Sending the Divine

Sending the Divine

Chapter 48 - Greedy Butterflies

The next day, Su Si was finally able to stand up with his snake tail. After getting used to sliding on his tail, he was even faster than the others. 

However, his footwork and qinggongs were not yet perfect, and Su Si spent the whole morning holding onto his knife and sighing. If it weren't for Yan Qing's stubbornness, Su Si would have wanted to discuss with him and retreat to outside of the formation to wait for the other two.

"San-zi, can you cast a divination?" After finishing the breakfast of extreme blandness, Su Si made a final effort.

"Why?" Yan Qing asked.

"Let's see if today is good or bad luck. After all, the mountain demon is not like an ordinary demon. If we can predict good luck, we can proceed with peace of mind." 

On the other hand, if they predicted bad luck, he would have a reason to drag Yan Qing back. 

"I'm not that specific in my divinations, and if it's bad luck, you can't avoid it anyway," Yan Qing shook his head. "Everyone's Heart Demons don't have any more anomalies, so there's no need..." 

Shi Jingzhi eagerly approached, "It's still good to cast a divination. Wasn't the incident at the Ghost Tomb last time quite accurate?... Or is it that doing this shortens your lifespan?" 

"No, it doesn't affect my lifespan." 

Since the sect leader had spoken, Yan Qing took out a small bag of apricot kernels from his chest. Six apricot kernels were wrapped in green cloth, similar in size and shape, with one side coated in cinnabar and the other in black ink, emitting a lustrous light. 

Then, Yan Qing pricked his finger and drew a circle on the stone slab with his blood. He skipped the usual shaking and nodding, and simply threw the apricot kernels into the circle. 

The kernels rolled on the slate and soon came to a stop. All six kernels stood upright, with no distinction between the red and black sides. The black side faced Shi Jingzhi.

"...Yan Qing ah, did these kernels go bad?" Shi Jingzhi asked.

Yan Qing tapped the slate, but the kernels seemed to have grown brains and were working hard to maintain their balance, not a single one falling over.

"Just like what I divined before entering the Ghost Tomb," Yan Qing replied.

The six kernels stood silently, accompanied by the nearby giant human head lamp, and the wind seemed to carry the scent of decay from the Ghost Tomb. The cold wind was blocked by the human head lamp, but a little bit leaked out of the eye sockets, blowing the cotton cloth that wrapped the kernels.

But the kernels remained motionless, not even rotating.

Shi Jingzhi: "..."

He shuddered, his body covered in goosebumps, and it took him a while to shake off the chills. It's said that one reaps what they sow, but even just standing up was too much for him. Who knew that fate could be so cruel, even making him face the wrath of an apricot kernel?

After seeing the six dark sides of the kernels, Shi Jingzhi lost interest. The journey had to continue, and the divination was the same as the Ghost Tomb's, where there were plenty of surprises but no major injuries. He handed the hemostatic ointment to Yan Qing and went to fuss over his disciple, trying to escape reality.

Since they didn't find any definite signs of danger, Su Si put aside his thoughts of persuading Yan Qing to stay behind and, feeling dejected, picked up Lord Bai, ready to continue up the mountain with the group.

Today was another sunny day, with a sky as blue as can be. 

The Jianchen Temple had been well maintained and the snow on the roadside was untouched by dust. The headless stone statues were also becoming more and more hidden. The ice-cold spring flowed over the smooth rocks, and the withered vines were arranged in a picturesque manner. Just looking around, the scenery even had a touch of Zen. 

Further away, the gray-red "bald branches" swayed unsteadily, seeming to have no substance and displaying no aggressive behavior. Yan Qing's eyeball shackles were covered by his sleeves, and Su Si's snake tail was unremarkable. Apart from the human head lamp resembling a hill behind them, everyone had basically adapted to the existence of their Heart Demons.

It seemed like there was really no danger.

Su Si tensed his nerves for a moment, then looked towards the master-disciple pair of the Ku Mountain Sect who were walking ahead.

Something was strange, he thought. Overnight, the feeling that Yin Ci gave off seemed to have changed.

Before, he was more wary of this disciple with an unknown background than the sect leader of the Ku Mountain Sect. Although Yin Ci was gentle and low-key, not as eye-catching as the sect leader, he gave Su Si a sense of inexplicable danger. 

Su Si had carefully pondered it over, but had not found any flaws in him. Based solely on a vague intuition, he had no reason to advise Yan Qing to leave. 

