Chapter 45: Autopsy
Translator: Translation Nation/chuchutrain Editor: - -
Prefectural Town, Stronghold of the Boat Owner
It was dark within the grand hall. Several men were dressed in a black garb, which had the sigil of a snake sitting on a boat. They were standing behind their master while wielding swords and having a cold look on their faces. Their master abruptly tossed his teacup on the floor, which shattered into smithereens. His eyes were focused at the man kneeling before him.
The man on the floor kneeling was the ship captain that had ferried Pei Zi Yun to the capital. He was trembling with intense fear and was sobbing. In between sobs, he begged, "Master Owner, I really have no idea why the gang leader you sent ended up drowning to death, and not a scratch was found on the Elementary Scholar. I followed his plan and went to cook a big fish to entice the Elementary Scholar to eat with us, and even prepared wine. Acting this way was very normal and would not arouse his suspicion at all."
"And this Elementary Scholar Pei even had a few cups of wine. When he went out to relief himself, your gang leader followed him. After some time there was a mighty splash. At first, I thought that the Elementary Scholar had fallen over. Who would have expected that it was the gang leader who had fallen overboard instead."
"This was all of his own doing, and not my fault at all. I really had no part to play in this."
The ship captain knelt down before the Shipowner and spoke in trembling voices. He was terrified, as sweat broke out across his forehead. The man that had been sent by the owner had died on the ship. If he did not seek out justice, people could see him as weak, and he will not have any foothold in the Hu river for much longer.
Seeing the ship captain in such a fashion, the owner did not care too much. He signalled to one of the men in black robes. Immediately two men wearing black brought a wooden coffin in.
Even though the case had been closed by the officials, the ship captain did not dare to privately bury his corpse without consent from the owner. He then ordered some men to buy a wooden coffin and ferried his corpse back from the county and delivered him to the Shipowner.
The Shipowner stepped forward and opened the coffin himself. He looked in and saw his man, lying lifelessly. He had a full head of white hair, lips were completely pale and his body was swollen.
"Open him up and we shall take a look!" Ordered the Shipowner.
One of his man stepped up, he wore an expression of arrogance. He immediately drew out several clamps, and clipped the entire body from head to toe with these clamps. He then took out a needle and pierced his flesh in different areas of his body. After sometime, he shouted, "Master, his head, chest, stomach and bones are intact. Based on my needles, it's clear that he was not poisoned as well."
He then used his weight and pressed down on the abdomen of the corpse. The corpse then spat out some liquid, which had the smell of alcohol. It was clear that this man had died from drowning, and was intoxicated at that time, "There are no problems, he drank too much and fell overboard."
"Are you sure?"
"Master, we've been doing this our whole lives. You can trust us."
Hearing this, he flew into a rage and started shouting, "You asshole. I sent you out on a job and you had to drink this much. Now you're dead and the Elementary Scholar is alive, you just ruined a big affair."
The Shipowner walked several paces, deep in thought. After some time, he sighed and said, "This Elementary Scholar is very fortunate. And now gang leader Ke is dead. We should've sent more men. This was done very poorly."
He then glared menacingly at the man who was still kneeling on the floor, "He Tu, this matter does not concern you. However, he died aboard your ship. So you have to compensate his family by paying fifty silver taels. That will be all."
When the ship captain heard this, he retreated, still trembling. When he was out of the door, he wiped his sweat from his forehead, and left the scene.
"I was given a set of instructions, but failed to succeed. Now I have to find someone else to help me." As he was thinking this, the Shipowner then instructed his men, "Bring the Dao leader here."
Before long there was a middle aged man who arrived. Beside him were two young ladies, tugging on his sleeves and playing with him. Seeing the coffin on the floor, the ladies got shocked and screamed in panic.
The middle aged Daoist held the two ladies tightly, as if to comfort them before speaking very loudly, "Li Zhi, why have you placed a coffin on your floor?"
It seemed like the middle aged Daoist did not have much respect for the Shipowner, addressing him directly by his name.
The Shipowner wasn't affected by this too. He instructed all his men to leave and said, "We have something important to discuss. Please ask these two ladies to leave as well."
The Daoist man raised his head and looked into the eyes of the ship captain. He then said defiantly, "Li Zhi, you should know that these two women follow me everywhere. If you have anything to say, spill. Do not beat around the bush."
Hearing these words of contempt spoken by the Daoist, his eyes emanated some fury, but subsided immediately and was replaced by apprehension. He then said, "This is about the young master."
The minute he said this, the Daoist man's face turned pale and pushed the two women away, "Wait for me outside. I shall be there shortly."
The both of them were obedient and subservient to him. They listened and left the scene.
The Shipowner then started, "The young master had ordered me to carry out a task, but something unfortunate happened. The man I'd sent had died, and Pei Zi Yun is fine. I implore you to help me beg for his understanding and forgiveness. In return, I shall repay you 10 favours in a year."
"From the way you speak, it seems like it's a small matter. Afterall, I am the young master's Senior Uncle. I am an Inner Disciple of the Sect, and this is no big deal." The Daoist man paced several steps before saying, "But under what circumstances would the man we send out die, while Pei Zi Yun stays unharmed."
The Shipowner hesitated for some time before telling the Daoist everything that had happened. The Daoist glared at the corpse in the coffin and ascertained for himself that he had indeed drowned. He then shouted, "The only thing you have ever accomplished is failure."
The Shipowner then stepped forward and took out several banknotes from within his robes and handed it over. The Daoist man eyed the banknotes and took it before caressing the notes. Seeing that they were real, his face turned into a smile, "It's not that you are not attentive. It's because this servant of yours is incapable. I shall explain the turn of events carefully, and ensure that your reputation is not tarnished and that you shall not be implicated."
