The fierce merchant looking like a butcher had a pained expression as if he was a little girl that got bullied recently.
Li QIye ignored him and looked outside: “The scenery is especially nice.”
This statement was certainly incongruous due to the harsh environment. The sun here could drive people crazy.
“Right, peaceful and good for the soul, nothing to worry about.” Strangely enough, the merchant agreed and nodded repeatedly.
Who knows if the two of them actually thought that this perilous place was beautiful? A third party would certainly think that they were crazy.
“The scenery inside is even better.” Li Qiye said, completely aloof of the situation.
“Right, Buddhist serum gushing everywhere just like a heavenly kingdom.” The merchant touched his sparse hair and said with a touch of yearning: “It’s a shame that I was born in the wrong era, unable to see the prosperous kingdom. Amitabha, how enviable.”
“True, you could have been a wise monk just by putting on a kasaya given your bald head. Then you can go up the altar and start chanting mantras to save all living beings.” Li Qiye said.
“Customer, I consider this an insult.” The merchant placed his palms together and said: “Even if I have the jieba on my forehead, I’ll still be a terrible monk that eats meat and drinks, not a wise one at all.”
“So what if you drink and eat meat?” Li Qiye stared at the horizon and said: “Even a heinous villain can become a Vajra.”
“Amitabha. Put down the blade and become a Buddha.” The monk chanted while lowering his head.
“Unfortunately, I don’t believe in that at all.” Li Qiye responded: “Those who deserve death should die, repentance and striving for good aren’t enough.”
“Customer, who do you think deserves death then?” The merchant actually put on a dignified expression - a clear contrast to his brutish one prior.
“Whoever I deem so.” Li Qiye replied.
“Isn’t that tyrannical?” The merchant pondered for a bit: “Perhaps only the high heaven can judge, it’s not our responsibility.”
“The high heaven is the high heaven, nothing to do with me. I will kill whoever I believe deserves to die, the high heaven included.” Li Qiye said.
The merchant became startled. Those who understood the underlying meaning of this phrase would feel the same way and considered this as sacrilegious.
The merchant didn’t refute the statement and carefully pondered.
“I can’t say I understand. I’m just a vulgar merchant.” He eventually shook his head and said helplessly.
“Vulgar or not, I know that you're a cautious and prepared person, no?” Li Qiye smirked, seemingly implicating something.
“Ah…” The merchant said: “No way, there’s no point in being cautious at this tiny shop, nothing is worth a single coin here.”
Li Qiye didn’t bother responding but the merchant maintained a distance from him. He seemed to be thirsty and drank more water.
“Do you think there are ghosts to the south?” Li Qiye suddenly changed the topic.
The merchant paused for a bit before swallowing the water. He got his fill then wiped his mouth with his sleeve after a loud belch. “I’ve never seen ghosts before but the south is indeed a little strange. Some unknown creatures have crawled out.”
“So you have done some research?” Li Qiye stared straight at him.
“Nothing grand like that.” The merchant waved his hand and humbly said: “I’m just trying to stay alive, that’s more than enough for me.”
“But the sages of Buddha Holy Ground might not share the same thought.” Li Qiye suddenly brought this up.
The merchant’s expression became frozen. He eventually shook his head and sighed: “Future descendants can’t understand the goals of the sages. Speculations are merely in vain.”
Li Qiye chuckled and dropped the topic.
“Customer, you’re heading south?” The merchant asked.
“Indeed.” Li Qiye looked in that direction. It seemed as if he was already looking at it.
“It’s not that easy to get there. May I ask for what reason?” The merchant said.
“To end a few things.” Li Qiye casually responded.
The two remained vague as if there was no need for words. Their manners and expressions said it all.
“What about you?” Li Qiye glanced at the merchant.
“Just trying to make some money for food. It’s not that easy nowadays. Start early and come home late at night, afraid of meeting ill-intended people on the way. I’ll lose everything if I’m not careful.” The merchant said.
“There are many transactions.” Li Qiye smiled and said: “For the high heaven, the nine heavens and ten earths are nothing more than merchandise on the counter.”
“Someone as brutish like me can’t understand what you’re trying to say.” The merchant smiled wryly.
“Fine, since you have prepared a stand, take out a few items. I’ll see if I want them.” Li Qiye said.
“Oh, I almost forgot.” The merchant slapped his head and said: “Look, I’m so absent-minded now, it’s been a long time since I had a conversation with someone.”
He didn’t have that many things, only enough to fill a cloth bag. He placed them on the stand in a careless manner, virtually just tossing them up there.
“How about this bronze thurible?” He held up the thurible. It was exquisitely made with some viridity on the edges, looking a bit old.
“I found it from the Buddhist land. The moment I dug it up, golden spring and sacred lotus materialized. The smell of incense permeated along with Buddhist mantras. I’m confident that it is a priceless treasure. There are rumors about the abandoned land having things from the previous epoch, I’m sure this is one of them.” The merchant swore.
“This is indeed from that previous era but it’s not a treasure, just a regular thurible.” Li Qiye took one glance and said.
“Then look at this one, supreme Buddhist beads from the western paradise.” The merchant immediately picked something else.
The beads were carved from wood. Each had the image of a Buddha with different expressions. They had the smell of sandalwood, seemingly being stored in a shrine for many years.
“I found it from the capital city, the heirloom of a great clan. It originated from Heavenly Dragon Temple. It was blessed by high monks for millions of years, capable of eliminating evil…” The merchant bragged about the Buddhist beads.
“It’s fake, just an imitation.” Li Qiye said dismissively.
“Imitation… really?” The monk became startled: “Damn that bastard, actually tricking me with a fake?! You messed with the wrong person. I’ll flay you… I’ll flay you good…”
The merchant shouted, looking to be in pain and resembling a meat butcher ready to kill someone in a maddening rage.
However, he cursed for a bit before choosing another item. He put on a smile befitting that of a merchant again.
He held a stone and introduced it to Li Qiye: “Customer, please look at this stone. It should be a meteor with a big origin. Back in the old era during the great disaster, the sky suddenly turned dark...
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