The ghost official lost his temper with Lan He and said angrily, "Who asked for your donation? No one asked you!"
The onlookers whispered among themselves, highly entertained at the situation. The ghost official pulled a long face - it was really pulled down to his chest, and cursed, "What are you looking at! Mind your own business! Look over again and I’ll drag you to the Death-In-Vain City!"
The ghostly shadows disappeared in a whiff, not daring to continue watching. Despite that, they definitely will remember the Impermanence called Lan He.
Nonchalantly, Lan He slowly said "You were the one who said that I was unworthy to go on the road. Why, can you take a joke?"
Ghost official: “...”
Lan He definitely did it on purpose. "I’m just joking. Don’t mind me. Can I go now?"
They were under different systems. The ghost oficial could not do anything to him. He may even get into trouble if he filed a complaint about Lan He. Although if he called his superior here, it would solve Lan He’s problem. Song Futan needed to find a local Netherworld official to prove that he was a living soul.
The ghost official scoffed and looked at Lan He ominously. He turned his back without saying another word.
The greedy ghost official looked at them and smiled, trying to pacify them. "You don't have to take these jokes to heart. Brother, please calm down..."
Before the ghost official could scoff, he turned to Lan He and said, "Dad, you should go too.”
Ghost official: "......"
He turned his head to glared at his colleague, knowing that this guy must have done it on purpose.
Lan He could not hold his laughter. This ghost official has taken a clear stand - no matter where you are from, anyone who pays him can be his dad. He bowed his hands together in thanks.
Together, Lan He and Song Futan led the donkey and set foot on the muddy and long Huangquan road.
"So... You do not work here?" Although Song Futan had his soul separated multiple times, he has not died multiple times. Therefore, he did not understand the relationship between the underworld government and Dongyue Netherly Office.
"I work in the Dongyue Netherly Office," Lan He said, although he has never been to Dongyue Netherly Office, "Do you know what kind of place it is?"
Seeing that Song Futan shook his head, Lan He said again, "But you should know the relationship between the Chenghuang Temples and the underworld government?"
Song Futan nodded, “The local and the central government."
Every city has an underworld office, that is, the Chenghuang Temples. The Chenghuang Temples are ranked as County City God, Prefecture City God and Town City God, which roughly correspond to the counties, cities and towns in the living world. The underworld government headquarters was located in Youdu, capital of the underworld.
Lan He said, "The Dongyue Netherly Office was the previous party in power, which belonged to the Taoist system. The current underworld government has a Buddhist background. As their influence grew, Dongyue Netherly Office was merged to become one of the ten temples of the underworld. Because it has not been fully integrated, we still like to call ourselves by the previous name ‘Dongyue Netherly Office’. The correct term now should be the 'Seventh Hall'. The King of the Seventh Hall is the Taishan King, previously known as Taishan Lord.”
"You see, because of the historical issues, those who have religious beliefs are sorted accordingly. Taoists are under Dongyue, and Buddhists are under the underworld. If you die in the future, you would not go to our Netherly Office in Dongyue..."
Song Futan: "......”
Speaking of death again, he suddenly felt conflicted between tears and laughter. He felt a little lost as well.
Lan He did not know what he was thinking. He pointed to the front and said, "Hey, look what's there."
The arrival and return path was starkly different. Shadowy ghosts overlapped on the incoming path, with countless ghosts lingering around. The path to return was so empty and large. It was so empty that with a glance, Lan He saw a food store at the side of the road.
Huangquan road has no place to rest. Where to rest tonight?
There should be no accomodation on Huangquan road, but why was there a restaurant? Was it opened just for ghosts on official duties?
Song Futan thought that it seems Lan He rarely comes to the underworld. He was not particularly familiar with the road.
The restaurant looked just like those from the living world. There was a steamer and a chopping board near the door. The boss was mincing meat for fillings. When he saw them, he hollered, “The stuffed meat buns are just out of the steamer. Take some steamed meat buns!"
It meant free for the taking.
The boss smiled at them and said, "Do you want meat buns? Freshly steamed meat buns."
The boss smiled sincerely, but Song Futan and Lan He did not dare to accept the steamed buns.
