Chapter 41: Into the Water
Translator: Translation Nation/chuchutrain Editor: - -
Pei Zi Yun paused as his heart fluttered. He pricked his ears and listened attentively.
The sailor's tone changed abruptly and turned cold, "You don't dare to?"
"No, no, it's not that. It's just that the scholars are all together. And there are many people..." The captain started to panic, his words were all jumbled up. The worker then said, "This is the instructions given by the owner. You shall act tomorrow. Make this Pei small fry fall overboard. Who asked him to offend young master Zhang, now he has to pay the price."
"All you have to do is boil some water, mix the drug with the water and have him drink it. Tell him that it's to prevent a cold, and have him finish it."
The sound of something dropping could be heard. Pei Zi Yun crept up to take a closer look and realized that the captain had dropped the tube connected to the pipe. It spun around on the floor, as the sound of water gurgling was clearly audible.
Pei Zi Yun retreated, thinking, 'Even when I'm sitting on a boat, someone wishes to inflict harm on me.'
He didn't know how to describe the feeling that welled up within his heart. Hearing that the sounds were gradually getting softer, he inferred that they were almost done talking. Pei Zi Yun took a deep breath, and started making his way back. He trotted gently on the stairs up. Once he reached the second floor, he pushed open the door. Without lighting his candle, he threw himself onto the bed and sank deep into thought.
The waves crashed repeatedly onto the hull of the ship. He listened eagerly for the splashes that followed one after another. He got up again, and started pacing around the ship.
'Waves after waves of attacks fell upon me, just like the unrelenting waves. This Zhang Jie Yu is getting more bold. With such a savage personality, unless I kill him, I will never be in peace.'
'If that's the way it has to be, then so be it.' Pei Zi Yun pulled out his sword to examine it; He took it out of its sheath and it reflected the light into his eyes. With the weapon in his hand, he was filled with the intent to kill.
'Although I'm lacking spiritual powers, making me unable to cultivate, I'm not the feeble person I once was back in Snail Village, and cannot be compared with him.'
'I can no longer be passive. In order to get rid of this person, I have to think hard and have my revenge! '
'Let me think, how should I exact my revenge?'
'Right, based on the original owner's memory, the Holy Jail Sect would eventually break, and their leaders would be executed by beheading. Apart from High Scholar Yue, there was one other person.'
'The other person was Li Wen Jing. When the charges were read, this man was the mastermind of it all. He had the role of mentor to the sect!'
'Based on my interactions with this man in the previous life, he knew no Dao Arts and thus could be killed.'
'And I remember that, when the raid was conducted, they found out that he didn't live in the city, but lived by the pier. '
'Killing this man would mean breaking one of Zhang Jie Yu's wings. When I eventually attain Dao Arts, then I will think of how to kill this Zhang Jie Yu.'
Pei Zi decided that this was how he was going to act. He touched the blade of the sword, and felt the cold steel pressed against his skin, his eyes reflecting the gleam of the sword.
Pei Zi Yun woke up early to practice the hundred beasts manual. This was the advantage of the hundred beasts manual, that he could practice it anywhere. He noticed that a commotion was going on, but was so immersed in practicing that he ignored it. Feeling his body trembling, he looked at the table and saw that the glasses on it were shaking as well. He heard someone shouting, "Pull the anchor!"
Pei Zi Yun didn't pay it any mind and continued with his practice. He felt a warmth envelop his entire body. Although he had no spiritual roots, and he couldn't cross the threshold of the third form, he could deepen his foundations. Once he retrieved the spiritual roots, he would be able to ascend quickly.
Once he had finished, he opened the window and took a look outside. A gust of wind blew in, and he felt very good.
The sun had yet to rise, but there were already plenty of fishermen out in the waters, casting their nets. There were other passengers on board that were already up as well as they strolled along the decks. A few seagulls sat perched on the hull of the ship. The moment they took flight, some feathers swirled in the air, before eventually reaching the ground.
After practicing the hundred beasts manual, and studying some works, he walked down.
There was a meal being served on the floor below, with quite a few dishes. That caused Pei Zi Yun to feel somewhat pleased. He ordered himself a bowl of noodles, to which the chef nodded.
The chef was preparing his noodles by dunking them in hot water. Pei Zi Yun didn't continue watching and left to sit at the table. Several minutes later, the bowl of noodles had been prepared and served. Several huge slices of fresh fish floated in the noodles, and spices, pepper and chilli, were added. Other garnishes like vinegar, chilli flakes and pickled vegetables were placed on the table for them to use.
