The two observed these ramaa younglings; each of their eyes gleamed in spirit, hinting at the extraordinary intelligence hiding behind them.
They arrived before the house pointed out by the old monk.
The house was not a particularly large one. The door had already lost a few patches of its original paint, its structure was old and weary. The gap below the door was too wide, and there was no way that it was able to protect its occupants from the wind.
The two were about to knock on the door, but instead, the door opened on its own. His Holiness Kong Hai stepped out from the house with a smile as he greeted in Anjali Mudra. "Greetings Almsgiver Gu, and to this other almsgiver as well."
"Your Holiness, this is brother Ding, Ding Jian. We have come to ask for teachings, Your Holiness." Gu Yue greeted again in Anjali Mudra.
Kong Hai, who was smiling with Anjali Mudra in return, beckoned the two to enter the house.
The decoration within the room was simplistic, a table laid next to the bed near the front window, a chair and a stool around the table, and standing next to the wall was a bookshelf containing several dated books.
Kong Hai took a cross-legged position on his bed, after which he invited the two to sit.
"Your Holiness, when we went to inspect the corpses of Second Lady Xiao and Chu Li, we found out that they were gone. I suspect that they have not died." Gu Yue was aware that Kong Hai did not like small talk, and preferred to get right into the matter at hand.
A mixed expression found its way onto Kong Hai's face.
"Sigh Amitabha" Kong Hai clasped both of his hands into Anjali Mudra.
"Your Holiness? I would like to ask for Your Holiness to use your gift once more, to use your All-Seeing Divine Power to solve this predicament," Gu Yue said.
Kong Hai scoffed. "The deed was done, why the need to bring it up again?"
"Without confirming the corpse of Second Lady Xiao, our Lord cannot rest easy. If I knew this was going to happen, I would've brought Second Lady Xiao herself back to the Imperial Residence," Gu Yue helplessly replied.
"Those that fall from my Petal Pluck Finger would have had no chance of surviving. The sins upon my shoulders have increased by another fold, how disgraceful!" Kong Hai sighed as he spoke.
Gu Yue said, "The blame is not entirely yours, Your Holiness. I was the one who buried them to rest when we returned to the scene, they had vanished Of course, under the Petal Pluck Finger from Your Holiness, there would have been no question about their deaths, I only fear that they might have some techniques up their sleeves to cheat death!"
"To cheat death" Kong Hai murmured to himself.
As a Buddhist pilgrim, he was quite familiar with these sorts of miraculous techniques.
"Could it be that it was a miracle performed by the stars?"
Gu Yue gave some thought and nodded furiously. "I might have heard of something like this in the city. Soon after Your Holiness became Buddha, the murky clouds above the skies gathered, thunder roared, and lightning struck the highest floor of the Raging Sands Restaurant I came across this while I was partaking in a meal with Brother Ding!"
They were eating at the Raging Sands Restaurant in Horse Racing Town when it happened. As Grandmasters themselves, dining in the most luxurious of restaurants was only natural.
While they were eating, the words mindlessly floated past their ears. They thought everything they had heard were rumors just blown out of proportion, and thus they had chosen to pay no mind to it.
"If that's the case, then I shall take a look myself." Kong Hai raised his white brows in response.
He pulled out the drawer below his bookshelf, from which he took out a container. Within it was several strands of silky hair.
Kong Hai took out one strand of silky hair and returned to his cross-legged position beside his bed, solemn divinity in his face, and held the strand of silky hair held in his index finger, motionless.
After some time had passed, his eyes opened, slowly. During that time, something had obviously developed in his mind.
"How was it, Your Holiness?" Gu Yue hurriedly asked.
Kong Hai's eyebrows narrowed closely and he gently shook his head.
"Is Second Lady Xiao alive? Or has she actually perished? You were able to make that out, yes?" Gu Yue then asked again.
"I cannot. An invisible force has blocked my All-Seeing Divine Power," Kong Hai replied.
He recalled Chu Li's formation.
"Might it be that Second Lady Xiao is really dead?" Gu Yue shouted.
Kong Hai remained in silence.
Gu Yue looked towards Kong Hai. "Your Holiness, surely there must be a way? Here in your Temple lies many teachings of divine powers, yet none of them can confirm whether or not someone is alive?"
Gu Yue felt that this should be a rather surmountable task.
"Sigh" Kong Hai breathed out heavily. His brows grew even closer and he frowned as he shook his head. He got down from his bed and headed for the door. "Xu Ling, please call upon your Master Kong Jing to come here!"
"Yes, master!" a ramaa youngling who was playing around the Buddha spire answered, then ran off.
Kong Hai sat upon his bed. "My apprentice, Kong Jing, possesses the Eye of the Sky's Connection."
