Chapter 118 Making up the Buddhist Name“Merciful Buddha says don’t be reckless, don’t get violent,” Li Mu cautioned them seriously, “Benefactors, we can talk through the problem. Why resort to violence… And though I admit that I am a monk, please stop calling me a bald dork. You know, I’m bald. Believe it or not, you can have a look.”
“Fu*k, is this bald dork an idiot?” barked the leader of the gang.
One of the scoundrels drew out a dagger from his waist and advanced on Li Mu. Grinning malevolently, he said, “Damn bald dork! Bald! Bald! Bald! We just called you that, hahaha? You don’t agree, so what?” As he yelled, he thrust the dagger towards Li Mu’s navel.
Navel was one of the most vital parts of a man. Once that dagger sank in, Li Mu would probably live the rest of his life as a paralyzed man.
“No… Brother, duck!” The girl cried in horror and instinctively rushed over to protect him.
“Don’t! Show some mercy, Mr. Ma…” Granny Cai was also worried. She attempted to pull Li Mu away, but she moved too slow due to her aging body.
The woman in white also grasped the handle of her sward in secret.
A clear rattling like the collision of pieces of metals was heard.
“Ah?” That gangster froze at the sound.
He felt the wrist holding the dagger numb, as if he had just thrust it into a rock.
“Fu*k! This damn bald dork is wearing an armor!”
In his shock, he swerved his eyes to the tip of the dagger only to find that it did not sink in the skin at all. On the contrary, it got bounced off by something hard like an iron-made armor.
“Merciful Buddha, oh, thank you for your protection… This benefactor, look, I wear no armor. You just cut into my flesh. But I have the Buddha’s bless, so my body is invulnerable.” Li Mu started to talk sheer nonsense, but he was still on the pretense of a respected monk. “You benefactors, now that I’ve taken your stab, I think we are even. Why not lay down your killing weapon and become a better man. You can give up on the gold ingot and leave now.”
At his words, the girl and Granny Cai’s jaws dropped.
The woman in white, who had been watching all this on the side of him, did not show any expression on her unrivaled beautiful face as she had put down the veil, but her hand grasping the sword handle slowly loosened.
The horse-faced man and his gangsters were rooted to the spot, appalled.
“Invulnerable? Are you kidding me? Fu*k, I don’t buy that…” That scoundrel went desperate. He ground his teeth and brandished the dagger in his hand before launching a dozen stabs at Li Mu’s belly in a row. At the same time, he kept cursing, “Damn it, you bald dork! Stab you to death! Stab you to death…”
Li Mu, however, did not dodge or escape or anything.
But until the gangster’s dagger was bent, his wrist turned swollen and his arm became sore due to the counterforce, he failed to leave even a tiny cut on Li Mu. Instead, the constant thrusting made him out of breath.
Granny Cai now was staring at Li Mu with widened eyes.
The girl behind her granny was also watching the scene with a dropped jaw. Her rawboned face was written with awe and admiration.
But that woman in white was more perceptive.
Through the holes created by the dagger in Li Mu’s clothes, she saw his bare muscles. That meant he was not wearing any armor at. He was taking the attack with merely his flesh. And since she had not sensed any fluctuation of internal qi, the monk did not use the internal qi. He simply blocked that dagger with his muscles.
“Well, good job in practicing the Body-Hardening Skill.”
She gave Li Mu a comment inwardly.
“Oh, merciful Buddha. Well, fine, if you insist, I’m okay with ‘bald dork’, but please don’t add ‘damn’ in the front, because I’m an innocent man who should not be blamed,” said Li Mu with a serious face, as if being stabbed so many times was less bothering than the way the guy called him.
“Hum, no wonder you dared step forward and meddle in my business. It turns out that you have some Kongfu.” The horse-faced man forcefully stifled down his astoundment and sneered.
He recovered his usual shamelessness and threatened, “You are tougher than that unscrupulous non-native. But in our Peace County, no one dares to confront us… Well, you damn bald dork, even though you’re so invulnerable, what can you do to us? You know, a secret attack is much deadly than an open one. Can you survive our unexpected knock-out smoke, lime, or poisoned darts? Can you be still invulnerable in your sleep? You may be breathing now, but a moment later I can make you a dead man!”
