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 Chapter 81: Rejection

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Pei Zi Yun and High Scholar Fu returned to Fu Mansion, where they heard the sound of horse's hooves fast approaching. Casting their glances out into the darkness, they were unable to see much. The winds were howling as the clouds were stirring overhead. Soldiers were being deployed to guard all the important points of the city, including the entrances and exits.

'These are the soldiers deployed from the magistrate's office to investigate the matter.' Pei Zi Yun thought to himself. After such a serious matter had occurred last night, he decided to inform Yu Yun Jun of whatever had happened.

Pei Zi Yun walked to Yu Yun Jun's room and knocked, "Master! Master! I have something important to tell you!"

"Hold on!" Yu Yun Jun replied.

After sometime, lights could be seen being lit and the door opened. When Pei Zi Yun saw Yu Yun Jun, he bowed, "Master, something major happened last night and I'm here to inform you of it."

"What major occurrence are you speaking of?" Yu Yun Jun paused in apprehension.

Pei Zi Yun then followed Yu Yun Jun into a small living room outside of her wing. Paintings of outstanding quality were being hung up all over the room. It was late, and thus his senior sister Chu Xia was asleep and didn't follow them out. Pei Zi Yun sat down on the chair nearest to the door. After taking a deep breath, he said in a hushed voice, "This was what happened. I left for the Governor's banquet...."

He then described everything that took place as Yu Yun Jun listened attentively all the way through. When he had finished, her eyebrows creased as she asked, "You mean to say, last night, pirates had attacked the Governor?"

"Yes, Master. Furthermore a dancing lady was part of the entire assassination plot as well. I suspect a greater power is at work, to be able to plan such a covert mission. For example, Hou Mansion." Pei Zi Yun pieced together the events and memories from the original owner and deduced that the entire operation was related to Hou Mansion.

"Eh, you did well for yourself. As Daoists belonging to a sect, we strive to bring glory and contributions to our sect without slaughtering or murdering innocent lives. You've managed to save the Governor tonight, and this is a huge accomplishment and would bring glory to our sect. There shall be rewards. In future, your endeavors would be accomplished easily especially after people hear of these."

"Yes, Master. However, I wish to ask a favour from our sect. I wish to take a look at all the information our sect has gathered on the pirates." Pei Zi Yun said.

"Oh, what do you plan to do with this information?" Yu Yun Jun paused to ask after hearing his peculiar request.

Pei Zi Yun's expression turned severe as he said, "Master, a superior would always think that a subordinate is expected to sacrifice his life to protect his superior. Therefore this gratitude that you think he has for me, is not as big as you would expect."

"The way I see it, the Governor would have his suspicions about me. It's even conceivable that he's investigating me as we speak."

"However, the attempt on the Governor's life is an opportunity."

"If I were able to provide advice and counsel to the Governor regarding how to deal with these pirates, it would bring us numerous benefits and no disadvantages. Unlike interfering with government affairs, where there would be consequences, helping the Governor get rid of pirates would be advantageous for us. I therefore humbly ask for Master to aid me on this." Pei Zi Yun said as he broke out into a smile.

Yu Yun Jun paused, and looked at Pei Zi Yun. She was sold instantly. The shadow of that man all those years ago filled up her mind. It became clearer for sometime, before becoming blur all over again. She then snapped back.

"You are quite right. Helping the Governor to exterminate these pirates would be a victory for all of us. Since you have such intentions, I would help you to the best of my abilities."

Hearing these words were all that Pei Zi Yun needed. Not wishing to spend another minute unproductively, he stood up, saluted his Master and turned around to leave.

Governor's Mansion

The Governor rose to his feet as he gazed out of the window. He then proceeded to take a seat once more. There was a file on the table containing the investigation report obtained from the magistrate. He picked the file up and started browsing through the contents. After taking a few glances at it, he flew into a rage and tossed the entire file onto the floor, "This is all you have for me?"

"Husband do not be angry. Whatever the magistrate could dig up was all in there. Husband, do not put the magistrate and his constables in a spot." Mistress Du was standing behind her husband, massaging his shoulders in a bid to soothe him.

