On that day, with a strike from Kong Miao’s abbot staff, ten thousand Yao fell and were wiped out instantly.
The Snake Emperor’s projection dissipated, the Blood Corpse-laomo was severely wounded and escaped, and the formation both inside and outside the Yao Tower was restored.
At the tower entrance, ten thousand monks chanted a spell and sealed the tower again.
At this point, the Three Realm Temple finally regained its tranquility.
On the square, Kong Miao finished his chant and said, “I apologize for your shock today.”
Someone asked, “Great Master Kong Miao, what’s going on?”
How did Kong Miao return from the dead? Why did the Snake Emperor and Blood Corpse choose to act on the same day? Was there a connection between the two?
Not to mention the guests who came to mourn, even the high-ranking monks in Three Realm Temple looked at Kong Miao in confusion.
Kong Miao, “I know you have many questions. Please wait.”
He nodded to Jue Yuan, who instructed his disciples to bring Jing Wu forward.
Then, everyone recalled the incident. Wasn’t Jing Wu the one who triggered the events today? Everyone forgot about him in light of the great battle just now.
Very soon, two monks carried Jing Wu and came in front of Kong Miao. At this time, Jing Wu was covered in blood and still unconscious.
Kong Miao's index finger tapped on Jing Wu's forehead lightly, and the latter's eyelids moved slightly, slowly opening his eyes.
“Jing Wu, do you remember what you did?” Kong Miao asked calmly.
Jing Wu shook his head blankly, and then his eyes suddenly widened. “Great Master! Why are you…” Still alive?
Kong Miao looked at another monk with a serious face. He was the elder of the Discipline Hall, Jue Ming, who sternly said at this moment, “Jing Wu, you indiscriminately destroyed the inner formation of the Yao Tower, which resulted in the Yao breaking out from the tower and killing many disciples of our temple. Do you admit your guilt?!”
Jing Wu was shocked. “I didn’t!”
Jue Ming, “Everyone witnessed this. How dare you deny it? Tell us, why did you betray the human race?”
Jing Wu looked around and saw everyone staring at him with confusion, doubt, hatred, and heartache in their eyes... Slowly, he digested what Jue Ming said. He felt cold all over and could not help shaking.
Did he really do all that? Did he kill many fellow disciples?
Jing Wu didn’t have a shred of memory, but he wasn’t so sure now.
It was just like when everyone said a crow was white, even if you knew it was black, but you couldn’t help but wonder if you were wrong? Jing Wu seemed to be caught in a quagmire, full of stench, but he simply couldn’t understand how he fell into it.
In the end, he could only look at Kong Miao helplessly, and said in a panic, “This disciple didn’t!”
Kong Miao looked at him for a long while before he sighed silently and stretched out a hand to stroke Jing Wu's head.
“Great Master…” Jue Ming could not help but exclaim.
Everyone thought that Kong Miao was going to deal with Jing Wu. Even Jing Yue thought so too.
But Jing Wu closed his eyes calmly. If everyone thought he was guilty, and he could not argue with them, then dying in the hands of Master Kong Miao would be the best outcome.
He felt a wave of Buddha’s power pouring into the top of his head—it was very warm and did not cause any discomfort.
Suddenly, Jing Wu’s body froze.
The onlookers saw Kong Miao making a grabbing gesture with his five fingers and he actually caught hold of a shard of black energy, which struggled desperately and screamed shrilly in Kong Miao’s hands.
“It’s a dream monster.” Jing Yue recognized it immediately.
Kong Miao said solemnly, “That’s right. This evil thing is lurking in Jing Wu’s body, controlling his mind and causing him to commit a big mistake!”
His words caused an uproar in the room.
Dream monsters were considered a type of Yao but they were conceived by the human heart, and Buddhist practitioners were most vulnerable in breeding dream monsters. Once a dream monster lurked in the human body, the soul could be controlled by the other party and the host would not be aware of it.
