Chapter 61: Counterattack
Translator: Translation Nation/chuchutrain Editor: - -
"Zhang Jie Yu, it won't end with only your death."
"You've killed the Chief Patrol Officer, and he's an official of the court. The new dynasty has been established, and a new era of swift justice and harsh punishment is on us. Regardless of how many connections you have, as long as I kill you and bring your corpse to the authorities, all your connections and influence will be uprooted. Even your family will not be spared."
Hearing these words uttered by Pei Zi Yun, Zhang Jie Yu's face sunk as he panicked, 'This is bad. I've been a victim of this man's ploy!'
In the early stages of Dao cultivation, morale was very important. Zhang Jie Yu's morale had taken a huge blow and thus, his Qi flowed backward rapidly, causing problems for his internal organs. He looked up and saw Pei Zi Yun advancing toward him once more, there was a blurry shadow, and the only thing he could see was the flash of a sword.
At the critical moment of life and death, Zhang Jie Yu braced himself, and gathered his remaining energy into an attack as he pressed forward.
"If I'm going to die, you're dying with me!"
In a flash, sparks flew in all directions unendingly. The speed of both parties were dazzling, it was impossible to watch them as they moved swiftly. As soon as it started, they both broke apart once more. Zhang Jie Yu's left rib had been slashed open, and he felt like he had just been hit by lightning. He spat out a mouthful of blood on the ground.
"No, you can't kill me! I am an Inner Disciple of Holy Jail Sect! There will be retribution if you kill me!"
"Save me, I can still be saved!"
Before he could even complete his sentence, Pei Zi Yun's blade moved once more as it pierced through the heart of its victim. Zhang Jie Yu opened his mouth, like a dying fish, as more blood flowed out, making a sickening gurgling sound. It seemed like he was trying to say something, yet he fell on the ground, failing to take another breath of air.
Pei Zi Yun looked at the corpse beneath his feet and laughed. He then turned around to leave.
When Pei Zi Yun reached Snail Village, all the remaining bandits had already fled. Those that couldn't escape in time were all killed. The entire pavement leading to the village was lined with dead bodies. The stream of blood had solidified on the pavement as a dense, rancid smell, pierced through everyone's nostrils.
The bowmen and soldiers within the village were still ensuring that the bandits were dead. Every time they saw a corpse, they would drive their swords into their bodies. Seeing that they were lifeless, they then started cutting their heads off. Piling their heads in a mound, they felt accomplished. After all, these men were outlaws and killing them benefited the country.
However, there were several bowmen who despaired and grieved. Their Chief Patrol Officer had died, and more than half of their brothers had perished as well.
These bowmen were war seasoned, having been in the military before. The village men too, celebrated their victory for a short time before realizing the losses they had sustained. Some of them sat dejectedly by the side, their minds blank.
Many villagers could not bear to see the soldiers decapitating these dead bandits. It was one thing to kill the bandits, and another to be taking their heads off. Some of them were afraid, and others could not even bear to watch. The few who had the misfortune of seeing this grisly scene turned around and vomited, bile spilling out of their mouths in apparent disgust.
Pei Zi Yun glanced across the dead bodies on the ground. Not all of them were bandits. There were several villagers strewn on the ground along with these bandits. Some were brave fighting men who had died defending their village. Others were villagers that could not escape in time.
The Village Chief stared across blankly, his cheeks were trembling, and it was hard to tell what he was thinking of. A villager who had been fighting was seriously injured. By the looks of it, he would not be able to make it. Seeing Pei Zi Yun approach him, tears rolled down the dying man's cheek. "Master Top Scorer, I still have an old mother, wife and kids to look after."
Pei Zi Yun's heart broke as he whispered softly, "Do not worry, as long as I am around, I will make sure they will taste no hardship."
Hearing these words, the man gasped his last and died, his face giving an expression, as if he was disappointed with how his life had turned out.
The surrounding villagers wept softly around him. Pei Zi Yun sighed, and glanced around. He saw a villager wrapping Cao San up in bandages. During the attack, Cao San had gotten injured as well. Thankfully it wasn't very serious.
