Chapter 103: In a Trance
Translator: Translation Nation Editor: - -
Small Block, Study Room
A young girl sat by the table, and she was indeed the Canton Princess. The Canton Princess's eyes were wide open, as though completely immersed in her drawing. Her drawing depicted a man, and was incomplete at this point. His eyes were like stars, and his nose arched like a cliff atop a mountain. His brows seemed as though they were flying towards his temples and his lips had sharp corners and seemed as if they were crafted out of blades and axes. He was of a tall and well built stature. This was indeed the painting of a handsome, wealthy and bright young man.
The Canton Princess was just about to draw his hands, when she placed her quill down. She recalled his image once more before breaking out into a smile. She picked her quill up and started again once more, and started drawing the item in his hands. It was a mask.
To see this dignified and impressive young man holding such a comical mask, depicted the subject of her drawings in a very adorable manner. Anyone who looked at this drawing would be unable to deny how handsome he was.
"Iyo, I know why this silly girl had such a change of attitude today, and isn't out having fun. It seems like she's thinking about someone. Frankly speaking, when did he get the opportunity to fool around with my daughter? Mother shall skin him alive. How dare he slyly impress her like this!" A voice spoke from behind.
The Canton Princess had been admiring her work when she heard this voice and was startled. In a moment of shock, she had accidentally drawn a line over his face. She raised her head and saw the Grand Princess smiling and teasing her. Instantly, her entire face and neck blushed red, as she drew her quill down and tried to explain. However she started stammering and stuttering in nervousness. At last, she managed to gurgle out, "Mother!"
The Grand Princess looked at how she had been so frantic, as her lips parted to reveal a wide smile. She then gazed upon her daughter's drawing and exclaimed, "Isn't this Ying Prefecture's Top Scorer Pei Zi Yun? Have you taken a liking to him after hearing his amazing poem and seeing his classy demeanor?"
The Canton Princess's face remained a deep shade of red, she didn't speak.
"Are you going guess how mother knows? Looking at how shy you are, it's not that hard to tell." The Grand Princess sat down as she picked up the cup of tea served by the serving maids. She then said, "This man isn't simple at all. At such a young age, he managed to become the Top Scorer, and is one of the top poets of the nation. Apart from his other works, has become such a huge hit from north to south of the great river. Even you've heard of it?"
" was composed by him?" The Princess's eyes lit up the moment she heard herself speak.
"Indeed!" At this point, the Grand Princess's smile dissipated, and was replaced by a look of worry, "Not only that, he even came up with the Exterminating Pirates Policy, which reached the ears of the highest authorities."
"Although he is just but a High Scholar, his political knowledge is greater than many senior advisors within the imperial court. His poetry, essays, even knowledge is among the top of his peers. It's only that....."
"Only what?" The Canton Princess asked hurriedly.
The Canton Princess took a sip of tea and looked at her daughter tenderly, "This man had already joined a Dao Sect. Frankly, joining a Dao Sect is no big deal. The only thing is that he cannot become a Grand Scholar, which might be a good thing as well."
"Do not look at his tender age, his killing intent is extremely severe. By his own hands, he had taken more than ten lives. He's killed bandits, Daoists and even members of the Black King Lu Gang. Heh heh, he is very impressive." At this point, the Grand Princess's tone turned cold.
When the Canton Princess heard this, her eyes gaped wide open she took several steps back.
The sun had risen across the walls of the Pei Mansion. The rooster crowed loudly, waking Pei Zi Yun up. When he arose, he noticed that the kitchen maid had served up some beancurd, breadsticks and porridge. The younger serving maid stood by her side as they served breakfast.
"Living one's life as the owner of a house is indeed luxurious!" Pei Zi Yun admitted. After pacing several steps, he heard some shouting from outside, "Young Master, Young Master, are you in? The items you've requested for are here."
It was the voice of the old granny broker. Pei Zi Yun walked out to the main entrance.
At the entrance of the mansion, there was an unrelenting knock on the door. The person knocking was extremely enthusiastic and excited. When the doors opened, Pei Zi Yun saw the granny broker together with a serving maid. The maid was carrying a huge basket with many items within.
When they were let in, the granny broker immediately reported, "Young Master, whatever you've requested for, we've managed to find. There are the belongings and artefacts of several people here. However, there are indeed more which I have yet to purchase. I seek your forgiveness on this matter, "
The minute the granny broker stepped in she hurriedly spoke. She bore a look of shame, as if she failed to accomplish the objective. She then continued, "Young Master, are you practising your sword techniques?"
"Whatever you've managed to acquire, take it out and let me have a look." Pei Zi Yun said. It's only been three days. The enthusiasm of this woman was astonishing!