In other words, Jing Wu was truly innocent.
Kong Miao retracted the Buddha’s power slightly. The dream monster got a bit of relief and gradually condensed into a human face—the facial features were blurred, only a nose could be seen vaguely, with three black holes replacing the eyes and mouth.
The dream monster had developed its divine consciousness, so it mocked in a shrill voice, “A high-ranking monk actually bred an inner demon, not only colluding with the Yao tribe to open the doors of the Yao Tower, but also killing his own disciple. With such a virtuous disciple, can the Three Realm Temple still call themselves the top Buddhist cultivators?”
Jing Wu, who was still in shock, suddenly raised his head. “What did you say? Killed… who?”
“Kekekkeh…” The monster’s face twisted strangely. “Don’t you know? You killed Hui Yuan.”
“Do you deny what you’ve done?” The monster was very excited. “Hui Yuan is so stupid. He clearly discovered my existence, but he couldn't bear to hurt you, and he didn't want to let outsiders find out that you conceived a demon and suffer criticisms, so he tried to purify me.”
“But I'm your companion and a part of you. If you don’t get rid of your inner demons, how can I be purified?”
Jing Wu froze like a statue. He didn’t even know when he developed an inner demon.
Seeing this, the dream monster cackled happily. “When Hui Yuan was killed by you, he was just as bewildered. He couldn’t rest in peace because he was killed by his own Shifu!”
Hearing this, the onlookers couldn’t help feeling sorry for him. As for Jing Wu, he could not control his emotions any longer. He spat a mouthful of blood and raised his palm to strike at the monster, but was stopped by Kong Miao halfway.
“Jing Wu, he’s your inner demon. You can’t kill him.”
Jing Wu was taken aback before he quickly realized that the dream monster was deliberately agitating him. The more his mind was affected, the stronger the dream monster.
“Regardless of whether we’re cultivating Dao or Buddhism, we’re fighting against the heavens. Once we’re careless, we can easily go astray. Only a person with a truly determined heart can embark on the Great Path. Jing Wu, think about what Hui Yuan died for. Don’t you realize it yet?”
Kong Miao’s words fell into Jing Wu's ears. He looked around blankly, unable to see everyone’s faces clearly.
He always thought that Hui Yuan died because of Qi Deviation. He did not expect that Hui Yuan was killed by his inner demon.
If he could not accept the fact, how could he realize anything?
In his trance, Jing Wu heard someone calling him ‘Shifu’. The voice was very soft, very foreign, but it was a little bit of light in his blurred vision.
The spot of light got bigger and bigger, compelling him to step forward instinctively.
As soon as he stepped into the light, Jing Wu saw a baby lying beside the mountain road. The thin arms struggled weakly in the swaddle and even the crying was faint and almost absent. He cautiously approached and hugged the baby in his arms. The baby immediately stopped crying and his youthful appearance reflected in his black and white eyes.
He brought the baby back to Three Realm Temple and gave him the name ‘Hui Yuan’.
Hui Yuan grew up year after year, and the chubby little monk was so lovable that everyone in the temple adored him. But Hui Yuan only liked to stick to him, calling him ‘Shifu’ all the time.
“Shifu, Hui Yuan found an injured rabbit today. Can Shifu heal it?”
“Shifu, I made a mistake. I released the snapping turtle into the pond and it killed the fish raised by Master Jing Xin…”
“Shifu, I met Master Kong Miao today and he praised me! Do you think I can become a Buddha one day?”
“Shifu, I can guide the Qi in my body at last! I can finally feel the Buddha’s power!”
Hui Yuan's joyful smile slowly dissipated like ripples, and the scene in front of him suddenly turned into a vast hall.
“Shifu, come in.” Outside the hall, Hui Yuan beckoned to him.
No, he can’t!
Jing Wu looked at the dark palace gate and felt a sense of foreboding.
