Sending the Divine

Sending the Divine

Chapter 61 - Sand Table

Yin Ci looked at Shi Jingzhi who was wearing a serious look on his face, and the hostility in his bones also dissipated.

At first, this person's probing carried an indescribable sense of oppression, but then it turned into a mixture of caution and curiosity. Now, Shi Jingzhi wanted to openly challenge him, but the initial guardedness was nowhere to be seen.

It was like a fierce beast retracting its sharp claws.

Yin Ci didn't dislike this kind of curious exploration. The only bit of resistance also dissipated under the belief that "the other party is 99% his little mute."

It was strange, he thought. Compared to when they first became master and disciple, their way of getting along seemed to have not changed much.

They still treated each other kindly, disregarding formalities, but now he had a new sense of inexplicable peace.

"You want to know everything? That's going to be difficult."

Yin Ci didn't care about Shi Jingzhi's imposing manner as he approached him with a hint of laughter in his voice.

"Shizun, how about we compete with each other, and see who can figure out the other's background first?"

Shi Jingzhi readily agreed, "It's a deal."

After a moment, he seemed to feel like he was at a disadvantage and added, "Ah Ci, since it's a competition, we should bet something to make it more exciting."

Yin Ci: "..."

Yan Budu really did set a good example.

"What does Shizun want to bet?"

"How about this, if I can uncover your secrets first, you have to agree to one of my requests. And if you can solve my illness first, then I'll agree to your request...I haven't thought of what I want yet, so let's just bet on that for now."

It was just the impulsive nature of a young man, and Yin Ci went along with it. Finally, he joked, "Even if I wanted the Shi Rou, would you let me have it?"

"A gentleman's word is as weighty as a thousand pieces of gold. Of course, I would give it."

"It seems like Shizun's 'Object Addiction' isn't that serious after all," Yin Ci remarked.

But to his surprise, Shi Jingzhi was resilient. "You said you wished for me to live a hundred years. If you really wanted to take the Shi Rou, you would have found a way to cure me before that. Yin Ci, you wouldn't go back on your word, would you?"

Yin Ci suddenly felt like he had dug himself into a hole. He looked at Shi Jingzhi, thinking that if he shook him up a little, he'd definitely shake out those clattering abacuses he was making his calculations with.

"I did say that," Yin Ci admitted.

Shi Jingzhi laughed even more heartily. "Then there's no need for me to worry about it."

Their exchange had taken on a playful tone, like two chess players facing off against each other.

Afterwards, Shi Jingzhi slowly climbed onto the bed. Although there were still a dozen mysteries around him, he stretched out his limbs and completely relaxed.

Sect Leader Shi stared at the canopy for a while before turning his gaze towards Yin Ci.

"Ah Ci, I'm still thinking about what Yan Budu said."

Yin Ci leaned against the head of the bed, his long hair flowing down his back and the ends scattered on the plain fabric. He was in a good mood, enjoying the moon and stars outside the window, and answered crisply, "What did he say?"

"About the matter with Su Zhi."

Yin Ci pondered for a moment, but could only recall Yan Budu's badmouthing. As a party involved, he was unsure of what Shi Jingzhi wanted to talk about and could only look back at him in silence.

"Yan Budu said, 'If he hadn't taken over the north, I wouldn't have been beaten so badly. Before, I only thought your ancestor as yet another Demon Lord and never considered this direction.'"

Shi Jingzhi promptly got out of bed, grabbed his writing materials, and spent a while painting under the moonlight. After the ink dried, he grabbed a plate of dried food from the snack bowl and dragged a small table to the edge of the bed.

"If Ah Ci can't sleep, come play with me on the sand table*."

*T/N: A way to simulate historical events, or even hypothetical scenarios.

Shi Jingzhi arranged the paper and dried food on the table and looked at him earnestly.

Yin Ci was used to his impulsive nature, but when he casually glanced at the paper, he couldn't look away.

The map was clearly a power diagram from a hundred years ago. It accurately depicted the important strongholds of each sect, the crucial terrain of Dayun, important cities, and it was identical to the map from that time. The lines on the map were drawn beautifully and the information was concise, making it suitable for military use.

"The pine nuts are the righteous sects of jianghu who were cooperating at the time, the bean is Yan Budu, and the melon seed is Su Zhi."

Seeing Yin Ci's interest, Shi Jingzhi happily piled up the dried food on the map.

