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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

33 Master Xin Ji

 Zhang Yuanshan hesitated and smiled. "Junior Brother Zhen Ding is a disciple of a dear friend of my honorable teacher. He has the sobriquet, 'Karma-hacking Buddhist Saber'."

"Karma-hacking Buddhist Saber..." Lin Biexue said again in a low voice and laughed. "Senior Monk Zhen Ding is also an apprentice of a grandmaster beyond secular reach."

"Karma-hacking Buddhist Saber... "

Meng Qi grimaced a little bit, not satisfied with this sobriquet.

"Do I really enjoy using a saber?"

He picked up the teacup, smiled, and tasted a mouthful of tea. "All men are doomed to struggle in this sea of woes, who could escape beyond secular reach?"

At that time, Meng Qi felt exceptionally regret.

"Why do I wear this tattered and blood-stained, gray monk's robe? With this, there is no way of showing the sublime refinement of an out-of-the-world Buddhist sage!"

"Interesting! Interesting!" Lin Biexue cackled, then raised his head and drank the cup of spirits from over his head.

"Karma-hacking Buddhist Saber?" Wei Wuji and other eavesdroppers muttered, ruminating on this nickname that had never been heard before. As it was said by Young Master Zhang, Senior Monk Zhen Ding must also have been an extraordinary martial artist. Those ordinary people indeed had little knowledge of things outside the Martial Artists Community of Heluo.

Zhang Yuanshan looked back and saw Qi Zhengyan and other bystanders. "I beg your pardon, Brother Lin. I have some visitors." He apologized to Lin Biexue.

Lin Biexue made a gesture suggesting he did not care. "Sure, no problem. I also need to be excused to go back to my room, and meditate and harmonize Qi-circulation. This place could be attacked any time by Duo Ercha's top killers, thus we should have good rest and retain our vigor."

After he departed with Lin Biexue, Zhang Yunshan brought Meng Qi and the others up to the second floor and casually tittered. "Junior Brother Zhen Ding, Junior Brother Qi, you surely had a nasty trip. I can see from your bloody and tattered clothes. Yet fortunately, you made it here safe and sound, about which I had been very doubtful."

"We did not come across any enemies in the enlightenment period," Qi Zhengyan replied tersely.

"Well, perhaps they were too slow to catch up with you. I am informed that there are four Preternatural Master Pros under Duo Ercha's command: Guan Haoran, the 'Dominator of Heluo'; Kuang Chengwang, the 'Hundred Face Bookster'; Bo Erhan, the 'White-browed Atrocious Wolf'; and Tang Shun, the 'Cosmos Juggler'. You ought to be careful about the remaining three." Zhang Yuanshan stopped in front of a door, gently tapping.

"Come in." Jiang Zhiwei's voice came out as a chanting lark.

They pushed the door and entered. Meng Qi saw Jiang Zhiwei meditating, sitting with her legs crossed. Her "Sun-penetrating Rainbow" lay level on her knees, reflecting sunrays like a crystal stream.

And a voluptuous young wife was sitting idly at the table, playing with a teacup.

"Not bad, little monk. I see you well-applied yourselves." Jiang Zhiwei smiled radiantly, putting her sword back in its scabbard. "I was so bored. I managed to find an opponent, but Senior Brother Zhang snatched him away."

Because no one had been killed, she was in a great mood and started bantering.

"Amitabha Buddha, my merciful Buddha! The poor monk had no intention of killing, but the killing was for saving, just as Karma-hacking was for forestalling man-hacking. Alas, if I do not enter hell, who better deserves to?" Meng Qi concocted that with some flamboyant sayings that he learned before.

"Haha, you're a master of talking. It sounds smart. You almost got me," Jiang Zhiwei said without refraining her giggling. Zhang Yunshan was also amused, chortling and shaking his head. Apparently, he had never heard of heresy like this.

Then, Jiang Zhiwei pointed to that voluptuous young wife. "This lady is called Ke Bijun, at the primary level of Qi-cultivation. She also contributed a lot when we were breaking through."

