Afterwards, he dressed Gongfu’s wounds himself, tracing a worried hand over every mark. He’d given orders to make the ordeal look bloody and painful while inflicting as little harm as possible, but a whipping was a whipping.
“I’ve done you a great wrong,” he began.
“Can it, Gongjin. It wouldn’t have worked with anybody else. Besides, eventually it’ll just be another scar I can brag about.”
He began dabbing ointment and noticed the suppressed flinch. “I can imagine: ‘This was when my colleague had me beaten within inches of my life’.”
“No: ‘This was when we triumphed at Chi Bi.'”
Unnecessarily Long and Tiresome Authoress’ Notes:
Gongfu is Huang Gai’s style name, while Gongjin is Zhou Yü’s. (Hooray for word count efficiency.)
As Zhuge Liang says in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, “The one being stricken merely needs to endure bodily pain. The one who ordered the beating must also suffer wounds of the heart.”