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Backstory

        In the ancient times, the war between Gods and Demons broke out and many people lost their homes. A couple travelled far to escape from the war. The wife was abandoned for she was a mute. However, she was already pregnant. From a group of drifters, she learnt of a sacred wood afar. By inscribing one’s wish on the wood on the day of ritual, the wish would definitely come true. The woman set out for the wood in order to find her husband, yet the journey was so long that she was about to give birth when she arrived. The wood was already fully inscribed with wishes for its far-flung fame and there was no room for another. She wandered beside the wood, hoping to find a gap to carve on. The ascetic who performed the ritual saw the woman was still looking for a gap on the wood as the ritual ended. The ascetic tried in vain to persuade her to go, and he could only give her an oil lamp to light up her way when it got dark. In the next morning, the ascetic caught sight of a thin flame besides the sacred wood. The appalled ascentric rushed to the wood with his companions, only to see the woman who had already taken her last breath, defending her new-born with her own body by holding the baby tight in her arms to protect him from the cold. The ascentric found that she had dug the ground open with bare hands and a few tiny words carved at the bottom of the sacred wood -

        “ - ‘May the light never fade’, so should the wood be engraved with,” The ascetic said seriously. He rested his sword on its tip over the ground and spoke to the xian hanged upside-down by a string, “For you have been living in seclusion instead of making mischief, I will let you go if you tell me where the sacred wood is, so your effort of centuries will not be squandered.”

        “Please spare my life, mighty ascetic! Although I used to be a willow, I have never heard of any sacred wood. I have never been to the wasteland in the neighboring forest too!”

        “Nonsense! How come you know nothing about the neighboring village after living here for so long? Without the help of the sacred wood, how could a willow like you become xian?” The ascetic casted a spell and started a fire in front of the sylvan xian. “If you insist remaining silent, then don’t blame me - ”
        “Dipankara!” The ascetic stopped in his tracks as soon as he heard the deafening cry and the xian took the opportunity to escape.


        “The willow became xian by refining its power with the pneuma of a sacred cave. How could you interrogate it, bringing misfortune to yourself?” As the elder slowly stepped forward, he sighed and shook his head, “The sacred wood is to be found by those destined to. You don’t have to chase after it. Didn’t I make myself clear enough?”

        “But - ”

        “You are way too aggressive! It is all my fault... All these years I have been taking you along me to evict demons, I taught merely sorcery but not the right values...”

        In the past, the ascetic buried Dipankara’s mother, fostered the boy and travelled around with him, guiding him on his way to enlightenment. However, the threat of the Demons had never been lifted and the village where the sacred wood was located was looted. When Dipankara and his mentor arrived, everything was burnt into black and the sacred wood was nowhere to be found. Dipankara had been chasing after it ever since, but was always reproached by his mentor. The mentor then brought Dipankara to the sacred mountains and guided him to become xian. Dipankara had never forgotten his past, but as he became more enlightened, his hatred was gradually relieved...

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