“Oh, merciful Buddha. Benefactor, you shouldn’t have said that. You simply refuse to come to your senses.” With a compassionate look on his face, Li Mu crossed his fingers and began to sing a Buddhist song.
The woman in white shook her head repeatedly.
“Where did this monk come from? Why is he so dorky?” She asked herself.
“In spite of his excellent Body-Hardening Skill and great strength, he has clearly got rocks in his head because of too much Buddhist cultivation. Such a dumb guy traveling in Jianghu alone will be in trouble soon or later.”
“I wonder where is his master. How can he allow such a dork to go out by himself?”
In fact, the woman was just passing by the noodle stall. But she stopped in her tracks when she saw the monk ordering three bowls of noodles to help Granny Cai and the girl. At that time, she really felt for the poor granny and her granddaughter. In particular, the scene that the emaciated girl counted the coins with her fingers touched her most.
Thus, to offer her help, she came in and order a bowl of noodles as well.
Regardless of what the little girl did the saving for, she hoped she could fulfill her wish right now.
At that time, she merely thought the monk was a kind guy. But after what just happened, she was suddenly intrigued by that seemingly dumb monk.
“What if I just don’t come to my senses?” The horse-faced man burst out laughing, “What can you possibly do to us?”
A scoundrel like him was good at badgering others. Once he targeted you, you would find it difficult to get rid of him. In the reputed ancient Chinese novel, Outlaws of the Marsh, Yang Zhi had to sell his heirloom, a precious broadsword when he suffered a comedown. As he was selling his ware on the street, a scoundrel harassed him and deliberately placed obstacles in his way. After being bullied and humiliated in a hundred ways, Yang Zhi cut off the head of that scoundrel but was later charged with murder. He then got arrested and was sent into exile, ultimately losing the last shred of hope of bringing glory on his family.
Undoubtedly, the horse-faced man and his other cronies were a group of such scoundrels.
“Haha, you damn bald dork… This is so funny!” A gangster cackled.
“Yeah, what can you do to us?” Another continued to provoke Li Mu.
“Look at him! How stupid he is! Hahaha!”
“You damn bald dork, you’re a monk! Hahaha, you are supposed to be merciful. So, even though you are a master of martial arts, so what? You cannot kill us, can you? Hahaha!”
“Right! Good point! You damn bald dork, come and hit me, will you? Hahaha, come on!”
The gangsters were rocking back and forth with laughter.
At that sight, those bypassers on the street all began to curse those villains in their mind.
The locals all knew the gang as one of the scourges in Peace County. Given that several of them had connections with the government officials, though they did numerous dirty deals and heartless deeds, everyone in the county could only abhor them but not do anything to stop them. Now, seeing the bullies stir up another trouble, they all went as far as possible in case they got entangled.
Despite their sympathy towards Granny Cai and her granddaughter, none of the neighbors dared stick up for them. They even shot pitiful and pathetic looks at Li Mu, because they reckoned the little monk had been targeted by the gang of Ma San and he might not be able to leave Peace County in one piece.
“Alas, Peace County has no peace!” They heaved with a sigh.
Unlike the natives, some ignorant travelers gathered around the stall, watching the scene with curiosity.
Li Mu was oblivious to all the on-lookers.
He found it very interesting to cosplay a monk. Devoutly putting his palms together in front of his chest, he deliberately acted like an idiotic monk who insisted to talk some sense into the gang. He said with sincere patience, “Benefactors, please don’t talk like that. You should know that disaster emanates from the careless talk… Ah, merciful Buddha!”
But the scoundrels laughed even harder.
“Haha, disaster emanates from careless talk? Haha, I talked carelessly, but where is my disaster? Hahaha, you damn bald dork! Can you beat me? Come on, have a try! Hahaha…” The horse-faced man leaned in purposefully to display to Li Mu his gloating and provoking expression. “Do you know who I am? Hahaha, disaster emanates from careless talk? Hahaha, bite me…”
Li Mu put on a stupid look and kept stepping back while murmuring ‘Ah, merciful Buddha’, as though he was intimidated by the hideous gangster. He then mumbled, “Benefactor, mind your words! Bad things descend more frequently than good ones… Oh, merciful Buddha!”
