Chapter 108: Leaving a Memory
Translator: Translation Nation Editor: - -
This price wasn't expensive by any means. There was a High Scholar who decided to travel to the capital city on the second day of November. He had to travel half the journey on the road and the other half by sea. The total journey took him 36 days, 2,000 kilometers and more than 100 taels of silver.
This was going to be an all-water journey, where Pei Zi Yun would arrive at a pier before changing boats and making his final journey back. This was a much cheaper alternative, and yet it was more comfortable for Pei Zi Yun as well.
"Here are 20 taels in banknotes, I shall give you the rest in silver." Pei Zi Yun handed over the banknotes as the captain smiled as he checked the amount. Still smiling, he looked at the young boy before scolding, "Why aren't you serving some tea to our guests?"
"There's no need for that, many thanks. I shall prepare my luggage before we set sail." Pei Zi Yun then turned around to leave. The boy watched as Pei Zi Yun walked away and whispered, "If only I could live like him, how good would that be."
"What are you looking at, resume work and get more passengers before we set sail! If not, Thousand Blessings Boat might take all our customers away." The Captain looked at the boy before shouting harshly. The little boy then slipped out through the door and started canvassing for customers.
Grand Princess Mansion
A serving maid was gently massaging the shoulders of the Grand Princess. She had followed the Grand Princess for many years and won her affections. The Grand Princess held a book in her hands and was reading it leisurely.
An Imperial Guard had appeared at her door to report some news. The Grand Princess replied, "Report to me inside."
"Sir Bodyguard, please enter." A serving maid said as she led the Imperial Guard within the chambers. At this point, the Canton Princess was looking for her mother. Before she entered the chambers, she could hear the Imperial Bodyguard reporting to her mother. She thus walked quietly behind the door and listened closely, "Grand Princess, I've already checked up on him. Top Scorer Pei has indeed bought tickets back home. The boat sets off tomorrow."
Hearing the Imperial Guard's words, the Grand Princess nodded her head and uttered to herself, "What a carefree person. To receive the Imperial Edict on one day and to be gone the next. It's just as well that he should leave. That way my daughter will not keep thinking of him."
"What? He's going back?" A small voice said in shock as the Canton Princess dashed out from behind the door.
"Leave us. I do not want anyone spreading rumors about this matter." The Grand Princess tapped her own forehead and said to the Imperial Guard.
"Yes, your Highness Grand Princess." The Imperial Guard turned to leave.
"You silly girl. Since the person wants to return home, it's good for you as well, that way you won't have to see him any longer. If you wish to kick up a fuss, I shall find your uncle the Emperor tomorrow to arrange a marriage for you. Then I could finally relax." Seeing her daughter burst through the door, the Grand Princess pointed at her with a long finger and spoke.
"Ah, mother. I don't want. I don't want. I don't want to marry anyone now. Don't want to marry anyone." Hearing these threats from her mother, the Canton Princess hurriedly ran up to her and acted coy.
"If you ever mention the name Pei Zi Yun again I shall tell your uncle the Emperor. Forget about him. I shouldn't have brought you to meet him." The Grand Princess sighed as she spoke.
"Mother I know all these. It's just that I cannot control how my heart feels. Maybe you're right, I shouldn't have followed you to meet him that day. If I hadn't, I wouldn't be in this predicament. And I wouldn't be hurting this much." The little Canton Princess clutched her chest as she took in a deep breath with some difficulty.
Seeing her daughter this way, the Grand Princess let out a look of heartache. It was difficult to feel lovesick, and it was even more difficult to be apart from the person you love. The Grand Princess gently held her daughter and consoled her, "Do not be afraid. The pain will only last for a short while. After that it'll disappear."
She spoke with a melancholic and regretful tone.
"Mother, I wish to send him off tomorrow, then I will not see him ever again. Mother I do not ask to be married to him, just to see him one last time. From then on I shall forget him, " The Canton Princess asked, as she wiped the tears that were rolling down her cheeks, "Mother, I shall listen to you after this and not see him ever again. Even if I want to, I might not get the chance to. Mother, please listen to the desires of my heart. We will be so far apart, and I will never get to see him again. The pain is killing me."
Hearing her daughter sobbing, the Grand Princess touched her daughter's face, as tears rolled down her own as well.
Early in the morning of the next day, Bai San Chu and her daughter carried their luggages and followed Pei Zi Yun onto the horse-cart.
"Young master, we've reached the pier." The driver announced. Bai San Chu and Bai Ya grabbed their bags and jumped off the carriage. After paying the fees for the ride, they started making their way towards to boat.
