Sending the Divine

Sending the Divine

Chapter 60 - Human Hearts

Jianchen Temple was located in the center of the Huilian Mountains, built on a solitary peak and near a huge waterfall.

The temple has black tiles and red walls, solemn and simple. It was surrounded by rugged and strange rocks, and snow cedars stand tall around it. Coupled with the waterfall like snow threads, even if ringing of the bell and the chanting of the sutras cannot yet be heard, one cannot help but calm down.

Once they entered the range of the central peak, the effect of the Buddha's Heart Formation disappeared. The four of them, along with a goose, were invigorated and climbed the winding stone steps to the front of the temple.

As expected, Jianchen Temple still remembers the kindness of Shi Jingzhi in returning the "Woodless Sutra". Even if the members of the Ku Mountain Sect looked beaten down and tattered, the monks still opened the temple door and invited the four of them inside.

The one leading them was even an old acquaintance.

It was the young monk from the Ghost Tomb. Just as he finished reciting "form is emptiness" at Shi Jingzhi, he caught a glimpse of Yin Ci and the continuing words, "emptiness is form", were stuck in his throat and he nearly choked.

"You, you are the one who killed Lu Fengxi."

"Ah Ci is my disciple, not an evil person," Shi Jingzhi defended, pushing Yin Ci behind him. "There are reasons for everything, little master, don't panic."

But how could they not panic? This person not only killed Lu Fengxi, but was also wearing Zheng Fengdao's white hairpin. The young monk scrutinized the two of them with suspicion, feeling that the Ku Mountain Sect was even more sinister than the Ling Sect.

Fortunately, after overcoming the three mountain demons of greed, anger, and ignorance, Yin Ci appeared to be the most dignified one out of the four. Although he had a lot of questions, the young monk didn't want to trouble his guests and had to let it go.

"Amitabha. The Scripture Washing Ceremony has just begun, and the seniors are all busy. Please forgive us."

The young monk bowed to the four of them.

"With the Buddha's Heart Formation outside, everyone has worked hard to visit us. Let me lead you to rest first... After today's busy schedule, Master Juehui will personally receive you. There is vegetarian food in the temple, and if you're not used to it, there is a guest kitchen available."

Upon hearing this, Shi Jingzhi almost burst into tears.

Setting aside these past few days, where he had been cooking and eating leftovers, even in the inner realm, he and Yin Ci had not eaten anything for a month, and their mouths were so bland that birds could nest in them.

Seeing Shi Jingzhi's distraught expression, Yin Ci understood his thoughts and said, "We'll cook for ourselves."

The young monk was still wary of the "man in white", Yin Ci. When they arrived at the guest room, the young monk quickly withdrew, presumably to report to Master Juehui.

However, Yin Ci was not worried about the senior monks gossiping, as the Ku Mountain Sect had previously shown kindness to them and the Jianchen Temple had no interest in the dispute over Shi Rou. He boldly entered the kitchen and prepared a vegetarian meal for everyone.

Shi Jingzhi collapsed onto the bed in the guest room, his nerves finally relaxing after days of tension.

The guest rooms in the Jianchen Temple were elegant and spacious, befitting the status of the number one temple in the world.

The four members of the Ku Mountain Sect were given two rooms, and although they were basic guest rooms, they were still meticulously decorated with great care.

Outside, there was flowing water and bamboo, while inside, there was a faint scent of sandalwood. The cushions and bedding were made of simple materials, but all had elegant shapes and were soft and clean. The window frames were spotless, and no matter which window one looked out of, the scenery outside seemed like a painting.

The afternoon sunlight slanted into the room, and there were no snake scales or shackles, nor were there any white thorns or human head lamps. Everything was warm and gentle, as if a fairyland had descended.

Yan Qing was counting his luggage by the window. Having resolved the hidden anger in his heart, he was even more calm than before. His red eyes were illuminated by the sunlight in the temple, and they appeared clean and transparent, without any evil aura.

