Chapter 294 – Till Death Do Us Part
Wall facing was both a cultivation method of buddhism and a method of punishment. Three years of wall facing was akin to three years of house arrest. During those three years, he could not communicate with others, move around freely, or enjoy any form of entertainment. It was even more terrifying than prison. The level of monotony was enough to drive a regular person crazy. To a disciple of buddhism, it was a great test of their temperament.
Rather restless disciples with impressive talent had always been the One Thought master’s favourite disciples. If this were in the past, the One Thought master would definitely be delighted with how Mind Enlightenment volunteered to face the walls of the Cliff Inscription cavern, but right now, he was afraid that he had given up all hope. The more of a genius a person was, the easier it was for them to become dejected and downhearted once they faced a setback.
“Have you thought it through properly?”
“Yes!” Mind Enlightenment buried his head deeply into the ground. He looked back through all the years he spent in the Anāsravāṃ temple. All of his pride and status had vanished with that single word he uttered. He felt extremely dejected. Sorrow welled up inside and tears began to run down his face like rain. He broke into sobs.
The One Thought master rubbed his head. “Don’t cry, don’t cry. This might be good news to you.”
“Master, I’ve embarrassed you!” Mind Enlightenment hugged the One Thought master’s leg; he was like a pitiful child, having returned to the time when he initially joined the Anāsravāṃ temple as a little acolyte.
“You haven’t. You will always be my best disciple. You need to pull yourself together!” The rim of One Thought master’s eyes reddened involuntarily.
The monks in the temple all shed tears too. Although there were many flaws in their first senior brother, he still took good care of them. They too felt pained now that he would be gone for three years.
Li Qingshan rubbed his nose and thought, Why do I feel like Xiao An and I are the bad guys?
After crying, Mind Enlightenment seemed to have become much more relaxed. He made his way around his master and his junior brothers, making his way to the Cliff Inscription cavern to cultivate. From the beginning till the end, he did not even glance at Xiao An at all. This child made him feel fear. This kind of fear did not originate from the strike that Xiao An had almost killed him with, but from the strike when she cut through the vajra monk’s spade.
It was only a short instant, but the bone-chilling coldness suppressed all of his power and thoughts. His indestructible vajra monk’s spade had broken under that exact power, or should you say thought.
The One Thought master watched Mind Enlightenment leave. He turned around and faced Xiao An. He opened his mouth, but he had no idea on what to say. Was he supposed to scold her? Or praise her? Regardless of what he did, none of it seemed right. There was only one thing he was certain about. He would not serve as the master of this child for too long. “Have you completed the first layer of the Guardian King’s Scripture of Demon Subdual?”
The surroundings were thrown into an uproar. The monks all looked at one another, seeing an exact reflection of the current expression that they had. Within a prefectural Academy of the Hundred Schools, the Guardian King’s Scripture of Demon Subdual could be regarded as a powerful cultivation method that was rarely passed onto anyone. Cultivating till the very end could result in the condensation of a Vajra Śarīra, which was on par with the Golden Cores of the school of Daoism.
Xiao An suddenly asked, “Master, are you afraid?”
The corner of the One Thought master’s eye twitched. He uttered the buddha’s name constantly. After quite a while, he placed the primary disciple’s waist tablet in Xiao An’s hand. “From today onwards, you are my school of Buddhism’s primary disciple. To be able to hold this position, just martial prowess is not enough. You also must have a deep understanding of the buddhist dharma, such that you can answer your junior’s queries.”
Xiao An said, “Yes, master.”
The One Thought master wanted to give her a few more words of advice, but he ended up sighing gently instead. “Don’t forget about the purpose of buddhism. You should get along with your fellow students. You should not have used that attack against your fellow student.”
He was reluctant for Xiao An to take up the position of primary disciple, but in the Anāsravāṃ temple right now, just who had the ability to replace Mind Enlightenment? Even if they could replace him, how long could they hold the position for? Would it be half a year or just three months?
As a result, Xiao An became the youngest primary disciple throughout the history of the Clear River prefecture’s Academy of the Hundred Thought. If it were not for Li Qingshan, she would be the primary disciple with the lowest cultivation throughout history too.
Xiao An wanted to rebuke him, but Li Qingshan pressed down on her shoulder and shot a glance towards her. “The One Thought master is right. Why don’t you thank your master?”
Xiao An said obediently, “Thank you, master.”
The One Thought master frowned. He said sternly, “Li Qingshan, before Xiao An has reached the first layer with the Guardian King’s Scripture of Demon Subdual, no one is allowed to disturb her. That was my order. Why part of it did you not understand?”
His beloved disciple had given up his position as primary disciple, placing himself under house arrest to go wall facing, so why wouldn’t he be annoyed? He was unable to vent it on Xiao An, so he obviously used the ‘troublemaker’ Li Qingshan instead.
“One Thought master, the disciples of the academy are of the same breath and branch, standing together through thick and thin. What’s wrong with him coming to Anāsravāṃ island to meet someone?”
Before Li Qingshan had said anything, a voice rang out from the direction of the stūpas. Turning around, Li Qingshan saw Liu Chuanfeng gliding over on a huge, white crane. After holding hands and shedding a few tears with Sun Fubai, they even took out some wine and dishes and drank a few cups together. After receiving the news, Liu Chuanfeng paled in fright and rushed over. Right now, Li Qingshan was his prized possession. If he let anything happen to him, the school of Novels would be doomed to abolishment. By then, he would not even have a place to cry at.
“Master, Mind Enlightenment insulted my school of Novels in the face of the public, damaging the bond between the schools. He wanted to hurt people over the slightest disagreement, so why must you say that we are in the wrong instead?” Liu Chuanfeng leapt off the white crane and landed before Li Qingshan, clasping his hands.
