Life and death are indistinct.
When Guo Xiang saw Jinlun Fawang ruthlessly kill the Long Beard Ghost and the Big Head Ghost her heart was filled with sorrow; yet she knew it would be impossible to get away from his vicious hands, so she said, “Quickly kill me, what are you waiting for?”
Fawang laughed, “Killing a cute girl like you is too easy. But I have killed two men, and that’s enough for today. I’ll deal with you after a few days. For now just follow me.” Guo Xiang knew fighting him would be futile, she thought she’d better follow him and wait for a good opportunity to escape. So she just made faces at him, stuck her tongue out and unhurriedly mounted the horse.
Fawang was very pleased, he silently thought, “The Emperor wanted to have Guo Jing’s life at all costs, but has never been able to succeed. Today I caught Guo Jing’s beloved daughter; he could be forced to surrender. If Guo Jing is not willing to surrender, we will just torture the girl below the city wall; that way Guo Jing’s mind will be disturbed so that Xiangyang’s defenses will be weakened.”
That evening they stopped by an empty house along their way. The people had left the area early on; all the villages were desolate. They were fortunate to find a house with its four walls intact. Jinlun Fawang gave his dried biscuits to Guo Xiang, and then let the girl sleep inside a room while he sat meditating in the main hall.
Guo Xiang was tossing and turning; how could she sleep well? Around midnight she heard Fawang’s snore, she took a peek and saw him sitting against the wall. She was delighted. Carefully she opened the window and snuck out. She then tore her robe into four pieces, with which she wrapped her horse’s hoofs. Then she walked her horse carefully away. After about half a ‘li’ (about ¼ km) she did not see Fawang following, so she mounted the horse and galloped to the northwest. She thought that when Fawang awoke; he would think Guo Xiang was running south, back to Xiangyang. The horse ran for about an hour then slowed down because of fatigue. She often looked back, still no Fawang in sight. She kept moving for about fifty or sixty li, and only then did she feel relieved.
Guo Xiang arrived at a little pathway going up a small hill. She followed that path going higher and higher. The path was turning in front of her, when, out of the blue, she heard somebody snoring very loudly like the rumble of thunder. She saw somebody was sleeping across the path in front of her and she almost fell off the horse’s back! It was Jinlun Fawang, with his baldhead and yellow robe. She turned her horse around and galloped downhill as fast as her horse could carry her, this time toward the southeast. She looked back and saw Fawang was still sleeping soundly.
A moment later she got to a small forest, with a lot of trees. Again, she was shocked! A man was hanging by his feet from a tree branch. Who else if not Jinlun Fawang? By now she was enraged. Jinlun Fawang was looking at her and laughed mockingly.
“If you want to capture me, just do it! Why would you play a crazy game like this?” she said. She charged her horse toward him, and suddenly swung her whip toward the monk’s face. Her horse leaped forward at the same time so that they passed the monk. Then she tried to pull her whip back, but she felt a strong force pulling her in the opposite direction; her body was lifted up from the saddle. When the whip was lashing toward Fawang, the monk opened his mouth and bit it, he then pulled the whip and Guo Xiang was pulled towards him.
Airborne, Guo Xiang did not panic; she saw Fawang stoop to snatch her, and deliberately let go of the whip so that she fell down. Fawang was shocked, he thought she was too weak to hold on to the whip and that’s why she fell. Immediately he jumped down and readied himself to catch her. “Watch out!” he said.
“Aiyo!” Guo Xiang pretended to be hurt. Her body was only two feet away from the monk. Suddenly she exerted her energy and threw both hands toward the monk’s chest in rapid succession. ‘Bang! Bang!’ Fawang fell down and looked to her like he’d fainted. Even though Fawang’s skill was high, he had not expected Guo Xiang would launch a sneak attack like that.
Guo Xiang was delighted; it was better than what she had expected. Quickly she lifted up a big rock to smash his baldhead. But she had never killed anybody in her life before. True, this monk had killed two of her friends, but still she did not have a heart to kill him. Finally she put the stone down, and thrust her fingers out to seal Fawang’s accupoints: ‘heavenly support’ [tian ding] on his neck, and ‘body pillar’ [shen zhu] on his back. Then she sealed ‘divine grace’ [shen feng] on his chest, ‘crystal cold abyss’ [qing leng yuan] on his arm, ‘windy city’ [feng shi] on his leg and few others. In one breath her hands moved rapidly, sealing a total of thirteen accupoints. She was not satisfied yet. She lifted four heavy stones, of about a dozen jins each, and placed them on top of Fawang’s body.
“Wicked man…Oh, wicked man!” she said, “Today your Miss does not want to kill you, but remember that you should repent and not hurt anybody anymore.” Then she mounted her horse ready to leave.
Jinlun Fawang suddenly opened up his eyes, looked at her and laughed, “Little Miss, you have a very kind heart,” he said, “This old monk likes you very much!”
While he was still talking, the four stones on his body suddenly flew up and fell crashing down with a loud noise, while the monk himself leaped up. Somehow he managed to unseal his own thirteen accupoints. Guo Xiang was so startled that she froze.
Fawang indeed was hit by Guo Xiang, but he wasn’t injured. The martial arts level between them was like heaven and earth. Fawang only pretended to fall down and faint. He was curious as to what Guo Xiang would do to him. He let his accupoints be sealed and even let Guo Xiang place big stones on his body. He thought, “This child has a kind heart, much better than my two disciples. She is perfect.” Right then and there he decided to take Guo Xiang as his disciple.
Jinlun Fawang had three disciples. His first disciple was well versed in martial arts and literature. He was very talented and Fawang had intended to make him his successor. It’s a pity he died very young. His second disciple, Da’erba, was naïve and simple; his talent was just average. His third disciple was Prince Hou Dou; he had an ill character and moreover, he betrayed his master and martial brother. Fawang was disappointed. He had reached the pinnacle of martial arts. He was a monk, therefore, no children. The only way he could pass on his skill was by taking on disciples. If not, in a hundred years, wouldn’t his exquisite martial arts vanish? Therefore, seeing Guo Xiang was talented and kind hearted, he immediately made a decision to take her as his successor. He did not care if Guo Xiang was his enemy’s daughter. Wasn’t she still young and innocent? He was certain that eventually he would be able to shape her character. Because of this thought he gave up his original plan of torturing Guo Xiang and disturbing Guo Jing’s mind.
Guo Xiang stared at the monk. His eyes rolled, his mouth shut. She dismounted her horse and came near him.
“Old Monk,” she said, “your skill is very high, it’s a pity you have a wicked heart.”
“If you admire my skill,” said the monk, laughing, “take me as your master. I’ll teach you everything I know.”
“Pfft!” Guo Xiang snickered, “Why would I learn a Monk’s skill? I don’t want to be a nun!”
Fawang laughed. “How could learning my skills make you a nun?” he said, “You have sealed my accupoints, I unsealed them myself. You put stones on me, those stones flew up. You have run away riding a horse, but I could sleep in front of your horse! Don’t you think all those skills are worth learning?”
Guo Xiang knew the monk was highly skilled, but she also knew he was ruthless. How could she take him as her master? Besides, she was busy looking for Yang Guo. She didn’t want to waste any time chitchatting with the monk. So she shook her head.
“Even if you have a higher skill, I still don’t want to take a wicked man like you as my master!” she honestly said.