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 Chapter 109: Receiving the Edict

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Although it was almost evening, the sky had yet to turn dark. The waters were clear and the air was fresh. Pei Zi Yun looked at the scenery before him. At the top of the mountain, the Pagoda and Monastery could still be seen rather clearly.

Seeing the sight before them, even the Sect Leader's worries were put on hold for the moment. He sighed, admiring the scene before him. Zhao Ning then pointed at the entrance, "Look, Sect Leader, all our inner disciples have come to welcome you."

"Eh, I see it too!" The Sect Leader revealed a wide grin before breaking out into a laugh, "It's almost as if all the disciples and Elders are here! However, it's not to welcome me, but to receive the Imperial Edict."

Then heard someone give a command, and all of the hundreds of Daoists disciples came down to welcome them. They formed two rows and remained still before them. Pei Zi Yun's gaze swept across all directions as he took the sights in.

'The Free Cloud Sect has more than a hundred disciples and thirteen Elders. There will be three Honorary Disciples from every generation who get the privilege of being under the direct supervision of the Sect Leader himself. Actually, there were ten Elders, two Assistant Sect Leaders and the Sect Leader himself.'

'This was the power of Free Cloud Sect and the structure of the sect.'

The Sect Leader walked across as an Elder led the hundreds of disciples as they spoke in unison, "Welcome, Sect Leader."

The Sect Leader waved his hands and said, "There's no need to be over courteous. The sun is about to set, please follow me. We shall go into the main hall to receive the Edict, and offer it to the ancient patriarchs."

"Yes, Sect Leader." Pei Zi Yun bowed his head. The group of people then made their way to the top of the mountain. This mountain was not particularly high and was only a couple of hundred meters up. With quickened footsteps, they reached the top where the saw a monastery, surrounded by thick forests.

There were three halls, the left and right halls were like huge pavilions and had inscription plates above their entrances. There was a huge plot of empty land before these halls, which should have been used to practice. The sun was setting at this point, and turned the sky a shade of crimson.

When they entered the main hall, a huge statue had been erected in the middle of the hall. Incenses were burning within, causing wisps of smoke to cloud the hall, and encircled the face of the statue. It was clear that this statue was a Patriarch of the sect.

When the Sect Leader entered the main hall, he said, "Pei Zi Yun, please deliver the Imperial Edict. This Edict is for our patriarch, and thus it would be appropriate for you to deliver the Edict here, before him. Since he cannot receive it personally, we shall do it on his behalf."

"Sect Leader's command shall be obeyed." Pei Zi Yun clasped his hands in salute and retrieved the scroll, "The Imperial Edict."

The Sect Leader and all the Sect Elders fell to their knees. Even the disciples outside knelt down too, "We are the humble disciples of Free Cloud Sect, please deliver the Imperial Edict!"

"The Emperor's Words!" Pei Zi Yun replied standing in the southern direction. He then opened the scroll, "The Dao Masters of the Free Cloud Sect were effective in their pursuit of Dao Arts and had proven themselves to the Imperial Court by contributing greatly to the people. The Imperial Court has thus decided to confer the title of True Sovereign to the sect."

The minute Pei Zi Yun had finished reading, the sound of a dragon roaring could be heard. A ray of Dao energy burst forth from the scroll and rose up high. It swirled and fell onto the face of the statue. Immediately, a shadow of the statue appeared before the shadow and bowed down to the Imperial Edict.

The Imperial Qi then fell upon the shadow, transforming into an official's robe, draping itself over the shadow. A black and grey obscure aura which had shrouded the statue vanished immediately after the Edict had been read.

The shadow then stood up straight and nodded his head at Pei Zi Yun before vanishing into thin air.

After Pei Zi Yun had finished reading, he then bowed to the Sect Leader before handing the scroll to him. The Sect Leader received the Imperial Edict, the delight on his face was still visible. He turned back and said, "You've achieved a great accomplishment for our sect. You shall be rewarded accordingly."

"Thank you, Sect Leader!" Pei Zi Yun replied.

"Congratulations Junior Brother Pei!" The Daoists before all echoed out, and Pei Zi Yun bowed down in appreciation.

The Sect Leader then broke out in a laugh and said, "Today is a big day for our sect and worth celebrating with everyone. Pass down the order, that everyone is to celebrate together. We shall host a banquet."

"Yes, Sect Leader" An old Daoist stepped forward and bowed. This old Daoist was responsible for organizing celebratory events and banquet preparation. He then turned around to make the necessary arrangements for the upcoming banquet.

"Pei Zi Yun, follow me. I have words for you." Yu Yun Jun approached him to talk. Pei Zi Yun immediately followed her out of the main hall. At the top of the mountain, it was rather misty as the wind blew strongly. As they walked on, the mist became increasingly dense. Pei Zi Yun took in a deep breath as he followed closely behind.

