Suddenly, the monk put his palms together and chanted Buddha's name again. A faint golden sheen began to screen his entire body, as if a golden Buddha had descended to earth. This was quickly accompanied by incessant tolls. The golden sheen shielded his body, forming a massive, translucent golden bell.
Xiao Chen heaved a sigh of relief. This was the supreme art of the Buddhist sects, the Golden Bell Shield. At the same time, he was quietly astounded. This monk looked only a little older than himself, yet his cultivation was so profound. He must be in the middle stages of the Sarira Realm.
Buddhist Sects also had their own realms. The Sarira Realm was equivalent to the Core Forming Realm. After that came the Golden Body Realm, the Inner Demon Realm, the All Shining Realm, the Imperishable Realm... they corresponded to the Nascent Soul Realm, the Nirvana Realm, the Apotheosis Realm, and the Grand Completion Realm.
More than 200 people realized that they could do nothing to the monk. Their attention turned to the lad who had turned up from nowhere. One bellowed, "Another stinking lad from nowhere! Are you the one who have hidden the magic treasures?"
Xiao Chen thought that these men had long been butchering one another. He could not be bothered to answer them. Suddenly, a flying sword came hacking at him. He condensed True Qi on his fingertips and deflected the sword away, shouting angrily, "Are you serious about fighting? Very well, I shall kill you all!" He mobilized the True Energy inside his body forcefully. Wild gales began to soar all around.
Luo Shangyan saw his gaze turned red and his face full of murderous intent. She had never seen him so horrifying before. She pulled at his sleeve immediately and asked, "Junior Brother Xiao! What has happened to you?"
Xiao Chen waved his arm and pushed her away. He proclaimed in a deep voice, "I shall kill them all!"
"Amitabha... " The monk shook his head. "Almsgiver, you have been infected by the Demonic Flower... " Then, he made a seal. A golden light streaked down from heaven and surged into Xiao Chen's Tianling acupoint.
This was the Buddhist art of Sobering Enlightenment. Xiao Chen finally recovered somewhat. He shook his head and wondered why a fierce intent to kill had surfaced in his heart. He glanced at the enormous flower beside himself and said in a deep voice, "So that's why!" He hacked his sword at it and severed its stem. Where he hacked, red juice resembling blood flowed out.
When he saw that Xiao Chen was all right, the monk continued to talk the men out from fighting. "Did you see that, sirs? There are only Demonic Flowers here which urge you to kill, not magic treasures. Please don't fight anymore, sirs."
A small fraction of the people had recovered, but the majority were still deluded. They all yelled, "Bald ass! It must have been you conspiring with that lad to trick us! Hand the magic treasures over and we will spare your lives!"
In an instant, the fighting resumed. Countless flying swords were released into the air. They were about to descend on this side. The monk gave a look of despair and suddenly roared like a lion. Crests of matchless sound waves surged out. The 100-odd men covered their ears in agony. "Damn! It's that Lion's Roar again! What can you monks from the Wuyin Monastery do but roar?"
When the roar had faded away, the rest slumped to the ground. The monk suddenly sat down cross-legged and started to expound Buddhist lore with great patience. Dozens were already terribly vexed. One shouted, "Enough, enough! I've heard this story about the monk feeding his flesh to the eagle 180 times! Are you done? Fine, we'll quit fighting!"
The monk stood up and started to beam. "Verily, verily, you almsgivers have finally understood Buddha's pains that day... " The people realized that he was about to lecture again. They cried out in unison, "Enough, enough, we have understood! Amitabha, the Buddha is all merciful and compassionate... "
The monk was overjoyed. "Good, good. Why don't I tell you another story? Once... " The crowd began to shout together, "Stop, stop! We know! Once, the Buddha met a person on a bridge... "
The monk kept nodding and smiled. "Good, good... "
The people finally put away their weapons. However, no one had discovered that the blood which had seeped into the earth was streaming underground toward Wuwang Wind Cloud City slowly.
After the 200-odd company had all departed, Xiao Chen walked to the monk and put his palms together. "How should I address you, Reverend?"
The monk said, "My dharma name is Xu Gu... " Then, he fixed his eyes on Xiao Chen for a long time. Finally, he sighed. "You have a heavy air of aggression about you, sir. I'm afraid your inner demon has overpowered you for too long. No wonder that Demonic Flower could infect you so easily... "
Xiao Chen was alarmed. It was true that ever since he had read the Devil Book, he had suffered from a mania for blood. He had unconsciously moved away from the teachings of his Master Ling Yin, who advocated compassion for all living beings.
"Please point me a way out, Reverend."
"Amitabha... " Xu Gu sighed and said, "Sir, your Inner Demon has been with you for too long. I'm afraid you cannot exorcise it at once. Why don't you follow me back to the Wuyin Monastery, where there will be Buddhist lectures that can release you from suffering... "
Before he had finished, Luo Shangyan had walked over and stood between them. She snapped. "You are blabbering nonsense, monk! How can my Junior Brother Xiao have an inner demon?"
Xiao Chen whispered, "Senior Sister Luo, don't be rude to the Reverend." Xu Gu asked, "What is your surname, sir?" Xiao Chen answered, "My name is Xiao Chen. Where are you going, Your Reverend?"
