Chapter 285 – The Guardian King’s Pearl
The other school leaders were all disappointed. They either rode off on clouds or strode through the air. Just like how they had come, they vanished in the blink of an eye.
In the end, only Ma Buyi remained behind. He let out a deep sigh and said to Xiao An, “Since you’ve already chosen, there’s nothing that I can say. However, the gates to the school of Yin-yang are open to you at all times! Contention is not all that exists among the hundred schools. They also exchange their thoughts with one another, accepting any and all. The One Thought master shouldn’t mind this.”
“Just like what the fellow has said, the hundred schools all have their own specialties, and they don’t hoard it all to themselves like those sects in the wilderness. If you’re interested, Xiao An, you are most welcomed to listen in on school leader Ma’s teachings. You’ll definitely benefit from it.” The One Thought master recovered his usual, cultivated manner. Since Xiao An had joined the school of Buddhism, she would just be a knowledgeable disciple of the school of Buddhism even if she learned from the other schools; this was already set in stone. No one could change this anymore.
Ma Buyi nodded. He glanced at Xiao An once more reluctantly before riding away on the wind.
The One Thought master revealed a smile. The smile gradually grew wider before he suddenly laughed aloud. He said to Xiao An, “Child, come with me!”
Li Qingshan said, “There are still tests in the afternoon.”
The One Thought master waved his hand. “There’s no need to waste any time on them. An afternoon is enough for her to grasp the basics of the Guardian King’s Scripture of Demon Subdual.”
If there were other disciples of buddhism here, they would definitely develop jealousy, which would in turn affect their cultivation. The Guardian King’s Scripture of Demon Subdual was a secret method rarely ever passed to others. Not only did it require an extremely firm foundation in buddhism, but it would normally only be passed onto someone after they had undergone various tests. She was practising the Guardian King’s Scripture of Demon Subdual right off the bat. It truly was quite the starting point.
“Buddhist monks tell no lies. I’ll give this Guardian King’s pearl to you as a gift to welcome you to the school of Buddhism. This can summon a guardian king to protect you. It complements the Guardian King’s Scripture of Demon Subdual. It will bring great benefits to your cultivation.”
The One Thought master took out a golden pearl from his hundred treasures pouch. As it glimmered with light, a glaring guardian king was vaguely visible. From how impressively it shone, it was a true supreme grade spiritual artifact. He erased his imprint casually and passed it to Xiao An.
Everyone was thrown into an uproar. Everyone knew what a supreme grade spiritual artifact was worth. When they saw how the school leaders competed against one another with supreme grade spiritual artifacts up for offer, they had already been extremely shocked. Now that the One Thought master had actually taken out a supreme grade spiritual artifact, they had no idea how to respond. They could not even develop any jealousy. Most Qi Practitioners would never obtain supreme grade spiritual artifacts in their entire lives.
Li Qingshan sighed with amazement too. Choosing to come to the Academy of the Hundred Schools truly was the correct decision. They had obtained a supreme grade spiritual artifact for free from just showing up. It had to be mentioned that right now, only the Cursive Sword Calligraphy in his possession barely counted as a supreme grade spiritual artifact. Although he could expect it to grow stronger in the future, it was probably not as effective as this Guardian King’s pearl right now.
Xiao An accepted the Guardian King’s pearl, and her mind shuddered. The set of white bones condensed from the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty that hovered within her flesh jolted slightly. She reacted mysteriously to this uncommon buddhist spiritual artifact.
The Guardian King’s pearl flashed, and a six meter tall guardian king immediately appeared around her. Whether it be the crown on its head or the vajra1 in its hand, they were both extremely detailed. Its expression was filled with fury, and it seemed life-like, enough to frighten anyone.
Li Qingshan thought, The power of supreme grade spiritual artifacts truly is startling.
The One Thought master was astounded too. Supreme grade spiritual artifacts needed to be refined before use. Never could anyone use it the moment it entered their hands, and it was all the more impossible with Xiao An’s third layer cultivation.