They both remained silent until they reached a cliff. On this cliff, there was a pavilion which had a stone table and stone chairs within. The wind continued blowing across. Pei Zi Yun looked down and saw nothing but thick forests and vegetation. It was almost as if ferocious beasts dwelled down below.

Yu Yun Jun paused for sometime before speaking, "Pei Zi Yun, you've managed a great accomplishment this time, and your teacher is immensely proud of you. It's just that as Daoists, our main priority should always be to cultivate the Dao. If we do not manage to open the gates to heaven, we will die and be vanquished from this earth. The only way to avoid this was to open the gates of heaven, only then can you attain enlightenment and thread the Dao. Please do not get complacent after this accomplishment and neglect your cultivation."

Yu Yun Jun had called Pei Zi Yun over to give him advice. She was afraid that Pei Zi Yun would become arrogant and complacent after such a victory. To a Daoist, and to someone who's chasing after a long live, this was the most basic.

"Many thanks, master for your guidance. This disciple understands." When Pei Zi Yun had been asked to follow her to this deserted corner, he had assumed that something big and important had happened. Alas, it was to remind him to persevere in his cultivation.

"Our sect has not yet reached the heights and greatness it once stood upon. However, with such an accomplishment done by you, we are taking a big step in the right direction. With your success, you should be qualified to become a Core Disciple. However, there would be an evaluation of Dao Arts. You have to take advantage of that evaluation to secure your spot."

"There will only be three Core Disciples chosen from every generation. Although the Sect Leader wielded the most power within the sect, he wouldn't control such matters. Even the next potential candidate to become the Sect Leader might not be current Sect Leader's disciple. Instead, it will be chosen from among the three core disciples. Thus being a Core Disciple is a crucial point in the the competition for the Sect Leader position. You are my disciple and I wish for you to compete for the spot."

"Yes, master." So it seemed that this conversation was about discussing the crucial points to advancement. Pei Zi Yun realized that Yu Yun Jun indeed did care and love him. He was deeply moved.

"The Great Competition is for inner sect members to stand out from their peers with regards to combat. Apart from Dao arts, Free Cloud Sect places a high emphasis on sword techniques as well. You've joined the sect only recently. When the competition begins, you will be able to pick from your arsenal of sword techniques to compete. Should you emerge victorious, becoming a Core Disciple would be easy for you."

"Yes, master. I will not let you down." Pei Zi Yun said loudly.

"Oh, that's all I have to say. Go and prepare for the banquet. I shall come back for you later on." Yu Yun Jun said.

"Yes!"

When Pei Zi Yun had walked off, Yu Yun Jun gazed at the mountains surrounding her. She felt that strange sensation well up within her heart once more. After seeing Pei Zi Yun, it was strange that she was always reminded of that man. But Pei Zi Yun had to be more sly and craft to match up to him. Yu Yun Jun thought to herself, feeling some what anxious.

Pei Zi Yun walked further up until he was sure nobody was around before calling for the system.

The Plum Blossom on his forehead lit up, and a transparent information interface appeared before his eyes. A stream of red words appeared on it:

"Mission : Establish a big achievement for the sect, become the most outstanding member within the outer sect (Completed)"

Pei Zi Yun touched the mission, and it became completed.

The Plum Blossom remained transfixed on his forehead without moving. A second later, the second petal of the Plum Blossom had turned from a faint, semi transparent shade of red to a deep shade of red.

'The second petal has formed and taken a complete shade!'

'There are five petals on the Plum Blossom, and I've already acquired two.' Pei Zi Yun felt a message coming into the interface, 'I can now directly absorb Dao Legacies. It seems like the previous time, when I acquired the sword technique, it wasn't a Dao Legacy?'

A split second later, the red and white petal were extinguished and vanished from his forehead. Pei Zi yun then started running towards the banquet. During the banquet, Pei Zi Yun was somewhat inebriated from all the wine he had consumed. He then recalled a memory from the original owner. Although at this point, he was unable to say that he had changed the tragic ending of the original owner's life, getting the status of the sect to True Sovereign from Dao Master did change plenty.

Several days had passed and the peach blossoms on the mountain had started to bloom. A small stream flowed down from the cliff. Ripples of water were sent in all directions as water splashed everywhere. Pei Zi Yun was practicing his sword techniques within the stream.

All of a sudden, a voice rang out, "Senior Brother Pei, Brother Pei, the Great Competition is about to begin. Elder Yu had asked me to inform you." A little Daoist shouted.

Pei Zi Yun sheathed his sword within the scabbard with a "zhng". The little Daoist looked up at Pei Zi Yun and was full of admiration, "It seems like senior brother Pei's sword techniques are getting better and better. Just the sound of you sheathing your sword sounded like an army on horseback ready for war."

