After we returned to the hotel, I told Yin Xinyue about this new case. She sounded cheerful. “Great! You guys can help the shrine capture some monsters! It’ll be much more interesting than sight-seeing!”
“Where’s Li Mazi?”
“Oh, Li Mazi and Ru Xue didn’t feel well after being trapped in that illusion on the stairs. They went to their room to rest.”
Since we didn’t have much information about the enemy, I didn’t know what to prepare. I decided to visit the shrine in the morning to investigate.
Early the next morning, Li Mazi didn’t want to go with us no matter what. He hugged the blanket and rolled on the bed. “Even if we can earn money, I’m not going to go with you. I don’t want to encounter more trouble!”
“Look at you, you coward!” I had to remind him that I could reveal the fact that he had rubbed the hostess’s rear end. Eventually, Li Mazi unwillingly left his bed.
Ru Xue was also hesitant, so I gave her the Ghost Sealing Pouch Chuyi used yesterday. “You can use this for self-defense.”
She was convinced and kept the pouch with her.
After breakfast, we departed to Inari Shrine. We thought we were early, but there were many tourists there already. They lined up and waited to make a wish to the statue of Inari. Some wrote their wishes on a small wooden board.
“I want to write some wishes, too,” said Yin Xinyue.
“There are so many people. We should do business first. Tonight, when no one’s here, we will come again for you to make your wishes,” I told her.
While we were looking around, a man wearing a ceremonial uniform called us. He spoke in Japanese. Xiao Gao talked to him then turned to us. “This is Mr. Urashima. He’s the Kannushi, the Grand Priest of this Shrine. He said that tourists are not allowed to enter this place.”
“Tourists? Tell him that Ms. Chiba invited us,” I said.
Xiao Gao translated to Urashima. He believed us.
Next, Chiba arrived while carrying a bucket of water. She hurried to brief the situation to Urashima. Urashima’s attitude changed immediately. He warmly welcomed us. However, it seemed he had something to do, so he asked Chiba to take us around.
Yin Xinyue pulled my sleeve and pointed at Chiba. “Is she the legendary shrine maiden? Sure enough, her aura is different.”
“Thank you!” Chiba smiled gently.
“Oh, you speak Chinese?” Yin Xinyue was amazed.
“I learned Chinese,” answered Chiba.
Li Mazi smiled. “Miss Chiba, you are really beautiful.”
Ru Xue shot him a fierce glance.
As we walked to the shrine, I saw a broken stone lantern in a corner. The other tourists didn’t pay attention to it, but Chuyi and I noticed it. This stone lantern was different from the others as I saw a Vermillion Bird carved on it. I smeared some soot on the broken lantern and sniffed it, smelling a wisp of Yin energy.
This stone lantern might contain some soil from the cemetery, which would have contributed to the geomancy of this shrine. In geomancy, it wasn’t always good to use only Yang attribute items. Sometimes, they needed to use Yin attribute materials. When Yin and Yang cooperated, they could strengthen the formation.
“If I am not wrong, there should be four stone lanterns like this in the four corners of the shrine. The carvings on them represent the Four Divine Beasts of ancient China. They are the Blue Dragon, White Tiger, Vermilion Bird, and Black Tortoise,” I said.
Chiba nodded in admiration. “Mr. Zhang has keen eyes. We have those stone lanterns. However, we don’t know why they were deliberately destroyed…”
Ru Xue mocked her. “Miss, the way you talk is like how Japanese devils talk in movies.” She seemed to have a hostile attitude toward Chiba. Perhaps, it was because Li Mazi kept stealing glances at her.
“Japanese devils? Do you mean the yokai?” Chiba didn’t get it. Since she grew up in the shrine, she didn’t have many chances to watch TV and learn new insults.
I had to change the topic by asking her to take us to see other places.
Along the way, Xiao Gao helped Chiba improve her Chinese grammar. Although Chiba sounded a little strange when she spoke, she was an intelligent woman. Xiao Gao just needed to show her the correct way and she could smoothen everything by herself.
