Chapter 26 Purple Jade Box

Purple jade was the exact same as amethyst, which was generally used to make amulets and objects to ward off evil spirits. Few people would use it to make a box. Moreover, this box looked like it had been crafted from a single piece of purple jade, which was very rare. Purple jade wasn’t easy to carve and polish so there weren’t any designs on the box, only some gold trim set around the lid. Based on the box’s location in the coffin, it appeared to have been used as a pillow for the corpse. Jade pillows were generally considered to be very precious commodities, and purple jade was even more valuable. There was a chance that not even the emperors at that time received this kind of treatment.

When we carefully took out the box and set it on the ground, we found that it didn’t have a lock. We opened it and saw that it contained a yellow silk scroll with gold trim around the edges. The golden threads had been woven into the silk, which was well preserved. We unfolded the scroll and saw that the words “The Book of King Shang of the Underworld” had been written on the left, followed by a dense cluster of small characters on the side.

The fat guy was more interested in the jade burial armor than this silk scroll, especially when he looked at the scroll and realized that he couldn’t understand it. Mumbling to himself, he went over to study the jade burial armor. Poker-Face pulled his sword out of the tree and then lay down next to the jade bed, silently staring at King Shang of Lu’s corpse until his eyes became blurred.

Uncle Three and I sat next to him and carefully studied the text on the silk scroll. At my current level, I could only understand some parts of it, but I could get a general idea of the overall text once I connected enough of these parts together.

The things recorded were simply unbelievable. If it weren’t for the fact that I had already encountered so many weird things on this adventure, I really would have found it impossible to believe that such things could exist in this world.

On the edge of this text was a line of small characters that King Shang of Lu had written himself. These few introductory lines were then followed by all the major events that had occurred in his life, from his birth up until his death. If I took the time to translate them all, it would probably take me anywhere from ten days to half a month, but fortunately, I could understand the two most important things.

The first was how King Shang of Lu got the ghost seal. Since it was a relatively brief excerpt in the silk book, I took a moment to skim through it before reading it aloud.

King Shang of Lu had inherited his father’s official post when he was twenty-five years old and robbed ancient tombs for the State of Lu, using the gold he had found to pay the army’s wages. On one such occasion, he entered a tomb from an unknown dynasty and found a giant snake lying motionless inside the coffin. King Shang of Lu was a very courageous man, so after coming to the conclusion that the snake must be a monster, he immediately chopped it in half with his sword. He then ordered that the snake be disemboweled. That was when the purple-and-gold box was found inside its stomach.

When I read this part, I couldn’t help but feel stunned. Was the box I put in my bag earlier the same box that had been cut out of the snake’s stomach? Uncle Three saw that I had stopped talking and said impatiently, “Don’t stop, keep reading!” I didn’t have time to think about it right now so I pulled myself together and continued reading.

King Shang of Lu didn’t care much about the box at that time, thinking that it had merely been something the snake happened to swallow. But later that night when he was sleeping, he dreamed of an old man with a white beard who asked him, “Why did you kill me?”

King Shang of Lu was a very ruthless person who had killed a lot of people. He had killed so many, in fact, that he would forget about them as soon as he had slain them. As a result, he didn’t know who this old man was.

“If I want to kill, then I kill!” He replied.

The old man suddenly turned into a giant snake and lunged forward to bite him, but King Shang of Lu was incredibly fierce even in his dreams. He swiftly cut the snake with another sword and then stepped on its body, preparing to cut its head off, but the snake suddenly opened its mouth and begged for mercy. It said that he had already destroyed its flesh, and if its soul was also destroyed by him, then it would never be able to reincarnate. If he let it go, it would pass on two treasures to him and make him a high-ranking official. At that time, officers who robbed tombs were under the direct management of the emperor but their status was very low. King Shang of Lu was a man who thought very highly of himself so this offer was very attractive to him. As a result, he readily agreed to the snake’s conditions.

The snake not only told him how to open the purple-and-gold box that had been inside its stomach, but also taught him how to use the treasures that were inside of it. After King Shang of Lu heard everything and mastered the skills to use the treasures, he felt that these things should only be known by the heavens and not spread to the mortal world. As a result, he picked up his sword and chopped the snake’s head off.

When I read up to this part, I couldn’t help but click my tongue in disgust. This King Shang of Lu was too cruel.

At this time, the fat guy ran over and asked, “One of the treasures must be the ghost seal but what’s the other one? It’s never been mentioned in any ancient books. Could it be this jade burial armor?”

I motioned for him not to rush me and then continued reading.

After King Shang of Lu woke up, he tried using the method he learned in the dream and actually managed to open the box. But he didn’t write what treasures were inside, only that he had used them once “quite smoothly”. He felt that this matter couldn’t be known to others so he took his subordinates and attendants—together with their families—and slaughtered them one by one. Not even the one-month-old babies were spared.

When I read this, I had to stop and take a deep breath. I couldn’t help but think that there must have been something wrong with King Shang of Lu. Otherwise, how could he be so cruel?

“How could he kill so many people by himself?” The fat guy asked. “He must have used those treasures. Hurry up and see if there’s anything written about them after that. I’m dying to know.”

“What the fuck are you blabbering on about?” I scolded him. “Go and pack up your jade burial armor!”

He grinned at me, “Alright, alright. I won’t interrupt anymore. But fucking read faster! I’m getting antsy!”

I ignored him and kept reading.

