The Wenxin Road along the rugged mountain twisted and turned.
Wen Xichi walked on the path, looking as calm as usual.
Even though he worked in the Ministry of Justice, he, as the former Number One Scholar, was still elegant and mild, which was owed to the good upbringing of an aristocratic family.
The young ladies passing along Wenxin Road stole glances at him with blushed faces from time to time when they stood still to rest, because they were fascinated by his charm, though they didnt know who he was!
However, the truth was Wen Xichi was not peaceful as he looked.
He stood still and looked up at the stairs extending upward, ignoring the shy gazes of the girls around.
Then, he walked up slowly and firmly.
It was not the first time for him to walk along Wenxin Road.
He took the road every time he visited Huaguang Temple.
He came to have an introspection in front of the abbot of Huaguang Temple!
This time, he went up step by step without a pause as if he had never been exhausted.
With his footsteps kept steady from beginning to end, he stepped on the last stair.
“Third Young Master, the abbot is waiting for you!” A young monk there bowed to Wen Xichi with a smile.
He had been waiting there for a long time.
“Is the abbot available” Wen Xichi nodded and asked as he walked into the temple.
“Yes! He specially makes time for you, Third Young Master!” the monk followed behind Wen Xichi and answered with his palms together.
Young as he was, he was very presentable as a Buddist believer.
The abbot of Huaguang Temple was a man of virtue and prestige.
A powerful person could not even get a chance to talk to him at will.
But Wen Xichi was different, however.
He was an old friend of the abbot.
So other monks of Huaguang Temple thought highly of Wen Xichi.
They highly valued Wen Xichi because of his talent rather than his family background.
The abbot of Huaguang Temple met Wen Xichi in a very remote Zen room.
There was a chessboard between them.
Wen Xichi sat down after saluting the abbot.
The latter smiled slightly and put a chessman on the chessboard.
“This is the set we didnt finish last time! But lets continue it by changing our position.” The abbot of Huaguang Temple seemed to be in his sixties or seventies.
He looked very benevolent.
With his eyes cornering upward, he seemed to be able to see through everything in the world, and with his long eyebrows drooping, he seemed to have nothing to do with the secular world.
It seemed that Wen Xichi was quite similar to him.
But it was not true.
Both of them seemed to be different from ordinary people.
However, different from the abbot, Wen Xichi lived in the secular world as a Young Master from an aristocratic family, so he still belonged to one of the worldly, while the abbot was totally otherworldly.
When he cast his eyes on you, you could even not tell whether he was looking at you or reading your mind.
It felt like he could see through everything in your head.
Anyone around the abbot of Huaguang Temple would feel that they would be seen through.
Wen Xichi was at ease and played chess with him.
He didnt ask why the game should be played this way.
It was the unfinished set between him and the abbot, but now they switched the positions!
He should have been sitting in the abbots position now as he did the last time they met.
But they changed their positions and continued the game by playing each others roles this time.
As Wen Xichi didnt speak, the abbot added with a smile, “We can change our roles with each other during a game, so can we do the same in our life!”
Wen Xichi accidentally dropped off his fingers a chessman, which happened to fall on a vacant place on the board.
He didnt intend to put it there, so he subconsciously reached out to pick up the chessman.
However, he was stopped by the abbot.
The latter said with a smile, “Benefactor Wen, the chessman has touched the board.
How can you take it back”
“Master, its a mistake.
I dropped it accidentally!” Wen Xichi explained in a helpless tone.
He was shocked by the abbots words just now and lost his composure.
“No one is ever allowed to retract a false move in a chess game, Benefactor Wen.
You cant regret it even if you want to!” the abbot smiled.
Then he put down a chessman on the board with a smile, which happened to break the situation that Wen Xichi was at an advantage.
“You become cunning, Master!” Wen Xichi looked at the shameless old monk and rubbed his forehead helplessly.
No one had ever known that the decent old monk was actually an unabashed man when playing chess.
Only Wen Xichi had the chance to see him like that sometimes.
“Life is like chess, and there is no regret!” The abbots smile was gentle; his words stopped Wen Xichi from thinking about the game.
He remembered that he came up to the mountain for something today.
“Master, is it possible that we have a second life” Wen Xichi had thought of it over and over again in the past few days.
Various strange thoughts such as dreams and realities kept coming out in his mind, making it difficult for him to distinguish whether his memories about Shao Wanru were true or not!
