“Go back and tell the old monks, let them talk it out.” Li Qiye said.
“Uh…” Golden Cicada found himself stuck in a precarious situation, feeling like he was a fish eating the bait. Should he swallow or let go?
Unfortunately, it was no longer up to him the moment he took the first bite. He couldn’t come up with a response because a god-level dao bone was peerless. Their temple might be the only power in all of West King with one.
If he were to go back and steal the bone, his master might break his legs.
“I, I really want to help you, Benefactor, but I think the seniors won’t agree.” He eventually said with an awkward smile.
“The old monks won’t agree?” Li Qiye’s smile became wider: “Then go back and kill all of them. You’ll be in charge then, isn’t it so simple?”
“Amitabha, Amitabha, you’re funny, Benefactor.” The monk’s expression darkened.
“I’m not joking.” Li Qiye went on: “What choice would you make if I want to destroy your temple?”
“I naturally will fight alongside the temple, I was born as part of Heavenly Dragon and will die in the same manner.” The monk put on a serious expression.
“Now this is an interesting topic, how long has your temple been around?” Li Qiye casually asked - a stark contrast to the current grim topic.
“10,000,000,000 years and up since we’re founded by Buddha Dao Lord.” The monk answered.
“Then ponder this.” Li Qiye smiled: “Your temple has been built on the effort and blood of countless sages, accumulation from one era to another. Now, there are two paths before you. First, to either keep your grand words and die with the temple. Second, be loyal to me and kill those old monks then hand the dao bone over. The latter is naturally treacherous and unforgivable, you’ll be branded as a traitor. But in exchange, you’ll save your temple and avoid the sages’ effort from going to waste in just one day.”
Li Qiye seemed to be pondering the subtleties before smiling: “Little monk, which is the better choice? To be heroic and die with your temple or to live in infamy, saving the temple?”
“...” The monk couldn’t come up with a response right away.
“There are several Buddhist phrases on this. If I don’t enter hell, who will? Abandon the self for others; cut your own meat and feed the hawk. Your body might be tainted with meat and wine but your heart still has Buddha. It is up to you whether you can live up to your Buddhist teachings.” Li Qiye added.
“Sacrifice yourself or live on to protect the temple, which is better for Buddhism? Your personal reputation or the ageless temple? Which side is heavier?” Li Qiye concluded.
“Amitabha.” The monk placed his palms together; his brows furrowed.
“This interesting choice will follow you to the end of the path. Once you get there, you’ll find that you’ll face similar choices.” Li Qiye stared at him.
The monk remained quiet for a long time before solemnly answered: “Benefactor, Heavenly Dragon Temple has lasted for millions of years. We’re not a random lineage that can crumble so easily.”
“I’m just messing with you about the choices. However, the truth is that in my eyes, Heavenly Dragon Temple is indeed just another random lineage. 80,000 Buddhas are nothing more than statues, it’s not difficult for me to destroy your temple.” Li Qiye said, borrowing a phrase from Duality Master.
The monk’s expression soured. Back then, Duality Master said this phrase and casually waved his hand. Next, a 10,000-mile-radius lost all Buddhist affinity. Not only did his temple give up but so did the rest of the holy ground.
This was also a choice. It wasn’t identical to Li Qiye’s options earlier but fundamentally similar.
The holy ground chose to concede and let Duality Academy emerge. What if they had chosen to fight Duality Master? The result could have been total annihilation on their part.
“Amitabha.” The monk had a kind personality and didn’t become angry. Nonetheless, he strongly retorted: “Our temple might be small and weak in your eyes but we’ll put up a good fight when forced to.”
“Little monk, you think too highly of your temple.” The old servant spoke since Li Qiye didn’t answer: “Your ancient Buddhas in the coffins have endured well, but that’s it. They’ll be dying soon from a lack of lifespan. Even if they can climb out of the coffins, they still have zero chance against my young master.”
“Senior, how do you know this?!” The monk became startled and shouted.
Few actually knew about their surviving ancient Buddhas. He only found out after being appointed as the successor of the temple.
“It’s no secret.” The old servant said: “When Ruleless Monk came to knock on the coffins, your temple chose to not stop him. This was a choice.”
The young monk was shaken because this event was extremely secretive. Only certain members of the temple and Pacifist Heavenly Sovereign were privy to this information. Now, this old man knew about it too.
The aforementioned monk had several titles - Ruleless monk, Ruleless Supreme, Buddha Heavenly Sovereign, or Ruleless Daoist.
The inhabitants of the holy ground usually addressed him as “the supreme”. He was one of the two supremes of the south. The other was Righteous Supreme.
He had various statuses and titles but one thing was unanimous - that he was the true ruler of Buddha Holy Ground. This was because he was the sect master of Sacred Mountain.
This sovereign was once a monk and a daoist. Either way, he had one rule and that was to be ruleless - completely unrestrained and untethered.
He was extremely powerful and protected the border alone during the dark invasion. This earned him quite a reputation through all of Eight Desolaces.
Thus, his power was the reason why he was the highest ruler of the holy ground, more so than the fact that he was Sacred Mountain’s sect master.
He stood shoulder-to-shoulder with dao lords. One would be hard-pressed to find someone as strong as him in the current generation. That’s why no sect could affect Sacred Mountain’s supremacy despite its hands-off nature.
Whether it be Vajra currently in charge of administration or the resourceful Heavenly Dragon Temple or the mighty Divine Ghost Division, none of them dared to challenge Sacred Mountain.
In fact, some believed that if Sacred Mountain wanted to change the current sect in charge of the holy ground, the supreme only needed to say one word. Vajra wouldn’t be able to resist this order.
As for Heavenly Dragon Temple, it has been following Sacred Mountain ever since the foundation of the holy ground. It spread Buddhism and built temples. One could say Heavenly Dragon was the representative of Sacred Mountain, not Vajra.
In the past, Buddha Supreme visited Heavenly Dragon Temple and entered its deepest area. He knocked on the coffins, wanting to see the ancient Buddhas.
Remember, these Buddhas didn’t have long to live. Every day was precious. Alas, the temple still didn’t try to stop him. This story served as another testament to the supreme’s power and also the old servant’s might for being aware of it.
Golden Cicada stood in silence for a while.
“I won’t be using any status to force you or people will say that I’m a senior bullying a junior.” Li Qiye smiled and shook his head: “Just go back and tell the old monks that I want this god-level dao bone. If they refuse, I’ll have to take a trip to the temple. Of course, I hope that it won’t get to that point.”
The young monk felt suffocated after hearing this.