Zayn shook his head. “Apologies, Venerable, but I cannot let you perform the tonsure rite on my wife.”
Wary hostility resurfaced on the senior nun’s face as she fixed her gaze upon Zayn’s features. “I take that as a proclamation of non-cooperation?”
Zayn bowed slightly. “I must bring my wife home. Please, let me fulfil that wish.”
The senior nun sneered loudly, “Yes, you’re here to create trouble. If that is what you seek, do not blame us for what is to come!”
In the blink of an eye, every nun in the prayer hall drew a wooden club and stood at the ready. They surrounded Zayn, leaving no room for him to escape. They were going to boot him out of the temple the hard way.
Zayn exhaled a long sigh.
The last thing he wanted to do was to offend the nuns, so he raised his voice and called out to his wife, “Fifi! Fifi! I know you still remember me! I’m back, Fifi, and I promise, I’m never going to do anything life-threatening ever again!”
“Please… Please don’t be mad at me. Come on, let’s go home!”
Faye remained on her knees, her hand never once missing a beat as she tapped the wooden fish to an unfaltering rhythm. Zayn’s words seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.
Zayn watched her reaction—or lack thereof—as his heart sank. Had Faye really forgotten about him?!
“Sir, it seems to me that Wang Que is not your wife after all. I am giving you a final warning; please leave us be.”
Zayn’s eyes never left Faye. Despondency crushed him, how could she be so unperturbed? So unaffected?
He could not hold himself back anymore. He needed to put himself in front of her, so that Faye could gaze into his eyes and remember him once more. “With all due respect, Venerables, you’re no match for me, even if all of you fight as a unit. However, I have no intention of hurting any of you,” Zayn said.
“So please, I beseech you, let me see my wife. I, Zayn Larson, will be forever grateful!”
“That hubris!” The senior nun cocked a brow as more anger colored her cheeks. Her patience was wearing thin. She waved at every nun in the hall and signaled them to remove Zayn from the premises. She wanted him gone, no matter what it took.
Zayn sighed. He was reluctant to fight them, but it seemed that he had no other choice.
Before any fighting ensued, however, he sensed something. Quickly, his eyes snapped to a new figure walking out from behind the Buddha statue.
It was an elderly nun. She donned a plain, humble robe, and radiated a countenance of kindly gentleness. Though she was obviously very wizened, she was brimming with vim. Zayn could even sense her boundless vitality.
Zayn was shocked. The old nun was a superior class fighter. In fact, she had attained the third tier, too.
He had never thought that a secluded little temple would house such a powerful fighter.
“Halt,” she intoned.
The nuns immediately stopped what they were doing and lowered their weapons. Respect and deference took over their features as they greeted her with a Buddhist salutation.
“Abbess! ” They greeted her in unison.
Even Faye looked up from her wooden fish and greeted the abbess.
Zayn heard her voice and felt a pang. It was Faye’s voice! He was sure of it, hell, he could never forget the sweet sound of it!
The abbess strolled towards the center of the prayer hall and scanned the nuns and their wooden clubs. She sighed.
“Have all of you forgotten what I have taught you? How could you see no problem in resorting to violence against a man from the secular world?”
The senior nun panicked slightly. “I can explain, Abbess. He trespassed and disrupted Wang Que’s rite. We could not get him to leave through reason, so we resorted to force.”
“Ah, that is where you are wrong,” the abbess replied. “If he was as unreasonable as you have claimed, none of you would still be breathing.”