Chapter 292 – Guardian Kings Subdue Demons
Liu Zhangqing immediately fished out the Watermirror disc, which conjured an image. The monk’s spade in Mind Enlightenment’s hand was imbued with true qi, turning into a startling wave that forced Li Qingshan back. However, Li Qingshan was like a small boat in the storm, rising and falling with the wave without capsizing.
Wang Pushi frowned. “This brat really is a troublemaker.”
After hearing the whole story, the One Thought master became displeased too. “Xiao An is currently practising the Guardian King’s Scripture of Demon Subdual, so no one should disturb her. Li Qingshan is far too insensible.”
As an esoteric cultivation method of buddhism, originally only the primary disciple, Mind Enlightenment, could practise the Guardian King’s Scripture of Demon Subdual. This was not because the One Thought master was unfair and favoured Mind Enlightenment. Instead, it was because the Guardian King’s Scripture of Demon Subdual possessed far too much depth. It required a very firm foundation and a very high level of understanding for a cultivator to practise it.
This was beyond what talent alone could achieve. It required an extremely deep foundation in cultivation and a great understanding of buddhist philosophies. It was not something that a new disciple could practise. There were plenty of buddhist disciples who would take quite a few years despite their cultivation foundation to practise this cultivation method.
The reason why the One Thought master had arranged for this to happen was to separate Li Qingshan and Xiao An, especially after he learnt that she had only known Li Qingshan for around a year, and they were not connected by blood. This was for Xiao An’s sake too. As a buddhist disciple, too many distracting thoughts would affect her cultivation. As long as he separated them for a while, time would naturally erode away everything.
His other objective was to eliminate Xiao An’s arrogance so that she could learn her flaws before this wondrous method of buddhism that even she was unable to practise. No matter how great of a genius she was, there was nothing she could do if she did not comprehend the essence of buddhism, cut off her worldly ties, and cultivate in peace.
Nightfall yesterday, outside the Anāsravāṃ temple, in the Pure Moon nunnery.
Xiao An changed into a set of grey monk robes and knelt quietly before the buddha.
The One Thought Master picked up his razor, personally performing tonsure and completing this ancient ceremony for her.
When the shiny tonsure razor reached towards her long, dark hair, the abbess of the nunnery, the One Leaf abbess, despite personally believing her mind had already achieved a stillness akin to an ancient well, actually found this slightly regretful. With that, she would serve as a buddhist monk for the rest of her life, cutting off her worldly ties.
Xiao An raised her head and avoided the razor. She looked at the jade buddha in the niche.
The One Leaf abbess discovered that her dark eyes were even more akin to an ancient well than her own heart before smiling self-deprecatingly. She was just a child. Were there any girls who were willing to cut the beautiful long hair they had grown themselves? Because of her unbelievable talent, didn’t that make her mind unsettled too?
She brought her palms together and stated, “A head of black hair is akin to three thousand strands of afflictions. Shaving away your hair is ending these afflictions. Don’t be so reluctant to give it up. Only with loss comes gain.”
However, little did she know that losing her hair meant nothing to Xiao An. Even losing her body meant nothing. It was all just an illusion, just like how even the greatest beauty would be reduced to a pile of white bones someday. She had never cared about it in the first place. Whether it was a head of black hair or three thousand strands of afflictions, it was all for him, so how could she shave it away so easily?
The One Thought master said, “Tonsure is a crucial ceremony for joining the school of Buddhism. It represents cutting away all your concerns so that you can wholeheartedly cultivate. If you don’t go through with this, you won’t be able to become a disciple of the school of Buddhism.”
Xiao An said nothing. She took out the Guardian King’s pearl and placed it before the buddha.
There was no need for anyone to say anything to her. Even a supreme grade spiritual artifact was not enough for her to go through with this.
The One Thought master remained in silence for quite a while before letting out a long sigh. He allowed her to cultivate in the Pure Moon nunnery without going through tonsure, but it only made him even more determined. He could not allow a mere Li Qingshan to affect this rare, supreme genius of his school of Buddhism.