And, while he did erase his imprint, it was not cleanly removed—a faint connection still remained. Xiao An needed to remove this completely if she wanted to use the Guardian King pearl as she wished.
But earlier, he clearly sensed that the residual imprint had immediately vanished the moment the Guardian King pearl entered Xiao An’s hands; it was like a capable scholar meeting a wise lord, like a beauty meating a romantic, immediately discarding everything and throwing themselves into their embrace, casting aside their old master like an old shoe.
Xiao An stowed the Guardian King pearl away and bowed slightly, expressing her thanks.
The One Thought master smiled bitterly. Despite his cultivation, he actually felt worried that he would not be able to guide or control this child. He said, “Sir Li, if you’re interested, you’re welcome to cultivate in my school of Buddhism too.” With the One Thought master’s status, this was a gesture of great courtesy.
Li Qingshan smiled. “Thank you master, but in my life, I never cultivated goodness, relishing only murder and arson. If I join buddhism, I’ll probably just disturb the peace of buddhism. I’d better find a different path!” His oath was to travel the world with fine alcohol in his hands and beauty in his arms. He was unable to learn buddhist methods of how to eliminate his desires and cleanse his heart, nor did he want to learn.
“In your life, you never cultivated goodness, relishing only murder and arson.” The One Thought master frowned and repeated that before glancing at Li Qingshan deeply again. “This sounds extremely vulgar at first, but if you think about it closely, it also seems to be allegorical. You have a destiny with the buddha. You might not achieve instantaneous enlightenment today, but it may come to you in the days that lie ahead. Xiao An, let’s go!”
Li Qingshan was secretly filled with admiration. Originally, this had been uttered by the Flowery Monk, Lu Zhishen, as he passed away in meditation. “In my life, I never cultivated goodness, relishing only murder and arson. Suddenly, my golden shackles have been opened; here, my jade locks have been pulled asunder. Alas! Hereby the river tide cometh, now I finally realise that I am what I am!2”
He had replied with this absentmindedly, as if something was at work. As for whether destiny actually existed or not, that would be up to destiny!
Xiao An tugged Li Qingshan’s sleeve, looking at him, reluctant to part with him. Originally, she wanted to cultivate with him, which was why she did all of that to come here, so why were they separating again?
Li Qingshan’s heart softened. He crouched down and promised her. “Just go with the One Thought master and cultivate well. Once I’m done here, I’ll come find you.”
Only then did Xiao An nod, releasing his sleeve.
The One Thought master watched all of this unfold as he sighed inside. For those who studied buddhism, a rudimentary grasp was monkhood, renouncing all worldly ties and pursuits. Being so attached to a certain person was not good. However, there was no need for him to worry either. At the end of the day, she was still just a child. It would all be resolved once she grew a little older.
The young man was rather talented, but he lacked the strength to stand beside her. Before long, their cultivations, identities, and statuses would completely pull them apart into two different worlds; this could not be changed by anyone’s willpower. In the future, he would just be an acquaintance of hers at most.
The One Thought master said, “This monk bids farewell.” He placed his hand on Xiao An’s shoulder and took a step forward, disappearing promptly.
Li Qingshan turned around and returned to the crowd. They all looked at him in respect, and it was not because of who he was. Even idiots could tell that the child called Xiao An had a limitless future ahead of her. With how close he was to her, he achieved glory too.
Hua Chengzan had sunken into his thoughts too. She had made him take good care of Li Qingshan, but he had never imagined the child would be even more surprising. Foundation Establishment was just a matter of time for her, so he had to establish a good relationship with Xiao An. Probably even she had failed to see this!
He glanced at Yu Zijian nearby before glancing at Chu Tian in the crowd. These geniuses rarely ever appeared even across several generations, but this time, there were three of them, each more impressive than the last.