Meng Qi nodded and acquainted himself, and then turned around and introduced Little Zi and Xiang Hui. "Where is the other one? Died in the battle?" he asked finally.

"Wang Jin, the swordsman Wang, he is a martial art master with his Eye Apertures opened. Having completed the main task in the Shaolin Temple, he decided not to fool around with us juniors, and went outside searching around trying to establish some contacts," Zhang Yuanshan answered, impersonally placid.

Meng Qi was quite concerned about the main task. "You completed the first main task? What is the second?"

"Last night we went to the temple to see His Abbotship. We completed the first main task and got the Karma points. However, our identity was suspect. They dared not let us reside in the temple, so they sent us down, saying that they will interrogate the mole first before further deliberation." Jiang Zhiwei briefed Meng Qi and the others about the things that happened the day before. "The second main task is to hold the Shaolin Temple until the last moment in order to gain another 100 Karma points, otherwise the same amount will be deducted."

With a little pondering, she continued, "You don't need to worry. I am sure they will come to take you into the temple to verify the information, lest we are liars."

Having heard what she said, Meng Qi was relieved a bit and smiled. "Senior Brother Zhang, could I borrow some spare garments from you? These clothes really vex me."

Zhang Yuanshan grinned. "It has long been prepared for you. Junior Brother Zhen Ding, Junior Brother Qi, Brother Xiang Hui, follow me to the bath and have your clothes changed."

...

After the bath, they changed clothes and felt refreshed. Then Meng Qi saw De Guang arrive and learned that His Abbotship, Master Xin Ji, would like to see them in person and inquire about the breakouts and the list of moles.

The meandering trail and verdant woods seemed more and more familiar as Meng Qi walked up the mountain.

"Isn't this the trail I walk every day carrying water?" Meng Qi suddenly realized and turned his face to Jiang Zhiwei, Zhang Yuanshan, and Qi Zhengyan. They gave him a nod.

"So this is really the same as my own Shaolin Temple, except for the people?"

"Master Xin Ji is at the peak of Preternature level. One step and he will enter the realm of 'Immortal Truth', where the inner and outer universes converge with each other. Better pay attention to your manners when we see him." Out of nowhere, Zhang Yuanshan started to introduce His Abbotship to Meng Qi and the others.

"Donor Zhang is being too complimentary, but in our Buddhist domicile, it is not called the realm of Immortal Truth, but the 'Zensphere'," explained De Guang with a soothing countenance.

At that time, Jiang Zhiwei's familiar voice came into Meng Qi's ears. "This temple's layout is also consistent with that of the Shaolin Temple. Don't be surprised, for the Worlds of Samsara are rife with mysteries."

With her reminding, when Meng Qi stepped into the temple and went across the square, the hall, and the courtyard. He did not show consternation, but was somehow bedazzled. It seemed like he was not in a Samsara task in the World of Samsara, but in daily life walking with Junior Brother Zhen Hui, following a daily routine of carrying water, learning words, training in Kung Fu, sitting for meditation, and reciting scriptures.

"Donnng...!"

A faraway bell, tolling profoundly and continuously, aroused Meng Qi from his trance and pacified his misgivings.

Inside the Great Buddha's Hall, Meng Qi saw a dozen monastics in yellow robes and red cassocks. Among which, the leading one had thin white brows. His skin was flabby and full of wrinkles, but his eyes emanated benevolence with no foulness.

"My honorable benefactors, you came to inform us despite the risks of death. The old monk cannot be more obliged." Xin Ji held his palms together and quoted a Buddha's name.

"The ferocious Barbarians are common enemies of our country. We humble Kung Fu practitioners merely made a modest effort to protect the Pure Land of Buddhism." Meng Qi was quite adept at saying the proper words for particular occasions. Then he took out from his sleeves the list of traitors given by Dominator of Samsara in Six Realms.

Xin Ji nodded slightly. With a wave of his hand, that piece of paper fell into his hand with a light wind.

Suddenly, Meng Qi saw something blur in front of him. The statue of the golden Buddha in the center of the hall was smiling, its hand pinching a flower, under which the candle flame sprang up and interwove into several characters:

"The list of traitors was sent to the Shaolin Temple. Main task one is completed. Each person in the temple shall be rewarded 50 Karma points.

