Half a pill of elixir.
Surrounded by the mountains, the floor of the Passionless Valley was vast, occupying about thirty thousand acres of land, with winding paths, towering hills, and deep ravines. But Yang Guo and Xiao Longnü used their lightness kungfu to follow the path on the map, and they arrived at their destination in just a short while. In front of them they saw several big elm trees, seventy or eighty-feet high, providing a shade for a brick and pottery kiln below. The map showed that the Indian monk and Zhu Ziliu were imprisoned here.
Yang Guo turned to Xiao Longnü and said, “You wait here. I’ll go in and take a look. With charcoal and ash in there, it must be very dirty.”
As he bent over to step into the kiln, he was hit by a heat wave.
“Who is there?” A voice shouted.
Yang Guo said, “I’ve got the chief’s order. I’m coming to get the prisoners.”
That person emerged from behind the brick wall and asked, “What?”
Seeing Yang Guo, he was startled and said, “You…You…”
Yang Guo saw that he was a valley disciple dressed in green so he said, “The chief has ordered me to come get the monk and the man surnamed Zhu.”
That disciple knew that Yang Guo had saved his master’s life, that she’d announced in front of everybody that Yang Guo was her intended son-in-law, and that he and Lu’E were on the best terms. This person would one day become the Valley Chief, and so he didn’t dare to offend Yang Guo.
He said, “But… what about the chief’s command sign?”
Yang Guo ignored him and said, “Let me come in and take a look.”
That disciple complied and turned back into the kiln.
Inside the brick walls, the heat was even more intense. Two lowly laborers were raking charcoal. Although it was bitterly cold at this time of year, the two people were actually bare-chested, each wearing short pants to cover his lower body. Still they were sweating profusely. The disciple in green pushed aside a big stone, revealing an opening. Yang Guo went inside and saw that it was actually a stone chamber of ten feet square. Zhu Ziliu sat there with his face to the wall, using his index finger to draw pictures. His arm rose and fell as if he was very pleased with himself. The Indian monk was actually lying on the floor, and it was hard to tell if he was still alive.
Yang Guo called out, “Uncle Zhu, how are you?”
Zhu Ziliu turned his head back. He laughed and said, “A friend has come to visit from afar; how could I not be fine?” Yang Guo had to admire him. He was stranded here for a long time but still kept calm as if everything was normal. Even in crisis, he could still be mirthful. He himself was far, far inferior to him in this regards.
“Is the Divine Monk sleeping?” He asked.
Having said this, his heart was beating wildly because Xiao Longnü’s life depended on this Divine Indian Monk.
Zhu Ziliu didn’t reply. Only after a while he let out a gentle sigh and said, “My Martial Uncle can usually withstand heat and cold much better than I can, but this time…”
It sounded like the Indian monk’s condition was critical. Frightened, Yang Guo didn’t bother to say any more words. He turned his head to the disciple in green. He ordered, “Unlock the door. Let them out.”
The disciple in green said in surprise, “What about the lock? The chief’s got the key. If she ordered you to free people, how come she didn’t give you the key?”
Impatient, Yang Guo shouted, “Make way!”
He lifted his black iron sword and struck down, making a big hole in the stone wall with a ‘ka’ sound. That disciple let out an ‘ah’ cry and froze with fright. Yang Guo swung his sword a few more times and that five-inch window became wide enough for a person to pass through.
Zhu Ziliu cried out, “Brother Yang, I congratulate you on your great skills!”
He bent over to pick up the Indian monk, passing him through that hole. As Yang Guo took him, he could feel that the Indian monk’s arm was warm. His heart jumped. But then he saw that the Indian monk’s eyes were shut tight. He thought to himself, “Aiyo, even a dead body is warm in this fire room.”
He quickly stretched his hand to feel the Indian monk’s breath and realized he was still breathing faintly.
Zhu Ziliu jumped out from that hole in the wall. He said, “Martial uncle has passed out. Hope it’s not a great obstacle.”
Yang Guo blushed. He thought to himself, “Shame on you!”
He thought about how he himself didn’t really care about the Indian monk’s well being but more about how to save his own wife.
He asked, “Did he pass out from heat exhaustion? Let’s quickly go outside to get some air.”
Then he carried him out.
Seeing the three people, Xiao Longnü was delighted.
Yang Guo said, “Let’s find some cold water to sprinkle on Reverend’s face.”
“No, Martial uncle was poisoned by the Passion Flowers.” Zhu Ziliu said.
Yang Guo was startled. He asked, “Is the poison severe?”
Zhu Ziliu replied, “I think not. It was he who poisoned himself.”
Yang Guo and Xiao Longnü were puzzled. In one voice, they exclaimed, “What?”
With a sign Zhu Ziliu said, “Uncle said that these Passion Flowers were already extinct in India. He didn’t know how it had been spread. He said that if it got out of hand, it would be a great disaster. Years ago, people and livestock in India had been poisoned and died because of these flowers. Martial uncle had thoroughly researched poison techniques but this Passion Flower poison was really strange. He came to the valley this time, knowing that the Divine Pill (Passionless Pill) could only help one person. He wanted to find out what could detoxify the poison to help people on a large scale. He used his body to test the poison so he would understand its nature and be able to find the antidote.”
Yang Guo was half amazed and half in awe. He said, “Buddha said – if I don’t go to hell who will? Reverend is trying to save people, not hesitating to face a disaster. People really have to respect him.”
Zhu Ziliu said, “In an ancient tale, Shen Nong tried a hundred kinds of herbs to save people. If it was the wrong herb, his face would turn blue. This Martial Uncle of mine must have had this story in mind.”
Yang Guo nodded and said, “Right. Do you know when he will regain consciousness?”
“After he poisoned himself, he said if his calculation was not wrong, he would wake up after three days and three nights,” said Zhu Ziliu.
Yang Guo and Xiao Longnü looked at each other. They both thought, “He’ll be in a coma for three days and three nights. It means the poison is very severe. Fortunately this Passion Flower poison affects people differently. If one has a passionate heart, the poison will act up very fiercely. This monk has a steady heart. He’s much better than an average person.”
Xiao Longnü said, “You two were in the kiln, how did you find Passion Flowers?”
Zhu Ziliu replied, “After we were put in the fire room, there was a girl who often came to visit…”
Xiao Longnü said, “Was she a tall girl with fair complexion and a small mole on one corner of her mouth?”