Chapter 10: Theft
Translator: Translation Nation/chuchutrain Editor: - -
Pei Zi Yun was overjoyed after hearing that. He had initially thought of multiples ways he could get his teacher to give him this book. He thought that since this book seemed to have little value, all he had to do was ask. However, he didn't even need to ask to get it, saving him a lot of explanation.
He clasped his hands and said, "I shall not let Teacher down."
As soon as Pei Zi Yun left, the concealed symbols and shadow on the enchanted talisman reappeared, watching Pei Zi Yun as he walked out. "That's strange, just now in the library it seemed like he felt a stroke of fate. Could it be that there was some fate between him and the book? Based on the recent turn of events, even if he isn't the reincarnate of our senior uncle, he is definitely not a normal person."
Zhao Ning pondered on this, then he laughed and said "How often do people encounter fate like this? But since you've mentioned I will test him, once the examinations are over."
"Just now I had forgotten to be his guarantor for the examinations. Tomorrow I will send Zhang Yun to tell him."
Examination affairs were taken very seriously. In order to take the first level of Imperial Examinations, the participant requires three guarantors. However, some flexibility was allowed for this rule. Candidates usually act as each other's' guarantors.
However, in order to take the second tier of Imperial Examinations the candidate was required to enter the city to register and disclose his birthplace, name, age, three generations of ancestors history, appearance. And that isn't all, the candidate will have to get an Elementary Scholar to vouch for his conduct, ability and that he isn't currently mourning the death of either parent.
Zhao Ning had the title of "Elementary Scholar", if not he wouldn't have been able to accept disciples and teach students.
If there were any issues, and a secondary guarantor has to be produced, it will cost two taels of silvers. This was the main source of income for Elementary Scholars.
After years of observations, the chances of Pei Zi Yun being the incarnate of his elder uncle, based on his perspective, was close to zero.
When Pei Zi Yun reached home, he took a quick dinner before locking himself up in his room. The sunlight shone through his window and into his room.
"Although it isn't the time for a nap, I can't help it." Pei Zi Yun took his newly acquired book and placed it under his pillow. He then began to lie down.
It was as if the power of the Plum Blossom was so strong, that the minute his head touched the pillow, he fell into a deep slumber.
He could hear the sound of waves crashing against the shore. Advancing and receding, advancing, receding...
When he woke up, he felt an intense cold all over his body. A person wearing a thin layer of clothing was facing a pile of paper, entranced.
"Father!" someone quietly called out as the flames of the candle she was holding swayed to and fro. She had brought a cup of tea too. "Father, the night is dark, you shouldn't be reading at this time, it is too arduous."
The steam of the tea rose gently and filled the room with a pleasant fragrance. The man replied, "You are right, but the only thing I ever know how to do in this life is to study."
As he said that, the man lowered his quill and began writing his essay. Speaking in a soft voice he said, "Daughter, after studying for an entire lifetime my only achievement was becoming an Elementary Scholar. This world is in such a mess, it looks like I won't be able to participate in the examinations again. Actually, at this age, the Imperial Examinations,to me, are like passing clouds. It is the only proof of how much I've studied."
"This book is the result of my lifetime of studying. I am old and have been indifferent to many things. I am however, unable to put this book down."
The girl before him was still unwed and the man used his hands to gently touch her forehead, "Your mother has always felt that I had no future. Your older brother dislikes the academic field. There is nobody to inherit my work. This book shall be your wedding dowry. In the future, when you chance upon a scholar, sell it to him for ten coins.
The girl before him nodded her head and looked back at him.
The man smiled and said, " Do not worry, my works are for others to read. As long as there is someone who will inherit my wisdom, it doesn't matter if he isn't my son. I will be satisfied."
As he finished speaking, the book rose to the sky. It was late in the night and the winds started howling. A sudden blast. Pei Zi Yun abruptly woke up.
"It was as if I had slept for a brief moment."