Eating the food in the underworld did not mean that they can’t return to the living world. However, a return to the underworld will happen very quickly. It looked delicious now but in the living world, it was a bunch of rotten food that had been put aside for too long. If you had eaten it, it would be agonizing even if you did not die.
"Do you really not want it? It's a long path. How can you get there without eating enough?", the boss encouraged.
"How do you know he's going to be resurrected?" Lan He suddenly asked.
The boss's eyes shifted and he quickly said, "Well, you are escorting him. Aren't you going to return his soul..."
That may not be necessarily true. What if he was being taken to Dongyue Netherly Office? Lan He looked at the boss with suspicious eyes. This guy... Could he be sent by the green-clad official with a grudge?
Anyway, from his professional perspective, the boss's acting was not very good. Even if he was not sent by that ghost official, he has no good intentions. Maybe he's jealous that others can be resurrected.
The boss tried to keep a smiling face, "There are also vegetable fillings..."
He deliberately took out a steamed bun from the steamer and put it in front of Song Futan. He tempted, "Smell it, just smell it."
The fragrance was extremely tempting, but Song Futan shot it a cold look, unaffected.
He lived for more than 20 years surrounded by ghosts. How would he be tempted by a few stuffed meat buns.
Song Futan said, "Let's go."
The boss was disappointed. How can they be so unmoved……
"Wait," Lan He suddenly refused to leave. "Boss, do you just sell meat alone?"
Seeing hope, the boss was a little happy. He was also secretly surprised as they had seemed to be suspicious of him, so he hesitated and said, "Yes..."
Song Futan thought that Lan He must have been enticed, but upon looking carefully, his eyes were still clear. Did he want some for himself? Anyway, Impermanence would not be afraid of these.
Lan He said, "Well, I’ll want five kg of lean meat, minced without any trace of fat."
Song Futan: "......"
The boss almost knelt down. "Master, I don’t know how to cut this. I'm a steamed stuffed bun seller. You can look for it elsewhere!"
"Wait, you made a promise just now, and you are going back on it now?" Lan He said, grasping his collar and imitating the fierce ghosts he had seen. "Do you think I am very free?"
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm really sorry. I was asked to do this by a ghost." When the boss saw Lan He's glare, he was afraid to the depths of his soul and blurted out everything. "I won't dare to do this again."
"Then you need to finish cutting the meat I want." Lan He was adamant, "In addition to five kg of lean meat, I also want five kg of fatty meat and five kg of cartilage all to be minced. These should be packed separately with no intermixing. Send these all to that ghost, and tell him that these are for him to make dumplings to eat."
...There was no escape. The boss nodded tearfully and sobbed, "Okay..."
Lan He lost the glare, using his acting skills freely. "Then go."
The boss was stunned and grew more fearful. This Dongyue Impermanence has such extreme mood swings. Wonder who he was when still alive.
"Let's go." Lan He kept his temper and beckoned Song Futan to continue on the road.
Song Futan chuckled and shook his head. "You are really a fierce character."
With hands placed on his waist, Lan He laughed out loud. "You flatter me."
After walking for a while, there was a branch in the road ahead. Lan He looked carefully but could not tell which way to go.
Huangquan road was a difficult path, but it should only be so for ordinary souls.
But Lan He was an Impermanence. He should not feel lost at all. Just like he wanted to step on to the Huangquan road, he will naturally enter Huangquan road after three and a half steps.
"Haven't you received the dumpling filling yet? Still making trouble again." Lan He murmured, "Little ghosts are pesky."
Song Futan looked at him.
Although he did not speak, Lan He suddenly understood what he meant, "I'm not a little ghost. Did you forget what you just said? I’m a fierce character."
Song Futan laughed.
At this moment, from the depths of one of the roads came a deep melodious sound, "Dang--"
When Song Futan heard the bell, he said, "It's my family ringing for my soul to return."
Happy, Lan He said, "What sound is that, it can be heard from so far away?"
Song Futan said, "It’s from a bell."
The sound of the bell lingered.
Lan He let it go for the time being. Following the direction of the sound, the two of them accelerated their pace and unknowingly stepped into the living world, their surroundings suddenly brightened.
They did not appear in the Chenghuang temple, but at a crossroad with Juehui temple nearby.
"Was it the bell of Juehui temple?" Lan He suddenly realized.
