The Great Worm Lich Chapter 11
Yang energy dominated the old house as Zhang Lisheng opened the heavy wooden door to the crowd. The Guawo villagers who did not mindwalked into the legendary Zhang family's old house for the first time.
As the old house did not get much sun due to its location in the hollow part of the hillside, the drop in temperature was significant as soon as the people stepped into the courtyard. However, as more and more people entered, it slowly did not seem to be as chilly any longer.
Tao Lielin felt a chill after walking into the old house. He lifted his spirit after a shiver and instructed the young men to work, "Carry the body of Shan Chongzi's father to the middle of the central house. We're in charge of the cooler coffin, come to me afterward for that matter.
"Ermu, light the big incense on the offering table then go to your seventh uncle's house to get a new memorial tablet. Carve 'Lord Zhang Daowu, the Immortal Wizard of Li Mountain' on it. Remember, it's 'Lord Zhang Daowu, the Immortal Wizard of Li Mountain', don't get it wrong.
"Tugou, Yangzhi, Qiaogong, get a few pails of water from the well and wipe all of the doors inside and outside of the house"
In the ancient Miaowei customs, the title 'Lord' referred to tigers for beasts, and wizards for humans.
Naturally, the word 'wizard' carved on the memorial tablet evolved into 'sorcerer', and such a respectful way of addressing a person would only be used after the person passed away. Meanwhile, the psychics that the villagers around believed in would usually be addressed as 'father'.
Upon hearing Tao Lielin's instructions, the Guawo Villagers went their separate ways; the young men got busy in the Zhang family's old house, while the elders left one by one to make fire and cook at home.
Everyone had something to do except Zhang Lisheng, who was the only one standing in the central room. However, as soon as he acquired the hemp blanket, he had a task of his own which was to kneel by the cooler coffin and entertain the visitors.
The Miaowei's mourning would take in thousands of visitors whether they knew the family or not. As long as there were visitors, the host family would have to entertain them. Usually, the son of the family member who passed away would have to kowtow and treat the guests to a feast of nine meat dishes and nine vegetable dishes.
Zhang Lisheng would spend more than ten hours each day from morning to night kneeling beside his father's body and thanking the visitors that came. Apart from the few relatives he had, most of the visitors that came were tourists who visited the mountain village. At the end of the five-day mourn, he was exhausted and looked extra tired.
The tourists were very excited to bear witness to an authentic Miaowei funeral. Some of the tourists who came on their own had intentionally extended their vacation just to stay in Guawo Village to wait for Zhang Daowu to be buried.
Meanwhile, the Guawo Villagers who came to help with the mourning in the old house slowly felt that the Zhang family's old house was not special anymore. Human's biggest fear was the unknown, and after the mystery was revealed, the Zhang family's old house was just another old house to them.
Finally, it was the last day of mourning. Almost all female and male adults of Guawo Village gathered around in the afternoon. Together with the tourists who were there to watch, the Zhang family's old house was congested with people. Even the stone roads outside were filled with people who were standing.
Tao Lielin, with a red blanket put on his shoulder, was officiating the burial ceremony. Staring at his mobile phone with his head down, he realized that the auspicious time was coming soon. As he lifted his head, he turned on the microphone and blew into it. After confirming the system was working from the sound of his blow, he then said loudly, "Please be quiet, please be quiet."
"The auspicious time has come, we're sending off the lord"
Suddenly, as Tao Lielin was speaking halfway through, he saw a path form between the villagers as they squeezed each other. Clad in black Miaowei clothes from head to toe, the old village chief Tian Jiushi walked towards him slowly.
"Grandpa Jiushi, w-why are you here"
"It's Brother Daowu's last journey. Naturally, I'll have to be here to send him off." Tian Jiushi had never once shown himself during the mourning of Zhang Daowu. Stunned, Tao Lielin let Tian Jiushi take the microphone from his hand. Tian Jiushi, with his voice raised, said, "It's the auspicious time now. I, Tian Jiushi, will send lord Zhang Daowu off."
Tian Jiushi took the red blanket from Tao Lielin's shoulder and covered the top of Zhang Daowu's corpse with it.
As the deceased was covered up, the orchestra began to play immediately. A couple of strong, middle-aged Miaowei women carried Zhang Daowu's corpse, carefully placed it in the wooden coffin beside, and covered it with the coffin cover.
Zhang Lisheng stumbled as he got up from his kneeling position on the ground. With a wooden hammer, he pounded on the thick nail on the coffin cover as a ceremonial symbol. Soon after, hunks dressed in Miaowei clothes with black cloth wrapped around their heads spread out around all four sides and pounded all sixteen nails tightly on the coffin cover.
Among the tourists who were watching in the old house's courtyard was a young man with thick eyebrows and big eyes. He was bored as he watched the hunks pounding on the thick nails with big hammers. He said softly to his partner, "Third Brother, isn't this similar to our Chinese funeral?"
"I thought these Miaowei people would kill a bear or boar for blood sacrifice. I didn't expect that apart from no cremation, there would be nothing worth watching."
"You want to see something rare? It's not difficult at all. Look at the one-sided carved insect-patterned grimace stone mask that's hanging above the offering table in the central room.
"If it's authentic, we might not be able to find such a witchcraft mask antique with such detailed craftsmanship at the annual Sotheby's auction," a tall and strong middle-aged man replied softly with a smile.
