Chapter 30 Yanglian Zhenjia

Yanglian Zhenjia, a demon monk in the Yuan Dynasty, was a figure similar to Rasputin in the Tsarist era(1). He was a well-known demon monk in history who would lie with zombies, commit adultery, rob imperial tombs of the Southern Song Dynasty, and drink wine out of a drinking vessel he had made from the bones of a Southern Song Dynasty emperor.

His main purpose was to destroy the feng shui of the Southern Song Dynasty in order to consolidate the Yuan Dynasty’s rule. But his practices were very abnormal, so it was undeniable that he was mentally ill.

There were also legends in the Yuan Dynasty that Yanglian Zhenjia wasn’t human at all, but an ancient python corpse. That was why he not only liked female corpses, but he also liked to desecrate corpses, too.

Of course, that book was just a dime novel filled with a collection of folk tales written by old Mongolians, so I didn’t know whether it could be trusted or not. According to the book, anyone whose life span exceeded the normal limit—say, for example, 120 years—could be called an ancient python corpse. Many people had even said that based on the demon monk’s behavior, Grandpa Four was probably Yanglian Zhenjia’s reincarnation. But Grandpa Four would like to clarify that he wouldn’t touch a female corpse.

Yanglian Zhenjia’s master was the first national teacher in the Yuan Dynasty. Not only was he proficient in astrology, but he was also very proficient when it came to the Manchu, Tibetan, and Han cultures.

Yanglian Zhenjia was talented in feng shui and refined the secret techniques of Tantric Buddhism(2). When he was in Jiangnan, he also learned the feng shui theory of the Central Plains, which helped him excel as he learned from his master. But his master was somehow poisoned when he was in his forties.

After that, Yanglian Zhenjia dug up the six great imperial tombs of the Southern Song Dynasty, which provoked the emperor at the time. Everyone thought that he was going to die, but then he suddenly disappeared.

And now traces of him had appeared in the Sea of Black Lights.

Did the emperor secretly choose not to execute him, but to send him to guard the tomb?

At that time, many Han people and scholars in Jiangnan left behind information saying that they believed Yanglian Zhenjia had really robbed the imperial tombs for two reasons: one was to destroy the Southern Song Dynasty’s national support and the other was to find something. Since he had hung the Southern Song emperors’ corpses up and drained the mercury from them, some said that he was just trying to collect money. But in fact, the treasures in the Southern Song Dynasty’s imperial tombs were very exaggerated and mercury wasn’t really valuable enough, so there was no need to make it so complicated.

That was why they all believed that he was looking for something that could only be in the emperors’ bodies.

As a matter of fact, I had heard my grandpa chatting with his friends about these things before. They all believed that Basiba’s poisoning and Yanglian Zhenjia wantonly excavating the Southern Song Dynasty’s imperial tombs and searching for something in those emperors’ bodies were all related.

They also felt that Yanglian Zhenjia must have been ordered by someone to rob the Southern Song Dynasty’s imperial tombs, but it was his own choice to loot them so savagely.

I couldn’t help but find it all very interesting. When the world’s second most valuable tomb was built, Yanglian Zhenjia and the emperor at that time were already alive. This meant that these two periods in history overlapped.

I couldn’t help feeling as if there was some huge hidden secret here that caused Yanglian Zhenjia to appear in this place.

Back in those days, Yanglian Zhenjia and the Central Plains’ grave robbers once fought a secret battle to destroy each other’s feng shui. But because ground wind feng shui was extremely difficult to understand, it was said that the Han people couldn’t figure it out. As a result, the Central Plains’ grave robbers didn’t manage to find their opponent’s dragons veins at that time.

When I told Fatty my thoughts, he said to me, “Wait, Mr. Naïve. I think I’ve got an idea.”

“Go ahead.”

“The tombs of the Yuan Dynasty emperors are very mysterious and have hardly been discovered. That’s why the world’s second most valuable tomb is called as such. But don’t forget that Yanglian Zhenjia’s boss(3), the great emperor, was the most mysterious among all the Yuan Dynasty emperors. There are at least two sentences in the history books and some miscellaneous notes discussing the world’s second most valuable tomb, but there’s nothing at all when it comes to Yanglian Zhenjia’s boss.”

I thought about it and realized that he was right. Since there were no records, it almost felt as if the emperor hadn’t been buried.

