Chapter 65: Broken Tail
Translator: Translation Nation Editor: - -
Silver Dragon Temple
It was the afternoon and several visitors were burning some incense. The smoke and smell of incense wafted through the entire temple. Everything seemed very normal.
In one room, several monks seemed to be in panic. They were all busying themselves, some pacing up and down, others kneeling on the floor. They were all burning documents by throwing them into the fire. Since they were in close proximity with each other and the fireplace, they were all sweating buckets. One of them said, pale-faced, "Hurry, hurry, burn all these accounts documents."
These were the documents describing the transactions of money flowing in and out of the temple.
At that point, a little monk came in, carrying a pigeon, and said, "Senior Brother, this is bad. There are many soldiers at the foot of the mountain. Let's go now, if not, it will be too late to run."
This pigeon was sent by the sentries they had secretly planted at the foot of the mountain. The Chief Monk then stood up and said, "Fellow brothers, this is way too slow. I will fetch some oil, and we can burn all the evidence here. There must be no traces left."
"Once we've burnt down this entire room, who cares if the authorities know that something isn't right, they will have no way to prove anything."
"Senior Brother, where are the others? Should we take them along with us?" A monk asked inquisitively.
"Once we're done burning, we'll leave. We will not bring anyone along with us. Although we are Outer Disciples, we're still disciples after all, and hence we have to specially handle this matter. The others will be used as a buffer."
"Even if they're all arrested and beheaded, it will be good for us since the case will be concluded and we will no longer be hunted down."
"If we were to bring them along, it will decrease our chances of escaping. Even if we do manage to escape, we're all wanted fugitives, a bigger group of monks will attract more attention."
"Why else would I kill those few monks. If they didn't die, how were they to replace us? When the officials storm the temple, they will see several dead monks and think that we've all been killed, and thus, they won't pursue us. That is how you vanish, leaving an empty shell." The Senior Monk paused for some time before walking through the door.
After some time, he returned with some oil and splashed it all over the bookshelves and tables. He then tossed a torch in and shouted, "Hurry! Get out of here!"
Once the fire made contact with the bookshelf, it immediately engulfed the entire shelf. The few of them removed their monk attires and ran out through the door.
Shortly after they had left, voices could be heard from within the temple asking for help, "Fire, fire! Senior Brother's study room is on fire! Help put the fire out!"
Barely a minute after the fire started, the soldiers had ascended the mountain and surrounded the entire temple. A monk shouted out, "Who are you people...."
Before the monk could finish his sentence, an arrow swiftly pierced his throat. He fell to the ground, dead. The Military Chief then ordered, "Arrest as many bandits as you can, if anyone dares to resist arrest, kill them."
A few visitors who had just been offering incense to the deities were all trembling in fear, as they crouched to the ground, not daring to make any noise. The soldiers and bailiffs stormed the area.
There were several monks within the temple who pulled out some knives in a bid to resist the onslaught of soldiers. Some of them were martial artists who managed to fend off the soldiers. However, before long came the sound of arrows as they were shot dead. The remaining monks witnessed what had happened and knelt on the ground in fear.
The Military Chief eyed the Constable and smiled, "Search everything, these monks would have a large stash of gold and silver. Dig it all out. These people are all garbage."
Some soldiers and bailiffs started tying the monks up to restrict them. The rest of the soldiers started searching the temple for gold and silver. All of a sudden, a bailiff appeared from a room in excitement. He ran out and started shouting, "Military Chief! Constable! I've discovered a secret passageway."
The bailiff led the Military Chief into the great hall. The bailiff walked towards a wall before tapping on it. Instantaneously, a secret passage was revealed. Several monks and women were within a the chamber, trembling in fear.
After catching the monks together with the women, who were all naked, he couldn't help but laugh, "Bandit's lair."
He glanced at all the women present, and amongst them one seemed unnaturally familiar. She was using her hands to cover her face. The Military Chief's face fell. He pulled her hand away from her face using quite a bit of force, before turning red-faced.
This woman was his concubine. Recently, she had been saying that her heart seeked religion, and thus, has been visiting this temple very often. In anger, he whipped out his knife and shouted, "How dare you?"
He plunged the knife right into her heart, as fresh blood splashed everywhere, scaring the other women around, as they all screamed in fear.
The Military Chief then kicked over the corpse beneath his feet and said, "Kill all these outlaws. Spare nobody."
