As long as Mu Yi thought that there might be a ghost emperor under the Thousand Sound Temple, it would be hard for him to calm down. Ghost emperors were almost legendary and far more powerful than he could hope to deal with.
Perhaps, it was best to be wise and get away from this incident, but could he quit now?
Mu Yi kept silent for a long time, then he looked up at Liao Fan. Liao Fan had been watching him calmly as if he hadn’t said anything.
“You’re afraid,” said Liao Fan.
“Yes, I’m afraid.”
Ning Wuque in the peak of the second difficulty had crushed him. A ghost emperor was equivalent to a third-difficulty master and could kill him with a wave of his hand. There were too many things he hadn’t done yet, so he was reluctant to die and he was afraid of death.
“I was also afraid when my master told me the truth. I even thought about running away, but my master said it was my destiny, and I couldn’t run away. I tried , but in the end, I chose to return here, because it is my responsibility,” said Liao Fan lightly.
“Responsibility?” Mu Yi looked at him.
“Yes, my duty is to suppress the ghost emperor and not let her come out to disturb the world,” said Liao Fan firmly. His voice became cold. “But now part of her has escaped. I believe after that part of the ghost recovers, she will find a way to destroy the Thousand Sound Temple and save the rest of her.”
Liao Fan paused, “Now, you’re here. It’s all destiny.”
“Predestined? Unfortunately, I don’t believe in destiny. “Mu Yi shook his head. The only thing he believed in was himself. He believed that human beings could conquer destiny, and he would never beg for mercy or favor from heaven.
“I didn’t believe in it before either.” Liao Fan shook his head, but he shook his head in a different way from Mu Yi.
“You knew I was coming?” Mu Yi asked.
“I don’t know.” Liao Fan shook his head.
It was a lie. He had known for a long time, but if he said so, Mu Yi would definitely turn around and leave. Maybe he would try his best to kill the escaped part of the ghost emperor, but he would never touch the water of the Thousand Sound Temple. Even now, he was hesitating.
Mu Yi had never thought of himself as a good man. He was not evil, but if he was asked to sacrifice himself to save the world, he could only say that he was sorry. His shoulders were too narrow to bear such responsibilities. He just wanted to have a clear conscience, and that was all.
“Can you kill the escaped part of the ghost emperor without hurting Magistrate Yan’s daughter?” Mu Yi continued.
“There’s no way.You already knew that she is already dead. What lives in her body now is part of the ghost emperor. She’s her, but she’s not really her,” said Liao Fan.
Hearing this, Mu Yi could not help being silent. He had expected it, but Magistrate Yan might not be able to accept the truth. It had been only a small task, but it had become so much larger.
“What happens if we just let it go?” Mu Yi asked.
“If we don’t do anything, the ghost will grow until she gets too strong for me to suppress. At that time, the Thousand Sound Temple will be devastated, the seal will be broken, and the ghost emperor will be free.”
“How long will it take for her to recover?”
“No one knows, but I can feel that time is running out, maybe months, maybe years, maybe… tomorrow.” Liao Fan looked at a loss. Although he was the head of the Thousand Sound Temple, he could not control everything.
It was not the first time such an accident happened. Last time had cost the previous abbot his life. They had managed to destroy the escaped part of the ghost emperor thanks to his sacrifice.
Maybe he would have to do the same.
“Would you like to hear a story?” He asked.
Mu Yi straightened himself, “I am all ears.”
“One hundred and thirty years ago, there was a family who sold their daughter to support their son. The next night after the girl was bought, the family was destroyed and all money was plundered.
“The family who bought the girl was doing business and bought the girl because she was beautiful. He had promised to adopt the girl as a stepdaughter but he abused her. She finally stabbed the businessman in his chest one night because she couldn’t bear it anymore. Finally, the girl escaped.
“But when the girl came back home, she found that her family had fallen to ruin. Her parents and younger brothers had all become bones. The girl collapsed and her only hope was dashed. She was confused. At this time, a good man passed by and took the girl away. The good man took care of the girl and taught her how to read and write.
