"Buddha, what are your intentions?"
The Buddha floating in the sky had used golden light to erase his attack. He was obviously trying to save those kneeling criminals. The North Pole Emperor couldn't help but wonder why.
By his side, Fuxi felt the same way, and the rest of them were even more confused.
Why had the Buddha saved these criminals?
The Buddha just continued reciting sutras, then gently flicked his fingertips, lifting Gu Li and the four Zombie Progenitors into the air and depositing them onto his lotus throne.
"The Buddha is merciful. Evil lurks within this boy's heart, but he is willing to repent. I shall grant him an opportunity for redemption."
"Buddha, the boy is treacherous, please don't be misguided," shouted the North Pole Emperor with a frown.
"No need to say anymore. I have already decided," said the Buddha, his voice completely free of doubt. The North Pole Emperor sighed in frustration.
Then Fuxi asked "Could you possibly leave the beast Denglong to me? He's brought calamity onto mankind since ancient times and now has brought disaster to the Beast Region. Millions of spiritual beasts were killed; after such a grievous sin, you couldn't possibly still plan on redeeming him?”
"I do," said the Buddha in the same indubitable tone as before.
"Buddha!" Nuwa shouted as well, but the Buddha only looked them over calmly.
"All you can leave," said the Buddha. "I'll take them back to the Western Buddhist Domain and have them recite sutras for thirty years to cleanse their sins. To err is human, but there is always hope for redemption. If they're willing to repent, I am naturally willing to redeem them."
With that, he disappeared into the sky.
"How could the Buddha trust them?"
The North Pole Emperor bellowed in fury and clenched his fists. Even he could tell that Gu Li had no desire to repent whatsoever, so why had the Buddha trusted him?
Fuxi and Nuwa felt the same way; this was the perfect opportunity to end Denglong once and for all, but....
Just fifteen minutes after the Buddha’s departure, the Great Strength Bodhisattva rode in on a cloud.
The immortals bowed in greeting, but as soon as the North Pole Emperor saw him, he frowned.
"Bodhisattva,” he said. “You must not let the Buddha trust them. Those criminals are wicked to the core; their penitence is completely insincere.”
"Emperor, you needn't worry," said the Bodhisattva, gesturing for him to calm his anger. “The Buddha foresaw this and has a plan in mind.”
The North Pole Emperor and the others frowned.
"Then what are his intentions?”
"The Buddha left a message for you. It's less than a month until the Struggle for the Three Realms begins, so you all should go back and prepare properly.”
"So you're saying…..," Fuxi seemed to realize something.
Back then, the Buddha had said he'd take them to Buddhist Domain and make them abstain from meat and recite sutras for thirty years. Could it be that he was worried they’d ruin the contest for supremacy?
No, that couldn't be right. If that were it, he would’ve just killed them.
Even though the people of the Buddhist Domain disliked killing, these were absolutely heinous criminals.
Then why did he take that vicious beast with him too? asked Nuwa.
"There is, of course, a deeper purpose, but there's no need for you to concern yourselves with it in vain. Go prepare for the upcoming contest. The Buddha has spoken; it will be extremely dangerous"
The Great Strength Bodhisattva smiled calmly, then turned to Fuxi and said, "Emperor Fuxi, before the Buddha left, he asked this humble monk to follow you to the Immortal Region and meet with Emperor Shaohao. Could I trouble you to guide me?”
“Please follow me.”
"Right," he said, just as he was about to leave. "The Beast Region still has many wounded. Could I trouble the Underworld and Heavenly Court to look after them?”
With that, he nodded to Fuxi, and flew off on his cloud.
The North Pole Emperor’s emotions were in turmoil, and he racked his brains in an attempt to understand the Buddha’s intentions.
But just like the Great Strength Bodhisattva said, they really were incapable of comprehending the Buddha’s thoughts. Not even figures at the level of the North Pole Emperor could do it.
“Stay here for a while and help the Beast Region rebuild. The Buddha said to get ready for the upcoming Struggle for the Three Realms, so I’ll head back to the Heavenly Court and prepare for now.”
Meanwhile back in the secret location within the Nine-tailed Fox clan...
Rosy light hovered above Ye Zichen’s body, filling the room.
Lady Providence had been drawing a sigil between his eyes. As she finished, she removed her hand and flew up into the air.
With a delicate shout, the mark faded into his forehead.
Body drenched in sweat, she landed back on the ground, expression exhausted as she took a deep breath.
Su Yan’s face was rosy, but upon closer examination her breathing matched Ye Zichen’s, and spiritual power circulated between them, seemingly creating a spiritual formation of unified Yin and Yang.
“This can be considered your good luck,” said Lady Providence. “You’ve accompanied him for nine lifetimes, so I’ll grant you this good fortune. From now on, your lifelines are connected, so as long as you two don’t….”
Before she finished her sentence, her heart trembled. She performed a simple divination, and before long, looked down at the couple lying on the sickbed.
“How contrived! Is this some kinda chick flick?!”
At this point, Lady Providence didn’t seem like a god at all. She stared in shock and gasped despite herself.
Before long, she shrugged and said, “It has nothing to do with me. I’ve already done all I can. If I go back, not even that dear friend of mine can say anything.”
She smiled humorously at the two of them once more, then disappeared in a burst of blue smoke.
The women waiting outside the secret room hadn’t left. Instead, they’d stood on guard this whole time.
Xia Keke paced back and forth continuously, fidgeting and occasionally muttering, “Big Brother Zichen, you absolutely have to get through this.”
Xiao Yumei and Chang’e were much calmer. They simply stood in silence, but from time to time they couldn’t help but glance at each other.
When their eyes met, they looked away, but before long their eyes would inevitably meet again
Of them, Su Liu’er was calmest. She simply sat, legs crossed. She was nowhere near as nervous as before.
Since Lady Providence had restored her severed arm, she was confident that she’d be able to save Su Yan as well.
Of course, at the moment she had no choice but to trust in Lady Providence.
“Big Sister Yumei, Big Sister Chang’e,” said Xia Keke, unable to help herself after catching them lock eyes again, “there’s no need to sneak glances at each other like that. Just be open about it.”
“If you want to compare yourselves, I can appraise you. Hm, you’re both exceptionally beautiful, but still not quite on par with me,” Xia Keke said proudly, sticking out her chin. Xiao Yumei and Chang’e couldn’t help but smile back at her.
“But why are you so similar?” she muttered to herself.
“Keke’s right, you really are very similar, and it’s not just your appearance. Your dispositions are not exactly the same, but they’re similar as well,” said Su Liu’er nodding despite herself. “It really is strange.”
Suddenly, gentle laughter emanated from within the secret location.
“What’s so strange about that?