Chapter Twenty One Gods and Buddhas are here
Zhao Yuan barged in with his men, astonishing everyone in the main hall of Baoen Temple.
At the moment of stalemate between the two sides, the abbot of Xinglong Temple, who was the guardian of the altar, looked sideways at Liao Chen and then turned to look at Li Yi.
He saw Li Yi standing up stiffly from the mat, his face bloodless, and retreating half a step unknowingly when he looked at the other man.
As Liao Chen was hesitating, Zhao Xi said in front of everyone in the hall in a loud voice: “The regent of the dynasty, His Royal Highness Su Wang, is here, why is there no greeting!”
When everyone heard that, they all looked at Su Wang first, and then at Liao Chen. The monks waited for Liao Chen to speak, while Su Wang’s men waited for Liao Chen to act sensibly.
The guardian of the altar, the abbot of Xinglong Temple, was also waiting for Liao Chen to speak. At this moment, his posture resembled that of the guardian of Vedic Buddhism in front of the Buddha. He alone separated the two groups of people in the hall and the momentum could be described as one man holding the fort.
At that time, the gods and Buddhas had arrived to be present at the great ceremony of shaving. Even if the emperor were here at this moment, the guardian of the altar who was burdened with a heavy responsibility would not take a step back.
Liao Chen knew the man that had come and he also could see that Li Yi’s spirit was not in control and he had not yet been able to return to his original state of mind. He remembered what Li Yi had said about Zhao Yuan before, and he had made a decision in his heart.
With a look of determination in his eyes, he nodded slightly to the guardian of the altar.
After the guardian received the order, he took a step forward.
Zhao Yuan was a golden dragon standing there; not only did he see Li Yi’s expression but the reactions of everyone in the hall didn’t escape his notice.
As soon as Liao Chen and the abbot of Xinglong Temple had come to an agreement, the people behind Su Wang were about to move. Zhao Yuan took a step forward almost at the same time as the guardian of the altar, raising his left hand slowly into the air and slightly lifting his index finger.
The meaning couldn’t be clearer: don’t move without an order.
The nine rooms and eighteen doors of the main hall were opened at this time, and all the entrances and exits had been occupied by Su Wang’s men.
A strong wind blew from the mountains, and the thick fog gradually became a thin veil.
Zhao Yuan removed his armor and untied his sword, revealing a colorful pattern of clouds and dragons underneath. Everyone watched him stride over like he was walking high in the clouds. His body, like a wind, advanced towards the abbot of Xinglong Temple.
When the altar guardian saw Zhao Yuan move, he knew at once that the visitor was no ordinary person.
After his stubborn roar, the guardian of the altar swung off his robe. His eyes were wide open and so bright that they captured the crowd. The muscles on his back bunched making him look like a Buddha incarnation with Vajra descending.
There was no slightest shadow of the old monk from before; he looked like a man who had chosen his destiny and was ready for it.
The faces of everyone in Baoen Temple showed joy, while behind Su Wang, his people waited with bated breath.
Seeing Zhao Xi frown slightly, Zhou Yi decided he was not worried enough, so he leaned over and whispered, “This one, I can’t beat him with my bare hands.”
Zhao Yuan was already no more than ten steps away from the abbot. He looked at Li Yi in his green monk’s robe without a ripple in his eyes and said to the guardian of the altar: “Is the revered one not going to let this lord pass?”
The guardian of the altar put his palms together in a salute, “Amitabha Buddha, if for a momentary thought, one hinders the great cause of Buddha at this time, in the future, I fear the fruits of evil will be endless.
Benefactor, please turn back!”
As if he hadn’t heard it, Zhao Yuan kept walking without saying a word, until they clashed.
Seeing him make a move, Li Yi had already stepped half a step behind the guardian of the altar.
During the exchange of blows, the people in the hall heard the sound clearly, as if Zhao Yuan was speaking directly to their ears.
“I’ll go to h*ll on my own.”
These words were said in a low, deep voice full of internal strength.
Li Yi could not see through the skills and techniques, but he saw that they had already changed between attack and defence a few times. When Zhao Yuan suddenly leapt up into the air, avoiding the thousands of sweeps of the altar guardian, as he descended, he struck down with both fists.
As soon as the guardian of the altar met his blow with both palms, he realized that the power of Zhao Yuan’s fists was like Mount Tai falling. He shouted loudly and his back straightened, firmly resisting Zhao Yuan’s attack, but the energy kept flowing from the fists. A drop of a pin could be heard in the hall. During this silence, one could hear the guardian’s bones actually crack!
