“Master, you and the other Buddhist cultivators have lived beyond the world for so many years. Have you ever thought about returning?”
“Amitabha. Master, there is a great merit out here waiting for you. It’s all up to you.”
“I’m here because of selfish motives, but I do feel pity for the others.”
Sitting in the tearoom, Lin Luoran talks with Master Puji with sincerity. Puji looks kind and nice. Lin is sure that he must have been moved. Back in time, when Buddhism was prosperous, the Buddhist cultivators almost had the world.
Lin Luoran doesn’t belong to any schools so she has no problem with the competition between the Buddhist and the Taoist cultivators. The Taoist pursues perception and Reiki, and the Buddhist pursues faith and will-power. The Taoist and the Buddhist are so different that they should not even try to suppress each other.
Today, the world of cultivation has declined and the Reiki in the world are little. Lin Luoran can’t understand why the Buddhist cultivators still choose to do closed cultivation. If they pursue will-power, how can they have faith when they do nothing practical?
After the tea, the conversation is over. Zhixiu walks Lin Luoran out. When the door behind the bronze bell closes, Lin Luoran is not sure whether she has persuaded Puji or not.
Under the bodhi tree, Puji walks out of nowhere and makes a bow to Zhixiu.
Wind blows. Zhixiu catches a falling leave of the bodhi tree and smiles,
“Puji, what she said is reasonable. We should do what she asked us to do.”
Puji hesitates. Later, he nods and says yes.
Lin would be so surprised if she were here. Puji is in the same generation with Master Mu and he acts so respectfully to Zhixiu, a young monk. This is so strange.
Nevertheless, Lin Luoran is already flying in the mountains. There are not many people who can sense her cultivation in this area, so there is no need to hide.
She is going to Mount Putuo and Mount Jiuhua.
Lin is not going to Mount Emei, which is the nearest sacred place of the Buddhism to the R City. Mount Emei is so close to Mount Qingcheng and Lin Luoran doesn’t want to go anywhere around Huizhu.
“This is the material I translated. Please give them to Miss Lin.”
Rong Donglin gives a stack of paper to Ms. Lin. He can’t hide the tiredness in his eyes.
Both Mr. and Ms. Lin think highly of Rong. He always works hard and earnestly. Also, he gets along well with Luodong. Ms. Lin knows that Rong barely rests during the last a few days and there are so many blood shots in his eyes. However, Lin Luoran is not at home, so Ms. Lin feels inappropriate to keep Rong here. She takes the papers and sends him out.
The minute Rong steps out of Lin’s house, his cellphone rings. It is Yan Feng. Yan calls to ask him to go and visit Cai Liang’s girlfriend, who is in hospital.
The girl was bitten by a snake days ago and she is still in a coma in hospital. Rong has visited her once. Cai Liang has been in the hospital for days, waiting for his girlfriend to wake up. Hence, though Rong is quite sleepy right now, he can’t turn down Yan Feng’s invitation.
When he is thinking of which bus he should take, Lin Luodong shows up at the door.
Luodong says, “Donglin, where are you going? Can I go with you?”
Rong pats Luodong on his shoulder and asks, “Have you finished your homework?”
Luodong nods. Rong Donglin always gives Luodong the freedom to do what he wants to, so Luodong is sure that Rong will let him follow this time.
The two of them walk out of the lane, heading to the bus stop.
A red snake is hiding in the dark at the bus stop. When the door is closed, it jumps up to the roof. The sunlight in the afternoon makes it uncomfortable. The snake hisses and huddles itself up.
The red snake has been hiding near Lin’s house for quite a while. It doesn’t dare to come any closer because of Goldie. Now, it feels that the waiting is worthwhile.
Lin Luodong and Rong Donglin talk and laugh on the bus.
Mr. Lin comes back home and can’t find Luodong. He asks his wife, “Where is Luodong? He has been asking me to take him out to play for days. I think I have the time to take him to the square later.”
Ms. Lin goes to Luodong’s room and finds nobody there. Then she looks around in the front and the back yard. She starts to panic because Luodong is not here.
“Did he go out with Rong Donglin? It’s dangerous outside. What should we do? I must go out to find him.”
Mr. Lin is also worried, yet he comforts his wife, “They can’t be so unlucky. The city is large, and the chance of them being hurt by the snake is low. Rong Donglin is thoughtful. He will send Luodong home later.”
Ms. Lin is still anxious, but she stops worrying so much. However, for the next two hours, Ms. Lin feels that her eyelids keep twitching as if something bad is going to happen.
Certainly, Lin Luodong knows nothing about the concerns of his parents. He is young but thoughtful. He buys some fruits and gifts along the road to see Ruan.
Luodong knows that Ruan was bitten by a snake. There are some other patients who share Ruan’s incident. Luodong gets afraid when he sees that Ruan’s face look dark.
Families of other patients are crying in the hallway, so are Ruan’s parents. Luodong sympathizes their pain.
He wonders where the snake comes from and why it is so dangerous. Nevertheless, Luodong believes that his sister must be able to kill the snake. He wants to call his sister and asks her to help Ruan at least to catch the snake. In the meantime, Luodong doesn’t want to bother his sister because she may be doing something more important. Besides, perhaps his sister can’t do anything to help. Luodong hates to disappoint Ruan and her family. As a result, Luodong doesn’t bring his sister up.
