Chapter 130: Burning the Stronghold
Translator: Translation Nation Editor: Translation Nation
The Registrar Official led people toward Pei Zi Yun and discovered that the pile of flesh and blood on the floor belonged to the Priestess. His face turned pale when he noticed this, before it turned into fear and anger. However it only lasted for a fraction of a second before he reverted to calmness. He then turned to Pei Zi Yun, "Priestess Jin Zhu led a thousand warriors into battle, and ended up dying here, this way. Should I address you as High Priest, or Young Chieftain."
The Registrar Official's words were plain, as he smiled through gritted teeth. His smile had a certain coldness to them, and evident disbelief as well.
The movement of so many tribes were not kept a secret from the government office. They immediately dispatched people to intervene in the affair to prevent a full blown conflict. Just a night later, the thousand troops had been defeated, and even the Priestess was dead.
This inevitably made Pei Zi Yun seem much more dangerous to him.
"Your Excellency Registrar Official, you're putting too much thought into this. We're all facing peace times now, and I am a Top Scorer from Ying Prefecture, how can I be the High Priest? Unless your Excellency hopes that I would remain long enough within the Southern Kingdoms for you to act?"
Pei Zi Yun said blandly, his eyes were blazing with unspoken accusations. From their conversation, it could be understood that with the Official involved, this matter was no longer solely about the mountain tribes. Neither was it just the government office, but it was a mix of both.
'So what if he came from a big tribe and had a reputation among the tribes? His authority was mainly coming from the government position. Without it, what could he possibly be worth?'
Indeed, after listening to Pei Zi Yun's words, the Official's facial expression changed. He was no longer cocky. He then raised his hands, "All of you lower your swords, I wish to exchange words with master Top Scorer."
"Yes, your Excellency." The troops then then sheathed their swords and bowed before retreating ten steps back, closely watching Pei Zi Yun.
"Your Excellency Registrar Official, what else do you wish to tell me?"
The Registrar Official's face sank, as he looked at the currents along the river. At this point, the sun had risen and it was already bright. Layers of clouds could be seen hanging overhead. At first, there was a long pause between them, until he finally spoke, "You are absolutely right."
"Actually, some of these tribes have a deep hatred for the High Priest and we know about it. About them wanting to kill you, we know about it as well."
"Although you've managed to defeat a thousand warriors in battle, the entire Southern Kingdoms, regardless of whether they're officials, Tribe Chieftains or tribes, they don't wish for anyone to inherit the the position of High Priest ever again. As that would bring another bloodbath."
"Are you trying to say, you wish to take revenge on behalf of these mountain tribes who had been oppressed by the High Priest?" Pei Zi Yun smiled threateningly.
"Of course not. Most of the tribes are indecisive and not very stable. As of now, the tribes with the most hatred and vengeance have been defeated by you. Hence, there will not be anymore fighting."
"It's just that master Top Scorer, you're an intelligent scholar. With something so huge such as this happening, what do you think the Imperial Court will say? Now that we are enjoying peace times, even if master Top Scorer acquires the skills of the High Priests and can control poisonous snakes, so what?" The Registrar Official was not speaking in a threatening tone, and explained everything out clearly.
"That's why I said you were right to think that way."
"Ai, if this Priestess and her tribes had won the war, the matter would come to a close and nobody would say much about it."
"But I've won, and thus they would have to surrender to me." Pei Zi Yun replied.
"Master Top Scorer is smart and sharp. That's correct. The squabbles within the mountain tribes are of a small matter to the Imperial Court. It's just that although the Imperial Court will not intervene in such matters, they also would not allow another formidable force to build up and threaten to rebel once more. The tribe leaders with me would not allow that to happen as well." The Official was not shy and spoke frankly.
At this point, he then spoke softly, "The reason I've come today is because I have an order from above. Should Master Top Scorer win, and still have the resources to keep fighting, we will settle for a truce. The people above are willing to give master Top Scorer three days to settle his affairs before he has to leave the Southern Kingdoms. If not, the Officials will...."