“Gosh, what a silly monk!”
The woman in white shook her head again.
“He is really a pedantic moron!”
“He has a remarkable Body-Hardening Skill that made him invulnerable to any weapons, but he is still too timid to fight back. Now, he has been cornered by those scumbags. Well, how can such a dumb guy survive the eventful Jianghu? He will certainly be torn up.”
“Hahaha, you damn bald dork! What? Scared? Hum, aren’t you very powerful? Yeah, your body is invulnerable! How terrifying it is… But do you dare to hit me? Do you dare?” Ma San was more audacious now. He gleefully stuck his head forward to let Li Mu hit.
“Benefactor, you can’t be serious, are you?” Li Mu backed away once more.
“Of course, I am serious…”
A lout whack was heard!
Li Mu slapped him in the face.
The horse-faced Ma San was sent flying as if he was merely a battered sack.
He collided with another scoundrel standing behind him, and the two rolled down the road like two wailing gourds.
All of a sudden, the bustling around the noodle stall stopped abruptly, as if a quacking duck got its throat strangled.
Those triumphant-looking gangsters froze in an instant.
Even the woman in white did not understand what had just happened.
“How come he suddenly… That monk really hit him?”
Astonished exclaims burst out on both sides of the street.
The local people, in particular, had never thought the seemingly doltish and stubborn monk who strictly obeyed the Buddhist doctrines would resort to violence and directly sent Ma San into the air with a slap.
But that slap helped the local people who had been plagued by Ma San and his gangsters vent their spleen.
Meanwhile, they also started to seriously worry about the monk.
Because Ma San and his gangsters were certainly not a group of forgiving men.
“Fu*k! You… Damn bald dork! How you dare! You…” stuttered Ma San, who was still lying on the ground, unable to believe he was truly slapped by that monk. Not until he felt the twinges of sting shot from his gum did he realize what just happened.
“You’re a dead man! Damn bald dork, you’re a dead man…” bellowed Ma San with hatred. With a face contorted in pain, he scrambled to his feet. There was a distinctive mark of a hand on his cheek, and blood was trickling down from the corner of his mouth. At that moment, he looked like a mad dog.
“Merciful Buddha! Ah, benefactor, don’t be agitated. Recklessness is the devil. Please hear me out. I, as a monk, always aim to be lenient and helpful to other people. But since you asked me to hit you, I had no choice but to satisfy your needs. My master has told me that when we travel around, we should be ready to help others as much as we can… So, after you requested me to hit you, and repeated that to me over and over again, I had to do as I was told,” explained Li Mu with a solemn expression.
Fearfully, he continued with genuine grievances, “And, I confirmed with you before I did it. I asked you if you were serious, and you said ‘Yes’.”
“You… I…” Ma San was too angry to think of any retort. He almost had internal bleeding due to the fury held back in his chest.
But Li Mu still seemed puzzled at his incensed look. The monk then glanced at the onlookers around them and said in a stupid voice, “Frankly speaking, though I’ve traveled tons of places and seen loads of weird things, today is the first time I’ve heard a benefactor gave me such an odd request.”
The woman in white snickered in spite of herself.
Under the white veil, a bright smile bloomed.
The other onlookers on the street also burst into roars of laughter.
They were all amused by the monk’s satire.
Even several scoundrels found it difficult to keep a straight face, so they looked quite weird since they were forcing back their laughter.
“This monk is truly one of a kind!”
“Fu*king you…” Clapping his swollen cheek, the spiteful-looking Ma San spat a mouth of blood and shouted, “You damn bald dork, fine, you have some balls! Humph, now that you’ve assaulted me, you won’t walk out of our county alive. You just hit me in the left cheek, didn’t you? Good, now I’ll show you my right cheek. If you have guts, slap me again… Hahaha, come on! Slap me! Slap me!”
That was a typical scoundrel’s logic.
The one in the “Outlaws of the Marsh” also drove Yang Zhi mad through such a brazen badgering method.
“Okay.” Li Mu nodded.
Then, he raised his hand and gave Ma San another slap.
Ma San flew out once again.
