Ji Yuan understood that his question was stupid, but it was something he would eventually have to figure out, so he asked anyone he could.
However, he couldn’t help but inexplicably feel a subtle respect from the elderly Shing Wong, as it seemed that Shing Wong’s words were not as casual as they were before.
The elderly Shing Wong organized the history he knew and talked about it in detail. He also mixed in some unofficial histories from various dynasties of their country, as well as information about the surrounding landscapes and changes in place names that he was aware of.
Unlike the previous confusion about the supernatural affairs, this narration clearly gave Ji Yuan a more vivid understanding of the world, at least from a mortal perspective.
The country he was in now was vast, consisting of 13 provinces. The current dynasty, Dazhen, had stood for 200 years and was now in its eighth generation, led by Emperor Qianwu. Prior to that, there were nine dynasties such as Wu, Tong, Chu, and Kuang. Even further back in history, the territory was a part of a great dynasty.
The elderly Shing Wong paused slightly before continuing.
“According to historical records, that great dynasty was called Dazhou.”
Ji Yuan was visibly excited, but he quickly laughed it off. This Dazhou was not what he had imagined, as everything from the geography to the history was different.
The elderly Shing Wong nodded, stroking his beard.
“Indeed, but the era of that dynasty was too long, and even we gods cannot fully describe the changes that have occurred in the world. As the saying goes, there are things beyond our understanding, and the vastness of the world cannot be described by mere words. Moreover, there are things that are impossible to know fully!”
Ji Yuan nodded in agreement.
“What Lord Shing Wong said is absolutely true!”
From their previous exchange, he learned that the position of Shing Wong was one of the most deeply involved in human affairs and had the most frequent changes.
For example, the previous Shing Wong of Ning’an County was a person surnamed Li, but he was later replaced by Song Shichang, who was a prominent official during this dynasty and was posthumously enshrined as Shing Wong of Ning’an County by the emperor, with local officials ordered to build temples and shrines in his honor.
Regarding the original Shing Wong, if their cultivation is profound, they may have another way out. However, if their cultivation is insufficient, they can only gradually lose their cultivation of incense and fall back a level, it is even possible for them to dissipate completely.
This is not to say that the emperor in this world has the power to confer at will. In the end, it is the power of the people who offer incense and sacrifices that determines everything.
Of course, it is normal for many Shing Wongs to remain unchanged for several dynasties. One reason is that the emperors in the mortal world are not so free to confer titles, but only use it as a way to honor those who have contributed. Another reason is that mortal kings and emperors simply do not understand the affairs of gods and devils.
Even so, the relationship between Shing Wongs and the dynasties they reside in is one of mutual prosperity and decline. Although separated by living and death, most Shing Wongs will do their best to protect the people in their region and prevent evil spirits from causing chaos.
After all, those who can be appointed as Shing Wongs, whether by imperial decree or by the people, are mostly well-known and virtuous, moreover it also relates to their own cultivation.
However, just like the officials in the mortal world that can’t take care of everything, Shing Wongs cannot investigate all the monsters and evils that hide in the shadows, let alone confront them at times.
Interestingly, although the relationship between Shing Wongs and dynasties is inseparably close, they are not the emperor’s subjects, as they’re separated by the living and death, so they cannot interfere with each other.
In other words, even if they are powerful and influential figures of the dynasty, they are mostly just mortals who cannot see supernatural beings, and cannot break through the barrier of living and death. Except for reading books about gods and monsters, there are very few people who know about the immortals and demons like Shing Wongs. For them, it is just a narrative from the temple.
Ji Yuan and the elderly Shing Wong were chatting and drinking tea on the third floor of the building, admiring the scenery outside. Time passed unnoticed as they talked and got to know each other better, and soon it was already noon.
Ji Yuan had gained a lot of crucial information, and the elderly Shing Wong had also gained a certain understanding of this Mr. Ji. They had chatted enough for the day.
Originally, the elderly Shing Wong suggested that Ji Yuan have lunch at the temple’s restaurant, but he ended up eating all the small snacks and pastries and didn’t feel like having a proper lunch.
Naturally, the two parted ways after leaving the restaurant.
“Lord Shing Wong, thank you for your hospitality.”
“Your stay here is a blessing for our Ning’an County. The books you need will be sent to your residence as soon as possible, so please rest assured.”
“Thank you, Lord Shing Wong!”
“Well, let’s meet again another day. Farewell for now!”
