Chapter 21: Elementary Scholar
Translator: Translation Nation/chuchutrain Editor: - -
As Pei Zi Yun said this, he tossed a piece of silver over. It was grey and white across the bottom, and had flakes of silver all around the sides. It was really an actual piece of silver and gave the serving staff a fright, "Young master, these dishes only cost a hundred coins. Why have you given me so much? Since the boss is not in, I cannot use the money to find change for you."
"Do something for me, and this piece of silver shall be yours!" Pei Zi Yun said coolly and looked at the serving staff who was nervously smiling, "It will not cause you any trouble as well, don't worry. Take these few letters, and keep them."
"Should you meet anyone, say as loudly as you can, that I have already sent out many letters. And I had even given you a letter with instructions that should anything happen, you will send that letter to Mr Zhao's school."
"Just shout that, and let everyone hear you!"
"If anyone asks about the contents of the letter, take out one and show them."
The serving staff was twenty years old and looked clean and had delicate features. He considered for a moment before understanding what was happening. He then said, "Don't worry young master, I understand. I will announce to everyone what you've told me, and make sure it's heard.
Pei Zi Yun did not say anything as the serving staff turned around and left. He then took out the manual and looked at it intently.
In it, there were drawings of a shadow of a human, or a bear. Or was it a shadow of a leopard? They were all coordinating moves. A total of eighteen drawings, each of them with a particular move, all going in order.
After taking a look at the manual, Pei Zi Yun was overjoyed, "This is indeed the Hundred Beasts Tactics. Although the name doesn't sound very impressive, it is the groundbreaking way to enter the sect. No wonder it was said that even if it does not grant me entry into the sect, it can be used to make me healthier and would suit me."
As he wanted to take a closer look, there was a knock on the door, before it immediately swung open. It was the serving staff who brought up a pail of hot water.
After some time, Pei Zi Yun had been showered clean and gradually sunk into the warm embrace of sleep.
It was at night, and the only person left sitting in the jail cell was Pei Zi Yun. The monk felt it was unusual that someone could have so much willpower. Or was he crippled or disabled in some way? He thus began to check on him.
As soon as the monk touched him, he noticed that the man that had been sitting there all the while was made of paper. He was appalled and shouted, "This is bad, this is bad. Senior, the man has escaped!"
All the monks around were shocked. Only the senior monk grinded his teeth and looked at the paper figurine in anger, "This man belonged to the Immortal Sect, and was well versed with sorcery!"
Zhang Jie Yu then walked into the jail cell calmly, as if nothing big had just happened.
The senior monks and the other monks hurriedly acknowledged his presence upon his entrance, "Young master!"
The senior monk then took a stepped forward and explained whatever had happened. When the story had been recounted to Zhang Jie Yu, his expression under the glow of the flames portrayed uncertainty. He then said, "Pei Zi Yun does not know any Dao Arts. I am sure. As for this paper figurine, he had assistance from another sect.
"What should we do now?" the senior monk was uneasy.
"Oh, if it was done by another sect, our cover will not be blown." Zhang Jie Yun pondered for some time before finally saying, "Once day breaks tomorrow, get the students to write an affidavit before releasing them."
Safe Travels Inn
It was early in the afternoon and many footsteps could be heard. People were coming back to the inn as the serving staff rushed to welcome them. It was a bunch of students with untidy clothes and pale expressions. The innkeeper was thinking, "Oh, they had been out for an entire night, although they are students, it's clear they had been womanizing."
He grinned to himself before serving up the dishes and drinks.
The young serving staff then remembered the plan and started shouting really loudly, "Young master, the letters you've instructed me to send out, I've sent them all already."
The bunch of students turned around and looked, all with shock, at Pei Zi Yun. Since he had disappeared from the den last night, he looked like he had a night of good rest and was wearing fresh clothes with a smug expression.
"Good job, well done. Now bring me some dishes." Pei Zi Yun sat on the benches and sipped his tea, looking at the rest of the students, "Looks like it's the rest of my fellow students. It seems like you guys had fun yesterday?"
The students could not reply, but looked on in confusion and embarrassment. Some had looks of anger on them.
Pei Zi Yun could understand how they were feeling. Everyone had been victimized by the situation yesterday except for himself. They all hated the monks, but hated him more for having escaped.
Tang Zhen walked up to him, with trembling lips, and a whole lot of effort said, "What letter?"
"A letter to ensure my safety. If anything untoward should happen to me, the letters will reveal all whom had been involved." Pei Zi Yun spoke in a hush voiced and completed it with a big roaring laughter, "Waiter, serve my dishes now."
Tang Zhen understood what had happened and was full of admiration, "Brother Pei, I cannot compare to you."
As he said this, he dragged someone up the stairs and spoke in hushed tones. The footsteps of the person who had followed him up gradually reached a halt, wanting to know if Pei Zi Yun would reveal their secrets to everyone.
Pei Zi Yun too heaved a sigh of relief. He had started eating when someone mentioned Silver Dragon Temple and his ears pricked up, trying to hear more.
"I've heard that a famous scholar by the name of Zhang Jie Yu went to explore Silver Dragon Temple yesterday and had fallen into a pitfall nearby, hurting himself"
"You've heard it too? From what I've heard, there were two of them who fell into the pitfall. The both of them were seriously hurt. Thankfully, the monks from the temple were able to help them. Sigh, looks like heaven is indeed jealous of talents."
