Chapter 25: Idol
Translator: Translation Nation/chuchutrain Editor: - -
"Shall we discuss this further inside?" Pei Zi Yun understood that this was a gesture of goodwill from Li family since they had not brought up the issue of money. However, with what were they going to trade the land deed for? He clearly didn't have much money on him. He thus felt slightly suspicious.
The look of suspicion on his face might have been too obvious because, as soon as the butler saw Pei Zi Yun hesitating, he hurriedly explained, "If young master Pei is unable to amass the amount of 50 taels of silver now, it is alright. You can return it when you have the money next year, or the following year."
This 10 mu of land was purchased with his mother's hard earned money. Pei Zi Yun saw that the Li Family was very polite in their handling of the affairs and that made him happy. He said, " It is a pity that Mr Li was unable to come himself, for I would have loved to meet him. Do tell him to drop by and visit whenever he is free."
That was what the butler wanted to hear. Pei Zi Yun was an Elementary Scholar now, although only ranked tenth, he was only a 15 year old youth. He had a bright future ahead of him and the Li family wished to be in his good books.
Now that they gave him back those 10 mu of land, how was he going to pay them back? However, this current arrangement was perfect for both sides. The both of them were still speaking when a villager came by to visit. The butler, seeing that he was holding Pei Zi Yun up, bade farewell.
As the villager approached, Pei Zi Yun knew that he was one of the hunters in the village and looked very familiar. He brought a youth along with him who looked weak and skinny. Pei Zi Yun walked up to them and asked, "Uncle, what happened?"
Hunter Zhang then dragged the youth in front of him, displaying the shyness of this youth as he was too embarrassed to speak when he was face to face with Pei Zi Yun.
Hunter Zhang had a look on his face that was very conflicted before he started speaking, "This is my nephew, he is widow Zhang's son. This morning, I saw the Li family butler making his way to your house and I knew that he came back to return your land. This is why I have come, to request you to rent some land to my nephew."
He paused for some time before sighing and continuing, "My nephew's father passed away a long time ago, and his wife raised their child with much difficulty. Back then, his father was a gambler and had a bad character, he left no land for his family when he died. Now that his son is all grown up, I have to throw my pride away and ask you for a favor. On account of my pride, will you rent 3 mu of land for him to grow crops? However much the rental may be, we shall pay, and this will be his livelihood. This is the least I coulddo for him as his uncle."
Pei Zi Yun heard hunter Zhang's words and was about to agree when Pei Qian Shi appeared, "Little tiger, how is your mother? Is she doing well? I haven't seen her for a while!"
The skinny youth then raised his head and replied, "Mother is doing fine, it's just that she has caught a cold recently and thus has been staying at home to rest."
Pei Qian Shi pondered for some time before telling her son, "Son, I am aware of their family situation as well. His father was a gambler, and had a bad character, gambling away all of their land. They are in much worse shape than we are, please agree to their request."
Listening to his mother speak this way, he said, "My household possess 10 mu of land, and the county will give me another 5 mu, which can be linked up to my current land. Since my mother spoke out, I shall rent out 5 mu of land to you."
As soon as hunter Zhang said this, he immediately tugged on his nephew arm as they expressed their gratitude.
Everyone was happy. Seeing that there were no more matters to resolve, Pei Zi Yun then said, "I am going out for a little while."
Pei Zi Yun then left for Peach Flower Origins monastery. When he was at the entrance, he admired the abundance of plum blossoms all around, and just when he wanted to knock on the door, the monastery chief came out. Seeing Pei Zi Yun, she laughed and said, "Oh, it is you. Are you here to fetch Ye Su'er back? It is good, she has been missing you so much."
Pei Zi Yun then replied, "Thank you for looking after Ye Su'er all this time. Since I have already attained Elementary Scholar status, I have come to meet Ye Su'er."
Just as he uttered those words, Ye Su'er sprang out from behind the door grinning from ear to ear. "I heard the news yesterday. Snail Village has finally produced an Elementary Scholar. I knew that brother Pei would come and fetch me today."
The little Daoist Nun then sulked as tears welled up in her eyes, as if she was about to cry.
"Thank you monastery chief and Xiu Er for looking after me. Now that brother Pei is here to fetch me, I shall take my leave." Ye Su'er looked down and saw the little Daoist Nun reluctant to let her go.
The monastery chief looked sad and said, "Ye Su'er, these few days we have developed a close relationship. Since you are about to leave, I can't bear to let you go. However..."
Before she could complete her sentence, her ears pricked and she stopped speaking as if she heard something. She then suddenly said, "I am best at divination and predicting future events. So I shall make a prediction now, as part of my farewell gift."
Just as she finished speaking, without giving Ye Su'er a chance to interrupt, she took out several coins and scattered them around. Her face suddenly revealed a look of shock, followed by worry. Ye Su'er stood beside the monastery chief and knew she had much experience in affairs like this. Seeing the look on her face, she asked, "Chief, what have you predicted, with a surprised look like this."
The monastery chief looked confused before thinking for some time and saying, "Su Er, your comet bodes ill for you. If you go back this time, a tragedy might unfold. It is best for you to stay here and wait for the comet to pass. This way you can turn tragedy into blessing."
Seeing the serious look on her face, Ye Su'er bit her lips as if she was in some sort of internal conflict. She raised her head and asked, "Can monastery chief calculate how long more must I stay for tragedy to be averted before I can return home?"
The monastery chief counted with her fingers and said, "All that is needed is half a month before tragedy will pass and you can go back!"