"Originally, the Red Hook Sect was just an ordinary sect in the north, surviving by scavenging the remains of battlefields. Shortly after the Ling Sect rose to power, a disciple named Su Zhi appeared in the Red Hook Sect. This person rose quickly through the ranks and took the position of the third generation leader, completely revitalizing the Red Hook Sect--"

He brushed the pile of seeds in the north-west direction.

"From then on, the goal of the Red Hook Sect was not just to target the remnants of the battlefield, but to target the ancient tombs in the northwest of Dayun. Whether it's foreigners or compatriots, deserts or muddy ground, as long as it's the tomb of a noble, the Red Hook Sect will dig it up."

"By excavating treasures from the tombs, the Red Hook Sect quickly became wealthy. They did things that were harmful to the Yin virtue, which was despised by the scholars of the time. However, Su Zhi was quite capable and acted swiftly. The Red Hook Sect got along relatively well with the local people and did not have the accumulated grievances like the Ling Sect... Ah Ci is a descendant of the Su family, you must have heard of these things before."

Yin Ci remained calm and composed, "What exactly are you trying to say, Shizun?"

"Looking only at the surface, the Red Hook Sect seemed to develop in an ordinary way. But if you combine it with the Ling Sect... Su Zhi steps on the most painful points of Yan Budu with every move."

Shi Jingzhi placed his melon seeds on city after city.

"Each of these territories is just right, making it tasteless for the Ling Sect to swallow and a waste to abandon. The Ling Sect's headquarters is on the Zongwu Mountain, already far from the northwest. If they forcefully entangle with the Red Hook Sect, they will only be taken advantage of by the martial world of the Central Plains. Yan Budu has no choice but to let the Red Hook Sect nibble away at him."

"So what?"

"If Su Zhi hadn't appeared, the Ling Sect could have torn open a hole from the southwest and taken the entire west into its grasp. That way, when the righteous sects unite to exterminate the Ling Sect, it wouldn't be so miserable, and Yan Budu wouldn't be forced into the Zongwu Mountain by Kongshi."

Yin Ci remained silent for a moment before saying lightly, "Perhaps you're just overthinking things."

"Yes, I really can't be sure. This situation is really interesting."

Shi Jingzhi grabbed a handful of roasted beans and threw one into his mouth.

"Come, you play the role of the righteous faction, and I'll play Yan Budu. If I can break through your blockade, then treat it as me having thought too much."

Yin Ci reluctantly took the bag of melon seeds. "Okay, okay."

"Ah Ci, plan carefully later. If you're not serious, I'll know."

At first, Yin Ci didn't take this statement seriously. After all, Shi Jingzhi was only a 27-year-old young man. Even if he was talented, he could only talk about military strategy on paper and couldn't handle the variables in real conflicts.

But this dried foods sandbox game didn't end quickly.

Holding the melon seeds, Yin Ci's face couldn't help but show a hint of killing intent.

Shi Jingzhi had always been known for his sharp and cunning mind, especially when it came to setting traps and ambushes. He had launched countless surprise attacks that were both fierce and precise, even surpassing the legendary Yan Budu in skill.

Initially, Yin Ci had planned to lose the game without putting up much of a fight. However, he knew that he couldn't afford to underestimate the abilities of Shi Jingzhi. If he didn't try his best, he would surely be exposed.

How interesting.

As the saying goes, it's easy to find soldiers but hard to find a general. With such a unique challenge before him, Yin Ci's interest was piqued, and he decided to stop holding back. He engaged in a fierce battle with Shi Jingzhi, enjoying every moment of it.

"This isn't your first time playing with a sand table, is it?" Yin Ci asked.

Shi Jingzhi smirked. "My eldest brother has always had a strange fascination with military strategy. He often gives me difficult problems to solve. I've been playing with sand tables for over ten years now."

"That was a pretty impressive move. A few years ago, Dayun used the same tactic to win the border war against Naluojiu."

Yin Ci picked up a few melon seeds and casually commented, "But it's still too green. If I were to ambush you here, your team would still be defeated."

"That's exactly what I wanted," replied Shi Jingzhi with a grin, as he laid out a few more beans.

"Ah Ci, what about this? I've gathered the people from the Ling Sect's headquarters and took advantage of the chaos to make a breakthrough..."

Yin Ci sneered and pushed the melon seeds he had arranged earlier closer to them. "I win, Shizun," he said.

Shi Jingzhi picked up a bean and took the opportunity to stuff it into Yin Ci's mouth. "That's it, I knew I wasn't overthinking it. When Su Zhi selected this base, he had the idea of suppressing Yan Budu... Ah Ci, that ancestor of yours doesn't seem to have been as vicious as the rumors claim."

