Chapter 66: Respects to Teacher
Translator: Translation Nation Editor: - -
Dong An Prefecture, Yue Mansion
Within the main hall, Yue Qiu Shan was sitting, anguished. It had just been one night, and yet, today his head was fully covered with white hair. The reporting servant tiptoed his way out of the room in fear.
Zhang Jie Yu had died and now Silver Dragon Temple and Luo Gang had been destroyed. All their destinies had been connected to his own, and now his own sweat and blood had all been razed to the ground. Yue Qiu Shan was in a contemplative mood.
After some time, the enchanted communicating amulet started emitting light. Yue Qiu Shan retrieved it and tapped it in the center where the Daoist Master appeared once more. The both of them eyed each other for some time in absolute silence.
Several moments passed before Yue Qiu Shan opened his mouth to speak. It was clear that he was extremely unhappy. With some lethargy, he said, "Senior Brother, the matter has been settled and completed. All that's left of Silver Dragon Temple and Luo Gang are seedlings. I've killed off most of them."
"Oh, since it's settled I shall no longer keep track of this issue. The sect urgently sent some people to Dong An Prefecture to settle these problems. From now on, there's no need for us to bother ourselves with it any longer."
"The sect has already made a decision. Younger brother Yue, you need to be ready. There's a chance that the sect might reassign a new disciple to preside over the matters in Dong An Prefecture. Also, I have to go into secluded meditation for three years."
For a disciple to do something of this extent and nature, and ruin the destiny of Holy Jail Sect within the Dong An prefecture, his teacher would also have to bear some of the responsibilities and accept punishment from the sect.
"I know how I'm at fault." Yue Qiu Shan's face sank, he knew that there was no way he could avoid being replaced due to Zhang Jie Yu's mistakes.
Slow River County, Hu River
The new dynasty had always placed emphasis on trade, and the Hu River was an important harbor where vast amount of trade took place. Although the establishment of the dynasty was very recent, the harbors were already thriving with business and life.
An inconspicuous wooden boat with two levels was cruising along the river bank.
The spring rain was falling lightly, causing several ripples to appear on the river. The little girl was jumping up and down on deck, practicing her Martial Arts moves and she weaved to the left and right before sticking her pole out. After sometime, she got bored and started dipping the pole into the river, almost as if to catch some fishes.
Mistress Cloud looked at the little girl, with the light spring rain descending upon her. Layers of mountains lined the background, giving it a very majestic view. Mistress Cloud stared at the magnificent view, wide-eyed, almost as if she had been mesmerized by deities.
Although the sect leader had not said anything, but the phrase which he said, "His destiny is closely related to our sect" was starting to become more evident. She was just thinking about how to convince Pei Zi Yun.
This person had the potential and calibre to become a Grand Scholar, and he had such good Martial Arts techniques as well. He didn't hesitate when killing, and was very crafty with his schemes. Should war break out in the future, this man would rise to prominence with the skillsets he possessed.
Even now, if he didn't have any aspirations to attain Grand Scholar status and become an official, it was likely that he wished to cultivate, although what this person wanted could never truly be ascertained.
In reality, the wealth of a sect member was much more inferior than the wealth a person would get if he were to become an official.
The only advantage that joining a sect had over becoming an official would be the fact that they were able to cultivate. Successful cultivation allowed a person to become a spirit immortal, human immortal, earth immortal, deity immortal and heaven immortal.
However, her status in the sect was different from everyone else. She was one of the five people in this generation that had the ability to enter paradise, and thus was made privy to all the internal affairs.
'An official of the 7th rank and above might earn some favor when he dies.'
'An official of the 5th rank and above might attain a specific posthumous title after his death. An official of the 3rd rank and above would be qualified to attain a posthumous title at the time of his death. An official above the 7th rank used to have a chance at becoming a Spirit Immortal. However, the Wang dynasty had abolished those rights some time ago. They had removed the rights to a posthumous title as well. That was how cultivation sects started forming.'
'For those people who are not qualified to become an official, or those who are extremely high-ranked, joining a sect is very attractive. However, for a genius like Pei Zi Yun, it would be hard to motivate him into joining.' Thinking about matters like these gave her a headache.