"Brother Pei, what do you think?"
Pei Zi Yun had some reservations since he felt that her reaction was somewhat strange. However, since he did not have any Dao Powers, he was unable to tell what caused the change in her reaction. He pondered over it for some time, and realized that even if she was to stay there for another half a month, it would do no harm. He would then use this time to get rid of the Black Wind Sect bandits. This way, the problem could be solved.
He then replied, "Since monastery chief says so, Ye Su'er, you should stay for another half a month."
"Oh, when the time comes, you have to remember to fetch me!" she said, overwhelmed by her feelings.
When he reached his home from the monastery, he couldn't shake off the feeling that something wasn't quite right. He thought for some time before telling his mother, "Mother, I have to return to the county once more and settle the issue of the 5 mu of land."
"Alright, but please be careful on the road." Pei Qian Shi said, "Let the oxcart from the village chief's house send you!"
Pei Qian Shi was feeling uneasy and so was Pei Zi Yun. When he had reached the county, he dismissed the oxcart and started looking for an inn to lodge in. The innkeeper sent up hot water and some food as it got dark.
Pei Zi Yun was resting in his room when he asked the innkeeper, "Is the night market opened tonight?"
"As of today, the county's temple fair opened and will last for three days. Many merchants set up in the streets to sell their items as the streets will be bursting with entertainments!"
Since it began today, am I too early? Pei Zi Yun thought. He then recalled: In the previous life, someone had came to this night market and bought a copper idol of a god. When he opened it, he had found many golden pearls inside the idol. He then made a big deal of money and was famous throughout the village. The original owner remembered feeling envious.
But he could not remember which day, and did not know which stall as well.
Pei Zi Yun laughed, "It's getting boring here in this house. Maybe I should check the market out."
He then left the inn and headed out. The weather was perfect, with many clouds cast overhead blocking the moonlight. Based on what he could see, the roads were lined with stalls and were quite narrow.
Both sides of the roads had many lanterns hanging, and stall signs. These stalls were selling many different items. There were even people gathered around, gambling, as onlookers were cheering. It was a very lively scene.
There was at most a thousand meters worth of stalls, not too many. I could look at the stalls one by one. The stall that he was looking for had to be one selling ancient artifacts. Pei Zi Yun focused and started walking down the narrow road just like everyone else around him, walking and looking, occasionally buying some items.
"This area sells food, it's definitely not here."
"This area sells cloth, it's definitely not here as well."
The streets were filled with people, various pushcarts selling hot soup, and some selling fruits, candies and fried food. There were such a wide variety of stalls around.
Pei Zi Yun's mood was getting better as he continued walking, soaking in the atmosphere. He then observed a stall selling some food.
One mu of land is now selling for seven taels of silver. The country is gradually developing right now. While the population is still small, the land is cheap. I remember that in the middle of the previous dynasty, a land worth could grow to six or seven times past the current price. Right now it's cheap so we can buy more.
Yes, now that the emperor is developing the country, the value of our currency is big, and we have plenty of it. So the citizens are all happy.
Unknowingly, Pei Zi Yun has drifted near the city temple. The city temple had many different affiliated temples around and this was one of them.
There were plenty of incenses being lit inside the temple with halls that were several zhang tall. In front of the temple was an empty plot of land. Singers were performing on top of a makeshift stage built on that plot of land. People were getting closer, trying to get a better look. As Pei Zi Yun walked in, the scents of numerous incenses were overwhelming and he hurriedly left.
The crowd was getting bigger and bigger. Several scholars were walking with fans in their hands, while a farmer was bargaining over the price of some tools, asking if the price could be lowered. Many children were running around, most of them towards the ice cream stall. Pei Zi Yun looked around and tried to find a stall selling old idols, but he was disappointed. He saw a shed and proceeded to sit down before ordering some food, "A bowl of dumplings!"
"Coming!" the lady bossed happily replied. It was served in no time and Pei Zi Yun dug into the food with hunger. He was looking around while eating when he froze.
Just beside this shed was a tiny stall, partially hidden from view due to its poor location. He peered into the stall and saw that it was selling old items such as lamps, teapots and antique bowls. Next to those was a strange looking idol.
"Looks like this was not a complete waste of time and effort!" Pei Zi Yun's heart was racing yet he acted like everything was normal and finished his meal. He then walked over and took a casual look at the idol. "It does feel heavy!"
"But of course, it is made of pure copper. My grandfather used this to pray." A crippled teenager said and then sighed, "Why don't you buy it, it's an artifact from ages ago and it is worth lots of money!"
Apart from this idol, there were still several other ritualistic items around. There were several people gossiping about this youth,"This household was a failure. Since their ancestors passed the business to him, he had gambled all of it away and now has to sell their items. Even his leg was broken because of his gambling problems."
Hearing their discussions, Pei Zi Yun was even more certain of the idol he was holding in his hands. This felt different from other religious idols. As he shook the idol, he could feel several beads inside shaking. Ever since he has been practicing his manuals, his senses have been heightened dramatically. And he could feel something beneath the surface of this idol.
"5 taels of silver and it is yours!" the crippled teenager waved a hand and said without expression.
Since Pei Zi Yun badly wanted to know what was hiding beneath the idol's surface, he agreed without hesitation, "Sure, I will buy it. This is 5 taels of silver, keep it properly."
Seeing the silver, the colour on the teenager's face gradually came back. He looked at the idol and his lips quivered as if he was struggling with himself while selling this. However, he said nothing and took a cloth to wrap up the idol.