"Main task two is launched: Defend the Shaolin Temple to the last moment. Escaping in advance is forbidden. Those succeeding will be rewarded 100 Karma points each, and losers will be deducted 100 each."

The flame then vanished, and so did the words. Meng Qi finally felt relieved. Looking down, he quietly waited for Xin Ji's inquisition.

Xin Ji read the list and sighed. "Even reclusive monastics could not be spared facing secular disturbance. Thanks for the list that you donors sent to us, despite the threats of death. Otherwise, the consequences would have been disastrous."

"Your Abbotship's Divine Skill prevails over this world. I have no doubt that you will defend the Shaolin Temple against Duo Ercha and his army. We are here only to provide minor help," Zhang Yuanshan politely replied.

Xin Ji shook his head. "We mendicants are not mendacious. If the traitors' conspiracy succeeds, mountain passes cannot be held, which will yield great difficulty in checking Duo Ercha's army. Besides, I and my old body are about to perish, and my Kung Fu is not as competent as before, while Duo Ercha is said to be the top one among Barbarians, with his moves drawing blustering winds and turbulent clouds. I truly don't have the confidence to stop him, but only seek to suppress him by sacrificing this incapacitated flesh."

"Abbot, you can't do that! Keep a useful life for the future!"

"Master, your name has been formidable in Jianghu for decades, and it's Shaolin Temple's symbol. As long as you are alive, even if the temple is destroyed, the Shaolin sect remains intact!"

All Chief Elders and Seniors started to dissuade him.

Xin Ji raised his right palm and stopped the clamor. "Amitabha. As people resigned from the secular world, why can't you see beyond the mortal skin?"

When he finished, he smiled and looked at Meng Qi. "This old man is interested in those encounters between you and the assassins. I wonder if you could report it to me."

Meng Qi knew this was the key to gaining trust, so he nodded slightly. "Please, Your Abbotship, ask as you please."

One by one, Xin Ji asked Meng Qi, Qi Zhengyan, Little Zi, and Xiang Hui about some of the main details.

As long as it did not involve their true identities, they had a clear conscience telling him the truth. They did not change their own statements after hearing the others' testimonies, but were very honest and candid.

No change was seen in the expression of Xin Ji, who had been patiently listening until everyone had answered.

"Old men always have quirks. Thank you for meeting my curiosity," Xin Ji smiled and said, then turned around to some monks nearby. "See to the accommodation of these donors..."

His voice had hardly faded when, among Meng Qi and the other people in front of Xin Ji, a figure darted out like a ghost and smashed his palm on Xin Ji between his chest and abdomen.

His cassock inflated like a ball, and instantaneously bounced the man away. But a gush of blood spurted out from Xin Ji's mouth, showering on the man like grains of iron pellets.

"Xiang Hui?" Meng Qi finally realized. The man who attacked His Abbotship turned out to be one from his company!

"Haha, the Grand General bid me say hello to Your Abbotship!" Then, "Xiang Hui" guffawed, and as fast as a gust of wind, he headed toward the exit.

In the path that he chose stood Ke Bijun, whose Kung Fu was relatively low.

"Pop!" He knocked Ke Bijun down with his palm. He could now see an empty path leading to the gate.

"I made it!"

he thought with elation.

Suddenly, a beam of sword light flashed over, pointing at him between his brows. He was forced to stop, then he changed his direction.

But this sword light was like gangrene attached to his bones, no matter how "Xiang Hui" tried to dodge, it always pointed at him and tingled his mid-brow point.

"What is this sword art?!" He felt scared.

At this time, some President beside Xin Ji opened his mouth with consternation:

"The... the Hundred Face Bookster!"

Meng Qi suddenly realized that the original Xiang Hui had been killed in the second battle-he was replaced by the "Hundred Face Bookster"!

"I've stayed close to such a hideous foe for an entire day!"

This thought made Meng Qi shudder.

"Luckily, I am not his target!"