Chapter 203 Day Two · Too Much Water Drowned the Miller
No matter how the general situation of the Dark World was overturned, for ordinary people, the world seemed to be a pure land forever, and the light and harmony covered all the darkness and fights. Under the cloud, sunshine, rain, and snow, and outside the Dark World, there were endless joy, anger, sorrow, and happiness. Within the mortal world, everyone was living for themselves and pursuing what they were interested in.
In a noisy atmosphere of prosperity in Zhongzhou State, the world “fairyland” suddenly went viral throughout the Internet. At first, only some people were discussing this word, but as time went on, more and more words about fairyland began to appear in various BBS and news. The word became popular all over Zhongzhou State, and it seemed that all the people were exploring it.
People in Zhongzhou State had freedom of speech, so the journalism industry was extremely developed. Despite the facts that the authorities were informed of the news immediately and controlled relevant public opinions after being ordered to do so, and some news and pictures were quickly deleted, the enthusiasm of netizens did not decrease, and descriptions and pictures of fairyland popped up from time to time. Although they were quickly deleted, more and more people saved the photos and tried to get the lowdown on them.
The authorities kept blocking the passage of message, but descriptions of the fairyland grew. At present, it had created a wave that was barely contained.
Because the so-called fairyland was not a flash in the pan, but something really existed.
The fairyland was a mountain. To be exact, it was part of a mountain located on the shore of West Lake in Lin’an.
It was Mount Qingyun within Lonely Mountain.
As one of the magnificent scenery spots of West Lake, Lonely Mountain had a constant stream of daily visitors, and the legend of the so-called fairyland was born.
It was the midsummer at this time. Lin’an was sweltering, but Lonely Mountain by West Lake was incredibly cool everywhere, especially in the northwest of Lonely Mountain. Around the magnificent isolated peak, which covered roughly three-tenths of the entire Lonely Mountain, cold mist rose in the height of summer, and a vast expanse of whiteness almost covered the peak.
No one ever paid attention to it when the mist just rose. But as time went on, the cold mist grew thicker and more apparent, which finally aroused the curiosity of others. When the first tourist climbed up the mountain into the cold mist of Mount Qingyun, everything he saw shocked him.
Flowers bloomed all over Mount Qingyun.
In July, in this incredibly cool environment, flowers such as wintersweet and daffodils, which should never bloom in summer, actually appeared, and some plants that did not belong to summer were also in full bloom. The whole Mount Qingyun was verdant and filled with mist, making anyone who was stunned feel that he was in a fairyland.
The cold mist on Mount Qingyun did not dissipate. Instead, it grew thicker.
As more and more tourists were attracted to Mount Qingyun by its reputation and found that the cold mist could even isolate the sound, it finally created quite a stir and aroused curiosity.
The cold mist spread, but it did not come out of Mount Qingyun.
The white mist was dense.
If one person stood in the white mist and the other outside, even if they were less than one meter apart, neither side could communicate anything.
It was simply a supernatural phenomenon, incredible and incomprehensible.
The name of fairyland became popular in Zhongzhou State since then.
When public opinions were completely out of control, the authorities finally made a tough reaction.
Lonely Mountain closed on the grounds of internal reorganization. Even the vast expanse of waters near Lonely Mountain had been completely blocked, and signs had been put up saying no to tourists.
Ordinary people may not know what Mount Qingyun was, but every higher-up of Zhongzhou State was well aware of that. Qingyun Temple in Mount Qingyun was the retreat of Great Master Wuwei—a metaphysics guru in Zhongzhou State.
There was temporarily no explanation for the cold mist which appeared in summer, but when Great Master Wuwei showed up, he would give an explanation of it.
But from May to June, and then to July when August was approaching, neither Great Master Wuwei nor his two disciples in Qingyun Temple gave any explanation of it.
Everyone in Qingyun Temple always remained silent.
Only the thick white mist continued to spread, covering the entire Lin’an, the entire Jiangzhe Province, and even the temple of greatest fate in the southern part of Zhongzhou State.
