Chapter 1013: An Expert from a Buddhist Sect

The Hell of Sages and Mahātmās was right in front of him. Normally, hells wouldn’t shine with light, but this hell was different. It actually retained bits of deathless godliness.

Just as Yang Qi was about to drop down into the hell, he suddenly sensed an intense golden light behind him. Startled, and fearful that he was again being attacked with sword energy, he spun and found himself facing a person.

Specifically, it was a bald-headed monk, dressed in a fiery-red kāṣāya embroidered with complex golden designs and pulsing with a holy aura. He looked young, no more than eighteen or nineteen, but Yang Qi could sense that he pulsed with a power that could destroy the heavens and extinguish the earth.

‘This guy is incredible,’ Yang Qi thought. ‘Luckily, I have the Secret-Ensconcing All-World Anything-Everything Fundamental-Law Magic, as well as information about the buddhist schools given to me by Peaklord Memory. I shouldn’t have any reason to fear this guy.’

From what Yang Qi could tell, the monk was roughly on the same level as the Wretch God Apostle, with a psychic scale very close to ten and a power index near seven thousand.

Thanks to Yang Qi’s enlightenment of the Civilization Founding Grand Magic, the imperial-heaven pre-beginning systems, and the power assessment systems, he no longer needed the Cruiser of Civilization to make a general determination of how strong someone was.

“Please hold on a moment,” the young monk said as he approached, an amiable smile on his face. “I never would’ve imagined that I would run into a fellow cultivator in a place like this. Anyone who can travel to the Hell of Sages and Mahātmās is clearly beyond ordinary. Might I dare ask which sect you come from?”

“You flatter me, good sir,” Yang Qi replied with a formal salute. “I'm just a member of the junior generation who hasn’t even reached the Terrifying level yet. How could I possibly compare to a grandmaster like you? Which buddhist sect do you come from? Could it possibly be the recently flourishing Doom Sect?”

“The Doom Sect?” the young monk said, his expression flickering. “So, you’ve heard of them too, Young Hero?”

“According to the rumors circulating in the Great Necropolis, they recently challenged the Executors of the Ancient Road, and even captured one of their junior superintendents. Everything is in chaos because of them, and lots of sects are facing catastrophe.” Of course, Yang Qi was talking complete rubbish. He had handed the junior superintendent over to Sectlord Will Manifestation, then ordered the Wretch God Apostle to go to the vicinity of the Doom Sect to spread rumors, all in the hopes of luring out the Primeval Age expert with the God Legion Seal.

“So that’s how it is,” the monk replied. “I’ve also heard of that situation. However, after asking around, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s more to the story than meets the eye. In any case, I’m not from the Doom Sect, but rather the Dharma Sect, a superpower sect from the Ancient Road to the Gods. And my buddhist name is Dharma Treasury; the dharma describes the natural laws which strictly govern all things, and a treasury is something that contains all manner of creations.

“You see, my heart contains all kinds of creations, and my physical body strictly enforces all laws. In truth, law enforcement is about training one's personal dharma, not the dharma of others. Do you understand, Young Hero? Please don’t assume that my buddhist name is about magical powers or hoarding treasures.” [1]

“Brilliant, Grandmaster! You have my full respect!” Yang Qi could see that this young monk was both insightful and incredibly powerful, but at the same time, wasn’t the sort of person who went around killing and robbing others.

Virtually ninety-nine percent of cultivators were despicable, shameless, and black-hearted. They lived by the law of the jungle, so when they saw a magical treasure they wanted, they would simply take it with force. And most wouldn’t hesitate to ambush or murder their competition, or even harvest the souls of others.

That was simply how one cultivated the dao of immortals.

Yang Qi was no exception, although he did have his principles. Normally speaking, if someone wasn't threatening his life, he wouldn’t kill them. In that regard, he was actually very different from most cultivators.

That said, even immortal cultivators still weren’t devils. In the laws governing devils, there were literally no rules restricting killing. They carried out slaughter whether there was profit to be made or not. In fact, they would often kill for pleasure. To them, killing someone to rob them, and killing them for no reason at all, were essentially the same thing.

It was one thing to kill people for profit. But only devils killed for amusement.

“Which sect do you come from?” Dharma Treasury asked. “I'm really surprised to see a young one like you here on my journey to the Hell of Sages and Mahātmās. Nowadays, fewer and fewer young elite ones can be seen rising up from the various sects and clans. In fact, I don’t think I've ever seen someone like you.” Putting his palms together as if in prayer, he continued, “Before long, the big sects will be holding a meeting to talk about allying against the Executors of the Ancient Road. You would certainly make a big impression if you attended, Young Hero.”

“I'm from the Will Manifestation Heaven Sect,” Yang Qi said, returning the formal salute. “The Executors of the Ancient Road enslave other cultivators, treating them as little more than pigs or dogs. They’re truly evil, and resort to killing for almost no reason. Not too long ago, they actually came to our sect and demanded that we give them tribute of a hundred pieces of godhood per year. Thankfully, we were able to drive them away.”

