Hou Xibai looked up at the moon in the night sky, and then looked down in contemplation. He spoke slowly, "Although Shi Shi only taught me the xinfa of Hua Jian Pai's martial art, but from time to time he made references about Bu Tian Ge's martial art. The so-called 'Bu Tian' [repairing (or filling the void of) the heaven] is filling in the inadequacy of the heaven, which, when developed to the pinnacle, will be considered by the self-proclaimed orthodox school as outside the heretical, demonic way, the filling-in-the-inadequacy-of-the-heaven as a conduct in defiance of the natural order. Ay! Who would have thought that following that principle is actually low, while going against it is actually noble?"
Listening to that, Xu Ziling's heart shivered slightly. Hou Xibai would always be the disciple cultivated by the present day demonic person Shi Zhixuan. When speaking about any theory concerning demonic schools, the tone of his voice was extremely cynical and indignant, completely different from his usual warm, scholarly language.
Hou Xibai suddenly spoke in embarrassment, "Ziling Xiong must not take any offense. When speaking about this issue, I don't know whether because it is constantly repeating in my mind, subconsciously I always emulate the tone of Shi Shi's voice when he was talking about this."
Changing the subject, Xu Ziling wondered aloud, "How come Da Shi Temple is completely without lights? Even if all the monks have gone to bed, shouldn't there be some kind of Buddha lantern, incense stick and candle, or something like that?"
Hou Xibai said, "I was about to tell Ziling Xiong, because Da Shi Temple's Zhuchi offended a certain extremely-hard-to-deal-with figure from the demonic school, all the monks of the Temple are temporary taking shelter at the neighboring temples and monasteries to avoid disaster. As long as the dispute has not been settled, they absolutely do not dare to come back."
Stunned, Xu Ziling asked, "Who is so overbearing like this? Unexpectedly Bashu's Wulin of the same way only sit and watch, but remain indifferent?"
Hou Xibai was about to answer, a dot of light appeared inside the temple. Xu Ziling shouted in low voice, "Hou Xiong, please stay here, Xiaodi is coming in."
Swiftly, but carefully, Xu Ziling turned over the courtyard wall. This moment the lantern light suddenly disappeared again. He had no choice but to rely on his memory on where the last time he saw the light, while taking off his mask in passing.
The scale of this famous temple was really not small. From the Shanmen [monastery main gate] Hall, there were the Tianwang [lit. heaven's king] Hall, Qifo [lit. seven Buddhas] Hall, Daxiong Baodian [Hall of Great Strength, the main hall of a Buddhist temple containing the main image of veneration], Zangjiang Lou [library tower], and so on; there were layer upon layer of temple halls. Although it was not as complicated as the structure of Jing Nian Chanyuan, the design was elegant, as well as imposing and majestic.
Next to the complex of temple halls, which looked like a disposition of troops, a tall tower rose up from among the millions of bamboo trees, the exterior was imposing.
At this time Xu Ziling could not help but a bit regretful that he did not ask Hou Xibai clearly who the formidable demonic school figure was, unexpectedly this person was able to make the monks here emptying the temple to avoid disaster.
It should be noted that generally, all famous and ancient Buddhist temples would have outstanding martial art masters in-house to take up the responsibility of guarding the temple, plus all the monks in the temple ought to, more or less, know martial art, not too mention Wulin masters of the same principle in the area usually had some kind of relationship with the Temple; they could not possibly just sit and watch without doing anything.
Therefore, the situation before his eyes right now could be considered highly unusual.
Listening to the tone of Hou Xibai's voice, this person could not possibly be An Long; he must be someone that Xu Ziling did not know. So much so that it might the person ranked among the Eight Major Martial Art Masters of the Demonic Way that even Cao Yinglong did not know.
He had never tried wandering randomly in a temple where there was no one in it; the feeling was extraordinarily novel. In the study of architecture, the Xu Ziling of today was already unlike the General Lu Meng of the southern state of Wu [model of self-improvement by diligent study]. Following his steps, he took a casual observation, and was able to grasp the architecture of this famous ancient Buddhist monastery. He could feel even more the graceful, pondering, doing-the-utmost zeal and spirit of the religious men conscripted in establishing the temple. Whether it was the gate, the window, the eaves, and the arch, everything was carved with plumage, flowers and plants, and all kinds of decorative motif. The ridge of the temple was decorated with clay model of strange birds and exotic beasts; vivid and lifelike.
The temple buildings were connected to each other by long corridors, with large obelisks standing in large numbers, symmetrical left and right. A moment later, he reached Luohan [Arhat] Hall, where the light previously appeared. Momentarily his breathing stopped. Before his eyes there was a forest of statues, filling the mail hall with marvelously shocking scene.