The white mist had never appeared outside Mount Qingyun. It constantly circled, spreading toward the highest point in the sky. Within a few months, the cold mist had continued to rise and now almost covered the entire sky. Seen from a distance, the white mist rising from below looked like a column of heaven and earth, connected up and down. It seemed to reveal a kind of vast and awesome power.
Mount Qingyun had completely disappeared into the white mist, and no one could see the scenery in it.
The darkest time before dawn had passed, and the sky began to shimmer. The clear water of West Lake stirred gently in the morning light, spreading into the distance with barely visible ripples. In a quiet world, a small boat leisurely escaped the attention of plain-clothed policemen and armed police stationed near the waters and approached Lonely Mountain, which had been sealed off.
Lonely Mountain loomed in a dim environment. Only the cold mist in the northwest was still clear, connecting heaven and earth and covering everything inside.
A thin but tall figure alone took a small boat which moved slowly on the water. He looked formal and dignified, dressed in a neat Taoist Robe and a hat and holding a Horsetail Whisk. In a somewhat dark environment, he looked gravely at the area where the cold mist was rising. His wise and clear eyes, which seemed to be able to see through everything, flickered with inexplicable brilliance. “You can’t bear it finally.”
He was Xuan Xuanzi, an excellent person who studied Taoism in Zhongzhou State.
He was now a metaphysical grandmaster who was equally famous as Great Master Wuwei. When there was an abnormal phenomenon in Great Master Wuwei’s hermitage, only Xuan Xuanzi was qualified to visit him for information.
The ripples moved lightly.
The boat drew near the shore.
The sage-like Xuan Xuanzi, who was dressed in an unusually formal manner, slowly landed. The armed policemen stationed on the shore were puzzled, and they subconsciously took two steps forward. Before they spoke, Xuan Xuanzi had already produced credentials with a smile.
An armed policeman took over the credentials and glanced at them. Reflexively, he straightened up and saluted.
Xuan Xuanzi smiled and took back the credentials. As he looked at the cold mist that was close at hand, his eyes grew more solemn.
He carefully made his Taoist Robe tidy by seriously wiping the dirt and water stain off his body. Then he took a deep breath and walked into the cold mist before him, Horsetail Whisk in hand.
The white mist was so thick that it seemed to be an inseparable air mass. But in the eerie white mist, visibility was not as bad as expected. In the mist, one could clearly see flowers blooming in clusters under the feet. The petals, stained with moisture, swayed in the morning breeze and glistened with an almost glamorous luster. If one moved forward along the mist, he would find that the once stone-paved path was almost completely covered with plants and flowers that had grown in recent months. The road ahead had completely disappeared, and everywhere was full of vigor and vitality.
The drifting white mist, however, had a distinctly perceptible feeling of bleakness about it.
Xuan Xuanzi’s face was expressionless. He stepped softly on the flowers and grass and went all the way up to Qingyun Temple.
The cold mist seemed to grow thicker in the mountain.
The mist drifted increasingly slowly as if it had stagnated in the air.
Xuan Xuanzi frowned and quickened his pace a little.
The road under his feet went straight up.
A faint light shone ahead of him. The yellowish light was almost illusory as if it was showing him the way.
In the mist, a sonorous voice sounded in front, with a peaceful laugh that could calm both the mind and body. “Please excuse me for not going out to meet you, my distinguished guest. It’s dark and the road is slippery, please watch your step.”
“Please don’t stand on ceremony, master.”
Xuan Xuanzi paused for a while and then continued to climb. “There’s no such thing as night or day in Mount Qingyun. All I see is fate.”
He stepped on the plant-covered steps with a calm look, but the Horsetail Whisk in his hand trembled.
In an instant, the cold mist in front of Xuan Xuanzi surged crazily. It twisted and dissipated in front of him. In a few seconds, all the mist in front of Xuan Xuanzi had drifted away to his right and left.
In front of him, Mount Qingyun, which had been shrouded in the cold mist for several months, became clearer than ever. Tens of meters away, the inconspicuous gate of Qingyun Temple appeared in sight. Two middle-aged monks in frocks were supporting an old man with disheveled hair. They were standing in front of the gate, like three sculptures.
