After a day of travel, everyone could see some half-eaten carcasses of wild animals along the road. Signs of a big battle taking place could also be noticed; it was all very messy.
“Throne Master, the natives might have been gathered here!” Gao Xianzhi’s said, his expression flickering.
Gu Hai nodded his agreement.
“Ah, I remember this place!” Little Rou suddenly shouted.
“This mountain…I remember this mountain. If we cross this mountain, we can see the herb garden that I used to guard! The Carefree Valley!” stated Little Rou, pointing at a mountain peak.
“Let’s go!” Gu Hai’s party quickly ran in that direction.
Everyone rapidly climbed their way to the peak and looked towards the far side together.
However, all they saw was a huge, charred mountain valley. It looked like a raging fire had burnt everything down. At the base of the mountain valley, there were some buildings as well. However, at this moment, they were almost on the verge of collapsing. The herb garden that Little Rou spoken of had been razed to the ground.
“It’s here, but it’s all burned down!?” said Little Rou, surprised.
“Everything here must have already been looted. There is nothing here!” stated Chen Tianshan in a regretful tone.
“Throne Master, something isn’t right, where are the corpses? According to Little Rou, there should be a town of a thousand people? There isn’t even a corpse here?” Gao Xianzhi asked, puzzled.
“Yeah!” Gu Hai narrowed his eyes as he inspected the surroundings.
“Right, benefactor, as a matter of fact, there is still a place here, inside which there is a good thing which cannot be carried!” Suddenly, Little Rou’s expression flickered as she said.
“There is a spring which only the Valley Lord could enjoy and that too only once a year. I seemed to have heard that bathing in this spring can enhance one’s cultivation!” said Little Rou.
“Spirit pool? There is spirit pool here?” Chen Tianshan’s eyes went wide.
“What’s a spirit pool?” Gu Hai asked curiously.
“It’s a naturally formed Spirit Convergence Array and can gather a lot of Spirit Qi in the spring, and not an iota of Spirit Qi will leak out. However, as long as one bathed in it, the Spirit Qi would all be squeezed into one’s body and help one’s cultivation. Moreover, the Spirit Qi inside the spirit pool is warm and will not lead to any sequelae!” explained Chen Tianshan in a rather excited manner.
“Where is the spirit pool?” Gu Hai looked at Little Rou.
“It’s inside a cave behind this mansion; it’s hidden very secretly. I will lead benefactor there!” Little Rou beamed with joy as she could finally help her benefactor.
The group quickly made their way into the mountain valley.
In the charred mountain valley, everything was falling into pieces. Among these ruins was a big mansion, and half of it had collapsed too.
“Throne Master, please look there!” suddenly, Gao Xianzhi’s countenance changed as he said.
Inside the tattered mansion, a few hundred corpses were lying around and all of them were charred and cut into pieces. All the corpses seemed to have been gathered here.
“All the corpses are gathered here?” A sliver of surprise appeared on Chen Tianshan’s face.
Gu Hai’s eyes immediately focused as he became vigilant; he quickly turned his head and check the surroundings.
“Throne Master, there is nobody inside the valley, we already checked it from the mountain!” Gao Xianzhi stated, furrowing his brows.
“Then, who gathered all these corpses here?” Chen Tianshan was perplexed.
Gu Hai’s eyebrows twitched before he took a long, deep breath and said, “Let’s first go to the spirit pool!”
“En!” everyone nodded with mixed emotions gripping their hearts.
After everyone crossed the mansion ruins, a hidden cave suddenly came into view. In the surroundings of the cave, there was a pile of charred woods, seemingly when the fire came burning down, the charred woods had blocked the cave entrance; preventing anyone from discovering the cave. However, at the moment, the charred woods had been removed, and there were also some footprints on the ground.
“It’s here!” cried Little Rou.
Gu Hai and Gao Xianzhi, on the other hand, squinted their eyes and became vigilant as they stopped.
“Let’s go!?” Chen Tianshan shouted.
“Someone had gone inside, or maybe, someone is inside!” Gao Xianzhi said in a solemn tone.
“Someone?” Chen Tianshan’s expression flickered as he also raised his guard.
The moment the three humans and a serpent raised their guards, a sound suddenly came from inside the cave.
The voice was rather loud yet when it rang in everyone’s ear, they only felt a sense of peace, as if they were listening to the sound of Buddha. In the blink of an eye, everyone became calm.
