Li Qiye couldn’t help but sigh: “Unfortunately, this method still failed, unable to protect their epoch. This brilliant age couldn’t escape its demise. In all of its vastness, only this Buddhist Plain is left.”
“The power of an entire epoch couldn’t stop the destruction?” The princess was shaken. She couldn’t possibly fathom the power of destruction that could put down an epoch.
“It’s not about the quantity.” Li Qiye looked at her and said: “At a certain level, it’s not about how many you have since it won’t be a clear addition of power. This was an epoch that cared about karma. Since they gathered all the power of an epoch, they also gathered all of its karma from all of the inhabitants. Thus, it’s not a clear power addition, there’s no way to get through all the karmic ties that easily, weakening the accumulation process. Thus, though they had as many people as the sands in Ganges, that’s all they came out to be, a river of sands. At best, they would only be able to build a pagoda of sands.”
With that, he looked at the four Buddhas ahead.
The quiet princess wondered: “What about the Golden Buddha that left? Is he dead?”
“No, he left and managed to escape the destruction of an epoch.” Li Qiye revealed: “But so what if he managed to survive? His origin has turned to ashes; no longer belonging to any epoch. The world does not allow for him to appear again so he could only hide. The moment he comes out, he’ll have to face multiple shackles and potentially annihilation.”
“Someone has actually survived the end of an epoch!” The princess was shocked at this revelation: “Where is this Buddha hiding?”
Li Qiye only chuckled and didn’t answer her. She didn’t dare to push the issue either.
After a long time, he eventually pointed to the left and right: “On the left and right walls of this shrine are different profound gates towards the dao. It’s up to the person to see what they get beyond. You only have one chance, pick one, which?”
The princess looked at the left then the right. The two sides were virtually identical, made from green bricks.
“What’s the difference?” She had no choice but to ask Li Qiye for help.
“The left one is the path of karma while the right contains the magic of Buddhism. Which will you pick?” Li Qiye chuckled and said.
She was slightly surprised because she hasn’t been exposed to either one before.
“Then the right.” She didn’t know which to pick but she was closer to the right wall so she picked the path of Buddhism.
“Go, your fortune is in your hands now.” Li Qiye replied.
The princess got up to the wall and looked at the green bricks. She was completely lost and had to ask for help again: “How do I see the magic of Buddhism?”
There was nothing else on the wall; no merit law or any drawing.
“Place your palms on the wall and free your mind of unnecessary thoughts then go with the flow. Be aware of your true heart then you can enter.” Li Qiye said.
The princess took a deep breath and composed herself before placing both palms on the wall.
It was completely quiet at this moment outside of her orderly breathing. As seconds passed by, the wall suddenly became transparent before slowly disappearing. Next, the space around it rippled, like a rock thrown into a calm river. She disappeared right after. The wall emerged again, just like before as if the princess was never here.
Li Qiye smiled after seeing this and walked past the eight Golden Buddhas. He stood before the back wall of the shrine and also placed both palms on it.
After a while, space fluctuated and he disappeared as well. He showed up again under another vast expanse full of stars. The tiny starry lights beautified this area, despite being quite dimmed.
He sat there in the meditative pose with both eyes closed, seemingly asleep. This was a zone where time didn’t seem to flow at all. Eventually, a figure appeared not far from him. It looked like a little dragon coiling as well as a little kitty with shaggy fur. It had a pair of big blue eyes; quite a cute looking creature.
“You have finally appeared.” Li Qiye smiled and said.
“Who are you?” A divine intent answered him instead of a voice. This dragon-cat creature suddenly appeared in another position.
“I’m only a passerby across the river of time.” Li Qiye chuckled.
“Poof!” The creature flashed into existence at another location again: “This isn’t your first time here, what is your purpose?”
The voice wasn’t old but definitely ancient as if it was coming from a distant epoch.
“You are only a strand of Buddhist intent originating from the source to here, you think I got something to ask of you? I know virtually everything I want to know, such as your epoch and origin, or the great karma of your nine Golden Buddhas.”
“If you know already, then why come here again?” The creature kept on teleporting randomly with poofing noises.
“No, there is still one more thing.” Li Qiye said flatly: “I know virtually all the epochs except for one particular world.”
“What world?” The creature asked.
“A world that doesn’t exist. If I am not mistaken, one of your nine Buddhas knew about it, or he had tried something at least.” Li Qiye smiled.
“A world that doesn’t exist? No such thing then.” The dragon appeared next to Li Qiye this time. It stared at him with its blue eyes, seeming wanting to see through him.
“Others might not know but don’t forget, I am someone who had experienced your epoch after crossing the Ganges! The non-existent world exists! I need it to reach the heaven!” Li Qiye slowly said.
“I’m afraid I can’t tell you since they do not exist.” The creature replied.
Li Qiye retorted: “Is that so? Your nine Buddhas never tried to research it before as a method to avoid the destruction? I’m sure when all of you became aware that there was no escaping, you all tried to come up with a method to send a seed of your epoch to a safe location, one that the villainous heaven can’t reach! I’m sure that not just you Buddhas but other supreme overlords of your epoch looked for it too! That world certainly exists.”
The creature stood face to face with him and said: “Surely there are reasons for its non-existence. Even if it is around, it won’t allow anyone to enter, because it doesn’t exist.”
Li Qiye chuckled: “No need to play around with me. Your Buddhas have figured out how to enter and even how to leave! I want to know the details.”
“So, you wish to go there?” The creature stared intensely at him.
He met its gaze with ease and said: “I must go there to fulfill my wish.”
“I can’t help you then, it is outside of my knowledge.” The creature shook its head.
“If necessary, I don’t mind walking through the Ganges again or even flip it over! When I do so, Buddhist Plain will become ashes. At that point, the Buddhist Epoch and the nine Golden Buddhas will cease to exist. No trace will be left, forever erased from the river of time!” Li Qiye declared.