Legend of Shaman Monarch
As I wasn’t privy to the details of my role as Boss Shen’s husband and Young Shiyi’s brother-in-law, in addition to our discussion pertaining to the secrets of Baimu’s secrets, I had to ask the two ladies to leave subsequent to a short chat.
Boss still seemed grumpy about having to play my wife. I saw Young Shiyi mock Shen Yiren and Ah Neath, well, their busts to be specific, with the way she looked at them, though she did sigh as if to say, “Men, always preferring new over old. I was quite certain she already had it all figured it. That’s Young Shiyi for you.
Although both of them scared me with the look they gave me on their way out, I was confident my shamelessness would show me a solution.
Ah Neath was shocked to hear how much she underestimated the situation she heard from me. She merely thought Baimu and Qiushui were cooperating for their own ends; her only goal was to repossess control over her state. It never dawned on her that they were answering to someone with more influence. If my suspicions were supported, then the defeat of Baimu was a victory not worth mentioning.
Uncle Feng Xue conveyed, “His speculation is very likely true. My brother likes violence and does not have friends. For the ten years he has held authority over the military, not a single general has shown any desire to side with him. He would not ally with someone unless there were some enticing rewards. As he has control of the military and has no vested interest in politics, he would not ally with Princess Consort if he was not promised his post of great guya. Zhouzi’s conjecture explains my brother’s actions.”
“Based on what she said, Shaman Monarch Palace isn’t just interested in Nieyao but also informed of the inside story and activity in the city. For us, this is extremely dangerous.” I asked, “Ah Neath, how much do you know about Shaman Monarch Palace?”
Ah Neath was in no mood to riposte this time: “… I visited Shaman Monarch Palace once as a kid with my father. Wanyu state’s military has their camp erected all around, while guards of Shaman Monarch Palace patrol the foot of the mountain. Xiacang Anxi’s greatest blade wielders, Moyan Clan, act as guardians in the mountain. The only fitting way I can describe the aura on the mountain is that it’s akin to a mountain of revived dead.
“My Princess Consort was introduced to us at that meeting and joined us henceforth. Father really appreciated her, but… he suddenly passed away not long after. Looking back on it now, I suppose that was when they launched their plan to arrogate my state.”
Upon meeting with my inquisitive gaze, Uncle Feng Xue enlightened, “Mount Wanyu is the tallest mountain in Xiacang Anxi. They call it the never-falling bird as a way of extoling its height and reminding people that it’s where the legendary Divine Sun Bird first landed in Xiacang Anxi. Xiacang Anxi people perceive Mount Wanyu to be a sacred sanctuary. If anyone aside from Shaman Monarch Palace dares to occupy the place, royal family or not, there will be a blood bath.
“Though Shaman Monarch Palace is revered as an entity above pretty much all others, they are considered weak. I can’t say what exactly it is, but when I fought them, they weren’t weak. At the same time, they weren’t amazing, either. If there is a threat, it’d be Moyan Clan.”
In summary, Shaman Monarch Palace has maintained a low profile and kept to themselves. In the last few decades… It lines up with Nieyao’s disaster. Is it really a coincidence?
“Jiang Zhouzi, do you have a skeleton of the plan or something? You’ve asked a lot of questions.”
“I do. I need you to brush up on some details for me pertaining to Shaman Monarch Palace.”
“You only want a brush up? Do you already know about them?”
“Not really. I just did some research on my way here, so I know their history somewhat. They were established long before Nanjiang’s twelve states’ ancestors were born – and even before Beussent existed.
“The legend of Shaman Monarch is supposed to be one of the oldest tales in Xiacang Anxi. Nanjiang’s oldest insignia used to be an image of Shaman Monarch and Divine Sun Bird together. Shaman Monarch derives from the first monarch of Xiacang Anxi. They believed he was the descendant of the sun, born to rule over all beings and things. Successive dynasties continued the culture until the royal family concept was born.
“Even though Beussent was born into the era of the new system, people can’t stop talking about the reign of Shaman Monarchs owing to how colourful and fantastical it sounded. Kids absolutely loved hearing tales of a divine bird descending from the heavens, conquering the lands in golden armour and a huge sword.
“The fables spawned Shaman Monarch Palace. A millennium ago, a self-proclaimed descendant of them visited the incumbent King of Nanjiang to propound the establishment of the shaman religion and the instatement of a monarch above Kings. Needless to say, it was brushed off as a preposterous proposal.
“Only a month later, the wise descendant of the valley the sun rises from decreed all gold in the nation was to be offered for the construction of Shaman Monarch Palace. The Shaman Monarch returned, except as a guest shown more honour than a King as an accepted existence. From there, Shaman Monarch Palace began proselytising people to establish the first Shaman Monarch Palace.
“Tales related to Shaman Monarch Palace have painted them in a positive light, and they have the adopted stories into their foundations. Since their establishment, they have continued to grow their influence, even being given the authority to instate or reject Kings.”
“Nowadays, however, Shaman Monarch Palace is less involved and influential due to the fact that Xiacang Anxi is divided. Even though they continue to reside on the mountain, they are but a shell of their former glory.
“That was all I gleaned from the book. I was hoping you’d have more knowledge to share, but it sounds like you don’t know much more than the book does. I suppose they wouldn’t disclose their secrets to outsiders.
“Now, this is another guess of mine. Ah Neath, your Princess Consort isn’t just a shaman but also a member of the most mysterious group in the Central Plain. I don’t believe she has ever downplayed your competence. As a matter of fact, I doubt she thinks you’re some airheaded girl.”
Though it could be viewed as me complimenting her, Ah Neath clearly saw the other interpretation.
“I highly doubt coincidence or your acting is credited for the fact that you’re still alive. She’s cognisant of what you’re doing; you’re just still useful to them. I’m certain she’s dictating all of your actions.”
“Wh-what should I do, then? Feng Xue, you must stick with me!”
“I’m sure she’s also accounted for that,” I asserted. “If I were Great Spirit Shaman and I wanted to wrest control from you, Martial Paragon must be eliminated no matter what. Uncle, there’s nobody else who has as much influence or is as tough to kill as you. If you hide, nobody will be able to find you. Coming back to answer Ah Neath’s call has brought you out into the open, nonetheless. Equally important is the fact that they have successfully restricted your movements. Accordingly, their next step should be to take care of you.”
“Wh-what do we do, then?”
“Play it by ear.” I scratched my head in the intervening time. “If you receive a pork shoulder, roast it. If they come knocking, lay them out.”
The wise descendant of the valley the sun rises from – In old times, instead of saying the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, they had two different names for the directions, referring to them as valleys.