Chapter 566 – The Dauntless Guardian King
Everything had happened like a clap of thunder. No one could respond in time.
The many disciples outside the hall were all shocked and dumbfounded. Even the head monks were completely taken aback, at a loss over why the abbot had become so wrathful.
The Dauntless monk launched a powerful strike like a god splitting open a mountain. No one could stop him.
Has he been secretly observing the entire time and seen through Xiao An’s Path of White Bone and Great Beauty, which is why he’s suddenly trying to kill her?
Li Qingshan rushed into the grand hall, but it was already too late.
Boom! A wave of air gushed through the hall, producing a hollow whistle as it sent Li Qingshan flying out!
Li Qingshan was utterly furious. The Dauntless monk’s strike was so powerful that he could even crush a mountain. Xiao An’s Path of White Bone and Great Beauty was powerful, but her cultivation was still low after all, so how could she withstand that?
Overcome with rage, he no longer cared about anything. He was about to revert to his original form and throw his life at the Dauntless monk.
Suddenly, a voice rang out in his head. It came from Xiao An. Li Qingshan calmed down immediately.
Even if the Dauntless monk noticed something, he would not launch a surprise attack like this as a man of his bearing. He could easily denounce her publicly before taking action and subduing her. They were in the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga. Even if there were ten Xiao Ans and a Li Qingshan, it would be useless.
Earlier, Li Qingshan had only been mentally perturbed due to his concern. Once he calmed down, he immediately realised how strange it was.
The violent winds settled down. The colossal, pillar-like vajra stopped above Xiao An’s head, and the surging hostility vanished completely, like going from a storm to clear skies in a single instant.
It felt very abrupt, but that only demonstrated that the Dauntless monk’s control over his power had already reached a highly intricate level, and it also showed he had not used his full strength.
Xiao An sat on the cushion, her expression as blank as ever. Her seaweed like hair drifted with the wind, and she did not even lean back. She stared ahead with a hollow gaze, completely ignoring the huge vajra. She had basically reached the epitome of being unfazed by no matter what happened before her.
“Aren’t you afraid I’ll kill you?” The three-hundred-meter-tall guardian king gazed at the tiny Xiao An. The wrath on his face vanished as he opened his lips and spoke with a booming voice, echoing through the entire grand hall.
“If you want to kill me, I can’t stop you, so fear is useless. If you don’t want to kill me, then why would I fear?” Xiao An said calmly.
“With great wisdom comes great courage. Impressive, impressive. My Dauntless Scripture of the Guardian King can only be practised by the courageous. Would you be interested in learning it?”
The Dauntless monk asked. However, the true objective behind his strike earlier was not to test whether Xiao An possessed great courage and whether she was suitable for learning the Dauntless Scripture of the Guardian King.
The talent and ability to comprehend that Xiao An had demonstrated was unbelievably high. Even in his youth, he was nowhere close to her. As a matter of fact, it was even possible for her to be the most outstanding disciple of the monastery throughout history. However, there was something he could not make out within her hollow gaze, which caused him hints of fear and alarm.
Her entire being was like a cluster of nothingness. He was unable to tell what she desired, let alone reach her disposition. If someone like that devoted themselves to buddhism, then they would definitely become an eminent monk of buddhism, but if they possessed demonic thoughts, then no one could stop the misfortunes they could cause. As a result, he took action to test her.
Apart from purging daemons and demons, the demon-subduing vajra that the Dauntless monk had swung possessed the power to subdue demonic thoughts. This move was called “A Blow and a Shout,” a secret technique within chan buddhism. If her demonic thoughts were weak, then they would directly collapse from the blow. If they were too powerful, then they would be triggered and revealed, allowing him to see what her disposition was like.