Su Si, on the other hand, had a deep frown on his face and was constantly pacing around the room, almost destroying the rare tranquility.

Shi Jingzhi was dizzy from watching him spin around. "Su Si, if you have something to say, just say it."

Su Si hesitated for a moment. "Let's wait for Brother Yin to come back and talk during dinner."

This was undoubtedly a wrong decision.

The vegetarian dishes were served, with bright colors and a fragrant aroma that made one's mouth water. When Shi Jingzhi took a bite, he was so happy that he almost ascended to heaven. The atmosphere around Sect Leader Shi was like that of a Buddha, and it took Su Si a while to bring him back to reality.

"Sect Leader," Su Si gritted his teeth. "Did you hear what I said? Sect Leader Shi!"

After the visions from the Heart Demons, the identity of the Red Hook Sect's heir was completely exposed. He no longer bothered to conceal his hostility, and his dissatisfaction was written all over his face. He stared at Shi Jingzhi, who was focused on chewing slowly, and felt like using his chopsticks as a weapon to cause trouble.

Shi Jingzhi slowly swallowed the tofu balls in his mouth. "Su Si, one should not speak while eating or speak while sleeping."

Yin Ci calmly said, "Shizun, earlier Su Si mentioned that there is an Immortal Sect prohibition on your body."

Poor Shi Jingzhi, with his status as a sect leader, almost lost to a tofu ball. Just as he was about to be choked to death by the ball, Yin Ci casually pushed a cup of warm tea towards him.

Shi Jingzhi drank the tea in one gulp and finally regained his focus.

"The Immortal Sect's prohibition?" he asked.

"Yes," Su Si said in a serious tone. "Before encountering the Greedy Butterflies, you and Brother Yin... Brother Yin was focused on fighting and it's normal that he didn't notice. The prohibition only flashed for a moment, and I caught a glimpse of it.

"When I was in the Red Hook Sect, I learned a little bit about these things and have seen similar formations. They are all extremely malicious and can control people's minds. These types of formations are complex and not something that ordinary people can do.

"Sect Leader, have you really never offended anyone from the Immortal Sect?"

When Shi Jingzhi heard this, he was no longer as surprised as he was at first. His memory was missing and he had a mysterious headache, so there was no doubt that someone had deliberately sealed his memory.

Su Si helped him eliminate all other possibilities, and now it seems that the person who did it is related to the "Immortal Sect", Mi Mountain Sect.

After a moment of thought, Shi Jingzhi changed the subject: "You brought this up in such a hurry, is it because you want to borrow the power of Jianchen Temple?"

"Exactly," Su Si admitted decisively, "The Buddha's Heart Formation and the Breaking Nightmare technique are both formations that affect the five senses and the human heart. Jianchen Temple has always been good at this type of spell. Anyway, since we'll be asking about the whereabouts of Kongshi and his stone sword, we might as well also ask the high-ranking monks at the same time."

Shi Jingzhi rubbed his chin: "Good idea, let's do that then."

Su Si let out a sigh, "There is one more thing. You have all seen my Heart Demon. I...only in name, I am indeed the heir of the Red Hook Sect."

He put down his chopsticks and sat up straight. Yan Qing heard this and also solemnly put down his bowl and chopsticks, looking towards Shi Jingzhi.

The relatively relaxed atmosphere gradually became tense.

"But I don't acknowledge this identity, nor will I return to the sect. If the Sect Leader feels it's inappropriate, I won't force San-zi to leave with me. During this recent period of time, I..."

Su Si gritted his teeth, his inner struggle visible on his face. He was never one to bow his head, but the words got stuck in his throat, neither able to come out nor go down, making him look quite pathetic.

Shi Jingzhi glanced at him and remained calm, "Oh, this matter, it's not urgent. Come, come, let's all eat. Ah Ci worked hard to make these dishes, they won't taste good if they get cold."

Su Si was taken aback and held his breath on the spot. He and Yan Qing exchanged a hesitant glance, feeling as if a huge boulder was about to fall on them. They couldn't eat or drink, their hearts pounding with fear.