I glanced at Fatty, who continued, “Yanglian Zhenjia didn’t come here to guard a tomb, he came here to build one. There may be two emperors in the world’s second most valuable tomb or there may be two tombs here that are both called the world’s second most valuable tomb.”

I touched my chin. Fatty’s theory was really feasible, but if that were the case, did whatever Yanglian Zhenjia was looking for in the Southern Song Dynasty’s imperial tombs have something to do with this place? Did that mean he had robbed those imperial tombs in order to learn how to create a tomb?

At this time, I felt as if this journey was just beginning and we had just touched the doorway. Moreover, we all knew that Yanglian Zhenjia’s boss was an emperor who really liked to eat a lot. Before he died, he was said to have weighed more than 150 kilograms(4).

It looked like we suddenly had an explanation for the huge banquet.

Yanglian Zhenjia had an extremely abnormal psyche and his heart was unbearably cruel. If he had set up a mechanism on the grassland, I figured that death wasn’t necessarily the end. He wanted to ensure that we’d never be able to reincarnate.

I suddenly felt alarmed. If this was the case, then Xiao Hua was in even more danger than I had originally thought. He had said in that broadcast that they had arrived, but Old Bing said that you had to eat Shigong’s mole in order to go to that place.

Were they talking about the same place? If so, then did Xiao Hua and Black Glasses already eat—?

I asked Poker-Face if this was what he had been talking about when he told me to be mentally prepared. Should we be prepared to stay here forever, or should we be prepared to swallow those moles?

“Be prepared that no one can be saved this time,” Poker-Face said.

While we were talking, we finally returned to our camp. I felt a little suffocated as we stopped, packed up our things, and set off once more.

I still hadn’t collected my thoughts yet, so I remained silent for a while.

I knew that there was no time to rest and that I had to move on right away. “No matter how powerful Yanglian Zhenjia was, he shouldn’t be considered a worthy opponent of the Zhang family, right?” I asked him. “Why does the Zhang family consider this place so taboo? Is he better than you guys?”

Poker-Face looked at me and said, “Shen Qianjue concealed something. Last night was especially crucial. Our bodies are already going through changes.”

<Chapter 29><Table of Contents><Chapter 31>

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TN Notes:

(1) Grigori Rasputin (1869-1916) was a Russian mystic and self-proclaimed holy man who befriended the family of Nicholas II, the last emperor of Russia, and gained considerable influence in late Imperial Russia. He was assassinated by a group of conservative noblemen who thought he had too much influence. More info here. There’s a song about him. Wish I had as much energy as that dude in the video lol.

(2) Tantric Buddhism is a complex and understudied part of the Buddhist tradition that is of considerable importance to the history of Buddhism and Indo-Tibetan cultural relations. Info here.

(3) The raw really had “master” (like servant/master relationship) but I didn’t want you all to get confused with his monk master (sometimes called “shifu” in the historical novels) so I just said boss. Hope you don’t mind.

(4) About 330 pounds

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Fun fact, Yanglian Zenjia was a real guy. Info here and here.

4 thoughts on “Chapter 30 Yanglian Zhenjia

  1. World’s second most valuable tomb… refers whom? Also who is the first most valuable tomb? I feel like i am missing something….

    Like

    1. Per Tiffany:

      In terms of actual history, there is this tomb “Mausoleum of the Yellow Emperor”. It has the moniker “Ancient Tomb #1” or “The First Tomb Under Heaven”.

      The Yellow Emperor is said to be the ancestor of Han Chinese people. As a result, it is a well-known site, and it was also the scene of regular national offerings and sacrifices in ancient times. It is said that no one robbed this tomb because of its cultural significance. (Or even if they did, they wouldn’t dare to admit it because it would feel like you were robbing your own ancestor’s tomb.)

      The Chinese characters for “The First Tomb Under Heaven are “天下第一陵”, and the Chinese characters for “The World’s Second Valuable Tomb” are “天下第二陵”. In Chinese, the two phrases are almost the same, and the only difference is the words for #1 and #2.

      I feel that the author comes up with the phrase “the world’s second valuable tomb” to make it sound majestic. It just seems like something that is a common knowledge between grave robbers in DMBJ universe. (There is no mention of this tomb in reality.)

      I think that “Ancient Tomb #2” or “The Second Tomb under Heaven” in English sounds more confusing, so I suggested Merebear to go for “The World’s Second Valuable Tomb”. To me, it was a safe option since it could be talking about its historical significance or how valuable it was in terms of antiques.

      Liked by 1 person

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