Steam wafted from the bowl of noodles. At that time, the few Elementary Scholars he had met came downstairs. Seeing Pei Zi Yun seated by the table, Elementary Scholar Yi who was tossing and turning last night, didn't show any despair from last night. He smiled and said, "Brother Pei, the chef has some pretty good culinary skills huh? The last time I went to the province I took this very boat as well, and loved the chef."
He then shouted over at the chef, "I wish to order a bowl of fish noodles as well, make it spicier and add an extra egg."
Seeing this Elementary Scholar order his food this way, the other three did the same and shouted their orders to the chef. After a short while, their food arrived. They sat together and started talking.
They spoke of last batch of students who had taken the provincial exams, of who made it, who was just average and most interestingly, who had their statuses cancelled. They spoke of light hearted affairs, and of sombre affairs.
While they were chatting, they hadn't realized that time flew past. Soon it was almost noon. Since the few of them had taken the examinations before, they were familiar with the routes and the stops. One of them said, "Brother Pei, the next stop would be at Zhi Tong province, where a very popular temple is. It's said that they are able to foretell one's future. Maybe we can drop by and check it out. We can tell the captain to wait for us."
Pei Zi Yun asked, "How far is it from the pier?"
They started sniggering and laughing, "Brother Pei is very hardworking, and refuses to waste time being unproductive. The temple is very near the pier, and not far from this river. There are worshippers who visit the temple everyday. It's just a thirty minutes walk from the pier."
Pei Zi Yun then agreed to go.
They continued talking until more passengers joined them in the dining area. It got somewhat noisy, and the few of them weren't very pleased. They hence decided to return to their rooms to study and to rest.
The waves of the river were gentle and went with the flow of the boat. The afternoon went by quickly, and before long, the Elementary Scholars were knocking on Pei Zi Yun's door. He opened it and saw the four of them had already changed their clothes and were ready to go. They were dressed very smartly, with a pendant hanging from their waists. All of them wore a fan. Seeing Pei Zi Yun they said, "Brother Pei let's go."
Pei Zi Yun then got changed and followed them to the pier. Seeing him disembark from the ship, the sailor looked at him with evil intent in his eyes. He paced a few steps as if considering his move. The plan was to push him overboard in the dark, when nobody else is looking. Now that he had got off the boat, it wouldn't be a good time to strike.
The few of them walked down the pier and realized it was very crowded. There were many people shifting wares, and selling goods. There were several ox-carts and horse-carts delivering the goods to some ships, where people would manually carry them on board. Most of them weren't wearing a shirt, a towel hanging from their waist.
Once they had walked down the end of the pier, it became a limestone paved street. Many stall keepers were plying their goods and trying to sell many mysterious incense and fragrance for the deities. Elementary Scholar Yi held onto Pei Zi Yun's clothes and said, "We will arrive soon brother Pei."
As they walked on the limestone path, a temple could be seen. There were several women holding their baskets, walking on the streets. It was noon and the sun was blazing, not many people were out at this time of the day.
The few Elementary Scholars were also unable to withstand the heat, as they opened their fans and covered their faces as they spoke. Once they were near the temple, Pei Zi Yun realized that it was in fact a small temple, with a huge wall surrounding it.
They entered through the main door and saw a Daoist sweeping the yard. This Daoist was a nun and looked to be about fifty years old. She was using a rake, sweeping up the leaves from beneath an osmanthus tree.
Without paying any attention to her, they walked into the huge hall. There were several idols within this hall, most of them belonging to deities they had never seen before.
This was normal since most parts of the nation don't follow the Daoism. These idols looked like they belonged to some political figure. Or could these idols be of True Sovereigns?
Within the halls, there was a nun arranging several items on a table. There was a wooden jar on the table, with several wooden sticks inside. The interior of the main hall was very clean and donation jar was placed just beneath the idols.
Several people had gone before the idols to pray, place some money into the donation box before seeking out their fortunes. The line of worshippers had a reverent look. The people in front of Pei Zi Yun had done this ritual. He thus did the same, by bowing to the idol and placing some money inside the donation box.
Since the people in front of him had their fortunes read already, brother Yi picked out a wooden stick from the jar and gave it to the nun. She looked at it and told him that his fortunes weren't very good. His face turned pale as he left. It was time for Pei Zi Yun to draw a stick from the wooden jar.
Taking the wooden stick from Pei Zi Yun, she read the inscriptions on it. Raising her head to get a better look of Pei Zi Yun, she gazed into his eyes. This nun's eyes had some strength and power to them, and gave her an invincible look. She then looked down as if deep in thought. After some time of careful deliberation, she raised her head and smiled, "Congratulations young master, there is a high probability that you'll pass this upcoming examinations. However, just by looking at this young master, I can tell that your murderous spirit is very strong and a haze looms over you. There is an enemy and some obstacles on your Dao path."
