Nightfall - Chapter 270

Published at 24th of June 2018 06:15:04 AM

Chapter 270: Liansheng 32 (I)

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A man of old age and high status deserved respect. The withered old monk had sat on the Bone Mountain and atoned for his sins for decades. It seemed that he wasn't a useless old one like Quni Madi. Ning Que kept his bow behind him but did not step forward. He looked at the withered old monk from about ten feet away and said respectfully, "I'm indeed a student of the Academy. The Front Gate of the Devil's Doctrine has indeed opened. But I do not understand why your senior would say that this floor full of bones are the results of your sins?"

The old monk laughed weakly. He said, "This is a complicated story."

One would always hear an incredible story from a long time ago whenever they met someone interesting in a valley. Perhaps it was because Ning Que had already anticipated this, he was very calm and said softly, "Please, senior, tell us about it."

The old monk was silent for a while before he recalled, "Back then, Crazy Ke started to travel the world on behalf of the Academy. He had an ordinary cyan-steel sword strapped to his waist and no one dared to go against him. The Devil's Doctrine was strong, arrogant and bloodthirsty. Several innocents were killed ruthlessly by those from the Devil's Doctrine. The meeting between the two was doomed to be like a thunderstorm."

"That thunderstorm was heavy and bloody. The powerhouses of the Devil's Doctrine spread across the Central Plains all died at the sword of Crazy Ke. The West-Hill Divine Palace and those on the right Taoist path wanted to take the opportunity to remove all power from the Devil's Doctrine."

"Crazy Ke stood in the rain and yelled at the heavens and earth with no respect in his eyes. The old fogeys from West-Hill Divine Palace did not like him, of course. The Devil's Doctrine was tortured in that storm and came up with a solution. They wanted to use the faction between the Academy and the Divine Hall to set up a trap, forcing the two into war."

"During a great meet at the Lanke Temple's Yue laan hungry ghost festival one year, the cultivators of various countries of the Central Plains met. There was dancing. The Devil's Doctrine used this opportunity to kill many at the Lanke Temple and framed the Judicial Department of Divine Hall. That was how the story began."

The old monk was as withered as a ghost. He spoke of the bloody and cruel past but his expression remained collected like the spring breeze. He spoke of the bloody images of the past in just a few words.

Ning Que helped Mo Shanshan sit by the wall. He looked at the old monk in the Bone Mountain and thought of the story that the old man had told them of the distant past. He said after a moment of silence, "Framing someone has always been a stupid act."

The old monk's lips twitched upwards and he smiled with great difficulty. His eyes were wet as he looked at Ning Que. He said regretfully, "The Devil's Doctrine in the world outside must all be dead. Even if there were any survivors, I would guess that they are all living in hiding, like rats in the gutter. I suppose a child like you would not know what the Devil's Doctrine was like then, and how frightful the power they wielded was."

It had been two years since Ning Que left the City of Wei and entered the world of cultivation. Other than the meeting with the Desolate Man some time ago, he had only seen a Sword Master with the Devil's Doctrine's cultivation methods at the entrance of the Northern Mountain Road. That Sword Master was not very strong, in his opinion, which was why he did not find the Devil's Doctrine fearful.

The old man's eyelids closed like wilting leaves. He seemed to be thinking of the arrogance and bluster that the Devil's Doctrine had back then. It seemed to be a blow to his peaceful mental state. And then, he continued in a soft tone, "The methods of the Devil's Doctrine was stolen from the heaven. Those who cultivate using their methods are extremely strong and do not have any ripples in their Psyche Power. They are able to avoid any methods of detection from other cultivators. Those from the Devil's Doctrine used this to their advantage then and entered various countries of the Central Plains, or entered the state and formed three generations of senior statesmen. It was rumored that some entered the countryside and built up a large family. They set up a network so strong, that there were people from the Devil's Doctrine in the Imperial Center Administration of Tang empire and high positions in the West-Hill Divine Palace."

The old monk raised his head slowly and looked at him calmly, "If not for fear of the Academy and other Unknown Places, the Devil's Doctrine would have taken over the world when they came into their full power. They did not dare to do things against the will of the heaven. But would they leave any holes in their plots? No one would believe that, in truth, the Devil's Doctrine had paid a heavy price to unveil the Priest hidden in the Judicial Department of the Divine Hall for decades at the bloodshed at the Lanke Temple."

Ning Que frowned and asked, "What has the bloodshed at the Lanke Temple to do with the Academy and Youngest Uncle?"

The old monk sighed once more. His sigh was bellied with pity as he said, "The Devil's Doctrine's bloodshed at the Lanke Temple during the Yue laan hungry ghost festival looked as if they were going against cultivators on the right Taoist path. But in actual fact, it was against the officials of the Tang empire. But they had wanted to provoke Crazy Ke, so their actual targets were the poor women who only knew how to dance from the Tang empire."

Ning Que tensed up when he heard that. He had heard from Second Brother that Mistress Jian and Youngest Uncle were lovers. He wondered if those dancers were the girls from the House of Red Sleeves. However, since Mistress Jian was well alive and would occasionally give him a rough dressing down, who had died then?