Capital City, High Monastery
Although a white concrete wall separated the courtyard from the next building, a woman singing voice was clearly audible.
Hearing this, Zhang Jie Yu asked, "Has the monastery's title been conferred?"
"Young master, after much effort, we finally managed to accomplish this. Although we haven't succeeded in getting an official to preside over the monastery, the title has already been conferred."
Ever since the stabilization of the dynasty, there had been strict rules in place regarding the spiritual realms and monasteries. One of the restrictions were to limit the number of monasteries and temples on the officially approved lists. This was done by assigning officials to represent a monastery. If no official was assigned, it wouldn't be recognized as legal. Getting an official to preside over a monastery was not an easy matter.
"Every sect has their own official presiding over them and yet our sect is still facing difficulties in this regard. However, since we've succeeded in acquiring an official title, there are more paths open to us now. We have to be careful of which court official is appointed to preside over the temple though." Li Wen Jing looked out of the window, his eyes reflecting the sunlight. He then said, "As for getting an official supportive of our cause to preside over the monastery, difficult, difficult."
"We still have some time before we need to think about that." Zhang Jie Yu said smiling, "Now that we have a stronghold here in the capital, we can start inserting important people to do our bidding here."
As he said this, he took out a wooden box and opened it. There was a document inside, "These are the businesses in which we have at least one person waiting for our orders. Take a look!"
Just as Li Wen Jing was going to continue, there was a knock on the door.
"Young master, there's been some news from the prefecture." The door opened to reveal a burly man in black robes as he strode in, holding a letter.
Zhang Jie Yu retrieved the letter from it and ripped it open, and began to read the contents, "Asshole. Such a small matter and he couldn't even do it right. According to the reports, the man he had sent drank too much and fell overboard. He drowned to death."
He waved his hands as a gesture to the black robed man to back away. With some hesitation and coldness in his eyes, he turned around to Li Wen Jing and asked, "Are you sure this bastard does not have any Dao Arts? I have this feeling that we're missing out on something."
Li Wen Jing frowned and said, "Young Master, we've searched up on this once before. Free Cloud Sect did not take Pei Zi Yun in as a disciple. And so it's impossible that he has any Dao Arts."
Zhang Jie Yu stopped being suspicious after hearing this. He was very upset however, "This boy's luck is pretty good. Everytime we wish to harm him, he manages to escape. I cannot stand this any longer. I've heard he has an old mother. I am thinking of doing something to her to get to him. What do you think?"
Li Wen Jing stood up, "Young master, every village has their own plot of land. And now is the period in which the examinations are in progress, and is a very sensitive time. All the spirits and deities will be extremely alert at this point. Furthermore Slow River County belongs Free Cloud Sect and Snail Village had been Zhao Ning's residence for a long time, he would surely have some attachment to that place."
"We can start preparing to make a move. But doing something like that would pit us against the Imperial Qi and Free Cloud Sect. The gains will not make up for our losses."
"And I've already sent a letter to the brothers in our sect to investigate further. If this person really has no ties with Zhao Ning, we can then make a move against his family. It won't be too late."
Zhang Jie Yu burst out in anger, "I can't do anything can I. It's really hard for me to swallow this."
As he said this, he swept the teapot and books off the table before it crashed onto the ground. It took some time for him to simmer down before he said, "Wait for the examinations to end. Then I'll let him have a taste of my fury."
"Oh yes, about that Tang Zhen, since he's this incapable, we shall wait for his title to be officially stripped. Then we will not be implicated by the Imperial Qi and can kill him. Let's drown him."
Li Wen Jing looked like he felt a tinge of regret and pity for Tang Zhen. He was actually rather capable. But he will not risk clashing with Zhang Jie Yu just for Tang Zhen's sake. He then replied, "Let me handle this!"
The Crystal Gaze had been transfixed on the guest rooms where the Elementary Scholars were living in. After checking on Pei Zi Yun everyday, it was clear that he was perfectly at ease, and was studying and revising very attentively. He was very regular in taking his meals, and seemed like he was abiding of rules.
The little girl, Xia'er stared at him from the side, her facial expression was that of boredom. She said unhappily, "This older brother knows martial arts, and has an impressive killing aura over him. I had thought he would be practicing his moves, or climbing out of his room in the middle of night onto the roof to do something chivalrous. Who would've expected him to be studying and writing the entire day. This doesn't make sense."
When she had finished speaking, the beautiful mistress used her finger and pressed down onto her forehead, "You little rascal, you've been reading too much of those kind of books and thus only know how to fight, kill, and expect gallant chivalry."
The mistress stared intently at him and said, "Not only is he extremely alert and perceptive, his concentration is very strong as well. I would not have expected him to be this diligent in his studies. He really has a strong willpower."
The mistress looked at Pei Zi Yun with a sense of admiration. She then took out a script and held it. After sometime, she said, "Little Xia'er, a few days ago your father raised a question and Pei Zi Yun answered it. He received praise from your father, and said that he had the potential to become a Grand Scholar. If he really does take the Grand Scholar Examinations, I'm afraid he will really succeed."
The little girl beamed with anticipation, "Aunt, we should hurry recruit this elder brother into the Dao. If he takes the Palace Examinations and passes, we will have no chance to get to him anymore."
The mistress sighed loudly, "I'm just afraid that even he might not be able to enter the sect easily. It's been said that brother Zhao Ning and him have some ties."
"Without the consent of Brother Zhao, we cannot just take him in, for that would ruin the relationship between brother and sister within the sect and cause friction."
"Aye, aye, Aunt, you really think too much. How can Uncle Zhao be stronger than us?"
"You silly girl. It's definitely due to all those rubbish stories you've been reading .The moment you open your mouth, you speak nonsense." The mistress then tapped her on her forehead again, "I forbid you from reading those silly books anymore."