TL: A blow and a shout is an actual thing in Chinese buddhism. It’s basically the master of a monk using a staff to smack his disciple over the head while shouting out, serving as a sudden warning or a reminder for disciples of buddhism. The origin of this story is basically a monk called Lin Ji, who was studying under chan master Huangbo. Lin Ji asked the chan master what buddhism was about, only to be met with a blow over the head from the chan master. Lin Ji put up with the pain and asked again, only for the same thing to happen again. This happened three times before Lin Ji shut up and went to study the buddhist texts himself, becoming enlightened as a result. Of course, the meaning of the phrase has deviated from its origins, so I wouldn’t say to think too much about it.
However, the end result left the Dauntless monk rather disappointed. He did not sense any demonic thoughts at all, as if he had just struck air. Was her heart truly without even the slightest hint of wickedness or malice? But that was completely impossible. Only recently-born infants who were not even self-conscious yet could achieve that. Once they grew a little older, greed and a combative drive would arise naturally.
Or perhaps the cultivation of her mind had reached that stage?
Even the abbot of the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga, the Dauntless monk, was unable to imagine what overwhelming effect the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty had on her mentally. Even Li Qingshan still possessed influence over her only because of the impressions left behind in the past, which made her behave a little more “human”.
Other times, she was a skeleton with no appearance or sense of self, neither dead nor alive. She did not fall into the concept of good or evil, wrong or right, so what demonic thoughts were there to subdue?
Since his test had resulted in nothing, the Dauntless monk could only accept the fact that a genius like her existed in the world. He guessed that she might have been the reincarnation of some eminent monk, only behaving in such a peculiar way due to the influence of her past life. This was without a doubt the most logical explanation. Whenever the world was thrown into chaos, prodigies would always emerge en masse. Even if there was something wrong with her, he only needed to give her some proper guidance, and he was confident she could return to the correct path.
However, the Dauntless monk obviously would not mention everything he was thinking, just in case she developed any feelings of repulsion. He merely went with the flow and mentioned how he wanted to teach her the Dauntless Scripture of the Guardian King.
If she had been a regular disciple, then it would have been a tremendous honour in being tested by the Dauntless monk alone. Even if he stated his intentions, the disciple would be moved to tears out of gratitude. However, facing a monstrous prodigy like her, even a Monk King like him had to reconsider a few things.
He was not valuing her present, but her future. If she developed like normal, then a great prodigy was about to rise up, deeply influencing the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga or even all nine provinces. Even the Dauntless monk could not help but become rather eager about that.
The monks outside the hall all returned to their senses, becoming filled with amazement and admiration. She had gained the Dauntless monk’s recognition the moment she joined the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga, and he even wanted to pass the Dauntless Scripture of the Guardian King to her personally. It was such a special honour that he was basically nurturing her like she would become the future abbot.
The various head monks all changed slightly in expression as well, gazing at the Annihilum Light Chan Master like they had realised something.
I never thought this Annihilum Light completely devoted to the buddha, who never bothers with secular affairs, would actually scheme so far ahead. I’ve truly underestimated him.
The Annihilum Light Chan Master closed his eyes gently and revealed a smile of relief. He had achieved his objective. From now onwards, no one in the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga would be bold enough to do anything detrimental to her.
Yes, while they were all disciples of buddhism, which focused on a benevolent mind, conflict still existed wherever people existed. Apart from a conflict of interest and authority, there was also a conflict of ideologies and orthodoxy. Even the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga was not all filled with good will towards one another. There were quite a lot of disagreements between the head monks.
The Bodhi courtyard possessed quite the status in the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga, but the Annihilum Light Chan Master hated taking part in these conflicts and disputes the most, so it was a lone force. Like how trees that protruded from the forest would always be the ones blown down, it was very likely for Xiao An’s exceptional talent to incur jealousy and antagonism.
Although he disliked conflict, the Annihilum Light Chan Master still possessed great wisdom, so he came up with a way to deal with this problem once and for all, which was for her to join the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga with infinite glory. Then, she would gain the Dauntless monk’s recognition in front of everyone, earning her an aloof status in the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga.