Everyone’s faces changed color.
Seeing that it was not good, Liao Chen hurriedly said, “Benefactor!”
Zhao Yuan ordered coldly: “Retreat!”
Unleashing his power, he turned over and leaped over the head of the altar guardian.
The abbot of Xinglong Temple suddenly lost his strength, his body going limp as he landed on one knee. He was immediately surrounded by the monks of Baoen Temple.
Taking a few steps, Liao Chen stopped in front of Li Yi and said anxiously: “Benefactor! Don’t make another mistake! The Li family in the previous dynasty have no more people alive of this bloodline, do you have to kill them all?!”
“His Majesty’s golden words promise his safety.” At this point, Zhao Yuan was able to calmly answer, referring to the emperor’s decision.
After Liao Chen heard it, he rebuked: “To humiliate and destroy him, isn’t that worse than killing him?!”
Zhao Yuan stared at Li Yi closely, “Let him speak.”
“Benefactor! The gods and Buddhas are here. Is the Prince Regent so powerful today that he is not afraid to die tomorrow if he cuts off his good destiny!”
At this moment, when such a heavy remark was made, Zhao Yuan finally couldn’t bear it anymore and struck Liao Chen, saying frantically: “There are more than ten million wandering souls under Zhao Yuan’s command. If all the gods and Buddhas are there, they can come at me as they want!”
The energy of Zhao Yuan’s palm was approaching, and at the critical moment, Li Yi stepped in front of Liao Chen, closed his eyes and waited for his body to suffer the blow.
Seeing that he was less than half an arm’s length away, Zhao Yuan slanted his palm back to absorb the blow. His qi and blood boiled with the backlash, and large beads of sweat dripped from his pale face.
He gritted his teeth and stood up, suppressing his blood in a few breaths. He looked straight at Li Yi, his eyes like bottomless pools, yet refusing to release the chill beneath.
He clenched his jaws and enunciated one word after another.
“Today! Gods block the killing gods, Buddhas block the killing Buddhas!”
All the monks in the hall shouted in unison.
The call for Buddha resounded inside and outside the hall, like the roar of a bell, struggling to suppress these arrogant words!
When the long chant of Buddha’s name was almost over, the abbot of Tianbao Temple quickly walked from his seat, bowed and said, “I would like to ask Your Highness to take a step aside and talk.”
The tense moment in the hall eased a little.
The venerable abbot of Tianbao Temple was the longest-standing practitioner here. As the great elder of the imperial temple, he had seen and experienced more than anyone in this temple.
Watching from the sidelines, he realized something as he saw the subtleties that others had not noticed.
Only then did he lead Zhao Yuan aside, calling him by his honorific, wanting to resolve this crisis with the shaving.
Zhao Yuan also heard the elegance of his words, nodded slightly and moved away from the crowd.
The abbot of Tianbao Temple had reached a ripe old age. His white eyebrows looked like silkworms and his round face reminded one of Maitreya Buddha. His words were full of earnest advice and kindness.
“Has Your Royal Highness ever heard that, ‘If there is desire in your heart, it is like holding a torch against the wind, and you will suffer from burning your hands’?
Li Yi was the abolished grandson of the previous dynasty’s emperor. Why should Your Royal Highness be so obsessed with him that you refuse to let him go?”
Zhao Yuan was silent.
When the venerable abbot looked at his expression, he saw that although Zhao Yuan’s face had calmed down, his mind was not wavering in the slightest; so he could only sigh and say “Your Royal Highness also knows that if Your Royal Highness insists on taking Li Yi away, I can’t stop Your Royal Highness.
I have to let Your Royal Highness know that after leaving this door, I will instruct the monks to tell the world about today’s events, so that the people of the world can watch and not allow Your Royal Highness have his way.”
“Are you threatening this lord?” Zhao Yuan’s eyes showed a chill.
The venerable abbot of Tianbao Temple was slightly awed, but his face didn’t reveal it. He only bowed again in salute and his tone became more respectful, “I didn’t mean this. I just can’t bear to see His Royal Highness create more evil karma.”
The old monk spoke sincerely without a trace of falsehood. As he listened, Zhao Yuan glanced at the man whose shaving ceremony he had disrupted.
Li Yi was sitting on the mat, with a few strands of black silky hair scattered on his shoulders. He didn’t notice it. He lowered his head and was submerged in his thoughts quietly, his face so calm that his emotions couldn’t be seen.