"So it's clear that all of you are worried that I shall take control of the snakes and wreak havoc within the Southern Kingdoms right? If you want me to handle my affairs atop the mountain and leave, that's easy. But I have several requests." Pei Zi Yun smiled and thought for some time before talking.
"Please speak, master Top Scorer." The Official said politely.
"There are less than a hundred people atop the mountain. I shall take them all with me, and hope that you will allow it. That's my first request."
The Registrar Official smiled, "That's a small matter, sure."
"Second, I wish to rent a boat from along the Southern River. And it must be able to carry a hundred people."
"That's easy too, I can give you my word." The Registrar Official considered before agreeing.
"As for Snake Mountain, when we leave, I hope that nobody will disturb the people who had deceased there." That's the third.
"All these are very easy to do, master Top Scorer. Do you have any other requests?" The Official's eyes lit up.
"My departure from the Southern Kingdoms would do good for everyone. So I hope that in future, nobody will act rashly." Pei Zi Yun said half-smiling.
"Haha, naturally not. Don't worry master Top Scorer." The Registrar Official smiled and agreed to all the requests. Unless he genuinely didn't want any more problems, if not why would he accede to all these requests so easily?
Pei Zi Yun nodded his head before turning around to leave. Seeing his shadow departing, the Official's face sank. Someone then approached him, "Registrar Official, why didn't you just kill him?"
"Can you kill him?" The Registrar Official pointed at the corpses on the floor.
"We can lure him into the city." This man was still persistent.
"What if it doesn't succeed? This person does not give up easily, and is clearly not one who would easily roll over and surrender. If we push him into a corner and do not kill him, even with the Imperial Court's efforts to resolve the matter, the entire Southern Kingdom can potentially be wrecked by him alone. When that happens, who shall be responsible?" The Registrar Official glared at him from the corner of his eyes, "If he would be nicely agree to leave this place, that would be the best for everyone. So you can take your silly ideas and store them somewhere else."
"Yes, yes." This man started sweating profusely.
Pei Zi Yun then walked towards the tribe stronghold. When he reached he noticed that nobody was outside. The venomous snakes were all lingering beyond the walls of the stronghold. Most of them had found their way back.
"Ssss sss ssssss" Pei Zi Yun hissed and he noticed that the snakes seemed very satisfied. The largest snake among them circled Pei Zi Yun several times before slithering away. The rest of the snakes then followed that large snake to the back of the mountains.
Seeing all the snakes depart, Pei Zi Yun then walked towards the stronghold.
"The High Priest has returned, the High Priest has returned." The people within the stronghold noticed that the snakes had left and came out to look. When they saw Pei Zi Yun they cried out in happiness. Everyone started cheering.
"Open the doors for the High Priest!" He Qing Qing shouted excitedly before running down. Even the old woman welcomed Pei Zi Yun gladly.
"High Priest, we've waited for you for more than twenty years, you're finally here." The old woman knelt down and bowed her head, crying in happiness.
"Please call me Young Chieftain. I've only inherited my uncle's powers, I'm not him." Pei Zi Yun sighed.
"Young Chieftain, is our Chieftain really not coming back?" The old woman's body shook as she wailed.
"He's not coming back." Pei Zi Yun said.
"Wu wu" The old woman's face was full of tears as her body went limp between sobs, and could not speak. However, the young lady was not as upset. Her knowledge and affections for the Chieftain was only recounted to her by her parents. She then stepped forward and bowed, "Young Chieftain, what happened to Jin Zhu the Priestess?"
"I've already killed her." Pei Zi Yun replied coldly.
"Young leader's skills are unparalleled. Tomorrow, we shall rally all our soldiers and loyal subjects and fulfill the prophecy of the Chieftain. Since Young Chieftain had inherited the skills of the Chieftain, we can sweep across the all the tribes within the Southern Kingdoms and unite the entire place under our banners."
"Stop testing me. I've already said that we are all enjoying peace times now. It's not like in the past, where the Southern Kingdom was an autonomous country. If we were to really rally troops and start fighting again, how far can we go? All of you should follow me back to Ying Prefecture. I shall arrange for a new place for you to stay. You do not need to endure anymore raids or fight daily." Pei Zi Yun exhaled.
