Chapter 64: Decision
Translator: Translation Nation Editor: - -
The room of Yue Qiu Shan, also known as High Scholar Yue, was decorated plainly. There were books all around, which gave off a strong atmosphere of a literary student. There was a teapot on one side of the room, boiling on a stove.
He had poured away the past two batches of tea that he had brewed and this was the third batch. Just as it was almost ready, there was a knock of the door. A panic-stricken man entered hastily and said, "Master, something bad has happened."
Yue Qiu Shan was irritated and scolded out loud, "What bad thing has happened? Explain it to me in details, do not panic. I've told you before, no matter how important the issue is, you must never disturb me as I'm preparing my tea. You should've waited for me to finish preparing and consuming my tea before telling me."
"Master, Zhang Jie Yu took some men and went to Slow River County last night. This morning a pigeon delivered a letter saying young master Zhang had been out the whole night and did not return. We're worried that something might have happened to him."
In just a few sentences, he managed to summarize accurately what happened. Yue Qiu Shan was unperturbed. Zhang Jie Yu was his own disciple and son-in-law. Since he was still young, Yue Qiu Shan had not imparted all the Daoists methods to him in one go. Instead, he had taught him little by little. Although Yue Qiu Shan wouldn't live much longer, as he was already reaching the end of his lifespan, teaching and passing down Daoist teachings were a huge responsibility and couldn't be done in haste.
He had managed to plant several spies within Slow River County. Should there be anything important, they would send word to him. Since there had been no news, that would mean that nothing was wrong.
Yue Qiu Shan arranged his teacups neatly before pouring three full cups of tea. The entire room was filled with the aroma of tea.
He then asked out of the blue, "Do you know why he went there?"
Seeing the servant not daring to reply, Yue Qiu Shan felt that something was amiss and shouted loudly, "Hurry, tell me. What has happened?"
The servant then fell to his knees and said, "Master, it was not my intention to hide it from you. All I know was that young master heard that Pei Zi Yun had murdered Li Wen Jing, shortly after he took some people from Silver Dragon Temple and Luo Gang to kill Pei Zi Yun."
Yue Qiu Shan stood up in anger, "Zhang Jie Yu has always been level-headed and rational. Would've expected him to be so foolish today. Damn it."
At precisely this moment, he felt some heat intensifying within the folds of his robes. He dismissed the servant before reaching within to take out an enchanted talisman. It seemed like there was word about Zhang Jie Yu. His heart was beating rapidly in his chest as he had a bad feeling about this.
When he took out the enchanted talisman, the shadow of a person appeared. It was rather blurry, and seemed to be very distorted. This must've been the result of interference. He used his fingers to touch the talisman, a beam of light shot into it. Only then did it stabilize.
The image on the enchanted talisman revealed a Crystal Gaze. The background within the Crystal Gaze was of a room. Based on what he could see, it looked like the interior of an inn. After sometime, the image vanished a voice spoke from within, "This is bad senior uncle. Something big had happened. This morning Pei Zi Yun led an entire group of villagers from Snail Village to the county to lodge an official report. It was said that the report had something to do with fellow brother Zhang. And that fellow brother Zhang had devised a scheme to frame several Elementary Scholars, and that he was a monster. He has been killed. I am some distance away and thus have no more information on this matter."
When this Daoist finished, he touched the Crystal Gaze and a blur of images formed and it showed the Magistrate's Office in Slow River County. There were plenty of people gathered outside the office, and they were all wearing white headscarves and wearing mourner's clothes. There were many coffins behind them as well.
Yue Qiu Shan had belonged to the previous dynasty and was rather old. Seeing this scene before him made his chest constrict, as he found it hard to breathe. The disciple that he had entrusted to handle the matters within Dong An Prefecture had died just like that. He flew into a rage and swept off his favourite teapots from the table, as they shattered into pieces on the ground. Hot tea spilt all over the place as well.
It could be seen within the enchanted amulet that a message pigeon was flapping outside the Daoist man's window. The Daoist man then retrieved the pigeon from outside and took the scroll of paper from its feet. After reading the contents of the paper, he shouted, "Senior uncle, this is bad, this is really bad. Zhang Jie Yu took a group of people to attack Snail Village and killed 23 villagers. Among those that he killed was the Chief Patrol Officer."