The Guardian King’s Scripture of Demon Subdual that Xiao An practised in the past was only a foundation. If she continued upwards, there were guardian kings of fire, guardian kings of strength, and other forms that each had their own purposes.
The Dauntless monk practised the Dauntless Scripture of the Guardian King. His dharma name was not originally “Dauntless”, but by now, everyone only knew him as the “Dauntless monk”. They had completely forgotten his original dharma name already.
Cultivation methods that ventured past the third heavenly tribulation were the ultimate knowledge of this world. They were methods that each sect kept as a secret to themselves, and they would also have the guidance of seniors who practised the same cultivation method. Something as great as that was basically a great opportunity that regular cultivators could only come across through luck.
However, Xiao An hesitated for a moment before bowing gently. “I wish to learn the Chant of Deva-Nāga!”
“The Chant of Deva-Nāga!”
An uproar arose from outside the grand hall. The Chant of Deva-Nāga was the highest, most secretive cultivation method of the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga. Normally, only the head monks of each courtyard had the right to practise it. Even regular elders did not possess that right. She was a new disciple, yet she was still dissatisfied with the abbot personally teaching her the Dauntless Scripture of the Guardian King, wanting to learn the Chant of Deva-Nāga instead.
Even the buddhist disciples who focused on cleansing their minds of desires could not help but experience envy. They refused to accept this. They all found her overly greedy, unable to appreciate what was right before her.
Li Qingshan grew nervous too. His main objective of coming to the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga was for the Chant of Deva-Nāga. If he brought the Chant of Deva-Nāga back to the Golden Cicada Spirit King, then apart from completing his promise of the past, the Golden Cicada Spirit King might even offer him some benefits from being put into a good mood.
The Golden Cicada Spirit King wanted to leap out of the well, but there were many things he could not take with him. Even if he only left a fraction of them to Li Qingshan, it would be a great treasure.
“Do you really want to learn it?” The Dauntless monk dispersed the avatar of the dauntless guardian king and furrowed his brows slightly. The Chant of Deva-Nāga was renowned, but if she really did learn it, it was not necessarily more practical than the Dauntless Scripture of the Guardian King that he could personally teach her. Why was she neglecting what was right in front of her for something much further away?
“Yes,” Xiao An said firmly. Her foundation was based around the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty in the first place. The Dauntless Scripture of the Guardian King might have been precious, but compared to the former, it was nowhere close. It was not essential to her. The Chant of Deva-Nāga, on the other hand, was a cultivation method she could unleash, and it was more useful to her.
“Alright, I can promise you that,” the Dauntless monk said resolutely before diverting the conversation, “However, you need to undergo the second heavenly tribulation and condense a śarīra before you can unleash the power of the Chant of Deva-Nāga. I’ll teach you the Chant of Deva-Nāga then.”
He obviously could not teach the treasured cultivation method of his sect to a disciple who had just joined. As a result, he set down a condition. No matter how great her talent was, undergoing the second heavenly tribulation was not something she could complete overnight. It would allow him to carefully understand her disposition and nurture her loyalty to the monastery.
Xiao An agreed without hesitation. She was only a step away from the second layer of the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty. As long as she cultivated for a while in the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga and overcame this obstacle, she could basically undergo the second heavenly tribulation. By then, as long as she had the support of sufficient resources, condensing a śarīra was just a matter that would occur naturally. She could basically imagine she would never lack resources in the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga.
Afterwards, the Dauntless monk specially arranged a place of cultivation for her, isolating her from the other disciples, just in case she influenced them with her appearance.
Normally, if buddhist cultivators could not even control a hint of lust within them, they would be better off directly jumping off Great Buddha mountain. However, her beauty was far too powerful, just like the legendary daughters of māra that obstructed the path to enlightenment. Disciples who lacked sufficient mental cultivation could be influenced very easily.
After completing all the arrangements, the Dauntless monk suddenly barked, “Who’s craning his neck and peering around there? Get in here!”