The somewhat complicated look in Xuan Xuanzi’s eyes gradually turned cold. He stood there for a moment, and then slowly moved on.
The distance of tens of meters was getting smaller and smaller.
Nevertheless, the three men in front of the temple remained motionless.
“How are you, master?”
The white mist retreated to the left and right. Facing the pure and fresh air, Xuan Xuanzi slowly walked to the gate of the temple and asked with a smile.
The two middle-aged monks lowered their heads and were silent.
Great Master Wuwei, who looked like an enlightened senior monk a few months ago, stood with hair disheveled at this moment. His gray hair had lost its luster, and his long hair reached over his shoulders. Dressed in the clothes of ordinary people, he no longer had the air of a senior monk.
After hearing Xuan Xuanzi’s greetings that had a ruthless character behind the gentle appearance, Great Master Wuwei still looked peaceful. He smiled frankly, pointing to the white mist ahead and then to his long gray hair, and replied, “Not so bad. How are you?”
Xuan Xuanzi nodded. He seemed to sigh with emotion, but the coldness in his eyes became more and more apparent. “Master, you have lost finally.”
“I will win.”
Great Master Wuwei was smiling. His voice was still loud and revealed firmness, but the light in his eyes was dim and weak.
“You could have the chance to win if you hadn’t shouldered the tribulation and the karma for that siren. Now, how can you win?”
Xuan Xuanzi looked at the living Buddha in front of him, who was like a myth in the hearts of the high officials in Zhongzhou State. He was disappointed and puzzled.
Reaching out, he pointed to the white hair on the head of the living Buddha and asked calmly, “With this?”
Great Master Wuwei’s emotions didn’t change a bit. His eyes, which had been able to see through cause and effect, were dim, and all that remained were smile, sincerity, compassion, and peace, just like the West Lake under Mount Qingyun.
“She doesn’t belong to the mortal world. If she is not a siren, is she a Goddess?”
Xuan Xuanzi’s tone grew colder and colder.
“She is my predestined fate.”
Great Master Wuwei slowly shook his head.
“With your ability, even if it is a predestined fate, you can always avoid it.”
Xuan Xuanzi said proudly, but the confusion in his voice became more apparent.
“If I avoid it, isn’t it cause and effect?”
Great Master Wuwei replied with a question and looked at Xuan Xuanzi with faint light in his eyes. The smile faded from his pupils, and his eyes became silent and deep.
Xuan Xuanzi was silent.
After a long time, he then said faintly, “I don’t agree with you.”
This was the conflict on metaphysical cognition and also an ideological difference. Obviously, Great Master Wuwei did not intend to convince Xuan Xuanzi. He just smiled softly and said, “Our differences have always been there, but in a few years, everything will be clear.”
“Time is running out.”
Xuan Xuanzi suddenly spoke.
He turned and looked at the white, cold mist in Mount Qingyun. “This is the fate of you and Qingyun Temple. It is leaking. Can you hold out for a few years? Even if you do, the high officials won’t have the patience. The situation is now subtle. They can’t wait for a few months, let alone a few years.”
Great Master Wuwei’s eyes narrowed slightly.
He carefully looked at the expressionless Xuan Xuanzi and asked indifferently after remaining silent for a long time, “So you ended up choosing them?”
“No, they chose me.”
Xuan Xuanzi turned to look at Great Master Wuwei and calmly asked, “Don’t you understand?”
“I don’t understand.”
Great Master Wuwei shook his head with a smile, and there were stubbornness and persistence in his calm expression. “They… hehe… the man at the top won’t agree, will he?”
“The general trend is like this, and he can only go with the flow.”
Xuan Xuanzi shook his head.
“The general trend will change.”
Great Master Wuwei was still smiling, indifferent and fearless.
“How can the general trend change?!”
Xuan Xuanzi subconsciously raised his voice, and his tone became somewhat aggressive.
“Where is the general trend?”
Great Master Wuwei asked calmly.