"They have the body of the dead official to prove it. Also, the matter regarding the Elementary Scholar had been exposed. The families of victims had all gathered together and lodged an official report with the Magistrate. This is bad!"
The message pigeon had been sent by one of their spies within the county. These spies didn't have much to do, only to keep a lookout for any news that might be interesting. After which they just had to dispatch a pigeon over, and they would be rewarded with silver.
When Yue Qiu Shan heard this, an ashen look was displayed on his face. Was this Zhang Jie Yu crazy?
He had thought of Zhang Jie Yu as a reliable and dependable person. Who would've thought that he would mess up this badly and even kill the Chief Patrol Officer. The Patrol Officer was an Honorable Official and the consequences were dire. Even the whole sect might be implicated because of this.
"I'm aware of this matter already. I shall report this to the higher authorities in the sect. I want you to remain hidden, don't pry." Yue Qiu Shan took several deep breaths in a bid to compose himself before some color returned to his face.
"Yes Senior Uncle." This Daoist man agreed and cupped his hands in a salute before turning the communication enchanted amulet off. He had been very nervous. Only after reporting the events to his senior uncle did he manage to relax.
Yue Qiu Shan was pacing up and down in his room. This was a disaster. It was hard to imagine this happening considering that Zhang Jie Yu had always been earnest and good natured. Who would've expected him to break all the unspoken rules and even kill the Patrol Officer. In doing so, he created so much talk about this throughout the entire county. This was a big problem.
This matter was too severe, and had to be reported to the Sect Leader. He was just about to use the enchanted amulet to communicate when there was a change on it. A Daoist Master had appeared on the screen of the amulet.
This Daoist Master was Zhang Jie Yu's biological uncle. He spoke coldly to Yue Qiu Shan, "I've just received word from Feng Ling Hall that Zhang Jie Yu's body has been destroyed. And I just wished to ask. Fellow brother, what on earth happened?"
The Daoist Master had a certain coldness in his voice. Zhang Jie Yu had been entrusted to the care of Yue Qiu Shan, to be his disciple. Who would've imagined that he would perish, and at such a young age. Naturally, the Daoist Master was extremely displeased.
Yue Qiu Shan sighed and said, "Senior brother, something big had happened. Zhang Jie Yu took some men from Luo Gang and Silver Dragon Temple to kill the new Top Scorer Pei Zi Yun. He has killed the Chief Patrol Officer, and got himself killed. There were also people who banded together and exposed what he did to the Elementary Scholars. I was just about to report these matters to the Sect Leader, but Senior Brother contacted me first."
"What? This unfilial son actually did something as foolish as that?" The Daoist Master had initially called to discipline his junior brother. But after hearing his words, he understood the gravity of the situation. A certain gloom swept over him as he told Yue Qiu Shan, "Fellow Junior Brother, please explain everything clearly to me now."
Yue Qiu Shan thus started to explain everything from the start. When the Daoist master had heard this, he flew into a rage, "This damned unfilial son. This cursed Pei Zi Yun."
This was matter was very serious, and was beyond his control. In fact, a decision could only be made by the Sect Leader after reporting to him. If this matter was conveyed to the Sect Leader by the Daoist Master, the outcome could be very different than if Yue Qiu Shan reported it himself. He then said, "Junior brother, I shall report this matter directly to the Sect Leader. After I'm done I shall relay the news to you."
As soon as he said this, he dropped the enchanted communication amulet and went to inform the Sect Leader of whatever had happened.
Yue Qiu Shan could not help but sigh once again. If only he had cultivated diligently himself when he was younger, and broke through the gates of heaven, and received Dao Arts from the founder of the sect himself, he would still be in the mountains cultivating, and not be sitting here racking his brains.
Now he was old and in his finals years, whereas his own fellow brother was still in his middle years, as if he was only forty years old.
However, he thought about it once again and realized that it was a painful process to be a member within the sect. The difference between being in a sect, and not being in a sect came down to their freedom and autonomy. A person within a sect lost most of his freedom since he had to do the bidding of the higher ranking members. It was the same for officials who were serving far away, in the counties versus officials in the capital, reduction in autonomy. Unless however, a person became a Sect Elder, then he could obtain as much autonomy.