In contrast, Gu Hai’s countenance changed as he became ever more vigilant.
Gradually, an old monk dressed in kasaya walked out of the cave. The old monk’s visage was full of mercy. The monk was also carrying a corpse in each hand, it seemed that they had died long ago. The corpses were covered in bruises. Looking at their faces, they should have died of suffocation.
“So it was Throne Master Gu, how rude of me!” the old monk said with a slight smile.
“Does great master know me?” asked Gu Hai as the look on his face flickered.
The old monk took a look at Little Rou in Gu Hai’s arms and said with a slight smile, “The heavens care for every living thing. Throne Master Gu punished the evil just for an unrelated snake! How could this Lowly Monk not remember it?”
Gao Xianzhi and Chen Tianshan looked at each other. Just as they entered this small world, they encountered a group of people surrounding Little Rou, and this monk was in the crowd?
“May I ask grand master’s name?” Gu Hai said respectfully.
“This Lowly Monk is ‘Lian Sheng’!” the old monk replied, smiling.
“Greetings, Grandmaster Lian Sheng! I wonder if these bodies were gathered by Grandmaster Lian Sheng?” Gu Hai asked curiously.
“That’s right. Everyone, please wait a moment, there are still two bodies remaining for me to gather for their burial!” Grandmaster Lian Sheng stated with a smile.
“Alright!” Gu Hai nodded.
Slowly, Lian Sheng walked to the ruins of the mansion and placed the two corpses inside with the others.
“Throne Master?” Chen Tianshan looked at the cave rather anxiously.
Gu Hai only shook his head instead; indicating that Chen Tianshan should be patient.
Suddenly, the old monk took out a Khakkhara with the flip of his hand, which he fiercely slammed into the ground.
As the Khakkhara thunderously slammed into the ground, a burst of golden light bloomed from the Khakkhara and blanketed the surrounding ground.
BANG BANG BANG!
Gradually, the ground collapsed at the center as the heap of corpses in the mansion slowly sunk into the ashen soil. Thereafter, the mud in the surroundings surged towards the center; slowly the mansion was buried, forming a huge barrow.
“Impossible, who is this person? That’s…that’s a magical equipment!?” Chen Tianshan shouted in surprise.
“What about it?” Gu Hai looked at Chen Tianshan.
“Throne Master, in this small world, everyone’s cultivation is suppressed to the Xiantian Stage, but activating that Khakkhara with the cultivation of Xiantian Stage…! In fact, my Clear River Sect Chief cannot do it!” Chen Tianshan’s countenance turned ugly as he explained.
“You mean to say this person is more formidable than the Clear River Sect Chief? Or his magical equipment is more formidable than the Clear River Sect Chief?” Gao Xianzhi asked.
Chen Tianshan nodded with a complex expression.
“Ashes, to ashes. Dust, to dust. To the red dust, you have returned. Rest in peace, my friends. Amitabha!” Grandmaster Lian Sheng solemnly put down the Khakkhara before he put his palms together devoutly.
Suddenly, a breeze started to blow in from the surroundings.
“Grandmaster Lian Sheng, what are you doing?” asked Gu Hai, rather curiously.
Grandmaster Lian Sheng cocked his head to look at Gu Hai; he seemed to have a good impression of Gu Hao, for he did not take any offense and explained, “I am building a grave for them so that they can have physical sustenance!”
“Grandmaster, I heard that the people in here would be reincarnated after they died! Many of them do not care about their own lives, yet Grandmaster, why do you care so much for them?” asked Gu Hai inquisitively.
“They don’t care because they don’t understand! When they would come to understand, all will be too late!” Grandmaster Lian Sheng said, shaking his head.
“I am willing to listen to Grandmaster’s explanation!” Gu Hai begged curiously.
“You can’t see, but I can. There are eight-hundred-and-thirty-one ethereal souls standing here and being polite to me! They are grateful to me! Each grateful thought is a merit and virtue for me!” Grandmaster Lian Sheng explained with a smile.
“Eight-hundred-and-thirty-one ethereal souls? Here?” Looking at the huge barrow, an astounded look flashed across Gu Hai’s face.
“At every grave, an ethereal soul is standing; they are very lonesome, looking at the passersby, awaiting someone to hold a memorial for them. Because only when someone holds a memorial for them can they feel their existence. Can you understand how lonesome it is when no one can see you?” Grandmaster Lian Shen explained.