"Husband, why don't you invite master Top Scorer Pei over. Then you have a good talk and rid yourself of the unnecessary stress."

"Fine, I shall do as my wife bids." The Governor said before shouting, "Butler, send someone to invite the Top Scorer over here."

Fu Mansion

It was early in the morning and the morning fog enveloped the entire street. The night watchman who had toiled the entire night carried his drum and made his way home.

The soldiers that had gathered on the streets had dispersed. Not far away, a shop had just opened for business and was selling porridge. The decadent aroma was wafting throughout the entire street.

The boss took a huge pair of wooden chopsticks and was frying some breadsticks to be dipped into the porridge.

"I feel like having some breadsticks this morning. Buy several sticks for me." Pei Zi Yun ordered the serving maids. He then returned to his folder. Yu Yun Jun had knocked on his door earlier this morning and handed an entire folder to him, "The information and materials you asked for are all in here. Be careful not to allow any of these information to leak."

"Yes, Master." Pei Zi Yun replied. Once he took the file, he flipped it open where many pieces of paper swished out, and laid on his table under the bright sunlight emanating through the window.

He started reading the documents and realized that it contained information about how the previous dynasty had dealt with the pirates by restricting trade along the sea. There was information about the background of these pirates and their formation before they started wreaking havoc within the cities. It was a detailed report that included several vital pieces of information. Pei Zi Yun had an idea after reading these.

In his previous life, the person most notable for dealing with the pirates problem was Qi Jiguang. Following his death, the pirates started rising up again. Pei Zi Yun understood that in order to completely annihilate these pirates, someone would have to deal with the roots and clear them out once and for all.

With these thoughts in mind, Pei Zi Yun unrolled a blank piece of parchment. He placed a paperweight on the corner of the parchment and poured some water into the inkstone. He then retrieved a quill and dipped it into the ink before writing his thoughts down.

After writing for sometime, the serving maid brought his food and served it to him. She then said in a soft voice, "Master Top Scorer, the Governor has sent a note, inviting you over to his mansion."

"Oh?" Pei Zi Yun paced a few steps forward eagerly. The first step of his plan - to become famous and to hold influence had already been attained. Now it was time for the second step. And for this, he would need to win the Governor's approval by impressing him. This could be achieved by planning a detailed way to exterminate these pirates.

Pei Zi Yun hesitated for sometime, as he thought about the world he used to live in, and how pirates were no longer an issue.

'The cause and effect of restricting trade within the rivers and seas are quite substantial.'

'During the Song dynasty, pirate attacks were unheard of. This was mainly due to the fact that the Song dynasty was prosperous, and their navy was unparalleled in strength.'

'In order to build a formidable navy, the dynasty must have sufficient income. Only then will the imperial court not think that their costs surpasses their income and building a navy would be a waste of time and effort. With a prosperous dynasty and a strong navy, they would be able to deal with the pirates effectively.'

'With a prosperous economy, the imperial court would benefit from this. However, what's more important was that there would be legal trading routes established. Who then, would risk being hung as a convict when they could be trading legally?'

'Being a pirate would not be profitable any longer.'

'On the contrary, banning sea trades by restricting routes could stop the pirate problems temporarily, but would create another problem in the long run.'

'The Ming dynasty had imposed strict rules pertaining to sea trading routes and blocked off most trading routes. This caused a black market to form, and thus huge profits could be gained for those who managed to sneak their products in. This caused many criminals to risk their lives for profits and as a last resort, since they had no other means. A pirate problem ensued in the south eastern coasts, where pirates activities spiked.'

'When I was studying the stock markets back then, I remembered reading a quote. It said that for 20% of profits, people will start paying attention. For 50% profits, risks would be taken. For 100% profits, many rules would be broken. For 300% profits, any crime would be committed without second thought.'

'After robbing and plundering, these pirates would take their loot back to Japan where they're able to sell it off for 10 times or even 100 times the cost of their voyage. This was the main reason why pirates were hard to stop.'