Hearing this, Pei Zi Yun's heart relaxed, "Oh, Zhang Jie Yu reacted quickly too. Silver Dragon Temple has far-reaching influence over the city, being able to conceal these despicable acts. However, it seems like the next few days shall be uneventful."
"Then, I shall await the release of the results."
The next few days went by without anything untoward happening. The students didn't leave their inns as the release of the results drew nearer. The innkeeper had prepared fireworks to be set during the announcement of results.
The next day, Tang Zhen woke up early and knocked on Pei Zi Yun's door as he wanted to drag Pei Zi Yun out in anticipation of the results.
When Pei Zi Yun saw the anxiety across Tang Zhen's face, he could not help but smile and joked, "Brother Tang, these two days you did not call on me. Today, you decided to disturb me because you cannot sleep anymore."
In this world, when it's the day for results to be released, students who had a chance of scoring would all wake up early. They would press their clothes and change several coins in anticipation of the results.
This was the culture.
It was clear that Tang Zhen had regained his normal composure, as he face was full of confidence. He sat with Pei Zi Yun as they sipped their tea and chatted.
Tang Zhen was thinking about how Pei Zi Yun had seen so much these past few days, yet was still calm and collected. Tang Zhen was was awed and respected that.
The students who had crowded around were not as composed. They were unable to stop fidgeting and were full of anxiousness. A few tables away sat Scholars Wang and Li. They were sitting on the same table, and did not acknowledge Tang Zhen, neither did Tang Zhen acknowledge them. They were just sitting there, drinking their teas, as if in bad moods.
Pei Zi Yun too, had little words that day. The beating and booming of the drums startled everyone. The release of the results had started. This was the way the Imperial Courts alerted the public that the results were ready to be announced.
Scholars Wang and Li looked at each other in nervous anticipation as their faces turned pale.
"A big congratulations to Slow River County's young master Tang Zhen Tang in achieving the rank of Elementary Scholar, with a placing of thirteenth. May he continue to bring good news to his county, "
At this moment, they heard the announcer walking towards the inn with a big group of people following. They were holding up a portrait of Tang Zhen and were trying to find the person to match that portrait. As soon as they found him, they approached him to bring him the good news. Tang Zhen was overjoyed and took out the coins he had changed earlier and tipped them.
At this moment, another report came in, "A big congratulations to Slow River County's young master Pei Zi Yun in achieving the rank of Elementary Scholar, with a placing of tenth. May he continue to bring good news to his county."
The look on Wang and Li's face were of clear anguish. Scholar Wang then casted a fierce glance towards Tang Zhen and Pei Zi Yun. Pei Zi Yun sighed, "Looks like the two of them had heard the news of us becoming Elementary Scholars and thus refused to sit with us today."
Scholar Li made some movement as he looked at the crestfallen Scholar Wang. He sighed and said, "Brother Wang, both of us did not make it as Elementary Scholar. Although we are upset and down now, do not show it for everyone is watching us."
As they raised their eyes, they saw the crowd heartily congratulating the pair of Elementary Scholars. They then ordered another pot of tea and drank in sorrow.
Tang Zhen and Pei Zi Yun looked at each other at said at the same time, "Congratulations, congratulations."
Pei Zi Yun's smile was plain, whereas Tang Zhen's looked forced.
After attaining Elementary Scholar status, they would automatically be conferred as part of the kingdom's military and are given an honorific title. They will be allowed to own and carry a sword. They now had the choice to study abroad, did not need to kneel to certain officials and could even avoid some taxes. From here on, the nation's Imperial Qi would protect him. However, he felt a bitter taste in his mouth,from recently being a victim of a ploy and deeply implicated.
Another voice shouted, "Master Pei, Master Tang. According to customs, you have to pay respect to officials and teachers."
Pei Zi Yun took out a small piece of silver, smiling, "That is so, that is so. Allow me a bath before I pay my respects."
"That is most certain." He kept the silver with satisfaction. It was customary to be tipped when you bring good news to reach Elementary Scholar status. Of course he was glad that he had earned some extra money.
As the firecrackers filled the area with their loud popping, the Elementary Scholars in the city gathered together and headed towards the magistrate's office, as per the customs.
A random Inn, level three
Zhang Jie Yu too had changed into fresh clothes. At this moment, someone said, "It's been confirmed that Pei Zi Yun hasn't learnt any Dao Arts. He has just left for the magistrate's office."
The senior monk held onto a stick and said, "He knows the secrets of my Silver Dragon Temple. Should I handle him? If not, I am afraid he might ruin our big plans."
Zhang Jie Yun remained silent in contemplation before he opened a letter and laughed coldly, "Deliberately making something so complicated, does he really think these letters are going to stop us?"
"If not for the support of Free Cloud Sect, and your letters sent out in secrecy. As long as we put in a little effort, we would be able to uncover all the letters and obtain them. Then, we should be able to kill him."
"But as of now, since he has the protection of Free Wind Sect, and could potentially join up with them in the future, adding on the fact that he is an Elementary Scholar, it would be hard to act. If however, he is not careful with our secrets, even if he is a part of the sect, we will still have to kill him."
He then asked, "As for the matter I've instructed you to do, what is the progress?"
The senior monk then stepped forward and explained in detail while Zhang Jie Yu listened intently. He nodded his head and said, "I am going to join the students and pay my respects now."
"Handle the matter properly, do not ruin it. This is much bigger and more important than just Silver Dragon Temple."
"Should things go bad, even if I were to plead with my teacher, it would be hard to ask for leniency."
His words were plain, but the senior monk was flustered and afraid, "I would not dare to, I would not dare to make things go wrong!"