Hearing Pei Zi Yun's words, He Qing Qing then spoke, "Young Chieftain, we managed to break our enemy and win the battle yesterday. I thought that Young Chieftain will have big plans for us to continue fighting. However, now that Young Chieftain's plan is for us to live peacefully, I'm glad."
The young lady was not very affected by the fact that they were not going to conquer the rest of the tribes. As the tribe leader, she was more concerned about the well-being of her people.
When several old people heard this, some of them were disappointed. They then started to consider the prospects of living in peace and harmony, and felt that it was not a bad option as well.
"Young Master, going to a different place is not a big deal to us. It's only that the officials might not allow it." He Qing Qing hesitated, worried that the government Officials might not allow it.
"Do not worry, we've battled with and won the rest of the tribes. As of now, they can't wait for us to leave." Pei Zi Yun could not help but smile.
"Yes, I shall make arrangements now." He Qing Qing said. She was capable and hardworking. She had handled all the dead corpses and ordered for everyone to keep their weapons. She then started making preparations for their belongings. The people of the tribe hesitated, and most of them were worried.
After everything had been packed, Pei Zi Yun took a torch and flung it at their stronghold, which he had covered with oil previously. Instantly, it caught fire and started burning. A thick cloud of smoke ascended towards the heavens. Everywhere within ten kilometers could see the intense burning.
Looking at their burning stronghold, He Qing Qing felt uneasy, and felt that a new future was going to begin from now on. However several older people looked at the place they had lived in for decades, their eyes bore a look of despair.
"Let's go." Pei Zi Yun ordered.
"Yes, Young Chieftain." The young lady and the old woman replied.
From afar, the sun had long risen over the mountains and the many tribe strongholds. The Registrar Official was standing reverently in front of an old Official. They both could see the thick smoke billowing some distance away. Looking at the many soldiers before them, the old Official smiled and said, "Top Scorer Pei is indeed decisive. Even at his age, I could be nothing like him."
He then sighed as he spoke, "You have stayed up all night and must be tired, go back and rest. I shall rest too. As for the matter of Top Scorer Pei leaving, it shall be beneficial to all parties. Facilitate it for him."
"Yes, I will!" The Registrar Official bowed down, "However, this Official still cannot rest. Although the stronghold has been razed down, he still hasn't left. I still have matters to attend to."
"Carry on, carry on." The old official then stood up and yawned.
The next day - By the pier
A hundred people arrived at the pier, which caused some surprised to the people making a living along the area. There were several people surrounding the Registrar Official, with more than ten bailiffs beside him. To his right, water was boiling, as steam rose up.
A constable looked at Pei Zi Yun and hurriedly bowed to him, as he welcomed him onto the pier.
"Master Top Scorer, what do you think of this boat?" The Registrar Official asked.
Pei Zi Yun looked around, and saw the river water glistening under the sunlight. In the middle was a huge boat. The deck of the boat was a huge semi circle, and could accommodate many people. It was three stories high. Pei Zi Yun then smiled in delight, "Not bad. It looks like it should fit us all."
The Registrar Official then asked, "Have you prepared everything else?"
"We've come fully prepared. Look at the water boiling over there. We've prepared thirty huge tanks of water to divide into three different uses." The Registrar Official didn't really understand, "But, what's the reason for it?"
"The mountain stronghold was a filthy place, and the people did not wear much. That was not a problem in the mountains. However, they might not be acclimatized to the boat, and might cause a widespread epidemic on board."
"So we shall make them take a bath, before changing to fresh clothes to prevent an occurrence like this."
"However, the weather is hot now, so the young people can take their baths in the river. The women, children and elderly are weak. That's the reason for the preparation of water."
"As for these fruits, I have a use for them."
It was used to prevent scurvy. The Registrar Official did not think too much of this and praised him, "A bath to rid themselves of all the dirt and illness. You've really made your preparations, as prevention is better than cure."
As he spoke, he then asked, "Are they all here?"
"They're all here. A hundred and four people." Pei Zi Yun said, "Now, are you reassured?"
"I am, I am reassured!" The Registrar was not the least embarrassed, "Now I can account to my superiors."