Luo Gang Assembly Hall
The entire forest was surrounded by green and lush vegetation. Huge pine and cypress trees grew throughout the entire area, making it seem as though there was a corporeal spirit keeping watch over the river. There was a Daoist in a room, burning all the accounts of transactions with Holy Jail Sect. He was tasked with disposing of all these documents.
This Daoist man had two women constantly with him, helping him burn the documents. In their eyes, fear was apparent. They had no idea why this Daoist would be doing something like that. They had their own suspicions in their hearts, yet they did not dare to question the authority of this man.
Once they had finished burning the documents, the Daoist heaved a sigh of relief and said to the two women, "I have something I need to do. Wait for me in this room. I will return when I'm done."
Once the Daoist man left the room, the pair of them glanced at each other. One of them then said, "Something's not right, if he's burning all the records that means he's escaping. We should inform the Sub-Gang Leader."
The woman who had spoken then made to move hurriedly. Before she could even open the door, a hand stretched out and grabbed her by her throat and twisted her neck. Her entire head turned at an unnatural angle before she fell to the ground, lifeless.
Seeing her companion dead, the other woman started begging for her life, "Dao Leader, on account of the fact that I've waited on you for this long, please don't kill me. Please don't kill me."
The Daoist man heaved a sigh before saying, "The Luo gang is finished. Seeing as to how you've been with me for so long, I had initially thought of giving you ladies a chance. However, who would've expected you to betray me."
The woman started pleading for her life once more. Even before she could finish her sentence, the Daoist man slapped her hard on her forehead. She then realized that no voice would leave her mouth. She then fell to the ground with a "thud", blood oozing out of her orifices.
The Daoist man dragged these two women onto the bed, and covered their bodies. He then left the scene.
Luo Gang's Leader was Yang Kun, and the Sub-Leader was Su Liu. Su Liu was an intelligent, capable and loyal person. He had worked hard and humbly in order to rise in ranks and become the Sub-Gang Leader. At this point, he was pacing up and down the hall, sensing that something was not right.
"Why is it that Gang Leader Yang has not returned, and there's no news of him?"
"And the Daoist members of the gang have all left hurriedly. What is the reason for this?"
Just as he was deep in thought, he could hear a shout from outside, "Kill!"
Immediately after, he heard the sound of people killing, and others dying. He flew into a rage. Who had the audacity to attack the Luo Gang?
Even before Su Liu could leave the hall, a man whose head was covered in blood ran towards him and shouted, "Sub-Gang Leader, hurry and run. The government officials are here and have surrounded us. Our brothers are not their match and most have already perished."
"What? The government officials are here? That's impossible. I was on such good terms with the Prefectural Magistrate, I have bribed him just a few days back, why would he still attack us?"
Hesitating slightly, he exited the hall and took a look outside. What he saw left him pale-faced. It was in broad daylight that a massacre like that is taking place. And it was indeed the government's military.
As he was struggling with himself, he heard the sound of an arrow drilling through the door, and piercing him right in the ear. His face was white as he turned to leave.
Only the newer members of the gang were fighting with the soldiers. The old timers and heads immediately turned to leave. They knew that the time for determining the cause of this attack was not now, and could only be done later, after they've escaped. Su Liu climbed over the wall and fled.
The Luo Gang Stronghold was not far away from the river. A short distance away was the river bank, where a boat was motionless.
As he was running, he heard a familiar laugh coming from behind. The laughter made him happy for a moment before it turned into fear. The person behind him was the Constable, who was extremely friendly to him on any other day. Who would've expected him to be here today, trying to stop Su Liu. He then turned around and said, "Constable Hu....."
Even before he could finish speaking, several bowmen emerged from the spare boat on the riverbank. He heard the command to shoot, "Fire the arrows!"
"Pu pu pu!"
More than 10 arrows flew in his direction. It seemed like there were ambushes everywhere, to ensure that nobody escaped.
Su Liu was proficient with Martial Arts. With a shout, he retrieved his sword and started deflecting the arrows, and yet, he was unable to block the last arrow. It pierced right into him. But he did not scream in pain, he just glared hatefully at the Constable.
The Constable looked at him and said, "Your Qi has been expanded."
The Constable then drew out an arrow, and shot it in the direction of Su Liu, hitting him right in his temple, and piercing through his skull. Su Liu died instantly.
