Guo Jing was shocked, straightaway he examined Huang Rong’s face, and indeed he could see a layer of dark shadow in between her eyebrows like it was smeared with ink. His heart turned cold, immediately he held Huang Rong up and with a trembling voice asked, “Rong’er, you … how do you feel?”
Huang Rong felt her chest and abdomen fiery hot while her four limbs were icy cold. She knew that that lady did not speak nonsense; she sighed and said, “Jing Gege, during these three days, don’t ever leave me even for a single step. Can you?”
“I … I won’t leave you even for half a step,” Guo Jing said.
Ying Gu sneered and said, “Even if you won’t leave her for half a step, you will only have seventy-two hours.”
Guo Jing raised his head up, his eyes full of tears. He looked at that lady earnestly implored her not to say anything that might hurt Huang Rong’s feeling.
Ying Gu was an unfortunate woman, dozens of years of suffering had given her a calloused heart. Seeing these two people who loved each other were going through a disaster, her heart was filled with delight. She was going to say something to hurt their feeling when she saw Guo Jing’s miserable expression. Suddenly an idea come flashing like a lightning strike in her mind, she thought, “Ah, ah, the heaven sent these two here to help me fulfill my wish to revenge.” She lifted her head and mused, “Heaven, oh Heaven!”
At that time the sound of people shouting outside the forest was getting louder. Apparently they had searched everywhere and came to the conclusion that Jing and Rong, two people were still in the forest; only they were unable to find the way to enter.
After about half a day, Qiu Qianren’s voice was heard calling out from outside the forest, “Divine Mathematician Ying Gu, Qiu from the Iron Palm requests an audience.” His words were shouted against the wind, but surprisingly could be heard clearly, an indication of a profound internal energy.
Ying Gu walked to the window, gather her ‘qi’ on her ‘dan tian’ and shouted back, “I usually don’t see outsiders; whoever comes to the black marsh die, don’t you know it?”
“There were one man and one woman who came into your black marsh; please deliver them to me,” Qiu Qianren replied.
“Who can come into my black marsh? Qiu Bangzhu underestimates Ying Gu too much,” Ying Gu called out.
Qiu Qianren let out a ‘hey, hey, hey’ cold laugh; seemed like he believed her words. Then they heard the shouting of the Iron Palm Clan people gradually getting father away. Ying Gu turned around to Guo Jing and asked, “Do you want to save your martial sister?”
Guo Jing was dumbstruck, immediately he bent his knees to kneel down and said, “If Senior is willing to give direction …”
Ying Gu’s face suddenly appeared to be covered with a layer of frost, sternly said, “Senior! Do you think I am old?”
“No, no!” Guo Jing hastily said, “Not too old.”
Slowly Ying Gu’s eyes moved from Guo Jing to look outside the window, she muttered softly, “Not too old. Hmm, after all, that means I am old.”
Guo Jing was happy and anxious at the same time; listening to the way she talked, looked like Huang Rong could be saved. But his words had offended her, he was not sure if she was still willing to render assistance. He wanted to say something to correct himself, but actually did not know what to say.
Ying Gu turned back to him, saw him to be sweating profusely, looking so distressed; there was a stab of pain in her heart, “If only my man showed one-tenth of the compassion this dumb kid has, ay, my life won’t be in vain,” she said in her heart. Then she softly recited, “’Four weaving machines, the weaving of mandarin ducks desiring to fly together right away. It’s a pity; not yet old but the hair on the head has turned white. When the green spring grass ripples, in the deepest of dawn’s cold, standing face to face taking a bath wearing red clothes.’”
Listening to her reciting this short poem, Guo Jing’s heart was stirred, he silently thought, “It sounds familiar, I have heard it before.” But tried as he might, he could not remember who wrote it. It was not his Er Shifu [Second Master] Zhu Cong, it was not Huang Rong either; so with a low voice he asked, “Rong’er, who composed the poem she recited? What does it mean?”
Huang Rong shook her head, “This is the first time I hear it, I don’t know who composed it. Hmm, ‘It’s a pity not yet old but the hair on the head has turned white.’ That was good! Mandarin ducks always have white head …” [Translator’s note: ‘bai tou’ literally means ‘white head’, but can also translated as ‘white haired head’ or ‘old age’] Speaking to this point her eyes involuntarily turned toward Ying Gu’s grizzled hair. “Exactly ‘It’s a pity not yet old but the hair on the head has turned white.’!” she thought.
“Rong’er was taught by her father, she knows everything. If it was a well-known poem, she would definitely know who composed it,” Guo Jing thought, “Who recited this poem then? It couldn’t be her, couldn’t be her father, also I am sure it couldn’t be the Cloud Village’s Master Lu. But I am sure I have heard it before. Ay, it doesn’t matter who recited this poem as long as this Senior really has a way to save Rong’er. She asked me a question and I gave her a wrong answer. I wish I have a way to make amends. I don’t care what she will ask me to do …”
Presently Ying Gu was still immersed in the memory of her past; her face sometimes showed delight, sometimes showed sadness. In a short moment her heart was recalling decades’ worth of gratitude and grudges. Suddenly she raised her head up and said, “Your martial sister has been hit by Qiu’s Iron Palm. I don’t know if he restrained the strength of his palm, or if it was you who blocked his palm, that she did not die immediately. Either way, in just three short days … Hmm, there is only one man in this whole wide world who can save her life!”
Guo Jing was listening to every word she said, his heart was thumping madly. Hearing her last sentence he dropped down to his knees and ‘bonk, bonk, bonk’ knocking his head on the ground three times while calling out, “Please Sen … No, no. Please, help us. We will be forever grateful.”
Ying Gu coldly said, “Humph! Do I have the skill to save others? If I do have this divine power, why do I have to endure a damp and bitterly cold place like this?” Guo Jing did not dare to open his mouth. A moment later Ying Gu continued, “Just consider yourselves lucky you met me and I know this person’s whereabouts; also consider yourselves lucky that he lives not too far away; you might be able to reach his place within three days. Only whether that man is willing to help or not, it’s really hard to say.”