The little girl was the only person with any vexations. She was holding onto a fishing rod and was trying to catch some fish to no avail. Mistress Cloud looked at the the pier and started tapping her forehead, "You're still playing. Quick, we've already arrived. We shall meet your Senior Brother there."
"Good! The little girl threw aside her fishing rod."
The spring rain had been persistent, and brought with it a certain coldness. A bailiff bowed lowly and smiled before saying, "Then your subordinate shall take his leave."
"Carry on!" He then threw a piece of silver worth one tael over to him. The bailiff's smiled widened as he caught it before departing. He walked across the pavement, which were lined with wet and slippery limestones.
Seeing the rain getting bigger, and the sky was getting darker, he then sat beneath the shelter as he took out the case file delivered to him by the bailiff. He was feeling rather cold at this point.
For a big case like this, to be resolved within four days was rather shocking. The case was concluded by stating that Zhang Jie Yu acted out of a selfish desire and colluded with the monks from Silver Dragon Temple and river gangsters from Luo Gang. He framed the Elementary Scholars and plotted to kill a High Scholar.
Pei Zi Yun gripped the case file tightly as his whole body trembled in the cold. He sighed, "It was unexpected that Holy Jail Sect were this firm and decisive. They had severed all ties with Zhang Jie Yu like how a lizard dislodges its own tail. It was clear that Holy Jail Sect had used its connections with the officials to push for a fast closure in the case. The power they wield makes me very worried."
He then squinted and looked up into the sky, where vast amounts of dark clouds enveloped the entire horizon. He was deep in thought, 'The monks from Silver Dragon Temple have been annihilated. And the gangsters from Luo Gang have been captured and killed.'
'As the leader of the bandits, Zhang Jie Yu's title of Elementary Scholar has been revoked. His house was searched and his family had to go into exile.'
All this, meant that Zhang Jie Yu, Silver Dragon Temple and Luo Gang have been given up on by Holy Jail Sect. There's even a chance that Pei Zi Yun's name would be on their kill list. Based on the methods deployed by Holy Jail Sect, they might not come for him this soon, but when they do, their objective would solely be to kill him off.
The bailiff had brought the official announcement as well.
'Cao San has been promoted to Assistant Chief Patrol Officer. Tang Zhen has been rewarded as well. The court recognized that he had been framed. Although he did not regain his title, he had been allowed to retake the Imperial Examination once more. This was clearly good news.'
'Why should it matter that I took advantage of a bad situation, and made some good out of it.'
'There were two parties at the losing end of this situation. The first party was the County Magistrate. I brought him a huge problem, and gave him quite a bit of trouble. Although the County Magistrate was an official, I am a Top Scorer, and thus I am not under his jurisdiction. Even if I've caused him trouble, there's nothing he can do to me.'
'As for the Holy Jail Sect, they are indeed a venomous snake. Once an order has been issued on their end, they will not stop until the person is dead. What I should do now is to attain Grand Scholar status. Once that happens, my Imperial Qi will be stronger and I will be under greater protection, and hopefully be safer.'
'If I become an official of the 3rd rank and above, when I die, I will attain a title and a name even in death. Thus I shouldn't be afraid.'
'But once I become a Grand Scholar, I would be unable to cultivate in this world.'
'Yet if I choose not to become a Grand Scholar, I will need to quickly search for a sect to back me up. If not, once Holy Jail Sect gets the chance to kill me, there's nothing I can do to defend myself.'
Just as he was deep in thought, a knock came from the door.
When Pei Zi Yun opened the door, he received a shock. Under the umbrella, there was an adult and a kid. The adult wore her hair in a bun, that indicated she was unwed. It was completely silent for several seconds, before they all burst into a smile. They had met each other before back in Fu Mansion. It was Mistress Cloud and the little girl, both of them were his fellow sect members in his previous life.
The two of them entered the yard, as they shook off the water droplets from the umbrella. Mistress Cloud then placed the umbrella against the side of the wall. Pei Zi Yun noticed that they were both dressed so immaculately and spotlessly, that not a stain or imperfection could be found on their dressing. Also, the way they walked was filled with so much dignity, it was slow, precise and intentional, as if they were dignitaries or hailed from a noble family.
