Two fat monks, Ming Zhen and Ming Xing, were swaggering along the street in An He City. Each of them had a huge wooden fish forged from gold in his left hand, and a long knocker forged from silver in his right. With every few steps they took, they would knock the wooden fish and fill the air with a loud, almost ear-splitting sound.
The people of An He City studied the two strange-looking men cautiously, whose attires were very different from theirs. They were particularly surprised by the monks' hairless heads and big, fat bellies. Regardless of their status, gender, or age, it was rare for the people of Great Yu to have such a fat body.
How could those common people who were lowborn grow a fat body when they had to work hard in farming, herding, fishing, all the laborious jobs, just so that they could put food on their tables?
As for those who were born high up, regardless of their gender, they all cultivated some body tempering technique, making it even harder to find one who was fat. And, if they were found to have the potential to practice magic, they would be sent to the Directorate of Celestials to learn all sorts of strange magic. Eventually, when they became Oracles, it was a norm for them to use their own blood essence and souls to feed a myriad of Yin ghosts and evil gods, or use their own blood essence as a trigger for magic. This made all the Oracles as thin as a stick of wood, and impossible to grow as fat as the two monks.
All of the common people of Great Yu carried a flavor of simplicity and honesty, a steadiness like that of a great tree in a mountain or a giant boulder under the ground. And those who came from powerful clans were usually proud of themselves. In any case, none of them had the same carefree attitude as the two monks, who seemed to treat everything indifferently.
Nothing in the city, be it the people, the ancient and decorous architectural style, or those square, dark palaces and pavilions, was in harmony with the two monks; who were dressed in monk's robes made of fine cloth, sandals woven with soft grass, and silk sashes around their fast waists while holding such luxurious wooden fishes in their hands.
They were aliens in An He City. The people on the streets studied them cautiously and coldly; nobody dared to accost them.
Ming Zhen and Ming Xing glanced around with a big smile on their faces. They did not seem to be bothered by the cold shoulders the people here had given them. A short while ago, they discovered that they were followed by a few spies with weak cultivation bases. Although the spies did practice the body tempering technique taught in Great Yu's army, they were weak, as they could only exert five thousand kilograms of strength at the most. It was true that they were considered experts among the common people. But in the face of Ming Zhen and Ming Xing, who were both tenth-tier Arhats and had cultivated the 'Dragon Subduing Technique', a mighty divine ability of the Buddhism League which gave them the power to overturn rivers and seas, the spies were mere ants; they were just left lying on the streets wailing with broken legs.
It was a nice little city. Although the dark buildings looked oppressive, the people here were nice.
It was said that some disciples of Buddhist League had infiltrated this region a few years ago, and had opened a monastery in the vicinity, as well as recruited many believers. But then, some Fiend immortals from the outer heavenly realm also established their bases here, and a conflict broke out between the two, which allowed Great Yu to defeat them together. Now the city and its people were back in the hands of Great Yu, and the few hundred years of hard work carried out by those disciples of Buddhist League had gone to waste.
But, that was about to change again. The Leader of Buddhist League had made a decision to launch a full infiltration against Pangu Continent, and the eight Buddhas had sent their disciples to recruit believers here. They no longer had to act undercover. It was time for them to put their eloquent tongues to a good use. Their only mission here was to cow the natives of An Le County and convert them to Buddhism, turning them into the most loyal devotees.
Ming Zhen and Ming Xing exchanged a glance and burst into laughter at the same time. Their fair facial muscles jerked violently as they called out the name of Prabhutaratna Buddha in unison, then began to talk loudly, explaining the benefits of joining the Buddhist League. Gleaming golden spittle flew out of their mouths and fell onto the ground, and a great sheet of golden light immediately rose from where they landed, white lotus flowers blooming amidst them.
Whenever a Buddha spoke, golden lotus flowers bloomed. Although Ming Zhen and Ming Xing were far from reaching that realm, their words still conjured into white lotus flowers, and it was exactly the reason why they were selected to recruit believers in Pangu Continent — their cultivation of the tongue was the best among the Golden Arhats under Prabhutaratna Buddha. As they spoke, white lotus flowers bloomed before them, giving off a refreshing scent while various magical visions enveloped the city. The monks had sent out their willpower, stirring up various thoughts in the people's mind.
Influenced by the two monks, the people of An He City had their seven human emotions—joy, anger, worry, fear, love, hatred, desire—as well as their six faculties—eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin, mind— aroused, which engendered affliction. Numerous visions appeared before their eyes; majestic dragons were wheeling in the sky while beautiful heavenly maids were scattering blossoms. There were woods of bodhi trees blooming with lotus flowers, inside which sat many Buddhas and Bodhisattvas solemnly, along with millions of devotees staying in magnificent houses and palaces; enjoying fine wine, delicacies, beautiful girls, and handsome men to their heart's content. The devotees just had to ask, and the beautiful heavenly maids or the handsome Vajras would agree to all their requests.