His right cheek also sported a mark of a hand, and even the outlines of fingers were clearly visible.
“You… You really dared to hit me? You…” Ma San got up, clapping his cheek with both hands. Washed over by a mixed sensation of shock and fury, he was completely bewildered how come his usual harassing means that never failed him before did not work on a silly monk.
“Could this monk be a real fool?”
“Ah, merciful Buddha! I am a warm-hearted monk. I always feel like helping others. As you know, the fragrance stays in the hand that gives the rose…” Li Mu put his palms together again before continuing, “Benefactor, you’re a sinned man. But I want to change you into a helping man. So, I had to help you fulfill your wish first. However, your request is really, really strange. I seldom encountered such demand. Perhaps you like being slapped? Are you a masochist? Did you lack your parents’ love when you were a child? That’s a possible way to explain your twisted mind…”
“You shut up!” Ma San was practically berserk.
“How can this damn bald dork prattle on for so long? It’s like an annoying fly!”
He opened his mouth to speak, but inhaled a waft of cold wind that made his cheek prickle. Outraged, he decided to resort to the last and most effective move. “Really? Fine, if you dare, kill me now. Otherwise, I’ll kill you… Haha, you damn bald dork, aren’t you eager to help people? Good, I want you to kill me, do you dare to do that? You darn monk have not been free from human desires and passions. Want to be the hero who rescues the beauty? Hum, if you really hope to save this chick in white, brace yourself for the killing.”
Li Mu breathed a sigh of resignation, “Oh, merciful Buddha, I shall be the one to sacrifice for the greater good. You benefactor, you know monks never tell lies. So, are you serious about what you said?”
“I certainly…” Ma San almost blurted out a positive reply.
However, as he caught the honestly sincere look on that monk’s face, he felt a jolt in his stomach. He recalled that a moment ago the monk asked him the same question and then slapped him without any hesitation. It struck him that perhaps the monk was truly a dumbass, who would probably take the answer literally and kill him.
The more Ma San thought about it, the more confirmed he was.
He fought back his fury and gave the whole thing a thought. He started to consider the monk as a slow-witted lunatic who knew nothing except for Buddhist creeds. A man like him was perhaps capable of anything.
Ma San became horrified after he reviewed the event from a new angle.
Before, he just assumed that the monk might be scrupulous of hurting people on the account of Buddhist doctrines. But after he followed the new train of thought, it occurred to him that many bullheaded psychopaths who had done crazy and grotesque deeds, such as the feeding an eagle with his own flesh, were those living in the temple. And this monk was probably one of those mad men.
After contemplating it for a few seconds, Ma San quickly looked disheartened.
On the surface, he was not afraid of death. He picked on others and stirred up trouble like the most unscrupulous villain. But in truth, no one could be more scared of death than him.
There was a saying that went like “the rough ones fear the savage ones, while the savage ones fear the thickheaded ones, and the thickheaded ones fear those who dared to break his neck for anything”.
Ma San reckoned he was one of the rough ones at most, whereas, the dumb monk before him was one of those who did not fear for breaking his neck.
“Lucky you, damn bald dork! Today I happen to have other business to attend,” Ma San barked, who clenched his teeth and tried to put on his scariest face, “Aren’t you going to release my soul from purgatory? Well, tell me your Buddhist name! Later, I will visit you to sort out our issues!”
At that sight, the rest of the gangsters all knew their leader would chicken out.
But to some extent, they agreed with their leader, for they also found the monk a bit weird. They figured it was better to attack the monk in secret like what they did to that nosy non-local instead of confronting him head-on.
Since scoundrels had no sense of honor or self-dignity like martial arts practitioners, they did not feel ashamed even when they recoiled from their opponent. Similar to the parasite sneaking in the grey zone, they bullied the weak and feared the strong. When the real challenge came, they ran away faster than anybody.
“Yeah, you damn bald dork, leave your Buddhist name.”
“What’s the matter? Are you too afraid to do that?”
The gangsters who were supporting Ma San kept distance with Li Mu, barking wildly like defeated dogs.
Those on-lookers, especially the natives, were praying for the monk. “Oh, don’t tell them! Never, ever tell them! Quickly leave Peace County before you get killed!”