“Are the humans not getting reincarnated after their deaths? An ethereal soul standing at every grave? What does that mean?” Gu Hai asked, intrigued.
Looking at Gu Hai, Grandmaster Lian Shen remained silent for a while before continuing, “Since Throne Master Gu is compassionate, I can also explain it to Throne Master Gu. Have you heard that everyone has three ethereal souls and seven corporeal souls?”
“Yes, I have often heard of the three ethereal souls and seven corporeal souls!”
“The three ethereal souls are heaven soul, earth soul, and human soul! After humans die, the three ethereal souls will leave the body. The heaven soul would return to heaven, that is why humans often say that the souls of the deceased will go to heaven.
“The earth soul would enter the earth, which is hell; in other words, they would enter the hells and will be reincarnated eventually.
“Whereas the human soul would remain with the corpse, guarding it, accepting the Qi in the surroundings, blessing their descendants. If they are buried at a place rich in Spirit Qi, at a land with good fortune, their descendants would be blessed with fortune. If they are buried at a land with bad luck, at the place rich with polluted air, misfortune would befall their descendants!” explained Grandmaster Lian Sheng.
“Grandmaster, the three ethereal souls and seven corporeal souls aren’t reincarnated together?” Gu Hai asked, astounded.
All along, Gu Hai always believed that three ethereal souls and seven corporeal souls reincarnated together.
“Throne Master Gu, don’t you know when the humans die the ethereal souls will fly away and the corporeal souls will dissipate?”
“En? After death, the ethereal souls will fly away and the corporeal souls will dissipate!?”
“Right! The three ethereal souls act as yin and the seven corporeal souls act as yang, the seven corporeal souls are your physical souls; as your flesh decays, your corporeal souls will dissipate. The three ethereal souls are heaven, earth, and human! The earth soul can reincarnate, whereas the human soul is bestowed by the parents and is derived from their blood and thus, is connected to the human souls of their descendants. The heaven soul is bestowed by the Heaven and as such, it would return to Heaven after death, that’s why it is called the heaven soul!” Grandmaster Lian Sheng explained.
“So to say, the reincarnated people have the same earth soul as the one they had in their past life, only the two ethereal souls and seven corporeal souls are new? So everyone after reincarnating is not their previous selves?” Gu Hai’s expression flickered as he deduced the meaning of the monk’s words.
Grandmaster Lian Sheng nodded in agreement.
“Ah, I finally know why the Great Elder won’t allow anyone to commit suicide to reincarnate. From the very beginning, it was their previous-life memory, only the memories of their earth souls; once they are dead, they are gone! Every person is unique!” An astounded look blanketed Little Rou’s face.
Gu Hai’s countenance, on the other hand, flickered as he continued, “Grandmaster, if I want to resurrect after they die, is it possible?”
“Theoretically it should be possible, but it’s too hard to resurrect a dead person! The seven corporeal souls can be reshaped, but as for the three corporeal souls, that’s just too hard!” Grandmaster Lian Sheng stated, shaking his head.
“Well, how to explain?”
“Let’s take the human soul, they would always be guarding the grave! Then what about earth soul? It may have reincarnated! Then what about heaven soul? They heaven soul would have returned to heaven. You want to grab the soul from heaven? In the past, Elder Guanqi wanted to seize the heaven soul of his beloved, but unfortunately, as you can see, Elder Guanqi too ultimately fell!” explained Grandmaster Lian Sheng.
Gu Hai remained silent for a good long while. Happy and sad looks alternately flickered in his eyes. Several times, he wanted to say something, but he held himself back.
“Grandmaster, the human soul is always guarding its corpse?” asked Gao Xianzhi.
Grandmaster Lian Sheng looked at the nearby barrow and said, taking a long, deep breath. “The human soul is most vulnerable. Many things could lead to its demise; if their corpse is in the wilderness and eaten by a wild animal, the human soul will be devoid of its physical sustenance and soon will dissipate. After they are buried, they can gain sustenance from the grave and remain for a long time. But all kinds of accidents can happen; maybe one day they will be blown out just like a burning candle. There are many possibilities, I also can not clearly explain!”
“The human soul can also dissipate?” Gu Hai’s countenance became worse.
“It depends on fate. Everything is possible. Heaven cares for every living thing, but sometimes not everything is decided by the Heaven!” Grandmaster Lian Sheng said, shaking his head.
“Thank you, Grandmaster, for your explanation!” Gu Hai took a long, deep breath before he respectfully bowed and said.