Xiao Shi shot a fiery gaze at him. "And you still have the gall to laugh?"
Chu Li, still consumed with laughter, pointed at her silky hair and cried, "I can't help it, it's hilarious!!"
Xiao Shi moved on to hastily tidy up the bundled mess on her head, before shooting back an irritated reply, "This is all your fault!"
Chu Li reached out for her wrist, pulling her closer to him. Minute amounts of inner energy streamed through the open barriers, and her hair arranged itself to its original state in a blink of an eye. Regaining its glistening, flowing appearance.
Xiao Shi scoffed. "Wow, Chu Li, once again, you've saved me."
Chu Li nodded. "Don't think you'd die so easily."
"You've saved me thrice now. I owe you three lives," Xiao Shi replied.
Chu Li said with a smile, "We'll just count it as two."
Xiao Shi rolled her eyes at him. "If not, maybe my body will make up for it."
Chu Li chuckled.
Xiao Shi face turned to a stern frown, her eyes pinned on him.
Chu Li also abruptly stopped laughing, and returned the same serious gaze.
"Am I that not appealing to you, then? I said I'll return my debt with my body, aren't you even the least bit moved?" Xiao Shi huffed.
Chu Li replied, "Well, I know that you're a real tease."
Xiao Shi said, "You're different, you've saved me three times, taking my body would be nothing compared to that Alright, how about we both find a place to settle down for the rest of our lives. There would be no need for you worry about my little sister, and I can stop worrying about the House of Duke. We'll pretend that we've both lost our lives today!"
"Where would we find peace, even beneath all the places the sky covers?" Chu Li shook his head.
His thinking was rational, and he knew that as long as Emperor An still walked this earth, peace would elude them for eternity.
"Tsk you, you're no fun at all! No wonder Little Sister's taken a liking to you, you're both one and the same!" Xiao Shi scoffed.
Chu Li replied, "Lady Xiao, we should head back to the formation."
"That old monk still hasn't left?" Xiao Shi frowned.
Recalling the scene from before, chills shot down her spine.
That old monk had a smile as wide as the Buddha, yet he would not hesitate to kill. His demeanor was also bizarrely odd, enough to cause anyone to shudder.
"He's returned to his temple." Chu Li sighed.
It was as if old Monk Kong Hai had become Buddha, Chu Li was completely no match him. In fact, he might have been even stronger than an Enlightened Master. Just thinking about it was enough to send fear rippling through him.
"How did you escape? His technique was probably the Titanium arra technique from the Titanium Temple, borrowed divine powers of Buddha from a arra master. It's near invincible in this realm," Xiao Shi asked.
"arra master? Are these arra masters still alive?" Chu Li raised his brows.
"They tread a fine line between being alive and dead." Xiao Shi stopped to ponder, before continuing, "These arra are all the most virtuous and eminent of the monks who reside within Parinirvana. They are usually summoned to this realm, after which they will return to where they came from upon completing whatever they were tasked to do. They discard their shells, and return to the realms beyond the heavens to continue meditating What the Titanium Temple has mastered is the Ten Lives to Become Buddha technique."
"Can they still return, then?" Chu Li was stunned.
It was possible that he himself had been reborn into this realm. Was he an exception? Were there others as well?
Xiao Shi said, "They could return naturally by mastering the Ten Lives to Become Buddha technique. They can only traverse between this realm and the realms beyond the heavens, but not through hell they meditate through ten lives to reach a full circle, and enter into the promised land of tranquility in the west heavens."
Chu Li furrowed his brows.
Xiao Shi continued, "However, upon returning, they will no longer be in their original forms; they start from an absolute beginning and lose every memory they have ever had. Only in that instant when they become Buddha would the memories from their previous ten lives be awakened. If one was willing to let go of everything in this world, they would then be released to do so much more, becoming Buddha, and entering the promised land of tranquility in the west heavens."
"What of the Tempest Temple?" Chu Li asked.
Xiao Shi laughed as she replied, "How could you not know all this? Weren't you from the Autumn Temple?"
"My masters never told me any of this before." Chu Li shook his head.
Xiao Shi said, "That's granted. The struggles of a journeying monk, those that could become Buddha now are only from the Tempest Temple and Titanium Temple. It's impossible for anyone from the Autumn Temple."
Chu Li furrowed his brows and asked, "And how did those from the Tempest Temple become Buddha?"