And now, that feeling became even more apparent. 

Although the person was being led by Shi Jingzhi, it was as if a veil had been lifted, revealing an astonishing aura. This aura enveloped Shi Jingzhi, emitting a strong sense of "living things, stay away."

Shi Jingzhi continued to act as usual, either completely unaware or pretending to be so. 

...Su Si couldn't help but wonder, what kind of dangerous sect had his friend joined? Should they just make an excuse to stay at Jianchen Temple and become monks?

Lost in thought, Su Si almost bumped into Yan Qing in front of him. The snake tail was already unstable on the stairs, and if it weren't for Yan Qing catching him in time, he would have slipped and fallen.

But Yan Qing didn't stop randomly - in front of everyone, the appearance of the mountain path had changed. 

The snow and weeds disappeared, leaving the stone steps without a speck of dust or crack. The wind suddenly stopped, and an inexplicable heaviness descended upon them. A strong sense of being watched came from above, like a prickling sensation on their backs. 

It felt as if they were not walking towards a temple, but towards the Western Paradise, with Buddha himself looking down upon them.

Sect Leader Shi looked at the suddenly ominous stone steps, his smile gradually fading. He lingered in front of the stone platform for the time it took to drink a cup of tea, until Lord Bai took the lead and. Then he resumed walking.

But after two more hours of walking, with no repeat of the scenery around them, their position remained unchanged, and they were still wandering on the mountainside. 

There were no enemies attacking, only the freezing cold weather, and this endless feeling was enough to drive them crazy.

Shi Jingzhi shuddered and asked, "Do even the Buddhists play tricks on us? Ah Ci, have you felt anything?" 

Yin Ci shook his head, "No, we are definitely moving forward, not wandering around in the same place."

Once, out of boredom, Yin Ci had wandered around Huilian Mountain a few times. Perhaps because he had nothing better to do, he had never encountered the three big demons.

Just based on this, their ability to conceal their presence was quite extraordinary. The legend of the mountain demons had been passed down for five or six hundred years, and it was not surprising that they possessed some strange abilities.

Without getting an answer, Shi Jingzhi could only grit his teeth and move forward.

Finally, the group arrived at the end of the road. As soon as they stepped onto the stone platform at the end, the path beneath their feet disappeared.

They were led to a pond.

The pond was not large, surrounded by snow. The bottom of the pond was all made of blue stone, and the water was clear and seemingly empty. Several koi fish leisurely swam around, creating a very relaxed scene. 

In the center of the pond lay a Buddha head, about the height of a person, tilted at an angle. 

The wind and rain had eroded its features, but its serene expression remained evident. Its neck was inserted diagonally into the bottom of the pond, and the water covered one side of its face, turning the white stone into a bluish-gray color. At first glance, it seemed as if the Buddha head was sleeping peacefully on the water's surface.

However, the most eye-catching thing was not the Buddha head itself, but rather the "things" on it. 

The Buddha's eyes couldn't be seen - countless butterflies swarmed around the Buddha's eyes, gathering into a cluster. From afar, it looked as if the giant eyes were filled with colorful bouquets.

As the four people approached, the outer layer of the "bouquet" suddenly exploded, and the brilliant butterfly wings fluttered in the sunlight, blocking out the sky.

Shi Jingzhi stood still in amazement. 

He had never seen such beautiful butterflies before. Shi Jingzhi didn't know how to describe their colors. Under the shimmering light, the colors of their wings kept changing, making it impossible to look away. They seemed to sense the presence of the people and flew over lightly, bringing a gentle breeze.

It was as if they themselves were the living embodiment of "beauty".

Time suddenly slowed down, and Shi Jingzhi's mind felt like it was sinking into cotton. His limbs gradually lost sensation, and he felt like he was immersed in warm water. A satisfying feeling rose from his stomach, bringing a heavy sense of peace.

Maybe he was dreaming, he thought. What did he just see?

And why did he come here again? 

"Never mind, those things are not important," thought Shi Jingzhi. 

All that remained in his eyes were the ever-changing colors, wrapped in this colorful wind, and a strong premonition arose in his heart - all his life's desires were about to be fulfilled. The enchanting wind pushed him forward, towards the paradise he had been seeking all his life.

The feeling of liberation was too wonderful, and he couldn't think of anything for a moment. 