Xuan Xuanzi looked at Great Master Wuwei thoughtfully. His patience seemed to be wearing off, and his tone began to get colder. “East Island? Are you talking about Li Tianlan? He is no longer a variable, just a chess piece. He is going against heaven and the trend. Even if he possesses the Feature of the Chosen One, he should die. Master, you are too stubborn.”
“So the first time you saw him, you wanted to lead him to Wuyue Province in the future? In this case, you’ve already made your choice, haven’t you?”
Great Master Wuwei sighed.
Xuan Xuanzi suddenly froze. He kept a poker face and said no more.
“I will win.”
After a moment’s silence, Great Master Wuwei once again whispered, “Why not go against heaven? Common people think that we are the soberest, because we have seen through ‘everything’, but we are the most puzzled because of that. I don’t want to go on like this. Nothing bad can happen to me even if I violate the secrets of heaven once!”
“Moreover, are the secrets of heaven and fate really doomed to be unchangeable? You know that better than I do.”
Xuan Xuanzi’s face seemed a little livid. He forcefully waved the Horsetail Whisk in his hand and said coldly, “Ridiculous!”
Great Master Wuwei shook his head and stopped talking.
“Maybe you are right. But the siren has messed up your plan, so you can’t hold it anymore. They chose me, so if you do not want to commit treason, please cooperate with me.”
Xuan Xuanzi looked at the white mist made of fate in the distance. After a long while, he opened his mouth slowly.
“I will give up Qingyun Temple.”
Great Master Wuwei’s tone was calm. “But I can only give up Qingyun Temple. I’m responsible for Zhongzhou State.”
A trace of anger flashed through Xuan Xuanzi’s eyes. He snorted and strode into the temple, ignoring the three men in front of the gate.
Great Master Wuwei was still motionless. His eyes seemed to look through the cold mist ahead and were quietly appreciating the ripples on West Lake.
The first disciple Ruzhen hesitated for a long time, and finally, he couldn’t help but ask, “Master, what are you talking about with Xuan Xuanzi? Why did you mention winning and losing?”
Great Master Wuwei smiled and looked at his first disciple. “What are you trying to say?”
“We are monks…”
Ruzhen’s lips moved. He looked into his master’s eyes, and his voice fell silent at last.
“Yeah, we are monks, so it doesn’t matter whether we win or lose. But in this era, how can a monk let go of all fetters? Monks are members of Zhongzhou State, after all.”
Great Master Wuwei sighed deeply, and for the first time, there were worries in his eyes.
He was silent, and after five minutes, he continued to speak, “I and Xuan Xuanzi aren’t fighting for the win. We’re fighting for the destiny of our nation. To be exact, the dragon vein of Zhongzhou State.”
Ruzhen shook all over. He raised his head abruptly and looked startled.
“Zhongzhou State… Hey, it has lost the dragon vein.”
Great Master Wuwei gave a self-deprecating laugh.
The few simple words actually contained earth-shattering news.
Ruzhen was directly dazed by this short sentence.
“Zhongzhou State has lost the dragon vein?”
“How could that be possible?”
The dragon vein was related to the destiny of a nation, and it was a nation’s fate. This was something that many people may not believe, but a lot of people believed in luck. This alone could explain the authenticity of fate. However, it was difficult for ordinary people to guide.
There were few qualitative changes but more quantitative changes between the fate of one person and that of one country. Therefore, in most cases, the fate of a country needed to be carried by the dragon vein. The dragon vein of Zhongzhou State had been in Mount Kunlun for hundreds of years. Now, his master said that the dragon vein of Zhongzhou State was lost?
“Is the dragon vein… lost?”
After a long pause, Ruzhen asked blankly.
“Part of it is lost, and part of it is scattered. There are still some remnants in Kunlun City.”
Great Master Wuwei whispered, “I and Xuan Xuanzi have been trying to regather the dragon vein and restore the fate of the nation in the past few years, but now… Xuan Xuanzi has a choice. They have a choice, too. But he went the wrong way…”
It was known to all who they were.