“Shifu, come in quickly,” Hui Yuan urged.
Jing Wu wanted to take Hui Yuan away but his steps moved towards the hall uncontrollably.
Finally, he arrived at the entrance of the hall.
The hall was very dark, the Buddha statue at the front hidden in the shadows, the smile on the lips held a trace of evil.
Jing Wu saw someone sitting in front of the Buddha statue, the back facing him, with a spiritual energy suppressing rope tied around the body. A youthful-looking Hui Yuan knelt aside with tears in his eyes and said to that person, “Shifu, don’t blame me. Once I purify the dream monster, I’ll release the binds.”
Hui Yuan kowtowed heavily and sat upright, chanting scriptures in his mouth.
One by one, the magic runes came out of his mouth and penetrated the body of the bounded person. The latter wailed in pain, fell to the ground, and rolled over, shouting, “Stop it! Hui Yuan, how dare you kill your teacher?!”
“Stop it! Stop it at once!”
Hui Yuan looked sorrowful but the chants continued.
After a long time, the bounded person suddenly screamed and then fell silent abruptly.
“Shifu?” Hui Yuan called cautiously.
There was no answer in the quiet hall.
“Shifu? You… are you alright?”
There was a hint of panic in Hui Yuan's tone. He approached the person on his knees and turned him over.
Outside the door, Jing Wu stared with widened eyes—he saw his own face!
That’s right, Hui Yuan had been calling that person ‘Shifu’! But he had been standing here all the time, right?
His lips twitched slightly as he tried to remind Hui Yuan but he couldn’t make a sound. His body had also been sealed and he couldn’t move.
The other ‘Jing Wu’ appeared to be lying on the ground, face pale with no breathing movements on his chest.
Hui Yuan stretched out his hand and tried to probe for a pulse.
Suddenly, he withdrew his hand quickly and sat down in a heap abruptly. His eyes filled with panic and cold sweat fell from his face.
The next moment, Hui Yuan quickly got up, turned around, and rushed out of the hall!
“Yes! Come out! Get away from him!”
Jing Wu roared hysterically in his mind, but it was a pity Hui Yuan could not hear him at all, and his footsteps even stopped.
Hui Yuan stood on the spot for a while with hesitation in his eyes. Finally, he turned back and squatted beside ‘Jing Wu’. It seemed as if he was going to untie the spiritual energy suppressing ropes.
Almost instantaneously, Jing Wu guessed Hui Yuan’s thoughts—the disciple noticed that the master’s situation was unfavorable and wanted to lend a helping hand, but at the same time, he was also worried the others would find out that his master had developed an inner demon. Therefore, he was going to remove the ropes in the pretense that his master had simply lost consciousness… or was suddenly not breathing.
“Don’t untie the ropes! It’s dangerous!!!”
However, Jing Wu’s silent cry was in vain. He watched helplessly as the rope fell to one side. The ‘Jing Wu’ who was lying on the ground startled violently and a red light was about to penetrate Hui Yuan’s body!
Jing Wu knew inexplicably that the red light would shred Hui Yuan’s internal meridians into pieces and create the illusion that he had suffered from Qi Deviation!
Jing Wu roared but he still could not produce a sound, and then, everything was too late.
Hui Yuan’s disbelieving eyes gradually enlarged in Jing Wu’s vision, and black-and-white orbs were still as distinct as they were at first sight.
He saw blood oozing from the surface of Hui Yuan’s skin and the monk’s robe was quickly drenched. He heard Hui Yuan’s dying breath, “Shifu…”
“He’s not your Shifu! He’s a monster!!!”
Jing Wu only felt a heart-wrenching pain as his head buzzed like ten thousand landmines exploded at once, splitting his soul into pieces.
Jing Wu roared wildly. He felt his blood boiling all over his body and the sounds of his bones cracking in his ears. With a wave of his arms, he broke free of the imprisonment abruptly, and launched a palm-strike at his other self!