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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

294 Gains

 The door to the coffin chamber was firmly shut. The ominous winds seemed to die down as they seeped right into their hearts. A force with a weight heavier than that of mountains smashed down on them, causing the flames in the chamber to go out.

"Did opening the coffin cause the 'evil ghost' to escape suppression, or did it activate the sealing off of the entire chamber?"

The thought suddenly crossed their minds. It was like they had been cut off from the world.

They looked at one another and instantly chose to return early at the same time. In any case, they had completed the first task of Zhenwu's Decoy Grave!

If they tried to find a way out, they would be in extreme danger if they encountered the evil ghost. If the place had been sealed off, there was no way they would be able to escape. They would probably end up staying in the mausoleum for a month. By then, if they had not died, they would be close to dead. It was highly unfavorable for training.

A shimmering blue light flashed out of nowhere. Meng Qi, Jiang Zhiwei and the others disappeared from the coffin chamber.

As the dense fog hung down on them and enveloped Meng Qi, he suddenly felt chilly. Tendrils of black gas were leaking out from his body.

Like snow meeting sunlight, the black gas quickly vanished. There was a faint shriek of "It's..."

Meng Qi was utterly horrified. Since when had he been possessed by the breath of the "evil ghost"? It had been truly surreptitious. There had been no sign from even Buddha's Lamp. If it had not been for the Dominator of Samsara in Six Realms, he would have been in quite a perilous position.

However, he considered the fact that Buddha's Lamp was almost completely destroyed, and that the "evil ghost" was Zhenwu Great Emperor's evil intention. Then it did not seem altogether unusual that it was powerful to this extent.

Apart from that, Meng Qi was unharmed. After the black gas had dissipated, the "seed" full of vitality opened and the light pillar faded away. He saw Jiang Zhiwei and the others.

"We were possessed by the evil ghost's breath just now." Jiang Zhiwei's expression was somewhat grave, but she did not seem too anxious. She was just a little worried because by the time they had realized the situation, the "evil ghost" had already been removed by the Dominator of Samsara in Six Realms.

"Thank goodness for the Dominator of Samsara in Six Realms," exclaimed Meng Qi. He really possessed vast magic powers and could cure any difficult and complicated illness.

Just then, the calm voice of the Dominator of Samsara in Six Realms reverberated in his mind.

"The task of Zhenwu's Decoy Grave had been completed early. Do you choose to leave or stay here and train for the remaining time in the Samsara Talisman?"

"Oh, to think that there was still this sort of good news!" Meng Qi and the others unanimously chose to train there.

"The mission this time sure was short enough." Jiang Zhiwei first calmed her fears after being possessed by the evil ghost.

Since they had plenty of time, none of them was in a hurry to perform the exchange.

Meng Qi sucked his teeth. "The first steps of missions are usually easier. They also have fewer gains and less danger. Although there's been a variable this time, it still more or less followed this rule."

"Yeah. If not for the Supernatural Power of Shaking Heaven and Hitting Earth, we might've had an easier time and even less anxiety. The real danger was in the evil ghost's surreptitious possession. Also, with the Dominator of Samsara in the Six Realms, we have nothing to worry about." Jiang Zhiwei nodded in agreement.

If Meng Qi had not tried the Supernatural Power of Shaking Heaven and Hitting Earth, the evil ghost and Exterior-level Huangfu Tao would not even have revealed themselves. They would only have had to deal with Huang Gang, whose strength was near Half-step Exterior Scenery, and the other zombies. Meng Qi could have handled them on his own. Alternatively, they could have joined forces to complete the task when they had first obtained the Black Fur. That was more fitting for the idea of the first step in a series of tasks.

Ruan Yushu's expression was icy. She glanced at her shoulders from time to time, as if she were afraid that the evil ghost would suddenly appear there. "Even if the Supernatural Power of Shaking Heaven and Hitting Earth had caused some changes to occur, it wasn't really dangerous or nerve-wracking."

Apart from the fact that the evil ghost was kind of scary...

"Right, it feels very weird. That nervousness came and went." Qi Zhengyan exhaled, expressionless.

That had indeed been the case. All along, their anxiety had just been building up when it had vanished. All of a sudden, there had been no fear or inhibition from being in Great Emperor Zhenwu's mausoleum.

For example, after discovering the zombies near the level of Half-step Exterior Scenery, they immediately identified that they were similar to the Life-changing Sect and could be stopped with the Supernatural Power of Shaking Heaven and Hitting Earth. In another instance, upon discovering the message left behind by the ghost there, they quickly found the Dragon-subduing Stand soon after, and deduced that the evil ghost was being repressed. Again, when they had encountered the Exterior-level Zombie, they had also quickly found out that it was not giving its all. When their memory had been failing in the mist, they were suddenly reminded and able to confirm that the evil ghost could not act on its own.