The ancient bell of Juehui temple weighed tens of tons, and was known as the king of bells. It has a history of 600 years. It was said that the chime can spread for tens of miles at the most, and the lingering resonance was more than two minutes.
But Lan He did not know that the chime would even reach the Netherworld.
Xu Gui was still waiting for Lan He at the same place. When he saw him coming, he hurried forward, "Master Lai, you're back. How did it go?"
When Song Futan heard Xu Gui, he remembered that Lan He had also called himself Master Lai to the ghost official. He thought to himself, so he was called ‘Lai’.
"It was okay." Lan He told Xu Gui to remain nearby to cultivate and work downwards everyday, to reach the Netherworld as soon as possible.
Having said that, Lan He looked towards Song Futan. It was time for him to leave and part ways again. The tense but lively atmosphere on the Huangquan road just now was all but gone. "I still have to work. You should be able to go back yourself, let the paper donkey bring you..."
It was still midnight at this time, but he still had to get up early and put on makeup for the shoot, and time was running out.
Song Futan felt a sense of loss, "Okay, goodbye..."
Song Futan's eyes dimmed seeing him walk away. The last time he said goodbye was two months ago. This time round, he wondered when they would be able to meet again.
To think about it, if it were not for Lan He’s Impermanence status, they would not have known each other as they were born at different ends of the last century. But such was typical of the living and Netherworld, as they were both from different worlds. Even after his death, he would not report to the Dongyue Netherly Office.
Song Qiyun lifted Song Futan up and said, "Are you awake? Master Sikong said it was a bit dangerous this time. Fortunately, Master Buduo himself knocked the ancient clock and led you back."
"Yes." Song Futan replied simply.
Song Qiyun hesitated, feeling that he was preoccupied. However, his son would never tell them what happened in the Netherworld, so it would be useless to ask.
Song Qiyun had no choice but to attempt another question, "Did you name the main character, the young man, in the story outline you wrote last time? I was thinking about giving him a name..."
Song Futan interrupted him, "The name is Xiao Lai."
"Lan He? Lan He? He sleeps like the dead."
Lan He turned over and saw Cheng Haidong muttering. The alarm clock had been ringing for some time. "Why are you up?"
Generally speaking, Cheng Haidong will wait until the last minute to get out of bed.
"I was woken up long ago." Cheng Haidong yawned. "Didn't you hear the bell chiming? I even swiped Weibo, and everyone was discussing why the ancient bell was rung."
"Oh, oh." Lan He hurriedly said, "Maybe the monk thought it was the wrong time."
"It's impossible. The ancient clock in Juehui temple is 600 years old. It is not struck at will. It only strikes three times during the new year. When people go to pray, they usually hit the normal bell in the temple. Tonight, the chime was long and distant. It can only be from an ancient bell. But how can the time be read wrong? It's not a festive period now. It’s weird for the bell to ring at midnight."
"Really..." Lan He really was not aware of this rule. If so, then ‘he’ has a good relationship with the monks of Juehui temple. He also has the rosary beads of an eminent monk.
Cheng Haidong mysteriously said, "By the way, this ancient clock is engraved with hundreds of thousands of scriptures, so when it rings, it is equivalent to reading all the Scriptures. At the beginning, it was cast for the purpose of transcending the souls of the dead. Do you think something was transcended last night?"
Lan He said, "Maybe, maybe."
Hearing his perfunctory tone, Cheng Haidong lost interest in the topic.
During the day, Lan He and Chen Xingyang filmed their scene. They had just taken a break when Chen Xingyang's assistant came over and said, "Yang-ge, Xingyu-jie is here. I'll take her to the hotel."
"Okay." Chen Xingyang nodded, and explained to Lan He who was looking curiously at him, "My sister and Director Liu have planned for her to make a guest appearance, as an easter egg."
Chen Xingyu had just given birth and could not take part in the filming. But as she had cooperated in the past with Liu Chunyang, she agreed to make a guest appearance.
So it turned out that Chen Xingyu was coming, and Lan He was looking forward to it. She was his senior in school, and an experienced actor that he admired.
After some time, Chen Xingyu appeared. She shook hands with Liu Chunyang and said wearily, "I’m sorry, the baby has been crying and just fell asleep."
