He’s Not the Ninth Prince of Underworld, He’s the Ninth Bodhisattva
Ten li outside of the capital, there was a deep pit that had been opened up by the torrential rains in front of a deserted village. Everyone in the village had already fled, with some going toward the capital and others fleeing elsewhere. The village had long since become deserted. The houses that were already unstable had all collapsed. As far as the eye could see, there was not a single house that was still completely standing.
Feng Yu Heng had Wang Chuan bring her over to the entrance of the village. While walking, Wang Chuan said to her: “Last night, his Highness ordered the soldiers to bring all of the corpses to this place. After gathering them, they would begin to burn them, but the refugees were unhappy. The people that had died were all relatives. They all insisted that they had to be buried in the dirt. But with it raining so heavily, the ground is all mud. Where is there any dirt!”
Feng Yu Heng furrowed her brow and increased her pace forward. Very quickly, they arrived in front of the group of people.
There were a lot of refugees gathered around the entrance of the village. Those that had rested for a night in the shelter, had hot congee to eat and received medicine from Feng Yu Heng have now begun to recover. At this point, they now had the energy to come out and prevent the bodies being burned.
She heard a large number of people crying and screaming. Some were crying for their parents, and some were crying for their children. There were also complaints, pointing at Xuan Tian Ming and Da Shun’s soldiers for being cold-blooded and unfeeling. They formed a human wall, blocking the soldiers’ way. They were completely unwilling to allow the soldiers to pour the fire onto the corpses. Feng Yu Heng looked through the gaps between people and found that a large number of people simply sat inside the pile of corpses. There were a husband and wife hugging a child that had died many days earlier while crying loudly. They repeatedly shouted: “If you must burn them, burn us together!”
Xuan Tian Ming stood in front of the group with his back turned to her. He was not wearing the raincoat that she had specially made for him, nor did he allow for a soldier to hold up an umbrella for him. He just stood in the rain, and Feng Yu Heng could see that his shoulders were slightly twitching. She knew that this person was on the verge of going crazy from these ignorant refugees.
Quickly walking forward, she rushed through the crowd and arrived at Xuan Tian Ming’s side. He turned around and looked at her. He furrowed his brow and said: “Why have you come? Quickly go back!” Saying this, he moved to push her away.
Feng Yu Heng, however, shook her head and grabbed his hand, loudly saying: “I will not leave. I have slept enough. We will face this together.” Seeing that Xuan Tian Ming still did not agree and wanted her to leave, she simply pointed at the refugees around the pile of corpses and said to him: “I will tell them the reasoning behind why the bodies must be burned and what an epidemic is. Even if they are to be buried, they must be cremated before buried. I will tell them the reasoning for them. Trust me!”
Her voice was not quiet, and it was not just Xuan Tian Ming that heard it. The refugees could also hear it, thus someone immediately replied: “What reasoning is there! Of course, they must be buried peacefully!”
Feng Yu Heng turned around and faced the group of refugees. After thinking a bit, she frankly reached into her sleeve and pulled out her megaphone. The people just saw her pull out a weird item and place it next to her mouth. When she spoke up once more, her voice had suddenly become loud. It was loud enough that everyone could hear it clearly over the heavy rain. They heard Feng Yu Heng say: “Can they be peacefully buried? Everyone, take a look. Right now, where is there any soil? It’s all mud! It’s currently raining heavily, and there are floods everywhere. Even if they could somehow be buried in the mud, they will definitely be washed away after a night, and you will not even be able to see them!”
Someone loudly replied: “Could it be that we’ll be able to see them if they’re burned?”
Feng Yu Heng shook her head, “All the same, you will not be able to see them. Also, I will tell you, with this many people being burned together, even if there are ashes, it will not be clear who is who!”
“Yet you still want to burn them!” The husband and wife had become very emotional: “I cannot allow you to burn my child. I am hugging him. Wherever I am, he will follow!”
Feng Yu Heng’s face became cold, loudly saying: “That’s fine! But it’s not wherever you go, he will follow. Rather, you will stay wherever he is!”
For a while, it was not everyone that could react to what her words meant. But there were some that were smarter that said after some thought: “Your meaning is that if we wish to hug the corpses of our loved ones, we can only remain in this pit?”
Xuan Tian Ming tightly held her hand and wanted to scold them; however, he was stopped by Feng Yu Heng. She then stepped forward and coldly said: “That’s right! The dead are already dead, and they are no longer walking the same path as the living. Since there are people that do not wish to separate from their loved ones, just stay behind. If you wish to bring a corpse back to the shelter, there’s absolutely no chance!” She worked hard, and her voice cracked a little; however, the words that she had shouted shook the people’s hearts.
The sound produced by the military megaphone was not something that the ancient people could understand. It was as though the sound had come from the skies. Without any source, it was still able to spread in all directions. This situation had a bit of shock value. Moreover, the person speaking was Feng Yu Heng. Everyone knew that she was a divine doctor. At this moment, hearing her say this, one of the smarter people immediately said: “Why can the corpses not be brought back to the shelter?”
