Palace Full of Delicacies

Chapter 92 - Sacrifice to the Heavens (Part Three)

Chapter 92 - Sacrifice to the Heavens (Part Three)

He always thought that this round hole would lead to the top of the seventh floor, but he didn’t expect that the sixth floor would be the end and that the seventh floor would be an open-air platform!

Su Yu always thought that the sixth floor was the most important level of the Anguo Tower because the State Teacher often stayed there, supposedly engaged in essential matters. However, to his surprise, the mysterious sixth floor turned out to be the State Teacher’s bedroom!

There were no tools for divining the star patterns or discerning heavenly secrets, only various luxurious sleeping amenities… With his lips twitching, Su Yu gave up hope for what the seventh floor might hold.

However, upon ascending, there was still a surprise left. The seventh floor of the Anguo Tower turned out to be open-air! From the outside, it appeared to be the top of the tower, except with eight sloping walls.

In the center stood a grandiose altar, complete with an incense table, offering table, and a cauldron. In the eastern corner, there was an observatory constructed of black gold stone, towering majestically towards the starry sky, appearing both sacred and solemn.

There was nothing superfluous, making the entire seventh floor unexpectedly formal.

Su Yu blinked as he watched the State Teacher slowly ascend the altar. King Li set down the tea jar he was carrying, while King Ling and King Su adjusted their robes. Even His Majesty the Emperor’s expression turned serious, so he couldn’t help but put away his strange thoughts and follow the Emperor up.

Upon the altar rested a gigantic offering table. The State Teacher had already moved the offerings prepared by Su Yu onto it. Thinking that offerings were endless dried fish, the dispirited Wangyes suddenly widened their eyes in surprise.

The spicy shredded fish, the tender fish balls, the fragrant smoked fish, the steaming shark’s fin soup, and the roasted whole Qing Yu…

“Is this, this is this year’s offerings?” King Li pointed at the table filled with delicacies and swallowed his saliva.

“Let’s dig in, ba.”

“Let’s eat!” King Ling followed suit and raised his hand to grab the smoked fish.

“Pah!” The State Teacher slapped the back of King Ling’s hand and stared at him coldly.

King Ling awkwardly withdrew his hand and coughed drily.

“What nonsense are you talking about, sacrifice to the heavens, the sacrifice to the heavens is what is important!”

Su Yu pursed his lips and suppressed a smile, watching as the several Wangyes were ruthlessly suppressed by the State Teacher, obediently bowing their head to listen to the lecture.

He couldn’t help but glance at the Emperor beside him. The Emperor was looking at the sky impatiently, then turned to meet his gaze.

“What’s the matter?”

“Nothing.” Su Yu shook his head.

“Will the Ancestors really manifest later?”

An Hongche furrowed his brows slightly and reached out to grasp Su Yu’s hand.

What was his foolish slave afraid of? With Zhen here, even if it’s the Ancestors, they won’t harm him in the slightest, so there was nothing to fear.

After dealing with his brothers and nephews who attempted to steal the sacrificial offerings, the State Teacher stood at the center of the sacrificial altar to the heavens, hands clasped together in front of his chest.

“Today, on the tenth day of the tenth month, the fifth generation State Teacher of Da’an, together with his clan members, pays respects to our ancestors, praying for the prosperity of Da’an and the longevity of our lineage.” His voice, once ethereal when fooling the officials, was now clear and steady, filled with devout reverence.

Then, the State Teacher spread his arms, slowly kneeling with his eyes slightly closed. Moonlight pierced through the clouds, descending straight down and reflecting off the crystals on the sacrificial altar, enveloping the State Teacher in radiance.

The Emperor pulled the bewildered Su Yu down to kneel beside him.

The State Teacher began chanting in a strange tone, the lengthy verses seeming endless.

His Highness King Zhao secretly glanced a the offerings on the altar and whispered.

“Seventeenth Uncle, did our ancestors only accept dried fish, ba?”

King Ling nudged his Thirteenth Elder Brother and whispered.

“What do you think?”

King Su frowned and was about to say something when suddenly a brilliant white light burst forth from the sacrificial altar.

His Majesty the Emperor quickly covered Su Yu’s eyes with his hand. The white light was too bright, which was likely to hurt his eyes. Even through the Emperor’s palm, Su Yu could still feel the glare of the light.

When the Emperor released him, Su Yu eagerly stretched his neck to look. The whole Qing Yu and Ying Yu on the table had disappeared, along with many fish balls and smoked fish. The shark’s fin soup was not taken away by the ancestors probably because it would spill in the transportation process.

“Only this much left!” King Zhao wailed.

In previous years, the ancestors would just casually take a few dried fish as a token and be done with it, so why was there less than half of the offerings on the table this year!

