One shouldn’t be criticized for choosing survival over all else during perilous times.
“Yes, self-preservation.” Li Qiye gently nodded: “It is rational; many people would do so as well.”
Li Qiye became quiet with a slightly disappointed expression after saying this.
The princess became a bit uneasy after seeing his attitude: “Young Noble, did I say something wrong?”
Li Qiye looked up and gently shook his head: “No, you’re right. Self-preservation is instinctive; any living being would do so. However, it is easier said than done on that day. One must pay a great price.”
He turned back towards the horizon with a pensive stare. The princess didn’t quite understand the vague comment.
After a while, Li Qiye continued: “Even a so-called ‘savior’ would fence for themselves. It’s already commendable that they do not sacrifice the heaven and earth and all existences. This type of masters should be praised.”
“Sacrifice everything!” The princess murmured in rumination and thought about the tales he told before. She thought of a terrorizing possibility, causing her mind to tremble!
In just a wink, she realized why Li Qiye kept on repeating, “don’t wait for a world savior!’
“Alright, no need to talk about this any longer.” Li Qiye withdrew his gaze and chuckled: “The reason why grasses can grow here is because many supreme overlords have blessed this place with their protection; trillions of existences shared an indomitable belief. This protective power and faith allowed this place to have life. However, the annihilative force was unimaginable and impossible to stop. Even the strongest of protection and endless faith couldn’t protect this world. These grasses are barely surviving. Unlike the grasses outside, they are born weak from the tribulation.” Li Qiye sighed and didn’t add anything else.
The princess became immersed in the might of this epoch and its amazing existences. Alas, they still became broken in the end.
“Come, to Buddhist Ridge we go.” He continued forward.
The ridge wasn’t too far from Imperial Change, only one hundred thousand miles. However, it was only the beginning of the plain. Only by crossing this path would one finally step into the plain and truly bask in its magicalness.
This was a majestic mountain range spanning for thousands of miles. But the shocking part wasn’t the geography, the buildings on top were much more magnificent.
Countless broken walls and ruins laid on top as far as the eyes can see. These ancient Buddhist temples were wonderful once. There was one, in particular, spanning for ten thousand meters. Just one pillar from it could reach the sky. Alas, they were mere ruins now. Only broken tiles were left behind in this tattered world.
Nevertheless, one could still imagine how lofty the place used to be. Perhaps this was a Buddhist kingdom with numerous holy monks cultivating and meditating. Unfortunately, all ceased to be here.
On this mountain was a stony path full of steps, starting at the base all the way to the pinnacle.
The two were right below in front of the path. While staring at it, one got the sensation that this was the path towards the grand dao. Though they no longer had the colorful lights associated with power, people would suddenly have a vision of many beings kneeling and worshipping in this place; one bow for each step.
“I, I just saw something.” The princess said with uncertainty. At her level, she wouldn’t see illusions easily due to her firm dao heart.
“That’s normal.” Li Qiye said: “If you were born in that era, when you stand here, not to mention your current cultivation, even as a low-level high God, you would already be on your knees, more than happy to kowtow once each step. Alas, too much time had passed and the destruction here was too much. It had destroyed the enlightenment here. Otherwise, you would be a Buddhist right now.”
“Such swift conversion? What kind of demonic art is that?” The princess felt a bit of dread after hearing this.
“Demonic art?” Li Qiye smiled and shook his head: “It’s the most righteous and orthodox path. If we were to compare it to an imperial art, then it would be at the apex in terms of profundity. It could convert someone after a split second due to the immense faith of the beings here. There is no forceful conversion here from one being to another, only the accumulation of faith in an entire epoch. Trillions of existences worshipping from one generation to another, full of sympathy, light, benevolence, and peace. After enough time, the will of one is only a bubble in the ocean, completely insignificant and so are you before it, a drop of rain in the sea, just going along with the flow.”
“Faith can become a dao?” The princess got a clue from this statement.
“Yes.” Li Qiye said: “Believe in my dao and I shall grant you protection. But this isn’t to say that I’m your savior, it is only a type of co-existence.”
“That’s why the Buddhist Plain has a protective power, one of faith.” The princess realized why this place was special.
“Go up, we’ll light an incense.” Li Qiye commanded.
The princess trod onward but there was one thing perplexing her. She opened her mouth but no words came out.
“Little lass, go ahead.” Li Qiye was amused by her demeanor.
“Young Noble, you would also offer someone your respect?” She finally let it out.
In her mind, he was a supreme overlord standing at the top of this world. Who would be worthy of him performing such a respectful gesture?
“It is showing respect for the sages of old.” Li Qiye took his time answering: “Despite a lack of a true savior, there were brave soldiers never violating their heart even at the darkest time of destruction. They are worthy of respect.”
“Never violating their heart.” The princess murmured.
“What do you think is a cultivator’s primal wish?” Li Qiye asked while she carefully took everything in.
She pondered in silence. For many cultivators, their first intent was to become an emperor.
“What about after becoming an emperor?” Li Qiye could read her thoughts.
She had no answer because she wasn’t one.
“A battle to the end.” Li Qiye said: “After stepping on this path, it means you will feel weak and want to grow even stronger. In the beginning, you want to become stronger than others. Next, you want to surpass your own limits and finally, to fight against the heaven and escape from the shackles of this world! That’s why you need to fight to the end. However, some have chosen to compromise on this path. Not everyone can continue forever. There had been majestic existences that eventually let go of their primal wish. But some decided to fight to the end, resulting in their death. The latter is worthy of respect.”
He gently sighed and continued: “This is why the dao heart is so important. Only a firm one would allow you to fight to the end. Without one, one day, you will only become an existence that you once hated.”
“The people that compromised, are they still lurking in the darkness?” The princess couldn’t help and ask with a shuddering voice. The answer could be frightening; something others didn’t want to face.
“We’ll go offer our respect. First, to greet the wise sages. Second, to see if we’ll get the blessing of the spirit butterfly.” Li Qiye didn’t answer her and continued forward instead.