The bottom of the Dragon Burial Valley was isolated from the outside world.
Day in and out, the old temple sat there silently, distant and dilapidated – it seemed like there was nothing different about it than before.
The only difference was that there was now another young monk with refined features.
There was also another quirky little fox.
Each morning, the young monk would gaze at the rising sun.
At dusk, he would gaze at the setting sun.
It was the same everyday without any breaks in between.
The eyes of the young monk turned increasingly brighter.
Of course, for the most part of the day, the young monk would choose to browse through sutras and comprehend Zen and the Dao in the Sutra Chamber.
Against a green lantern and ancient Buddha statue, he sat on a praying mat with a sutra gently propped on his hand with a calm expression and in a tranquil state.
Beside him, a red little fox squatted quietly without moving.
At night, the young monk would head to the backyard of the old temple.
In the eerie cemetery, the sounds of dragons, tigers and endless beasts roaring would sound till daybreak before subsiding.
Day after day, year after year.
In the blink of an eye, 20 years passed.
Time did not seem to leave any scars on the monk’s face.
However, his dantian was still empty without a trickle of spirit energy.
After all these years, the young monk no longer tried to cultivate intentionally. Instead, he recited sutras and strolled everyday in a leisurely manner.
As time passed by, he gained a unique aura around him.
It was indescribable.
It was as though the young monk had reached the realm of fusing with nature.
He looked like an extremely ordinary monk at a single glance.
However, upon closer inspection, he was like an unsolvable mystery.
Yet another night passed.
Cemetery in the backyard of the old temple.
At dawn, the young monk opened his eyes slowly and tidied his attire. Bowing to a red-headed burly man not far before him, he said, “Thank you for your care for more than 20 years!”
Naturally, the young monk was Su Zimo.
In all these years, this was the first time Su Zimo had spoken to the red-headed ghost in such a proper manner as well as thanked the latter with such courtesy.
Sensing something, the red-headed ghost raised his brow and asked, “You’re going to leave?”
Su Zimo nodded.
The red-headed ghost replied distractedly.
When Su Zimo’s figure was about to vanish from the backyard, the voice of the red-headed ghost sounded once more. “Be careful out there.”
Touched, Su Zimo nodded his head.
It was still early.
Ming Zhen was still asleep.
The doors of the grand hall were tightly shut and the old monk was not out.
Su Zimo intended to wait a little more outside.
Suddenly, his ears twitched and he heard intermittent calls.
The voice came from outside the old temple above the Dragon Burial Valley.
The only person who would call him that was Demoness Ji!
For some reason, Su Zimo felt his heart palpitate, as though he could sense that something big was about to happen!
In his past 20 years of studying Buddhism and Zen, he had never experienced such emotional fluctuation.
Su Zimo pushed the doors open and meandered forward with the valley.
Before long, Demoness Ji’s voice sounded once more.
“Great monk, where are you? Hurry and come out! Mr. Su’s not going to make it!”
Su Zimo’s footsteps came to a gradual stop.
He froze on the spot with a lost gaze as his mouth dropped agape slightly. There was only a single sentence repeating itself in his mind – Mr. Su’s not going to make it!”
Su Zimo murmured .
His first reaction was disbelief!
How was that possible?
Even after 20 years, Su Hong was only now in his sixties – how was this possible?
However, the next moment, Su Zimo realized that even though Demoness Ji loved to joke, there was no way she would lie about something like this.
His elder brother was truly not going to make it!
More than 10 years ago, Ji Yaoxue had already mentioned that Su Hong was not in a good condition. That was the reason why Su Zimo decided that he was going to take Su Hong with him to leave the North Region after the intermediate ancient battlefield opened up.
To think that…
After 20 years of studying the Dao of Buddhism and Zen, Su Zimo had initially thought that he had already let go of many things including life and death.
To think that the instant he heard this piece of news, his heart felt a piercing pain!
It was extremely, extremely painful.
At the bottom of the Dragon Burial Valley, Su Zimo leaned against the ice-cold wall of the cliff and slid down weakly to the ground. There was an indescribable misery flooding in the depths of his eyes.
In a flash…
Su Zimo recalled many things.
He recalled the rivers of blood and mountains of corpses on that night dozens of years ago in the house of Lord Wuding in Yan Country.
A young man less than 20 years old protected two young children and escaped from the capital with all his might relying only on his guts.
Although there was a savage slash on his face that nearly cut his head into two, the young man did not care at all!
After dozens of years, the two young children had already grown up.
As for that young man of the past, he gradually turned old instead.
He had already gained a lot of white hair by the time he was in his thirties.
That initially upright body of his had curved significantly as well.
With his firm shoulders, that young man carried the burden of everything and protected the two young children, allowing them to enjoy a peaceful and beautiful life.
It was the same way he had charged out of the capital with them under his lead more than 10 years ago.
He feared nothing!
The young man of the past reigned the world with his sword.
More than 10 years later, his sword no longer had that edge and he was much more restrained and mature.
The only thing that did not change was his heart that cared for the world and worried for his citizens.
That was the reason why he could stand forth and lead 5,000 black armored cavalry to hold off Luo Tianwu and gang who were massacring the citizens of Yan Country outside Jian An City even when he had not recovered fully from his injuries!
That was the reason why he could make that shocking statement.
“The Su family may have a family feud with the King of Yan. But your army raids the land of the Country of Yan, intruding our borders and territory, slaughtering our people, this is national enmity! Family feud and national enmity are different!”
Su Zimo’s sight gradually turned blurry.
However, all those scenes flashed through his mind clear as day.
A tragic sigh sounded from above the Dragon Burial Valley.
“20 years ago, Glass Palace massacred 13 cities of Yan Country just to vent their frustrations. The blow of that was way too great for Mr. Su.”
“For the past 20 years, although he had been in the capital, Mr. Su’s mind has always been worrying about the citizens of Yan Country. He’s… truly a great ruler.”
His worries had turned into illness.
Even cultivators would suffer a reduced lifespan and enter Qi Deviation if they spent dozens of years worrying, let alone ordinary mortals.
“Great monk, I don’t know if you’re listening.”
Demoness Ji’s voice sounded once more.
“For the past few years, my sister and I have searched for many spirit herbs in the cultivation world but none of them worked. Mr. Su’s health continued declining.”
“For the past few months, Mr. Su would always talk in his sleep and call out for you and Xiaoning. When I hear them, I truly, truly feel…”
Demoness Ji choked and could not continue.
Su Zimo covered his head with his arms and curled up. He could no longer control himself and broke out into a miserable cry.
Unknowingly, Ming Zhen and the little fox had arrived by his side.
The little fox felt her heart wrench at the sight of Su Zimo and closed in, rubbing her head gently against his ankle and whimpering to console him.
Ming Zhen lowered his head in silence as well, reciting Buddhist proclamations in his heart.