Chapter 26: The Ancient Star Chart
Ye Fan’s hand held onto the bronze coffin, his body was still like the moon’s silhouette on a lake as he stood there silently. He seemed to transcend the confines of earth and emitting a refined air around him. At this moment, he was graceful yet otherworldly, he ‘did not eat the foods of the common mortals*’ like an immortal who could ride with the winds at any time.
[T/N: Placing oneself above the common populace]
At this moment his body was not as calm as the inner universe within him; heavenly sounds of the Great Dao that was as deep and vast as the ocean. Each word resonated such that it was like the oceans collapsing causing far-reaching fissures that resounded across the heavens and earth.
Like the chanting from a distant past yet also like a prayer to the desolate gods. It seemed to be endless, as though it had torn through the fabric of time-space and gently flowed into Ye Fan’s most inner being, making his mind and soul tremble and losing his bearing.
Like a banished immortal, delicate and ‘untainted by even a speck of dust*’; emanating an aura of being free from the earth and dirt, there was a faintly discernable feeling of withdrawing from all worldly affairs.
[Idiom*: Selfless and incorruptible]
A distance away the group watched as he stood there motionless, their expressions were puzzled not entirely sure what was happening. They could only feel that Ye Fan was like an unblemished immortal, free from any impurities and giving off a feeling that he had just been born into this world.
Ye Fan stood there listening to the bell-like divine chants that seemed to be vast and coming from far away but could not understand the meaning of the words within.
The abstruse divine chants were not excessively long and ‘cherished words like gold*‘,that numbered in the hundreds, the simplicity of the Great Dao, prospering till decline, a perception that passing away* is nothing special.
[T/N:* Idiom: not wasting words]
[T/N:** Chinese text is 归真 which means ’to die’ in Buddhism.]
The heavenly sounds like the yellow bell’s grand pitch continued to resound and each word that entered into Ye Fan’s heart felt as vigorous as the shaking of mountains and rivers and thereafter as peaceful as the moon above the sea. Several hundred ancient words had already been clearly carved into Ye Fan’s heart but the divine chants continued endlessly and the sound continued to resound within his ear.
Throughout this entire process the Bodhi seed within Ye Fan’s bosom was warm and made him feel comfortable from head to toe. It was precisely the Bodhi seed that made it possible for Ye Fan to listen to such a profound sound.
It was said in legend that the Bodhi tree could release the divine within a person and help the person attain enlightenment by seizing the way contained within heaven and earth. It was very certain that the Bodhi seed found below the Bodhi tree and beside the Great Lei Yin Temple would be phenomenal.
As Ye Fan stood there silently, people began to feel perturbed and some people suggested pulling him away. He was after all leaning on the bronze coffin and nobody would have associated positive connotations with this.
Pang Bo walked around Ye Fan and carefully scrutinised, he noticed that Ye Fan did not have any expression of pain but rather was giving off an otherworldly feel, seemingly ethereal. The bronze coffin itself also seemed to be emitting a godly presence.
Finally, Pang Bo did not act rashly and decided to stand guard by the side and silently waited.
“There won’t be a demonic possession where a demon possesses him right?” Li Chang Qing stared at the bronze coffin then looked at Ye Fan while saying.
Hearing this the others held firmly onto their Buddha artifacts and some people even stepped away. The ancient and mysterious coffin was filled with unknown factors and this made it unsettling.
“Does your brain grow from your ass? Would it kill you to not throw dirty water at Ye Fan? How can there be such nonsensical thoughts in your head?” Pang Bo did not bother to be courteous with him. Since the incident at the five coloured stone altar, Li Chang Qing had been acting against him and Ye Fan and he did not give him any face.
“Okay, that’s enough. Stop bickering.” Zhou Yi frowned as he looked at their surroundings and said: “Currently we don’t know if there are still any crocodiles within the confines of the large bronze coffin. Let’s be more prudent and carefully search through the place.”
The others felt nervous as they heard this, this was the reality of their situation. Since they had found one crocodile, it was impossible to say that there would not be a second or a third one. This concerned the lives and deaths of the group and fourteen of them had already lost their lives. This ferocious and frightening creature was enough to scare the bravest of them.
The group did not disperse too much and only split into two groups to allow them to easily support each other. They lit up their phones as they held on tightly to their Buddha artifacts and started to probe in the darkness.
After carefully going from corner to corner, the two groups gathered together but did not manage to find anything. Even so the group did not lower their guard. The bronze coffin was very large and spacious and it would be easy for a few crocodiles to hide. If any crocodiles hid at the ceiling of the coffin they would also be unable to check as it was too dark.
“Let’s be more vigilant, it won’t harm us to be more careful.” Lin Jia reminded the group and also comforted them saying: “Even if there are crocodiles, they are also afraid of the Buddha artifacts within our possession. Otherwise they would have attacked us long ago.”
Suddenly, the group heard a weird noise. Although it was soft and could hardly be heard it was able to make one’s soul tremble! The sound of drums seemed to be transmitted from far away, heavy and filled with sorrow. Thereafter the sound of bells chiming could be heard that was filled with grief, seemingly fleeting yet so real.
“Where’s the sound coming from?”
Everybody was stupefied as they looked around but could not seem to find anything.
The dreary sounds of the drum and sorrowful sounds of the bell chimes seemed to come from outside the coffin and made their hair stand on end.
