Once upon a time, there was a mountain called Mount Lianhua - Mount Lotus. Once upon a time, there was a shrine called Lianhua Temple - Lotus Temple.
The old monk asked the younger monk, “Yundan, do you like our temple”
“I like it a little and dont like it a little.”
“I like it when theres little to do and dont like it when we have a lot of work.”
“Haha, that makes two of us.”
“You dont like work, either, Shifu”
“Of course. Youre my responsibility. I like it when youre smiling, and I dont like it when youre crying.”
The straight-laced monk didnt understand, but he nodded.
The older monk scrubbed his disciples bald head with mirth. “Your job is protect that one, understand”
Never did the young monk imagine his shifu would pass away due to illness one year later, and never did he think protecting “that one” of theirs was so challenging. Nonetheless, he tried climbing the tall mountain to honour his promise.
Although he was physically capable of climbing it, people stopped him time and time again. The first time, a supposedly reincarnated kid beat him. The next time, a mad man calling himself Lord San Shen beat him. Next to the column for todays attempt, hed have to put another cross.
He seemingly heard the sound of the snow-laden bell in ring out in the forest again.
Since when… did I stop feeling it was something I didnt need to protect I merely wanted… to outwork everyone… I merely wanted to…
Upon hearing the voice in his head, he opened his eyes to see a slightly hunched but happy old monk beside him. Over the years, he constantly pondered what to say if they ever had a reunion. He wondered if hed be scolded, if theyd get confrontational or if theyd be sad. Instead, though, the old monk cordially said the same line he used to say every morning, “Wake up for morning class.”
What morning class Im no longer the same kid back then. Do you know what Ive achieved Do you know i… I…
The old monk patiently waited. The young monk eventually nodded.
A golden glint shrouded Miguo once again, levitating him to his feet to face off against his opponent once again. Unlike his previous “rusty” golden energy, his golden energy now resembled the bright sun, free from any impurities.
The warm energy coursing through Miguos body took a different route to his Enlightenment because the former was energy from the relic. Now that he had completely absorbed and converted the relics energy, he felt heavier on the ground, while the hatred and jealousy had evaporated from me. Although he had yet to make sense of what happened, he hadnt forgotten who his challenger was.
“Ming Feizhen, youre strong, but youre not unbeatable.” Miguo clenched his fist, expanding the reach of his solid golden energy. The gloating golden hands behind him mimicked his praying hands. “Watch th-” Miguo opened his eyes, intending to advance.
History couldnt provide a formula for reaching Divine Realm. There were cases of people achieving a breakthrough overnight, cases of people gradually achieving it and, in Miguos case, reliance on resources. Absorbing an enormous volume of internal energy was the simplest way to go about it. The problem was that boosting strength didnt simultaneously boost ones mind; how was it any different to being a vessel for strength if one didnt know how to wield the strength You could have the death touch, but the likes of Shen Wuzheng would pick you apart if you couldnt touch him.
Understanding that one would lose before any “realm” talk if they didnt have the technical skills to dance was the key to Miguo truly transcending. Owing to his ascension, he saw it and closed his mouth. Miguo could see the abyss Ming Feizhen stood in. The grey fog enveloping Ming Feizhen forced Miguos solid energy similarly to a flame in the wind.
“Its not considered a bad thing to finally see it,” Ming Feizhen blithely remarked. “If nothing else, youll know why you died.”
The grey fog emanated towards Miguo at a ridiculous velocity, occupying his field of vision. Even though he had powered up, his body felt stiff beyond belief.
How can such a terrifying power exist in the world of man
“This is the sort of monster youre facing. Like I said, Im amazed you can laugh.”
When did he move
Ming Feizhens grey mist erased Miguos golden hands without making a sound and faster than the latters eyes could follow. By the time he realised it, Miguo was already on his back, and every part of him was damaged. He couldve kept fighting until he drew his last breath thanks to his Divine Realm status; however, he no longer had any desire to fight through the pain.
Miguo had seen the sky for decades, yet he never realised it could be such a deep blue hue. While his eyes were on the Central Plains blue sky, his mind was back in the forest, where he could hear the bronze bell chime from the temple. It wasnt the right occasion, yet he felt a little hungry. Lianhua Temples black mantou was notorious; if they wanted, the chefs could proudly assert there was nothing more disgusting within a five hundred kilometres.
If only I could have a black mantou right now.
“Theres a lot to be gained from working hard, except theres no need to be hasty,” Ming Feizhen said from above.
“Did… I speak my mind”
“Would be even better if you werent so eager to kill people and stir trouble.”
“… It really stings to hear that from the victor.” Miguo smiled. “Its my loss.”
“Did you need to point out the obvious Im too tough.”
“Hahaha.” Miguo laughed heartily despite never winning a single exchange. While he still sought strength deep down, it was the first time in memory that he wasnt triggered.
Ming Feizhen massaged his face. “Youre acting like you won.”
“Believe it or not, for all these years, I always wanted to hear him say one thing and meet him again, but I know its impossible, so I gave up. I heard what I had been waiting to hear before, though.”
“You met a ghost”
Miguo shook his head, paused, then bobbed his head. “I have no regrets. Finish me.”
“I certainly wont stand on ceremony.” Ming Feizhen raised a broadsword, then stopped to look up. “What now”
Wugou saw Miguo and Ming Feizhen going at each others necks when he came to. Hence, he came over to plead Ming Feizhen to show benevolence. Notwithstanding his injuries, Wugou never let his poise as a monk slip. “Could you please spare my junior”
“Senior Brother…” Though Miguo was always privy to his seniors soft heart, he was still touched to hear his brother plead for him.
“Stop. I heard you put together this script. If he wasnt craftier, you wouldve killed him yourself, yet youre now stopping me” Ming Feizhen questioned.
Wugou placed his hands together. “This one promises he will never commit evil again.”
“Listen, Monk, y-”
“Rest assured, I will lock him up.”
Ming Feizhen: “Huh”
One “huh” was surprise, while the other was a real “huh” moment.
“This one shall employ torture.”
“He will be imprisoned for thirty years.”
“Sounds like fun.”
“Kill me now!”
“There will be someone delegated with the task of torturing him twenty-four hours a day. Lotus Cults torture methods are in no way any nicer than the Central Plains. We have thirty-six large-scale methods, one hundred and nine small-scale ones, innumerable torture experts and a department leader assigned specifically to punish our sects violators. As we are brothers, this one shall exercise mercy. This one shall have his limbs tied to an elephant each, and then they will run in four opposite directions.”
Ming Feizhen. “Well… you dont have to go that f-”
“In addition, this one shall batter him with a spiked mace three hundred and thirty-three times daily.”
Miguo sat up, protesting, “Wugou, youre taking revenge under the guise of work. Y-”
Bang! Miguo fell backwards, blood coming from his head.
Wugou tossed away the bloody brick in his head. “Amitahba.”
Ming Feizhen: No way am I going to such a shady temple. Ever. My head feels cold.
“This one shall have him reflect daily. He will get his just desserts. Please spare him,” implored Wugou.-