Chapter 131: Assassin
Translator: Translation Nation Editor: Translation Nation
'That man is wise and farsighted.' Pei Zi Yun was quietly watching He Qing Qing organizing the baths and the washing of clothes. He then started walking away slowly. Although he was wearing casual flat shoes, his footsteps were assured and confident. The Registrar Official could not help but be envious and admire him.
Next to the pier, several vines were growing along a tree. The vines looked thin and weak. Along the vines, several red beans pods could be seen. Pei Zi Yun stepped towards the vines and started plucking the red beans. The Registrar Official was curious and asked, "Master Top Scorer is indeed bored, why else would you be picking red beans?"
"It's a gift to someone." Pei Zi Yun knew that the Red Bean Poem had not been written at this point. He looked at the red beans in his hands. Although they looked exactly like red beans, Pei Zi Yun knew that this was not the right month for them to grow. He then laughed, and didn't speak further.
The baths were over very quickly. The mountain people started putting on fresh clothes after they had taken their baths, before boarding the boat. Pei Zi Yun then headed to the boat as well. It was June, where summer was in full swing. Everyone was cooling off in the shade, drinking tea and talking animatedly. The Registrar Official's clothes were stained with sweat as well. Pei Zi Yun kept his smile and pulled on a serious look before making a salute, "These days, I've troubled your Excellency....."
He did not finish his sentence and withdrew three banknotes and handed it over to the Registrar Official, "I shall leave now, and you can go back to your life. Take this money to buy yourself a nice cup of tea."
"Your Excellency, farewell."
"Farewell Master Top Scorer." The Registrar Official retrieved the notes and looked at the three hundred taels of silver, and smiled.
The boat departed, and cruised down the river. Before long, it disappeared from view.
The Registrar Official stood at the pier and gazed far into the river. At this point someone said softly, "Your Excellency?"
"Hm, so what if you've lost control of several tribes? You wanted me to do things for you, and would not even give me money, do you take me for a slave?"
"Pei Zi Yun shall no longer cause any problems in the Southern Kingdom, it's best that he leaves, and that this matter is put to rest."
"Several strongholds have been lost to their cause, let's find a way to turn this situation to an advantageous one for us."
"Your Excellency is wise." The warrior then understood what was happening and hurriedly praised him. The Registrar Official then smiled before retrieving a single note and giving it to him, "For you, Master Top Scorer is generous, and I'm not stingy too. We shall all share this."
"Yes!" The people behind him started cheering in jubilation.
"What? Our own Official and Tribe Chieftains are no longer in our pockets? Damn it!" Somewhere within the Southern Kingdoms, an entire area was covered with beautiful flowers and plants. Shi Mu Zhong then threw his cup of tea viciously down onto the ground, where it shattered.
"Master Shi, what should we do? The death of the High Priestess means that we can no longer rally the rest of the tribes to our cause. The Officials didn't act in our favor as well.This hatred within my heart is extremely unbearable." A Miao Tribe Chieftain spoke furiously.
"As for this matter, I shall inform the Young Master." The Priestess was one of the Young Master's chess pieces, although it was not clear how he managed to win her over. The Young Master had entrusted the job to Shi Mu Zhong, hence, had given him the necessary authority to operate. That was how he managed to rally such a huge army by using the Priestess and her influence. Now that she was dead, and the matter had not been accomplished, Shi Mu Zhong was extremely frustrated.
He then walked the Tribe Chieftain out before returning to his room. He ground his teeth as he held the tea cup firmly in his hands before speaking to himself, "More than a thousand warriors were sent to kill you, and I even thought that I would be successful. With such a fearsome army, we should've been able to kill even five sword masters. And yet you thwarted our plan, and even managed to kill the Priestess."
"Even the government Officials are careful and warm to you. It looks like heaven did indeed arrange for a change of your fortunes. Under such extreme threat and danger, and you still managed to prevail. Furthermore you've acquired the skills and authority from the High Priest."
He thought for some time, "Even if I were to get scolded and blamed for this, I still have to inform the Young Master, and face the consequences for failing."
The boat cruised along the river, Pei Zi Yun was standing atop the deck. Wind blew onto his face, as his clothes flapped under the fast moving wind. He was fiddling with a single red bean seed in his hand.
The young lady then walked up to Pei Zi Yun's side, "Young Chieftain, our tribe people aren't used to life on a boat. What should we do?"
