Zhao Mi had an idea so she jumped down the horse and ran to the side. The two Mongolian soldiers immediately dismounted their horses to chase her.
“Aiyo!” Zhao Min screamed, while falling down to the ground. The bearded solder pounced on her, reaching out to grab her back. Zhao Min’s elbow struck backward and hit the vital acupoint on his chest. The bearded soldier grunted and fell on the spot. The other Yuan soldier did not see clearly what had happened to him, he continued his pounce toward her. Zhao Min repeated her trick earlier and struck his acupoint too.
Normally, she would be able to do these two strikes effortlessly, but this time she had to exert her entire strength that her head was soaked in cold sweat, and she felt as if all her strength was drained out. Propping herself against the ground, she stood up, and then helped Zhang Wuji dismount the horse. With the dagger in her hand she shouted, “Dog thieves! You have defied your superior. Do you want to live or not?”
Because their acupoints were sealed, the two Yuan soldiers felt their upper bodies were numb; they were unable to move their hands. Their lower parts still had feeling, but they were unbearably sore and ache all over. They expected Zhao Min to kill them, so they were surprised when they heard that she seemingly wanted to give them an opportunity to live. “Miss, have mercy!” they hastily said, “Xiao Ren really were not the ones who harmed General Waerl Puche.”
“All right,” Zhao Min said, “I will spare your lives as long as you do what I say.”
The two Yuan soldiers did not care how difficult the matter she was going to tell them to do, they complied immediately, “We’ll do it! We’ll do it!”
Zhao Min pointed toward her own horses and said, “You two must ride these two horses quickly to the east. Within a day and a night, you must cover 300 ‘li’s; the faster the better. You must not fail.”
The two soldiers looked at each other in confusion. They did not expect her instruction to be this trivial. They thought she must mean the opposite of what she was saying.
“Miss,” the bearded soldier said, “Even if Xiao Ren have enormous courage, we will not dare to ride on Miss’ horses …”
“This is important,” Zhao Min cut him off, “If anybody asks you along the way, you must say that you bought these pair of steeds at the market. You must never mention us two people’s appearances. Do you understand?”
The two Mongolian soldiers were still half believing and half doubting, but Zhao Min repeatedly urged them. They thought that even if she was playing a trick, going away was certainly better than being killed by her dagger. Therefore, step-by-step they slowly walked away from her, and then turned around and jumped onto the saddles.
The Mongolians grew up on horseback. For them, riding a horse was as easy as walking. Although their limbs were still stiff, they were able to drive the horses forward. They were afraid Zhao Min gave them the order out of temporary confusion and would regret her decision, so after a few dozens of ‘zhang’s, they squeezed the horse with their legs and they sped away as fast as they could.
“This is a very good idea,” Zhang Wuji said, “If your Gege’s men see these horses, they must think that we are going east. Where are we going actually?”
“We are going southwest,” Zhao Min replied.
They took the horses the Mongolian soldiers left behind, and leaving the main road, they walked toward the southwest on the wilderness. It was actually a rugged rocky path, full of brambles, which pricked their horses’ legs so that they were dripping with blood. Stumbling and limping, they only managed to cover twenty some ‘li’s within two hours of travel.
The sky turned dark. Suddenly they saw a wisp of smoke coming from a chimney of some building in the valley ahead. Zhang Wuji was delighted. “There are houses ahead, we can lodge in someone’s home,” he said.
When they got near, under the shadow of a big tree they saw the corner of a yellow wall. Turned out it was a temple. Zhao Min helped Zhang Wuji dismount the horse, and then she turned the horses’ heads toward the west. Picking up a thorny branch from the ground, she whipped the horses’ buttocks several times. The horses let a long neigh, and leaped away to the west.
By what she did, Zhao Min was trying to create yet another diversion to Wang Baobao’s pursuing soldiers. By losing their rides, the journey would be more difficult; but she did not give it too much thought. Right now, she was taking their journey one step at a time.
Two people supporting each other walked toward the front of the temple. They saw the tablet by the door had a four-character inscription, ‘zhong yue shen miao’ [Mount Song (in Henan, one of Five Sacred Mountains) divine temple].
Zhao Min lifted the ring of the gate and knocked three times. She waited for half a day without anybody answering the door, so she knocked three more times. Suddenly from behind the door came a grim voice, “Is it a man or a ghost? Or is it a living corpse?”
The wooden gate opened with a creaking noise. Behind it they saw a shadow. It was dusk, the dark was deepening. That man’s back was against the light, so they could not see his face clearly. But from his bald head and the monk robe he was wearing, he was obviously a Buddhist monk.
Zhang Wuji said, “We [orig. ‘zai4 xia4’ – ‘under’] brother and sister, were robbed an injured during our journey. We hope we can spend the night in your precious monastery, we are asking Da Shi [‘great master’, reverend] to show mercy.”
“Humph,” the man snorted, and then with a cold voice said, “Those who leave home [meaning, becoming Buddhist monks or nuns] do not usually provide convenience to others. You better go.” Immediately he closed the door.
“Helping others is helping self,” Zhao Min hastily said, “By helping us, you might not necessarily without any benefit.”