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Narrator: After walking many miles along a coastal area, the priest found a middle-aged man lying on a sandy beach. He seemed to be unconscious and his clothes were heavily clogged with water. The priest squatted down and patted him gently on the shoulder. After a while, the man slowly opened his eyes.|
Priest: Dude, why are you lying here?
Middle-aged man: I have been drifting in the sea, I suppose, for several days.
Priest: Please elaborate on how you end up lying here.
Middle-aged man: I came from a remote pirate stronghold which was besieged by government troops, I think, about a week ago. After a fierce battle, the pirate chief nicknamed Captain Shrimp Roe and 19 other pirates managed to escape from the island in a small boat. Before boarding the boat, Captain Shrimp Roe gave an order that nobody, except himself and two other pirate lords, was allowed to carry weapons onboard.
On the way to another island, a storm appeared out of nowhere and the boat was tossed about in the huge waves. Captain Shrimp Roe ordered the other two pirate lords to draw their swords, saying: "To put it simply, we are standing at the crossroads of immense promise and great peril. It is entirely up to us whether we lift ourselves to new heights above the waves or let ourselves suck into the maelstrom of disrepair. As the chief of the pirates, I will always put our gang first.
In order to survive the storm, we have to reduce the load on the boat. Both of you have to force the unarmed men to jump into the sea. You should know how to deal with them if they put up stubborn resistance.”
Priest: So you were one of the unarmed pirates thrown overboard to lighten the boat, but you are lucky enough to survive in the end.
Middle-aged man: No, I am not an ordinary pirate but a pirate lord. As I was third in the leadership lineup, I had to obey Captain Shrimp Roe's command. The other pirate lord and I had no choice but help him slay all those unarmed pirates who refused to jump overboard.
Priest: Please tell me how you end up drifting in the sea.
Middle-aged man: At first, I thought the bloodshed was over with only three men remained onboard. Captain Shrimp Roe, however, said: "It's not over because the storm is not over. As a human, I will always put myself first, just like you, as humans, will always, and should always, put yourselves first."
Priest: I suppose you and the other pirate lord had engaged in a life-and-death struggle with Captain Shrimp Roe before you ended up drifting in the sea.
Middle-aged man: In the final battle, three of us stood on the boat with our swords drawn. The other two were standing at each end of the boat, while I was the unfortunate one to stand between them. Captain Shrimp Roe told me: "My dearest best friend, I can't bear to kill you with my own hands. Among the three of us, you are the least-skilled in swordsmanship, but you are the best swimmer of the gang. Hence you have a better chance of survival if you choose to jump overboard than to die under my sword."
While I was hesitating whether to swim or fight, I did not notice that he was inching towards me. Suddenly he gave me a kick and I fell overboard. I let go of my sword, and swam as hard as I could to stay atop the huge waves. As I drifted further and further away from the boat, the last thing I heard was the noise of clashing swords, shouting and screaming.
Priest: Do you know who the final victor is?
Middle-aged man: God knows. I was fortunate enough to cling to a piece of driftwood in the choppy seas. I was in a semi-conscious state, losing all sense of time. When I felt my body hitting something hard, I found myself lying here. I suppose I have been washed up ashore after drifting for several days in the sea. I was so exhausted that I fell into a deep slumber until I felt your warm hand on my shoulder.
Priest: What is your future plan?
Middle-aged man: I consider my old self as lying in the bottom of the sea, and my new self as having reborn here. I deeply regret the sins I committed in the past. I intend to turn over a new leaf by passing the rest of my life in a nearby cave, fishing, and growing fruits and vegetables.
Priest: There is a Chinese saying, "Once you let go of your butcher's knife, you will attain Buddhahood at once." To me, you are the final victor.
Narrator: The priest bid farewell to the former pirate lord and continued his journey to the Old Man's Mountain.