Yin Ci: "..."

At that moment, he was unable to swallow or spit out the roasted bean in his mouth. He had no choice but to choke it down.

Has that obedient little mute grown to be a little too cunning?

"And your strategy skills are superb, were those also passed down from your ancestor?" Shi Jingzhi looked at the map filled with dried food. "There are many ways to set up a battle formation, and I never even thought of them... I guess I didn't misjudge you."

Shi Jingzhi crushed a pine nut with a snap. "Incomplete meridians, with such proficiency in the Sweeping Bone Sword Technique, and battle tactics like a god. Even if Su Zhi was still alive, he wouldn't be better than this."

Yin Ci ignored him and stretched lazily. He wasn't afraid of Shi Jingzhi's wild guesses about this matter.

Immortal wine can preserve youth, but not extend life. Su Zhi is not an immortal, and even if he drinks immortal wine like water, he cannot live until now. There has never been an immortal person in this world.

Even if Shi Jingzhi guesses until the end of time, he still won't arrive at the truth.

As expected, Shi Jingzhi was closely examining the map, muttering to himself and making increasingly absurd guesses: "Ah Ci, is Su Zhi your great-grandfather? Grandfather?... Your father?"

"It's time to sleep, Shizun."

Shi Jingzhi was still studying the map. "You go ahead and sleep, I'll keep looking for a while. I have a feeling there's still a chance."

Yin Ci got out of bed and dragged his master into it. "We're meeting the Abbot tomorrow. Do you want to go with tired eyes? Playing around is one thing, but the goal is to have peace of mind. If you haven't had enough fun, I'll keep you company tomorrow."

Shi Jingzhi was taken aback. "To have peace of mind?"

"Yes. Everything should be done in moderation, too much of anything is not good."

"Then, Ah Ci, do you have peace of mind?"

Yin Ci hesitated, his expression gradually became complicated, but he did not deny it. Shi Jingzhi was satisfied and imitated Yin Ci's tone, saying, "Then let's go to sleep. If Ah Ci hasn't had enough fun, I'll continue to accompany you tomorrow."

The next day, Shi Jingzhi still had some dark circles under his eyes - he had secretly gotten up during the Yin hour* and sat in front of a map for over an hour.

Yin Ci saw the red handkerchief that Shi Jingzhi had coughed up blood on and wanted to beat him up. But when he saw the other's smiling face, he couldn't bring himself to do it.

*T/N: Between 5-7am.

In the end, he only made breakfast for three people and asked the monk to bring a vegetarian meal from the temple, specially for Shi Jingzhi. Sect Leader Shi, holding the specially-made buns from Jianchen Temple, looked at the golden pancakes in front of everyone else and was speechless.

Yin Ci was always ruthless: "Since Shizun doesn't cherish his own body, why not just go through the same bitter training as the high-ranking monks? Maybe it will be effective."

Shi Jingzhi took a bite of his steamed bun and spoke amiably, "...Ah Ci, are you really concerned for me?"

Yin Ci sneered, not falling for Shi Jingzhi's trap, "I asked the monks and found out they only have salt porridge and boiled vegetables for breakfast tomorrow."

Shi Jingzhi immediately shut his mouth, focused on eating his breakfast obediently.

Yin Ci had heard a lot about the current abbot of Jianchen Temple, but had never met him in person. He only knew that he was the senior brother of Monk Juehui, with the Buddhist name "Juefei".

Juefei's martial arts were extremely powerful, and his level of seclusion was beyond that of previous abbots. According to the gossip in the martial arts world, unless the world was in chaos and the mountains and rivers were shattered, this Abbot would not come down from the mountain.

Abbot Juefei had not even shown up at the martial arts conference several years ago.

Such a person was difficult to deal with no matter how you looked at it. Yin Ci had made full preparations, but who would have thought - "Ah? Elder Kongshi's stone sword, if Sect Leader Shi wants to see it, just let him. Anyway, the sword is just sitting there, taking a glance won't make it lose a piece."

Abbot Juefei sat cross-legged on the couch, drank a bowl of vegetarian wine, and burped. The four members of the Ku Mountain Sect sat in a row on cushions, not knowing what expression to put on their faces.

The Abbot's room was spacious, with soft cushions everywhere. The gaps between the cushions were stuffed with flowers and plants, which looked lively and had no sense of detachment.

In polite terms, it could be said that Abbot Juefei resembled the Maitreya Buddha, with earlobes that seemed to touch his shoulders and a round face full of joy. To put it bluntly, he was excessively fat and moved at a leisurely pace, as if he couldn't be bothered to dodge even if the sky were falling.