“A hundred pieces of godhood?” Dharma Treasury frowned. “The executors are really getting too greedy, those sinners. Young Hero, why exactly have you come to the Hell of Sages and Mahātmās? The fiend-devils here are very, very strong. And they just got reinforcements from the Ancient Road to the Gods. From what I understand, they’re currently discussing how to establish a new kingdom of fiend-devils to seize universal fortune. You really shouldn’t be here, Young Hero. It’s too dangerous.”

“Actually, that's the very reason I've come,” Yang Qi said, although he actually hadn’t even heard of these developments. Obviously, he wasn’t going to reveal the true reason he was here: the Mahātmā Jade. “Not too long ago, a mahātmā fiend-devil joined forces with some other fiend-devils to cause problems in a temple in the Will Manifestation Heaven Sect. They rescued someone named Lord Blood River, and I got severely injured during the incident. The sect sent me here to investigate and try to find out what their larger plan is, and whether or not they’re going to make a move on the Immortal Dao Civilization.”

“I know a bit about Lord Blood River. You're truly bold to come here, Young Hero, even if it's at the behest of your sect. Well, since we've run into each other, I don't mind offering you my protection. You see, it's not for any righteous reason that the devils are gathering in the Hell of Sages and Mahātmās. No, they’re here to select a leader. And my mission here is to steal the command medallion of whoever they select. Without that command medallion, they won’t be able to keep order.”

“What? That’s what they’re doing? They’re going to select a leader? Fiend-devils are usually about as united as a dish of loose sand. But if they got organized and then went on the warpath, the consequences would be too horrible to contemplate.” Yang Qi frowned. “What exactly is this command medallion? Does it really have the power to keep the fiend-devils in order?”

“I'm not really sure. I just know that it’s a legendary piece of treasured jade that not just anyone can use. It came to be an authentication device in the dao of devils, so our sect plans to take it and have one of our senior monks destroy it. It shouldn’t be allowed to exist in the world. Since you have grand ambitions of your own, Young Hero, why not join me in my quest? We can accomplish great good together.”

“I'm duty-bound to fight fiend-devils, so of course I’ll help you, Senior.” Even as the bold words left his mouth, Yang Qi allowed a bit of sword energy to pulse out of him.

It was an imitation of Star Swordlife’s dao of the sword, which was of course filled with boundless life force and the power to save anything and everything.

Dharma Treasury’s eyes glittered. “As it turns out, Young Hero, you’re the epitome of life force and benevolence. Your dao of the sword contains the ultimate meaning of life force, and from that, I can tell that you are a merciful and kind person. The mercy of a buddha is the greatest blessing there is. Ai. It’s sad that you walk the dao of immortals, and thus cannot join our buddhist school....”

“Please forgive me, Senior,” Yang Qi said. “But I’m a member of the Will Manifestation Heaven Sect, and am not the kind of person who will forsake my sect.”

“I understand,” Dharma Treasury said, sighing. “Ai. I'm sure that one day, Young Hero, you’ll be an intrepid leader of others. I hope that when you are, you can continue on your path of life. That is the core essence of the mercy of the buddhist sects. In the end, it doesn’t matter whether you become a monk or not. The end result is what matters. Mercy; that is the dao of buddha. At least, in my humble estimation.”

“Thank you for your instruction, Grandmaster,” Yang Qi said. “Now, considering that there’s a big meeting of fiend-devils in the Hell of Sages and Mahātmās, how exactly are we going to sneak in? Do you have any ideas?”

“It won’t be hard at all,” Dharma Treasury said. “We’ll just disguise ourselves as fiend-devils. You surely have a technique that will let you do that.”

“Unfortunately, I don’t. Do you have something that could help?” Obviously, this was another deception. Yang Qi just wanted to see just what Dharma Treasury was capable of.

“Of course. I’ll teach you a zen art called the Five Rāja Transformations. You see, devils are just another aspect of buddhism. An enraged buddha will become a devil, and rājas are a type of devil. Draw on the zen art and let the devils multiply. Buddhas are devils, devils are buddhas.” [2]

As the words left his mouth, Dharma Treasury transformed. Enormous horns sprouted from his head, and scales rippled out to cover his body. A moment later, he looked like a powerful infernal.

He even pulsed with a devil energy that made him seem like a devil-god from the god world.

“You startled me, Grandmaster!” Yang Qi said in shock.

In the form of an infernal, Dharma Treasury said, “The Similitude of the Self; the Similitude of Men; the Similitude of Living Things. The Similitude of the Dharma is Nothing But a Shell. Commit that to memory, Young Hero, and prepare to receive this zen art!”

Suddenly, a flow of true energy and will connected to Yang Qi, causing him to physically transform. In the blink of an eye, he was exuding devil energy, and also looked like a smaller infernal.

“You truly are a font of wisdom, Young Hero!” Dharma Treasury exclaimed. “You mastered the art in moments!”

1. There is some wordplay here that doesn’t quite come across, as the character for “dharma” can also mean “law” or “magic”, depending on the context.

2. In Buddhism, rājas are fierce spirits that guard temples or perform other tasks.

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