Seeing Pei Zi Yun walking over, Cao San approached him and spoke softly, "Young master Pei, the leader of the bandits who had ran away has been killed."
"The two bandits are already dead. Send someone to retrieve their bodies. For these two bandits, do not cut their heads off." Pei Zi Yun said plainly. He realized that there could be some use for Zhang Jie Yun's body, "Especially the bandit's leader. Do not decapitate him, we will need to prove his identity."
"Zhang Dashan." Cao San shouted. He was just here some moment's ago, but was nowhere to be found now.
"Here!" Zhang Dashan was holding onto to a bottle gourd, he approached, wiping his mouth. It seemed like he had gone to fetch some wine. After killing these bandits, his hands were trembling, and he needed some wine to calm down. Zhang Dashan was one of the bravest men in the village. Seeing the gory sight before him, he did not throw up, and only felt flustered. He thus turned to wine for some courage.
"Good man, you're brave. If this were decades ago, you would've been recruited to become a soldier."
"There're two bodies outside, take some people and bring them in." Cao San instructed, and Zhang Dashan obeyed. Just as Zhang Dashan was about to leave, Cao San spoke again, "Leave the wine here. I wish to have two sips as well. It helps with the pain."
As he spoke, he snatched the gourd away from Zhang Dashan, who didn't react and stared blankly. Cao San then kicked his butt, "Why aren't you going!"
Zhang Dashan then ceased daydreaming. He called two villagers over and they dragged Zhang Jie Yu's body into the city.
Cao San drank two gulps of wine, and felt the pain in his back subside a considerable bit. He leaned in towards Pei Zi Yun and said, "Young master Pei, many people had lost their lives tonight. What should we do now?"
"I've taken a look at the corpse, and realized that these bandits were no ordinary bandits. One of the deceased was a monk from Silver Dragon Temple. Another was a gangster from the Hu River of the capital city. I've seen this monk before when I visited the temple to burn incense. I've heard that these people have strong ties all around, including in the capital city. Now that we've killed them, I'm worried that they might seek us out for revenge."
After checking their faces, Cao San too realized that these people probably had strong backing behind them. Now that they've been killed, there will be problems in future.
Pei Zi Yun's expression could not see his expression clearly, and ignored his words. Instead, he said in a low voice, "Cao San, if people came to kill you, would you not defend yourself? Let me ask you. Now that the Chief Patrol Officer is dead, are you responsible for it? Do you wish to absolve yourself of all responsibility, and maybe even become a Deputy Chief Patrol Officer?"
Cao San was stumped. He looked cautiously around at his surroundings before asking, "What should I do?"
Cao San was a good fighter, who wouldn't hesitate to kill and dared to take risks.
"This matter is not very serious for now. The bandits had attacked the village, and we should report this to the officials. What these officials want are silver taels. If you don't handle the situation appropriately, they could even charge you for failing to protect the Chief Patrol Officer, and send you to jail." Pei Zi Yun whispered into Cao San's ear.
When Cao San heard this, he hesitated. The smell of blood perforated his nose. He touched his back and scratched it before clapping his hands, "Master Top Scorer, I will do it."
After they had killed the bandits and successfully defended their village, some villagers sent word that it was safe. Villagers started coming out to look for their relatives. There were two men, who were some distance away from everyone else, who were looking for the old hunter. When they had found him, they carried him to where everyone were. He wasn't gravely injured, having suffered just a broken leg.
Pei Zi Yun recognized a woman, who had just been married not too long ago. Her husband had joined the village men in repelling the bandits. When she saw her husband lying amongst the dead, her knees buckled and she fell to the ground, sobbing. She pulled his corpse close to her, and was wailing inconsolably.
Cao San was deeply apologetic for her plight. That brave villager refused to let the bandits gain the upper hand, and pressed the attack, only to be killed by the blade of a bandit.
The villagers came out to find their family members. After sometime, the entire village was filled with the cries of mourners.
The Village Chief checked the number of casualty, his face extremely pale. Pei Zi Yun then asked, "What's the situation like?"