Pei Zi Yun understood that for a group of people to be on a moving boat for the first time, they would be prone to seasickness and vertigo. He then forced a smile, "It can't be helped. Arrange for people to help those are not feeling well. A few more days and we shall find some place to stop over, so that we can get some rest."
"Once you get used to it, it will be much better."
"Yes, Young Chieftain." The young lady acknowledged.
The boat continued travelling for several days. In total, they've traveled for about half a month before finally reaching Ying Prefecture. On the day of their arrival, Pei Zi Yun heard a knock on his cabin door. When he opened up, he saw that it was He Qing Qing, her face was full of excitement, "Young Chieftain, we've finally reached Ying Prefecture. Everyone is eager and can't wait to leave this boat."
Hearing her words, Pei Zi Yun then replied, "Do not call me Young Chieftain anymore. Refer to me as Young Master.... Are you the one who's eager to leave the boat? I've never had anyone else constantly looking for me apart from you. These people have not traveled by sea before, and must be tired. Arrange for them to rest for a few days."
"We shall stay here for the next few days to recuperate."
"Yes, Young Master." The young lady acknowledged happily.
The evening was fast approaching. He Qing Qing booked up three inns and led everyone to them.
Pei Zi Yun had his dinner before leaving the inn. He walked alone and leisurely and noticed that several shrubs had small trees had grown atop the dike. A huge wave crashed into the dike, causing water to splash everywhere. Pei Zi Yun looked around. He was walking along the pier of the county river, and decided to be careful. Since the sea trade ban had been lifted, the entire pier was flourishing with activity, with many more boats that he had seen last time.
The merchants along the small roads were selling snacks and shouting out the price of their goods. By the side, a pair of old men could be heard talking to each other. Since their tone was very different from everyone else who was speaking there, when Pei Zi Yun walked past them, he stopped to hear them speak.
"Ji Bei Hou can really take what comes. I've heard that Ji Bei Hou sought out an audience with the Emperor and willingly agreed to dismantle his troops and allowed them to return home. The Emperor was so pleased with him, that he rewarded him very handsomely."
"Eh, Master Hou is extremely wise to do this. If he persisted on wanting to hold onto his power, he might end up just like the other Master Hou in the north." The old man chuckled.
"Heh, Old man Chen, as for the others, it doesn't matter, but how can you dare to speak so loudly about the matter in the north? Aren't you scared of dying? Lower your volume. Speak softly." The other old man urged.
"Let's not speak about Master Hou's affairs. Have you heard that the Governor had received permission to proceed with sea trading operation?. It's been said that he had opened three ports. And that the amount of pirates were significantly reduced. It's just that these pirates showed up brazenly and boldly at the ports, and did not give a good feeling to everyone else."
"It's true that there are lesser pirates around now. Now that sea trade is no longer banned, the following days would be better for us." A passerby chimed in.
"That's true. As of late, the pier has been lively and much busier. Many boats had come, trying to steal business away from the pirates."
Pei Zi Yun stopped in his tracks and thought hard to himself, 'History was changed by me. Ying Prefecture was changed by me as well. The changes that are happening now however, are not necessarily whatever I had intended.'
Pei Zi Yun started feeling a whirl of emotions well up within his heart as he thought about Ye Su'er. Caressing his pocket, he felt the red beans he had plucked from earlier, a strange and unfamiliar feeling taking over his mind. He then turned back to leave.
When he returned to the inn, Pei Zi Yun went straight to his room and instructed the serving staff, "Fetch me some ink, quills and paper."
"Yes, Young Master!" Before long, the serving staff brought him some paper, ink and quill. Pei Zi Yun sat up straight in his chair, and ignited a candle. He then started preparing his ink, his mind was full of poetic thoughts and words.
Pei Zi Yun missed Ye Su'er, and missed protecting her. Could it also be some of the original owner's feelings towards the Ye Su'er of the previous world?
Pei Zi Yun was unable to say what those feelings in his heart were. He was, however sure that he missed her and could not get rid of those feelings. He picked up his pen and started writing.
"We've already been apart for months, and I miss you more with each passing moment."
When he finished writing the letter, he pulled out the packet of red beans from his pocket. He then took out a single red bean, and held it in his palms for an extended duration. Before long, he could feel a strange sensation permeating from within the red bean, almost as if he had embedded feelings inside, just like a Legacy. He then sighed, and started writing a poem at the foot of the letter.
"When those red berries come in spring, flushing on your south land branches."
