Chapter 59

The giant coffin was a little over one and a half meters high and five meters long. It was made from a polished boulder that had been taken from the rocks in the underground river (some details are filled in using my imagination). This incident was regarded as a miracle and eventually presented to the Han Emperor. The emperor sent a minister to Minyue to follow the South Sea nobleman into the underground river. The minister saw a lot of post stations in the underground river, where the Xu people lived and fished. The cooking fires in this cave village revealed a thriving scene, and he could even see that chimney holes had been dug into the ground everywhere. He sighed with emotion, as if he were witnessing an earthly marvel. Since many underground rivers had dense fog all year round that formed into rolling clouds, this minister called the underground basin in this South Sea country “Falling Cloud Country”.

He went deep into the underground river with the South Sea nobleman and found that the underground cave was endless. When he reached the area where the sarcophagus was located, he found that there were many strange words on it that no one could understand.

The minister copied the words down and ordered the people to open the giant stone sarcophagus. When they did, they found that there was a coffin filled with golden liquid inside.

This golden liquid was very strange, but according to the legends, the corpse fluid of immortals was also golden. The minister marveled at what he was seeing and said that the golden liquid was what had been left after the person shed his earthly skin and became immortal.

Other than the lone sarcophagus, there was nothing else further inside the cave. There weren’t even any traces of human activity.

After returning home, the minister told the Han Emperor everything he had seen. In the middle of his journey through the wild lands of southern China, there was a mysterious entrance to an underground river that led to a place called Falling Cloud Country. This secluded place was just like a wonderland, where magical people lived and practiced alchemy (1). Once these people became immortals, the earthly bodies that they had shed would turn into a mass of golden liquid.

This description shocked the imperial court and the masses. The emperor was also obsessed with alchemy, so he asked the minister to find someone who could read the mysterious words on the sarcophagus. At that time, the nation was strong and prosperous, so information was easily accessible. It didn’t take him long to find someone who happened to be an alchemist. This person recognized that this kind of writing was called “hao wen”, which was a writing style that alchemists in the Shang Dynasty had used.

I couldn’t interpret the information the words contained, but it was clearly expressed in the murals. The first few words in the text were “South Sea Country”.

As a result of this, the emperor complied with the will of heaven (2) and gave the South Sea nobleman the title of South Sea King. He also named that land South Sea Country and asked the new king to continue searching for immortals in the deep cave.

It took them two years to figure out what the remaining hao wen text said, but when they did, the words were troubling: mute king rule.

This was very mysterious.

“South Sea Country mute king rule” was a troubling sentence. It was hard to say whether it was referring to a mute king ruling the South Sea Country, a mute king ruling the world, or just a king who happened to be a mute. It was also very possible that the word “mute” was wrong, but either way, the meaning was still very troubling. Moreover, they hadn’t discovered anything else in that South Sea Country during those two years.

At that time, life in Guangxi and Fujian wasn’t very easy and the Baiyue people were relatively wild. After suffering oppression at the hands of the government officials for a long time, the South Sea King rebelled.

The last report the South Sea King presented to the throne at that time stated that he had found new clues in a deeper part of the underground river. But those who entered never came back and they feared it was the work of immortal spells. After the South Sea Country was defeated, the remnants fled into the depths of the underground river and put up a resistance for many years. Eventually, the country was completely destroyed.

After the country’s demise, the South Sea King disappeared into the depths of the underground river. His fleet continued moving underground until they finally reached another exit, which was a sea he didn’t recognize. From there, he took his fleet out to sea and met the immortal boat.

I realized that there was a hidden message in the mural. I didn’t know why it was expressed in a such an obscure way, but the message basically said: the South Sea King always thought that this unknown sea he had discovered was underground.

He had followed the dark underground river behind the sarcophagus for more than a month before he saw the exit. But he didn’t actually think it was an exit. Instead, he thought that it was the land of immortals and that was why he saw the immortal boat.

The things after that were related to thunder, which was what I had photographed with my phone earlier.

<Chapter 58><Table of Contents><Chapter 60>


TN Notes:

(1) It didn’t blatantly say alchemist but it’s kind of close. You can think of it as “supernatural arts” like healing, divination, horoscope, etc. Note that Chinese alchemists research elixirs on how to attain immortality (not like Western alchemists who are known for trying to change stuff to gold). More info on the “supernatural arts” here

(1) Fun fact: “Will of Heaven” can also be called “Providence”, which is probably why the drama is called “Sound of the Providence”.


2 thoughts on “Chapter 59

  1. Hello! Thank you so much for translating all these!

    I just want to clarify that at the top of the chapter, that large coffin size was actually not measured in feet, but something called “zhang”, which despite how Google translates it as foot, is about 10 feet each. So it should actually be more like 10ft x 15ft, give or take (which really makes it a huge coffin!) Measurements weren’t standardized between the dynasties so there’s a little variance, but approximation is there.


    1. Thank you for letting me know! The raws said half a zhang tall and 1.5 zhang long so I just switched it to meters to make it easier. The exact measurement should be 1.6667m x 5 m so 5.5 ft x 16.4 ft. Definitely a humongous coffin hahaha


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