fell into a sweet sleep, and told Guo Jing all about it when she awoke the next morning. Guo Jing had actually spent a lot of effort on this matter. The last time, he got into a messy situation and had to fight for his life with Wanyan Kang. And he was also forced to marry Mu Nianci, so when he heard that Mu Nianci and Yang Kang were in love, he secretly felt relieved and happy, especially since Qiu Chu Ji and the six freaks of Jiangnan would not be able to force him to marry Mu Nianci anymore. He ate and chatted with Huang Rong and after some time, Mu Nianci still had not come.
Huang Rong smiled and said, “ We don’t have to wait for her, let’s just go.”
Following that, she went back into her room and put on a male disguise. Both of them went to the market and got a camel and rode to the Jiang residence. When they saw the lantern, which read ‘The Jin Ambassador’ at the door smashed, they thought that Wanyan Kang must have left and Mu Nianci must have followed him.
Guo Jing and Huang Rong decided to tour the countryside and rowed a boat to the south of the Yun River. They were lucky that day to see the famous Tao city, which specialized in pottery making. The rows of ceramic creations made with purple sand and clay laid amongst the green hills and blue waters which formed a beautiful sight. They traveled towards the east and not long after, chanced upon a huge lake. Since the lake was situated between three cities and it took about five hundred miles to reach east or south, the lake was named Five Lake. Guo Jing had never seen such huge waters before and pulled Huang Rong to the lakeside. They saw the sky far away from them, a huge, never-ending space in front, with the lake in the middle and couldn’t help but yell out happily.
Huang Rong said, “ Lets go and play on the lake.”
They found a fishing village near the lake, borrowed a small boat and left the camel with the owner before rowing out into the waters. After some distance away from the shore, the space between all four corners looked so empty and huge, and the lake seemed like heaven to them.
Huang Rong’s robes and hair floated gently in the wind and she smiled, “ Long ago, Advisor Fan escorted Xi Shi across the Five Lake…what a clever man. His court position is nothing compared to the peaceful life here.”
Guo Jing didn’t know anything about Advisor Fan’s story and asked, “ Rong’er, how about you tell me the story.”
Huang Rong began to tell about how Fan Li helped King Yue avenge the Yue kingdom and how he successfully retreated with Xi shi to a peaceful life on Lake Tai. And she continued about how Wu Zi Xu and Wen Zhong were killed by King Wu and Kind Yue respectively.
Guo Jing was in a daze after listening to the storey and after a while, he recovered and said, “ Fan Li is clever, but Wu Zi Xu and Wen Zhong are admirable too, for dying for their country,”
Huang Rong gave a little laugh, “ Absolutely. As the saying goes, if a country is virtuous and one does not change, he is the strongest. If a country is corrupted, and one still does not change as well, he remains the strongest.
Guo Jing asked, “What does this mean?”
Huang Rong replied, “ If a country is virtuous, though one rises up to be a powerful official, one would still be as alert and cautious as before. When the country becomes weak one day, and you are still willing to die for your country, then you are the real hero.”
Guo Jing nodded his head and said, “ Rong’er, how clever of you to think of this!”
Huang Rong laughed, “ Ah yar! If I could think of this, I would be a saint. These are Confucius sayings which my father taught me when I was young.”
Guo Jing sighed, “ There are so many matters I can never understand. If I had read more book and learnt more sayings, I would have understood more.”
Huang Rong said, “ That may not always be the case. My father always tells me that a lot of sayings by saints and scholars are nothing but rubbish. I often see my father reading and saying out loud ‘ No, No what nonsense, this is atrocious!’ Sometimes, he would also say ‘ What saint! A pack of rubbish!’”
Guo Jing laughed out loud upon hearing how Huang Rong described her father.
Huang Rong continued, “ I somehow regret spending so much time studying novels and practicing art and calligraphy. If I hadn’t pestered my father to teach me such stuff as well as all sorts of other things such as the interesting ways of calculations, I would have devoted more time to practice my martial skills and we wouldn’t have to be afraid of people like Mei Chao Feng and the old Liang creature! But don’t worry brother Jing, you’ve learnt Qi Gong’s ’18 but short of 3 dragon subduing palms’ and thus, you don’t have to fear that old Liang creature anymore.”
Guo Jing shook his head and said, “ I don’t think that’s possible.”
Huang Rong laughed and said, “ It’s a pity Qi Gong left, if not, I would have confiscated and hide his dog beating stick and force him to teach you the remaining three stances before returning it to him.
Guo Jing hurriedly said, “ No, no. I’m more than satisfied to be able to learn these fifteen stances. How can we make trouble for Senior Qi Gong?”
Both started chatting and stopped rowing, allowing the wind to sail the boat freely. Unknowingly, they were already miles away from the shore. They saw a fisherman lazily fishing from a boat, not far away and there was a servant at the tip of the boat.
Huang Rong pointed and said, “ As the mist clears, one can see the shape of a straight bamboo rod, it’s just like a painting of water inked scenery.”
Guo Jing asked, “ What’s water inked scenery?”
Huang Rong answered, “ That’s paintings which uses only blank ink and no other colours.”
Guo Jing saw the green hills, blue waters, white clouds, and orange sun but could not find anything black in colour. He shook his head and did not understand Huang Rong’s words. Huang Rong chatted more with Guo Jing. After she turned around, she saw that the fisherman was still sitting straightly in front of the boat and his rod had not move an inch.
Huang Rong laughed, “ This person does have a lot of patience.”