Suddenly a Daoist appeared at the door, all dressed in a yellow gown and blue turban. "Alms!" he pleaded as he walked over to the counter where Li's wife was standing.
"Normally we would give you a few coins and chat a bit," she said, "but there's a seriously injured man in here and I've got no time for you."
"What happened?" asked the Daoist.
"To tell you the truth, master, my husband had hot coals thrown in his face by a sorcerer monk, and he's covered with burns and blisters. His face is dressed with ointment and bandages for three days, and I'm afraid he's going to die."
"Girl!" replied the Daoist. "Let me prescribe a cooling medicine. Upon its application the pain as well as the blisters will go away. It's been tried and proven countless times and has saved many patients!"
"Sorry I spoke rashly!" said the wife. "If you can stop his pain we'll reward you richly!"
"Have him come here, and bring me a bit of water while you are at it."
She helped her husband to his feet and over to the counter, then got a bowl of water and passed it to the Daoist. He opened a small packet of medicine and poured some into the water, then applied the solution to the burnt and blistered skin with a goosefeather.
"It's a miracle!" shouted Li Er in delight. "It's driving away my pain the way water washes away snow!"
"Not a miracle, son," said the Daoist, "Simply a supression of infection in the lesions and promotion of natural healing. Now, what do you think of that?"
If it works out like that I'll be so grateful to you!"
There is still some heat-related toxicity remaining in the your body. If you go out and get some fresh air the infection will clear up."
Li Er heeded the Daoist's advice and went right out into the street, where the master told him to be seated on a bench there. "You must repeat 'Fly away, rot!' three times and it will disappear immediately," he instructed. Li Er was delighted, and repeatedly shouted those words with all his strength.
Suddenly the bench with the hapless grocer on it was seen rising up into the sky, right up to the very top of the sixty foot brass flagpole that stood ever so straight and true in front of the National Shrine Temple. The onlookers in the street below gasped. His wife was terrified.
"Oh, no!" she wailed. "Master, do something! How can my husband get down?"
"Don't worry, I'll command him to come down, but first I'll let you see just who I am!"
He then tore off his yellow gown and tossed aside his blue turban. When the wife looked carefully at him she let out a bitter, piercing wail, for all along it had been that sorcerer monk!
"Your husband stepped way out of line and used all of his strength to hurt me, but here I am unharmed. And now I shall provide him with a moment of supreme horror atop that flagpole!"
Now, as the people in the street below roared with suprise there was a policeman among them. "According to the proclamation boards," he said, "heaps of money were offered for the arrest of that sorcerer, and now here he is again conjuring up chaos and involving us all in it!" He then led the local men in trying to seize the renegade monk, who simply vanished when he saw their numbers approaching. The people simply couldn't believe what they had just seen!
Li Er was now sitting ever so shakily atop that flagpole, and it looked as though he was bound to fall; the crowd below was debating the best way of rescuing him. There was, after all, no long enough to reach him. The assembled townspeople and soldiers only spoke spoke of how terrible that monk was, and of how they might bring the man down.
The local militia then sent a runner to inform Governor Bao of the crisis. Out he rode in his palanquin, alighting before the National Shrine Temple. As he sat and watched, Li Er was perched on the bench high atop the pole screaming down at the people trying to rescue him. Much as the governor wracked his brains trying to come up with a plan to save Li, he could think of nothing and finally called over the man's wife to find out exactly what had happened. The woman bowed deeply as the governor began questioning her.
"Tell me honestly how your husband managed to end up on top of that flagpole!" he asked. Li Er's wife then told him all about the sorcerer monk tossing the hot coals and the Daoist applying the medicine.
"I can't stand for that sorcerer's mischief any longer!" thundered the governor. "If he's caught this time he'll be dealt with swiftly!"
In the quiet that follow a monk could be seen climbing out of a window up on the temple wall. Down he came to salute the governor.
"Monk! Have you got something to see me about?" asked the governor.
"I've got a way to get Li Er down."
"Holiness," said Governor Bao, "If you can rescue Li Er you'll get a fine contribution from us!"
As all looked on, that monk climbed ever so nimbly all the way up the flagpole and placed his hands firmly on Li Er's shoulders.
"Grand Dragon Bao!" he shouted. "You are an honest and upright official, and I, a poor monk, would never dare trouble you. What was it to you that Flawless Commander Wang donated three thousand strings of cash to the faith, that you had to arrest me? Here is my answer to you, and here is your Li Er!" And out into space went Li before plunging right to earth. The crowd shrieked in horror at his final moment. It was like this:
If you wish to read the things that come of Li Er's Fate, in the coming chapter do some more events await.
Conclusion, Chapter 30 Click here to continue to Chapter 31 Table of Contents