Xu Gu put his palms together and shook his head, sighing. "The world is obsessed with greed everywhere. Naturally, I have to talk these people out from killing. More than 1,000 must have died here. Are you here for the non-existent magic treasures as well, Mr. Xiao? Listen to my advice. There are no magic treasures here. Don't believe in hearsay... "
Xiao Chen said, "Thank you for reminding me, Reverend. I am not here for the magic treasures." Then, he put his palm together again. "In that case, we shall take our leave. May we meet again?"
Xu Gu was perplexed. "Aren't you going back with me to the Wuyin Monastery, Mr. Xiao?" Xiao Chen looked slightly embarrassed. How could he end up a monk like him for no rhyme or reason?
Xu Gu nodded slightly. "Everyone has his own aspirations. But acquaintance means we are fated to meet. Allow me to gift you our six-syllabled mantra: Om ma ni pad me hum. If your inner demon strikes again, you can chant this mantra quietly to yourself. It will suppress the demon for a while."
Xiao Chen put his palms together. "Thank you, Reverend."
"Take care, Mr. Xiao. I will go now." With these words, Xu Gu pointed in a direction and pinched his fingers. He turned instantly into a golden shaft of light and left.
After he had left for some time, Xiao Chen finally muttered, "Wuyin Monastery... " Luo Shangyan looked at him. "You aren't going to be a monk there, are you?"
Xiao Chen smiled lightly. "This floating world is like a dream, only that I haven't woken yet. Senior Sister Luo, let's continue to see what's ahead!"
They continued for more than 10 kilometers. The oasis seemed boundless. Gradually, Xiao Chen realized that the weak aura associated with himself had become closer and closer. But he searched the surroundings and failed to detect the source. Finally, he realized it had emanated from a medium-sized black pool.
Although sunlight could not shine into this ancient forest, the pool water should not have been so black. It seemed to be a bottomless pool. However, the aura did emanate from the bottom of the pool. Xiao Chen bent down and gently touched the water. A bone-chilling cold coursed through his entire body.
If the pool was this cold, it ought to have frozen long ago. Yet at this moment, there was no sign of any ice. He must admit that it was certainly very strange.
"Senior Sister Luo, I'm going down to the bottom of the pool to take a look. Wait for me here. Don't walk off." He had made up his mind to go down and look. The aura was too familiar. He must investigate it.
Luo Shangyan was very worried. She knitted her brows. "But the pool water is so cold and it seemed bottomless. Are you sure you must go?"
Xiao Chen nodded. "Yes. Wait for me here. Don't come down." With a splash, he jumped into the pool.
The bone-chilling cold seemed to have frozen him instantly. Luckily, he could withstand it with his True Qi and a magic art. He did not need to surface for nearly four hours.
After he dived in, it became darker and darker. Gradually, the light from above could no longer be seen. It was pitch black everywhere. Xiao Chen kept swimming in the direction of that weak aura. He lost count of the time but finally he saw a few gleams of starlight. He started. How could there be starlight at the bottom of a pool?
He immediately swam in the direction of those lights. As he dived down, it became more and more spacious. When he neared his target, Xiao Chen finally saw what those "starlights" were. They were certain luminous objects.
Suddenly, he felt the increased pull of gravity. His body fell quickly to the luminous area. With a plonk, he fell out of the water. He was astounded. There was no water at the bottom of the pool. Water was simply hovering above. It was quite unbelievable.
Even more unbelievable was the fact that this was a palace ruin. The luminescent objects were bony remains. Everywhere around this palace were scattered bones, scintillating with white light. They seemed like jade. He remembered the Rogue Immortals in the Human Realm. There were the remains of dead Rogue Immortals!
Rogue Immortals were Cultivators who had passed the Nascent Soul, Nirvana, Apotheosis and Grand Completion Realms. After the Great Completion Realm, they must survive the Ordeal. If they succeeded, they would turn into real Immortals and soar to Heaven's Realm above. They would be released from the cycles of life and death. They could continue cultivating and become Immortal Lords and God Kings.
If they failed in their Ordeal, they would turn into Rogue Immortals on earth. Then they could no longer cultivate. Even then, their powers far surpassed a Grand Completion Realm Cultivator. They would be nearly invincible throughout the mortal realm. Here were the dead remains of 20 to 30 Rogue Immortals in this palace. Who could have such insane powers to have slain two dozen Rogue Immortals?
Xiao Chen had a feeling of coming apocalypse. If the Immortal Lords and God Kings from Heaven's Realm had descended to earth, they would suffer from the Restriction. They would not be able to fully execute their powers, so it was impossible for them to slay so many Rogue Immortals. In other words, this wasn't the doings of Heaven's Realm immortals. Could there be such a terrifying presence on earth...?
As he wondered in surprise, a faint voice rang out at his ears with a sigh. "So, young man, you have finally discovered this place... "
"Who's that?" Xiao Chen turned his eyes in every direction, sweeping his gaze around in alarm. His Divine Sense swept every corner of the palace but could detect no human figure. He gave an unconscious shudder.
"Ahem... don't be afraid, young man. I've been dead for a thousand years and can pose no threat to you... " The old voice rang out again.