“Ancestor’s blessings!” The State Teacher murmured softly, finishing the last line. He slowly stood up, his cold eyes sweeping lightly over the crowd before glancing at the sky.

“Let’s eat, ba.”

The crowd cheered and quickly got to work, moving the censers off the table and gathering the remaining offerings. However, they were disheartened to find that all the cooked fish balls had been taken by the ancestors, leaving behind only the raw fish balls, slices of raw fish, and a handful of smoked fish.

The Wangyes glanced at each other and took action at the same time, sweeping away the pieces of smoked fish on the plate.

“How do we eat this?” King Li poked at the raw fish balls.

“Wait a moment.” Su Yu handed the Eldest Prince, who had crawled into his arms, to King Li and brought over a pot and dipping sauce.

King Su expressionlessly removed the incense from the bronze tripod and added charcoal to it.

The common people of the capital city, seeing the radiant light at the top of the Anguo Tower, came out one after another to pay their respects and worship. Later, they saw smoke lingering around the top of the tower.

“It’s truly hard for the royal family to worship heaven at the top of the tower all night.” The common people sighed with emotion.

The royal family at the top of the tower was indeed working hard. While cooking fish balls, they had to guard against their brothers, nephews, and uncles attempting to snatch food.

The State Teacher retrieved the sacrificial wine from under the offering table, furrowing his brow slightly. He was so preoccupied with placing the fish balls that he forgot about the wine.

With a light sigh, he broke the seal and poured the wine. If the ancestors didn’t get to drink the osmanthus wine this year, then they would drink it themselves. He imagined that as long as the ancestors enjoyed the delicious fish balls, they wouldn’t hold any grudges.

After enjoying the delicious shark’s fin soup, indulging in tender fish ball hot pot, and savoring the osmanthus wine, the arduous ritual of offering sacrifices to the heavens continued until dawn. As the Wangyes finished off the last fish ball, they all turned to Su Yu, simultaneously uttering the words. “Heaven blesses Da’an.”

After the ceremony, King Li departed with his family, he was concerned that the sea monsters in the East Sea might affect the South Sea, so he hurried back to guard it and would not come to the capital again until the New Year.

Before leaving, King Li asked for one of Su Yu’s apprentices, intending to establish a branch of Xianmantang in the South Sea.

Lately, Xianmantang had opened two branches within the capital, but there were none outside the capital. When King Li mentioned this matter, Su Yu was delighted and even gave him many chili pepper seeds as a gift.

The days passed relatively peacefully. The East Sea continued to send various strange fish, including Bo Yu, Fu Yu, and even Heluo Yu.[TL_Note: Like flatfish, flounders, and swordfish]

Only some fish that were extremely dangerous and required immediate slaughter were never sent.

As the weather grew colder day by day, the Empress Dowager worried that the young kitten’s fur would be too thin to withstand the cold, so she made him several small garments for the Eldest Prince.

“Da Mao, are you wearing new clothes again?” As soon as King Ling entered the imperial study, his attention was drawn to the little bundle of fur wearing a red vest on the table. He immediately picked up the Eldest Prince.

“Mi!” The Eldest Prince extended a paw and pressed it against King Ling’s mouth as he attempted to lean in for a kiss.

“Why aren’t you two leaving yet?” The Emperor set down his vermilion brush and frowned at the two Imperial Uncles who were still lingering.

"The winter in the Northern Desert is too cold. I want to spend the winter in the capital." King Ling said as he sat down on the thick carpet with the kitten in his arms, wearing an expression that seemed to say, ‘I just won’t leave, what can you to do about it?’

King Su, with a solemn expression, remarked.

"With the New Year approaching, if we leave now, we'll have to come back soon." Implicit in his words was his intention to stay as well.

His Majesty the Emperor snorted coldly and handed a memorial to King Su.

"Take a look at this."

This memorial was a gift list copied by the Ministry of Rites.

As the New Year approached, the Qinwangs and Junwangs from the various regions began to send New Year’s gifts to the capital, which was essentially a form of tribute. The Mu Junwang sent several jewels, the land under King Ling’s jurisdiction sent numerous animal skins, King Su’s territory sent swift horses, King Li sent pearls from the South Sea, and King Jng sent…

“A mermaid?” King Su’s eyes widened slightly.

The merfolk resided in the depths of the sea and were a highly mysterious race, renowned for their weaving of mermaid silk. Legend has it that when deep-sea merfolk enter the water, they transform into beings with fishtails, but on land, they appear as humans with two legs. Most notably, the females of the merfolk were said to be breathtaking beauties!

The author has something to say:

Small theater:

Consort A: I heard that King Jing offered a beauty.

Consort B: I heard that His Majesty is quite fond of that beauty.

Consort C: I heard that His Majesty won't favor the Xian Fei tonight.

Little Fish: Your Majesty, please stop, you can't eat that!

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