The afternoon sun shone right onto his body and an inexplicable feeling enveloped him. It was a mix of confusion, admiration and regret.
"It felt like a dream, yet was completely different. I guess this is an ability of the Plum Blossom?" A normal person after waking up from his dream would barely remember the contents of it and would forget it very quickly.
However it felt totally different. He didn't even need to try and recall, the details came to him clearly and without any issue.
In the dream he had reached Elementary Scholar status in the Imperial Examinations and had been granted many hectares of land. He didn't need to work the fields, his only job was to study.
"To study, to read and to think."
"Never leaving the house, the days turn to years. As his frame shrinks, his wisdom expands and he has no regrets."
A scholar faces hardships throughout his entire life but presses on for the sake of wisdom. As this image flashed across Pei Zi Yun's mind, he couldn't help but gulp down and swallow in nervousness.
For the first time in his life, Pei Zi Yun genuinely felt the true spirit of a scholar of the olden days. This feeling impacted him more than the words in the book. No, the impression of him was too deep, it was so deep that it was unforgettable, and left Pei Zi Yun reeling in a daze.
'Is this what it feels like to be a scholar?'
In his previous life Pei Zi Yun couldn't even imagine it.
The original owner was only half aware.
But at this moment, he felt as if he had already been a scholar for decades. It was like a thread where numerous pearl beads were being added to the ones already there. Knowledge and memories from the previous owner had combined together. Right after this dream happened, he could understand everything that was happening around him.
The concepts of the examinations with all the possible questions and answers floated into his mind and made perfect sense to him.
"So this is what the Plum Blossom can do? Its power is indeed truly amazing. In just a few minutes he was able to obtain information and wisdom that took people an entire lifetime to master and learn. This was why the original owner and young master Xie were able to rise to power quickly, and consequently brought calamity on themselves. "
"But it had also brought many powerful emotions that I've never experienced before. Could this be an effect of the wisdom I've obtained?" Pei Zi Yun, like the two men, was firm and decisive and he was made more aware of this fact than ever.
"It looks like acquiring wisdom this way has its side effects too." Pei Zi Yun thought to himself.
- Snail Village - Early morning the following day
As soon as the sun began to pierce through the darkness and a single bright star was visible overhead, a youth with sharp brows and a bow hanging on his back approached the village. The village sentry spotted him approaching from afar and was immediately alarmed.
He readied his bow, retrieved an arrow and armed it before shouting to the person beneath the wall, "You! Who are you? Why are you here?"
Zhang Dashan had initially felt bored and tired but upon seeing the shadow of someone approaching he immediately straightened up, thinking it was a bandit. He didn't immediately ring the bell but waited to see who it was. He noticed that the person was wearing animal fur on him and not black clothes. Also, there was no wolf sigil on his outfit.
As the person gradually got closer, he was starting to look familiar to Zhang Dashan. Just as he was thinking about taking action, he heard the person shouting, "Uncle Dashan, I am Zhang Yun! Mr Zhao has sent me to the village to find my fellow brother who is taking the Imperial Examinations today. Please open the gates!"
"I'm coming, I'm coming. So it turns out that it is little Yun. You gave uncle Dashan a scare. I originally thought that the bandits had returned, scaring the life out of me."
"Oh? Our village has built a mud wall all around, bandits still dare to disturb the peace of the village? They're unafraid of death huh?" Zhang Yun asked, frowning.
"Why should they be afraid? They're not! Just two days ago the Black Wind Sect came over and demanded that we hand over goods and women. The next day however, they had been murdered in the temple and we have no idea who murdered them. Now the villagers are all on the edge, afraid that the bandits will come seeking revenge and attack the village."
The youth with sharp brows scowled, eyes filled with defiance and said coldly, "The village has so many strong men and the mudwall, why should we be afraid of some bandits? As long as we have some fighting strategies, when the bandits come again we will teach them a lesson, whoever come to this village shall never return to their homes!"
