Chapter 11

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Initiation

Though her trip was an excuse to visit the Ningguo Temple, Yun Shang still had to pretend otherwise. As planned, she lingered at the Temple with Qin Yi and Qin Meng for a few days. But it was only on her last day there that she requested an opportunity to meet with Master Wu Na.

Master Wu Na was greatly esteemed in the State of Ning. Through his wisdom, he earned tremendous respect from the people of Ning. However, Yun Shang did not get the chance to see him. She enlisted the help of a young Buddhist monk to carry her message to the Master for a talk, but the young Buddhist monk only brought back for her an old parchment made of sheep skin from the Master. Yun Shang could not help but feel startled while reading his message. Master Wu Na was, it seems, aware of the purpose of her visit. What a clever man! It would be terribly awful if he should become her enemy one day in the future.

As Yun Shang had gotten what she wanted from this journey, she ordered Qin Yi and Qin Meng to pack up. Soon, they were on their way back to the Imperial Palace in a carriage.

Yun Shang rested on her first night back in court. The subsequent day, she rose at the fifth watch*. She ordered her maids to help her with a court dress suitable a princess as she intended to go to Jinluan Hall where Chinese Emperors held administrative meetings with their ministers and senior officials.

(*TN: In ancient China, the night was divided into five watches. The fifth watch is the last period, which comes before dawn.)

Emperor Ning was listening to his courtiers' reports when he heard the singing tone of a young eunuch announcing her arrival, "Princess Yun Shang is requesting a presence..."

Yun Shang? Emperor Ning was a little surprised. He had not expected Yun Shang at this moment when a morning meeting was being held in the court. Minsters and courtiers were also at a loss. They exchanged looks of confusion with each other.

With a slight cough, Emperor Ning said, "Call her..."

Yun Shang entered Jinluan Hall, and, after finishing the three-kneel-and-nine-kowtow etiquette* to Emperor Ning, she said, "I have something to report, Your Majesty. I visited the Ningguo Temple a couple of days ago to pray for the people. Master Wu Na gave me some revelations from Buddha. He asked me to present them to Your Majesty..."

(*TN: the three-kneel-and-nine-kowtow etiquette is the most solemn and highest rite of politeness. It is usually used in grand situations like in the presence of an Emperor or when paying tribute to parents.)

"Master Wu Na?" Emperor Ning was startled. Though just a master monk at the Ningguo Temple, Master Wu Na had once been named as the National Consultant by the previous Emperor Ning. However, Master Wu Na had turned down that honor. Master Wu Na had never practiced divination or foretold destiny for any one. But today, he sent Yun Shang to present the revelations of Buddha...

"Hurry up! Show it to me..." said Emperor Ning impatiently.

The Eunuch-in-Chief stepped away from the Emperor's side and scurried down the stairs. He fetched the parchment from Yun Shang, and presented it to Emperor Ning, who then unrolled it. The Emperor burst into ecstasy after reading it. "According to Master Wu Na, the drought of Ning has led people to a miserable life. Pitying the suffering people, Princess Yun Shang prayed with an honest heart. Due to her kindness, the benevolent Buddha will arrange a rainfall on the seventeenth day of this month. Ensure that no grand ceremony is held on that day."

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