Chapter 588 – Return
“Master is here!” “The head monk is here!”
The monks made a ruckus. Some called him master, while others called him head monk. Combined with Eternal Faith’s shrieks from the Demon Suppression Tower, the situation was a mess.
Distant Enlightenment frowned and gave off an invisible aura and pressure. The surroundings immediately settled down.
“Eternal Benevolence, tell me what is going on.”
A middle-aged monk with an honest and tolerant appearance stepped forward. “Master, I’ve only just arrived too. Apparently senior brother Eternal Faith became caught in a dispute with someone called Li Qingshan, and he ordered us to capture him. That Li Qingshan summoned this tower in response, which enveloped both of them.”
The Eternal Benevolence monk was famous for his honesty in the Courtyard of Secular Affairs, so Distant Enlightenment trusted his word the most. He described what he saw and heard. He did not listen to what Eternal Faith had said to describe Li Qingshan as a wrong-doer.
Distant Enlightenment’s heart skipped a beat. When One Will first entered the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga, he was also at the grand hall. This stubborn man left quite an impression on me. Afterwards, One Will returned, and the abbot personally carried out tonsure for her, yet Li Qingshan was nowhere to be seen. I thought he was still imprisoned in the Demon Suppression hall, but it looks like he has already come out. I wonder why he has come to my Courtyard of Secular Affairs and why he is fighting with Eternal Faith.
Listening to Eternal Faith’s shrieks, Distant Enlightenment was mildly angered. How dare he beat up his disciple right in his face. He was looking down on his Courtyard of Secular Affairs a little too much. With a wave of his hand, Eternal Faith originally thought the tower would fly away, but he never expected it to not even budge.
Distant Enlightenment was surprised. What kind of technique was this? How was it so sturdy?
At first glance, he found it oozing with demon qi, so it seemed like a technique of the Demon race, yet it happened to possess a buddhist solemnity that completely contrasted against that, making it majestic and inviolable. He had never even heard of something like this before.
He parted his hands and clenched his fists. His body glistened with golden light, conjuring the avatar of a guardian king that stood over ten meters tall. It spread its muscly arms and hugged the Demon Suppression Tower firmly, pulling it upwards.
The force from the guardian king was anything but little. The Demon Suppression Tower shuddered before being lifted up bit by bit.
Li Qingshan stowed the whip away and let out a snort, immediately crossing his legs and sitting down. His demon heart produced rings of dark-red light as he surged with demon qi, rushing into the air as if it wanted to smash through the Demon Suppression Tower.
However, the more he stirred his demon heart and released his demonic nature, the larger the Demon Suppression Tower became. At the same time, he practised the Demon Suppression Statuary, and the Demon Suppression Tower grew another few meters taller.
Distant Enlightenment refused to give up. The two of them were locked in stalemate for a while longer before a boom occurred. The Demon Suppression Tower struck the ground firmly.
The monks cried out in alarm. Originally, they thought that Li Qingshan was as good as captured now that Distant Enlightenment had stepped in, but they never expected that even upon using his guardian king’s avatar, Distant Enlightenment still could not shake the strange tower.
Distant Enlightenment dispersed his golden avatar helplessly. He did possess other powerful techniques and he was confident he could get through the tower, but if he did that, the disturbance would be far too great. Facing trouble in their own sect would do no good to the monastery’s reputation.
This Li Qingshan is actually so capable. With his cultivation at the first heavenly tribulation, he can actually contend with my golden avatar. He’s not someone who I can afford to underestimate.
“Sir Li, please come out. You are more than welcome to tell this lowly monk just how my disciple has offended you. This lowly monk can handle the matter impartially.”
“You monks all abuse your superior advantages to harass a lone man like me. If I were to come out, wouldn’t I still be harassed by you?” Li Qingshan’s voice rang out from the tower. All of the monks became angered.
“Harass you? This seems to contrast a little from what this lowly monk is seeing.”