However, Shi Jingzhi remained calm and continued to eat seriously.

"Sect Leader Shi, do you really not mind?"

After finishing their meal, they sat down for tea. Seeing that Shi Jingzhi had a full stomach and planned to leisurely enjoy his tea, Su Si could no longer bear it.

"There were many troubles on the way, and I am grateful that you didn't press me for answers. But now it's different - now you should know that the Red Hook Sect won't give up on tracking me. By keeping me in the sect, the Ku Mountain Sect is openly challenging the Red Hook Sect!"

Su Si's tone even carried a hint of hating iron for not becoming steel.

"So what?"

Shi Jingzhi held his tea bowl in both hands and replied calmly.

"As long as we hold onto these two precious Buddhist beads, we are openly challenging the entire martial arts world. Didn't I tell you before? Dark Blood Witch never liked me. But with so many fleas around, she won't bite us all. It's no big deal."

"Besides, the young heir being a lowly servant in a small sect is probably somehing that the Dark Blood Witch wouldn't bear to speak about. With a questionable status like that, the Red Hook Sect will only try to trip us up in secret. As long as we don't go down dark paths, there'll always be a way."

After being let off so easily, Su Si's gaze was complicated.

"...For Sect Leader Shi to protect me like this, it must not be out of pure kindness," he said, no longer hiding his dark thoughts and bringing them to light.

"Of course not. I am a practical person. Your martial arts skills are quite high and you don't even ask for a monthly allowance. Where else can I find such a good deal?"

Shi Jingzhi's response was so confident and convincing that it didn't seem like a lie at all.

Su Si: "..."

All his worries and doubts were rendered useless. Even the prohibition of the Immortal Sect didn't affect Shi Jingzhi's appetite for food and drink. In this person's eyes, the resentment of the number one demon cult was also worth no more than a few hundred coins a month.

Compared to this, even the logic of the Dark Blood Witvh seemed more like that of a normal person.

Forget it, he won't care anymore. He had done everything he could, and in the worst case scenario, he could just pack up and leave with his friend once this crazy sect disbanded.

With that thought, Su Si relaxed and the four members of the Ku Mountain Sect sat down to enjoy their tea and meal, seemingly detached from the world.

However, in the evening, their peace was soon interrupted by the arrival of Master Juehui.

Monk Juehui still had deep lines on his withered face. As soon as he entered, his gaze lingered on Yin Ci for a while before slowly moving away without asking anything.

"Amitabha. For you come all the way here despite the Buddha's Heart Formation, is there some trouble you're facing?"

When facing outsiders, Shi Jingzhi remained tight-lipped. He smiled and greeted, "I came here this time to borrow Master Kongshi's stone sword for a look."


Monk Juehui raised his head, and his dry face finally showed some expression. "Elder Kongshi's remains have not been returned, how did you know that his Compassion Stone Sword is in the temple?"

"I received news of Master Kongshi's remains. The sword was not found where he was buried, and I guessed that it was retrieved by your temple."

The solemn-faced monk looked at Shi Jingzhi for a moment before finally smiling and saying, "Amitabha. When the Treasure Map and Buddhist beads were first discovered, all the heroes of the world were fighting to get their hands on news of Yan Budu. Who would have thought that after a hundred years, we would still be able to uncover clues about Elder Kongshi's whereabouts?"

Shi Jingzhi replied, "Master Kongshi was a great hero of his time. It is fate that we have come across this information."

Juehui lowered his head and respectfully clasped his hands together, saying, "You have done us a great favor, and the request to view the Stone Sword is reasonable. However, the matter of Master Kongshi is of great importance and I cannot make a decision on my own. We must seek the Abbot's approval. Please rest here for the night and I will report to the Abbot tomorrow."

"Thank you, we've inconvenienced you."

That night, the temple was peaceful and quiet. The night scenery was beautiful, and Shi Jingzhi draped himself in a robe and leaned against the window of his room to admire the view.

