A Guest from Afar. Integrity of a Top Secret.
The followers fossilised when they saw the white robe with golden reams for it was the first time Gewu ever left the mountain in all their time there. In their minds, he should’ve stayed on the mountain to absorb natural essence, conversed with spirits of predecessors or even the sun. A man who could reverse aging, possessed tremendous might, ruled the religion and whatnot didn’t live up the zealots’ fantasy of “celestial”.
Gewu was aware he had to spend another decade re-establishing himself as the entity in fables, but he had no choice when “Shaman Monarch” was mentioned. He seldom mentioned “Shaman Monarch” ever since he created Shaman Monarch Palace, lest his followers revere those two words more than him.
Moyan Luohou was no longer a target for suspicion or just some over-the-hill man trying to defend his son’s honour. Whoever the self-proclaimed Shaman Monarch was, had the cards to potentially become a major threat for Gewu. Gewu feared Shaman Monarch’s return more than anyone as he was always cognisant of the fact that he was always beneath one man no matter how he twisted stories.
There was no comparison between Shaman Monarch Palace and the shaman religion. Shaman Monarch Palace was only a phony organisation built off the reputation of the religion. While Gewu deserved all the credit for laying the bricks of Shaman Monarch Palace, he nurtured his followers using the religion, not Shaman Monarch Palace.
The benefits of leveraging the religion shouldn’t be downplayed as reality showed. Having said that, the shortcoming was obvious: Great Spirit Shaman name only held weight in the absence of Shaman Monarch. By extension, Gewu’s decades of planning could only bear fruit on the condition that Shaman Monarch didn’t exist.
It wasn’t hard to imagine how vexing it would be for Gewu to hand over his lifetime of work, effectively losing everything overnight, and not even getting a “thank you” for it. If anything, he’d have to publicly give his gratitude to Shaman Monarch for taking the fruits of his labour. Understandably, he couldn’t just sit on his throne when everything he worked for was at risk.
Gewu didn’t believe the self-proclaimed Shaman Monarch was the real deal. Actually, it didn’t even matter if he was or not because Gewu wasn’t going to allow someone to boss him around in Shaman Monarch Palace.
Instead of seeing a violent a confrontation at the foot of the mountain, Gewu heard someone saying in Mandarin, “I slammed him with Rabbit Eagle Stomp, kicking the corrupt official over Nanshan, to finally meet my future wife.”
Yes, the man telling the twenty-odd followers around his black throne absolute nonsense was the self-proclaimed Shaman Monarch. Even though some followers didn’t dare to approach the man grinning and gesturing with his entire body, they were sincerely listening in to his story until they noticed Gewu’s presence. Needless to say, Gewu wasn’t happy with the fact that his followers gave someone else their attention just because he was allegedly Shaman Monarch.
While Gewu was dying to skin the youth, the latter gave him a smile and hollered, “Ge!”
Ming Feizhen closed the gap between them in three steps, yet Gewu only noticed the former moved when Ming Feizhen patted him on the shoulder. “It’s me, Ol’ Ge!”
Gewu was ready to fight back if Ming Feizhen struck, but, since the latter didn’t attack him, he derisively responded, “Who are you? This old one does not know you.”
Translation: “Where did you come from you sack of fasces? I don’t know who the hell you are. Take a hike.”
Gewu’s followers had never heard him speak so humbly to anyone before, so they speculated the young man with white hair to be… Some simpletons started to bend at the knee and were a breath away from saying, “Long Live Your Majesty.”
“Ol’ Ge, you don’t recognise me anymore?” Ming Feizhen grabbed his heart’s storehouse and staggered backwards.
“I’m His Majesty!”
Gewu gently exhaled. “… Of which state? What can Wanyu do for you?”
“Y-you don’t recognise me? I’m His Majesty Shaman Monarch.”
“I don’t know who I don’t know. Why are you surprised?”
“How come you don’t recognise me? Aren’t you Gegewu?”
“… That’s Gewu, for you…”
The sound of galloping horses and rattling armour from the forest cut their conversation short. The elite cavalry unit numbering approximately five hundred men split into two columns for the two riders, one riding in front of the other, to gallop through.
The middle-aged scholar riding ahead dismounted, then swept his gaze over the Shaman Monarch throne at the rear, followed by Moyan Luohou, Ming Feizhen, Gewu and then gave Gewu a cupped-fist salute. “I came saw the fire signal requesting reinforcements, so I marched my army here. King of Wanyu hereby salutes you.”
Gewu just smiled subtly, resisting the urge to strangle Wanyu’s King in the presence of his followers.
Gewu didn’t start coveting the Shaman Monarch throne only yesterday. If it weren’t for Moyan Luohou, if it weren’t for the throne being a state treasure passed down within Wanyu’s royal family and if didn’t take an oath to stay on Mount Wanyu, he’d have laid claim to it already. If losing control over his followers was the most vexing thing to him, then helplessly watching Wanyu give the throne to some clown to trigger him could compete with the thing he hated most.
Moyan Luohou’s attitude was the most incomprehensible thing for Gewu. Unless Moyan Luohou was the most conniving man in history, Moyan Luohou’s loyalty to Shaman Monarch was unshakeable. Thus, Gewu couldn’t fathom why Moyan Luohou hadn’t slit the throat of the imposter already.
“You look even more impressive than our meeting last year, Your Majesty. This old one wishes to offer his apology for making you come all the way here. Howbeit, as you can see, this old one had to alert you since your state’s sacred throne is here. This young gentleman claims to be His Majesty Shaman Monarch. You arrived before this old one could get to the bottom of it.”
