Chapter 929 – Purging Demons (Seven)
Li Qingshan suddenly looked back, only to see the Divine Nun of the South Sea lunging towards Xiao An. Even he had never anticipated the Divine Nun of the South Sea to be so caught up on this, but he was not too worried.
The techniques of the school of vinaya were extremely impressive. Given his current reaction and speed, he could only endure it, not dodge it. However, its fatal flaws were its limited uses, and the caster would endure a backlash if it was forcefully broken through.
During the battle of Fire Melt mountain, Li Qingshan had praised the Divine Nun of the South Sea’s techniques, but he also saw through these two flaws. And sure enough, as Xiao An had said, the Divine Nun of the South Sea was not skilled at battle. She tried to deal with Xiao An while he was caught. It seemed clever, but Xiao An was not an easy target either. Forcing her into the battle would only speed up her defeat.
Xiao An waved her hand gently, and a string of Skull Prayer Beads flew out, turning into hideous skulls. The Samādhi Flames of White Bone burned within their eye sockets as they let out soul-stirring cackles. They spiralled about as they fell into the Skeleton Demon Formation around her.
“Paths of Heresy, Forbidden by the Preceptual Decrees!”
The Divine Nun of the South Sea bellowed out, and the strange cackles of the Skeleton Demons were immediately suppressed. Wherever the golden light reached, the Skeleton Demons seemed to sink into mud. The entire Skeleton Demon Formation slowed down and halted, no longer a formation anymore.
“The Boundless Buddhist Dharma, the Preceptual Decrees Subdue Demons!”
The Divine Nun of the South Sea tossed her scripture into the air gently, which scattered as glistening pages that were as large as doors. They wrapped around Xiao An and enveloped her.
Xiao An did not go anywhere. She swung the Blood Sea Banner, and a sea of blood whistled out, darting left and right and holding back the golden pages. Not only was it not suppressed by the buddhist glow, but its foul liquid splashed about, even dimming the buddhist glow.
“Wretched disciple!” The Divine Nun of the South Sea became even more distressed. A stick of discipline suddenly appeared in her hand, made from bamboo and pitch-black and slick. It was engraved with four words “Discipline is a Guarded Mind”. It did not seem particularly special, but it gave off an elegant, profound aura. It also happened to be a buddhist treasure.
“Discipline!” The Divine Nun of the South Sea raised the disciplinary stick high into the air and spat out a single world. The stick exploded with light, falling down over Xiao An without the slightest hint of benevolence.
Wherever the disciplinary stick reached, the Skeleton Demon Formation immediately collapsed, and the surging river of blood was split into two. It was a solemn and desolate strike, like a heavenly tribulation or divine retribution. It was no weaker than the Sea-splitting sword.
“Slay!” Xiao An raised the Buddha Slaying sword and poured all of the path of the sword she had comprehended in her life into the strike, receiving the disciplinary stick.
Clang! The stick and sword collided, and the master and disciple stared at one another. They were inches away from one another, but it felt like they were worlds apart.
The Divine Nun of the South Sea’s face was filled with fury, sorrow, and solemnity, while Xiao An had already cast aside her absolute beauty, reverting to an auraless skeleton.
The Divine Nun of the South Sea’s expression was stringent, while Xiao An’s went without saying. Even during their decade or so of wandering, they were rarely ever so physically close, but this time, they were trying to kill each other.
The confrontation only lasted for an instant. The air whistled over, and Xiao An was launched away, falling into the sea of trees.
Boom! Thousands of giant trees snapped, sinking down into a pit.
A soybean-sized notch appeared on the disciplinary stick, while a fracture had appeared on the Buddha Slaying sword.
Xiao An was still not powerful enough to contend against the furious Divine Nun of the South Sea, but there was no need to contend against her for long at all.
Right when the Divine Nun of the South Sea wanted to continue going after her, she suddenly clutched her chest and groaned. A sickly-sweet taste filled her mouth.
Li Qingshan shuddered and forcefully broke free from the Divine Nun of the South Sea’s decree. When it came to pure strength, he was not even as great as the giant god of fire from Fire Melt mountain in the past, but the Divine Nun of the South Sea had split her focus to deal with Xiao An, so the power of the decree had diminished drastically.