The Canton Princess had been waiting on the pier much earlier. When she saw Pei Zi Yun, her eyes lit up. Tears started to well up in her eyes once again. In spite of the tears in her eyes, she kept her gaze fixed on Pei Zi Yun.
The Grand Princess didn't speak. She observed her daughter quietly, and noticed that she was staring at Pei Zi Yun adoringly, and was full of reverence for him. Although they were a part of the royal family, there were times they revered others. For instance, even the Emperor would revere the authority granted to him, and was even astonished at the power he wielded. If even the Emperor could feel reverence, much less the other Princes and Princesses.
It was extremely rare and unthinkable that the Canton Princess could ever feel the same way her mother had all these years. Watching Pei Zi Yun's shadow moving away from her, as he boarded the boat, to know that she would never see him again, her face was drained of all color.
The Grand Princess patted her daughter gently on the back and took her hands. It felt cold and clammy. She immediately started rubbing her hands, as if to warm her up. After sometime, she looked at her daughter once more, and noticed that she was trembling, and yet she had ceased crying. Her eyes were red. The Grand Princess then said, "You silly girl. Are you trying to scare me to an early grave?"
As she spoke, she wiped the tears from her eyes. The Canton Princess gave a smile, "Mother, I'm fine."
"You're acting like this and you still can say you're fine? With someone like this around, you will feel much happier when he's gone." The Canton Princess had already stopped crying, but her mother was still weeping softly, wiping tears from her own eyes, "I only have one daughter. What do you expect me to do, seeing you in so much pain?"
"Mother, can I ask for you to leave me a memory of today? In future when I feel my heart aching, I can take the keepsake out and look at it. It will remind me of how we both ached in our hearts today. Then I can go into our quiet room and sit around to feel better."
Hearing these words, the Grand Princess covered her face with her hands, tears were rolling down her face. After a long time, she managed to regain her composure and wiped her tears from her face. She then instructed the serving maid.
The serving maid looked at the time, and knew that the boat was about to set sail any moment. She then hurriedly ran off. At this moment, Bai San Chu and Bai Ya were shifting their bags and luggages into the cabins. Pei Zi Yun had intentionally arranged for their cabins to be beside each other. Pei Zi Yun was wearing a grey robe and was holding onto a fan as he smiled. A serving maid then approached him, and Pei Zi Yun was somewhat shocked.
"Did you just say the Grand Princess wished for me to pen down a poem to remember me by?" Pei Zi Yun laughed freely and did not reply. After muttering to himself, he smiled, "Since the Grand Princess has an order for me, how could I dare to disobey?"
"However, since the lyrics of poems are limited by the heavens, for every line I write, there will be one line missing from the poem. This suits the occasion of me leaving, and so I will have to force the poem out." Pei Zi Yun then stood up as he arranged the paper. Pei Zi Yun thought for sometime before writing down his thoughts.
"Silent and solitary, I step up the western tower. The moon appears in the shape of a hook, a lone tree sways in the clear autumn night."
"What cannot be cut or ravelled is called the sorrow of separation. There is no feeling quite comparable."
His quill moved up and down along the paper like a snake slithering across. Even the serving maid could appreciate the beauty of his works. Before long, Pei Zi Yun had finished writing and placed the quill down gently. He then gave the paper a light blow for the ink to dry up and smiled, "Please tell the Grand Princess, that I am in her debt. As long as I am on this Earth, I shall never forget that. Should there be anything I can do for her, all she has to do is to send me an order, and I'll be there."
The serving maid was afterall, a servant of the Grand Princess Mansion. She understood the rules that her ears were more important than her mouth, and thus didn't reply. When she retrieved the paper, she gave a deep bow before retreating.
"What cannot be cut or ravelled is called the sorrow of separation. There is no feeling quite comparable." After reading the poem, the Grand Princess gave a long sigh, "Ai, I regret agreeing to your request and asking him to write a poem."
The minute her last word had been spoken, the Canton Princess started wailing. Every single sound she made emphasized the helplessness of her mother.
"Let's set off!" The captain shouted as several crew members echoed. That was the signal to raise the anchor and to move off.
The boat swayed in the direction of the wind and waves. The journey back was very smooth and nothing eventful happened. Their journey took a total of twenty days before they arrived at the prefecture. Pei Zi Yun got off the boat and looked around.
He had been extremely cautious the entire trip. Although there was Imperial Qi attached to the Imperial Edict, that only means that it was immune to Dao Arts and granted no protection from physical attacks. Pei Zi Yun knew that he had to be prudent and careful. Before long, he shouted for an ox-cart to take them to Fu Mansion.