"Then that must be worth a lot of money. Third Brother, take a closer look and see if it's authentic!" The young man with thick eyebrows and big eyes became energized and interested.
"It won't be an insane price though. You must know that the collectors aren't paying much for porcelain, wood, bronze, and pewter during the recent years, let alone stone artifacts."
"But we'll definitely get five hundred thousand yuan if we sell it. If we hold on to it for a couple of years, the trend might change and stone artifacts might be in trend again. By then, it would not be impossible to add a 1 in front and a 0 behind the original price."
"Tsk tsk. The pattern and the craftsmanship, this thing can totally be described as perfection!"
"Adding a 1 before 500,000 and a 0 behind, wouldn't that be fifteen million yuan!"
"Third-Third-Third Brother! This comes free to us, let's just take it with us and disregard if it's authentic or fake."
"This is the Miaowei's land, we should be more careful. 'Lord' is written on the memorial tablet. This family must be someone that we shouldn't mess with," the Third Brother who had few years of experience smuggling artifacts said in a serious tone.
"What lord are you talking about, that's just ancient superstition. How can you not know that when we're in this business? I didn't expect to encounter such good stuff when we're resting after our big loot."
"Third Brother, let us both steal this tonight with Tiesi and leave tomorrow morning. Isn't this a great plan?"
"This is a good stuff but we have to come up with a thorough plan."
"We can't rush into such a thing. Oh right, Dayan, what's the landlord's name who kept wanting to gamble with us at the farmstay that we've been staying at for the past two days? Let's see if we can get him to talk tonight."
"He's a truck driver who delivers mountain products into the city. I don't know what his real name is, all I heard is that his wife keeps calling him Ermu, Ermu. Let's get him to talk tonight," the young man with thick eyebrows and big eyes said while rubbing his hands.
The tall and strong middle-aged tourist with a beard nodded and stopped talking. His eyes that were staring at the grimace stone mask hanging on the old house central room's wall looked away like nothing happened. However, the greed that was showing in his eyes lingered.
The coffin with Zhang Daowu in it was being nailed tightly at that moment. Pallbearers who were asked to come from all around the village were already carrying the coffin using wooden bars and hemp ropes.
They sang a funeral song together, "A visitor is leaving, a visitor is leaving. Who isn't a visitor of the world" It seemed shaky and creepy, but in reality, they were marching out of the entrance with rhythm.
As soon as the coffin moved, the congested crowd walked away and avoided it. Zhang Lisheng followed behind the coffin uneasily, he felt pain in him as he thought about his father who passed away.
At the same time, he thought of his wizard worm Qing Hong which dug its way just slightly under the ground. He did not wish anyone who attended the funeral to step on it to its death.
At the same time, he was thinking if he should pursue his studies in the future. Perhaps using the hundreds of thousands of compensation money to study hard in witchcraft would be a better choice.
The orchestra was playing the mountain tune of Miaowei. The team who was at the front leading the funeral walked pass the stone roads and climbed up an unobtrusive mountain trail along the west side of Guawo Village entrance.
The mountain trail was winding and deep, and as they walked higher, the trees were getting sparser compared to the dense foliage in the beginning. As they got up to a height of two to three hundred meters, all of the trees were withered. They could not even find a place to rest their feet. If the young Miaowei hunks who were carrying the coffin were not old hands who were familiar with the path, they might have fallen down from the trail since the beginning.
After 10 minutes of slowly strolling, the funeral team finally arrived at a platform that was formed by the natural parting on a side of the mountain.
The platform was extremely huge with three sides surrounded by mountain ranges and a side facing a big, surging river.
The mountain platform that was facing the river had hundreds of thousands of wooden coffins packed on top of it. This was the Guawo Village's mountain burial ground.
The tourists who had been waiting to satisfy their curiosity were finally immensely satisfied at that moment. Some of them who were panting begun to take photos excitedly, for memories sake, while some of the Westerners who had electronic tablets with satellite network began to post the proceedings directly on their personal page.
Although the Guawo Village chief Tian Jiushi was still healthy and strong, he was an old man in his declining years. He could not climb the mountain and make it to the burial ground. Therefore, Tao Lielin, who was holding his anger, had to officiate the event again.
With a somber expression, he stood on top of the mountain platform, pointed and shouted loudly at the tourists who held their cameras high and were using their electronic tablets, "Let me tell you beforehand that there'll be many monsters and demons accompanying the mountain burial."
"You people who are watching better behave yourselves. I can't do anything if any of you trigger the gods and demons. You'll either be hurt or die!"
Hearing his warning, some of the tourists had a change of expression and put down the electronic products in their hands by instinct, while some of them were numb with less excitement shown on their faces.
There was nothing that Tao Lielin could do to the tourists who did not want to listen to his advice. After all, following the Miaowei people's custom, the visitors to a funeral were the most honorable ones, and there were no prohibitions on their actions.
All he could do was to put on his serious face on as he walked toward Zhang Daowu's wooden coffin. He stopped before the coffin and said with his tone stretched like he was singing, "The ceremony is done at the auspicious time. Put down the coffin, bow with respect. Come home, lord!"
He wanted to end the funeral as soon as possible so that it would be convenient for him to chase the tourists who were disrespecting the ancestral burial ground away.
Hearing Tao Lien's instruction, the young hunks who were carrying the coffin replied a single word in unison, "Yes." They carried Zhang Daowu's wooden coffin to the mountain platform facing the river and put down the coffin at the row of coffins that was furthest to the east.