The old monk continued talking: “To me, Your Royal Highness is by no means someone who fails to understand. The wisdom of the Vajra is extraordinary, and I cannot bear to see Your Royal Highness ruin your good fortune in this life.”
Zhao Yuan moved his gaze away, “The revered one doesn’t have to be like this. I will care for Li Yi… I won’t humiliate him, let alone harm him.”
At this point in the conversation, Zhao Yuan suddenly looked up at the top of the main hall and its surroundings and could not help but smile, saying, “Since the gods and Buddhas are here, it is better for me to say it in front of these Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, gods, lords, guardians and the eight heavenly dragons. If Zhao Yuan hurts Li Yi, he will pay back tenfold for it.”
He sounded relaxed, unconcerned about making such a promise.
The abbot of Tianbao Temple had experienced many worldly events, and he looked up at Zhao Yuan in surprise, “What Your Royal Highness said is very serious!”
The old monk suddenly realized something and blurted out: “Is there some karma between Your Royal Highness and Li Yi?”
Zhao Yuan glanced at the venerable abbot, nodded and said, “There is karma indeed, but I cannot say what it is.”
Since Zhao Yuan personally admitted that there was a reason for the things that happened, judging by Zhao Yuan’s attitude, Li Yi would not enter the tiger’s mouth after leaving the mountain gates. The abbot of Tianbao Temple sighed with relief, thinking that today’s crisis was solved.
He hurriedly retired and called Liao Chen and the guardian of the altar aside. Regardless of the doubts of the other two, he said directly: “Do you remember the Buddhist verse drawn today?”
The blessing is deep, and the karma is complete. The Bodhi flower bears the Bodhi fruit, and it has its own Buddha’s fate.
The guardian of the altar was still quite upset, “This Buddhist verse clearly says that Li Yi’s Buddhist karma is profound and his blessings are abundant. Today is an excellent day, and this madman has stirred it up!”
When it was mentioned like this, Liao Chen fell into deep thought, and after a long time he slowly said: “‘Karma is complete, and the Bodhi flower will bear the Bodhi fruit’, what if today’s verse has another meaning?”
The venerable abbot of Tianbao Temple nodded and smiled at him, waiting for Liao Chen to ask himself the question.
Liao Chen continued: “But did the regent say something about karma to the venerable? Could it be that the two of them still have deep cause and effect far beyond what I and the others know? What if it is the day when the karma is complete and it needs to be settled before the Buddha?”
“As far as this old monk has just learned, that’s exactly what happened.”
Only the guardian of the altar who had fought with Zhao Yuan was still unconvinced: “What if Li Yi has an accident when he leaves this mountain gate? Are we not going to save him and just let him die?!”
“Le Yi!” The venerable abbot of Tianbao Temple shouted the name of the altar guardian and then said calmly: “As you know, ‘There are three things Buddha cannot do: he cannot destroy karma for anyone, he cannot save people unrelated to him and he cannot save the whole world of all living beings’.”
Le Yi lowered his hands intently, demonstrating that he accepted the teachings, and then sighed after thinking for a while: “The two of them will eventually have to eliminate the karma by themselves. If Li Yi does not have a destiny, he will not be able to cross over; as for Su Wang, who is a god of evil, he is one of those beings who will never be able to cross over.”
Liao Chen and the venerable abbot also sighed together: “When human affairs are exhausted; it is karma.”
After thanking the other two, Liao Chen finally said helplessly: “Let Li Yi go and let the two of them settle their own karma.”
When Li Yi stepped out of the main hall, the gauze of mist had already been blown away by the breeze, and the towering mountains showed their true appearance.
A few steps in front of him was Zhao Yuan’s tall, slender figure. The golden peak of the mountain was unobstructed in all directions, the blue sky was clear and the azure colour against the golden phoenix-winged helmet on Zhao Yuan’s head was like the glowing halo of emperor Xuanwu shining in the presence of god (1).
Zhao Yuan suddenly felt his gaze, and when he looked back at Li Yi, there was a sense of connection between them. At that time, the sky was flooded with colours, and a bright rainbow covered the sky with light.
Zhao Yuan forgot his feelings for a moment, turned around and walked towards Li Yi.
Li Yi’s heart was beating like a drum as he looked at Zhao Yuan.
Zhao Yuan took a few steps towards him and then he paused. He lowered his head and asked softly, “Trust me once, okay?”
Li Yi heard this and his feelings were mixed. He had believed these words before, and how did he end up?
For a while, Li Yi looked at the face that looked exactly like Zhao Shen’s, and finally said lightly: “Okay.”