Since the matter concerning the fate of the nation, the senior officials of Zhongzhou State couldn’t ignore this.
At present, they chose Xuan Xuanzi.
Why did they go the wrong way?
“But how could… How could the dragon vein disappear? How is this possible?”
Ruzhen touched his bald head with force and looked puzzled.
“Twenty years ago, Li Kuangtu rebelled against the country. After that battle, the dragon vein was scattered. If Kunlun City really occupied the dragon vein, can they still be in this state now? Humph!”
Great Master Wuwei snorted.
However, Ruzhen still didn’t understand. He asked carefully, “Do you mean that Xuan Xuanzi cannot regather the dragon vein in the end through this way, master?”
Great Master Wuwei sighed feebly. At that moment, he seemed to grow old with declining spirits suddenly. “If he can’t, they wouldn’t choose him. Xuan Xuanzi wanted to occupy the fate here and combine it with his own fate. Moreover, he planned to regather the dragon vein in the shortest possible time. That was why he was here today. However, we’re going to achieve this in different directions. I’m going to condense the dragon vein in a peaceful way, but his choice is obviously more favored by some people.”
“What’s his choice?”
Ruzhen asked subconsciously.
Great Master Wuwei turned and walked into the temple. His cold voice sounded. “Battle!”
He entered the temple gate and then walked into Mahavira Hall through the Super Master Hall.
There was no chanting in the small Qingyun Temple. It seemed to be empty and silent.
In silence, Great Master Wuwei hobbled into the hall. Instead of looking at Xuan Xuanzi, who was standing quietly in front of him, he knelt in front of the Buddha statue and recited sutras.
Xuan Xuanzi did not look at him, either.
All his attention was focused on the two objects in front of him.
In front of him were two disks about twenty centimeters in diameter, like little wall clocks. However, there was only a pointer in the center of each disk, and there were no numbers on the edge of them. Only six traditional Chinese characters were engraved on each of them.
The fluctuations of life and death.
Some patterns were engraved in the centers of the disks. One of the disks was engraved with something like a metal tube and was painted in silver, while the other disk was engraved with only a cloud of smoke.
At this moment, the pointers on the two disks were constantly trembling. The slender pointer quivered and then stopped in the center of the Life Gate on the disk carved with a silver metal tube, while the pointer on the disk carved with a cloud of smoke stopped at the edge of the Death Gate.
Xuan Xuanzi stared at the two disks for a long while. Then he sneered, “Master, does it make sense? You should know that they are the most useless things. Many people who know Destiny Disks treasure them. But actually, they’re not useful. They can’t control people’s fate. On the contrary, they are completely controlled by people.”
Great Master Wuwei asked, kneeling on a round cushion.
Xuan Xuanzi took a deep breath and stared at the disk engraved with a silver metal tube. After a long time, he said in a low voice, “The first time I saw Li Tianlan, I realized that this kid’s fate was so abundant that it was even rare to be seen in hundreds of years. But his fate was built up by the aura of death, so he is destined to live a short life. Master, you want to regather the dragon vein through the Li family, but I must tell you it is the wrong way.”
Great Master Wuwei fell silent.
Xuan Xuanzi added in a deep voice, “How does Li Tianlan live? Even if you changed his birth destiny and let it be chaotic, how can he survive? He will die, sooner or later.”
Xuan Xuanzi paused, and then inexplicably said, “The more brilliant it was, the more chaotic it’ll be.”
Great Master Wuwei nodded in agreement. He smiled and said, “Therefore, the general trend needs to be reopened to make Invincible Realm experts mere nothing.”
Xuan Xuanzi’s tone was cold and indifferent. “By Li Tianlan alone? Can he do it?”
“He can do it. Only he can do it. One day, he alone will usher in the most glorious age.”
Great Master Wuwei’s tone grew calmer.
“He will surely die.”
Xuan Xuanzi shook his head.
“If he’s alone, he will surely die, but Qin Weibai is by his side. The birth destinies of the two are completely complementary. In terms of fate, they are a match made in heaven. With her, who can say that Li Tianlan will surely die?”
