Chapter 44: Crystal Gaze
Translator: Translation Nation/chuchutrain Editor: - -
The beautiful mistress, who was introduced as Mistress Cloud, spoke as her mind was filled with the images of the Elementary Scholars. Yu Guang Mao, Yi Zhi Quan, Pei Zi Yun one by one their faces flashed in her head, and she knew who among them would attain High Scholar status.
As she thought, she said to the little girl, "As for that Yu Guang Mao, although he comes from a poor family background, I can see that a rich aura is starting to show on him. With the use of his literary talents, he will become a seven ranked official at the very least."
"Spending money on business will enable more profits to be earned. This man is definitely going to become a rich merchant. Little Xia, you have to know that there is an understanding between us Daoists and the current dynasty. For people of this disposition, we can befriend them and engage in a friendly relationship with them, but we must never recruit them into Dao. Doing this will bring sin in our Imperial Qi."
"As for Yi Zhi Quan, it's clear that he has strong literary talents, yet he lacks the aura of wealth. Although it's been said that literary skills can change a person's fortune by giving them a good job as an official, one has to be unrivalled in this aspect, and have significant connections to rise up. If this student does not pass this particular examination, he will never pass in his lifetime and thus will never become a High Scholar."
"But can we still recruit him into the Dao?" the little girl raised her hands and asked.
"Free Cloud Sect is considered a huge sect. Just having the credentials of an Elementary Scholar is not merely enough to enter the sect. We'll have to see if fate allows it!" Mistress Cloud said noncommittally.
"There was one other person, Pei Zi Yun, who emanated a strange aura." The mistress said as she trailed off, as if she was deep in thought.
Hearing her aunt pausing, the little girl asked curiously, "Aunt, what about this person is strange?"
"On the surface, he carries a lonely and humble front. But upon closer look, it's clear that he is almost nearing the requirements to join Dao. His heritage is not strong, and thus being an Elementary Scholar is his limit."
"But now there is a cloud of good fortune hanging over him, as if it's changing his entire fate and more importantly his fate."
"What's remarkable about him is that his literary skills are unparalleled in this entire nation, and the scale of his talents is simply astounding. He's emitting a faint red glow, which takes the shape of a book. This clearly indicates that he has reached the pinnacle of academic progress. After a few years, his literary skills will peak and stabilize. Then, becoming a Grand Scholar is a real possibility."
"He even carries a killing aura with him. It seems like he's killed someone before."
The little girl's expression bore one of awe and shock, "Is that not good? Literary talents indicate that he is intelligent, and that means that cultivating would be much simpler for him. Cultivating for him would mean having to work less and achieving twice the rewards of a normal person. His ancestry is thin, which means his limit is becoming an Elementary Scholar, and he is thus not too arrogant. Since becoming a High Scholar is not his fate, we can recruit him and the dynasty would not have any objections. We should recruit him now."
"The killing aura is evident on his forehead, it's apparent that he can be ruthless when the need calls for it. He also carries the bearing of a soldier, extremely awe inspiring. The new dynasty had just been established and there is no longer any fighting, yet he carries such an air. I'm afraid if we pull him into the Dao, it could be put us at a disadvantage." the mistress said with some hesitation.
The little girl then replied, "Aunt, didn't you teach me that if we cultivated outside, we would inevitably become independent, and acquire life and a higher Dao from nature and earth. Since there's going to be struggles along the way, how can a killing aura and ruthlessness be bad? I think very highly of this person."
Hearing her speak like this, she reached out a hand finger and pressed it on the little girl's forehead once more and laughed, "You intelligent, strange, little girl. You're blessed by the heavens and are extraordinary. Even I do not have your foresight."
She suddenly had an idea.
After hearing the mistress speak, the little girl stuck out her tongue and ran away.
It was late in the night, and the Fu Mansion had many lanterns lighting up the entire area. They had a small banquet and invited the few Elementary Scholars under their roofs. None of them had eaten their dinner yet, and they were glad to be invited for the banquet.
Since it was a banquet that had been planned on a short notice, it was not especially huge or lavish. A few chickens were slaughtered, along with several fruits and berries. There were pots of wine as well, all for the Elementary Scholars to enjoy.