The baby was too young, currently staying in the hotel with the father, Chen Xingyu's agent.
Chen Xingyang was approachable and has many friends, but Chen Xingyu was different. She has never been very warm to people, and she can even be said to be withdrawn. There was often news about people who were snubbed by her.
Therefore, although she looked alot like Chen Xingyang, they give people a completely different feeling.
Lan He shook hands with her under the introduction of Chen Xingyang, and felt that he was about to be frozen to death.
Liu Chunyang and Chen Xingyu exchanged greetings. "Is your baby still crying? I recall that your WeChat moments mentioned that the baby has never stopped crying since birth? It’s not an exaggeration?"
Chen Xingyu rubbed her forehead and said, "Yes, the baby keeps crying for no reason. I have asked many doctors but no one could identify what’s wrong or stop the baby from crying. My grandmother said that the baby would be fine after crying for 100 days, but it has been 100 days, and the baby is still crying"
Liu Chunyang pondered and asked her, "Have you repaid your wish to Miaogan mountain?"
Lan He was sitting to the side with eyes closed in rest and his ears pricked up when he heard the three words "Miaogan mountain".
Lao Bai had told him before and he knew that one can pray for children at Miaogan mountain, or that any palace of Lady Bixia can do the same. Of course, the most famous one was the blessings from Taishan.
Since Liu Chunyang asked this, Chen Xingyu might have went in the past to pray for children. The gossip had never spread about this, only mentioning that Chen Xingyu has been preparing to bear a child.
To be more specific, there were many dolls in the Lady's palace. They used to be clay dolls, but now there were also plaster dolls, porcelain dolls and plastic dolls.
The women praying for children there burn incense and choose a doll. The Taoist priest in the temple would tie a red rope to the doll's neck. The red rope was tied with copper coins. The Taoist priest would shake the red rope, knock the chime with the copper coins, and read the mantra. Then he would wrap the doll with a red cloth and allow it to be taken home to complete the ceremony.
And if it really works in the future, the wish has to be repaid and the doll has to be sent back.
Chen Xingyu said, "I’ve repaid it... It has nothing to do with this?"
In fact, she didn't particularly believe in these things. She went only because she could not get pregnant and the elders of her family said that it was effective. Mount Tai was too far away and Miaogan mountain was very famous for such blessings in the capital. So, she had never thought that it would have anything to do with the repayment of her wish. Besides, she did return it.
"I didn't know until I asked. Then why would the baby still cry?" Liu Chunyang also wondered. He suddenly thought of something, "How many times have you asked for blessings and how many dolls have you returned?"
"Hmm?" Chen Xingyu said, "I prayed three times and returned one. The other two are still at home. I only took one to return. Why, is there a problem?"
—— Pray for three times, and at most three times. The number cannot go beyond three. Anyone who goes to the temple of Lady Bixia for blessings can pray once in three months. After repeating for three times, and if still not successful in getting pregnant, no more prayers can be made.
Liu Chunyang slapped his thigh. "Of course, you prayed several times. If you have a baby, you have to return all the dolls together."
Chen Xingyu said, "Why should I? I only gave birth to one, why do I have to return three?"
Liu Chunyang sweated like crazy and could not formulate a retort. "This, this... The traditions say so... Wow, you are so stingy! You still want to nitpick with the Lady about the other two!"
Isn’t it the Lady who was picking on me? Chen Xingyu said, "I’m just saying. In that case, I'll return the remaining two someday. I hope it works."
She yawned. The baby has given the husband and wife duo headaches, crying most of the time when awake with no way of pacifying.
"Well, I really want to finish work soon. I haven't seen Xiao Miaomiao for a long time. This crybaby, I'm hope it’s not because there is too much water in his name that the baby cries so much." Chen Xingyang rubbed his hands together.
Miaomiao was the nickname of Chen Xingyu’s baby. It was given by the Taoist priest of Miaogan mountain. According to the custom, they wrote it on red paper and it was taken away with the doll. If you get pregnant successfully, you have to use the chosen name.
"That's right." Chen Xingyang looked at Lan He and jokingly said, "Don't go near my sister's room when you return. The pigeons are afraid of you. Don’t come around and frighten my nephew!"