With infinite longing, Shi Jingzhi stepped forward without hesitation. However, he had only taken a few steps when he couldn't continue - something was pulling him back, keeping him in place, making him extremely annoyed.

In an instant, an unnamed anger rose three feet high, and Shi Jingzhi raised his hand and struck out towards it. 

Despite having no inner strength, the palm strike was still powerful enough to send a gust of wind towards Yin Ci. He caught it with a light lift of his hand, though his fingers still trembled slightly. 

Even though he couldn't see his surroundings, Yin Ci could sense that things were not looking good. 

He didn't know about Su Si and Yan Qing, but he was sure that Shi Jingzhi had been hit. Shi Jingzhi's breathing had changed and the air flow around his head was strange. Yin Ci reached out towards Shi Jingzhi's face, and felt the smooth and delicate layers. 

Just like butterfly wings. 

It was as if countless butterflies were wrapped around Shi Jingzhi's face, covering his head from all sides. Although it wasn't completely airtight, it was enough to blind Shi Jingzhi. 

Unfortunately, Shi Jingzhi was defenseless against the butterfly's attack, as if he hadn't even seen it coming. His strike failed, and he fell to the ground weakly. More and more butterflies wrapped around his head, making it two or three times larger, and the rustling sound made him feel uncomfortable all over his body.

"Brother Yin, Yan Qing and I...can still handle things on our end..." Su Si's voice was muffled.

Yan Qing could still speak: "Sect Leader Shi, we leave him to you... his condition is particularly severe..."

Shi Jingzhi ignored their words and swayed in place for a while before standing up and walking straight down the mountain. His steps carried a sense of determination, almost causing Yin Ci to stumble. 

The air was still, and the sound of butterflies fluttering was as light as falling petals. Yin Ci held onto Shi Jingzhi's waist tightly while focusing all his attention on visualising the dance of the butterfly swarm in his mind.

As if under a spell, the butterflies danced in a strange and mesmerizing way. Although he couldn't see their appearance, Yin Ci recognized them immediately - the rare butterfly demon known as "Daydream" or "Yellow Millet Dream" that was scarcely mentioned in ancient texts. While not particularly malevolent, they were extremely difficult to deal with. 

As soon as he identified the creatures, Yin Ci's heart sank.

On Huilian Mountain, these butterflies were likely to be known as "Greedy Butterflies". 

This type of demon always appears in groups, with natural patterns on their wings that form a spell formation. To protect their nest, they will paralyze their enemies in groups, using their desires as bait to lure them far away. And when they leave, the confused enemies will have no memory and naturally won't seek out the nest.

The butterfly demons of Huilian Mountain have clearly been trained. The monks use human spell formations to lure all the greedy people right under their noses. Then the demons swarm out and kick the enemies out of Huilian Mountain, working together seamlessly.

If one were to rashly attack the butterfly demons, they could very well use the confused people as human shields. Even if Yin Ci were to tie up all three of them and continue dragging them up the mountain, the butterfly demons wouldn't easily disperse.

On the other hand, if one were to be too long under the influence of the "Greedy Butterflies," their sanity could be damaged, making it difficult to distinguish reality from illusion. 

There is only one way to dispel the Greedy Butterflies. 

This creature is attracted by human desires, and it also needs human desires to be dispelled. Those who are confused must awaken themselves and completely restrain their desires.

Yan Qing and Su Si are young and not very ambitious. They still have their wits about them and can break free. 

But judging from the situation with Shi Jingzhi, conservatively estimating, 90% of the Greedy Butterflies have come to revel here. Yin Ci has also seen Shi Jingzhi's almost crazy obsession, even on ordinary days, Shi Jingzhi loves food and money. If he waits for him to awaken on his own, it's probably harder than ascending to heaven.

He himself doesn't indulge in greed, anger, and ignorance, it's better for him to send his master down the mountain alone... 

No, with the interference of the Buddha's Heart Formation, he cannot go alone. This important clue cannot be given to Su Si and Yan Qing, the two outsiders. Yin Ci sighed secretly and closed his eyes. 

This journey to Huilian Mountain, were they really going to fail so easily? 

The author has something to say: 

Today, I'm feeling a bit helpless...0(:3 )~ (;3_ヽ)_ 

Actually, it's time to peel this onion of a fox. Important content will be shared separately. 

Yin Ci patted his master's head, feeling a thick layer of live butterflies. 

Yin Ci: ......For the first time, he realized the benefits of not being able to see anything. (×


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