Romance of the Jade Kingdom
Yin Shi Shang retells a story
“Deep within the Ren Jing forest, while attempting to chart various exotic fungi, underneath the full blue moon of the goddess Chang’e, I stumbled upon a grove. And within that grove was a peculiar circular rock formation, made from rocks you see everywhere in the forest, except these were smooth and were placed as a perimeter to the grove. Under the moonlight I stood until suddenly a thick fog descended and I was quickly engulfed, lost in that grove of rocks. I remember feeling very dizzy and could barely see my fingers I waved before my eyes. When the mist finally dissipated, I rushed out of the grove in fear, only to find that my surroundings had changed and was unfamiliar. I was in a completely different part of the forest, an ancient part of Ren Jing with giant trees, overgrowth so lush and thick, and the oddest plants I have ever seen. It smelled of a sweet musk, dense and intoxicating. Even the way light permeated was different, somehow diffused in haze. I was in the primordial heart of the forest. When my eyes adjusted, I suddenly found hundreds of little eyes peering at me – they were the forest sprites, which I had seen before, but never so many gathered in one place. They all stood there, watching me intently in utter silence, until a bright shining light appeared behind them. The light did not radiate heat, but it was warm, and it blinded me momentarily. When it was safe to look, the shadow of a great figure appeared before me…twice as large as myself and majestic. I knew immediately that I was in the presence of something divine, the greatest of forest spirits, Hamaterasu. Even now I cannot recall its form, but I peered into its divinely golden eyes, and it said one word to me – “AWAKEN”.
At that moment, I did awaken, back in the grove, the light of the maiden of the moon, Chang’e, showing me that I had been back where I started. Ever since that mystical experience, I have dedicated my life to protecting this forest and all its creatures, in servitude of Hamaterasu."