“The girl thought that after all sufferings have their reward, and she vowed to repay the good man. But one year later, the good man raped her. Afterward, the girl wanted to commit suicide, but the good man promised to marry her. She believed it, but half a year later, after the good man got bored of her, she was sold into a brothel.
“A few days later, the good man lost everything in a casino, even his life.
“From then on, the girl became a plaything of men and a walking corpse. If things continued like that, she would have committed suicide, like most other girls in the building. But a man appeared and took the girl away. As for the brothel, it was burned down by a fire that night. All the other girls were burned to ashes.
“The man took the girl away and taught her to cultivate. She showed amazing talent. Just one month later, she broke through the first difficulty. After three months, she stepped into the second difficulty. Two years later, she opened the seven mortal forms in succession and reached the peak of the second difficulty. With her excellent talent, she might have entered the third difficulty in ten years, but just at this time, the disaster came again.
“She thought she was strong enough to control her fate, but in the end, she found that was a lie. The man told her that she was destined to become a vessel of power for him. After the man absorbed all the girl’s accomplishments, he told her that from the moment she had been sold by her parents, it was a conspiracy. Her parents had saved her only temporarily from him.
“The man happened to notice the girl’s special physique. She had a rare body of Nine Yin. This physique was the best vessel of power, so the man plotted everything. First, he had asked the girl’s parents to sell her then killed the girl’s family. He pushed little by little, putting her through despair and relief over and over again, so could she have her rapid improvement in cultivation. Because suffering itself is a kind of practice. Although she had been miserable, she had also experienced the world of mortals and understood life clearly. The process was cruel, and the truth was crueler.
“The man thought he had controlled everything. He was complacent. He didn’t know that the girl’s fate had changed. The extreme of Nine Yin was pure Yin. That night, the girl became a ghost with natural intelligence. She swallowed the man alive when he was defenseless. From then on, the girl was a ghost and killed mortals.
“It led to a ghost hunt. In that war, the sun and the moon were turned upside down. Although the girl had reached the peak of a fierce ghost and she would become a ghost emperor soon, she was almost beaten to death. The girl disappeared without a trace and didn’t appear again until a hundred years later as a ghost emperor.
“When the girl became a ghost emperor, she found her enemies and killed them one by one. Finally, a hermit in the third difficulty was drawn out. He beat her down and sealed her away. The descendants of that man have been guarding this place, not for revenge, but for atonement.”
When Liao Fan finished the story, there was a roar around him, and the earth shook. At the same time, a sharp laugh echoed in Mu Yi’s mind, full of satire, defiance and disdain.
At the highest place of the Thousand Sound Temple, the big bell suddenly rang by itself. The small bells hanging around the Thousand Sound Temple vibrated madly at the same moment. Countless bells reverberated and merged into a huge, near overwhelming force.
The shrill laughter came to an abrupt end, and the Thousand Sound Temple reverted to calm again.
“Amitabha, I have finished my story.” Then, he closed his eyes.
Mu Yi was silent again. He knew that this was a story, but it was not made up.
“Good story,” Mu Yi said.
“Do you think the girl in the story should be suppressed?” He asked with his eyes closed.
“Yes,” said Mu Yi.
“I thought you would have a different answer.” Liao Fan shook his head. He was not disappointed, but he looked a little lonely.
Mu Yi suddenly looked at Liao Fan and said, “But if I were that girl, I would have done it more thoroughly. Even if I had to kill all the people for it.” Mu Yi’s words made Liao Fan shivered. He finally opened his eyes, but there was no black in it. There was only white and pale.
“Do you know how I answered when my master told me this story?” He asked.
“Your answer was no.”
“Yes and no. I ran away because I didn’t think she should be suppressed, but when I saw that people were suffering, I came back.”
All living beings suffered, and no one was special. Maybe the girl in the story was more rightfully bitter, but it was not his doctrine to make more people suffer in the world for the sake of one person’s joy, so he came back. He wanted to continue to suppress the girl for the sake of everyone else. That was his doctrine, and he was willing to sacrifice himself for it.
Mu Yi didn’t have the same belief.