With the help of those two treasures, King Shang of Lu became invincible over the next few decades. It didn’t matter whether he was fighting on the battlefield or in the imperial court, he could never be beat. But in his later years, things took a turn for the worse when he started suffering from many chronic diseases as a result of frequent exposure to corpse gas over the years. In the end, the emperor believed that he was too old to carry out his duties and stripped him of his military power. Being left with the task of robbing graves instead of managing military affairs was basically a demotion.

With his health deteriorating day by day, he began to fear death a little more. One day, he even dreamed of that snake he had dreamt of several decades ago. The giant snake told him that his time of death had come and that everyone was waiting for him in the underworld. When he looked around, he saw that nearly all of the people present were those he had killed before!

When he woke up and remembered the contents of the dream, he felt so terrified that he went to his military adviser for advice.

His military advisor was a man named Tie Mian Xiansheng(1), who was proficient in both fortune-telling and feng shui. He thought about the problem and then told King Shang of Lu that there was a kind of jade burial armor in ancient times that could rejuvenate a person when worn and would also enable them to live forever. But unfortunately, it had long since disappeared. If one wanted to find it, they would have to go into ancient tombs and search for it.

By that point, King Shang of Lu was desperate but Tie Mian Xiansheng’s words—whether they were true or not—gave him a glimmer of hope. Plus, grave robbing was his forte. He spent all night studying ancient books—at that time, the information was still abundant and many things had not yet been lost to the passage of time—until finally, he found reference to a large tomb that was purported to have jade burial armor.

He then gathered more than three thousand people and spent more than half a year excavating the mountains where he thought the tomb might be located. Eventually, he found a huge imperial tomb of the Western Zhou Dynasty. Even though the various nations during that time period weren’t very wealthy, the scale of this imperial tomb was still quite amazing.

It had been built in the mountain using the mountain’s natural cave system, but the tomb passages inside were extremely complicated since they had been built using the principles of the eight divinatory trigrams of the “Book of Changes”. If it weren’t for King Shang of Lu’s proficiency in Qimen Dunjia, there would’ve been no way for them to enter.

But the strangest thing was the giant tree in the cave where the main tomb chamber was located. King Shang of Lu called this tree the Nine-Headed Snake Cypress. On the jade bed under this giant tree was the emaciated corpse of a young man dressed in black jade burial armor, which was lined with golden thread.

Tie Mian Xiansheng examined the armor and said with absolute certainty that it was the jade burial armor they were looking for.

This young male corpse seemed to be in a half-dead, half-alive state. Every once in a while, his dead skin would fall off and reveal the new layer of skin below it. Tie Mian Xiansheng estimated that this young man must have been a withered old man when he died.

This Tie Mian Xiansheng was a very skilled man who actually knew how to restrain blood corpses. He used a special method to remove the male corpse from the jade armor and then sealed it in a sarcophagus in one of the tomb’s auxiliary chambers.

King Shang of Lu followed the plan Tie Mian Xiansheng created and took a medicine that would leave his body in suspended animation so that he could fake his death in front of the emperor. The emperor believed that King Shang of Lu could really come and go freely between the mortal world and the underworld and felt terrified. In order to appease King Shang of Lu, the emperor gave him a grander funeral than that of ordinary vassal kings.

King Shang of Lu had used the earlier excavation as a cover while his trusted aides secretly built a fan-like tomb on top of the Western Zhou Dynasty imperial tomb. Since he was familiar with all kinds of grave-robbing techniques, he also set traps everywhere, including those seven fake coffins. Then he hid himself in this thousand-year-old ancient tree in the Western Zhou Dynasty tomb.

But before he entered the coffin himself, he killed everyone involved in the project and dumped them into the river. Then he poisoned all of his subordinates and attendants, leaving only two loyal aides—a man and a woman—to put his body in the coffin. After completing this task, the two of them also took poison and died. I figured that most of the ancient corpses we saw in that corpse cave before had died as a result of King Shang of Lu’s scheme.

At this time, a question popped into my head and I asked Uncle Three, “What eventually happened to that Tie Mian Xiansheng? There doesn’t seem to be any mention of him after that. Did he also die?”

Uncle Three shook his head and said, “This kind of person is very clever so he should have anticipated that King Shang of Lu would kill everyone to silence them. I doubt he was foolish or loyal enough to be killed like the others.”

“Of course he wasn’t,” Poker-Face said faintly, “because at the end of the day, the one lying in the jade burial armor isn’t King Shang of Lu but Tie Mian Xiansheng.” 

<Chapter 25><Table of Contents><Chapter 27>  


TN Notes:

(1) Can mean “Iron-Masked Scholar” or “Mr. Iron-Face” as the licensed version likes to call it. I’m just sticking with the pinyin like I did in later volumes. Characters are 铁面先生if you’re curious.


We’re currently under a winter storm and ice storm warning and they’re expecting state-wide power outages (⚆ _ ⚆) so if I go MIA for more than the usual 2-3 days, I’m not dead…probably lol. I’m sure it’ll be fine~~ On the bright side, we’ve got 3 more chapters to go. But they’re stupidly long like all of NPSS’s early stuff. I miss my 4 minute chapters o(TヘTo) Anywho, ya’ll stay classy

5 thoughts on “Chapter 26 Purple Jade Box

  1. Stay safe!! Also how on earth are there only three chapters left?! This book flew! (Possibly it doesn’t feel like that to you, slogging through those long chapters 😆)

    Liked by 1 person

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