Chapter 582 – Farewell
The Unraging monk brought the three of them outside the Demon Suppression hall. Li Qingshan felt his entire body loosen. Even his breathing became much smoother. It simply felt repressive inside the Demon Suppression hall.
The vegetation was lush and verdant, illuminated by the setting sun. Who knew how much time had passed already.
“Amitābha. One Will, come with me!”
The Dauntless monk brought his palms together and uttered the buddha’s name quietly. His robes touched the ground as he stared at Xiao An with a pair of cold and wise eyes. No matter what she meant to the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga, he would not let this opportunity to guide her slip by.
He believed there would be one day when she could understand the true essence of the boundless sea of bitterness and the great path of benevolence.
“Yes, abbot.” Xiao An brought her palms together too and returned the bow.
“Once you become an inner courtyard disciple of the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga, you cannot hold onto any secular thoughts or desires anymore. Until the day you possess the right to learn the Chant of Deva-Nāga, you cannot leave the mountain or see anyone outside of the courtyard. Can you do this?”
Xiao An turned her head towards Li Qingshan. By “outside of the courtyard”, it was obviously referring to him. In other words, as long as she had not undergone the second heavenly tribulation, she could not see Li Qingshan again.
Li Qingshan considered the request silently. Although he was reluctant inside, he still nodded. She was only a single step away from the second heavenly tribulation. Once she broke through, that would mean a whole new world unfurling around them again. Before that, focusing on cultivation was not necessarily a bad thing.
Xiao An said gently, “I can do it.”
“Then we’ll go to the grand hall right now and formally hold your ceremony for joining the sect before the buddhas. I will carry out the tonsure personally.”
Out of the past disciples of the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga, probably no one had ever received such honour when they joined the monastery. However, Xiao An frowned slightly after hearing that.
Li Qingshan interrupted him and asked, “Abbot, I noticed that not all head monks of the monastery were bald.” That was including Xiao An’s master in name. He had a head of messy hair.
“One Will, are you a head monk?” the Dauntless monk asked Xiao An without even looking at Li Qingshan.
“I’m not,” replied Xiao An.
In other words, the head monks had all reached an extremely high realm with their cultivation and comprehension of the buddhist dharma, so whether they were bald or not no longer mattered. And, upon reaching the Unraging monk’s level, even if he drank alcohol and ate meat, all he had to say was “the buddha passes through my belly, but alcohol and meat remain in my heart” and no one could do anything about him. If regular disciples dared to be so unruly, even lighter consequences would involve being sent to the Disciplinary courtyard and punished, while heavier consequences would be having their cultivations crippled and getting expelled from the sect.
Li Qingshan wanted to say more, but the Unraging monk patted his shoulder with a smile. “What are you panicking for? It’s not like you can’t regrow it if you don’t have hair!” He earned a glance from the Dauntless monk, but all he did was laugh.
Upon thinking about it, it made perfect sense. With Xiao An’s ability, growing her hair was a matter of a few seconds. There was no need for him to argue over this.
The Dauntless monk said, “Junior brother, accepting a disciple is a major matter. Do you want to come to the grand hall with me?”
With the Unraging monk making an exception and accepting disciples, not only was this a major matter of the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga, but it was even a major matter of the entire Green province. Every single cultivator who had undergone the third heavenly tribulation, whether they were human or daemon, whether they were ascetic or secular, bore great weight in this world. Their names were echoed tens of thousand kilometers away. Every single word they uttered and action they took would affect the overall situation, let alone something as major as accepting disciples.
The Unraging monk raised his head and glanced at the golden hall at the top of Great Buddha mountain. He smiled. “There’s no need for that for an outcast like me. My two disciples probably don’t like things like that either. Not to mention that we’ve already performed our rite.”
That was what the Dauntless monk would have preferred too. The Unraging monk’s two disciples both possessed great potential, but one of them was a demon, while the other was a so-called “secular disciple” who refused to become a monk. If this were made public, the reputation of the monastery would not benefit at all.