The granny broker then said to the serving maid, "Maid Gui, take out all the items for Young Master Pei to observe. Young Master, all these items were acquired following your instructions. However, I am unable to attest to whether they are real or fakes. The people I purchased these from all said they had been handed down, and were absolutely sure they were real. Why don't you take a look?"
Following the instructions from the granny broker, the serving maid thus retrieved the wooden sword, metal bowl, a basin, several yellow and red stones, tattered clothings and a few volumes of Dao related books.
Seeing that the basket was filled with an assortment of weird items, and not special artifacts, Pei Zi Yun pointed at the basket and said, "Please explain to me what these items are."
Looking at the various items before him, Pei Zi Yun was rather unhappy. He had spent 200 taels on such worthless and valueless items.
"No Legacy on this item." Pei Zi Yun touched it and tossed it aside. He then picked up an urn with ashes and touched it. He felt his hands tremble slightly.
The granny broker forced a laugh, and pointed at the urn, "Young Master, these ashes belonged to an intelligent and renowned monk from Inter World Temple. An old monk from the temple sold it to me, and asked for 50 taels of silver. He had originally asked for 100 taels. However after some bargaining, he finally reduced it to 50 taels."
Pei Zi Yun cheeks clenched as he touched his sword. He felt an irresistible urge to swing his sword down onto this old granny before him. Does she take him for a spendthrift food? With all these useless items. It was clear that these dyed grains of stones and debris weren't any sacred ashes, and costed him 50 taels? It was even more expensive than gold itself.
The granny broker could feel Pei Zi Yun's anger and hurriedly dove into the basket where she pulled out a Daoist manual, "Young Master, look at this. I bought this from Clear Shroud Monastery. The Daoist said that this book was personally written by a Daoist loyal to nothing but cultivation. They devoted their entire life to cultivation and were called Evergreen Daoists. They were particularly greedy and would not sell their Daoist leader's belongings for anything lower than 100 taels."
Pei Zi Yun glared at her from the corner of his eyes and received the book expressionlessly. There were no Legacies within this book. Several Dao techniques were written within the book. Although it was no great artifact, there were several techniques he had not seen before.
'This book was indeed written by a Daoist. It took him a great deal of effort before he managed to discover some new techniques. I could explore on some of these. Frankly, this alone was worth the money.' Thinking this way, he calmed himself down considerably and started reading the book.
When he stretched out his hand to pick up the torn and tattered clothing, the granny broker introduced it, "Master Pei, this had been worn by an Evergreen Daoist leader, "
"Wooden sword!" Pei Zi Yun received the sword and felt a surge of electricity ran up his hands. It contained a Legacy. Pei Zi Yun's heart leapt in excitement.
"Master Pei, this is a wooden sword that had been wielded by an Evergreen Daoist, who dedicated his entire life to cultivation and nothing else."
The rest of the items had nothing valuable to them. Pei Zi Yun could understand why the granny broker had purchased the Dao manuals, wooden sword, flute and quill. The granny broker was a normal citizen, and could not tell if these item had contained Legacies in them. It was normal for her to be cheated to a certain extent. However, Pei Zi Yun felt that he was rather lucky this time, to have such a high success rate in the items brought to him. It was also clear that this old broker had collaborated with other people to cheat him of his money. He could not tolerate this and cast an angry look, "Broker woman, what rubbish did you buy? Do you take me for a fool?"
"Tell me, did you conspire with other people to cheat me?" Pei Zi Yun glanced at her coldly. The broker woman paused for a second, and was fearful. She then sighed and replied exasperatedly, "Young Master Pei, how could I dare to do something like that?"
"You don't dare? Let's not speak of the other items, the ashes within the urn were obviously dyed stones and debris. You are a broker, don't tell me you can't even see through this scam?"
"As for the other items, you could convince me that they were belongings of Daoists, but these ragged clothing, do you take me for a beggar? Why would you buy this?"
"You probably do not know this, but Zhang Cheng has already died." Pei Zi Yun smiled faintly as he said this before explaining, "The constables told me earlier that he had died of an illness. In reality, he died from the Thousand Layers of Paper."
"Do you know what sticky paper is? It's paper soaked in water. It was placed layer by layer over Zhang Cheng's face. He struggled with all his might, but couldn't move since he was already tied up. All he could do was breathe as hard as he could."
"It is called the Thousand Layers of Paper, with many layers added onto the existing ones. In reality, once there were more than ten pieces of paper, he was unable to breath. This caused him to bleed from his orifices before spitting out his tongue and dying."
"What, do you want to taste a death like this as well granny broker?"