"Take home a handful for my sake, as a symbol of our love."
He then walked to the window and pushed it wide open. The entrance of the river was not far away from the inn, and could be seen from the window. Plenty of stars were planted in the night sky, as they glimmered, white light radiating from them.
There were still some people on the pier just now, and they were gradually packing up, ready to call it a night. Most people around were already sleeping, and the only sounds that could be heard were the cicadas and the crashing of waves.
Pei Zi Yun spotted something and smiled, "You've been following me for so long, and yet you refuse to show yourself up till now?"
Everything was dark beneath the moon. Without any hesitation, Pei Zi Yun drew his sword and and swung wildly, seemingly at nothing. However, he heard a "ding" as his own sword met with another sword. Wild sparks burst forth. Pei Zi Yun squinted and saw a man in black robes emerge. He noticed that the blade of his opponent's sword was very narrow. The blade moved with deft agility.
"Who are you?" Pei Zi Yun asked. The assassin did not reply and just smiled slyly. All of a sudden, there was a flash of darkness and the lone candle was extinguished. Pei Zi Yun could not see anything.
Both their swords pulled apart once more as they darted past each other. Pei Zi Yun's sleeve flickered, as a single strand of green hair dropped from the assassin's head. At this point, the candle lights came on once more.
"What good sword techniques. It's a pity that this shall be your final resting place!" The assassin then caught hold of the single falling strand and threw it out of the window, speaking coldly.
Pei Zi Yun heard this and laughed as well. This person's sword skills were on par with him at best, and yet spoke as though he could kill Pei Zi Yun. It was indeed a joke.
"Die!" The length of the assassin's sword jabbed towards Pei Zi Yun. In that instant where the sword was rushing towards Pei Zi Yun, the entire place was thrown into absolute darkness. Not a single trace of light was present, and nothing else could be seen. Before Pei Zi Yun could react, he saw the sword appearing a short distance away from him. It grew clearer and clearer, as it got bigger, fast approaching him. It seemed like there was nothing else in this world, except for that single sword moving towards Pei Zi Yun. It carried a dazzling and stunning amount of energy behind that single stroke, as it continued charging forward.
"Dao arts!" Pei Zi Yun then understood. The point of the sword seemed like it was moving slowly, but was actually moved rapidly towards him. Right at the point of life and death, Pei Zi Yun managed to raise his own sword to deflect the blow.
"Qiang!" The minute their swords met, Pei Zi Yun felt an energy course through his sword, and entered his body. The energy invaded his entire internal organs, and felt extremely powerful, yet gentle as well. At this point, he felt a certain chilliness take over his entire being. If this energy was allowed to take control of a person's body, he would die without question. At this point, his body produced its own energy as well, surging out to meet the cold, foreign force.
"Feng!" Pei Zi Yun took several steps back. All hesitation and uncertainty disappeared from his eyes, as the fire within his body burned stronger than ever. He noticed that the assassin did not retreat, but was swaying in his steps. At this point the curtain had been split into half, each side hanging down on each of his shoulders. His pair of eyes were looking fiercely at Pei Zi Yun, not a hint of expression could be seen on his face.
"Gentleness combined with strength!" The assassin whispered. At this point, he heard someone waking up as he turned around to leave.
Pei Zi Yun's face sank, "Shi Mu Zhong, Xie Cheng Dong!"
In his words, there was an indescribable anger and hatred. Although the assassin had only revealed half of his face, such a malicious attack was only too familiar to the original owner. Just one look at his demeanor and intent was enough to reaffirm his suspicions. At first, Pei Zi Yun had only guessed the mastermind of this attack. Now, he was sure beyond doubt.
'That Priestess must've been Xie Cheng Dong's underling!'
'Shi Mu Zhong is Xie Cheng Dong's loyal hound. Xie Cheng Dong had clearly came out five years earlier than in the original owner's memories and noticed me. With such a malicious attack, it's clear that he wished to make an enemy out of me. The good news is that Shi Mu Zhong hasn't reached the stage of Yin Master. His cultivation level is roughly at the tenth level, higher than mine by one level. Although his cultivation and Dao arts are stronger than mine, his sword skills are slightly weaker than mine.'
'That's Shi Mu Zhong. What about Xie Cheng Dong? Has he already broken through the gates of heaven and became a Yin Master? Perhaps even on the verge of being admitted to Paradise, and about to become an Earth Immortal?'