Li Qingshan saw how his clothes swayed in the breeze. He really did seem slightly graceful. This was the first time his impression of him had improved slightly.
The One Thought master just happened to have some anger to vent, yet the jittery Liu Chuanfeng had actually come to make noise right in his face. He widened his eyes into a glare. Even without the guardian king avatar, a heavy pressure crushed down on Liu Chuanfeng.
Liu Chuanfeng bowed deeply. “Sorry. We’re completely in the wrong. It’s all my school of Novel’s fault, so please forgive us, master. You unruly disciple, why don’t you apologise to the master?”
Li Qingshan grinned. He held back his urge to slap him across the face. With a school leader like this, why wouldn’t the school of Novels be abolished?
In the end, the matter remained unsettled.
Li Qingshan brought Xiao An back to Cloudwisp island with him to show her around. Along the way, there were several times when Liu Chuanfeng wanted to approach him, but he avoided him every single time. He did not want Xiao An to be influenced by him.
Returning to Cloudwisp island, he saw someone waiting for him in the courtyard within the bamboo forest.
The leader of the school of Confucianism, Liu Zhangqing, stood with his arms behind his back, listening to the sound of the bamboo swaying in the breeze with his eyes shut. He only opened his eyes a while later. “It has been several years since I’ve been here. The scenery here is still so beautiful. It’s just a pity.”
Liu Chuanfeng obviously understood what he was referring to by pity. All he could do was smile dryly and bow. “School leader Liu, long time no see.”
However, Liu Zhangqing completely ignored him. He was straightforward “Li Qingshan, just what are your conditions for you to leave the school of Novels? Let’s hear them.”
He did not treat Liu Chuanfeng like he existed at all. Liu Chuanfeng’s smile froze, but he dared not show any displeasure. He looked at Li Qingshan for help. He almost seemed like he was pleading with him.
However, Li Qingshan did not look at him. He replied to Liu Zhangqing politely, but not overly so. “Sir Liu, can I join other schools if I leave the school of Novels?”
Liu Chuanfeng was ashen.
Liu Zhangqing shook his head. “No. If you leave the school of Novels, you leave the academy. However, I can recommend you to a very impressive sect to cultivate. The Pine Sough academy of the Heavenly Lake mountain is rather renowned throughout the entire Green province. The head of the academy is a Golden Core cultivator who has already undergone two heavenly tribulations. You’ll have a much better future there than the Academy of the Hundred Schools of the Clear River prefecture.”
Liu Chuanfeng had already given up hope. No one would ever decline such a great offer.
Li Qingshan replied, “Apologies. Thank you for your kind intentions, school leader, but I’m afraid I can’t accept your offer.”
Liu Changqing frowned. “What conditions do you have in mind? Please let me know.”
Li Qingshan smiled at Xiao An and held her hand. “I won’t accept any conditions, no matter what they are. We’re not separating.”
Liu Zhangqing said, “Do you know this saying? Instead of sticking together against the odds, why not just separate and wander off freely? There are no never-ending banquets in the world. Separation is only a matter of time. If you remain here, you will be thrown behind very quickly with her cultivation speed. By then, what are you supposed to do? If you go to the Pine Sough academy, there might be a chance you meet again in the future. Or, are you trying to use her to procure some benefits for yourself?”
Whether it was the kind advice or the goading, clever words, every single thing that Liu Zhangqing said hit the point.
Li Qingshan was unable to maintain his smile anymore. In the end, he sighed slightly. “Perhaps you’re right.”
Xiao An’s heart tightened. Liu Zhangqing smiled.
“But, I’ve already heard too much of the general principles of the world, of what is right and wrong. Right now, all I want to do is follow my heart. My heart tells me I want to be with her. To be honest, I don’t believe in eternity either, but the longer, the better.”
He shrugged easily. “Till death do us part.”
The wind whistled, the bamboo swayed, and the light flickered.
Liu Zhangqing had already left. He personally believed he was giving insightful advice, but when a man like that said something like that, it meant his mind was made. His will was as firm as rock, utterly immovable.
Liu Chuanfeng said emotionally, “Thank you! Thank you!” The school of Novels had dodged a bullet.
Li Qingshan said, “I didn’t do it for you.”
Liu Chuanfeng said, “Thank you anyway. I’ll go prepare lunch to celebrate your formal entry to the school of Novels.”
Li Qingshan said, “It’s still morning!” However, Liu Chuanfeng had already drifted off into the bamboo building as he hummed to himself, while Li Qingshan saw tears pool up in Xiao An’s large eyes.
“What’re you being all emotional for? I’m doing it all for myself. Haven’t you heard them? I’m using you, you idiot!” Li Qingshan rubbed Xiao An’s little head.
Xiao An wiped away her tears and took out a pill glistening with golden light from her hundred treasures pouch, passing it to Li Qingshan. This was a buddhist spiritual medicine that the One Thought master had given to Xiao An. It might not have been on par with the Virtue Accumulation pill, but it was not far from it.
Li Qingshan smiled bitterly. “I’m just saying. You’d better keep it for yourself!”
Xiao An insisted, as if she would cry if he turned her down.
Li Qingshan rubbed his nose, with no other choice but to accept it. He felt strange inside. He tossed these thoughts aside. “Come, I’ll show you a nice place.”
In the depths of the courtyard, in the corridor on the lake.
The rocking chair swayed gently as Li Qingshan held her in his arms. He sniffed her faint fragrance of sandalwood, gently caressed her silk-like hair, and looked at the lake.
She had her eyes closed, like she was asleep.
“I’m doing it all for myself.” He was not lying when he said that. What existed in his mind were not just noble thoughts of taking care of her and protecting her. With her by his side, he finally would not have to be lonely anymore.
PS: Writing in peace, asking for monthly tickets in peace.