I realize I am not on Earth
I, Lei Shan am just an average person. I was part of the bustling crowds and the hustling office worker clique. Now I rule over a vast Empire and stand at the very top. The knowledge passes on by the body of this person is useless in terms of governing.
Think about a computer technician being suddenly in charge of one of the biggest banks in the world. Even for a highly intelligent person, which adjustment will take years given the difference in educational knowledge and experience? By the time you grasp everything you might have run the company into the ground.
Now you know my predicament!
For now I am standing in a dark room the only light being a faint fluorescent glow coming from the walls. My hands are on my chin as I slowly contemplate this riddle before me.
- Weigh the body without the soul, fill the body with the soul, return the body with the soul, open the gates of hell, look towards heaven, reach to heaven, pull the thread of fate, enter the kingdom, speak the name of the chosen, receive your reward under heaven.
Alright! Seeing that there is no mention of time in this instruction, let’s start slowly I can always pause between steps.
Weigh the body without the soul: I walk over to the stone table at the side. Reaching out I slowly lift the rectangular stone bowl. Ok, it’s not heavy so far so good. This bowl was resting on a fitted indentation on the table. That is indeed a good sign. I move to the scale.
Placing the bowl on one side I move the weights along the scale. As the scales balanced out I check the markings. A very faint number 22.214.171.124 is written there. I have no idea what unit of measurement this thing is; along the scales are countless numbers like these.
If this bowl is the body, I surmise the water is the soul. Using the wooden scoop near the well I get some water and slowly fill the bowl. There is a faint line marking the top of the bowl, so I fill it until there. Amazing! Even with the water the scales stay balanced. Oops! I fill slightly over the line and the scales drop down. I dip out some of the excess water and try again. Only after several tries do the waterline and the weight match up. The line glows on achieving this.
My hands are trembling and my back is aching from this accomplishment in near darkness. I sit and calm the nerves. I now remove the bowl from the scales and the weights automatically side back to the beginning. Gently holding the bowl I carry it and place it back onto its original resting position.
A small part of top along the bowls circumference cracks and breaks off smoothly. The stone bowl maintains its integrity, it looks completely normal. I get the feeling that the weight units from before are very important, no way it would be the same.
I look around to find the source of the clacking sound. It came from the direction of the stone slab bed. Walking over I scrutinize it carefully, at the base a small panel is revealed. Dropping to my knee I push it open, the stone sliding to the side revealing a dark chamber. Looking inside I see a faintly glowing key in a lock barely within reach if I stretch my hands. At the same time a feeling of fear washes over me with the same intensity like the dragon before. To open the gates of hell is like a test of courage. Whatever madness seeping out from the hole is enough to prevent someone from placing their hands inside it. In this short time I have been unconsciously drenched in sweat again. I bite my tongue and in one swift movement during the pain, reach inside and frantically grasp and turn the key.
Pulling my hands out quickly I roll over on my back breathing hard. I control myself facing the ceiling. At the top of the bed I see an ice blue glow, different from the silver lighting around the room. A small gem no bigger than my fingernail dangles from a line so thin it seems like a star suspended and twinkling in the darkness.
After a short time recovering I get up and by standing on the bed I grab the gem and pull. A burst of cold feeling transmit through my hands refreshing my body. It feels like standing under a cool waterfall.
Whatever type of material the string is made of must be incredible. I am sure even by hanging onto it and tugging it won’t break. After I pull the gem slowly withdraws into the ceiling hiding itself. The sound of stone grating on the ceiling catches my attention. A stone slab the size of a telephone directory withdraws up and to the side. This time bright azure letters shine in the darkness like a small sun.
The stone slowly moves back into place when it had completed its movement. Darkness once again returns, along with a solemn faced me still standing.
- Haa! Yea, yep, yep. Ahh no, What the fu@# just happened?
I say that calmly like a man still in shock on losing a sure bet.
I sit down on the bed. Let’s think things through here young man I caution myself. I haven’t been in this world to long, my counterpart here has lived the most isolated life you could find south of a meditating sage; in essence he knows squat about real world matters.
By doing all this I was expecting some kick a$$ special skill or power. I mean I am in a different world, judging from my encounter with the dragon statue nobody on Earth could make something so terrifying. I definitely didn’t smell any gas or hallucinogen but I could be wrong, shamans have used such things long before modern age.
The letters I saw didn’t even make much sense; it wasn’t even a pronounceable name. I get the feeling this is all a plaything cast by the person who dug this place. In some grave this guy is laughing at this idiot. I think this whole scenario that played out is for the enjoyment of someone else.
The lesson from this, ah yes an emperor must be humble and try to be wise, yes that it; remember the story of the emperor running around naked thinking he was dressed. I convince myself this test is to bring the arrogant and proud to the ground. OK I AM READY!
I get up and placing everything back how I remembered it I bow and walk out. The water in the stone bowl had dried out just like that. I am feeling thirsty but I am not that crazy to drink anything from this weird room.
I make my way to the golden lit passage walking slowly and dejected. It hurts you know! I really expected too much there. I finally reach the fork in the passageway. I take my time and walk down this passage, the light is gradually getting brighter so I am in no hurry as my eyes adjust themselves.