As soon as Zhang Dashan heard this, his body trembled. He had always known that hunter Zhang's son was bold and gutsy but didn't know it was to this extent. He looked around to his left and right, confirming that there was nobody else around then hurriedly said, "Do not speak like that! If the bandits were to hear you, they might come. And even if you aren't afraid, the rest of us are! Words like these shouldn't be spoken ever again."
Zhang Dashan was so scared that his hands were waving about ridiculously.
Seeing as to how the men in the village were so cowardly, Zhang Yun lowered his gaze and looked around. A huge mud wall stood in front of the village yet they were unable to resist the bandits. It isn't safe for Father to live here. Although this village was where he was born and was his home, he should encourage father to move away as soon as possible. 'Should there be another attack on the village, the entire village would be wiped out.' Zhang Yun thought to himself.
The moment he entered the village, Zhang Yun walked straight towards his fellow brother Pei Zi Yun's house. Since they were both residents of the village, they definitely knew where each other lived. The way there was thus going to be straightforward. He didn't meet anyone along the way and continued his walk towards his destination.
Pei Zi Yun had risen early too. After his dream yesterday, his essays finally made sense and provided many insights. However they were plagued with many foreign and unfamiliar emotions that made him afraid to continue working on them.
When he woke up today he felt a sense of calm and serenity wash over him. It must have been the good night's rest that came after proper sleep. The myriad of unfamiliar emotions that he had felt the night before had vanished.
"Looks like the knowledge has been assimilated into my brain. Since I have woken up early, I can continue working on my essays and see what my current standard is." Pei Zi Yun began working and realized that his writing and thoughts were very smooth and flowed perfectly. Almost as soon as he started writing he had finished several essays that laid on the table, gleaming under the light.
"Even though I have mastered the art of essay, I still require plenty of practice before I am truly proficient. I shall strive for this upcoming examination and ensure that I will become an Elementary Scholar. Then when I return to the village, these Black Wind bandits won't dare return here again."
As he was deep in thought, there was a knock on the door. A familiar voice spoke, "Fellow brother are you awake? Teacher has instructed me to accompany you to the Imperial Examinations. The roads are treacherous and full of danger, I shall ensure that you get there safely. I ask for your forgiveness for waking you up so early in the morning, "
Pei Zi Yun got up and walked towards the door before hurriedly pulling it open. His eyes fell onto the youth at his door, with his sharp looking eyebrows and his animal fur coat. He was armed with a dagger at his waist and carried a bow across his back. His eyes gave off a look of fierceness. It was indeed his fellow junior brother.
When Zhang Yun had reached the house, he noticed that the lamps had already been lit and felt curious. He wouldn't have expected his fellow brother to light a lamp and study so early in the morning, his curiosity was fueled even more. When he went into the house he saw an entire stack of essays on the table and started reading them. As he read the essays, he realized that they were of good quality, and praised "It is really good!"
His voice had awaken Pei Qian Shi who was sleeping next door. She walked over, holding a candle in her hands. She saw a youth with a dagger strapped on his waist, holding an essay and reading it.
The youth heard her footsteps and turned back to see a middle aged woman standing at the door, he flustered and greeted her "How are you aunt, I am Zi Yun's fellow brother. We both are disciples of Mr Zhao. Today I was sent by Mr Zhao to accompany my fellow brother to the examinations. But since I am an anxious person, I reached here early. On the way I managed to pick up a few chickens, please accept this gift from me."
Zhang Yun handed the chickens over to her. These chickens had brightly coloured feathers and looked beautiful. Pei Qian Shi felt the weight of the chickens and mentally weighed them to be a few kilograms at least, and couldn't accept them.
Zhang Yun however insisted that this was a gift for his fellow brother before he left for the examinations. Pei Qian Shi heard this and had no choice but to give up and accept the gift.