“Let’s go.” The Dauntless monk turned around, and Xiao An followed closely behind.
Li Qingshan accompanied Xiao An along the way, while the Dauntless monk walked at the front. He stepped over a tall door threshold and suddenly said, “Please stop right there.” Any further was the inner courtyards of the monastery, and Li Qingshan was only a secular disciple.
All Li Qingshan could do was stop, watching as Xiao An stepped over the threshold. Then she turned around, and their eyes met. They opened their mouths, wanting to say something.
The sun was setting right now, so the residual glow of the sun landed on Xiao An, which made her seem even more beautiful and gorgeous. She seemed like someone who did not belong to this world. Li Qingshan stood facing away from the sun as the rays of light outlined his tall, large figure.
The Dauntless monk shifted his gaze, and the great, vermillion gate closed loudly, blocking their gazes from each other.
The only colour before Xiao An had vanished. The world had become a half-transparent pale-white. Emptiness was form. From today onwards, she would only be accompanied by buddha statues and the sounds of morning bells and evening drums. She did not hate a life like that, but she would much rather be by his side.
Li Qingshan extended his hand and clenched his fist. He experienced an urge to punch down the gate and pull her back out. The gate was not tough, but no one had ever been bold enough to do that throughout history, as this was the gate to the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga, representing stern and undefiable authority.
He was not afraid of authority. He believed that only strength could resolve everything. He believed that as long as he constantly became stronger, there would be a day when he could see her whenever he wanted, with no one able to stop him.
He stood there for a while longer, only to hear the chanting at the top of the mountain rise up to the clouds. He heard the Dauntless monk’s dignified voice ringing out from the distance, announcing to the world that they had accepted her into the monastery. The Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga had finally embraced her, giving her the greatest honour.
The cultivation community of the entire Green province would know that the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga had accepted a disciple, and they treated her like treasure.
Li Qingshan stood in front of the gate alone, listening along for a while before scratching his head and turning around to leave.
He returned to the Demon Suppression hall again. The Unraging monk sat on the grey rock cheerfully as he held an object between his fingers. It glistened under the sunlight, actually a demon heart, and the quality was so high that even Lietu’s demon heart paled in comparison.
Duoge sat in front of the rock with his head raised, gazing at the demon heart in a daze like a child who wanted candy.
The Unraging monk said, “Call me master ten thousand times, and I’ll give it to you.”
Duoge immediately said, “Mastermastermaster…”
The Unraging monk chuckled loudly. He was extremely happy.
Li Qingshan was speechless. These actions of his did not resemble an eminent monk of buddhism at all. Li Qingshan walked over and clasped his hands. “Master, I’ve come to bid farewell.”
Although he had already taken the Unraging monk as his master, he had far too many secrets on him, so it would be best if he used this opportunity to get away. And, he had no interest in the buddhist dharma, so the Unraging monk was unable to teach him anyway.
“I knew you’d refuse to stick around, my damned disciple. Fortunately, I have a good disciple here. Look at how willingly he calls me master.” The Unraging monk smiled as he rubbed Duoge’s head.
Li Qingshan thought, If there were benefits, I’d probably call you master a little more willingly too.
“Since you have no interest in staying, then go!”
Li Qingshan never expected the Unraging monk to agree so easily. He said in a hurry, “Thank you, master.” He turned around and left, but before he had even taken a few steps, he heard the Unraging monk tell Duoge, “You’ve seen the statues in the great hall, right? Let me explain the true meaning behind the Demon Suppression Statuary to you then. Only by suppressing that demon heart of yours can you truly understand how it feels to be a person.”
Li Qingshan made his way back silently and sat down beside Duoge. He had sensed a long time ago that the Unraging monk had received the true legacy of the Demon Suppression Statuary, and with his cultivation, he must have seen all nine statues already. Coupled with his cultivation and comprehension over all these years, his understanding of the Demon Suppression Statuary must have surpassed what he learnt from browsing through them quickly and skimming the surface.