The Devil's Doctrine had paid a heavy price for this scheme. They would certainly know who Youngest Uncle would barge into the Peach Mountain for. It was just like if he saw Sangsang lying in blood when he returned to the Lin 47th street and all the evidence pointed to the palace. He would not hesitate to bring his knife with him and barge through the palace gates and into the imperial study. He would tear up "The Flower Blooms on the Shore Astride" and cut the emperor into 365 pieces...

"But Youngest Uncle did not barge into the Peach Mountain. He destroyed the Front Gate of the Devil's Doctrine."

Ning Que looked at the man in the Bone Mountain and asked in confusion, "What went wrong in the Devil's Doctrine's plot?"

The old man sat in silence for a long while before he finally smiled. There was a myriad of emotions in his wizened smile. There were lament and shock, bitterness and a bit pride.

"There was nothing wrong with the plot that they set up. The whole world had thought that the Judicial Department of Divine Hall was the one who killed those at the Lanke Temple then. And there were no other thoughts on who else could have done it when the Elder who had been living in seclusion in the back of the Lanke Temple came out and accused the attackers, stating that they were from the West-Hill."

The old monk looked at him and said, "But Ke Haoran did not believe that."

Ning Que asked puzzledly, "Why didn't Youngest Uncle believe that?"

The old monk replied, "It would be difficult to fool someone like Crazy Ke."

Ning Que was shocked, and shook his head, saying, "This is not a reason."

The old man lamented, "I asked him the same question then."

Ning Que listened attentively.

The old monk smiled, "In this very same room, he said, 'Will I, Ke Haoran, be so easily fooled?'"

There was a moment of silence.

"And then?"

Ning Que asked. He supposed that every story had a continuation and an ending.

The old monk asked, with a bit surprising, "And then... does the world not know yet?"

Ning Que replied, "The storyteller is different, the content of the story might change."

"This story has a simple ending."

The old monk's voice grew even weaker. He said, "The Devil's Doctrine did not manage to fool Crazy Ke, so he went to the Front Gate of the Devil's Doctrine. The leader of the Devil's Doctrine was full of himself then. He was not overly fearful and simply thought that he would kill him if he came. Crazy Ke did not want to be killed, so he killed all of them."

He did not want to be killed, so he killed all of them.

This was such a simple statement, and the story was simple as well. However, the simpler one put the shocking past that resulted in annihilation and a history buried in past, the more alarming it was. After decades of years, only the old wizened monk and the countless bodies left in the main hall of the Devil's Doctrine bore witness to what had happened then.

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Ning Que looked at the old monk's deep-set eyes. "Why are you atoning for your sins? What have you to do with this?"

The old monk raised his slender arms. The cloth on his arms was ragged. He extended his fingers. The joints beneath the skin over his fingers were scary and looked like a pair of skeletal hands from the Underworld. However, the aura that exuded from his palms was silent and warm. It was benevolent, like two white lotuses fallen from Haotian.

The aura wielded in the white lotus Emblematic Gesture was abnormally strong and concentrated but not lethal. The bones around the old monk glistened with the flow of the aura and looked as if they were coming alive.

Ning Que stared at the old monk's hands before his abdomen and could feel the aura coming from within. He was shocked speechless. The power that the old monk had exhibited was of a state so high it could not be measured. It was the strongest he had ever seen in this life.

Mo Shanshan sat by the wall. She looked at the old monk's skeletal hands that had formed into Emblematic Gesture of white lotuses. She thought of what her teacher had said once, and could not help but allow the shock she felt made its way onto her face.

"There is a lotus in the west that landed in this world. It was born with 32 petals, and each petal is unique. They each make up a different world."



"I atone for my sins because the sins are mine."

"Because there was never any plot by the Devil's Doctrine. The plot was mine."

"The Priest from the Judicial Department was from the Devil's Doctrine. I knew about this many years ago. I knew what they wanted to do, but I did not do anything. I sat on the cold black seat and propped my chin up with my hands and watched them finish the matter quietly. Then, I found a suitable time and told Ke Haoran about it."

"But I underestimated Ke Haoran. I did not need to show him the evidence that I had kept carefully, and he knew that the matter was done by the Devil's Doctrine. That was great, so I sat quietly on the cold black seat and propped my chin up with my hands and waited for the moment to arrive quietly."

The old monk who was as skinny as a ghost sat on the Bone Mountain. His bony hands bore the lotus emblem and his eyes were gentle and benevolent.

Ning Que looked at him with wide eyes and asked in a trembling voice, "Who exactly are you? What did you want to achieve back then?"

This was the second time the old monk had heard the question. He lifted his head towards the skies slowly, jostling the chains in his belly. He made a clear sound, allowing the pain to show on his wizened face once more.

The old monk looked at the skies with a gentle gaze in his deep-set eyes. The white lotus flowers in his bony hands blossomed.

"I wanted to vanquish the Devil's Doctrine then. I wanted Ke Haoran to die. But he did not die despite the thunderstorm that was the Devil's Doctrine that I created with all my efforts and directed at him."

"As for who I am?"

The old monk retracted his gaze from the skies and looked at the two, "I am the judge."



"Divine Lord Lotus?"

A voice filled with disbelief sounded from behind suddenly.

Ye Hongyu, the Tao Addict, who was dressed simply appeared. She looked at the skinny old monk sitting on the Bone Mountain and the Emblematic Gesture he made. Expressions of joy and disbelief filled her face.

Mo Shanshan exclaimed at the same time, "Master Lotus?" 

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