As it seemed, the Clear River prefecture’s Academy of the Hundred Thoughts would be welcoming a period of great glory among the academies of the nine prefectures in the Ruyi commandery. He, a former prodigy, would dim in their brilliance. He could not help but feel very pressured.
Han Qiongzhi had the least self-control. She rushed over to Li Qingshan. “Just who is the child to you?”
Li Qingshan said proudly, “My only family!” Regardless of what other people were thinking, her glory was also his glory.
At this moment, the plump old man seemed to receive some order, and he arrived before the sheet-white female instructor who was at a loss as for what to do. He said sternly, “With your character, you are not suited to the job of an instructor. From this moment onwards, you are dismissed from the academy. Go back and pack your things!”
This order did not come from the One Thought master, but the leader of the school of Confucianism, Liu Zhangqing. The other leaders had no objections to this either. A supreme prodigy was about to rise up in the Academy of the Hundred Schools of the Clear River prefecture, so they could not allow her to develop any ill will towards the academy. As a result, the female instructor’s punishment had to be severe.
The female instructor turned even paler. Originally, she wanted to find an opportunity to expel Xiao An from the academy, but never did she imagine it would end up with her dismissal instead. She screeched, “I re-”
The plump old man cut her off sternly. “This is for your sake!”
The female instructor trembled. She was bitter, not stupid. She understood what would await her. Even if she disregarded the consequences of disobeying the school leaders, just the child alone would become a great figure that she could not afford to offend if she was given a few years’ time. By then, if she remembered this grievance of the past, just the slightest revenge would be a great calamity to her. The best thing she could do right now was to quickly vanish from her view and hope that she would not remember her again.
She immediately stomped her foot before storming off. She thought, Just you wait! I will get revenge! However, even she felt like she did not have much of a chance. It was mainly to dismiss the fear in her heart.
Of course, no one knew that Xiao An basically had no concept on these principles of how people treated one another, unless it involved Li Qingshan. She did not feel any anger or hatred at all.
Afterwards, under the lead of the instructors, the group arrived before a building. A forest wrapped around it, making it extremely tranquil. They could smell a special fragrance from afar.
Li Qingshan raised his head and saw the three large words of “Hundred Flavours Restaurant.” He could not help but think about how he had once eaten in the Hundred Flavours restaurant below the Green Vine mountain. As it turned out, the origin of the place was here. That night, he had heard that the Town of Flowing Clouds would be opening again for the entrance examination. Where was it located?
Li Qingshan’s question was answered very quickly, as after a meal in the Hundred Flavours restaurant, the next stop was the Town of Flowing Clouds. It was more than enough for him to witness the close relationship between the Academy of the Hundred Schools and the town. At the very least, the school of Miscellany would not be missing this opportunity to make some spiritual stones.
The town was located in an empty spot on the south-western shore of the island. Although it was in a different place now, the structure was exactly the same as when it was below the Green Vine mountain.
The instructor clapped his hands in front of the gates to the town. “Everyone, you have some free time here now. Please consider which school you plan on enrolling in and make some preparations for the upcoming tests. Please do not leave the town.” Afterwards, he handed out pieces of colourful writing paper. “You all should know the rules. Everyone can only list five schools, and any more beyond that will be rendered null. In four hours, please regroup here.”
Li Qingshan received a piece of paper too. He discovered that the various information regarding elemental affinity was all recorded on there, and there were five blank spots.
PS: I got home a little later than I anticipated yesterday. I became sleepy as hell when it wasn’t even nine, and I slept for almost twelve hours. I’ve finally managed to recover most of my energy, but tidying up my interrupted thoughts took time. It basically took me four hours to write this chapter. But at last, I can continue my dream. I believe this isn’t just my dream. Please, recommendation tickets, monthly tickets, and evaluation tickets! Let’s set off!
2. Lu Zhishen is a character from Water Margin, who became a buddhist monk throughout the story, but never actually bothered with any buddhist practises. He attains instantaneous enlightenment right before death. The translation of the ode originates from wikipedia.