At the hospital, Rong Donglin and Yan Feng can’t do anything but speak a few words to comfort Cai Liang. Cai seems to be so dispirited that Rong and Yan can’t even make sure that Cai heard them talk. Both of them are down when they leave the hospital with Luodong.
“If Ruan doesn’t come back from the coma, Cai will collapse.” Yan Feng says. He knows that the doctors haven’t found a way to cure these patients, and he can’t help being passive.
This is such a heavy topic. Rong Donglin sighs and says nothing.
Yan Feng changes into his happy face and says, “Come on, Luodong, I’ll introduce some pretty girls to you.” Yan Feng wants to get closer to Lin Luoran by building good relations with her brother.
Rong Donglin is amused. Yan Feng calls a taxi and asks Rong and Luodong to sit in the back seats and he sits in the front seat.
The red snake jumps up onto the roof of the taxi.
The sunlight is not so dazzling now. The snake feels more energetic. It spreads its body and hisses on the roof of the taxi. Those inside of the car notice nothing, but the people outside are frightened.
Yan Feng is talking about how nice the sushi restaurant on Chunxi Road is. Suddenly, the scream of the passengers on the road attracts his attention.
The taxi driver thinks that maybe something is wrong with his car. He wants to stop the car at the square nearby to check it in order to make sure of their safety. When the car is several meters away from the square, Luodong sees the tail of the red snake on the car window. He is startled,
It’s the snake!
Yan Feng knows that this is the poisonous snake which has hurt lots of people in the R City.
“Please don’t stop the car! Drive fast so that we can throw it off!” Yan Feng and Rong Donglin are anxious because Luodong is in the car. However, the driver is a coward. He gets so scared that he drives into the square and steps on the brake—
The driver opens the door and runs out. The second his head is out of the car, the red snake bites him on the face. He falls down on the ground. Yan Feng gasps, “Let’s go!”
Rong Donglin pushes the door open and helps Luodong Out. Yan Feng follows them closely. The red snake stares at the three of them coldly. It stays on the driver’s body and stops moving.
People on the square are all scared by the taxi which comes from nowhere. They notice the red snake and run away while screaming. Recently, so many people were hurt by the snake. No one dares to go any closer.
Running in the crowd along with Rong and Yan, Luodong feels that his heart is pounding so quickly. Luodong is only twelve years old. No matter how many bizarre things he had seen before, he can’t help getting scared.
“Shit! Why is the snake following us!”
Yan Feng looks back and sees the red snake behind them.
“Donglin, we should split up!”
Yan is usually not a brave person. However, in this situation, he must think for Luodong.
Rong Donglin nods. The three of them split up. Then they find that the red snake is actually after Lin Luodong. Rong turns around and goes after Luodong. Yan Feng has no choice but to join them.
This snake clearly wants to bite Luodong. Other people on the square all run in different directions from Rong, Yan, and Luodong. Later, the three of them arrive at a wall. There is no other way for them to run.
“Shit! Luodong, have you done anything to the snake before? Why does it keep chasing us?” Yan Feng says, looking around. He sees that some sticks are in the garden and pulls them out.
Lin Luodong’s face is pale. He can’t understand why the snake keeps chasing him. He pulls out one stick for himself and another one for Rong.
The red snake hisses. Standing against the wall and holding the sticks, the three of them are not so scared than before.
Yan Feng tries to comfort Luodong, “Don’t be afraid… This… This is just a small snake. We will be able to beat it.”
Small? The red snake seems to understand what Yan just said. Within a few seconds, its bones crack and the snake grows larger and larger. It soon becomes a bucket-wide, meters-long huge snake!
The giant snake looks down at the three people in front of it. Its saliva drops on the ground and burns a hole in the cement floor.
One of the bystanders on the square looks at the red giant snake and wonders, “Is this the shooting site of a sci-fi movie?”
Seeing that the giant snake only stare at but doesn’t attack people, lots of passengers stop by the street nearby and watch. The journalists from the local TV station even arrive earlier than the police.
After the red snake grows bigger, it can’t hide its cultivation anymore. Goldie, who is resting on the island in Lin’s backyard suddenly senses the anger of the snake. It flaps its wings after locating the snake and flies into the sky.
Ms. Lin notices Goldie’s strange behavior. The TV show playing on RTV II is suddenly changed. On the TV, the news presenter is speaking in an exciting and scared voice, “Hello everyone, this is RTV II, we’re now looking at…”
The camera guy starts to shoot the giant snake. Ms. Lin is frightened. She pats herself on the chest to calm down. Suddenly, she sees two people in front of the snake on the TV— It’s Luodong and Rong Donglin!
Pah… Ms. Lin accidentally breaks the glass plate on the table.
“Lin, hurry up! Look at this!”
Mr. Lin stares at the television for a few seconds. His face becomes pale. Suddenly, he turns around and runs outside before Ms. Lin stops him. Anxiously, Ms. Lin gives Lin Luoran a call.
Lin Luoran’s phone is off.
Ms. Lin falls on the ground.
God. What should she do?