Guanyin's Journey to the West Chapter 30: Nanhai


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He grabs me so hard as if I will disappear if he didn't do so, and we stumble toward the black bamboo grove in Nanhai.
This black bear has never been so worried since he came to Nanhai. I have a bad feeling, so I ask: "What happened?"
His body hair all stands up straight as he is running so fast. He pants and hurries to respond: "Bodhisattva, please check it by yourself!"
Since Huian left me, no one is there to sweep the leaves in the black bamboo grove. When there is a wind, the leaves will be swirled all over the ground. Three years of fallen accumulated leaves lay on the soil and every step on them makes a sound.
I walk and walk. A bloody footprint appears on a withered yellow leaf. I hurry to follow the footprints forward, running. Drops of blood accompany these footprints. I rush out of the black bamboo grove to see a giant white fox lying like a collapsed mountain in front of my lotus pond. Its white hair is all stained by blood like a painted canvas. It reaches my eyes and shakes my mind.
The sound of my steps is heard, and a person covered by blood struggles to stand up behind the corpse of the white fox. These eyes used to be bright but now they are dimmed. Even though he almost couldn't keep his balance, he still stumbles to me as he suddenly kneels down to the ground. His voice seems to be scratched by sandpaper: "Your disciple has broken the first precept. Here he begs for... a punishment from shifu."
He cannot keep his balance anymore as if these words from his mouth weigh thousands of kilograms. He falls forward.
I rush to support him but I didn't expect a sudden squirt of blood jetting from his mouth as I set him in my arms. Red blood dyes my white dress in no time, obvious like a pierce of wound.
His transformation fooled me to believe him to be okay, but without any more remaining power, he couldn't keep his pretence anymore.
I try to hold him up straight to find that all his tendons and veins broken. What a complete injury. I hurried to find the wounds on him but later I find out that he doesn't even have a wound outside. It is just all his organs have been smashed. If he didn't have a high cultivation, he would have lost his breath.
Streams of blood flow out from his seven apertures. He looks messy and scary as if he just came out from a blood pond.
I have seen countless deaths during my long life. I have let go life and death of whoever. Reincarnations and sufferings to me are like the four seasons to humans. This time, it is different. He is my disciple who I brought up. Since he came, I followed him everywhere to keep him safe. This bloody scene is peeling flesh from my heart.
I want to stop the bleeding but I can't even find a wound.
Buddha told me to have the six senses pure and clean and to cut off the seven feelings, but at this moment, I just want to keep him in my arms, just like what I did to him when he was little when he was close to a cliff and I was afraid to see him fall over, but it seems too hard for me to keep him now. He is like a body of falling and dropping sand in my arms. I cannot hold him with both my hands and he cannot be kept by my clenched fingers either, as if he just shrinks and sinks downward through the seams on my dress. I try to keep him but I have failed so many times trying to fish him up. His elapsing life is dissolving into the mud and it cannot be looted back to his wounded body.
At this moment, I hug him in my arms, as if he wasn't a grown young man or a troublesome disciple, but that kid who always smiles at me pulling my sleeves, who didn't even reach my waist but always shined on me with his clear eyes filled with stars.
Longnv runs over here and sees blood all over the ground. She screams: "Huian fellow!"
I shout back at her: "Go and ask for Dan medicines from Taishang Laojun in heaven! Take everything! Go!"
Longnv was absent seeing the ground, then she retreats as she sees me as if I was a monster. She shivers: "But, but, what do I do if he doesn't give me?"
I shout: "Then burn his palace and kill his disciples! Rob everything!"
Longnv is so scared and shocked and her eyes just turn red as the tear drops fall. She cries covering her face: "You, you aren't my Guanyin Bodhisattva..."
I am so annoyed seeing her useless like this: "Be off!"
Longnv cries and turns around running away: "I... I will go!"
I pick my breath back when she leaves. Then, I look at Shancai: "You--"
Shancai trembles and retreats as well: "I know nothing! I swear I know nothing! Huian fellow was like this since I came to the scene!" His eyes glared and frightened with tears. He sobs: "I don't know what happened! I really don't know!"
I say: "Where is your mind? Go get the water from my lotus pond to water your fellow. We must try everything to keep his soul in."
Shancai tumbles up from the ground and he hurries to scoop up a spoon of water. He shivers so much that half of the water is spilled.