Benevolent be the buddha. Perhaps she was supposed to suffer a little so that she would know when to take a step back in the face of difficulties.
In the blink of an eye, Mind Enlightenment had already forced Li Qingshan down the cliff. He was encased in the wrathful, glaring, golden avatar of a guardian king, which swung down with the golden, half-transparent monk’s spade in his hand.
There was a great clang.
Li Qingshan parried with the Wind-entwining blade and stopped the monk’s spade, but his arms shuddered, and the webbing between his thumb and index finger ached. The power from Mind Enlightenment had completely exceeded anything that a Strength Talisman of the Guardian Kings could provide.
A notch immediately appeared on the Wind-entwining blade. Under the force of the monk’s spade, it let out a painful groan as it twisted and changed shape.
There was a flash of blue light, and the Clear Stream sword shot out from Li Qingshan’s sleeve, stabbing towards Mind Enlightenment’s forehead. There was a clink, and it was sent flying. It failed to harm the golden avatar at all.
“Like an ant trying to shake a tree! Why don’t you piss off!” Mind Enlightenment crushed down with the monk’s spade.
Li Qingshan was secretly amazed by the power of buddhist cultivation methods. If he did not transform, he would have to use the Cursive Sword Calligraphy if he wanted to get through this golden avatar.
Suddenly, his vision lit up, and he smiled. Looks like there was no longer any need for that. A petite figure rushed over by leaping roof to roof, her black hair dancing in the air. He did not think too much. He just felt that she still looked better with hair.
The One Thought master saw this too. He immediately questioned the One Leaf abbess, “Junior sister, didn’t I say that she’s forbidden from leaving seclusion if she didn’t complete the first layer of the Guardian King’s Scripture of Demon Subdual? Why did you let her out?”
He had placed down restrictive formations at the location where Xiao An cultivated. Not only were others forbidden from entering or disturbing her, but even Xiao An herself could not leave until she reached the first layer of the Guardian King’s Scripture of Demon Subdual. Apart from him, the only person who could let her out was the One Leaf abbess. He had left plenty of food in there for her, along with precious pills. They were enough to sustain her cultivation for quite a while.
Before the wide open doors, the One Leaf abbess stood in a daze. She did not answer him. All she muttered was, “That’s impossible!”
The One Thought master understood the reason very soon. Within the Watermirror disc, Xiao An’s aura had already reached an impressive sixth layer.
With her own vitality and the pills left behind by the One Thought master, she had used a single afternoon and a night to push her cultivation up by three layers. As for condensing a sea of qi that was enough for countless Qi Practitioners to pain over, she had no idea what the difficulty was. It was just like when she had taught Li Qingshan in the past.
When she saw Mind Enlightenment, a rare sliver of fury appeared on her tiny, expressionless face, and she erupted with golden light.
The downward gaze of bodhisattvas brought benevolence to the six realms, while the furious glare of guardian kings could subdue demons.
Raising its vajra high into the air, it transformed and turned into a huge, golden sword in the end. It cleaved down towards Mind Enlightenment’s back.
If the One Thought master still had any doubts earlier, then he would finally be convinced now. She had truly reached the first layer with the Guardian King’s Scripture of Demon Subdual. Just the Guardian King’s pearl alone could not create such a realistic avatar.
Mind Enlightenment experienced a feeling of danger. He swept backwards with his monk’s spade and the two tremendous forces collided, producing another deafening boom.
Mind Enlightenment gazed at the guardian king’s avatar behind him in disbelief. He staggered backwards and collided into the cliff face behind him.
The cliff trembled and pieces of rock fell down.
Using the attack, Xiao An leapt backwards and nullified the force.
The two guardian kings confronted one another with furious glares. Although Xiao An’s guardian king avatar was slightly smaller, it was no less consolidated than Mind Enlightenment’s with the support of the Guardian King’s pearl.