"You have my gratitude for this matter, Your Holiness. It's all my fault, I shouldn't have been so careless back then!" Gu Yue hurriedly spoke with a smile.
"Everything that was set in motion was to fulfill their own predestined purposes. As one thing can lead to another, there is no need to bear every blame as your own, Almsgiver Gu." Kong Hai shook his head in response.
As they chatted, a frail old monk slowly walked in, he greeted in Anjali Mudra. "Brother Kong Hai."
His appearance was gaunt, his back slightly hunched. He was dressed in yellow monk's robe. It had been washed so many times that it had lost some of its vibrancy, and his head was sitting beneath a mop of greyish white hair.
"Brother Kong Jing. There is a matter in which I must ask for your assistance, Brother." Kong Hai waved at him and gestured for him to sit on his bed.
The frail, elderly Kong Jing, with his back hunched, slowly approached to sit on the bed. "What is the matter, Brother?"
"Help me to see if this person still lives, Brother. No need to see any more than that." Kong Hai passed him the silky strand of hair.
Kong Jing received the silky strand of hair, a smile found its way onto his wrinkly face. "A woman almsgiver?"
Kong Hai nodded.
Kong Jing clasped both hands into Anjali Mudra, with the strand of hair held firmly in between, he shut his eyelids and went into a stance of solemn divinity.
Gu Yue and Ding Jian suddenly became absentminded for a moment, feeling as if they had woken up from a dream.
They looked on as Kong Jing slightly lowered his forehead as if he were staring directly at the strand of hair with his forehead.
"PWOH!" Kong Jing tilted upwards violently and shot out a stream of blood.
Kong Hai reached out to hold him, heaving a sigh. "I thank for your efforts, Brother!"
Kong Jing struggled to sit back up. He returned the strand of hair to Kong Hai with both hands, and not a word came from him.
"Almsgiver Xiao seems to be a remarkable individual." Kong Hai gazed at the silky strand of hair with mixed feelings.
For most people, a short glimpse into their fate and future, one would find that their impact on this earth amounted to little or nothing.
However, if an individual's fate could influence the fate of many, a glimpse through the Eye of the Sky's Connection would bring about a much stronger impact as a direct result. To have witnessed his Brother spit out a stream of blood, this Xiao Shi woman was not to be underestimated.
Gu Yue trod carefully in his question, "Your Holiness Kong Jing?"
Ding Jian stared at the face of the elderly closely without blinking an eye. He felt as if this man had aged further than before, his expression was of one who was almost at the last of his breath.
Kong Jing heaved a heavy sigh. "The great mother who watches all beneath the heavens, bearing the face of royalty!"
"Great mother, who watches all beneath heavens? Could it be could it be the Queen?" Gu Yue called out, and hurriedly said.
Kong Jing shook his head and without another word, shot an Anjali Mudra towards Kong Hai. "Brother, I shall take my leave now."
"Brother, do take care of yourself." Kong Hai greeted him with Anjali Mudra in return.
Kong Jing smiled, taking step by careful step to leave.
Gu Yue hurriedly said, "Your Holiness Kong Jing, please explain!"
Kong Jing stood at the door and turned to smile. "This person of royalty is still alive, a great mother of the future, who will come to watch over all beneath the heavens, farewell!"
He greeted in Anjali Mudra, then slowly left.
"How could this be!?" Gu Yue turned towards Ding Jian.
Ding Jian's expression turned green.
Gu Yue then looked at Kong Hai.
Kong Hai narrowed his brows tightly and spoke aloud, "Brother Kong Jing's Eye of the Sky's Connection does not make mistakes. Brother Kong Jing wouldn't spout outrageous lies either, it seemed that this Almsgiver Xiao is still alive, then. To have survived the Petal Plucking Finger, truly abnormal!"
"Your Holiness, we must immediately seek an audience with His Majesty! Are you able to journey out, Your Holiness?" Gu Yue hurriedly said.
Kong Hai shook his head. "I cannot leave the temple."
"Hah ?" Gu Yu was stunned.
Kong Hai said, "I will be entering nirvana in seven days."
"Your Holiness is in great spirits, your body's durable, how could you be ?" Gu Yue was partly in disbelief and partly in doubt.
Kong Hai replied, "My life has reached its limits, my time to depart has come!"
"Your Holiness" Gu Yue was puzzled.
Kong Hai smiled. "Returning to the realms beyond the heavens through nirvana, there is only joy in this occasion, there's no need of Almsgiver Gu to feel as such."
"Then may I come to visit Your Holiness one last time?"
"Almsgiver Gu is welcomed to visit again seven days later," Kong Hai smiled as he said.