'You dishonest bald donkey! Damn Lao Ai! Can't he even train his own disciple? Or, has he begun to harbor other evil schemes after he hooked up with Goddess Miao Xin and had Patriarch Miao Ying behind his back?'
A myriad of thoughts tumbled in Wu Qi's mind. With a gloomy face and a towering murderous air, he rushed out of the County Governor's mansion. Twelve large flying ships that Dong Hai County had purchased at a high price soared into the sky, each filled with one thousand heavily armed soldiers. Even the dozens of Oracles from Dong Hai County's Directorate of Celestials boarded the flying ships. Headed by Wu Qi, who had wrapped himself in a gust of chilly wind and stepping on a dark cloud, the ships sped off in the direction where the chanting was coming from.
Just east of Dong Hai City, on a small cliff that protruded about a dozen miles into the sea, there sat a monk on a boulder. He was really fat, with a large head and big ears, smooth and fair skin, lips as red and moist as that of a teenage girl, and eyes that shone like gems. His earlobes were so long that they touched his waist. He wore only a pair of yellow monk trousers with his chest bare; a monk robe on his upper body, and sandals made of reeds on the soles of his feet.
Beside him was placed a three-feet-squared wooden fish cast in pure gold. With a ten feet long knocker that was as thick as a fist in his hand, the monk knocked on the wooden fish occasionally. The knocker was made of pure silver, so every knock produced a lot of sparks and a deafening sound that spread far and wide. It was so loud and powerful that it made Wu Qi and the others' ears hurt, even though they were still a few miles away.
As they drew nearer to the monk, the sound of the wooden fish grew harsher. And when they were only about a mile from him, it had turned into a deafening thunderclap, causing all the soldiers on the flying ships, including Huang Liang, to lose their footing. The monk smiled and watched Wu Qi and others rushing aggressively toward him, knocking on the wooden fish slowly and then reciting word by word, "The sea of bitterness has no bounds, repent and the shore is at hand!"
Whenever he uttered a word, there would be a golden lotus flying out of his mouth. Each of the lotuses was enveloped with a dense crimson flame, and had eight characters the size of a fist hovering around its stamen, which were constantly emitting golden light. Although the golden light was not harsh to look at, as they drew nearer to the monk, it became like a sharp knife that kept cutting at their skins, leaving them with nothing but pain.
Wu Qi flew into a rage. "Who allowed this bald donkey to talk nonsense here? Get the hell out of Dong Hai County now!"
Dong Hai County was the land where Wu Qi would grow and thrive. He was like a beast with a strong sense of territory, who would fight back with all his might whenever someone tried to invade it. And, he knew very well what a terrible thing religion was, especially the Buddhist League who was backed by numerous powerful Buddhist cultivators. Once he allowed them to expand their influence in Dong Hai County, whom would the people, the army, and the officials listen to? These monks or him?
He absolutely forbade disciples of Buddhist League from developing their influence in Dong Hai County, and he would kill every single one who attempted to do that. This was the deal that Wu Qi and Madman Xue had struck at that time.
So, when Wu Qi saw how openly the monk was using the Dharma technique of Buddhist League to attract believers here, the only thought he had in mind was to crush that bald head with his fist. He was at the height of his anger, and that was clearly exhibited through his expression and his voice. Madman Xue was the missionary disciple of Yab-Yum who dwelt in the Ruyi Heavenly Realm, and he should be able to control the monks who went around attracting believers. But, why would a monk suddenly come to Dong Hai County to make trouble?
Looking at Wu Qi, the monk grinned suddenly. "Your Excellency, it looks like you are the chief official of this place, right?" He said gently. "Why don't you join us, the Buddhist League? You'll be able to escape the ordeal of transmigration…Isn't that nice?"
Before Wu Qi could speak, the monk went on while laughing, "The Buddhist League is diverse. There are three thousand Dao that can lead you to transcendence. If what you seek is richness, there is a Dao for it…If it is jade-like beauties that you like, there is a Dao for it…The power to kill, there is also a Dao for it…All in all, as long as you join us, we can provide whatever you want. Why don't you and the army of ten thousand soldiers behind you convert to the Buddhist League now?"
Wu Qi snorted coldly, then raised his right hand and shouted, "Crossbow!"
Immediately, twelve flying ships surrounded the monk in a semicircle with countless crossbows aiming at him. Soldiers loaded crossbows with bone bolts specially designed to deal with powerful cultivators, and the dozens of Oracles were hurrying to crush bone talismans, adding all kinds of protection for the soldiers.
Fearing that the crossbows were not powerful enough, Wu Qi murmured a few incantations, then bit his fingertip and flung a string of blood out, which transformed into thousands of tiny runes and attached onto the tips of the bolts. The air rang with the loud howling of ghosts, and as soon as the runes were attached to the bolts, they dissolved into a dark smoke that shrouded the tips. With that, the dark arrows made of bone began to twist like melted candles.
The monk gave Wu Qi a stunned look. As he glanced at Wu Qi's tall and strong body with gleams flickering in his eyes, he exclaimed, "How could you use the art of runes and curses? Judging by your stature, you should have practiced one of those brute force cultivation techniques, right?"
Just as the monk's exclamation rang out, thousands of bolts had been shot out with harsh twangs, blotting the sky as they rained down on him. The density of the bolts was extremely high; they flew at an incredible speed and produced rapid-spinning air vortices in the sky while generating long, wretched piercing noises that sounded like the howling of ghosts.