“Emptiness is form. You can’t just look at the surface for anything. Doesn’t the master understand a principle like this?”
“Amitābha, this lowly monk has learnt a lesson. May I ask just how my disciple has harassed you? If he really is in the wrong, this lowly monk is willing to apologise for his misdeeds.”
“Master, you’re quite cultured. You’re much better than this horrible disciple of yours. Forget it. Since you want to know, I’ll tell you.”
As a result, Li Qingshan told him how he wanted to become a secular disciple, how he heard secular disciples needed to give gifts, and how he angered Eternal Faith just by saying, “buddhist disciples also accept bribes.” followed by how Eternal Faith made things difficult for him. He simply described everything like that, without embellishing the truth at all.
Seeing how straightforward he was, Distant Enlightenment already began to believe him a little. He had caught wind of Eternal Faith accepting “gifts” a long time ago, but he focused on cultivation, so he did not pay any heed to such a small matter. He never thought it would actually lead to something like this today, but he was still not entirely convinced.
“How can this lowly monk just believe your side of the story?”
“My side of the story? Hmph, it wasn’t only the two of us back then. You’re more than welcome to ask secular disciple senior brother Wang and check whether I’ve told even a single lie.”
Ever since the monks had rushed over, senior brother Wang and the other two secular disciples retreated to one side and watched on to see how everything would unfold.
Hearing Li Qingshan mention him, senior brother Wang was alarmed inside, cursing Li Qingshan for repaying his kindness with enmity, wanting to drag him down too. He stood forward reluctantly and bowed towards Distant Enlightenment. “Greetings, head monk.”
“Feel free to tell me everything. There’s no need to worry about anything, nor are you allowed to hide anything. The monastery has plenty of methods to discern lies and verify truths.”
As a result, all senior brother Wang could say was, “The situation earlier was basically as L- Li Qingshan described. It has only been a form of etiquette as disciples of the same courtyard between senior brother Eternal Faith and us. There was nothing to do with bribes. Li Qingshan had misspoken beforehand, which was why senior brother Eternal Faith lost his temper. Please give us your wise judgement, head monk.”
Although he refused to lie before Distant Enlightenment, he was still biased towards Eternal Faith as he spoke. Li Qingshan irritated him; he thought, Even if there really had been bribery, what’s it got to do with you?
Distant Enlightenment’s eyebrows became even more furrowed. If that were the case, Eternal Faith had truly gone too far.
“Sir Li, I’ve already understood the entire story now. You can come out!”
“Just understanding is not enough. Tell me how you plan on handling this.”
“My disciple has behaved inappropriately and broken the rules of the monastery. I will personally take him to the Disciplinary courtyard for punishment, and I will apologise to you. It is my Courtyard of Secular Affairs’ honour to have you as a secular disciple.” Distant Enlightenment sighed and bowed slightly.
Li Qingshan secretly praised, Now this old monk has got the bearing. It was not like he was someone who refused to let bygones be bygones, so he immediately withdrew his demonic nature and recovered his human form before waving his hand and dispersing the Demon Suppression Tower.
Eternal Faith was already on his last gasp from the whipping. He was a bloody mess. He did not even have the strength to shriek out anymore. With a thought, Li Qingshan removed the Chains of Demon Suppression, and he fell to the ground heavily.
“Senior brother Eternal Faith!” the monks all cried out and glared at Li Qingshan.
Although Eternal Faith was a standard little man in Li Qingshan’s dictionary, he was skilled at handling the affairs of the courtyard and had always been very generous. He did not always keep all the gifts he received for himself, treating everyone equally instead, which was why he had managed to rally all the disciples earlier. The disciples of the Courtyard of Secular Affairs all admired him. Even when their cultivations exceeded his, they would not contend for his position of first senior brother.
With a wave of his hand, Distant Enlightenment swept Eternal Faith to his side. Golden light sprinkled over him, and Eternal Faith’s wounds immediately recovered. He gradually opened his eyes and called out, “Master!”