"There are 17 dead bandits. But we have suffered the loss of 21 villagers. A villager is seriously injured, and 5 others have superficial wounds. We retrieved 20 weapons of varying assortments. From the dead bandits, we've acquired around 30 taels of silver." Zhang Dashan said sadly, "Among those who have perished, half of them are women and children. When the bandits came they were taken unaware and were killed."
These black robed bandits were all proficient fighters, yet were despicable and cruel in their methods. Among the brave men who fought, none were injured. They were either alive and well, or dead.
Pei Zi Yun sank deep in thought. He then walked up to the Village Chief and said, "Chief, arrange for people to buy some good coffins. I shall fork out the money for it."
The Village Chief was shocked, "How can I let you do that. The villagers died defending the village, naturally the village will handle such costs. How can we let young master pay for it."
"So many have died today, I cannot swallow it. Furthermore, I have tasks for you to do. There are people behind these bandits, and if we do not handle this issue properly, we could face dire consequences." Pei Zi Yun said coldly.
The Village Chief eyed the ground and saw that it was filled with human heads. He then agreed.
The Village Chief then rounded up all the men, "It's almost daybreak, go to the different villages and purchase coffins from them. Some houses own coffins, you can ask to borrow it first, we will pay them back shortly. I believe the neighbouring villages will give us some face and agree to our request."
What many people don't understand was that the ancient people did not think of coffins as taboo items. Most old people who were relatively wealthy would prepare a good coffin in preparation for their deaths. Even the Emperor would prepare a coffin and a burial the minute he ascended to the throne.
Based on historical evidence, Emperor Ming Hong Wu was aged fourteen in the year 1381. He had commanded his subjects to build him a coffin worthy of an emperor on the third year after ascending to his throne.
Therefore obtaining more than 20 coffins by asking neighbouring villages, could be done in a short span of time.
A villager hesitated, "Chief, it's still so early in the morning. Who would be up this early to sell coffins, everyone would be asleep. Let's do it tomorrow instead..."
Even before he could complete his sentence, the Chief glared at the man who spoke. This man was a hooligan in the village. His pastimes included stealing chickens and dogs from fellow villagers. He was a very lazy man.
"Piak!" The Village Chief swung his hand back and slapped him hard on his cheek, causing him to fall to the ground.
The Village Chief glared at him once more and realized that he was unhappy about being slapped. Bandits had just attacked the village and this man had snuck off in fear. Now that everyone's trying to be productive about the situation, he's reluctant due to his laziness. How can there be someone as useless as him?
"Tie him up and beat him. As long as he doesn't die, that's fine." The Chief shouted in anger.
Several men rushed up to this hooligan and held him down as someone came along to tie him up, "Zhang Ping, at this point you're still as dumb as ever. You're really asking for it."
The villagers had just finished an entire night of killing, their eyes radiated killing aura as they glared fiercely at this man. Seeing the attitude towards him, he remained quiet before the beating began and he started screaming and crying in pain. After that was done, the villagers took the money and left the village.
A coffin costs around 5 taels of silver. Since 21 villagers had died, that would cost around 100 silver taels.
Pei Zi Yun immediately took out the money and started distributing it. He then told the Village Chief, "Since so many people had died, we cannot leave them all here. Let's place them in the temple!"
The Village Chief and grieving relatives of the dead felt that it was an appropriate decision and agreed, "Carry them and place them inside the temple. Since there're deities around, nobody will try anything funny."
Within the temple, there was an old shrine. The Village Chief went up to the shrine and ignited some incense before praying. He sobbed and said, "Gods of our village, our Snail Village had met with a disaster. We wish to place our dead in this temple for the time being. Once the calamity has passed, we will sacrifice animals to please you."
Having placed the incense and informing the deities, the Village Chief then instructed the villagers to carry the dead bodies into the temple. Once they were placed in rows, a white cloth was used to cover their bodies. A person was sent to guard the area as well. Once the relatives of the dead started entering the place and mourning, the Village Chief couldn't take it any longer, and left the scene.
Seeing that this matter had been settled, he went out to the stable and saw that the Chief Patrol Officer's horse was still tied up. He untied the horse and mounted it. Taking a big gulp of wine, before throwing the wine bowl to the ground, he shouted, "Ride!" The footsteps of the horse could be heard disappearing into the night.