Granny Cai, who was standing next to Li Mu, was already bathed in sweat out of anxiety. She continuously shot meaningful looks at him, hoping he could pick up the hint. The little girl also furtively tugged Li Mu by the sleeve and shook her head.
Ma San, the head of the gang, caught the movements of the granny and the girl and grounded his teeth with resentment.
He was cooking up a cruel plan in his head. Later, he would find a suited timing to beat Granny Cai to death. Her suffering would keep the other people in Peace County in fear of his power. As to that girl, he decided to toss her into a brothel.
On the other side, the woman in white had been watching the whole thing with folded arms like an outsider and waiting for Li Mu’s response with great interest.
Li Mu pressed his hands together and said, “Merciful Buddha! Now that this benefactor is willing to take a step back, I could ask for nothing more. How lenient the Buddha is…”
Ma San was beginning to have a headache upon hearing more of the monotonous lecture of the mad monk. He immediately cut Li Mu off, “No more nonsense! You just tell us, what your Buddhist name is.”
“Don’t tell him! Don’t! Please!”
The kind Granny Cai and her granddaughter, as well as the neighbors, were all praying that the monk would keep his mouth zipped.
“Say it! Say it! If you have guts!”
Biting their lips and gnawing their teeth, those scoundrels were expecting to hear the dumb monk disclose the information.
With everyone’s eyes fixed on him, Li Mu crossed his fingers and honestly answered, “Oh, merciful Buddha, my Buddhist name is Madcap.”
“What did you say?”
“Your Buddhist name is… Madcap?”
Ma San was petrified.
The scoundrels were petrified.
Granny Cai and the girl were petrified.
The woman in white was also petrified.
And so were those on-lookers.
“What fu*king Buddhist name is that?”
“How could a monk have Madcap as his Buddhist name?”
Ma San’s eyes were about to burst flames. He snarled, ” You bald dork! How dare you make up a Buddhist name to fool me?”
Li Mu waved repeatedly and explained with genuine honest, “Oh, merciful Buddha, monks never tell lies. My Buddhist name is truly Madcap. Back then when I was still in the temple, I often did mad things. So my master kicked me out and ordered me to travel around. Before I set off, he bestowed me with the Buddhist name, Madcap.”
“He is really called a Madcap?”
Ma San was still skeptical.
The others were also not thoroughly convinced.
But on the other hand, they all knew monks were not allowed to lie.
“Well then, do you dare to tell us which temple did you, a senseless monk, come from?” probed Ma San again.
Li Mu quickly answered him. “Oh, merciful Buddha. I’m from the Snow Mountain Wheel Temple. My master is Jiu Mozhi, the abbot of our temple, who is also called the Wisdom King.”
Hearing that, Ma San was nonplussed.
“Snow Mountain Wheel Temple?”
“Where does it sit?”
“Jiu Mozhi, the Wisdom King?”
“Who is that?”
“Never heard of him!”
“Great, you damn bald dork! I got it!” Ma San hollered savagely, “I’ll be back!”
At the last remark, Li Mu almost burst into undue laughter and ruined the silly monk image he had created with great effort. Fortunately, he suppressed it down. But he was grumbling in his mind, “What? Are you the Wolffy in that cartoon Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf? Such a classic line coming out of your filthy mouth is really an insult to the intelligent and lovely Wolffy!”
Finally, the bunch of scoundrels took their departure.
The on-lookers also went away.
“Master Madcap, you are in huge trouble. Please hurry up and leave Peace County,” Granny Cai hastily grabbed Li Mu’s hand and advised him, “Ma San and those bullies won’t leave the matter at that.”
“Your Buddhist name is truly Madcap?” asked the woman in white, who was gazing at Li Mu quizzically.
Li Mu timidly scratched the back of his head and said, ” In fact, I have two Buddhist names. The one I told them is the new one. Before I was given the name Madcap and sent to leave the Snow Mountain Wheel Temple, I used my old name… Do you want to hear it? If you do, I can tell you…”
“Yes.” The woman in white raised her brow underneath the veil.
“This monk is not only an idiot but a chatterbox.” She commented internally.
Li Mu ceremoniously gave her a bow before saying, “My old Buddhist name is… Nonsense.”