Wow!…………… (Speechless because my lower jaw is still hanging)
Standing under the small arched exit from the passage I move one of my hands to help close my mouth. A huge cavern opens out before me, big like the one above that houses the dragon statue. Countless flames dance above wells of liquid oil, burning brightly but without a hint of smoke.
In the center of this chamber lies a large stone altar big as a house, flames issue from the top burning brightly. These flames are caused by the burning of huge logs stacked like a Red Indian tepee. It would take about four people to circle one of those logs joining hands. For how many centuries have these logs been burning?
The stone altar sits atop the back of a giant turtle, the carving just as realistic as the dragon above. This time the feeling of ancientness washes over me, I stand at the side and see the formation of the universe and the slow rise of life on planets. Two small stream flows from the open mouth of the turtle over the two sides of its beak and into a golden bricked pool at the base.
This has to be testament of some magical force, no way in my technical and scientific mind this is possible. Flames of such magnitude emitting heat only when up close, and giving of no vapors at all. By now this area and the passageways would have been deadly to breathe and move in. The splendor of this detailed sculpture alone is like a fabled wonder of the world.
I personally am not a connoisseur of the fine arts. I will appreciate the labor and time that goes into such works, and I am not ignorant of something like this. Of course the other things in my vision along with this wonder takes up my attention.
Surrounding the sides and back of the huge turtle are mountains of gold coins and gems. Within this sea of metal and crystal floats items like swords, armor and shields as if tossed by imaginary waves. The height of this treasure pile is nearly as high as the turtle.
Imagine an indoor stadium filled with gold coins the height of the seats and a giant statue taking up an area the size of a football field plum in the center. The only place to walk is the small area facing the statue, and a narrow area along the walls and around the turtle.
I bow and pay my respects. I am not ignorant as before; I have faced a dragon and been through a humbling ordeal.
- Lei Shan Emperor under the three suns and ruler of the Shan Empire in the Fang continent pays his respects.
I make my introduction and bow. Back on earth I would have already stripped and filled my clothes like bags with gold and gems, but the current me has no need for it. Tempted! I will be lying to say I am not tempted!
I look around checking the walls and surroundings for any signs or instructions how to proceed. Unlike before where the green door glowed, I saw no change. This place remained silent except for the faint humming of the fire and the cascading stream. I decided to head to the small pond at the turtles base.
I walked slowly to the place under the turtle’s mouth. I encountered no resistance like before, after that sort of vision everything just became serene. The circumference of the pond was not a circle but twisting and turning without any straight edges. The water fell in the middle, and the size was such that not a single drop of water or spray wetted the flat stone embankment or floor outside.
The pool was clear and translucent, with all this light I could make out the bottom. It was only about 2 feet deep and lined with white pebbles mixed with gems in between. There must be some form of overflow or something because the level seemed to have remained the same judging from the watermark after countless generations.
On one of the stone slabs a marble slab was laid flat, fitted into it with writing. I made my way to it hoping for some instructions. The marble surface was cut to form the letters and then filled with flowing crystal to mould the shape of the words. I haven’t seen something so detailed in my life.
- This is the wealth gathered by the Shan, long before he was recognized as an EQUAL by the Dragon. Descendants are allowed one item, it will be returned on death.
Eh? So this was the real thing all along? What a waste of time! I could have long reached here, grabbed what I wanted and be back home relaxing in my pad. Like I saw before there were paths along the walls and around the turtle. Walking along there would enable me to choose some item or even gold that I needed.
I decided to walk around the walls first and see if anything catches my eye, then check around the path around the turtle. I can always double back for something better. Sticking around the tops of the gold coins are different types of armor and weapons. From capes to boots, leather to plate mail there is something for everyone. I feel like a bargain hunter suddenly being told everything is free in a major department store.
I take endless time walking around. Sometimes I pull a robe or sword and see how it fits or handles but I am lost like a child in an amusement park. All the rides and delights are around me, but I have no fricking idea about anything because I got no one to guide me.
At the back of the cavern is a small passage, I presume when I am finished that is my way out. Looking back I see the tail and back of the turtle and walk into the inner path to scan the items on this side of the glittering mountain.
I am slowly becoming dejected. First I was hazed, then fooled, now humbled by inexperience. What am I supposed to choose here that’s right for me?
I clear one side of the turtle and have now reached near the back leg of the statue on the other side. This walk has worn me out. I make up my mind to just grab a sword or a light robe and just head to the exit when I complete this circle upon reaching the tail.
The fire altar burns brightly to the side of me, giving of a low heat. I pick up my pace seeing the tail about 100 feet away.
- Psssst! Hey you!
I nearly fell over upon hearing the sound of the soft voice calling. I stop and look around bewildered.
- Hey! Over here, over here! I swear the Shan bloodline becomes stupid and foolish every passing generation!
I focus on the voice and my gaze comes to a rest at the base of the statue’s back foot. With all the light even the shadows can’t cast complete darkness. I walk over searching but there is nothing there.
- Aye! Over here, you want to kill me? Don’t step on me!
I step back and for the second time in my life here, loose the feeling in my legs and drop to the ground on my butt.
There, in front of me was a glowing piece of ember from the logs burning above. It was about the size of a closed fist and the fire seems to be on the verge of dying out. A soft voice, filled with arrogance and majesty echoed out.
- Hey? You never saw a sprit entity before?
And thus after I regained my sanity, was the start of my first encounter and conversation with the unknown.