“Pops, you got it wrong. I am…”
It would be really shameless if I called myself Shaman Monarch when I was a fraud. While I was busy trying to think of how to introduce myself without making myself contemptible, Hong Jiu voiced, “You courting death, old man Would you dare object if my leader has eyes for your daughter Youre blessed hes sparing her a glance.”
Where did you learn to play thug! You scared the lights out of her mother - literally!
Despite looking malnourished, Yangyangs father sped into the kitchen to grab a whip. Yangyang hastily stopped him and explained the whole story. Only once his nerves were unknotted did he notice the group of people attired in white garments.
The corners of Yangyangs fathers lips stretched closer and closer to his ears, culminating in him diving into me as though he was shooting for a takedown. “Divine Sun! Divine Bird! This peasant finally has the honour of meeting you! Your Majesty, please accept three bows from this old one!”
Okay, you can kowtow if you want to kowtow, but can you not try to submit my leg!
“Your Majesty, you have no idea how harsh life in our village is!”
“I will hear you out. Let go now, or I will uncork a No Shadow Kick!”
He finally let go, then enthused to his wife, “Honey, look! His Majesty Shaman Monarch has arrived! Our days of suffering are finally over!” And… he shocked her back to sleep…
I instructed everyone to wait outside, but they were allowed to listen in outside if they wished. Yangyangs father told me the village was never large, but it was never so rundown and used to be populated. Only in recent years did things start making a turn for the worse, beginning with the drought that started two years ago. Wanyu then conscripted over half of their young men to build their military, which was reasonable; however, Wanyu was famous for rewarding its soldiers handsomely. That was why young men kept leaving the village even when they werent conscripted, leaving the village bereft of capable workers.
“Even if there is a drought, you are not that far from the river. Why did you not opt for irrigation”
It only took me a day on foot to travel from the previous village to this one. Even if it was excruciatingly taxing, would they really not bother stepping out of their village if their lives were at risk
“That is because… you are His Majesty Shaman Monarch.”
“Can you explain”
“You can summon winds and rain, not to mention all the able people under you. Nobody would dare to stand in your way, but we…”
I pulled my brows together. “I remember you mentioned highwaymen. Are they part of your concern”
“Yes, Your Majesty. If a drought was our only problem, we could gather herbs or hunt as we have plenty of both locally. Unfortunately, two years ago… a gang of highwaymen called a place nearby home, demanding we supply them with food and fur. You know how cold-blooded they are in Xiacang Anxi. They are inhumane; they are carnivores who even drink blood. Luckily, they left without any complications after we supplied what they asked for. A new group has come, though, and, unlike the previous group, this group assaults anyone they see, vandalises any buildings they come across, as well as loot anything they can find within. They are the ones who turned our village into this state…”
Highwaymen were a major problem for all of Xiacang Anxi, the nightmare of commoners. Theres not a crime imaginable that they would refrain from committing. Feng Xues martial prowess was only one reason he was revered. The other reason he was regarded so highly was owed to the time he coordinated a nation-wide sweep with the eleven states of Nanjiang. The bandits mustve chosen to return to Nanjiang since he had retired.
“They are feared everywhere in Xiacang Anxi. The next time they come might be our last day alive. Fortunately, there is no need to fear anymore,” Yangyangs father gave a heartfelt smile, “because you have arrived! You will use your abilities to help us, right”
I reactively nodded due to the way Yangyangs father looked at me.
As our conversation went on, more and more people congregated in the courtyard to listen in. What flabbergasted me was that among those who prostrated themselves on the ground as they cried out in Nanjiangs language were people from my two hundred followers. Even though I couldnt comprehend what they were voicing, their eyes told me they were imploring me to help them.
Knowing it was my cue to create a miracle, I sent off everyone but Iron and Wood Guardians so that I could inquire, “Hey, what do you two think What do I need to do”
I didnt really know what entailed “make it rain”. For all I knew, Shaman Monarch mightve left behind some secret method to make it rain if the legends claimed he had the power to.
“In my opinion, you should move on to the next village - now.”
I furrowed my brows. “What”
“Your Majesty, perhaps you are unaware, but there are countless villages you will see facing the same ordeals. We do not have the capacity and luxury to save every village. Your schedule is already full as it is. If you are to exercise punctuality, now is the time to move on.”
“That wasnt my question. My question was what ideas you have. To speak more accurately, how are you two going to help me create amiracle Your Great Spirit Shaman sent you here to assist me, which means you must know what to do, correct”
They bobbed their heads.
“I already gave my word to help. How do I create the miracle How do I make it rain How do I deal with the bandits”
Both of them replied together, “We suggest you head to the next vill-”
“I dont like arguing about the same thing over and over. What I say is final; who is going to help me”
Iron Guardian absentmindedly answered, “It is not easy to make it rain. At the very least, it is beyond you.”
Wood Guardian added, “Do you know how many highwaymen there are in Wanyu alone Accost them in the most trivial way, and the consequences will blow you mind. How are you going to deal with them”
“Just give me an upfront response.” Having taken a moment to study their visages, it clicked for me. “Its Ol Ges orders, isnt it”
My frigid tone clearly ruffled their feathers. Howbeit, they remained silent.
“He told you to leave me to abandon me when I need help, correct He wants me to lose credibility, forcing me to abdicate on my own accord, correct” Their silence answered the question for me. “Are you two joking right now Youre the ones who preached giving hope to people with miracles and to improve their lives. Youre the ones who stressed to mind my manners and words so that I dont blaspheme Shaman Monarchs reputation in their eyes. You four guardians are supposed to safeguard the religion. So, what youre telling me is all that is just bollocks To please Great Spirit Shaman, youre okay with sacrificing your own people”
I pointed outside and went on, “Those people waiting outside for rain and their hero are your followers. Theyre not a substitute like I am; theyre your lifetime followers. They live frugal lives, deprive their kids of better lives and deprive themselves of enjoyment so that they can donate to you. Are you telling me that youre going to walk off on them despite knowing theyll be in peril You might as well kill them now to simplify matters and save them from prolonged suffering.”
I could almost hear Wood Guardian crushing her teeth. In the end, though, it was Iron Guardian who spoke up. “Thank you for your enlightenment, Your Majesty. Still, I need to remind you that not everyone possesses your authority and courage. At the very least, I was not endowed with them… I shall assume your silence is tacit agreement to follow my proposal.”
Iron Guardian exited the house to announce my subsequent schedule. While he kept his tone neutral, the crowd drowned out his voice with their loud cursing. It wasnt hard to imagine the villagers rage and disappointment, but they could only gnash their teeth. The last thing they wouldve expected is to hear their messiah turn his back on them when they had been praying hed come to their aid.
“… His Majesty has decided…” Iron Guardian abruptly paused for a while. “… Due to your needs, His Majesty has changed his mind. He will be staying to help you.”
I didnt need to have mind-reading abilities to know how shocked Iron Guardian was deep down.
(If you arent endowed with courage and authority, allow me to give you them. Remember this for the rest of your life: pick your fights.)
Iron Guardian could feel the thin threads manipulating his body against his will. All he could do was stare at me.
I ambled out of the property, then offered the villagers a polite smile. “You have all suffered greatly. I shall hereby reward all of you to relax. I shall grant you the honour of watching me perform a miracle.” I eyed Iron Guardian and elaborated, “I shall show you flying humans.”-