“Rong’er,” Guo Jing said, “Can you just not mention life and death anymore?”
Huang Rong lowered her head and laughed, she gently blew her breath on the back of Guo Jing’s neck. Guo Jing felt his neck warm and itchy, he called out, “Don’t give me trouble! If my hands slip, both of us will plunge to our death.”
Huang Rong laughed, “Fine!” she said, “This time it wasn’t me who talk about life and death!”
Guo Jing laughed, he could not answer; he crawled up faster and a short moment later they got to the end, or to be precise, the root where the rattan grew. Turned out they had arrived at the peak. They had just set their feet on solid ground when suddenly a loud rumbling was heard, as if a mountain rock burst apart; and then they also heard an ox bellowing loudly, followed by a man’s loud shout.
Guo Jing was surprised, “This peak is so high, yet there is an ox here. So strange!” Carrying Huang Rong on his back he rushed toward the noise.
“The fisherman, the woodcutter, the farmer and the scholar. If there is a farmer, then there must be an ox,” Huang Rong said.
She had just finished talking when they saw a yellow ox on the hillside with its head lifted up, bellowing loudly; but the ox was actually in a very odd position. It was lying on its back on a rock, its four legs struggled but could not stand up. The rock was shaking, ready to fall down, below the rock was a man suspending the rock with both of his hands on top of his head like a letter T; if his hands slipped, both the rock and the ox would fall down into the canyon below. That man was standing on a piece of protruding cliff, there was nowhere he could step back. If he did not want to give that ox up, the rock would crush down and not only break his arms, but his legs as well. Looking at their condition, apparently that ox was grazing on a hillside and stepped on a loose rock. That man being near tried to save the ox by catching the rock but ended up in this precarious situation.
Huang Rong smiled, “Just now we heard the song ‘hillside sheep’, and now we see the ‘hillside ox’!” she said.
On that mountain peak there was a piece of flat land, already plowed ready for cultivation, about twenty ‘mu’s [around 1.6 acres or 2/3 of a hectare] rice field. There was a hoe by the edge of the field. The man who held the rock was bare-chested, his legs were covered with mud up to his knees; looked like the ox fell down when he was weeding the grass.
Huang Rong looked around to assess the situation, she mulled over in her heart, “This man obviously is the ‘farmer’ from ‘the fisherman, the woodcutter, the farmer and the scholar’. The ox weighs approximately three hundred catties [about 300 lbs or 150 kg]; looks like that rock is not lighter that the ox. Even though half of the rock is leaning on the hillside, yet looking at his steady feet, this man has an astonishing strength.”
Guo Jing had already put her down and rushed to help. Huang Rong hastily called out, “Not so fast, don’t be rash!” But Guo Jing thought helping others was more important; he had already arrived by the farmer’s side.
He crouched underneath the rock and lifted it up while saying, “I’ll hold it, you go and save the ox first!”
That farmer felt his load was getting lighter, but he was still afraid that Guo Jing might not be strong enough to support both the ox and the big rock. He let go his right hand and leaned to the side, but his left hand was still supporting the bottom of the rock. Guo Jing steadied his legs, then exerted his internal strength and pushed upward with both of his arms; the rock was lifted up for about a foot, giving that farmer an opportunity to let his left hand go.
The farmer waited for a moment. After seeing that the big rock would not crush down, he knew Guo Jing’s strength was enough to support it. Finally he stooped down and got out from underneath the rock, leaped to the hillside to save the yellow ox. He could not help but stealing a glance toward Guo Jing to see what kind of hero had suddenly come and offered help. He was astonished since what he saw was an eighteen, nineteen years old youngster. More surprisingly, this youngster’s hands were holding up the rock and the ox seemingly without straining himself.
That farmer was always proud of having an outstanding physical strength, but obviously this youngster’s strength was far above his. His suspicions arose; he also looked down the hillside and saw a young woman leaning against a rock, her facial expression was weary, like she was suffering from a serious illness. His suspicion deepened, “Friend, what are you doing here?” he asked Guo Jing.
“To seek an audience with your master,” Guo Jing replied.
“For what purpose?” the farmer asked again.
Guo Jing was startled and for an instant did not know how to reply. Huang Rong on the side called out, “Quickly pull the ox to safety first, it won’t be too late to ask question later. If his hands slip, won’t the man and the ox fall down together?”
The farmer thought, “These two are here to see Shifu, how come my two elder martial brothers down the mountain did not shoot whistling arrows? If these two broke through them, that means their martial arts are not to be trifled with. Now while his hands are not free, I need to understand this matter better.” Thereupon he asked, “Are you going to ask my Shifu to treat your injury?”
Guo Jing thought, “The people down the mountains are already aware anyway, there is no need to hide the truth from him.” He simply nodded his head.
The farmer’s countenance slightly changed, “I need to ask first,” he said. Without pulling the ox away he leaped down the hillside.
“Hey!” Guo Jing shouted, “Help me put down this rock first, then we can talk!”
The farmer smiled, “I will be back right away.”
Observing what was going on, Huang Rong had already guessed early on that farmer’s intention; he wanted to waste Guo Jing’s strength. He would deliberately wait for Guo Jing to be weary from suspending the rock, and then he would comeback and lent a hand. By that time it would be easy to expel these two people to go down the mountain. She hated herself for being injured at a time like this that she was unable to help Guo Jing shove away the big rock. She saw the farmer dashed out of the field, did not know when he would be coming back; she was anxious and angry at the same time. “Hey, Uncle!” she called out, “Please come back!”
That farmer paused and smiled, “He has a tremendous strength, nothing bad will happen to him in three-quarter or an hour time, don’t worry,” he said.