The few Elementary Scholars had taken turns to toast High Scholar Fu. They praised High Scholar Fu for his impeccable reputation and outstanding literary talents. He smiled and accepted their praises. This was a clear investment made by High Scholar Fu. Should any of these Elementary Scholars pass their upcoming examinations and become a High Scholar, they will owe him a favor. This was how he accumulated favors, and consequently, a good reputation.
When the banquet ended, several butlers and attendants escorted the Elementary Scholars back to their living quarters. Yu Guang Mao fanned himself, as he was still flushed from all that alcohol, "If only I can be as esteemed as High Scholar Fu, my life would not be in vain."
Just as the few of them walked past, they cast several glances towards the door, as if trying to get another glimpse of the beautiful mistress.
Seeing the way these Elementary Scholars conducted themselves, Pei Zi Yun laughed to himself as he followed the attendants.
The night grew deeper, and it was rather quiet. All that could be heard were the sounds of cicadas in the yard. They croaked incessantly, adding a dimension of liveliness to the entire surrounding.
The attendants led them along the yard, through the corridor. The corridor was surrounded by concrete walls. After every ten metres, there was a red pillar erected.
There were flowers and grass being planted within the yard. The attendants carried lanterns that illuminated the path before them, and the plants became visible, although not entirely distinct.
'Based on my observations, this is either a result of Dao Arts, or Feng Shui.'
'The elements of Feng Shui are unclear. However, it's known that there are elements of evil, life and wealth.'
Just then a sudden realization hit Pei Zi Yun. He realized that Mistress Cloud was his Senior Aunt. He then let out an involuntary laugh at the absurdity of the situation. He had begged Mr Zhao to let him enter the Dao, yet was denied. Now that he was wiser and smarter, he met Senior Aunt Cloud by chance.
He had realized this due to his attentiveness to details. Coupled with memories from the original owner that enabled him to reveal Senior Aunt Cloud's identity.
'According to the original owner's knowledge, Feng Shui is a small narrow path. The wealth of the population is limited on this path between Heaven and Earth. An increase in population size and resources would lead to an increase in Feng Shui.'
'Regarding the other worlds, it's unclear. However Feng Shui in this world refers to the absorption of wealth from the people, by those who possessed Feng Shui. Therefore there is no ordinary citizen who is extremely rich. At least not someone that the original owner has met before.'
'Regardless of how insignificant the amount of wealth is, at the end of the day, it is forcefully taken from the people, yet this is still within the rules. Even though the wealth is insignificant in numbers, it could still be worth a thousand silver taels per year.'
'It's a pity that I do not know any Dao Arts, and thus am unable to understand much.'
They walked along the corridor and went through a moon-shaped door. They had entered a new environment and the spectacular view engulfed him. The sight that greeted them was that of a courtyard, with three stairwells and two stories high. There were lights in each room, and the sounds of students studying and reading could be heard.
It seems like the moon-shaped door that led them to this courtyard also led to the guestrooms that were used to accommodate the students. There was a pond in the middle of the courtyard, containing several mysterious stones at the bottom. The lights from the room were so bright that it had illuminated the entire courtyard.
The attendants then showed them in and said, "Young masters, this is where you shall stay."
The attendants escorted them and allocated rooms for each of them. Each Elementary Scholar was entitled to an entire room by himself.
They followed the allocation of rooms and entered their assigned room. The attendants then carried their lanterns in, and lit up the candles on the table. The room brightened up immediately. The attendants then opened a drawer, and took out a piece of charcoal and placed it on the table. This was for Pei Zi Yun to use.
Pei Zi Yun followed the attendant into the room and saw a round table, along with some stools, in the middle of the room. On the table was a tray, with a pot and teacups on it.
"Young master, this is the stove. You can boil your own tea here."
"There're three meals provided a day. Please proceed to the main hall to eat."
"If there're any urgent matters, please call for me." He then carried his lantern and turned around to leave. Pei Zi Yun watched him leave before looking around in the room.
"The stove is a charcoal stove? Ey, I didn't think this existed in this world."
There was a door on the left side of the rom, which led to a study space. Pei Zi Yun walked in and found a study table within. There were several string of auspicious words hanging from the wall. On the table were two volumes of books and there was a book shelf just above it.
