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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

37 The Righteous Meng Qi

 "Just disperse and leave? What a joke!"

Meng Qi cursed to himself and went to the front indignantly. "Your Abbotship, do you think that we're cowards afraid of death?"

"Amitabha. That's not what I mean. You're all wounded..." Xin Ji was still urging them to leave, but he could not explicitly tell them that the Shaolin Temple had decided to surrender this land and that defense would be useless. Otherwise, Duo Ercha would soon find out and intrude the palace despite his wounds, leaving no time for the monks to evacuate.

"Your Abbotship, are you rejecting us injured ones for being useless?" Meng Qi looked even more indignant as he skillfully distorted the meaning of Xin Ji's words.

The Chief Elders of the Shaolin Temple stepped closer to Xin Ji, worried that Meng Qi and the others would suddenly attack him.

The monks who walked on the path of righteousness in the Martial Artists Community naturally would not explicitly agree with Meng Qi. They struggled to say something, but ultimately no one replied.

"I've been severely wounded. The same is true for Donors Jiang and Zhang. But the enemy is barely weakened. Our hope to win this war is waning. You donors are not our disciples, so why squander your lives defending the Shaolin Temple? It's not worth dying with us wretched monks. Even among our disciples, few have such resolve because there's really no point in doing so. I'm afraid only those who will die anyway are willing to part with their rotten skins, like myself.

"Why don't you donors retain your precious bodies for future use?"

Xin Ji stopped short of telling them that only he would stay to safeguard the Shaolin Temple and that the others would likely flee. Who were these mad strangers? What were they doing, trying to play hero?

Meng Qi stepped forward and pressed his palms together, solemnly professing Buddha's name. "Amitabha. Some deaths are as trivial as feathers, but some are as grave as Mount Tai. The day has come for us to sacrifice ourselves for justice!"

Including Xin Ji, the monks were all dumbfounded. They had never seen a person so determined to sacrifice his own life to save others!

And more importantly, they did not want him to save them at all!

When Meng Qi was done, he thought that putting "Amitabha" before those zealous and selfless words seemed a little preposterous. He quickly comforted himself that it was a trend these days to speak mismatched phrases!

Seeing the stunned look on the monks' faces, Meng Qi raised his head and put on an air of gallantry, dignity, and righteousness. "This isn't about whether or not we should save the Shaolin Temple, but a demonstration to the world that there are still people willing to risk their lives for justice!"

Jiang Zhiwei covered her mouth with her hand, trying hard to suppress her laughter. Her pale face was tinted pink due to her struggle. Qi Zhengyan grimaced, feeling fortunate he was not close to Meng Qi...

Pausing for a long moment, Xin Ji glanced at Zhang Yuanshan, who had hastily taken elixir and was now sitting and stabilizing his wounds, and the wretched Jiang Zhiwei, whose robe was fluttering in the wind. He sighed. "Donors Zhang and Jiang are deeply wounded. If they go down the mountain, it'll be difficult for them to escape the siege of the Iron Vest Army. Best let them bide their time here in the temple. De Kong, hurry and fetch some Small Recovery Pills for our donors.

"Donors, after you enter the temple, please help us guard the back mountain in case the Barbarian assassins climb up the cliff and invade."

He arranged for Meng Qi and the rest to be in a secluded area of the temple and also away from the secret passage.

"Thank you, Your Abbotship." Meng Qi quietly sighed with relief. This was the most ideal turn of events that he could think of!

...

"Abbot, is that little monk some kind of moron?" Xin Chan grumbled as they returned to Great Buddha's Hall. "Why did you allow them to stay?"

As Xin Ji was about to speak, his face suddenly turned as pale as snow, like gilded paper. After more changes in his expression, he finally brought his emotions under control. But he looked like he had aged 20 years in an instant.

"Master, are you okay?" his disciples asked with concern.

"I'm not dead yet," Xin Ji said placidly. "Luckily, we scared Duo Ercha away and gained some respite." His wounds seemed to have worsened.

He turned to look at Xin Chan. "Donors Jiang and Zhang have indeed fought hard against Duo Ercha. They're not spies. I see that they've quite the strong determination to stay. If we send them away, they'd probably guard the pass with readiness to die. That's why I let them guard the back mountain, to reciprocate their beneficence and end the karma.

"There's nothing important other than a stupa in the back mountain. They won't have to worry about Duo Ercha's men attacking. After the disciples escape through the secret tunnel, we'll tell them the truth and let them use the tunnel as well. Given the situation in the back mountain, they'll be able to hold out for a while if Duo Ercha is early. When they see it's too late to overturn the situation, they probably won't defend any longer..."

Xin Ji did not seem too confident, for Meng Qi's impassioned appeal for justice earlier had left him with a deep impression.

Xin Chan's face grew grim. "I doubt that idiot would do so. Your Abbotship, the scriptures, medicine, and other important articles have been packed up. Should we arrange for the disciples to leave now?"

"Yes." Xin Ji nodded and turned his gaze to the Golden Body of the Buddharupa, his expression becoming serene.

...

"We finally made it to the temple." On the way to the back mountain, Meng Qi signed and complained. "Fortunately, I'm a pretty good actor."

Jiang Zhiwei walked very slowly, but her face showed no confusion or sadness. She gently smiled and said, "I wonder what Master Xin Ji and those monks think of you, little monk."

"An idiotic kid could find amusement in everything..."

Meng Qi mentally mocked himself. If not for their pressing task, would he willingly do so?

He put on an air of integrity. "They must be touched by my chivalry and courage, just short of worshipping me as a hero."

"Either way, when I saw you wearing your serious and impassioned face and saying those awkward words, I, I so wanted to laugh..." Jiang Zhiwei could no longer hold it in and she burst out laughing. But she stopped abruptly with anguish on her face.