"What they train themselves with is to become Buddha through one's body. Separated from divine power or treasured guides to nirvana, they themselves embody the teachings to cross the seas of suffering to nirvana. If they master the martial arts according to the God's Boundary, they will transform anew, becoming Buddha But now, the Tempest Temple has adapted some of the techniques from the Titanium Temple, and there are also monks who have trained themselves in the divine powers. The Titanium Temple has also adapted some ways from the Tempest Temple in the way of training in the martial arts," Xiao Shi continued.
"Becoming Buddha Through One's Body" Chu Li murmured.
Xiao Shi said, "However, If they fail in becoming Buddha in this life, then everything that they have done would have been for nothing. Not even training after reincarnation can help them. Upon being reborn through hell's court, they will become no different from any ordinary man."
Chu Li slowly nodded.
The wonders of this world truly exceeded beyond what he could have ever imagined, and not just the world of martial arts.
Chu Li slapped his forehead suddenly. "We need to head back to the formation before we continue!"
He pulled Xiao Shi along by her sleeve, and entered the formation outside the city like a cloud of mist.
Xiao Shi sat on top of a rock and stretched out her hand to block the incoming sun rays. The blazing rays from the noontime sun was hard to endure, nothing atypical of the odd weather in the Horse Racing Town.
"Afraid that the old monk might come back?"
"He won't, presumably. But it's best to have prevention in place. Even if the old monk doesn't return, Emperor An's minions might." Chu Li shook his head and said.
"Once bitten twice shy, eh?" Xiao Shi smiled with her lips glued.
Chu Li gave her a cursory glance.
Xiao Shi chuckled and asked, "And what's the use of hiding here?"
"So that the monks of the Titanium Temple don't go berserk and use that Titanium arra technique again! That kind of arra item would cost them a bead each time it's used, no?" Chu Li scoffed.
"Obviously! How many did you think he had?" Xiao Shi replied.
Chu Li heaved a sigh of relief. "That's good enough."
If the Titanium Temple did indeed house a great number of arra items, there would be no need to waste his efforts in fighting them. Chu Li would run as soon as he met them; fighting would be an impossibility.
Chu Li had taught Xiao Shi how to cast formations and made her wait within them, while he himself went to obtain the daily necessities and food.
He decided that he would continue to use this formation for a little longer, taking advantage of their supposed death. Once Emperor An had calmed down, right before the big wedding, they would appear in the Fairy's Capital once again, robbing him of the chance to return his strike.
Xiao Shi looked at the things Chu Li had bought and giggled as she said, "Are we really living out our days here?"
Chu Li nodded with a stern expression.
"... Very well." Once Xiao Shi saw the serious look he had, she agreed without question.
For the following few days, Xiao Shi continued to remain in the formation, while Chu Li went around to set up other formations, in hope of eventually amalgamating them into a larger one.
This huge formation was comprised of several separate, smaller ones, all of which combined to make the large formation. This could be considered an innovation of sorts; it would fortify its formidability by several folds, and hopefully it would be enough to hold off against the old monk's Titanium arra technique.
As dusk gave way to the inky night, the sun finished its journey behind the eastern horizon.
Xiao Shi laid on a deck chair to read under the blanket of sunset, her expression as naturally laxed as she could be. Once in awhile, she would tear her eyes from her book and set them on the not so distant Chu Li, chopping trees. A thin smile formed on her lips.
Chu Li suddenly stopped, returning to Xiao Shi's side in a quick hurry.
Xiao Shi smiled as she asked, "What is it this time?"
Chu Li pointed at the eastern side. "Someone's coming."
"Another from the Imperial Residence of King An?" Xiao Shi's beautiful face hung an alluring smile.
Chu Li was unaware of the flirting, his face remaining stern and staunch, he nodded.
Xiao Shi tightened her brows, her smile froze in place. "For real?"
Chu Li replied, "An old friend even!"
A figure with a towering appearance and a face similar to a silver platter with his snow-white beard, Gu Yue and a gaunt old man dressed in black arrived at the foot of the mountain.
Gu Yu pointed to somewhere midway up the mountain, and spoke to the gaunt old man, "Brother Ding, they're up there, I buried them myself."
"Right, then let us go have a look." A smile curled on the gaunt old man's lean face.
Gu Yue shook his head matter-of-factly. "The Emperor is too cautious, His Holiness Kong Hai has personally dealt with them. I've witnessed it with my own eyes, and touched it with my own hands, they are beyond dead!"
"Best to examine them a little. This time, we must take their heads off their shoulders," the gaunt old man continued.
"Sigh I did think of decapitating them, but upon seeing Lady Xiao's beautiful state, I just couldn't bring myself to!" Gu Yue shook his head, he somewhat could not help himself.