Pei Zi Yun looked through the books, and realized there were plenty of books on the shelves. There were also several volumes of books written by people of the older generation. He looked through them and realized the content within was pretty good.
Behind the table was a window that was shut. Pei Zi Yun went over to open in, and a gust of wind howled in. On the right side of the room laid a bed, with neatly arranged quilts. Pei Zi Yun ran his fingers through the quilt and found that it was especially smooth and soft. He took down his sword, and placed in above the headboard. He then lay on the bed, sinking deep into thought.
'It's a very helpful environment for studying. Master Fu is really attentive to the needs of his guests.'
'However, based on the original owner's memories, this man had not been seen within Free Cloud Sect. Master Fu probably just had a mutually beneficial arrangement with the sect, and was not a part of it.'
'Do I take this route?'
'Considering the fact that I'm still young, should I choose a better sect?'
Just as he was thinking, Mistress Cloud and the little girl were sitting before a dressing mirror. The mistress was holding on to a a jade scepter. The little girl was full of envy, "Aunt, can I do it this time? I've already cultivated my spiritual energy, let me do it please."
The gorgeous mistress laughed and said, "Little Xia'er, be good. You are still young and need to reserve your spiritual energy, and not use it unnecessarily, that's the way it is. When you're older, I'll let you have a go."
The mistress then pinched her fingers together, and waved her hands while muttering an incantation. A white ray of light shot out from her finger, and entered the jade scepter. The jade scepter started brimming with life, and a faint gred glow emitted from it, gradually turning brighter and brighter. It finally shot a bright glow of red light into the dressing mirror.
The little girl stood at the side with her arms folded, and pouted, "You just don't want me to have fun. What's all this about reserving my spiritual energy."
Having been rejected by her Senior Aunt, she was not happy about it, and it showed clearly on her facial expressions. The dressing mirror lit up instantaneously.
A courtyard began to form within the mirror. The mistress tapped gently on the mirror and the image transformed. This transformation took several seconds as a whirl of reflections coalesced until it rested onto the faces of seven or eight Elementary Scholars.
Just then, Pei Zi Yun felt his eyelids twitch, and a strange feeling came over him. It was almost as if he was being watched. Pei Zi Yun became alert, and an aura of killing air emanated from him. He turned around vigilantly, and observed his surroundings, but no shadows were in sight.
"Iya, this big brother is very scary." The little girl exclaimed when she saw Pei Zi Yun's killing aura floating around him, as his eyes were full of determination and vigilance. She had gotten a shock from his scary expression, and stepped back from the mirror in terror. She then looked at Mistress Cloud and asked, "Aunt, did this big brother discover us? The way he looked at us was almost as if he knew. And his expression scared me."
The mistress had also been shocked by the look on his eyes, and thought for some time, "This Elementary Scholar knows martial arts, and his killing aura is very strong. He is also very sensitive and alert, being able to feel the gaze of our Crystal Gaze technique. The only reason why he could not actually find us was because he had no magic Dao arts."
"Just now when I saw him, I said that he had a strong killing aura around him, almost as if he had killed a few people recently. Now, I'm certain that he has taken some lives before."
Listening to Mistress Cloud's words, her eyes lit up, "Does that mean this brother can join our sect by the martial arts way. Aunt, hurry bring him into our sect. Then I shall have another person to listen to me, and help me bully my other younger brothers."
Mistress Cloud had originally worn a look of satisfaction and joy. But hearing the little girl speak this way, her face turned into a frown. She pinched the little girl's nose and told her to not speak this way.
Within the guest room, Pei Zi Yun searched the entire room, and realized that the gaze was still upon him. He still felt like someone was watching him. His heart had been beating rapidly. Could this be a magical Dao gaze that's upon me?
But since he had no spiritual energy, there was no way that he could confirm this.
"Regardless of who was lookin at me, I only have a few days left before the examinations. During this time, the Imperial Qi of the dynasty is extremely alert and will be watching over me. Hopefully, I will be safe during this time. I better concentrate on my studies." Pei Zi Yun thought as he withdrew his vigilant expression, and took a book and started reading it.