The Legend of the Condor Heroes – Chapter 23

“You are not lying?” Zhou Botong delightfully asked.

Huang Rong smiled, “’yi yan ji chu, si ma nan zhui’ [lit. when a word already leaves, it is difficult for four horses to chase].”

During the spring when Huang Rong left home to go north, she visited Hangzhou for one day; but this city was too close to the Peach Blossom Island. She was afraid her father might find her here, hence she did not dare to stay too long, and so her visit was a quick one. This time the day was long and nothing burdened her mind. Hand in hand with Guo Jing they went to the West Lake (xi hu).

She noticed Guo Jing’s countenance was dark, she knew he worried about their master’s injury. “Shifu said there is one person in this world who can heal his injury,” Huang Rong said, “Only he did not allow me to ask. From the way he talked, it must be that Emperor Duan; but we don’t know where he is. We must find a way to ask him to treat and heal Shifu.”

“That’s great,” Guo Jing happily said, “Rong’er, do you think we can ask him?”

Huang Rong replied, “I am still thinking of how we can ask. During our meal today I tried to fish out some information from Shifu’s mouth. He was just about to say; too bad he realized it and stopped talking immediately. Eventually I must find this information from him.” Guo Jing knew her ability very well, he was greatly relieved.

While talking they arrived at the Broken Bridge by the lakeside. That ‘duan qiao can xue’ [the broken bridge where people can see the remnant of the snow] was one of the West Lake’s famous scenery; only it was summer so what they saw was the lotus under the bridge. Huang Rong saw a neat little wine shop by the lakeside. “Let’s drink a cup of wine while enjoying the lotus,” she said.

“Very good,” Guo Jing agreed. Two people went in and sat down. The shopkeeper delivered some wine and dishes of meat which tasted very good. Two people drank wine while enjoying the scenery; they were in a good mood.

Huang Rong saw a screen by the eastern window, covered with jade-green muslin. Obviously the shop owner regarded the screen as a very precious object. Her curiosity was piqued; she went over to take a closer look. Turned out underneath the muslin there was a poem inscribed on the screen; it was the ‘feng ru song’ [wind entering the pine], which read:

‘Spring time is always spent wasting money, drinking daily by the lakeside. Riding a buckskin horse along the road toward the West Lake, proudly passing in front of a tavern. Singing and dancing amidst the sweet fragrance of red apricots, swinging in the shadow of green willows. Warm wind embraced ten ‘li’s of beautiful women and sky, crushed flowers adorned the side of their temples. Picturesque boats carrying incense going back and forth are like smoke covering the water. Comeback tomorrow carrying the remnant of drunkenness, coming to seek the fancy golden inlaid on the pathway.’

Huang Rong said, “This poem is a good one”.

Guo Jing asked her to explain the meaning of the poem. The more he listened, the more upset he became, said, “This is the capital of the Great Song Dynasty, these government officials spend their days drinking wine and enjoying flowers, don’t they care nor even pay attention to the affair of the country?”

Huang Rong replied, “Exactly, these people talk shamelessly!”

Suddenly someone behind them said, “Humph! What do you two know enough to talk nonsense here?”

They turned around and saw a man dressed as a scholar, roughly 40 years of age, sneering at them. Guo Jing greeted the scholar by cupping his hand and said, “Junior does not understand and would like to ask Mister for advice.”

That man replied, “This is the most splendid work of Yu Guobao in the year of Chun Xi. That year Emperor Gao Zong Tai Shang came to drink wine, he saw the work and praised it greatly. That very same day the emperor granted Yu Guobao a government position. This is a scholar’s lifelong dream; and the two of you absurdly ridicule it!”

“So because the Emperor saw this screen that the innkeeper covers it with a jade-green muslin?” Huang Rong asked.

That man coldly laughed and said, “How can it be so? Look at the sentence ‘Comeback tomorrow carrying the remnant of drunkenness’ on the screen. Do you see that this one sentence has two corrected characters?”

Huang Rong and Guo Jing examined closer and found the character ‘fu’ [carrying up or supporting somebody up] was formerly ‘xie’ [bringing/carrying along], and the character ‘zui’ [drunkenness] was actually ‘jiu’ [wine].

The man then said, “Yu Gaobao originally intended to write ‘Comeback tomorrow bringing the remnant of the wine’. The Tai Shang Emperor smiled and said, ‘Although this phrase is good, it is rather simple-minded’. Hence he took a brush to correct these two characters. That was truly heaven sent wisdom and farsightedness, purifying iron into gold.” He swayed his head and sighed as if he was enjoying incessantly.

Guo Jing listened and became angry. He loudly yelled, “This emperor Gao Zong put Qin Gui in an important position, to harm and kill Master Yue [General Yue Fei]!” His leg flew and kicked the screen, smashing it. He grabbed backward to catch the scholar and push him forward. With a splashing sound the wine spilled everywhere; that man, head up feet down, sank into the wine vat.

Huang Rong loudly applauded and laughed, “I too will make correction on these two sentences; they are, ‘Today standing upright spoiling the wine, the gentleman sank into the vat drunk.”

The scholar emerged from the wine jar, as wine was dripping from his head, he said, “The oblique tone of ‘drunk’ does not rhyme well.”

Huang Rong replied, “‘Wind entering the pine’ does not rhyme well. My poem ‘Man entering the jar’ rhymes better!” She extended her hand and firmly pressed his head down inside the wine jar, then flipped the table over, causing a disorderly burst. Both the customers and the wine shop keeper scrambled out the shop. Guo Jing and Huang Rong rose up; they pounded and smashed all the wine vats, pots and cauldrons. Finally using the ’18-Dragon Subduing Palms’ Guo Jing exerted all his strength to strike the main pillar of the inn, causing the roof to collapse. For a brief moment, a large restaurant transformed into a ruin made of wood, hardly resembling anything.

Guo Jing and Huang Rong laughed loudly. Holding each other’s hand, they walked to the north. Nobody knew where did these couple of mad young man and young woman come from; who dared to pursue?

Guo Jing laughed, “That was a good beating, all the bad air in my chest went away completely.”

Huang Rong happily replied, “Whenever we see anything unsightly, we will break it.”

Guo Jing replied, “Good!”

Since leaving the Peach Blossom Island, two people went through many unfavorable situations. Although they were reunited, their teacher suffered a serious and difficult to heal injury, making their hearts constantly heavy. This time unexpectedly they had a chance to break up a restaurant; it had helped to vent their frustration. The couple leisurely walked along the lakeshore and saw poems everywhere: on the rocks, on the trees, on the pavilions and on the walls. They were either leisure travelers bidding their farewell, or young men expressing their love.

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