Hearing what she had to say, Pei Zi Yun recalled the events that had transpired ever since he was brought to this world. Events that included several murders. He had broken murdered the Black Wind Sect bandits, and then annihilated the entire sect. Now he had incurred the wrath of the Holy Jail Sect. This nun was indeed rather accurate. He then took out coins worth a hundred copper and placed them inside the donation box. He then said, "Thank you for your reading."
Seeing Pei Zi Yun leave, the nun could see his murderous spirit and trembled. She was considering this for a moment before the next person had come to enquire about their fortunes. She then picked up the wooden stick and started reading the inscriptions.
Just as they had reached the boat, they could hear the captain shouting, "Fellow young masters, have you had your meals? The boat is departing soon. If you haven't eaten yet we can have our meals together."
It seemed like as the few of them were at the temple getting their fortunes told, the captain had released a huge net and caught many fishes. Now that they have returned, he invited them to feast on the fishes. Having left in a hurry without having lunch, everyone was hungry. Elementary Scholar Yi sat down first and everyone followed his lead.
The fish was indeed fresh and they didn't tire of it. At the command of the captain, the sailor brought a jug of rice wine and invited everyone to start drinking.
Pei Zi Yun paused, and didn't think it would be a good idea to drink. Besides, the huge piece of fish was shared by ten, and there was no way he could've spiked the dishes. It was a different story for the wine, which could be laced in his cup only. The fish was spicy, and everyone broke out in sweat after eating.
The captain kept insisting that everyone should drink. Pei Zi Yun and the other Elementary Scholars were finally convinced.
The ship was traveling at breakneck speed, and he noticed that the sailor had eaten his meal earlier. A quick glance across and he spotted the worker looking in his direction, sniggering to himself.
"I need to answer nature's call, I'll be back soon." said Pei Zi Yun intentionally loud. Everyone waved their hand, "Hurry go and be back quick!"
There was no toilet on board the ship. And it was especially convenient for men to just do their business outside, over the hull into the sea. He stood on the deck and looked into the river, the tide had made him feel more urgent. There were mountains on both sides, making the view seem spectacular. The coastline was far away, and only the tallest building was visible from where he stood. He thought to himself, "If I'm not mistaken, the time for them to strike will happen now."
Just as he was thinking, he heard something faint behind him. He turned around slightly. Just as he had expected, the sinister looking sailor was behind him, getting closer. The ship didn't even tilt or made any sudden movement, but his hand came out and attempted to push Pei Zi Yun from behind, at the same time, he shouted, "Be careful young master!"
As he approached Pei Zi Yun, he wore a crafty smile, as if he were up to no good. In a flash, he got a good look at Pei Zi Yun's face and knew that something was wrong. He had lost his element of surprise. He tried to maintain his balance on board the ship when he felt a sharp pain in his chest. It was then clear that the Elementary Scholar had turned around swiftly and pushed hard on his back. Feeling a numbness enveloping his entire body, he didn't even have time to scream, as he felt himself plunging into the river.
A splash sound could be heard and ripples coursed through the river, beginning from where he had landed. The splash could be heard from the main hall, where the passengers were dining. Someone shouted "What was that sound?"
The captain had heard it as well. And he knew that the sailor had done the deed. His face flushed red, and he felt the need to speak to mask his guilty conscious. He then feigned ignorance and asked "What? What sound?"
After a few minutes had gone by, he stood up.
The ship continued moving in the direction. Pei Zi Yun looked down and saw the sailor struggling under the currents, his body stiffened as he gasped for air. With a look of resignation on his face, he knew that he was doomed. Pei Zi Yun smiled emotionlessly "Although I don't have any Dao Arts, I know a thing or two about Martial Arts and defending myself."
Unless he knew a thousand different Martial Arts allowing him to survive underwater, he was dead for sure.
He had waited until he saw the man drown and disappear under the currents before gathering himself and shouting "Not good, not good. Someone has fallen overboard. Someone has fallen into the river."
The shout pierced through the different levels of the ship, and the people who were dining in the main hall were startled. Everyone dashed out onto the deck to get a closer look. The captain was stumped, "This isn't right, why does the voice belong to the Elementary Scholar?"
"Unless it was Master Xu who had fallen overboard and not the Elementary Scholar?"
The captain started to feign drunkenness, and hurriedly stumbled back into his own chambers.