“This…… couldn’t be the burial music that accompanied ancient emperors during their burials….. right?”
Suddenly, more sounds were transmitted over and it seemed to be the sound of untold grief, as though tens of thousands of people were worshipping and praying at a funeral.
The knell of the bell echoed out and the drums let out a sorrowful beat as though a vast funeral were unfolding before the group’s eyes. It seemed as though the world was an endless sea of people that were mourning and in prayer.
At this instant nine high-pitched dragon cries could be heard that seemed to pierce the heavens, tremble the mountains and rivers and spread throughout the earth. It seemed like a real picture that carved the scenes of the history of the cosmos.
At this moment, everybody seemed to have a bizarre feeling as though they were personally witnessing the vicissitudes of the reign of an ancient imperial monarch who once swept the land under heaven and finally the scene of his vast funeral that was on an unprecedented scale.
In actuality there were no pictures and all this was just an illusion created from the cries of the dragons and the prayers of untold numbers of people.
“The Buddha artifacts in our hands are giving off divine lights again……”
The Buddha artifacts within their possession started to give off divine light, the artifacts had not recovered their divine energy but rather seemed to be drying up as the light continued to leak. Tens of thousands of divine lustre began to rush towards the walls of the large coffin and were absorbed by the ancient engravings on the bronze coffin.
The rust covered walls of the bronze coffin did not fully bury the engravings of the ancient ancestors and gods and at this moment they were dazzling intensely making them seem to come alive. The engravings of desolate beasts and divine birds also became unbearably life-like as these ancient bronze engravings filled with the mysterious energy.
“Quick, look! The engraving of the star chart is currently shining!”
Everyone felt the peculiarity of that area, that was the largest piece of bronze engraving on the wall and it depicted the vast ocean of stars. At this moment all the stars were lit up. Against the black background within the confines of the coffin, it was pitch black like the night sky, making it seem as though there really were endless stars glittering in the night sky.
“This star chart has a line that seems to be glowing, could it be the path through the ancient route among the stars that we have already traversed?”
Everybody gathered over to look and openly discussed, each showing expressions of shock.
This star chart was vast and boundless like the ocean with many stars littering the map. There was a region on the map that was especially bright and more eye-catching than the other stars, drawing a majority of the groups concentration.
“These seven stars that are glowing seem to be the Big Dipper!”
Hearing Wang Zi Wen say this, the group glanced over and saw that in front of the route that seemed to denote the ancient route among the stars was the Big Dipper that was giving off a dazzling light, very apparent.
There were many other star clusters that were giving off similarly brilliant glows like the Big Dipper and after carefully going through them a few of them had shocked expressions. Zhou Yi did not only look cultured but had indeed read many books and was able to immediately recognise the more obvious star clusters saying: “Those are the constellations found in ancient China.”
Ancient china had divided the starry sky into several regions and the star clusters found within each region would have a different names. It could be divided into the Three Enclosures, Four Symbols and Twenty Eight Mansions to summarise the star chart in the sky.
The ancient engraving before their eyes seemed to have been carved based on this and paid special attention to the more famous star clusters.
“Having looked through this star chart and carefully following the ancient route among the stars, it certainly leaves one speechless. When our ancestors divided up the star chart it was unlikely to be based on superstitions but rather followed a strict pattern. Different constellations represented a different star system and this seemed to have a special and great significance……”
“That’s right, it seems to have something to do with the ancient route among the stars. It could even possibly be related to the place where all life had originated from……”
Everybody was shocked and were speechless for a long time.
“Quick, look! There is a line of glowing stars within the star chart that seems to be extending outwards! Could it possibly be indicating where we are currently headed to? Could it be that it actually indicates the progress and direction of the ancient route among the stars?”
“This line of glowing stars seems to be extending towards the Big Dipper!”
Everybody was stupefied, they had initially been on Mount Tai on Earth. Such a short period of time had gone by and it was possible that they were fast approaching the Big Dipper! This simply felt like a dream and seemed surreal.
Based on the current advancements of modern man, even flying for millions of years it would not be possible to reach the Big Dipper. This was simply an impossibility! The distance was just too far!
Everyone was dumbstruck, their hearts were filled with shock.
“In front of the Big Dipper, there’s an even brighter star…. the Emperor Star*. Could our destination be a planet within that cluster of stars? You guys should know that the Emperor Star had a special significance in the ancient times.” Someone within the group voiced his conjecture as the Emperor star was shining very brightly on the star chart, it was the most dazzling star out of all the others.
[T/N: in the west it is known as Polaris]
“It is difficult to confirm, it could possibly continue extending into different star clusters.”
At this moment someone shouted: “That glowing line has stopped extending and has stopped there! That’s the cluster of stars where the Big Dipper is located!”
At the same time, the group began to feel the bronze coffin violently tremble as though heaven and earth were trembling.
“It seems that we have reached a destination……”
“Could we really have reached the dwelling of all the gods?”
“Could it be the immortal world of legends?”
“It could also be a highly advanced scientific society as well.”
“If there are really immortals and Buddhas, we may possibly see some people from legends.”
“Following the ancient route among the stars created by the gods and reaching our final destination. What kind of world would this be?!”
Everyone was feeling nervous but also filled with expectation, they could not wait to get out of the bronze coffin.