Chapter 114: Metal Anchor
Translator: Translation Nation Editor: Translation Nation
After Xie Cheng Dong and Shi Mu Zhong walked out, the blind Daoist sat quietly, still. After some time, he then made his way to the adjoining hall. There was an extremely small shrine right at the back of the hall, and the light within the shrine was very dim. Atop the shrine was a lantern, giving off a dim and green light to the entire shrine.
Should anyone enter the hall, they would need to squint to see it from the front of the hall. The subject of the shrine was rather strange. It wasn't a Dao related statue. Neither was it a deity statue or scripture tablets. It definitely wasn't a memorial tablet of ancestors. Instead, it was of a metal anchor.
There was a chain wrapped around the anchor. The anchor was extremely small. This blind Daoist fell to his knees and prostrated himself before the shrine. Under the dim green light, he seemed like an exceptionally pious man.
"Pa, pa, pa!" He kowtowed thrice in succession. The sound was of his forehead hitting the floor loudly. The blind Daoist then spoke out, "Master, Xie Cheng Dong is now within our crosshairs!"
Immediately after he spoke, there was a loud "buzz" as the mini anchor started radiating a bright light. It was so bright that the blind Daoist's face turned a shade of dark green from the light. Almost at the same time, heavy dark clouds started to form over the monastery. A lightning flashed, illuminating the entire monastery momentarily. This was followed by a loud rumble of thunder. The blind Daoist then spat out a mouthful of blood before the entire hall turned dark once again.
It was as if the lightning had lost its target. Only the rain and wind persisted on. The newly bloomed trees and plants danced under the rain, causing a rustling sound...
Free Cloud Mountain, Monastery
"Hong" The loud roar of the thunder echoed out. Pei Zi Yun's heart was racing as he awoke from a horrifying nightmare, "What is it? Spring thunder? Such a ferocious spring thunder?"
Pei Zi Yun sat up, his heart was still hammering wildly within his chest cavity. Before him was a pulsing red light. Seeing it made him pause, wondering what it was. A stalk of Plum Blossom then materialized before his eyes. It then started to grow faster and faster until it became a white semi transparent information interface. It was glowing a bright red, as if in an emergency situation.
"What's happening?" Pei Zi Yun was shocked before looking carefully at the screen. His face then turned severe, before becoming stoic once more.
It wasn't something normal, for this would not be happening if that's the case. It was extremely strange that the information interface would be flashing a pulsing red light of warning, and yet not a single word of warning was on it.
"What's happening?" Pei Zi Yun tried to control his panic as he looked carefully at the screen once more. Indeed, not a single word could be seen. And yet the red light signalling a warning refused to disappear as it kept pulsating.
Pei Zi Yun picked up a piece of jade and started pushing it around with his fingers. The cold surface of the jade piece spread across his fingers. His heart was still fluttering, as his emotions and thoughts would not settle down.
'Do not be afraid, you're no longer the original Pei Zi Yun. Let me think..'
'Among those who've had a feud with me, and have threatened me because of what happened back at Ying Prefecture?'
'No, the Governor had methodically planned for the slow and steady opening of the sea trade. Furthermore he was extremely smart about it, he opened three ports first. Although there were some conflicts, he managed to concentrate all his strength and resources on these three ports and managed to suppress all resistance against his plans.'
'These past few months, the Governor had passed the baton over to the Emperor and asked for guidance. With the Emperor's approval, they had established a trading hub and the Governor managed to receive 20% commission for himself. According to the rumours, the Governor earned about 10,000 taels of silver a month and was extremely satisfied.'
'Could it be Ji Bei Hou then?'
'No, according to reports, Ji Bei Hou decided to hand over his military authority and agreed to dissolve the military arm of the Imperial Court and allowed his soldiers to return to agriculture. His entire group of soldiers had already returned home. Even the Emperor was extremely happy with this and even offered him several words of encouragement.'
'It seems like the Ying Prefecture is relatively stable. Even if Ji Bei Hou has some evil intentions, it's not likely for it to take place now, especially since both these houses are doing well.'
'If it's not the Governor or Ji Bei Hou, who could it be then?'
'Holy Jail Sect?'