The elderly Shing Wong had already bowed slightly towards Ji Yuan as he spoke, and Ji Yuan also bowed in return.
“Let’s meet again another day!”
After nodding to each other, the elderly Shing Wong walked gracefully towards the temple, while Ji Yuan smiled and turned back home.
Although Shing Wong temple is a lively place, the temple fair is held only at night, and he doesn’t need to go to offer incense. It’s only right to go home, brush his teeth, and wait for the books to arrive.
‘I don’t know if the books sent by Shing Wong will be special. Can my eyes, which are almost blind, read it directly? If not, I have to find someone to read it or ask Shing Wong to find a constable to help.’
At the entrance of a nearby alley, Yin Zhaoxian was about to lead Yin Qing out when Yin Qing suddenly held his hand tightly and refused to move.
Yin Zhaoxian felt his son holding him back and turned his head to look at Yin Qing with a frown.
“Dad… over there, that big gentleman is over there!!”
Yin Zhaoxian looked in the direction of his son’s finger. He didn’t know who the so-called big gentleman was, but his attention was immediately drawn to Ji Yuan and the elderly Shing Wong. The two had an extraordinary bearing that was able to be distinguished in the crowd, like cranes among chickens.
“Qing’er, which one is the big gentleman you’re talking about? Are you sure you saw it clearly and didn’t make a mistake?”
“The one in the blue robe who bowed to the old gentleman! I saw it very clearly, I won’t make a mistake!”
Yin Qing, who was standing behind his father, stuck his head out of the alley and looked at both Ji Yuan and the old man.
Yin Zhaoxian looked back at the two people outside the temple. They had already parted ways, one heading towards the temple and the other leaving via another road. Everything seemed normal, but since his son was scared, he would consider his son’s feelings.
“Okay, they’re gone. Let’s go to Shing Wong Temple!”
Yin Zhaoxian sighed. Suddenly, he felt that maybe his son had been mistaken earlier. Both of them were very foreign, but their bearing was extraordinary, and they didn’t seem like they were sinister and calculating people.
‘Who is this old man? I should know all the important figures in Ning’an County. Could he also be a foreigner?’
Holding Yin Qing’s hand, the father and son walked out of the alley and headed towards Shing Wong Temple. They could still see the old gentleman in the ink-black robe who had parted ways with Ji Yuan.
The father and son were in a delicate state of mind, and their footsteps quickened slightly, as if they wanted to get closer to the old gentleman.
“Selling incense, top-quality sandalwood! Come and worship Shing Wong in the temple, offer three sticks of incense. Selling top-quality sandalwood incense! ”
At the temple gate, vendors were shouting and selling sandalwood incense.
“Give me three sticks of incense.”
“Sure, here you go. Be careful not to break them!”
Yin Zhaoxian gave the vendor a coin, and from paying to receiving the incense, his eyes were mainly on the old man in front of him. After getting the incense, he took Yin Qing and walked towards the temple.
“Huh? Where did he go? Qing’er, did you see where he went just now?”
“No, I didn’t. He disappeared after entering the temple… Dad, could he be a ghost?”
“What nonsense! This is the temple!”
Yin Zhaoxian sternly criticized Yin Qing, then pulled him to the main hall. The temple was not large. The front hall was dedicated to the various officials of Shing Wong, while the main hall housed Shing Wong himself. Perhaps the old man had gone directly to the main hall.
However, even after passing through the front hall, they still did not see the old man. There were not many people coming and going to worship Shing Wong, but not too few either. It was unlikely that they would miss anyone. Yin Zhaoxian glanced at the wooden door on the side of the courtyard, which was closed. It didn’t look like anyone had gone out, and that was the residence of the temple attendant. No one could go in casually.
Even in the temple, Yin Zhaoxian’s mind was a little uneasy.
“Qing’er, let’s worship Lord Shing Wong!”
Yin Zhaoxian shook off the wild thoughts in his heart, brought Yin Qing into the main hall, and asked the temple attendant to light the sandalwood incense.
They first inserted the sandalwood into the incense burner, then knelt on the cushion and prayed devoutly.
After worshiping Shing Wong, when Yin Zhaoxian stood up to leave, he found that Yin Qing was still kneeling there, staring blankly at Shing Wong’s clay statue.
“What’s wrong, Qing’er?”
“Dad… it seems like…”
Yin Qing spoke in a very low voice.
A dried up mushroom currently addicted to translating novels. Totally not on caffeine!
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