“Sigh, Eternal Faith, you’ve always been so sharp and intelligent, so why have you done something so stupid today?”
“The master truly has handled everything impartially. You have my admiration. As for becoming a secular disciple, it’s fine even if I don’t become one.”
Li Qingshan clasped his hands before striding out of the Courtyard of Secular Affairs.
Eternal Faith gazed at Li Qingshan’s figure. Resentment filled his eyes. Never had he experienced so much humiliation before, and it had occurred in front of so many junior brothers and his master. Suddenly, he raised his voice and called out in a rather shrill manner.
“Don’t let him go! He’s a demonfolk!”
“What! Eternal Faith, you cannot speak nonsense like that!”
Distant Enlightenment became alarmed. He immediately used his soul sense to carefully check Li Qingshan, but under the Demon Suppression Statuary, Li Qingshan did not even give off a hint of demon qi.
Eternal Faith said angrily, “I personally saw him demonify. Otherwise, how could he have gotten through my robes and golden avatar so easily with his strength? If I am lying, I am willing to enter Avīci and endure eternal suffering.”
Distant Enlightenment’s face changed. For a buddhist disciple to swear such a solemn vow, it basically could not be false. Demonfolk were the hated enemies of buddhism. If Li Qingshan was a demon, then he had to capture him regardless of whether he was in the right or the wrong. He would either be killed on the spot or sent into the Demon Suppression hall.
However, Li Qingshan ignored all of it, continuing on his way out. Distant Enlightenment called out sternly, “Please hold on, sir Li!”
“What else do you want to ask, master?” Li Qingshan only felt his wrist tighten, having been grabbed firmly by Distant Enlightenment. If he did not mention the Unraging monk’s name today, he probably could not get out of this situation. He sighed inside, Master, oh master, you can’t blame me for this.
“There are a few matters that require sir Li to resolve. May I ask which sect or school the technique of the tower that sir Li used earlier belongs to?”
Li Qingshan said, “Orthodox buddhism, obviously!” And, it was even the supreme cultivation method of the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga.
“I practised buddhism since young, and it has already been over three centuries since then, so why have I never heard of such a powerful buddhist technique? I instead found it radiating with demon qi, like it’s a demonic technique used by demonfolk?”
Li Qingshan smiled. “You’re only listening to one side of the story again, master. I’ll also swear that if I am a demonfolk, I am willing to enter Avīci and endure eternal suffering.”
Distant Enlightenment began to hesitate. He glanced past Li Qingshan’s wrist, and his gaze suddenly froze. He asked, “Hmm? Where did you get this string of prayer beads from!?”
The string of prayer beads seemed like nothing special, but Distant Enlightenment remembered very clearly that it was something that never left the senior at the back of the mountain, so why was it in Li Qingshan’s possession?”
Li Qingshan said, “Someone gave it to me.”
Distant Enlightenment knew exactly how significant the string of prayer beads were to the senior. They could basically be treated as an item of inheriting his legacy. He would never give it away so easily.
“If it wasn’t given to me, am I supposed to have stolen it?”
Distant Enlightenment thought, That’s even more impossible. Just how many people are there in the world who can steal from that senior? If that senior really gave it to him willingly, then…
Li Qingshan hintingly said, “Master, do you think I came to the Courtyard of Secular Affairs to become a secular disciple because I had nothing better to do?”
Distant Enlightenment slowly let go and brought his palms together. “This lowly monk understands. Please continue on your way, sir!”
Li Qingshan also brought his hands together and bowed. “Thank you, master!” He strode off in the direction of the Clear River prefecture.
“Master!” Eternal Faith called out, utterly refusing to accept this.
Distant Enlightenment slowly turned around, hinting at him to say no more. He gazed at Li Qingshan’s figure as he gradually travelled into the distance. Whether this child is a human or a demon completely depends on that person’s judgement!