Behind the shrine was a vegetable field where the residents grew vegetables. From a distance, we saw many graves. They were lined up one next to another. They had green grass growing on them.
I turned to Yin Xinyue. “Let’s check your knowledge. Should a grave be placed in front of or behind a structure?”
“Hm. It should be behind the structure. It’s not good to have a grave in front of the house, right?” Yin Xinyue frowned.
“Wrong. The graves should be put in the front! Placing graves behind the house is taboo in geomancy,” I explained.
Chiba blinked, then said, “Mr. Zhang, in Japan, we don’t use geomancy. It doesn’t seem to affect us much. Please pardon me, but I think this geomancy thing you’re talking about is just nonsense.”
“Oh, you think it’s useless?” I snorted and explained, “First, shrines usually have strong Yang energy, so evil spirits and ghosts won’t dare to barge in easily. Next, all the people who live in shrines are usually single for the rest of their lives, so they aren’t influenced too much. And lastly, this shrine’s geomancy was arranged with meticulous detail by a great master. But now, just because four stone lanterns are broken, paranormal activities have started to happen. What do you think will happen next?”
Chiba understood how serious it was. “Do you have a solution?”
“Who is buried over there?” I asked.
“Generations of miko and kannushi. They were all loyal servants of Inari-sama. I guess they have become Buddhas by now.” Chiba pointed at the graves. “However, many warriors and samurais were also buried on this mountain. According to what you just told me, the geomancy shouldn’t be good.”
Countless bamboo trees grew and filled the mountain. From our position, we saw a thick fog shrouding the mountain. It was true that this place had strong Yin energy.
“Tonight, I will mend the geomancy of this place. There should be no paranormal activities afterward.”
“Thank you.” Chiba nodded at us and looked grateful.
Chuyi, who had kept silent all the time, suddenly asked, “Who built this shrine?”
Chiba answered, “I heard that it was the great Onmyoji Yasukiyo Abe.”
“Abe no Seimei’s grandson?” Chuyi furrowed his brows.
“Yes.” Chiba nodded.
I used my phone to search for some information. During the Heian period in Japan, Onmyojis were famous. Abe no Seimei was the imperial Onmyoji appointed by the Emperor himself. He was in charge of the geomancy of the palace and all worship areas.
Yasukiyo Abe was Abe no Seimei’s grandson, who had inherited the Onmyoji profession from him.
Is there a relation between the sealed Tamamo-no-Mae and this shrine?
At this moment, we heard a commotion from the shrine. Another miko came and talked to Chiba.
“What’s wrong?” I asked her.
“Two tourists suddenly fainted.”
We also went to take a look. The two tourists were placed in a quiet room. They were one man and one woman that looked like a couple. Urashima was calling an ambulance. When I saw the couple, I felt that something was wrong.
Chuyi walked forward and pulled their eyelids to check. Then, he turned to me. “Their Yang energy has been sucked dry.”
“Can you save them?” asked Chiba.
“Their lives aren’t in danger. They need to rest for a few days, and they’ll be all right.”
Ghosts wouldn’t appear in broad daylight. The thing that had sucked their Yang energy was possibly a monster. The two fox spirits were the main suspects.
I looked around and noticed that we were all in the same place. “Hey, this is not good. Perhaps we have been tricked into leaving the secret area unguarded. I think they want to steal the fox statue!”
Urashima was frightened. He rushed to the storage to check. The others followed him closely.
When we reached there, Urashima had already opened the drawer, but nothing was inside. He screamed in desperation.
Chuyi suddenly reached his hand into the drawer and took something out. It was the intact box.
This looked like a magic trick. Both Chiba and Urashima were amazed. Chuyi said, “It was just an illusion.”
Urashima couldn’t ease his worried mind. He opened the box to check the content. But as soon as the fox statue was taken out of the box, Xiao Gao suddenly snatched it from him and ran away!Previous Chapter Next Chapter