With such grisly and morbid details, Pei Zi Yun spoke as if he was speaking about normal everyday happenings. The granny broker felt a certain sense of cold dread grip her heart as she scolded herself in her head. How could she have thought of cheating a High Scholar like him?
She forced a laugh and said, "Young Master, how could I dare to? If you do not like it, I can get a refund."
"Return this so-called urn of ashes. In asking you to do these tasks, you've already earned a fair bit. Please do not punish yourself unnecessarily. As for the rest of the prospective sellers, monitor them. If you choose to buy their items, lead me to them and I shall buy it with you."
Hearing Pei Zi Yun say this, the granny broker then heaved a sigh of relief, "Yes, yes, this humble subject shall pay attention. There are still several houses left. They asked for an exorbitant price for their items, and two other houses refused to sell. Do you wish to take a look for yourself?"
"No matter. Take me there next time. If I am contented, I shall reward you handsomely." Pei Zi Yun regained his original smile and said.
Hearing these words, the granny broker hurriedly said, "Yes, Young Master!"
She then took the serving maid as they retreated. She realized her entire back was stained with sweat.
When Pei Zi Yun closed the door, he immediately returned to the study room. The sun was shining brightly at its highest overhead, shining across the entire yard. When he entered the yard, he closed the doors and instructed the kitchen maid, "Do not disturb me for meals, I will come out when I need to eat."
Pei Zi Yun then sat down on his bed, placing the wooden sword beneath his pillow. The minute his head touched the pillow, he felt an overwhelming sense of fatigue and fell asleep in a matter of seconds.
The images first came hazy and indistinct. All he could hear were the sounds, "Heng ha! Ha, ya!"
The images started to focus, as he saw several young Daoists holding wooden swords advancing to strike before retreating to defend the next blow.
A Daoist was observing their movements and shouting fiercely by the side, "The signs of a declining era are evident. You, little Daoists, refuse to practice properly. When I'm not around in future, how would you effectively defend yourself? Stop crying, and start practicing properly."
The scene before him started changing rapidly. It settled onto the background of a bamboo forest. What used to be seven or eight little Daoists were now only three or four. And they were cutting bamboo trees.
The Daoist who had been teaching them earlier seemed to age slightly, with his hair turning white. He glared at the little Daoists, "If you do not cut down a hundred branches, you shall not eat. I have to pass this sword technique to you."
The scene changed once more. WIthin the meditation room, everyone was seated cross legged. The incense wafted through the entire room as thin streaks of smoke rose up. All of a sudden, a bright light flashed across the room. The joss stick had split into two, and yet the smoke which billowed from it remained fluid and undisturbed.
"Pow pow!" The door opened as the old Daoist walked in. He had an entire head of white hair and looked to be much older than before, "Your sword technique has far surpassed mine. I have nothing more to impart to you."
The next second, dark clouds started to fill up the sky. A large cloud loomed overhead, as droplets of rain fell unto all who were beneath the cloud. The raindrops landed on the many corpses on the ground as well, as screams of battle filled up the entire sky.
This man's face was whiter than moonlight, as he hands clutched his sword steadily. With fluid and swift movements, he dashed towards the group of people and killed his way through.
With such an amazing and unparalleled sword techniques, he cut through the people before him like grass as they fell lifelessly to the ground. Blood was flying in all direction as the sounds of wailing and shouting, sounds of agony and people dying filled his ears.
After sheathing his sword, a flute appeared in his hands. He started blowing into the flute, making music. The sky was dark, as rain fell incessantly. The sound of flute wasn't loud. It started off with a sharp, high-pitched sound that one can only describe as silverly. It was so delicate that it felt like the sound was there, and yet it wasn't. It started increasing in intensity, unceasingly. The sound reverberated throughout the entire area, in all directions.
When he put the flute away, a quill appeared in his hands. Spring rain was falling outside the windows. A fine quill was moving along a fresh piece of paper, as if it was dancing along the blank paper. When he took a few steps back, he looked and saw that the drawings on the paper was of a man seated in a lotus position. His left hand was placed on his left thighs, and his right hand was placed as if he was counting his fingers, making the shape of a ring. A sigh could then be heard from the person who had drawn this painting, "I first started out by killing. Then I started playing the flute. I finished off with a drawing. Is my sword technique good enough for me to enter the Dao?"
Following the sigh, Pei Zi Yun opened up his eyes and gazed at his surroundings. It was close to the afternoon. The doors were closed shut, as sunlight pierced through the windows. The ray of light shone through, illuminating the thousands of dust dancing. He felt like he was back in his old world.
"After sixty years, a talented swordsman was born. He practiced his sword techniques unrelentingly before discovering the Dao amidst all his sufferings and hardships. What a trance-like dream!"