'Hm hm, haven't I said that my sword skills have already reached master level. Under the heaven, there are more than 100 million people. Of these people, there are only ten who are at my level. Even if Holy Jail Sect were to deploy their Yin Masters and Dao Masters, they would not be able to take me down in less than ten steps.'
'Besides, the only reason we have a feud between us is because of Zhang Jie Yu. And although he was an important figure, they would not fight to the death with Free Cloud Sect just because of him.'
'If it's not Holy Jail Sect, then could it be my sect?'
'Hm, the standard of Free Cloud Sect is roughly the same as Holy Jail Sect. Unless the Sect Leader decides to use the power from Paradise, I am not in mortal danger. Besides, even if Sect Leader went crazy, there will still be the Patriarchs around who would intervene!'
'As for this Song Zhi, is he even worthy to pose such a threat to me? That the Plum Flower would emit such an emergency signal because of him?'
'If he was capable enough, why would he become someone else's dog in the previous life?' Pei Zi Yun thought hard to himself and could not find the reason, 'Imperial Court. The Imperial Court's relationship with me is quite good. Both the Emperor and the Grand Princess admire me. Where could this threat come from?'
Pei Zi Yun could not fall back asleep. He looked at the sky and realize that it was almost daybreak. Light was starting to appear as the morning mist slowly dissipated. He then stretched his body before walking out.
Although the Free Cloud mountain was small, it was still more than ten kilometers across. Not far away from the monastery was a big flat piece of rock. Early in the morning, more than a hundred disciples would gather here and do breathing exercises.
However, it was still too early for that. Pei Zi Yun walked over to the spot and realized that nobody was there. He gazed far ahead at the mist looming over the other mountain peaks. All of a sudden, he had a thought, 'Could it be Xie Cheng Dong?'
According to the original owner's memories, Xie Cheng Dong would only leave his mountain in five years time. When he finally rolled up his mat to leave, he swept across the entire globe. It's even been rumored that he had a hand in the transformation of Imperial Qi. He then destroyed dozens of Daoist sects and annexed them from the face of the earth. This caused widespread panic across all the Daoist sects.
However, it was still too early for that now. This was why Pei Zi Yun did not think of this person. The minute Xie Cheng Dong popped into his head, the red flashing warning signal on the information interface paused and disappeared. There was only a red flashing dot left on the screen which refused to be extinguished. Seeing this, Pei Zi Yun reaffirmed his answer. At first, he had only been guessing. Now, he felt it was unimaginable that it was really him.
'It's really Xie Cheng Dong? He made an early move that threatened me?'
The mission then flashed across his eyes:
"Mission : Breakthrough the gates of heaven, Become a Core Disciple"
At first it looked very normal, but all of a sudden the words turned a deep shade of red and turned bold.
'Could this be a prompting by the Plum Blossom?'
'It's true. It's almost as if the Plum Blossom has certain restrictions toward divulging certain information. However, this prompting is already very obvious.' Pei Zi Yun always had strong instincts. He then thought, 'I've already been on the sect's mountain for some time. My objective of making friends and establishing relationships has already been fulfilled.'
'Even if I stay on, there would no longer be any benefits for me. I should bid my farewells to the Sect Leader and master. I've made a promise to Liao Ge before he died, so I should uphold my promise and search for his daughter. When that's been settled, I shall go and search for my destiny. I will then strive to break past the gates of heaven and become a Core Disciple. Once I've achieved that, my strength and powers will increase dramatically. That will definitely be good for my future.'
'Or maybe it's time to find out more about Black Altar Sect and Xie Cheng Dong.'
Spring rain descended upon the city as a gust of wind blew on, pelting the rain droplets down in a diagonal fashion. A woman knelt down before a statue and was lighting incense and mumbling prayers.
"Woman, make me some food. What are you doing in your room, praying? Last time we used to live in a broken down hut in the village. Now we're living in a comfortable mansion in the city. We have to maintain some face and dignity. Stop with your religious nonsense." A big burly man came up from a corner and started scolding the woman after seeing her praying.
"I'll go. I'll go now." The woman glanced at the anger on the man's face, a look of fear was etched all over her face as she quickened her footsteps.