Huian is choked by the blood he coughed out. He suddenly points at me as if he saw something extremely funny. Blood is still coming out from his seven apertures but he laughs loudly coughing as if he was not in pain: "Shifu shouldn't be angry like this...You...You have broken the precept as well..."
Wasn't this caused by you?
I haven't seen him smile or laugh for years. I didn't expect to see him laughing at this time.
If he cried, I would feel better. When he laughs, my heart is broken.
He doesn't stop laughing as if the pain didn't exist. His white teeth are bloody red, but his dimmed eyes are now overflown with lights. For a second, I thought he did all these on purpose to trick me.
Before I could talk to him, his laughter lowers down and stops. His tired eyes slowly shut down. I just hear him saying: "I will not die...I still have to receive the punishment..."
Although he has no strength left, he is so stubborn that he must finish his words: "The secret of Nanhai was told by me to the fox; I told him to steal the water in your bottle; it was all my fault, and just don't blame that black bear anymore; I doubt his brain is even as big as an almond; he knows nothing. I should be responsible for these..."
After that, he finally shuts his eyes with his last strength as if he has finished something of the most importance.
At the moment he closes his eyes, the dimmed eyes are covered. I couldn't help feeling that he just fell asleep as if he was back to that naughty child who tried to jump off the cliff, who tried to climb up to the tip of the bamboo and cried on half of the way hanging in the clouds...
When did he grow up?
When did he suddenly grow taller like a bamboo shoot? When did he lose his clear eyes?
He swept the leaves of the black bamboo grove year after year. There was something that was swept away by him each year. It was like a wild snake shedding off its skin each year in order to grow. He shed too many things off.
I always thought I knew everything to find out I knew nothing about how to be a shifu. I have no idea how to be good to a disciple. I have given everything I could give to him in order to let him grow up safely. How could this be so hard?
That year, I watched Nezha peel off the last flesh on his bones in front of his parents. He became bloody all over just to repay the kindness of the birth that his parents gave him. In this way, he could free his soul. Even such a little boy kept his eyes open under such a pain. From then on, I was always under the fear that Huian would one day be pushed to do things like that. I couldn't breathe.
I want him to grow to be what he wants to be. He shall do what he wants instead of being contained for his whole life.
Finally, it proves that I am a loser shifu. I was afraid to be like his dad so I let him do whatever he wanted. After I realized, he has been scarred all over.
Longnv is a good one. Five hundred years ago, Sun Wukong robbed Taishang Laojun's Dan medicines storage. Now Longnv has finished her robbery as well, leaving his palace empty of any Dan medicines.
Taishang Laojun with his calabash cries on the floor: "I am so old and shortsighted that those Dan medicines were crafted through my extra hard work..."
Longnv shows her sympathy and takes everything away.
I use these five hundred years of Dan medicines to sustain Huian's breath and to bring his body back to life. This brat doesn't know how much effort I have put on him. If his soul leaves his body, his soul of contaminated through the human world cannot be put into a lotus root body like what his three years old brother did in the past.
He doesn't appreciate my loving-kindness. I stand by him day and night since he came back. After he woke up, he just lays on my lotus flower laughing. I don't even know what is amusing.
What? You think it funny to cause troubles to Nanhai and to almost kill yourself?
I say: "You laugh? If I told this to your dad, I am sure he would give you a beating or more."
Huian's tendons and veins were broken and it takes time to grow them back. Now he is disabled and lays on a lotus flower. He cannot even move his neck. He looks at me with his eyes moved: "Shifu has said that shifu will be responsible for what I did. No matter how mad my dad is, he doesn't dare to beat Nanhai Guanyin."
When we talk, Longnv walks toward us with a bowl of medicine soup. I realize that since I shouted at her last time, she becomes super scared of me. I just look at her and she drops the bowl. Now she almost cries and shivers: "I will clean it right away!" She seems to be too scared to look at me: "I will go and get another bowl!"
After that, she runs away. I stare at her back figure with confusion.
I ask Huian: "Where did you go in those three years? Why did you hide from me?"
Huian cannot move and he looks at me for a while. Then, he half shuts his eyes smiling, and says with a low voice: "I told you, but you just didn't remember it."
I want to kill this brat.
He knows that when he put that lotus flower petal on his face, I wouldn't be able to see his past, future, or present. Now is he talking nonsense?
I almost laugh out of madness: "When? Where?"
Huian keeps his eyes half shut for a while. Then, he sighs and says: "In my dream."