His strange illness, the Shi Rou, his desires, worldy attachments. Everything seemed to be leading to the correct path, but Shi Jingzhi couldn't shake the feeling that something was off.

Right after leaving the inner realm, Yin Ci's behaviour was abnormal. Shi Jingzhi assumed he had seen the dead end of Kongshi and Yan Budu and was affected by it. However, after a few days, his disciple returned to his usual thoughtful self.

In recent days, Yin Ci had been exceptionally good to him. Shi Jingzhi could tell that the concern was genuine, but it bordered on a strange kind of indulgence.

He should have been satisfied with this, but he couldn't shake the feeling that this good treatment was coming from a place of superiority. was as if Yin Ci had decided on their path and that they only needed to take this one step.

Shi Jingzhi didn't know what he wanted, but he knew that he didn't want something that was handed down to him like this.

A thought flashed through his mind and suddenly Shi Jingzhi felt like laughing - it was truly karma at work. He had initially shown Yin Ci an inexplicable kindness, and now the same form of kindness was being returned to him. As the "cherished" one, he felt uncomfortable and far from happy.

Were human hearts really this complicated?

"Ah Ci," Shi Jingzhi suddenly spoke up.

Yin Ci was in the middle of polishing his Hanging Shadow Sword and looked up at the sound of his name. "What's up?"

"At first, I was kind to you for no good reason. Did you think that I was crazy or that my behaviour was ridiculous?"

"...Yes, a little bit," Yin Ci admitted.

"With your abilities, Ah Ci, I'm sure you've already used all sorts of methods to investigate my background and situation," Shi Jingzhi continued.

This time, Yin Ci didn't answer. Shi Jingzhi's statement wasn't a question, and denying it wouldn't change anything.

With a smile, Shi Jingzhi approached, his back to the moonlight streaming in through the window. He caught a strand of hair from Yin Ci's head.

Yin Ci furrowed his brow - even with his back to the light, Shi Jingzhi's eyes were bright and piercing, almost uncomfortably so.

"Listen carefully, Ah Ci. I'm going to do the same thing now. While searching for the Shi Rou, I will do my best to investigate your background, origin, and Heart Demon."

Oh no.

Yin Ci suddenly realized his own negligence. The little mute was no longer the same as he was years ago. Shi Jingzhi had opened up a little, but he had not let go of his deep-seated suspicions.

He had made a misstep due to his uncontrollable emotions.

For a hundred years, when faced with such a situation, Yin Ci would always come up with a fake background on the spot to satisfy the other party's curiosity. Just like in Yuanxian Village, lying came easily to him.

However, just as a made-up story about "drinking immortal wine" was about to escape his lips, Yin Ci swallowed it back down.

He looked at those bright eyes and remained silent for a long time. Shi Jingzhi had said it on purpose, and this Shizun of his knew exactly what he was doing. This fox, what exactly had he noticed?

...Had it realized that no matter the reason, Yin Ci could no longer deceive him as he had in the past?

The other person had placed his heart squarely in Yin Ci's hands, and there was only one answer he could give.

"What, is Shizun going to catch me? I can promise you now that no matter the outcome, I will stay with you until the end. My love for Shizun is not a lie."

Yin Ci put down his Hanging Shadow Sword and smiled in response.

"Even if Shizun knows the truth, the current situation will not change."

As Yin Ci refused to make any more excuses, Shi Jingzhi's smile grew even brighter and his eyes curved upwards.

"Why won't it change?" he asked, taking hold of Yin Ci's strands of hair and playing with it.

"People have many sides, and what we see with our own eyes is what we believe to be true. In the one month we've spent in the inner realm, I have come to understand Yan Budu better than you have."

"Since Ah Ci has seen my vulnerable side, I want to see yours too. I want to know what kind of person you are and how you ended up in this situation.

"I want to know everything." Shi Jingzhi continued.

Author's note:

Fox: Being a son, no way, not even in this lifetime.

Demon Lord: But you have already been a son.

Fox: ???


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