Watching Xiao An being launched away, Li Qingshan also flew into a fury. “Damned nun, you’re looking to die!” He sucked in a deep breath and exhaled forcefully. A fierce wind whistled over like a long snake, twisting and curling towards the Divine Nun of the South Sea.
The Tiger Demon’s Breath!
The Divine Nun of the South Sea waved her hand, and golden pages blocked in front of her. Then she raised the disciplinary stick again and lunged towards Xiao An.
Xiao An raised her head and looked over. She thought to herself, Master, the pincer is already completed. How long can you last? She swung her right hand down, and the skulls all rushed towards the golden pages, biting down on every single page firmly. No longer hindered, the breath of wind rushed straight in, heading right towards the Divine Nun of the South Sea’s back.
The Divine Nun of the South Sea behaved like she had not noticed it at all. All she could see was Xiao An. Filled with exasperated fury, she swung the disciplinary stick again.
Immediately, the pit became several times deeper. Thousands of towering trees collapsed like straw.
At the bottom of the pit, Xiao An knelt on one knee and gripped her sword with both hands, parrying the disciplinary stick. The cracks on the sword grew larger as if it could give way and shatter at any moment. However, the Samādhi Flames of White Bone continued to burn away silently in her eye sockets.
The fierce wind whistled over, slamming into the Divine Nun of the South Sea. Her clothes surged, buffeting in the wind, while her protective glow flickered on the brink of collapse. The wind left a bloody gash on her stern and simple face. She still behaved like nothing had happened at all. Even the fierce wind could not drown out her furious bellow.
“Wretched disciple, what are you waiting for? Kneel!”
Xiao An could not hold on any longer. Both of her knees dropped to the ground, and pale-white fire flickered through her eye sockets. Even with how clever she was, she never expected the Divine Nun of the South Sea to try everything she could without the slightest regard to kill her. However, it all made sense with the next thought. What could she do about the fact that she practised this specific cultivation method?
“You’re asking to die!” Li Qingshan descended with the fierce wind, fully unfurling his wings. The fist he cocked was completely enveloped in shockwaves. He no longer held back with his strength and ability anymore, pushing them to the limit and slamming his fist down viciously into the Divine Nun of the South Sea’s back.
The Divine Nun of the South Sea was not a Daemon King or Demon King. Her body was not particularly tough. If she received that punch, her body would immediately crumble. Even her soul would be damaged. However, she seemed to have lost her mind. All she could see was Xiao An, and she had no intentions of dodging.
Li Qingshan suddenly frowned, turning his fist into a palm strike. He dispersed the shockwaves and even held back a little more strength.
With a thud, blood sprayed from the Divine Nun of the South Sea’s mouth, which glowed with a hint of gold. It landed on Xiao An’s skeleton, but it was immediately dissolved by the Samādhi Flames of White Bone.
Xiao An struck back, thrusting her sword straight towards the Divine Nun of the South Sea’s forehead!
Right as the Divine Nun of the South Sea was about to have her head pierced, a huge hand extended over and caught the sword firmly.
Xiao An glanced at Li Qingshan. Li Qingshan shook his head gently and let go of the Buddha Slaying sword!
“Divine nun, you’re not our opponent. Originally, we were supposed to kill you today, but we’ll spare you out of consideration for what you’ve done for Xiao An. Don’t make an enemy out of us again!”
He had to have tolerance, but he also needed to be vicious when it was required. Li Qingshan obviously understood that principle, but the issue was when he should be tolerant and when he should be decisive. The heavily-injured Divine Nun of the South Sea no longer posed a threat. This should have been the perfect time to kill her, but he always repaid his debts, so even if it would lead to endless future trouble, he refused to betray his own principles.
“One Will, oh One Will. We’ve spent over a decade together, such that even a daemon hasn’t forgotten about that, yet you’re actually so vicious and heartless!”
Blood oozed from the Divine Nun of the South Sea’s mouth as she stared straight at Xiao An. She was filled with sorrow. Xiao An’s strike had not reached her, but the coldness and heartlessness within the strike broke her heart deeply.
