Chapter 2: An Anomaly in The Ancestral Hall
Translator: Cenniwdyl Editor: Caron_
After going home at noon for lunch, Mo Tiange returned to school.
In the mornings, the Old Master taught all children in the clan to read. In the afternoons, only children whose parents had high hopes pinned on them returned to school.
In fact, Mo Tiange didn’t have to study too much – she was a girl. She could neither participate in the imperial examination nor look for a job in the town. However, because the Old Master really admired her father back in the day, he always gave her special treatment. Besides, her mother also thought that since her father was a man with extremely profound knowledge, she ought to also read a few more books instead of wasting her time doing trifle household chores like an ordinary village girl.
The afternoon lessons were far more lenient than the morning ones. The five or six children present either practiced writing by themselves or had the Old Master teach them.
Mo Tiange entered and saluted the Old Master before going directly into the library.
The Mo family was neither a huge nor influential family. The Ancestral Hall consisted of only one hall, one courtyard, and one east and west wing. The hall was used to worship generations of ancestors’ spirits. The back courtyard was where wine from the Ancestral Hall was drunk during New Year celebrations or when a son was born in the family. The front half of the east wing was the school, while the back half was used as a library. Several orphans, widows, and elders lived in the west wing. They were the ones who watched over the Ancestral Hall every day.
The library wasn’t at all large – there were only six bookshelves arranged along the wall. About a thousand books were placed there, passed on by previous generations of the Mo family.
Mo Tiange pulled a stool towards the east side. The books on this particular bookshelf were all travel notes. They were written in common terminology and included a lot of drawings – very suitable to be read by a child who had a limited vocabulary, like her.
Regarding her fondness for reading this type of miscellaneous book, the Old Master had no objections. After all, girls couldn’t participate in the imperial examination. It didn’t matter what kind of books she read.
Mo Tiange picked up a book. She also found another one called “Dictionary of the Great Jin” and put it to the side. Sitting beside the window, she started to read.
The title of the first book was “Summary of the Celestial Pole.”
It said the world was vast with countless lands and oceans. They were located in “the Celestial Pole,” which was very large. In addition to Jin Country, there existed more than ten other countries varying in size. The northeast region of the Celestial Pole contained a vast forest while the west contained an uninhabited desert. The north was filled with colossal glaciers and the south contained a mountain range.
This book recorded various stories of talented people in the Celestial Pole.
According to legends, there was a mountain range that extended all the way across the southernmost part of the Celestial Pole, known as Kunwu. Kunwu extended for thousands of miles from east to west. It was an endless mountain range. From ancient times, no one had ever been able to cross it. Mortals who lived not too far from it could sometimes see dense purple clouds peppered with multi-colored twinkles around the mountain. However, they got lost in the mist if they went exploring. Thus, they could only turn around and try to find the way out.
As time went by, people said these mountains were the mountains of the Immortals – only the Immortals could make it to these mountains.
The Immortals who lived on the Kunwu mountain range absorbed the dew from the clouds in the morning and consumed the essence of the moon in the evening. They were omnipotent and could do everything. They entered the world of mortals to find people with spiritual roots and take them back to the mountain of the Immortals to teach them about cultivation. If their cultivation attempts succeeded, they would also become Immortals. Once they became Immortals, they could do the impossible – they could move the mountains and drain the seas. One step on a cloud could bring them a thousand miles away. They wouldn’t age and lived forever.
Everyone in the world wished to reach the mountain of the Immortals to train their Immortal’s Bone 1 . Unfortunately, spiritual roots were rare and weren’t possessed by everybody. Most people only heard about the Immortals from legends.
A tale about a monarch of ancient Chu Country was recorded in this book. The monarch had a passion for the Law of Dao 2 and wanted to work to become an Immortal. Thus, he summoned all the Daoists in the world to the capital in an attempt to find one with the most profound skills and appoint him as the teacher of the country. Just as all the Daoists were competing using the Law of Dao, an extremely dirty beggar entered the hall and said, “All of you are only fit to help me carry these shoes.” All the Daoists were furious, yet the beggar only burst into laughter. He lifted one of his fingers and a deep pond suddenly appeared in the middle of the hall’s platform. He then raised his hand and the deep pond burst into fire, shocking everyone there. When the King of Chu wanted to make him the teacher of the country, the beggar suddenly disappeared behind clouds of dust.