When he arrived at the gates of Fu Mansion, Yu Yun Jun welcomed him with smiles and didn't say anything, "Are these the people you brought with you from the capital city?"
"Yes, this is Bai San Chu and Bai Ya. These are not their original names. I noticed that Bai San Chu is very proficient with her culinary skills and thus gave her this name." He then turned to the pair of them, "We have travelled a long way and you must be tired. You can just rest here. This is the home of my master, and is like a home to me as well. I will take you to my actual home later on. Bai San Chu you know what it takes to be a butler, and so when we reach back to my home you shall be the butler."
Pei Zi Yun spoke to Yu Yun Jun, who was in front of him, before turning behind to speak to the pair. Seeing that the both of them were safe in Fu Mansion, an ox-cart arrived and they both boarded it.
"Has the Imperial Edict arrived?" Yu Yun Jun asked the moment they were on the ox-cart. She then continued, "Let's go to Green Cloud Monastery."
"How do you know it's arrived?"
"Oh, there's Imperial Qi within the Imperial Edict. Furthermore it concerns the future of our sect, the minute it came near I knew. Let's go to Green Cloud Monastery. The Sect Leader rarely comes out of his mountain, and now he's back at Green Cloud Monastery to welcome us!"
The ox-cart reached the river before making several turns. A bit later, they reached Green Cloud Monastery. Pei Zi Yun could hear the faint sounds of the bell and knew that it was welcoming him.
The bells continued tolling as an old Daoist and several other Daoists were gathered at the main entrance of Green Cloud Monastery. They were the Sect Leader and several other Elders who had just came out of a long duration of secluded meditation.
The normal Daoists of Green Cloud Monastery had all gathered around. People were unsure of what was happening, as they saw Zhao Ning rushing over hurriedly. He had some wounds on him and was bleeding. Dirt and grime covered his robes. The Sect Leader then walked forward, "This Holy Jail Sect is going overboard. Two of their sect elders made a move on us. If it wasn't for myself and two other junior brothers who had been watching and protecting him, the consequences would've been much worse."
"Oh, Holy Jail Sect have become more aggressive of late. Since we've already been bestowed an additional title, we should exact our revenge soon."
The Sect Leader heard this and replied, "As for that matter, we shall bring it up later on. Now that Pei Zi Yun has retrieved the Imperial Edict, we should go up in and await the Edict."
"Yes, leader." All the elders around shouted out in unison.
There were two huge trees in front of the Monastery. When Pei Zi Yun got off the ox-cart, he felt a gust of cool wind blow past. A Daoist was leading many other Sect Elders. Zhao Ning stood among them. Pei Zi Yun could recognize them as the Sect Leader and Sect Elders.
The few of them welcomed him back. Pei Zi Yun stepped forward and bowed deeply, "Respects to Sect Leader, and fellow senior uncles."
An impatient Sect Elder stepped forward, "Is that the Imperial Edict you are carrying? I guess you better go straight to the the mountain. The earlier this is completed the better. We can discuss other matters at a later time."
"Yes, fellow brother. We can lead Pei Zi Yun back to our mountain where he can announce the Imperial Edict. Only then will the title be officially conferred!" Yu Yun Jun was all smiles.
"The Imperial Qi surrounds the Imperial Edict, and magical arts or Dao Arts can't get close. Let's all go up to the mountain where the Edict can be read." The Sect Leader glanced at the bag that Pei Zi Yun was carrying. His expression was that of surprise. After cultivating for countless of years, he finally was able to experience this moment. At this point he was trembling slightly.
"We're going now?" Pei Zi Yun paused.
"We're going now. This mountain is called Free Cloud Mountain. You haven't been there right? Well we shall bring you up now." The Sect Leader smiled and waved his hands. Immediately several ox-carts arrived. They were all driven by Daoists.
Seeing such a scene before him, there wasn't much to be said. Pei Zi Yun had no choice but to board the carriage, silently protesting. He had not stopped travelling ever since leaving the capital city.
The ox-cart travelled for hundreds of miles, and halted to a stop finally. Evening was approaching. At the foot of the mountain, there was a stream, where lush vegetation grew all over. Pei Zi Yun cast a glance and realized that this mountain wasn't very tall. He could see a Monastery and Pagoda within the mountain.
The Sect Leader smiled happily, "This is Free Cloud Mountain. If you follow this path all the way up, you will reach our sect's mountain."