In addition, they could always return whenever they wanted to. The only tenser moment was when they had been attacked by numerous zombies in front of the coffin chamber. The rest of the time, that nervous feeling had barely budded when it disappeared soon after. Overall, it suited the description of the first step in a series of tasks. It had been relatively easy with close to no danger, and the rewards were little.

"Where should we go to find the Black Tortoise Jade Pendant?" The past was in the past, and it had been a less dangerous task after all. Except for the message and picture scrolls in Zhenwu's Decoy Grave, Meng Qi had long tossed the matter to the back of his mind. He had already begun searching for clues to the second step. "Could there be some other place inside the mausoleum?"

Jiang Zhiwei thought about it for a moment and then said, "It should've been removed from Zhenwu's Decoy Grave. Zombies aren't naturally that strong, and Huangfu Tao obviously began training on the right path after understanding the thunderbolt marks. If he'd completed it in the mausoleum, he would be in a state where his physical body was dead. It wouldn't grow. It would just rot instead. There's no way he would've been able to master the skill."

"They should've entered the mausoleum, had a fruitful adventure, then left and trained until the Exterior level. But because they were possessed by the evil ghost's breath at the end, they returned to the mausoleum and turned into zombies," said Qi Zhengyan. "If we didn't have the Dominator of Samsara in Six Realms, we would probably have ended up like them too."

Ruan Yushu spoke calmly, "Even without the Dominator of Samsara in the Six Realms, as long as the effect doesn't immediately set in, we would be able to tell if we were possessed when met with a master."

The master she spoke of was at least on the Great Master level.

Meng Qi nodded. "In other words, one of the zombies could've brought the Black Tortoise Jade Pendant out of the mausoleum and used it as a family heirloom. Since the thunderbolt marks disappear once their Gist of Trueness has been grasped, it seems that the first zombie to enter the coffin chamber was Huangfu Tao. We should start with him, uh, Nine Villages World's God-Gathering Heights."

Everyone said their piece in the conversation, slowly unraveling the mystery surrounding the matter.

"If none of the zombies took it, then we could consider the place where we obtained the Black Fur." Jiang Zhiwei suddenly changed the topic, saying, "To be able to draw a map of the inside of the mausoleum and know Zhenwu's Decoy Grave, this person must have close ties with Great Emperor Zhenwu."

Meng Qi expressed his agreement. "That person has already died, so we can't determine where the Black Fur came from at the moment. We should focus on Nine Villages World first. I feel that as we progress down the series of tasks, we'll eventually get there..."

This was an inexplicable feeling.

At the moment, none of them could enter Nine Villages World for lack of a Samsara Talisman. After wrapping up their discussion, they placed the Netherworld Reishi Mushroom and "the Tai-yin Devil-Rinsing Scripture" into the Central Light Pillar.

"Netherworld Reishi Mushroom, 150 years of age... worth 700 Karma points."

"the Tai-yin Devil-Rinsing Scripture, (Edited); Exterior level skill... worth 1,500 Karma points."

Meng Qi did not find it strange that the Netherworld Reishi Mushroom was only 150 years old. Older ones had definitely been picked to create medicine or directly eaten by those who had entered the mausoleum before them. As for the "the Tai-yin Devil-Rinsing Scripture", he would have edited the key points too if he were the evil ghost. Since he and the others had no intention of learning it, nor did they want to eat the mushrooms, they exchanged them all for Karma points.

The Karma points were divided equally, and each person obtained 550 Karma points. This counted as their harvest for the first step of the task.

Meng Qi only saved the necessary elixirs he had gotten from Six Fan School and exchanged the rest of them for Karma points. About two months' worth of his salary was equivalent to 400 Karma points, a decent amount. If the next task was a year away, it was enough to support his mental strength in searching for scripts and getting rid of mountain and horse bandits.

"950 Karma points." Meng Qi said, "A lot is happening in River East, so I have to take precautions. I intend to exchange for a Recover Pill and two months of practice. I'll do my best to stabilize Seven Acupores, adjust my Inner World prior to, as well as master the 'Heavenly Fairy'."

He had 50 points left for just in case.

Jiang Zhiwei exchanged the items she had been collecting all the while and obtained 900 Karma points in total. Upon hearing Meng Qi's words, she cheerfully said, "I'll also exchange for a Recover Pill and two months of time. Let's spar and train together."