"Show me the way, I'm coming now!" Pei Zi Yun spoke. This little Daoist had grown up here on the mountain. To a certain extent this Daoist was more senior and loyal than Pei Zi Yun, having been here all his life. Little Daoists like him formed the backbone and strength of the sect.

As Pei Zi Yun walked to the venue, he noticed that a huge stage had been built on the open field just in front of the main hall. There were three stages spread out over the open field. Candidates were matched based on drawing of lots. They would then be eliminated one by one until a victor had emerged.

At this point there were a duo of Daoists fighting against one another with wooden swords. They took turns to attack and retreat and made for a spectacular sight.

A fighting competition was not a simple matter and cannot be overlooked or underestimated. There were a pair of Sect Elders watching on from the side. As soon as they spot something amiss, they will step in to offer their assistance. Hence, a pair of opponents can go against one another as if they were out to kill and yet be assured that no consequences would be faced.

'That's more like it. A competition within a sect which used real swords with the intention of killing their opponents would shed blood and might even lose lives. After this has happened, how then will members of the sect be able to work together? How will the blood feud be dissolved?'

'Furthermore even if the grooming efforts of a Daoist could not be measured in gold, it was definitely worth some silver. After a person has died, how long before someone like him can be replaced? Another twenty years?'

'Unless a sect becomes a country of Daoists which would never yearn for revenge. Only then can they use their innumerable men like cannon fodder and allow them to kill each other to pick out a victorious participant. However, picking out a victor this way only shows the strength and prowess of the person and shows nothing about his loyalty.'

Just as Pei Zi Yun was thinking, the little Daoist led Pei Zi Yun to the venue. Seeing that Pei Zi Yun had arrived, Yu Yun Jun waved a hand to beckon him over. She then said, "I know you are very talented. In this competition, there will be Elders watching out. You do not have to hold back, show everyone how capable you are."

"You are a disciple who had just entered from the outer circle. Hence, many inner disciples are not familiar with you. You have to stand your ground and impress them. That's the only way forward."

These words had been thought through for sometime by Yu Yun Jun. Pei Zi Yun raised his head to glance at the stage before him. After considering her words for sometime, he nodded his head eagerly.

With a scene like this, Pei Zi Yun was familiar with it as well. The original owner had been in a competition like this before. The only difference was that the original owner had a certain fear and resentment of such competitions. And yet Pei Zi Yun was excited and eager to go. He then smiled, "Indeed now that I have such skills up my sleeve, I'm eagerly anticipating the fight."

The fight on stage had concluded. The Sect Elder then shouted, "Pei Zi Yun, Zheng Hua Ran."

The lots for the fight had been drawn yesterday and thus the match ups had been determined beforehand. Pei Zi Yun walked up the stage and noticed that more than a thousand pair of eyes were on him. There were some hoping for him to win, some were bored, and others silently dismissed him as a nobody. In fact, most people in the crowd dismissed him and secretly hoped for him to lose.

Pei Zi Yun could understand why they were feeling this way. He was an outsider who had managed to land himself a spot here. With regards to relationships how could he compare to the bond shared by these brothers and sisters which spanned decades?

If it weren't for his huge accomplishment, he wouldn't have any chance of being here today. Do not think that just because they're Daoists they would not show favor to people who they were closer to, and pushed those they disliked away.

Especially for Song Zhi. Instead of helping his own sect member, instead he decided to betray him. Pei Zi Yun still found it hard to believe.

The few people that Pei Zi Yun were supposed to match up with were all extremely proficient and masters in sword techniques. If it weren't for the original owner's memories, he would not have know this.

If there weren't anyone playing tricks, or any Elders manipulating the system, it would be extremely surprising. But even then, so what?

Having contributed the way he did, there was no way of erasing that fact. There was also no way to erase the fact that Pei Zi Yun was extremely skilled with his sword. Although teacher had said not to hold back, Pei Zi Yun knew he couldn't unleash his killing moves. He thus knew he could not combine his Dao Arts with his sword techniques as that might kill. He knew that in this display, he could not afford to come off as pretentious or crazy. Neither should he appear to be over enthusiastic about winning to the extent that he would forgo peaceful relations with his sect members. For appearing so would place him in a very undesirable position.

Thinking this way, Pei Zi Yun looked at his opponent. They both bowed to each other simultaneously. Zheng Hua Ran then said, "Junior Brother, after you."

Pei Zi Yun said the same thing, "Senior Brother, after you."

After the both of them had shown respect to each other, they drew their swords. Although they were using wooden swords, everyone around could still hear the sound of the swords colliding. The both of them retreated a step back, as everyone in the crowd gasped.

This showed that both of them had nearly equal strength, and they were both of the seventh stage of cultivation.

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