The monk chuckled. All of a sudden, a great sheet of golden Buddhist light radiated from the nine scars on the top of his head, condensing into countless fist-sized beads that shot in all directions. Amidst loud crackling, thousands of bolts were bent and broken by the beads, then exploded and emitted black smoke, flames, bolts of lightning, water vapor, and all kinds of elemental forces.
"Buddha cannot save the unwilling," said the monk, looking solemnly at Wu Qi. "It's too bad that Your Excellency is unwilling to be saved. Well, it seems those behind you are the reason that the destiny has brought me here!"
As soon as he finished, the monk turned the palms of his hands over, where two golden lotus flowers made their appearances. Then, he gave a strange laugh and pointed the flowers at Wu Qi. Suddenly, a powerful suction force emerged from the lotus flowers along with two golden rays of light, enveloping Wu Qi and Ao Buzun, who was coiled around his neck. In just the blink of an eye, they were dragged into the flowers. After that, the petals of the golden lotus flowers folded up, and then dissolved into a sheet of dense golden light, hovering in front of the monk.
The monk laughed triumphantly and shook his head. "Remember this, my benefactors, this penniless monk is Ming Li, the missionary disciple of Prabhutaratna Buddha who dwells in the Great Bliss Heavenly Realm. My benefactors, if you join the Buddhist League, all of your wishes will come true, and there will be no more troubles in your lifetime!"
Huang Liang looked at the monk, his whole body trembling. But in the end, he managed to gather his courage. With his right hand raising up high, he cried out, "Fall into the formation! The Dark Shell Eight Directional Defensive Formation!"
It was a defensive formation commonly used by the human soldiers, and could only be formed with large-scale war machines. On Huang Liang's orders, twelve flying ships quickly approached each other and formed two circles: a small one with four ships arranged according to the position of the Four Quadrants, and a large one around it with eight ships arranged according to the position of the Eight Trigrams. The decks on both sides of the ships were slowly lifted, from under which, countless bronze chains were flung out and linked together to form a huge bronze web.
Deep buzzing noises could be heard coming out of the flying ships as the bronze chains began to emit a faint green light, which grew stronger and eventually enveloped all twelve ships. Even as that happened, the only dozens of Oracles in Dong Hai County flew into the sky and threw out a lot of bone talismans in different directions, using them to control the transformations of the formation. Accompanied by the murmur of these Oracles' incantations, the green light gradually condensed into a thick, giant turtle shell. It had a very clear pattern of the Eight Trigrams, and was spotted with runes, each of which vaguely resembled a mountain.
"Interesting, how interesting! It seems that your fate with the Buddha is not matured yet, my benefactors!" said the monk, Ming Li. Then, he laughed while rolling up his sleeves and said airily, "In that case, let this penniless monk give you a push, so that all of you will understand what that fate means to you!"
He picked up the huge wooden fish in his left hand and held the thick knocker in his right, stepping on a white cloud as he flew slowly to the side of the formation. When he arrived, he gave Huang Liang a casual smile, who was standing on the bow of the flying ship while commanding the army; then, he lifted the gold-forged wooden fish and struck it hard on the green turtle shell.
The attack generated bright lights and clouds that spread far and wide, while pushing the formation of twelve flying ships more than a dozen miles away. Losing footing due to the fierce turbulence, one soldier after another stumbled and fell on the decks. At the same time, the dozens of Oracles who controlled the formation grunted with blood oozing out of their seven orifices, and the palms of their hands that they had locked into hand incantation gestures bounced open as if they had been attacked by a thunderbolt. Tiny arcs of lightning flashed on their fingertips, scorching their fingers.
"Strike back! Strike back!" Huang Liang screamed at the top of his lungs. Upon hearing the order, the soldiers got up and maneuvered the flying ships to launch a storm-like attack on Ming Li. Before long, the sky was blotted with streams of light, countless bolts, and javelins.
While the mess was going on outside, Wu Qi, who had been sucked into the golden lotus flower, found himself in a magical place.
There was no sun or moon in the sky, but the whole surrounding was as bright as day. Clouds were floating everywhere, and the view was full of crystal clear water. The water was as thick as butter, and was giving off a subtle fragrance, while white lotus flowers were growing all over it. Whenever the breeze blew over, the flowers would sway gently while caressing one's face with a faint fragrance.
There was a mountain standing in the boundless clear water not far away.
The mountain was about a thousand miles high and a hundred thousand miles in radius, shaped like a mighty tiger lying between the heaven and earth. There were countless temples of different sizes on the mountain, all built of gold bricks. Amidst the bright light that filled the space, they were emitting faint golden light and purple mist.
A total of 108 streaks of white mist stretched across the sky above the mountain. Faint voices of chanting could be heard coming ceaselessly from the countless temples.
On the wide stone steps and roads in the mountain, groups of monks and nuns in monk clothes were walking slowly with incense sticks and candles in their hands, shouting 'may the compassion of Prabhutaratna Buddha spread far and wide' as they walked. Every time they pronounced the slogan, a great mass of power of faith that was invisible to the naked eye would rise into the air and merge with the 108 streaks of white mist.
Ao Buzun looked up at the sky and whispered a curse.
"This is not looking good! We're in the interstitial space crafted by the expert amongst those bald donkeys. Some call it a small Chiliocosm, but they prefer to call it the 'Buddhist Kingdom in a Palm'!"
There was a world in a grain of sand, and there were three thousand Buddhas in the world. The Buddhist Kingdom in a Palm was Buddhist League's most amazing divine ability, as well as their trump card!
Those who had the ability to create it were at least almighty experts at the realm of Gold Bodhisattva!