|Zhongxiang Judges Dealing in the Underworld|
|The Underworld Emperor grew furious and asked the eight men: “Where is thar Emperor Gaozu of Han?” They answered: “My lord, you should summon him.” The Underworld Emperor agreed: “I will summon him as you requested. “Then the eight passed the imperial edict to summon Emperor Gaozu of Han. Before long, Emperor Gaozu of Han came, prostrated on the floor. The Underworld Emperor asked: “Three people accused you of the same reason. Han Xin, Peng Yue and Ying Bu devoted themselves to support the establishment of the Han Empire, while you insisted that they betrayed you and murdered them. Why? “Emperor Gaozu of Han responded:” The Mountain Yunmeng is like a wonderland with variety of views. I just came back from there. Empress Lü is in charge of the empire. I don’t really know if the three were betraying or not. You will understand better if you summon the Empress.”
Empress Lü arrived at the court. After the exclamation of the officers (a ritual in which the officers standing in the palace exclaim “long live the emperor” before the meeting with the emperor starts), The Underworld Emperor asked: “You are in charge of the country, but you insisted on the treachery of the three officials who made great contributions to this country, and you murdered them. What crime should you be accused of? “Empress Lü looked at Emperor Gaozu of Han, saying: “Your majesty, you are the emperor who is supposed to be in charge of the land and the people of this country. Once I asked humbly: ‘The country is finally at peace now. Why are you still upset?’ Your majesty answered: ‘You don’t understand. Even though the conqueror was powerful, three people managed to force him to kill himself by the Wu River (Here, it is referring to another historic character Xiang Yu, a failed conqueror in an earlier dynasty). Those three people are like sleeping tigers. What should I do if they wake up? I am going to travel to the wonderland. And I am authorizing you to be in charge as the empress. Go lure them into the palace and kill them.’ However, now your majesty is denying what you have said before and blaming me for the whole affair?” The Underworld Emperor turned back to Emperor Gaozu of Han: “Those three were not betraying you, but you still killed them. Why don’t you confess that you are guilty?” Empress Lü continued:” Your majesty, it is not only my word. There is a witness.” The Underworld Emperor asked: “Who is this witness?” “His name is Kuai Che, who called himself Wen Tong. If you ask him, you will understand this situation better.”
Wen Tong was summoned to the court, performed all the preliminary rituals. The Underworld Emperor inquired: “You witnessed if the three were committed treason or not?” Wen Tong replied: “I have a poem as a proof. It says:
Who easily swept the three Qin states, who defeated the Yan and the Zhao in the blink of an eye.
Who rested on top of sand bags at night, who decapitated enemies’ heads during the day time.
Emperor Gaozu of Han couldn’t make up his mind, Empress Lü chopped off the Marquis’s head.”
All of them confessed. The Underworld Emperor reported it to the Heaven Emperor. And the Heaven Emperor sent the sacred soldiers in golden armor to hand the document to the Jade Emperor. The Jade Emperor remarked on the edict: “As Zhongxiang recorded, Emperor Gaozu of Han perfidiously treated his contributors. (To punish him,) I am distributing his empire to three people: the central plain is given to Han Xin who will be reincarnated as Cao Cao; the Shuchuan region will be given to Pengyue who will be reincarnated as Liu Bei, and the Jiangdong region will be given to Ying Bu who will be reincarnated as Sun Quan, the king of the Wu State in Changsha. Emperor Gaozu of Han will be reborn in Xuchang as Emperor Xian, Empress Lü will be reborn as Empress Fu. Cao Cao will have good timing, then imprison Emperor Xian and kill Empress Fu to take revenge. Sun Quan in the Jiangdong will have a perfect geographical location with ten mountains and nine rivers. Liu Bei in the Shuchuan will have a great team. He will take advantage of the powerful forces from Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, but he won’t have someone who is adept of strategies. Kuai Tong will be reborn in Jizhou, Langya County, as Zhuge Liang, who will be regarded as Kongming and Mr. Wolong (Crouching Dragon). He will be living in a temple on the Wolong mound, Dengzhou, Nanyang. Here will be a place where the king and his officials reunite. Then the king and his officials will conquer the world together. The king will become an emperor in a new capital in Yizhou, Xichuan. Later, Zhongxiang will be reborn as Sima Zhongda, who will take over the three states and control the world.” The Heaven Emperor settled the case, the story now divides in its telling.
The year when Emperor Ling of Han came to the throne, copper and iron objects started making noise at the same time. The emperor asked his officials: “Has this happened in history?” Prime Minister Huangfu Song replied: “It happened twice in the history. One was when the king of the Qi state came to the throne in the Chunqiu dynasty. Copper and iron objects made noises for three days and nights. The king of the Qi state asked three times whether this was a good sign but no one answered. The king of the Qi state was very angry. He summoned his senior minister Ran Qing and asked: ‘Why can’t you figure out what is going on as a senior minister? You have to tell me whether it indicates good luck or bad luck in three days!’ Then the king stopped going to the court for three days. Ran Qing was very worried and went home upset. A retainer saw it, asked what was bothering Ran Qing. Ran said: ‘you might not understand, but today all the copper and iron objects are making noise. My king asked me whether it indicated good luck or bad luck. I really don’t know the answer.”…