The duo was jolted after seeing all of these spectacles. They couldn’t tell reality from illusion or even if they were actually in this strange place or not.
“Stabilize your mind or you will never be able to come back.” Suddenly, Li Qiye’s voice rang in their minds like a wake-up call. Their lucidity returned as they sobered up.
They found that they were still down in the creek. The current was still quietly flowing along with the little creatures swimming about as if nothing had changed.
The three continued on this path for an unknown period of time.
Eventually, Li Qiye led them out of the creek. A gentle breeze brushed by and startled them. They found themselves on a flat plain, but just like before, they couldn’t determine if this place was real or not.
Fortunately, they didn’t go too far before walking to a pile of rubble. Countless bits of gravel were scattered on the ground, but upon careful observation, they turned out to be pieces of stone statues.
The rubble was quite sizable. As they went on deeper into the plain, the two looked at some of the broken statues. They had been destroyed beyond repair. There was simply no way of knowing what they used to look like. The two had a hard time imagining what had actually happened here in the past.
Eventually, they reached the inner part of these ruins and found a complete statue. It was quite tall, more than ten meters high. It had stood strong for countless eras, but these eras left their mark on it. Under the polishing of the years, it had become a bit gray.
Its slender contours and elegant clothing indicated that this was a statue of a woman.
However, the facial features of the statue had grown blurry under the polishing of countless years. There was no way to see through its facial features. Such a statue resembled something carved out of snow, slowly melting away with the passing of time. The vague lines and contours of the statue caused the woman’s face to remain a mystery.
The duo gazed at it carefully. They didn’t know whether the statue was initially like this or if it had been weathered by time, or if something else had happened to it.
Li Qiye stood before the statue without speaking. He stared at it in a daze, not blinking for a long time.
The other two couldn’t figure out what was so captivating about the statue or why Li Qiye was so fascinated by it. Nevertheless, they didn’t dare to disturb him.
After a long time, Li Qiye turned around and asked: “Are you two all right?”
The two were surprised and wryly chuckled in their minds. They should be the ones asking Li Qiye this. It was Li Qiye who stood there looking at the statue in a daze, not them.
Ye Tu shook his head and replied: “I’m fine.”
Li Qiye smiled a little while looking at two without saying anything.
Teng Jiwen asked: “Sir, earlier, was it real or fake?”
“What are you referring to?” Li Qiye clarified.
Teng Jiwen found that Li Qiye’s response was quite strange, as if they had incongruous viewpoints.
“The things we saw in the creek earlier.” He elaborated despite his slight confusion.
Li Qiye looked at him and replied: “Whether the images are real or fake depends on your dao heart. Real is fake and fake is real, false is also true and true is also false.”
After hearing this, both the youths were lost in the fog and scratched their heads like confused monks.
Li Qiye paid no mind to the two and took out a jade bowl. He whispered to it and performed a complex and strange ritual. It was a very ancient rite with a purpose unknown to even Teng Jiwen.
He whispered for a bit and the ceremony ended with him raising the jade bowl over his head.
At this time, one could hear the splashing of water. Two very small streams of water fell down from above, into his bowl.
Ye Tu murmured: “The statue is crying…” The two of them looked up to see tears coming out of the statue.
They were quite moved and stood there in a daze. They suddenly saw an illusion of the statue being alive. At this point, it was not something made out of stone or marble, it was a living being sealed in this location.
At this point, they could no longer tell the nature of this statue before them.
Once Li Qiye’s bowl was filled, the tears stopped and Li Qiye carefully put it away.
Ye Tu curiously asked: “Young Noble, what is that?”
Li Qiye looked at the statue and said: “Mortal Tears, the tears of compassion and pity for the common people. It can stimulate someone’s desire for life.”
Li Qiye came for this bowl of tears in order to replenish the Peacock Tree’s life.
He glanced at the statue and said: “Let’s go. We have obtained what we needed, there’s no point in insisting on something we can’t obtain.”
With that, he turned and left with the duo trailing behind him. They exited the heap of rubble.
“What a shame.” Li Qiye spoke from the lead: “I thought the two of you would be able to see something after coming here or at least obtain a little fortune. It seems like this was not meant to be.”
“A fortune?” Both of them were surprised. They thought he only came for the Mortal Tears.
“Yes, a kind of opportunity.” Li Qiye explained: “If you two were fated, then you would have been able to see something, especially about these statues. Alas, there were no such visions. This means that it was not predestined.”
Their eyes darted to each other. At this time, they realized why Li Qiye was being so abstruse earlier. After realizing this, the two quickly turned around. However, the ruins were no more and even the flat plain was gone. There was only a vast emptiness.
This sudden development badly frightened the two. From start to finish, they didn’t know that they were standing in the void. They couldn’t believe their own eyes at this moment.
“Don’t look, one can’t force a missed opportunity.” Li Qiye flatly said while walking in front.
The two felt regretful after hearing this. They didn’t know that they had given up an opportunity, one that was skirting next to them.
Ye Tu couldn’t help but ask: “Are there any other fortunes and opportunities here?”
“It is different for everyone, so what they meet is different as well. There is no way of forcing this matter. Your inability to see the fortune means that you haven’t reached the necessary level.” He turned to look at Ye Tu: “However, in this place, there is a higher number of opportunities for the charming spirits.”
After hearing this, Ye Tu suddenly connected the dots and blurted out: “Young Noble, are you saying that the young Immortal Emperor Gu Chun also came to this place?!”
Li Qiye only smiled without replying.
The two were lamenting. After all, they had missed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Li Qiye spoke: “There’s no need to feel bad, it isn’t something that can be forced. Not everyone can become Immortal Emperor Gu Chun, there is nothing you can do about it.”
The two of them could only sigh. Li Qiye had already shown great kindness by taking the two of them here. It was their own lack of ability that made them miss this chance.
“Jiwen, I have taught you what I can, so I have done enough for your citadel and that old geezer Sunflower.” Li Qiye continued: “But as for Ye Tu, since you have been helping me out and took the time to come here, I will help you obtain something.”
After hearing this, Ye Tu hurriedly answered: “To assist Young Noble is what I should do. If I dared to neglect my duty, the schoolmaster would have broken my bones. How could I dare to seek something from you?”
Li Qiye gently waved his hand and said: “Every cause has an effect; I will not let people who help me do so for nothing. It would be foolish to not take readily available treasures, I am only presenting Buddha with borrowed flowers, that’s all.” 1
Ye Tu had no response to this and only scratched his head.
Teng Jiwen, on the other hand, had nothing to say. He didn’t think that Li Qiye was being unfair. What Li Qiye had passed down to him was more than enough for a lifetime.
1. To win favor or influence using someone else’s property.