Another tale was also recorded in this book. It was about a scholar from Liang Country. His family was poor, but he was very hard-working in his studies. He eventually got the highest rank in the imperial examination. But during the celebration feast held in honor of those who passed the exam, he offended an influential official of the court. Hence, he was assigned to supervise the library of the imperial academy. Just like that, this grand scholar who held the highest rank in the imperial examination was forced to work in the library for ten years. His future seemed abysmal. After ten years, however, after he stumbled upon the Law of Immortality 3 in the library, this official mastered the Law of Dao in just one night. Upon finding out about this matter, the influential man he offended back then was frightened. However, the scholar dismissed him with a laugh and fled, riding the wind.
Mo Tiange was reading eagerly when a man suddenly stood in front of her. Mo Tiange looked up and hastily closed her book. She stood up and said, “Master.”
The Old Master nodded. He took the book from her and flipped through a few pages. “Do you understand everything?”
Mo Tiange answered, “If I don’t understand any words, I’ll look them up in the dictionary. If I still don’t understand, I’ll write them down to ask Master later.”
The Old Master returned the book to her and said, “Good. Reading a lot of books is the best way to build your vocabulary. You may continue.”
The sun dropped in the west. Mo Tiange returned the book to the bookshelf and went out to clean the school.
The other children were already home. The Old Master had also gone to the back hall to eat. She was the only person in the front hall.
After she finished wiping the desks and sweeping the floor, she went to throw out the trash. However, when she passed the back door of the Ancestral Hall, she stopped for a moment.
There seemed to be a light inside the hall.
She watched the hall for quite a while before going towards the hall.
Women weren’t allowed to enter the Ancestral Hall. Even women with husbands weren’t allowed in – their husbands were the only ones who could enter the Ancestral Hall. Therefore, although this hall was filled with memorial tablets, Mo Tiange had never once stepped inside.
Now the door to the hall was closed. The hazy moonlight seemed both like light and mist and it was very hard to take a good look inside. Mo Tiange looked left and right. Although she saw no one in sight, she still hesitated for a moment. Nevertheless, she couldn’t help but put her dustpan down and furtively tiptoe into the hall.
The hall had a very high ceiling. After the door was closed, the entire hall was dark. The only lighting came from the faint rays shining inside through the window and back door.
She cautiously stepped forward and discovered that the light seemed to come from the memorial tablet located at the top.
Rows of memorial tablets were in the hall. There were about forty to fifty of them, spread all over the walls on both sides. They looked extremely terrifying.
Mo Tiange cowered slightly. However, something weird happened – the light brightened when she approached.
Unable to control her curiosity, she looked up and found there was only one memorial tablet in the topmost row.
The memorial tablet was entirely white. But there should’ve only been one piece of white jade in her grandfather’s home and it was carved into the image of the rulers of the Dao…
Meanwhile, the color of this memorial tablet seemed to gradually turn even whiter. A mist-like white aura was also hovering above its surface.
Mo Tiange watched her surroundings for a moment before dragging a chair from the corner of the room to the shelf where the memorial tablet was placed. She stepped on the chair and cautiously stretched her hand out to grab the tablet.
She was very small – almost half her body had to lean on the shelf to reach the memorial tablet.
It was a bit cold. The white aura spread to her hands. Now, she could see the memorial tablet clearly.
Mo Tiange flipped over the memorial tablet and saw there were a couple words on it: Mo Yaoqing. It was different from the other tablets since there was only one name on it.
The white aura became so dense that her body almost drowned inside it. As she examined the memorial tablet, she noticed the white light becoming even brighter. The originally dim white light gradually became a bright luster. Her eyes couldn’t help but widen while witnessing such a miraculous thing.
All of a sudden, the light burst and drilled into her forehead, scaring her. Her vision suddenly became blurry. Slowly, her eyes closed then she fell from the chair.