The onlooking monks were all dumbfounded. Was this really their junior sister Xiao An?
It was not just them. Even the One Thought master felt the same. This was the first time in his entire life that he did not feel joy for his disciple’s improvements. Instead, he felt a sliver of mixed fear. This was talent that could strike fear within people.
The Guardian King’s Scripture of Demon Subdual, an esoteric buddhist cultivation method that the One Thought master believed Xiao An would struggle to comprehend, was absolutely nothing before the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty, a supreme ability that went from buddhism to the demonic, turning the cultivator into an embodiment of the White Bone Bodhisattva.
Yet, under the black ox’s guidance, she had forcefully learnt this ability despite being still in the state of a ghost. After that, she had never stopped studying the buddhist scriptures, rapidly deepening her understanding and comprehension.
The Guardian King’s Scripture of Demon Subdual was no different from the buddhist scriptures she had seen in the past. They were all for the sake of deepening her understanding of the essence of the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty. And, it began to lead to a mysterious transformation. Even buddhas could become demons, so what were guardian kings supposed to be?
For the first time too, the slovenly daoist priest, Zhou Tong, felt like having a disciple like that would not necessarily be good news either, as perhaps he would enter seclusion for a few months, only to discover that his disciple had already become more powerful than him after he emerged. As for having Yu Zijian exceed Xiao An, he no longer held any hope in that anymore.
Actually, if Xiao An joined the school of Daoism instead, her cultivation speed would just be startling at most, despite her supreme talent.
The One Thought master was right. She did have a destiny with the buddha, but not as a disciple of buddhism, but as an enemy of buddhism. There was a saying in the world, “Your enemy is the person who knows you the best.” What she wanted to become was the “nemesis of buddhism”. Just her objective alone had surpassed all regular monks.
The room fell utterly silent. All of the school leaders were knowledgeable. They had quite a deep understanding of the Guardian King’s Method of Demon Subdual. Even if their shock failed to match the One Thought master’s, it would not be far off.
The slovenly daoist priest asked the One Thought master, “How long did you take to reach the first layer of the Guardian King’s Scripture of Demon Subdual?”
The One Thought master said, “I became a monk when I was seven, practising qi while studying the dharma and teachings of buddhism. When I was twenty-five, I reached the ninth layer and gained the recognition of my master, who was also the previous school leader, the Ziming master. After which, I switched to the Guardian King’s Scripture of Demon Subdual. I comprehended it a year later, reaching the first layer.”
“And how long did she take?”
The One Thought master said hoarsely, “A single night!” And, he had switched to the Guardian King’s Scripture of Demon Subdual as a ninth layer Qi Practitioner. Compared to that, it was far more difficult for Xiao An, at the third layer with only the foundation from the Innate Method of Practising Qi.
This had already exceeded the boundary of geniuses. She was a deviant, a monster.
The slovenly daoist priest patted the One Thought master’s shoulder.
Liu Zhangqing sighed gently. Originally, he wanted to pull some strings and force Li Qingshan to leave the school of Novels. Of course, he would not be able to switch to other schools either. He would be breaking the rules if he remained in the academy, so he would give him some benefits and recommend him to go elsewhere.
As the ruler of an entire prefecture, this did not cause him any mental burden at all. Those who wanted to achieve great things could not afford to scruple over small details. However, he had to reconsider this plan now. At the very least, he needed to go from “force” to “convince”.
Li Qingshan clearly held an extremely important position within this child’s heart. Even though time could wear away everything, it would not take her too long to reach his current level. He did not want to bear the hostility from a person like that, and it was not like he had given any thought to it in the first place.
In the Anāsravāṃ temple, Xiao An clashed with Mind Enlightenment. The vajra sword and monk’s spade constantly collided together and produced tremors such that the huge, nearby bells began resonating too.
Even the old monks in the temple had never witnessed something so extraordinary before.