Reading through the file that had originated from Free Cloud Sect, Pei Zi Yun saw a note written. With 100% profits, no wonder it was hard to wipe out these pirates, for if one pirate died, ten others would replace him. The previous dynasty had restricted sea trade, which caused more pirates to surface. Pei Zi Yun had a plan formed up his mind.

'The strategies I've devised included lifting the sea trade ban and building up the navy. Since most of these sea merchants have their own laws and codes, they would not join up with the pirates if they have a legal route to tread.'

'Without the help and strength of the sea merchants, these pirates would be like fishes washed up ashore. Then, killing them once and for all would not be a problem.'

Pei Zi Yun was writing on the paper fervently as he shouted, "Men, ready my ox-cart. I shall set off for the Governor's Mansion."

With a shout from the ox-cart driver, the ox-cart started moving. Winter had descended and it was starting to get cold. It was still in the morning, and the curfew had just set in last night. Hence there weren't many people on the streets apart from the bailiffs.

"Bandits?"

Pei Zi Yun laughed. For a very long time, the original owner only knew that an assassination attempt on the Governor had taken place, yet didn't know it was pirates that were behind this. Pei Zi Yun was doing this out of goodwill as well. If the pirates were able to infiltrate the city and counties, many lives would be lost.

It's no wonder the Governor was this uptight about the situation. After spending some time deep in thought, the ox-cart halted and several serving maids shyly welcomed him into the mansion, "Master Top Scorer, the Governor welcomes you here."

Pei Zi Yun walked into the main hall and saw a painting behind the Governor's seat. It was of a ferocious tiger descending a mountain. There were no other paintings around it, adding to the fearsome aura of the tiger. The Governor's had an entire head full of white hair, while his eyes were starting to turn red. He was holding onto a book and reading frustratedly.

"Respects to the Governor, his excellency." Pei Zi Yun walked in and bowed before him.

The Governor sat up straight and saw Pei Zi Yun before him. Placing down his book, he smiled and replied, "Dispense with ceremony. Please, have a seat. I wish to ask, what was the title of the poem you composed yesterday?"

"!" Pei Zi Yun laughed. He then observed the Governor for the first time and noticed that he was of a medium build and had thick eyebrows. Beneath those eyebrows were a pair of eyes that looked sharp and intelligent. He was not wearing his usual official robes and had a less fearsome aura about him.

The Governor's eyes lit up as he replied, "Not bad, not bad at all."

The Governor was a straightforward man and hated beating around the bush. He then said, "The reason I've called on you today was because I have two favors to ask of you."

Pei Zi Yun rose up and saluted the Governor, "I do not dare to. Your excellency is too modest. Please speak your mind."

The Governor smiled, "Let's drink our tea first before I dive into the matter."

As soon as the Governor said this, a serving maid brought the tea over and momentarily stood in between the Governor and Pei Zi Yun. She shyly cast him a couple of glances, blushing before backing away.

The Governor drank 2 sips before clearing his throat, "The first matter. I wish for you to stay in my mansion, and become my advisor to help with my battle strategies."

Pei Zi Yun pondered on this for sometime before replying, "Governor, your excellency, what is the second matter?"

"The second matter is that I wish to employ you to teach and guide my child."

Hearing this, Pei Zi Yun muttered under his breath. With a plan in his heart, he replied, "Governor your excellency, this student wishes to travel the four seas and every corner of this world. To be your advisor and provide counsel on battle strategies, it's beyond my capabilities."

The Governor expected this and asked, "What about to be the teacher to my kids?"

Pei Zi Yun saluted once more and replied, "Governor your excellency, I am only sixteen when the year ends. As for being a teacher, it's beyond my capabilities as well."

He rejected both ideas completely as the Governor's face fell. Just as he was about to fly into a rage, Pei Zi Yun then whispered, "However, I have something to contribute!"

At this point, the Governor was thinking once more that Pei Zi Yun could indeed be working for Ji Bei Hou, if not, why should he reject all these offers that others would kill for. Hearing Pei Zi Yun whisper, he controlled his anger, waiting for Pei Zi Yun to finish, "What do you propose?"

He said in a calm voice hiding all contempt.

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