Having killed Su Liu, the Constable then walked towards the river bank, where the boat was. The bowmen had all disembarked earlier. Just then, a middle-aged man came out from the cabin of the boat. This middle-aged man was wearing the robes of an Elementary Scholar. He then said to the Constable, "We've wiped them out. Although our losses were great, we already have our men in the different gangs of the river. When the time comes, we should reorganize everyone once more. Although when will be the right time to start rebuilding, I have no idea at this point."
The Constable guffawed and replied, "It can't be helped that we had huge losses. This was the most appropriate way to deal with the situation. Cutting off all contact with them was the only way our sect would not be implicated by the current situation involving the Luo Gang."
"The sect will also pull the right strings in order to get the case to resolve itself as soon as possible. The longer this case drags out, the more trouble it will spell, "It's hard to imagine that the only mistake we made, was to pull an Elementary Scholar into the sect. That alone resulted in such huge losses for everyone. Zhang Jie Yu really handled it the wrong way."
"Let's not speak of Zhang Jie Yu anymore. This man did not handle the situation appropriately, and he has reaped what he had sown. His body has already been damaged. Killing the official caused his name to be erased from the sect records. Moreover, he had committed the crime under the Imperial Qi, and thus his soul would be unable to have redemption. It's very tragic."
The Constable smiled, "This Pei Zi Yun definitely has Free Cloud Sect behind his back. They are afterall, the oldest and most reputable sect within Dong An Prefecture. When we get the chance to, we shall seek them out to exact revenge."
Capital City, Fu Mansion
Mistress Cloud was teaching the little girl some Dao Techniques when she received a message on the enchanted amulet. Flipping the amulet open, a Daoist man appeared. It was the Daoist who was from Dong An Prefecture, in charge of delivering news should something major happen.
Once the Daoist man appeared, he delivered the message. Only after speaking a few sentences did Mistress Cloud take a deep breath and exclaimed, "What? Something this big just happened?"
"This Pei Zi Yun had just killed off an important disciple that they were grooming in this world, called Zhang Jie Yu? He struck so hard and so fast that they didn't have enough time to react. His methods are astonishing."
She had heard of Zhang Jie Yu a long time ago. She also had reported that Pei Zi Yun was an ideal candidate for recruitment into the sect.
Once she had finished hearing the news, she was in shock. She took some time to process what had just happened. She then took out her jade scepter and touched the tip of the scepter. A buzzing sound could soon be heard. As the spiritual energy flooded it, the scepter radiated a glowing light.
Free Cloud Sect had assisted the dynasty with uniting the prefectures, and thus gained the special privilege to cultivate and practice Dao Arts within the capital city. This jade scepter was best weapon around that could be used for communicating. Apart from that, it had another unique ability.
Mistress Cloud used her fingers to tap on the scepter once more. Within a heartbeat, the shadow of a person emerged.
The face of this person was blurry, behind his back was a dark cloud that could not be seen clearly. Mistress Cloud did not find anything strange about this, and started reporting whatever had transpired these past few days to this shadow in excruciating details.
When he was finished, he too was astonished, "Sister Cloud, please wait. I shall explain this to the Sect Leader and await his command."
After sometime, there was another flash of light. A Daoist man emerged. He had several wrinkles on his forehead. The minute Mistress Cloud saw this man, she flung herself onto her knees, "Leader, you came personally?"
"Mistress Cloud, I've already checked on this person, and his destiny is closely related to our sect."
"Your fellow brother Zhao has mentioned him to me before. He told me that Pei Zi Yun was instructed to practice his manual before we might accept him. This matter is very sudden and yet this Pei Zi Yun had achieved such a remarkable victory. He must've acquired spiritual wisdom and was able to reach into his inner strengths. There's nobody around who is of the same calibre as him. I am ordering you now, to head down personally and inquire about his affairs. I particularly want to know if the Dao that he had cultivated is our own Dao Arts, and which level he has cultivated up till now."
"Yes, since Sect Leader has ordered me, I shall go," Mistress Cloud answered as the light extinguished itself.
Apart from other newly enlisted sect members, the well-known sects have also been paying attention to Mistress Cloud. Even though she had the authority to communicate with anyone within the capital, she would not use it too much.
Seeing the light being extinguished, the little girl who had not dared to speak earlier started saying loudly, "Aunt, I want to go, I want to go along too!"
Mistress Cloud could not help but be smile as she pushed a finger to her forehead, "You playful little thing, I will be angered to death by you sooner or later."