Although it was true that Shaman Monarch’s throne was ideally in Gewu’s possession, unless he legitimately took it, he’d be accused of theft, and that wouldn’t do him any good. In addition, it was only icing on the cake for him, but it was a treasure for Wanyu. Deliberately linking the throne back to Wanyu in his recount of the events was intended to turn Ming Feizhen into Wanyu’s King’s problem.
“His Majesty Shaman Monarch?” Wanyu’s King couldn’t see anything about Ming Feizhen that stood out. In saying that, when he tried to scrutinise Ming Feizhen closely, he couldn’t focus as though there was interference in his head.
“Hohoho, this old one’s vision is impaired. Wanyu and Shaman Religion have deep connections, so we both know a lot about Shaman Monarch. People from the Central Plain often say, ‘A timely arrival is better than an early one.’ Since you have come, Your Majesty, y-”
“Another saying is, ‘Have children when you’re young. Marry as soon as you can.’”
Two young girls with Shaman Monarch Palace giggled upon hearing Ming Feizhen.
“Insolence! Punish him!” ordered Gewu.
A broadsword wielder behind Gewu flitted past him, attempting to harvest the two girls’ heads. For some reason, the executioner went through the air and dropped to the ground in a catatonic state.
The general without armour beside Wanyu’s King praised, “Magnificent finger flick.”
Thanks to the general, people finally figured out Ming Feizhen was the one who saved the two girls.
“Thee breached our grounds, lied about being His Majesty Shaman Monarch, insulted my religion and hurt my follower. Do thee think Shaman Monarch Palace is your playground?”
“He’s your follower, but the two girls aren’t now?” Ming Feizhen was already on the throne and yawning before their eyes could follow. “Besides, they’re not your followers but mine.”
Gewu wrathfully glared at Ming Feizhen prior to turning to Wanyu’s King. “What do you think, Your Majesty?”
Wanyu’s King futilely tried to glean something from Ming Feizhen’s appearance again. “The legend says that His Majesty Shaman Monarch reincarnates as an ordinary human once he passes on. The last Shaman Monarch to be known of disappeared a century ago. I can’t distinguish, either. I came here to chase the thief who stole Shaman Monarch’s throne from me.”
All eyes made their way to Ming Feizhen subsequent to hearing he stole the throne. Ming Feizhen’s flashy entrance from above and Moyan Luohou’s silence on the matter were the factors that gave credibility to Ming Feizhen’s claim. If it was Ming Feizhen’s throne, why would he have to pinch it?
“So that is what happened. This old one will count on you to enlighten him.”
“I am not qualified to enlighten you, Great Spirit Shaman. Wanyu, explain what happened.”
Wanyu, the general behind Wanyu’s King, responded, “Yes, Your Majesty. This one was guarding the hall the throne is kept as he does every night when he detected someone infiltrate. Upon checking inside, the throne was gone no matter how he searched. The throne is kept at the top of Ling Peak, a place that even birds would find challenging to reach. Unless the burglar has wings or is from heaven, it is impossible for him to carry off the throne without anyone noticing him.”
Several followers immediately bent their knees. Who else but Shaman Monarch could waltz off with the throne from such a tall mountain, under Wanyu’s Sacred Beast and carry it up to Shaman Monarch Palace?
Wanyu’s King was aware of the machination in Gewu’s head, but the latter was more troublesome to him than Ming Feizhen. What would happen to Gewu’s authority if Ming Feizhen took over?
Ming Feizhen exhaled grievance. “Ol’ Ge, your memory is terrible. I can’t believe you suspected me. My heart isn’t made of stone, you know?”
Wanyu’s King waited for Gewu’s anger to fester before opining, “From what I know, His Majesty possesses miraculous abilities. Great Spirit Shaman, how about you test him?”
The ill-looking Great Spirit Shaman tripped five people over in addition to rocking everyone besides Ming Feizhen and Moyan Luohou with his sonorous laugh.
Hong Jiu: I had no idea his internal strength is so advanced. I wonder who’s superior between him and Leader.
Gewu’s test served two purposes: first, he determined Ming Feizhen wasn’t weak; second, he concluded Ming Feizhen was the one who slept Wood Guardian, not Moyan Luohou.
“This pertains to our religion’s laws. Please take a respite in the guest room while we sort out this issue in private. Your Majesty, please have your forces retreat five kilometres.”
“Consider it done,” Wanyu’s King politely acquiesced.
“I don’t know who you are, and I don’t care to know,” once he was left alone with Ming Feizhen, Gewu conveyed. “If you are not a bold adept, you are just an inconsiderate troublemaker with no respect for Xiacang Anxi’s people. Judging from your accent, you must be from the Central Plain. What business do you have with Xiacang Anxi?”
Gewu analysed every word Ming Feizhen uttered and every action despite the latter’s irreverent attitude.
“What business would a fake Shaman Monarch have with Xiacang Anxi?”
“You’re… admitting to it?” Gewu moulded energy to prepare for a surprise attack.
“What does an upright man have to shy away from?”
“What do you want?”
“Just wanted to talk business. This dodgy chair and the Shaman Monarch identity are only props. As long as you accept my demand, I shall leave you be.”
While surprised with Ming Feizhen’s candidacy, he didn’t let it detract from his suspicions. “… You seem to rate yourself quite highly. Unfortunately for you, this old one isn’t someone you can threaten.”
“Ol’ Ge, don’t be such a pain. Or would you prefer it if I called you by your original name – Heisina Wuge?”
Gewu split the ground around him with a qi ejection; concrete was as brittle as ice flakes to him. In a throaty voice, he questioned, “How… do you know that name?”
Had to change “His Eminence” to “His Majesty” for Ming Feizhen’s trolling to work.