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Backstory

        Chaos befell the realm of Humans. The Greek Gods’ plan failed, and chaos ensued, before finally spreading throughout heaven. At the same time, Dipankara was guarding the pure Vulture Peak with his disciples. Dipankara had ordered that should his disciples encounter any individuals in need, the victims were to be escorted up the mountain; he himself, on the other hand, lectured on the universal principle of all in the Abbey of Perfect Enlightenment. One day, one of the ascetics brought a gravely injured old man to the abbey; his injuries seemed to have been caused by a fall from great height. Dipankara personally requested an elixir from Taiyi Zhenren, and saved the old man’s life by steadying the pneuma within him. Dipankara allowed the comatose old man rest in the abbey and stayed beside him every moment. When the old man awoke, worry filled his expression; the wounds on his body prompted pained groans. Dipankara hurriedly channeled pneuma to ease the old man’s pain while explaining the situation to him.

        “Elder, one of my disciples found you in the barren lands. I did not realize you were a God until channeling pneuma to cure your wounds, and finding godly power within you Now that heaven is in war, how about resting here in the abbey, and plan your next step after you have recovered?”

        “Thank You for saving my life, Your Buddha-hood. But as a Court of Zodiac, I cannot leave my companions alone on the front line...”

        “Your injuries have not healed, what can you do to save your companions in your condition? How would you feel about letting me help?”

        The old man peered at Dipankara’s white hair, and his expression seemed to have calmed.

        “Then I had better wait until my body recovers...Please pardon me for my intrusion.” The old God lived in the abbey since then.

        At the time being, various crises erupted all across the realm of Humans. Ascetics from the Heavenly Kingdom were busy helping with the situation; Dipankara’s beloved disciple, Nezha, was also one of those out there, having left the abbey for some time. Dipankara began to be worried about aggression building in Nezha again. However, he could not ask Nezha to return for teachings, as the survival of the realm was a far greater responsibility. The so-called “Tao” was merely their school’s teachings; it could never override the intentions of the skies. Thus, what Dipankara could do was stay in the abbey and shoulder his own responsibilities.

        One day, the old God saw Dipankara meditating in the garden, and he decided to drop by for a conversation.

        “This is indeed a nice place. When peace returns, I would like a life of solitude here as an ordinary ascetic.”

        “You are not an ordinary mortal. There must be something you have to do. Matters of the realm, do you really have the confidence to leave them behind?”

        “Even if I am not willing to, there will come a day when my duties are done. The one thing I cannot leave behind is the boy who followed and learnt from me.”

        As their conversation continued, Dipankara realized that the old God was also a teacher like him. The old God said that he had always been teaching a talented child. His gift could of course bring him a bright future, but the boy’s arrogance reminded the God of his own youth; this parallel prompted worry in the old man’s heart.

        Dipankara empathized with the old God: “Every creation is different. Even seeds of the same tree grow differently, let alone two different souls.” Just as Dipankara was about to continue, he became aware of the fact that the old man’s worry was also his own. Though unintentional, Dipankara had simultaneously solved his own problem; he smiled in delight: “Thank You, Elder. You have freed me from my worry.”

        The old man looked at Dipankara, bemused.

        “I was also worried about one of my disciples’ future. And I suddenly realized that we are merely a beacon, illuminating their paths.”

        The old God agreed with a wry smile: “The path of future shall be their own to walk.”

        The two meditated together in the garden. Should Nezha decide to return to the path of aggression someday, Dipankara will still be there, no matter what, guiding him along.

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