Chapter 28 Traveling Notes

Dealing with this kind of problem was inherently troublesome. I rubbed my face, feeling that what Fatty said made sense.

Of course, we couldn’t directly tell Agui that we didn’t believe this, so we told him that there were people in the underworld we wanted to see, and we wanted to go down and meet them with the help of this master from Vietnam.

Agui was very nervous at first, afraid that we would object to him engaging in this kind of superstitious thing, but now that he saw that we wanted to participate, he let out a sigh of relief and said that he would arrange it for us immediately.

It seemed that this master was one who liked to collect money for his work and didn’t pick his clients himself. He should be a novice.

In the afternoon, we helped with the farm work and picked up giant Amazon snails in the fields. The snails here had become a menace and there were pink eggs everywhere. With each snail the size of a lemon, we ended up picking enough to fill two whole baskets. We took these giant snails to Agui’s duck pen, added some stream water, and let the ducks and geese swallow them whole.

Watching from the side, I felt that every duck seemed like it was going to choke to death, but their throats were much bigger than I thought, and most of them swallowed just fine. After a while, nearly all the smaller snails were swallowed up. I asked Fatty if eating so many snails would cause the ducks to be full to the point of bursting.

Fatty said that the ducks’ stomach acid was very strong, so these snails would melt immediately after being eaten. Plus, they were rich in nutrients so the eggs the ducks lay would be particularly delicious.

We watched transfixed as the ducks ate about half of the giant snails, but the remaining half were too big for them to swallow. So, Fatty smashed them with a brick before giving them back to the ducks to eat. A-Gong and A-Mu had fully integrated into the local life here and also gathered around to eat the snail meat.

As the three of us chatted on the edge of the field, I asked Poker-Face if this kind of thing was his specialty. Wasn’t it true that there was shamanism in the Northeast?(1) Poker-Face told me that in this circle, Black Glasses was the one with the most knowledge. Of course, the Zhang family had their own way of doing things, but they couldn’t use their own faces.

At first, I didn’t understand what he meant when he said that they couldn’t use their own faces, but after talking about it some more, I realized that the Zhang family’s dirty faces were originally used for this purpose. The dirty faces were something that made people feel extremely frightened. Although used to cover the face when Zhang family members were out performing secret missions (which caused people to associate them with horror), in the beginning, they were actually used to intimidate evil things.

But these were very old things, and the Zhang family rarely used them in modern times. It was said that they were used a lot in earlier times, though.

We talked until dinner, where we ate all the leftovers from Agui’s house because we worked up an appetite doing farm work. Then we took a bath in the stream and went to find the master.

The master’s house was very ordinary. There were two colorful lanterns hanging at the door with two Taiji drawn on them.(2) After I went in, I saw a middle-aged man who handed us cigarettes and looked at us with narrowed eyes.

There were other people who were attending the ceremony together. I heard that there were fire trees in the underworld that were very beautiful, and there were even underworld tour groups in Taiwan. These tour groups supposedly did nothing when they went down and just looked around.

We sat there cracking melon seeds and chatting since the ceremony wouldn’t start until midnight. The altar was in the master’s courtyard and everything was ready, but we couldn’t enter yet.

There were all kinds of people here, including middle-aged women, old men, and local entrepreneurs. Many people were smoking, so I also smoked. The Guangxi dialect was difficult to understand, so I listened to get the general idea while Fatty translated for me, “This is to see my mother, this is to see my son, this is to see my husband, and this is to add rice for myself.”

The so-called “adding rice and oil” just meant finding the rice jars and oil bowls in your Yuanchen Palace. The rice jars were your wealth and the oil bowls were your longevity. The entrepreneur brought a lot of money to bribe the Yin messengers(3) into adding more rice into his rice jars.

I found it quite magical that so many people still believed in this sort of thing in the twenty-first century, but I was also a bit curious. After all, none of these people looked like they were here for the first time.

Soon it was around 11:30, and everyone began to prepare. As the master’s son told us about the precautions we should take, the master came up and kowtowed directly to Poker-Face, saying that this person couldn’t go down.

We all stood there dumbfounded as the master continued, “He can’t go down, and I dare not make trouble in front of him. Sir, I don’t know what you are or what I’ve done wrong, but please just say it directly and then leave us alone.”

This word choice was very interesting. The phrase “I don’t know what you are” meant that he didn’t know if Poker-Face was a god or a monster, but in short, he didn’t think that Poker-Face was human.

Fatty was a little annoyed. I held him back and glanced at Poker-Face, who nodded and went outside to wait for us.

The master knelt down and handed Poker-Face some food, made him tea, and handed him all kinds of other good things as if trying to win his favor and then took us to the backyard.

I noticed that the master was covered in a cold sweat, which I found quite interesting.

When we reached the backyard, we all covered our eyes with red cloths. The master put a spell on the cloths and then began performing the ritual.

“After you go down, you’ll go to the person you want to see, but you won’t be able to see each other,” the master said. “I will also follow you. If you meet any acquaintances, you must ask me first before you speak. You can speak only when I tell you to speak. Otherwise, if something follows you, you may not be able to return. You must keep this in mind.”

This time, we all wrote that the person we wanted to meet was Yun Cai. I originally wanted to write down my grandpa or Pan Zi’s name, but Fatty said that there were many masters out there so this time, it was mainly about Yun Cai. If I didn’t go to Yun Cai’s Yuanchen Palace with him, he would be all alone and might miss something. So, in the end, I agreed.

The master began to recite a mantra in Vietnamese as he walked around us. We also recited his mantra. The scene was a bit funny, but I managed to endure it.

<Chapter 27><Table of Contents><Chapter 29>



TN Notes:

(1) Shamanism here is also called tiao dashen (跳大神), which is a ritual of Manchu shamanism wherein the shaman dances to pray to the gods, offer sacrifices, expel evil spirits, cure diseases, etc.

(2) Taiji looks like this:

(3) Yin messengers, also known as ghost messengers, are officials in charge of extraditing dead souls in the underworld.


*sob* Pan Zi!

Pic added 12/24/2022 (fan translation courtesy of me).

3 thoughts on “Chapter 28 Traveling Notes

  1. Should ask to visit his Uncle Three and get some answers!!! If he’s alive, good! But if not, at least then he’d know!

    And I see Poker-Face allowing any shenanigans or harm to befall our beloved Triangle. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Why this Master talking to Fatty’s darling as if he saw a grim reaper? (I’m very curious to know the reason for his behavior.)
    Also, Xiao Ge shouldn’t trust these two. The safest way was to drag them out. (With Wu Xie’s recklessness in his absence, there is a high probability a problem will arise)


  3. So after I spent my weekend crying over Zhu Yi Long Golden Rooster Awards and having him and Che Minghao in the same place now I’m crying over Pan Zi.
    I think it’s the first time I’m ok with them being about Yun Cai because my heart wouldn’t take Wuxie meeting Pan Zi

    Ohh and Wuxie must be sure Uncle Three is alive!


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