Even Li Qingshan sighed when he saw this, but he understood extremely well that Xiao An was not vicious. She was only emotionless and characterless.
“Haven’t you always praised my disposition, master?” Xiao An said calmly. During the years she spent with the Divine Nun of the South Sea, she had been through many complications in the mortal world, but she had always been unfazed and incorruptible, which the Divine Nun of the South Sea praised very much. She believed that was the bearing a disciple of the school of vinaya should possess.
“I’m wrong. How can the heartless have benevolence?” The Divine Nun of the South Sea suddenly changed the topic. “So be it, so be it. One Will, I will formally accept you as my disciple today, so you can inherit my legacy. Are you willing to accept me as your master?”
Li Qingshan was mildly surprised. This old nun sure changed her mind quickly. Was she trying to play soft seeing how force did not work? He found this rather inappropriate, but he immediately dismissed his doubts. As long as he was present, even if the Divine Nun of the South Sea tried to make them die with her, it would only cost him a rebirth at most.
If the Divine Nun of the South Sea wanted to die so much, then perfect. He definitely would not stop her. However, she probably would not make such an unwise choice, so he nodded towards Xiao An.
“I’m willing.” Xiao An brought her palms together and lowered her head. Since he did not want to kill the Divine Nun of the South Sea, then repairing their relationship could make the Divine Nun of the South Sea keep this secret.
“Alright!” The Divine Nun of the South Sea smiled. The sorrow on her face suddenly vanished, recovering her solemn and stern expression. She extended her skinny right hand and placed it on Xiao An’s head. “I will pass on the cultivation methods of the school of vinaya to you now…”
After passing on the cultivation methods, the Divine Nun of the South Sea said, “Form has appearance, which allows it to be observed and differentiated. First, the Law of Vinaya is comprehended, which only describes its functions. Secondly, the Body of Vinaya is comprehended, which only details the nature of karma. Lastly, the Conduct of Vinaya is comprehended, which slightly demonstrates the effects of cultivation. Without a distinguishing appearance, nothing would be known about the law, the body, and the conduct. How come? There is no other law than the law, and the form is the law. There is no other body than the body, and all of form is the body. There is no other conduct than the conduct, and observing the form becomes conduct…”
TL: This passage actually doesn’t come from the Dharmagupta-vinaya, but commentary done on the Dharmagupta-vinaya by a monk much after the vinaya translation. I’ve translated it to the best of my ability, so hopefully it makes some sense.
A sense of unease suddenly filled Li Qingshan’s heart. The Divine Nun of the South Sea’s right hand suddenly turned into a golden fluid and seeped down. At a closer glance, the golden fluid was composed of countless, tiny characters of sanskrit, seeping deep into the white bones. Xiao An suddenly gripped the Buddha Slaying sword, but she was unable to move.
Li Qingshan had already taken a step forward and grabbed the divine nun by the wrist. “Divine nun, just what else are you trying to do now?” He curled his other hand into a fist and made up his mind. If she still tried to push her luck, he would not show mercy anymore.
“I know I am not your opponent as an individual, nor am I trying any tricks. However, since she’s my disciple, I need to take responsibility for her to the very end. One Will, oh One Will, just what kind of demonic art made you like this?”
“Let go!” Li Qingshan threw his punch, but it directly passed through the Divine Nun of the South Sea. He did not hit anything tangible.
The Divine Nun of the South Sea’s face was as calm as before, without any pain. There was even an aura of transcendence about her, having attained enlightenment.
“One Will, the destiny between us as master and disciple has already run out. It was only for a moment, but I believe this was a gesture of benevolence from the buddha, for me to save you. You must uphold the legacy of vinaya and devote yourself to buddhism.”
Reaching there, she suddenly erupted with light, turning into countless golden sanskrit characters and surging towards Xiao An. She poured all of her cultivation into her body, like gilding the white bones in a layer of gold. This was a śarīra, as well as a decree, a form of restraint.
The disciplinary stick fell to the ground, and the pages all drifted down, reassembling into a scripture and landing right before Xiao An. Li Qingshan lifted her up and asked in concern, “Are you alright? What did the old nun do?”
“Turns out, she wasn’t trying to kill me,” Xiao An said in despondence.