"Lady Jiang, how are your wounds?" Meng Qi asked, worried.

Jiang Zhiwei breathed heavily for a moment. "Even after I opened my Four Apertures, it was not easy to use the Anatta Sword. After using it, I may not be completely drained, but I'm still left with less than a third of my power. Then I was hit by Duo Ercha's turbulence and less than a tenth of my power remained. Within half a day, I'll probably have to rely on my sword art to fight the Iron Vest Army."

Her descriptions were very detailed, as tactical issues could arise when attacked by enemies if her partners were to misjudge her strength.

"What about Senior Brother Zhang?" Qi Zhengyan looked at Zhang Yuanshan, whose chest was a little dented.

Zhang Yuanshan gave a wry smile. "Fortunately, I have medicine with me and my recovery is aided with the Small Recovery Pills from the Shaolin Temple, otherwise, I doubt that I could even walk. But too bad it'll deplete my strength even if I'm just fighting the Iron Vest Army."

Wang Jin had been following them, but had not spoken. His gaze scanned the halls in the temple and the roads they passed by in suspicion.

As he walked, Meng Qi was abruptly stunned. He realized this back mountain was identical to his own. Even the stupa was exactly the same!

"No way. It could not be this similar..."

Meng Qi felt a sudden burst of fear.

"The same?" Jiang Zhiwei noticed Meng Qi's abnormal reaction.

Meng Qi nodded and said grimly, "Though I've only been to the back mountain once, it's exactly the same as this place."

"Could there also be suppressed demons and ghosts here?

"Eh... That doesn't seem likely. Considering the level of strength in this world, demons and ghosts would have dominated everyone if they existed..."

They kept their voices low, in case the acolyte leading them overheard.

After walking for a while, the acolyte stopped and solemnly put his palms together. "Honorable donors, please stay and guard here. Beyond this road lies the stupa of the back mountain. Outsiders are forbidden from entering."

Meng Qi felt a sense of deja vu. The place they stopped at was exactly the place that he had defended just days before!

Two opposing cliffs formed a narrow path through the looming dense forests in front.

"Is it a coincidence or is there a hidden connection..."

Meng Qi no longer needed to see to know that he could reach the precipice in just a few steps despite the seemingly endless trees on both sides.

He was both surprised and suspicious. As he made his own plans, the others listened to the acolyte describing the terrain of the area, allowing them a chance to withdraw in the end.

The acolyte seemed to have received instructions from his superior. He described the landscape as detailed as possible.

"Oh, did he not mention the secret passage? Maybe I'm thinking too much. There are no demons or ghosts in this world, so what could gouge out that pass? After all, the Shaolin Temples of the two worlds are different. We're in Mount Shaohua, not Mount Liantai..."

As Meng Qi listened to the acolyte, a vivid picture in which Zhen Guan came out of the secret passage came to mind.

"Brother Qi, little monk, we're relying on you this time." After the acolyte left, Jiang Zhiwei took out a thumb-sized mutton-fat nephrite bottle and shook out a glowing red pellet. She devoured it with the Small Recovery Pill. She began meditating, harmonizing her Qi, and healing her wounds.

Zhang Yuanshan's injuries were even worse. Without worrying about Wang Jin beside him, he sat down as well and started harmonizing his breath and blood.

Having silently watched them for a long moment, Wang Jin glanced at the vigilant Meng Qi. He was seated with his eyes closed, seemingly also in meditation.

Meng Qi and Qi Zhengyan took turns on watch duty. After about an hour, a flurry of noise came from afar.

"Is Duo Ercha back?" Meng Qi looked toward the temple. As expected, he saw thick, dark clouds gathering over there, where some parts were lit on fire and smoke was billowing.

He subconsciously clenched his blade hilt, waiting for the start of the final battle.

Wang Jin stood up. Without saying anything to the rest, he ran directly toward the Shaolin Temple.

"What's he planning to do?" Meng Qi asked in confusion.

Qi Zhengyan had a poker face on. "Don't mind him. He'll be a thorn in our backs if he stays anyway."

Wang Jin advanced as fast as a sprinting horse, a little excited. He was low-born and was imparted with only mediocre Kung Fu. It had not been easy for him to enlighten the Apertures and be regarded as a Kung Fu expert. But he badly needed Kung Fu scriptures to reach the next level. Thus, the World of Samsara was an opportunity for him. Even this moment now was an opportunity!

Though this Shaolin Temple was much weaker than the real one, their Kung Fu was one step closer to the Exterior, as seen in Abbot Xin Ji. This world had no lack of methods to concentrate acupoints and open the Nine Innate Apertures.

Now that the Shaolin Temple was gripped with chaos, he could capture a president or an elder and interrogate them about the location of the scriptures. No one would notice. They would just think those men were killed by Duo Ercha's people.

Anyhow, the task only called for him to safeguard the temple until the last minute. No one said anything about not hurting the Shaolin monks!

"Maybe he wants to take advantage of the chaos to get some benefit..."

Meng Qi inferred as he looked at the back of Wang Jin.

From the woods beside, a sudden burst of silver rays flared at an unimaginable speed, directly hitting Wang Jin.

With a sound resembling rain splattering upon banana leaves, Wang Jin found his body spouting blood everywhere. He then fell to the ground, facing the sky with a somewhat relieved expression.

"You've wasted my Pearfower Storm Needles... But the Grand General told me to spare no one. How dare you all blind the General's eye!" A young man with titled brows and starry eyes came out of the forest. With a smile, he threw the black tube in his hand to the ground and cupped his fist politely. "I'm Tang Shun, nicknamed the Cosmos Juggler. I'm here to send you off to Siddhartha Gautama in West Heaven. Namo Amitabha."