Another main difference was that after death, the disciples of a sect would break through the gates of heavens and become Spirit Immortals. Even if a normal person could enjoy the riches of wealth when he was alive, he would just be an ordinary soul when he died. Maybe receive some small protection at most.
After sometime, the enchanted communication began to light up once more. The Daoist Master appeared, his expression was ashen. Seeing his senior brother this way, Yue Qiu Shan's heart sank.
"Zhang Jie Yu this traitorous disciple. The Sect Leader had decided to remove his name from the disciples list. Junior brother Yue, you should immediately cut off all ties with Zhang Jie Yu as well. Remove everything that connects you to him. This must be done so as not to implicate our other pawns. Do whatever you can to preserve our main strength."
The Daoist Master paused for sometime before speaking once more, "Silver Dragon Temple and Luo Gang are aware of our plans to completely erase him from our sect. This was the doing of Zhang Jie Yu alone. Holy Jail Sect will not be responsible for it. We will pass the responsibility to the Zhang family, Silver Dragon Temple and Luo Gang."
Yue Qiu Shan's voice was trembling as he spoke, "It's fine if we disregard Silver Dragon Temple. But Luo Gang had a huge role to play in our influence within the capital city, and was our stronghold. If we lose them, our capabilities and influence will take a huge hit."
"At this point, we cannot afford to care about how heavy a hit our influence will take. If we do not eliminate these connections right now, and we get discovered, the Imperial Court Circle will be on our heels. When that happens, not only will we lose our influence, but we could lose everything else. It is decided then. The orders of the Sect Leader are to be upheld." The Daoist Master said fiercely, "Thankfully you have not announced your plans for the marriage, and he was not wed to your daughter yet. So this does not affect you that much."
"This is not a small matter. Handle it cautiously and quickly."
Yue Qiu Shan could only acknowledge with a nod. He then called for people to enter his room. A Daoist and a warrior entered. Seeing Yue Qiu Shan's ashen face, and the fragments of teapot on the floor, they knew that something grave had just happened.
Yue Qiu Shan immediately whispered instructions to the two men. At first, the look of shock was apparent on their faces. After they got over their shock, they started nodding their heads. The Daoist man then said, "Don't worry Senior Uncle, we can handle this matter. We have records of this, and since we have a direct instructions, this will be resolved quickly."
Dong An Prefecture
The streets were busy with activities. People came and went within the marketplace. All of a sudden, a group of armed soldiers charged through the gates, a scribe walking beside them. They were heading toward the Prefectural Magistrate's Office. No one dared to stand in their way and they all moved aside.
A student had been startled by the incoming horses. Just as he was about to go up and scold them, an old man held this student back and chided him, "Do you not want to live anymore, student? These men are holding on to an emergency document. If you obstruct them, and they fail their mission, you will have to go to jail for that."
The old man then waited for the troops to walk past before pointing at the flag at the back of the last horse. The student received a shock, and started sweating cold sweat when he saw it. Ever since the establishment of the new dynasty, these emergency document bearing soldiers were a very rare sight. If you obstruct them, they are authorized to kill. He then thanked the old man profusely.
Prefectural Magistrate's Office
The Prefectural Magistrate had just finished his official business and had just finished his meal. He was sitting leisurely in his yard, sipping his tea. All of a sudden an entire troop of soldiers marched in and shouted, "Master, something bad has happened. The newly appointed County Lieutenant has been murdered. The report is here."
The Prefectural Magistrate's face fell as he stood up and received the document. The minute his eyes looked at it, his face turned to that of fear. It took him some time before he managed to compose himself. He walked several steps forward being issuing an order, "Bring me the highest ranking military personnel, and order all the bailiffs and constables here as well. We have urgent business to handle today."
As he walked, he started getting dressed and walked over to the courtyard. At this point, the constable had arrived and had just reached the great hall. Soon after, the Military Chief arrived as well. This man saluted the Prefectural Magistrate, "Is there an urgent matter I can assist you with?"
The Magistrate then issued a command, "The both of you, gather your troops and storm Silver Dragon Temple. Do not let anyone leave. If they put up a resistance, you are authorized to kill them."