“Benefactor Wen, your mind is in a mess!” The abbot played another chessman and caught up with Wen Xichi, who had always been better at playing chess than the abbot.
But now the abbot was about to win the game.
He couldnt help showing a gentle smile.
Wen Xichi stopped playing.
He frowned in distress and looked at the abbot.
“Master, I keep dreaming of a woman I dont know well.
It seems that… I used to have a deep relationship with her.
But we are almost strangers now!” Wen Xichi said.
That was the conclusion of all his confusion.
“It seems that we were very close to each other in the past.
But the truth is that we are not close at all.
We barely know each other! However, when I saw Chu Liuchen take her as his wife, I felt inexplicably sad…”
He was annoyed and uncomfortable.
It felt like what he loved most was taken away.
It was hard to explain why, but it indeed felt like that.
Wen Xichi had been in such a state since Shao Wanru married into Prince Chens Mansion, and he almost couldnt sleep at night.
During the day, he would struggle to think about her when he was free.
“Did I miss or forget something”
He had inquired people around him about Fifth Miss Shao, but they also knew little about her.
Though Marquis Xings Mansion and the Mansion of the Prime Minister were neighbors, the inner courts where women lived were separated from the outer courts.
Moreover, Shao Wanru didnt live in Marquis Xings Mansion until she was recognized as Fifth Miss Shao later, so she was not familiar with the Mansion of the Prime Minister, let alone getting along with the people there.
“There is a predestined relationship in the last life, and so is there in this life.
But the past has passed, and it is impossible to get it back!” the abbot said with a smile.
Wen Xichi frowned more tightly because of his words.
He put down the chessman in his hand casually and snatched the chessman in the abbots hand and randomly put it in a place.
“Benefactor Wen, that was my chessman, and you put it in a wrong place!” the abbot said with a smile.
Then, he picked up the chess piece that Wen Xichi had just robbed from his hand and put it in another place.
“There! We are both saved! If it is in that position, we will both die!”
After hearing the abbots words, Wen Xichi turned his attention to the chessboard.
Only then did he realize that he nearly pushed the game into a dead end again, a deadlock that had happened in their previous game.
It couldnt be settled by either side.
And neither side could win the game.
Wen Xichi forced a smile and said with flagging interest, “A deadlock might be a good end.
No one can win or lose, and we can take a pause!”
“Sometimes it means a pause, but it might also cause destruction to both sides.
If a third party joins, the deadlock will mean death!” the abbot said unhurriedly.
Wen Xichis expression changed slightly.
He looked at the abbot and said, “It will cause death to both sides”
“Chess is as diverse as life.
One game wont decide whether you are the loser or the winner in your whole life.
If it is a lose-lose situation, you can choose another strategy.
For instance, take away some pieces put in the wrong position and leave those in the right place!” the abbot said in a Zen tone with a leisurely smile.
Wen Xichi became excited.
He breathed rapidly and raised his eyes to look at the abbot.
Suddenly he stood up with his hands holding against the chessboard.
“Since there is something wrong with the game, we can reset it, cant we”
As he said that, his eyes were flashing with passion.
The idea in his head made him breathe with excitement.
“If you restart the game, it will not be a deadlock anymore! However, the game wont be the same as before, and nor will the players be.” The abbot slowly tidied up the chessboard that was messed up by Wen Xichi just now as if he hadnt seen the expectation in Wen Xichis eyes.
Wen Xichi suddenly turned pale.
The excited red on his face just now was gone.
He pressed his hands on the chessboard with dull eyes.
“Do you mean that the players will be also changed”
“Yes! Since we cant change the game, we change the players!” The abbots smile faded as his eyes became gentler.
“Since the game is reset, then dont pursue the past!”
“What if I insist” Wen Xichi said in a hoarse voice.
He sounded very unwilling.
“That will go against heaven!” the abbot said slowly.
“Will it not if I reset the game” Wen Xichi asked with anxiety, his hands grasping the chessboard tightly as if he was catching something important for him.
He was reluctant to let go of something even though the current game had been a mess.
“Of course, it will too! It means you will pay a high price for it.” The abbot looked down at the chessboard in front of him.
He moved his fingers covered in the sleeves and shook his head.
“Its impossible… Its impossible…”
Wen Xichi took a deep breath and fixed his eyes on the abbot again.
He tried his best to suppress his excitement and asked slowly, “What are the conditions if… if… it is possible”
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