Feng Yu Heng righted her emotions and finally moved to the main topic. She asked everyone, “Have you ever wondered why you had to take medicine and get shots after the shelters were built, and you had eaten food? Have you ever wondered why the corpses had to be carried far away? Why they must be burned? I will tell you that the flood is not that scary, but the corpses must still be burned. However, if the corpses are just left lying around, after the heavy rains, there will be extreme heat. When that time comes, the bodies will rot, and an epidemic will spread. His Highness the ninth prince and I risked our lives to come out to save you. It was difficult, and it expended a great deal of manpower and resources; however, because you obstinately cling to your course and hug these corpses and end up becoming infected by the epidemic, would our efforts not have been wasted? I have said it before. The current situation will not allow for the bodies to be buried deep. If the corpses are buried in mud, they will be washed out by the flooding. After being buried, they would rot even faster after being washed out by the floods. The end result would be even more frightening. This county princess wishes to ask you, compared to cremating them, could it be that you wish for your loved ones to rot slowly in front of you? Or would you rather become infected by the epidemic that comes from your rotting loved ones then follow in their footsteps? To disregard the dignity of the dead to this degree, have you ever thought of their feelings?”
Feng Yu Heng was speaking louder and louder, and her words were becoming sharper and sharper. When she finally stopped speaking, she heard Xuan Tian Ming use his internal energy to say: “The dead would all hope for the living to be able to continue living properly. This prince trusts that you will be able to understand this bit of reasoning!”
The arguments of the two allowed for the formerly rowdy crowd of refugees to slowly calm down. Even the couple that was hugging their child no longer cried. Everyone was thinking about what Feng Yu Heng had said. They were all thinking about the reality of those words.
In this crowd, there was a middle-aged person with a bit of knowledge of medicine that came forward. Bowing to Xuan Tian Ming and Feng Yu Heng, he then turned to the refugees and said: “You all recognize me. Some are from the same village, and some I have met while escaping from the disaster. You all know that I am a doctor. Although I only practiced in a village, I have taken care of you many times in the past. I heard all that county princess Ji An had just said. What she said is correct. What’s fearsome is not the flood. It’s the epidemic that can occur at any time after the floods have ended.”
Not everyone could hear what he had said, but the people at the front heard it and began spreading it toward the back. Gradually, everyone knew that their doctor also agreed with what county princess Ji An had said. Those that had pledged to protect the corpses of their loved ones with their lives began to feel their determination waver.
Feng Yu Heng gently let out a sigh of relief. She then took a few steps forward, passing through the crowd of refugees. Walking over to the deep pit, she looked at the couple that was hugging their child. She loudly said: “Only by living on can your prolong your child’s life. During the annual Ghost festival, someone will be able to light a lantern for him. At new year’s, someone will be able to burn some joss paper for him. If both of you die with him, who will this responsibility fall on? How could he live peacefully down there?”
Finally, the couple burst into tears and cries, but they slowly let go of the child. Feng Yu Heng quickly ordered Wang Chuan and Huang Quan: “Go get them up!”
The two servants went ahead and quickly pulled the couple out of the pit. At the same time, more soldiers rushed down to pull out other people that had calmed their emotions.
The people no longer objected. The human wall automatically dispersed. The village doctor said to Xuan Tian Ming: “Your Highness, please go ahead and set the fire!”
Xuan Tian Ming nodded and said: “Thank you.” He then waved and ordered the soldiers: “Pour the fuel for the fire!”
Under the heavy rain, a fire could not be started without fuel. The soldiers poured bucket after bucket of fuel into the pit. They then threw in numerous torches. Suddenly, a pillar of fire reached for the sky. Seeing this pillar of fire, the people began crying once more; however, not a single person charged forward.
Xuan Tian Ming took a couple steps forward and swept his robe to the side then kneeled on one knee in the mud.
His actions caused all of the refugees to become stunned. Before they could understand why, they saw Feng Yu Heng copy his actions and kneel at his side. Then it was Feng Yu Heng’s two servants, followed by the soldiers. Everyone kneeled in front of this large fire. They then heard Xuan Tian Ming loudly say: “They were citizens of my Da Shun. Today, this prince will send them off!”
The people suddenly managed to react. This was his Highness the ninth prince and county princess Ji An leading the soldiers in sending off the dead. They were completely shocked. They were so shocked that they did not even manage to kneel. They were all standing there and watching the scene in utter disbelief.
Was this the legendary ninth prince that was willful, arrogant, completely unreasonable, and who did not bat an eye when killing people? Among the common folk, there were some that called him the ninth prince of the underworld, but who could have imagined that this sort of person would put aside their status as a prince and lead his own princess in kneeling to send off normal citizens?
Everyone was feeling choked up. This feeling was not from the suffering of having their loved ones being cremated. It was because the ninth prince and county princess Ji An were kneeling that caused them to feel emotional.
They also kneeled; however, it was not toward the pillar of fire. Instead, it was toward Xuan Tian Ming and Feng Yu Heng. The refugees did not know how to say anything fancy. They only knew how to speak with sincere gazes. The words that they said were the frankest and most simple, “Long live the ninth prince. Long live county princess Ji An!”
TN: The Ghost festival takes place on the 15th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar. The Japanese equivalent would be Obon. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_Festival