If it weren't for the sense of profound internal strength emanating from him, Yin Ci would have thought they had come to the wrong place. Contrary to rumors, this Abbot was not only reasonable but even too easy to talk to.

"What else was there... Ah, the remains of Elder Kongshi. Sect Leader Shi, now that we have a bit of a relationship, don't hide anything from me. With just the exchange of the 'Woodless Sutra,' not to mention taking a look at the stone sword, even if you want me to run around the temple naked, I'll do it willingly."

Shi Jingzhi stuttered, "...Abbot Juefei, t-there's no need to go that far..."

He was still absorbed in his impression of Master Kongshi, and was shaken by the Abbot in front of him, his eyes a little dazed.

Juefei laughed heartily, his voice as resounding as a bell, shaking the lungs of several people. He patted his knees with his chubby fingers, his eyes narrowed with laughter, making it hard to tell who he was looking at.

"So for Sect Leader Shi to specially bring up the matter of Elder Kongshi's remains to see this old monk, there must be other important matters."

Shi Jingzhi took a deep breath and adjusted his emotions. "This junior came with two matters in mind to seek guidance from the Abbot. If the Abbot can solve the confusion, the junior is willing to help the temple find Master Kongshi's remains."

"Ah, such a young age and already speaking in such a roundabout way. I believe Sect Leader Shi's intention to find the remains of Master Kongshi is true, and the other matters are just secondary. That Yan Budu, did he hide the clues with Elder Kongshi?"

The plump Abbot opened his eyes slightly and quickly pinpointed the purpose of Shi Jingzhi's visit.

"...How did the Abbot know?"

"The stone sword returned on its own. Almost a year after Elder Kongshi disappeared, it suddenly appeared at our temple gate. If it were anyone else, they would have come to our temple to take credit or at least say hello. Only Yan Budu would do something like this."

Abbot Juefei clicked his tongue twice and looked at everyone with a nearly affectionate gaze.

"Yan Budu is a cruel and cunning person. He wouldn't have the kindness to return the sword to the temple, nor would he be childish enough to use it as a provocation. It must be that he has hidden clues related to the burial location on it. As the rules of the temple are strict, it's not convenient for you to find out more about this. Now that you have come to see me, it must be to learn about these matters of the past, isn't it?"

"Yes, this junior was arrogant just now and offended the Abbot."

Shi Jingzhi immediately changed his tone and became very sincere.

"Never mind, having gotten through Greed, Anger, and Ignorance, those who come are all destined to be here." Master Juefei waved his hand. "As for the records of Elder Kongshi, I will have someone send them to you. Let's talk about the stone sword first. It is located in the underground palace under the Pagoda Forest on the back mountain. You can take a look if you want. If you can lift it, you can even take it away."

This time, Shi Jingzhi was really surprised: "We can take it away?"

The sword of Master Kongshi is undoubtedly a treasure of Jianchen Temple. It's not uncommon for high-ranking monks to be generous, but when it's too generous, there must be something suspicious.

Monk Juefei smiled and clasped his hands together, "Amitabha, I guarantee that no one will stop you."

"But on this sword, Elder Kongshi personally carved 108 Buddhist scriptures, with the intention of questioning oneself. 'The more attached I am to "my ego", the heavier the sword becomes' - Master Kongshi demanded a lot from himself. Just moving the sword to the Pagoda Forest required thirty people from our temple."

"For a hundred years, no one has been deemed worthy of this sword. If you can really take it away, it wouldn't be a loss for would be a fortunate event."

The author has something to say:

-Phase One-

Fox Shi: Practice early in the morning; Demon Lord Yin: ? Do you have a problem?

Demon Lord Yin: Prepare breakfast early in the morning; Fox Shi: My disciple is useful.

-Phase Two-

Shi Hu: Practice early in the morning; Demon Lord Yin: ? This kid is teachable.

Demon Lord Yin: Prepare breakfast early in the morning; Fox Shi: This disciple is so good.

- Phase Three -

Fox Shi: Practice early in the morning; Demon Lord Yin: ? You're already vomiting blood, still not going to sleep properly?

Demon Lord Yin: Prepare breakfast early in the morning; Fox Shi: Ah Ci is so good, I need to find a way to make him happy.

Now let's guess what will happen in Stage Four (×)


By the way, Yan Budu was able to wield the sword when he returned it, it isn't a bug.

And according to the story, Journey to the West, monks at that time could drink some vegetarian wine, but definitely not meat wine (made from animal ingredients).


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