Great Master Wuwei still denied Xuan Xuanzi’s remarks.
Xuan Xuanzi snorted bitterly and seemed to have gritted his teeth. Then he said coldly, “The siren is ruining the world!”
No sooner had he uttered the words than the two disks in front of him suddenly gave out a slight noise.
On the Destiny Disks, the two pointers that had been trembling but never moved began to move instantly.
The pointer of the disk, which was engraved with a silver metal tube, trembled, and it moved almost instantaneously from the Life Gate to the center of the Death Gate.
The pointer stayed firmly in the middle of the Death Gate, motionless.
And the pointer on the disk, which was carved with a cloud of smoke, also moved from the edge of the Death Gate into the Life Gate.
Xuan Xuanzi paused for a while and then chuckled. “Master, you are still wrong.”
He picked up one of the disks and continued with a smile, “The pointer representing Li Tianlan’s destiny points to the Death Gate. There’s no way he can live long. Do you have anything else to say?”
“The nirvana of the Heavenly Son has a causal relationship with him. But too much water drowned the miller. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.”
Great Master Wuwei added with composure, “I still believe in the two kids. Li Tianlan has fate and is the most suitable carrier. Little Bai can complement him. It’s the perfect Yin-Yang Alternation.”
“Fate… Carrier… Yin-Yang Alternation?!”
Xuan Xuanzi’s body suddenly shook, and his ruddy face seemed to turn pale in a moment.
The Horsetail Whisk in his hand trembled fiercely. Staring at Great Master Wuwei’s calm profile, Xuan Xuanzi said in disbelief, “You want him to carry the dragon vein?!”
Dragon vein carried the fate of a nation.
If Li Tianlan was going to carry the dragon vein…
He would really go against the secrets of heaven!
“Are you insane?!”
Great Master Wuwei smiled but said nothing.
No one could tell what expression Xuan Xuanzi had on his face. After a long while, he asked coldly, “Is that why you chose them?”
Great Master Wuwei shook his head. “I am chosen by destiny.”
He closed his eyes, and his thoughts surged.
More than a decade ago, in the winter of that year in southwest Zhongzhou State, he first saw the ten-year-old Qin Weibai. At the time, the southwest part was experiencing heavy snow that had not been seen in years.
On that day, in the snowy, turbid world, what he saw was only a desolate soul whose heart was broken with wounds around.
A faint smile crept over the lips of Great Master Wuwei.
It was the mandate of heaven!
The tiny sound of something piercing the air suddenly sounded.
Great Master Wuwei stayed motionless.
In the dull sound, the soft Horsetail Whisk immediately became as straight as a sword. Xuan Xuanzi held the Horsetail Whisk and stabbed it straight into the heart of Great Master Wuwei.
Great Master Wuwei opened his eyes, and his eyes were still calm.
“I’ll obtain the fate of Qingyun Temple to regather the dragon vein. What can you do even if you have the mandate of heaven?”
Xuan Xuanzi’s tone was indifferent.
Great Master Wuwei put his palms together with a chuckle and sighed, “Too much water drowned the miller.”
Accompanied by his voice, Great Master Wuwei’s white, long hair that reached the shoulders instantly burned into ashes. A circle of invisible airflow swirled around him and then diffused. At this moment, Great Master Wuwei seemed to be shining.
He straightened himself up.
There seemed to be a roaring sound between heaven and earth.
The airflow immediately expanded, driving Xuan Xuanzi’s body and throwing him directly out of the temple.
Great Master Wuwei no longer had hair. Blood flowed from his chest and dyed his clothes red.
Kneeling before the Buddha statue, he bowed his head reverently and put his hands together. His voice was still loud and full of energy. “Amitabha.”
The pale Xuan Xuanzi was thrown out of the hall, holding the Horsetail Whisk in his hand, and he looked stunned.
A glaring ray of light leaped out of the horizon.
In the blink of an eye, sunshine permeated every corner of the world.
When the light of the early morning sun rose.
Where there was morning, there was night.