At the same time, Gui Yuanzhang’s team entered the door of the ‘gods realm path’. The scene behind the door surprised everyone.
After approximately 50 meters of darkness, they came to a spacious area. The space that was the size of a basketball court was filled with many bronze ‘Buddha statues’ of various shapes. There was a circle of Eternal Flame Lamps lit around them, making this place brightly lit.
There was a cushion and incense burner placed in front of each Buddha statue. It was apparently for kowtowing and offering incense.
Taking a closer look, they could see that one of the Buddha statues had a small deer with it, one was holding Buddha beads and another was holding a bowl similar to those for almsgiving. Others were holding a pagoda in their hands, carrying scriptures, riding an elephant, carrying a lion, raising their hands, bowing their heads to meditate, carrying a cloth bag, holding banana fans or had eyebrows as long as beards…
There were all types of bronze statues placed in a circular pattern in the grand hall and it looked lively.
The group looked at each other. The hall was enclosed and there was no obvious exit. There were two options at this time. First, they had encountered a dead end and needed to go back. Second, they had to find the hidden mechanism of this hall to open a door leading deeper into the labyrinth. Clearly, the second one was more likely.
Ye Qi scratched his head as he examined the Buddha statues. “Among the Buddhist statues, I only know ‘Guanyin Bodhisattva’ and ‘Tathagata Buddha’ from Journey to the West but I don’t know the others… do you know them?”
“I’m not familiar with them.” Shao Qingge shrugged. He was an atheist. In reality, he set up his own funds company and believed that the key to a person’s success was whether they worked hard or not, not God’s blessing. Therefore, he never went to offer incense when passing by temples. Like Ye Qi, he only knew those from Journey to the West that he had seen in his childhood. He was completely ignorant of the other gods.
Fortunately, Gui Yuanzhang recognized these bronze statues. “The bronze statues in this hall are the 18 Arhats. For example, this is the Deer Sitting Arhat. This one is the Meditating Arhat, the Scratched Ear Arhat, the Calico Bag Arhat, the Laughing Lion Arhat, the Overseas Arhat…”
There were 18 Arhats and Gui Yuanzhang actually called out all of them in one go.
Chu Huaying glanced at him with surprise. “Old Gui, do you believe in Buddha?”
Gui Yuanzhang smiled. “There are some things you believe in and some you don’t believe in.”
He didn’t answer directly but Shao Qingge thought that Teacher Gui obviously believed in Buddhism. How could ordinary people clearly call out the names of the 18 Arhats? Moreover, when Xiao Lou mentioned the six paths of reincarnation earlier, this senior obviously knew about it.
Shao Qingge looked at Gui Yuanzhang. “Senior, do you have a solution to the mechanism of this room?”
Gui Yuanzhang murmured softly, “The ‘gods’ in Buddhism are the Arhat, Bodhisattva and Buddha in order of status. We have met the 18 Arhats now. My guess is that after unlocking this room, in the next room we might encounter the high status Bodhisattvas or even Buddhas. According to the theory of the six paths of reincarnation, those who can enter the gods’ realm have done many good deeds during their lifetime. So in theory, this room shouldn’t have mechanisms that are too dangerous.”
Then he took a step forward and calmly kneeled on the cushion. The other team members didn’t dare move and just stared at him. They saw Gui Yuanzhang put his hands together, bow to the statue in front of him, get up and kneel down again…
After completing the three kneeling and three prayers worshipping Buddha ceremony, the bronze statue in front of him changed its direction slightly. His teammates were overjoyed.
Ye Qi couldn’t help exclaiming, “It seems the solution to this room is to kneel to worship Buddha?”
Gui Yuanzhang nodded. “It is a pressing mechanism.”
Long Sen and Qu Wanyue exchanged looks. The two of them hadn’t been able to speak before but now when they heard this, Qu Wanyue asked softly, “Senior, there are 18 Arhats. Do we have to kneel down and worship them all?”
Gui Yuanzhang answered lightly, “It should be. Please come and do so.”
The team members quickly kneeled in front of different Arhat statues and copied Gui Yuanzhang’s actions of kneeling and praying three times. There should be a pressing mechanism under each cushion. After kneeling, the corresponding bronze statue rotated a bit.
Once the six people finished worshipping the 18 Arhats, there was a flash of golden light in front of them. A melodious Sanskrit sound entered their ears and the scent of sandalwood wafted through the air.
The 18 Arhats moved and a door opened behind them. It was a wide corridor covered with red carpet, both sides lined with bright lights. There was so much light here that there was no need for the Night Pearls.
Gui Yuanzhang stood up. “Keep going forward. Xiao Ye, please report to Professor Xiao about our situation.”
Ye Qi nodded and pressed on the voice headset to speak. “Professor Xiao, how is your progress? We met something similar to a Buddha hall. There were 18 Arhat statues inside and the way to unlock the mechanism was to kneel on the cushions in the front of the statues. We have unlocked the mechanism and are about to continue.”
After hearing Ye Qi’s voice, Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang exchanged looks. The scene in front of them made the six people feel cold. Xiao Lou thought in his heart, ‘Your side is the 18 Arhats while our side is the 18 hells.’
In front of them was the first level of the 18 hells, the hell of tongue ripping. The walls of the entire room were covered with tongues of different lengths, making people feel numb. Xiao Lou wanted to talk but found he couldn’t make any sound. Yu Hanjiang, Old Mo, Liu Qiao, Lu Jiuchuan and Tang Ci were also in the same situation. Everyone opened their mouths and tried to speak, but found they had completely lost their voice!
Lu Jiuchuan calmly pointed to his mouth and then the tongues on the wall. The meaning was obvious. This was the hell of tongue ripping so they were affected by the punishment and temporarily lost their ability to speak. Yu Hanjiang nodded at his brother and made a ‘go quickly’ gesture.
Ye Qi was still asking through the headset, “Professor Xiao, what is the situation over there? Can you hear me?”
A long absence without any response could worry the team members on the other side. Xiao Lou helplessly summoned Qin Guan and used Heart has a Tacit Exchange of Romantic Feelings to connect with Ye Qi.
Ye Qi received the invitation and immediately accepted it. Immediately afterward, Xiao Lou’s voice was heard in his mind. “We are in the 18 hells and have reached the hell of tongue ripping. We can’t speak. Tell Senior Gui to be careful. There are likely to be illusions everywhere in this labyrinth.”
Ye Qi was startled and immediately reported the situation to Gui Yuanzhang. “They are in the hell of tongue ripping and no one can speak.”
Gui Yuanzhang frowned and pressed on the headset. “A realistic scene of hell actually appeared… you should take extra care. In order not to distract you, we won’t contact you for the time being. If there is danger, we will withdraw directly to the Peach Blossom Spring.”
The moment Gui Yuanzhang’s voice was heard, Xiao Lou’s waist was tightly pulled. The next moment, Yu Hanjiang brought Xiao Lou directly into his arms while activating the Light as a Swallow card simultaneously as he flew into the air. At almost the same time, the tongues on the wall suddenly extended and swept fiercely toward where Xiao Lou had just been!
Proofreader: Paranoid Kitten & Fictional Reality