Along the streets, an ox-cart had bells on the ox's neck. The ox-cart driver had a woven jacket draped over his shoulders as he urged his ox onwards.
Pei Zi Yun sat within the ox-cart, there were two seats and a table in front of him. Chen Yuan sat across him. He smiled and poured out some tea for him, "Young Master, the matter you've instructed me to manage, I've accomplished. Now all the lands under you had already been ploughed. We shall have plenty of good harvest this year."
"According to your instructions, the ancestral shrine back in Snail Village had been done up and is completed. Bai San Chu and her daughter are with Madam and serving her well."
"In Slow River County, I've purchased three stalls and we've opened up for business. This month, we've broken even and are making profits now."
Pei Zi Yun did not reply. He looked out of the window and saw beautiful scenery before him. Dense weeping willows were planted every few steps along the way, providing lush shade and greenery to the city. There were many several buildings around, and a pond stood at the side. Waves rippled around like snakes on the surface of the water. Slightly further up, there were more blocks of buildings linked to one another for as far as they eyes can see. At this point, the ox-cart turned into a small and quiet lane as it headed towards Liao Mansion. Pei Zi Yun smiled and asked, "Did you run into any problems?"
"There were no problems, Young Master. Ever since you've produced the policy to exterminate the pirates, people know about you. Additionally it's' been rumored that you personally managed to be granted an audience with the Emperor. In this entire county, who dares to make things difficult for you?"
At this point, they've reached their destination. Chen Yuan hurriedly got off first before helping Pei Zi Yun off the carriage. He then opened an umbrella for Pei Zi Yun. The house before them didn't look very big. A signboard hung overhead. It read, "Liao Mansion."
Pei Zi Yun stepped forward as Chen Yuan kept the umbrella and knocked on the door. A lady wearing rough and ragged clothes answered the door. Chen Yuan then asked, "Is this Liao Mansion?"
"Yes, it is. It's just that Liao Ge has passed away. Our entire clan thus shifted into this house." The lady said.
"My Young Master had heard the dying wishes of Liao Ge and thus have come to pay a visit to his daughter. Let us see her." Chen Yuan said. Young Master Pei's words were worth more than gold. Since he promised Liao Ge before he passed on, he indeed felt compelled to uphold his words.
When the lady heard this, she took a peek at Pei Zi Yun. Her face then turned anxious as she hurriedly replied, "No, Liao Ge's daughter has died a long time ago. She.. She was never here."
This lady stammered as she spoke, it was painful listening to her.
Pei Zi Yun was shocked, hearing her words. Liao Ge did mention that he had a four year old daughter, and yet this lady just said she's died. His face was full of anger as he stepped forward, "What? Explain everything."
Chen Yuan immediately stepped forward too, like a loyal lackey, "Woman, do not hide anything from us. If we find out you're lying you shall be sent to the bailiffs where you shall be beaten to death."
The woman was trembling when Chen Yuan shouted at her, as her faced turned pale. She retreated several steps back, "What's your relationship with Liao Ge? Anyway, Liao Ge has died and now my family lives here. Do not come back here looking for us anymore."
The woman mustered her courage and persisted, "That is the arrangement of the clan, you can take it up to the official courts, I shall not be afraid."
When Pei Zi Yun heard this, his face turned cold. He understood the rules of ancient clans. A household without a son meant that his family line has died out. His belongings and possessions could thus be divided amongst his clansmen.
Back in his original world, when the husband dies, the clansmen would all rush over to steal their belongings and force the remaining family members to commit suicide.
The dynasty thus established the order, "Widows and daughters are no longer part of the broken family line."
However to the working class, the decree was just but a piece of paper which was not enforced heavily. Hence, they often ignored this particular law. Pei Zi Yun remained clam as he took another step forward, "About other matters I do not care. I only ask where Liao Ge's daughter is?"
"What daughter? I do not know." The lady answered anxiously before retreating.
There were some sounds coming from behind the door as a big burly man shouted from across the yard. His face bore a fierce and dangerous look. He had grown a moustache that was thin on both sides. When he saw Pei Zi Yun standing in front of his wife, he glared at Pei Zi Yun, "You! Are you looking for trouble in my house?"