The statues spread across the main hall, and were divided into two groups. On the center were several dozen of revered Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, positioned in such a way that they brought the focus of attention to the thousand-arm Guanyin right in the middle of the hall. Not only the precious likeness was stately, the shape of each hand and the object it was holding was different from each other, producing the impression of it possessed great magical power and exuded unbounded strength.
The five hundred Luohan were spread all around, facing the statue at the center, forming north-south and east-west pathways in the middle. It was as if Xu Ziling was transported into a different-from-reality world of gods and Buddhas. Under the moonlight penetrating into the hall, the statues near him looked to be meticulously and elaborately crafted. Whether it was standing, leaning, sitting, or lying down, all poses were different from each other, they looked like real person, their expression was lively; it was hard to tell whether they were just statues or real persons.
By the time he reached the front of the thousand-arm Guanyin, surrounded by the layer upon layer, row upon row of Luohan statues all around him, he felt as if he had fallen into a maze of statues formation; it was such a strange feeling that no word could describe even one out of ten thousand.
There was a small candleholder under the thousand-arm Guanyin seat. In just one glance Xu Ziling was able to recognize that the candleholder's style was identical to the one being used by Shi Beauty at the Fu Dong Migong [good fortune cave labyrinth].
Shi Qingxuan's moving voice rang out from behind, "Would Xu Gongzi please light the lantern?" her voice was gentle.
Pressing down the urge to turn around, Xu Ziling fetched the flint stone by the candleholder and lit the candle.
A dot of light leaped to become a flicker of fireworks, lighting up the center of the Luohan Hall, increasing the strangeness of the already bizarre atmosphere.
Shi Qingxuan's voice came from his right, "We might as well play hide-and-seek here!"
Xu Ziling was standing nailed to the ground. Like a child who was scared of being scolded by his mother he confessed, "Miss, please do not take offense; I still have Hou Xibai coming with me, Xiaodi did not cast him away according to Miss' instruction, but there is a reason behind it."
Shi Qingxuan maintained her silence, and then she showed herself from behind the thousand-arm Guanyin, her face was covered in heavy gauze, she spoke indifferently, "Things of the world, there is none that does not fall between the two universes of principal and secondary causes [Buddhist doctrine of karma]; he wants to come, let him come! It's not a big deal. The most important thing is that you, this good person, have come!"
In the presence of this jade person, although Xu Ziling had thousands of words to say, he did not know where to start.
After going through hard-pressed danger one after another, fooling around with his fate everywhere, unexpectedly she suddenly appeared within his reach, without wasting any time. A burst of emotion consisting of a hundred different feelings, which he could not explain one by one, like a torrential flood broke out from deep within his heart, overwhelming him with the urge, which he experienced only the first time in his life - to draw this woman into his embrace.
Naturally he could only keep this impulse in his heart.
The feeling Shi Qingxuan was giving him was hot and cold, varying indeterminably, as if she wanted to keep a certain distance with you; it was hard to pin down. Although it did not reach the state where she wanted to keep people a thousand li away, at the very least there was the impression that she was not easy to get close to.
After sucking in a mouthful of deep breath, Xu Ziling spoke calmly, "This time Miss came to Chengdu, was it because you received your esteemed father's message?"
Unconcerned, Shi Qingxuan replied, "Qingxuan only have Niang and never have Die. Are you trying to warn me that it was just a sinister plot concocted by An Long and Yang Xuyan? Humph! Those two muddled eggs have the impertinence to slight Bi Xiuxin's daughter. I will definitely make them leave and pack their food before they finish eating. But you indeed have some ability, having just arrived in Chengdu, yet is able to find so many things."
Hearing that, Xu Ziling was flabbergasted; he was speechless, knowing that he himself had been slighted by Shi Qingxuan. In vain had he been worried for nearly ten days.
Shi Qingxuan smiled and said, "An Long originally wanted me to meet him at his old shop. Luckily I came across you outside the door, thereupon I asked them to come here to settle everything at the same time. I assume you have not forgotten that you told me that you are willing to carry all the burden and responsibility for me. A real man's word worth one thousand in gold, you can't say that it does not count."
Hearing that, Xu Ziling's scalp went numb. "What burden Miss wanted to hand over to me to carry?" He resigned himself, realizing that he would never know how to deal with the particular style with which this beauty worked.
As if she was recounting some trivial thing, Shi Qingxuan spoke leisurely, "First of all, I want you to deal with Shi Zhixuan's ghost scroll for me. Whether Xu Gongzi wants to rip it up and throw it away, or perhaps wants to give it to someone else, I don't really care."
While Xu Ziling was still in shock, Shi Qingxuan already handed over a roll of sheepskin scroll.
Unusual changes followed.