“Hmm? Damned disciple, why’d you come back?” the Unraging monk asked with a smile.
“You can just call me by my name.”
“Forget it, damned disciple. Since you want to hear it too, just listen along then. You can’t say I haven’t shown a sense of honour towards you as your master.”
Li Qingshan rolled his eyes. What is he on about? A sense of honour is the thing that holds master and disciple together? Do you think we’re roaming the jianghu? Whatever. As long as I can learn something.
TL: 义气 (yìqì), which I’ve translated as a sense of honour here, is a pretty big concept in wuxia novels and roaming the jianghu. It’s basically showing a sense of honour towards your friends, such as holding onto their secrets even when threatened with death or not forgetting about them when you’ve become much more powerful. A more informal, modern way of understanding this is basically “being a bro”, except the Unraging monk clearly can’t say something like “You can’t blame me for not being a bro” given the context.
But after waiting for a while, the Unraging monk only smiled silently. Li Qingshan asked in confusion, “Master?”
The Unraging monk pointed at Duoge with a smile. As it turned out, Duoge had yet to finish up with calling him master ten thousand times! Finally, when Duoge finished up, the Unraging monk slowly stowed the demon heart away under Duoge’s eager gaze and said kindly.
“You’re still too young right now, so I’ll hold onto it for you. I’ll give it to you in the future!”
Duoge pouted, but he dared not say anything. He just felt that monks were not as foolish as they were rumored to be.
Li Qingshan vaguely remembered how all the red envelope money he had received in his past life had vanished like that. He could not help but say, “Master truly is a good monk with a strong sense of honour!”
Duoge had realised this “big monk” right before him was anything but easy to deal with a long time ago. Hearing Li Qingshan describe him as “good”, he panicked inside, Isn’t that a curse word? The venerable is standing up for me, but it’ll be bad if he angers this monk. He said in a hurry.
“The venerable is wrong. Master is a bad monk. He’s bad through and through, the worst monk in the world. Master is a great demon among monks!”
He tried to suck up to the Unraging monk a little and save Li Qingshan’s hide.
Li Qingshan was taken aback before bursting out with laughter uncontrollably.
The Unraging monk’s expression was a little strange. He saw how hard Duoge tried to come off as sincere, so he scratched his big, shiny head. “About this…”
Li Qingshan rubbed Duoge’s head. “Oh you. There’s no need to call me venerable anymore. Just senior brother will do.”
“S- senior brother.”
“Let me tell you. While what you said earlier was not exactly wrong, the people of this world all like to hear themselves being praised as ‘good’.”
“Damned disciple, what do you mean by not exactly wrong? What’s so bad about your master?” The Unraging monk feigned anger.
Duoge only interpreted that as the Unraging monk actually losing his temper. He panicked inside again and swiveled his eyes in thought. He sure had responded fast as he said loudly, “Master is a good monk! Master’s entire family are good monks!”
That did sound a lot more sincere than before.
“Pft!” Li Qingshan opened his mouth, revealing his white teeth. He could not help but burst out in laughter again.
“Damned disciple, if you do so much as let out another sound of laughter, I’ll seal your mouth off!”
Li Qingshan stopped laughing and thought, Even a powerful dragon is unable to crush a snake in its local habitat. I won’t be stooping to the same level as a monk like you.
The Unraging monk said, “Stop chattering. Do you know who created the Demon Suppression Statuary?”
They finally approached the main topic. Li Qingshan sat seriously and shook his head, expressing that he did not know.
The Demon Suppression Statuary was obviously nowhere close to the Nine Transformations of the Demonic and Divine or the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty, but who knew how many times more powerful it was compared to cultivation methods like the Arts of the Boundless Ocean. In this world, it could be regarded as a cultivation at the very peak. Just what kind of person was the creator of this cultivation method?