They had yet to fully comprehend the items they had previously exchanged for. What they needed the most was none other than time. With this chance right before her, Jiang Zhiwei was of course not going to let it go.

Moreover, without her help, it would be a challenge for Meng Qi to master 'Heavenly Fairy' in three months, even if he had already cast off his common body.

A sudden warmth enveloped Meng Qi's heart. This was a friendship of life and death!

Most of the items on Qi Zhengyan were in preparation for traveling, so he was in no rush to exchange them for Karma points. The miscellaneous ones he traded in added up to about a few tens of points only. "Since it's like this, I'll exchange for two months of time too. Otherwise, with my current level of strength, I won't be too confident in River East."

He had yet to stabilize his Seven Acupores and was far from adjusting his Inner World. Hence, he intended to train hard with Meng Qi and Jiang Zhiwei. He exchanged the remaining Karma points for various items that would aid in his training.

Ruan Yushu furrowed her brows. "Me too."

She could still use the elixirs in her Space Ring for the next mission. Thus, she did not allow the Dominator of Samsara in Six Realms to profit off of anything from her, and so she did not touch the remaining 150 Karma points she had left.

"Isn't it a waste to leave so much of it?" Meng Qi asked casually.

Ruan Yushu did not even look up. She icily responded, "It's three months. Can you last that long?"

Meng Qi suddenly understood. Fortunately, he still had 50 Karma points.

After they had returned to their respective rooms to rest, Jiang Zhiwei first found Meng Qi. Cutting to the chase, she asked, "Do you intend to adjust your Inner World primarily with Golden Bell Shield or Eight Nine Mysteries?"

"Of course it'll be Eight Nine Mysteries." Meng Qi answered without hesitation.

Jiang Zhiwei laughed lightly. "Just as I thought. According to the description of Eight Nine Mysteries, I feel that it's focus isn't on its strength or its variations, but rather the ability to uncover one's true intentions that are hidden behind them."

"Huh?" Meng Qi was puzzled. While he did train a lot, he did not think much about Eight Nine Mysteries.

Jiang Zhiwei chuckled. "Uncovering one's true intentions is a Taoist saying. In the words of Buddhism, it'll be to have the nature of Buddha."

She paused for a moment, then continued, "Eight Nine Mysteries works with control and variations. If you trained in-depth and transformed yourself into Senior Brother Qi, your physical body, breath, actions, habits and soul would be the same. Would other people be able to tell you two apart?"

"Nope." Meng Qi had a lot of confidence in Eight Nine Mysteries' variation ability.

Jiang Zhiwei nodded gently. "Then let's reverse it. If you saw someone with the same physical body, breath, actions, habits and soul as me, could you be sure that it was me?"

Meng Qi's face suddenly turned serious. "No."

Jiang Zhiwei also became serious. "So, which is real, and which is fake? The unique traits the eyes see, the sounds the ears hear, and the traces felt by the soul are all affected by our own inhibitions and external influences. We don't see the full picture because we are restricted by our body and mind."

"In the words of Buddhism, everything we see is the artificial combination of principal and supplemental causes. It is not the truth. It is both real and fake. Hence if one can see through external disturbances and break free of his own shackles, he can see Buddha's nature. Eight Nine Mysteries is such a skill that seeks the truth through variations. If you want to adjust your Inner World, you should think along these lines."

She had considered the fact that Meng Qi came from a Buddhist background, and thus changed some of the phrasings in Supreme Methods of the Sword to Buddhist vocabulary.

"...I didn't expect you, Zhiwei, to have such a high level of learning." Meng Qi exclaimed after staying silent for a while.

Holding back her laughter, Jiang Zhiwei replied, "I don't really understand everything either. Most of it is from my master when he was explaining Supreme Methods of the Sword to me. Since Eight Nine Mysteries seems to have its similarities with it, I just decided to share some tips with you."

"Jiang Hengchuan and the others are better than you in terms of their realms, and have achieved Oneness of Heaven and Men. But Eight Nine Mysteries is full of variations and is useful in avoiding disasters. If your Inner World can align with it, it's not impossible to hide yourself even when under Oneness of Heaven and Men. Then, when it comes to knowing your enemy at least, they won't be better than you. You could even create a false image and set a 'flaw' to beat them."

Meng Qi exhaled. "So this was a Peerless Godly Kung Fu!"

...

Outside Maoling city, in a discreet location, Meng Qi appeared with a flash of blue light.

The air around him was faintly discernable and difficult to take in. Then in an instant, it settled and there was nothing strange about it.

"I've finally mastered 'Heavenly Fairy'." Meng Qi looked out into the distance at Maoling city, a faint smile tugging at his lips. Even still, this was not his greatest gain!