Beneath the gorgeous paradise, passing through a thick layer of auspicious clouds, there loomed the eighteen levels of hell. It was filled with horrible tortures, such as tongue pulling, bone picking, tendon plucking, skin peeling; and even mountains of swords and spears, seas of flame and ice. Just looking at them would enough to make one shudder with fear.
"If you believe in Prabhutaratna Buddha, you can be taken to the kingdom of Buddha after death to enjoy boundless blessings. If you do not believe in Prabhutaratna Buddha, it is a great disrespect to the Buddha, and that means you have accumulated a boundless evil karma. You will then fall to hell after death and suffer for eternity. If you believe in Prabhutaratna Buddha, you will be blessed in life; you will be able to live in peace and health, without illness or disaster. If you do not believe in Prabhutaratna Buddha, you will suffer evil retribution in life; men will lose their wives and women will lose their husbands; parents will die early and children will die young."
Two monks stood at the crossroads in the center of An He City with words rolling off their tongues and spittle conjuring up white lotus flowers. The city was filled with various visions and enchanting tunes that sent the people's mind restless. An He City had been under the control of Buddhist League for hundreds of years, and although they failed to build a solid foundation here, the Buddhist teachings they preached on a daily basis still influenced many people today.
On top of that, the cultivators of Buddhist League who controlled An He City in those days only had the cultivation bases of Nascent Soul realm. However, what now appeared here were two tenth-tier Arhats, who could be considered the core disciples of the Buddhist League and were specialized in practicing all kinds of divine abilities related to tongue and words. So how could the people of An He City resist their preaching?
In just one-eighth of an hour, many people of An He City had knelt down to worship the two monks and kept repeating the name of Prabhutaratna Buddha. A few streets nearby were packed with people, all kowtowing again and again. They were intoxicated, their eyes were cloudy, and they looked like some stray dog who had lost its sense after someone beat it with a stick.
Ming Zhen and Ming Xing smiled triumphantly at each other, their droopy flesh trembling and rolling in waves. Mustering all the Buddhist power that was available to them, they kept talking and talking; their tongues rolled rapidly as spittle flew endlessly out of their mouths, turning into golden specks that wrapped around white lotus flowers to fill the entire An He City. Then, they waved their hands excitedly, sprinkling Buddhism light onto the people who were worshiping around them. In that instant, the gray hair on the old men's heads turned black; young and middle-aged men who were ill recovered instantly, while those who were healthy felt a warm stream rolling back and forth in their bodies, immediately becoming full of energy. Some hunchbacked old ladies all straightened their backs and felt no more pain; young women were surprised to find that all the freckles and scars on their faces had disappeared.
"This is the blessing for believing in Buddha!" The two monks shouted at the top of their lungs as their saliva almost dried up.
While the two of them were busy preaching, the sound of footsteps came from all directions, deep and powerful like the angry roaring of thunderclaps. One by one, leather-clad soldiers seized the crowds of worshipers who had thronged the streets and forced them away to shops and houses on the side.
Columns of soldiers in heavy metal armor, armed with strong bows and stiff crossbows, came pouring in from all directions in perfect order. Their eyes were firm, their expressions unyielding, and their movements neat and uniform as if they were one. It was obvious that they were all battle-hardened elites.
Ming Zhen and Ming Xing were stunned. In their knowledge, An Le County was just one of Zhong Province's many counties; according to Great Yu's military system, a populous and economically developed first-grade county such as this could only have two or three thousand troops at most. But, when they glanced around with their divine sense, they found the city was controlled by at least fifty thousand troops!
Forty thousand of them were forcibly throwing worshipers into shops and houses on the side of the streets throughout the city, while the remaining ten thousand were in control of a two-mile area centered around the two monks. Heavily armored, the ten thousand soldiers were armed with powerful crossbows, the bolts emitting a subtle wave of magic. The monks' face flickered when they sensed the bizarre wave of energy.
Those were crossbows made by some master of artifact refinement, capable of causing mortal danger to even Heaven Immortals. Although both of them had the golden bodies of Arhats, they dared not face ten thousand of such crossbows. They had learned the lesson from the history. There were many immortals who thought they had great powers and attacked Great Yu's military formation by themselves, all ending up riddled by the shower of bolts.
Feeling that the situation was against them, the two monks chanted the name of Buddha in unison, then stepped on a cloud each and soared into the sky together without saying anything. Before coming here, they just suddenly remembered that An He City was once controlled by cultivators of Buddhist League. Therefore, they decided to come here to take advantage of it, so they could show off in front of their many fellow junior and senior disciples. But, what they did not expect was that the city had become like a hedgehog. They had just started preaching, and were immediately besieged by a large army!
But, just as they reached a height of about several hundred feet, a ray of five-colored light suddenly came smashing down over their heads while Princess Zhang Le's unrelenting voice rang through An He City.
"Kill these two bald donkeys…And those who worshiped them, your taxes will be increased tenfold this year!"
Ming Zhen and Ming Xing felt their power disappear in an instant as they fell to the ground like mortals. At the same time, the air rang with the twanging of crossbows as countless bolts engulfed both the monks like a swarm of deadly hornets.