He suddenly lifts up his eyes and bites the lips, struggling: "The black bear must have told you--the white fox lives on eating dreams. I learned how to enter dreams from them. However, I am not that good that I will always forget what happened in the dream. I can only keep some blurry memories in my mind. I thought you were all-knowing. In order to hide this from you, I had to negotiate with them in the dreams to let them steal the Dan medicines. Only the white foxes can remember things in the dreams. I thought this plan was perfect."
I want to kill myself now: "You learned magic spells from yokais?!"
Huian seldom sees me angry. He is shocked: "I stole with yokais; I killed; I caused lots of troubles; but all these didn't anger you. Why are you mad that I learned magic spells from yokais?"
I say: "Yes. I have taught you what I know, and you still went to yokais. This hurts."
Huian doesn't know what to say so he says: "Anyway, now you know I didn't lie to you. I didn't steal Lingji's things. I asked him in his dream and he agreed as well. He just didn't remember after he woke up. No one can blame me for that."
I: "...You have broken too many precepts and I don't even care to count."
As we are talking, Longnv has brought another bowl of medicine soup here. She quickly looks me over and stays far away from me. Then, she carefully hands the bowl to Huian.
Surprisingly, Huian says: "I am not drinking this. Now I am afraid that shifu will break my tendons and veins again when they are back. Just let me be like this."
Longnv is afraid of me but she is not afraid of Huian. She forces him to open his mouth and pour the soup in. She murmurs: "It is all your fault! Bodhisattva was so nice and kind in the past! Now you have turned him to be like this."
Then, she quickly looks at me again with panic and runs away with an empty bowl.
Huian almost choked to death and he tries to catch Longnv with his eyes: "You--"
There is no use. Longnv ran away already.
He finally recovers his breath and lays on the lotus flower looking above. He says with a light voice: "She has grown taller within three years."
Longnv runs to a distance and hides behind a pillar in fright. She pops her head out to peep at us.
She evades my eyes and disappears.
I sigh: "True. You were both little kids when you came. You are both annoying when you grow up."
Huian is covered like a mummy on the lotus flower. I ask: "Don't you know how many leaves we have got here? All three years of leaves will be yours. One day when you can walk, you will clear them away one by one, even if you have to pick them up."
Huian replies with a low voice: "Yes, shifu."
I have spent all my patience. I think he needs some personal time so I stand up to leave.
As soon as I stand up, he cries out on the lotus: "Ah! Shifu! Where is shifu! My neck broke! I cannot roll my eyes there..."
I want to ignore him and he continues: "Ayy, shifu, shifu! No good! My nose is running! My arms are broken and my legs too! I am going to be suffocated if you don't wipe for me! This will harm your fame if everyone knows that Guanyin's disciple died from a running nose..."
Why is this no good? I think it is great! Buddha has repeated it over and over that life doesn't stay the same. This is for both humans and deities. You as the first deity who will soon die from a running nose will be remembered.
I keep quiet and Huian cries out again: "No good no good! It is coming in! Kill me! I don't want to eat my own mucus..."
Enough, brat!
I have no choice but to get him up. He feels pain every time his body is moved, but he doesn't dare to annoy me so he just twists his face to keep his voice in.
I wipe his face with a cloth and sneer: "Oh? You as the disciple of Guanyin Bodhisattva and the prince of the Heavenly King Li learned the magic spell of entering dreams from yokais but didn't learn a spell to wipe your own nose?"
Huian says despondently: "I know I did wrong. I will accept any punishment."
I tell him with a gentle voice: "I will not beat you to death."
Huian sobs as he is moved by my words: "Shifu, why are you so nice to me..."
Then, I let him fall back to the lotus flower and say coldly: "Because you will die from your own mucus."
Huian: "..."
I look at his depressed eyes. I say to myself: I am really a loser shifu. I am probably the first shifu in the world who threatened his own disciple with a running nose.
Anyway, under my lectures, my disciple finally promises that he will cause no more trouble and he will treat every single word of his shifu with respect. Then, I rescue him before he suffocates. I am such a great shifu.
After I pulled him back from the edge of death, we sit facing each other. I look at my barely-breathing disciple and he stares at my hands as if I will drop him again.
When he finally calms down, I ask: "When did you meet that thief fox?"
Huian says: "A few hundred years ago. A long time ago."
I point at the mountain-like corpse of the white fox: "This one?"
Huian sighs lightly: "This one is the thief. The one I met hundreds of years ago was not this one."
"This is a long story.
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