The three of them sat down wordlessly, as Pei Zi Yun started boiling water for tea. Once the water was ready, he lifted the lid off the teapot, pinched some tea leaves with his finger and said, "This is Han Sha Chun tea, and is not considered the best, but please, help yourself."
He then released some tea leaves carefully into each cup, before retrieving the water that had just been boiled. He poured the water into each teacup in excruciating accuracy, not one drop more, not one drop less than it was supposed to have. He then sat down and smiled, "When it comes to the preparation of tea, dew is the most suitable type of water to use, followed by snow, and lastly rain water. Since spring is upon us, I've managed to collect a great deal of dew. Please, carry on."
Mistress Cloud glanced into her teacup, which was filled with amber looking tea. The entire room was scented with the aroma of good tea. After pondering for sometime, she took a sip from the cup. It was still drizzling outside, and for a long while, nobody said anything. At last, she looked up, at him and asked, "What are you thinking about?"
"I had initially hoped that Teacher Zhao would be the one here!"
When the little girl heard this, she raised her head and looked at Pei Zi Yun, her two beady eyes were wide open with curiosity.
Mistress Cloud looked as though she did not know whether to laugh or cry. She shook her head gently and said, "It's a pity then, that I've come and not him. Although the difference is very minute."
She then said, "Relationships among people are complicated. Do you understand what I mean?"
"Before Teacher Zhao left, he told me to practice the manual I've been given. Only when I succeeded in cultivating up to the 10th step would I be allowed to join the sect. I've done some research and checks and managed to find some clues. Although I'm not very familiar with you, if you wished to kill me, you would've done so back in Fu Mansion. This means that you're not from Holy Jail Sect. Since you're not from Holy Jail Sect, it means that you're from the same sect as Teacher Zhao, and are here right now to prompt me into joining Free Cloud Sect."
This was just an excuse, and yet it was fair and justified.
Hearing Pei Zi Yun speak, the little girl's eyes grew wider and wider in surprise. Mistress Cloud's face was full of suspicion however. This person was very intelligent, just by gathering some clues he was able to truly guess the motive that she was there for.
Mistress Cloud drank another sip of tea and considered her words carefully before saying, "Your guesses are mostly correct. I am an elder from Free Cloud Sect, and is also your Teacher Zhao's fellow sister. Although Teacher Zhao had accepted you as his disciple, the both of you are not truly teacher and disciple."
Pei Zi Yun raised her head to look at her and said, "Please explain."
"Cultivating Dao in a sect is similar to how a person has to conduct himself in a proper manner, and how he always has to strive for excellence. Your initial teacher-student relation, was actually just related to the academic field." She paused for sometime before continuing, "A true teacher and disciple relationship in this world requires fate to link them both, how can it be completely random?"
"And since there are limited spots within a sect, unless fellow brother Zhao decides to part with some of his disciples, you will not be able to fall under him."
"For matters like these that are less pressing, we can talk about them in future, as it's still early." Mistress Cloud then frowned gently. She then returned to the original topic, and looked at Pei Zi Yun before saying, "Do you know of the grave danger you are in right now? Zhang Jie Yu was a disciple in the Holy Jail Sect. Your methods have left them in shock, and they did not have time to react accordingly. Thus, they had to sever all ties with anyone related to the incident. Although the damage was limited to their disciples around Dong An Prefecture, and the rest of the disciples were unaffected. Furthermore, you've started cultivating our Dao Arts, thus it will be hard for you to attain Grand Scholar status. Even if by a stroke of luck you managed to become a Grand Scholar, your foundation would be severely impacted."
"Since you've already cultivated our Dao Arts, you would be able to enter our sect now. Fellow brother Zhao and I will be able to extend our protection towards you, and ensure that your family remains safe!"
When he heard that, Pei Zi Yun stood up, and asked very politely, "Can I dare to ask for Dao Master's name?"
Mistress Cloud was shocked, and paused for sometime before saying, "My birth name is Yu Yun Jun, and my sect name is Yun Jing Zi."
Pei Zi Yun had already known this from the original owner's memories, but he obviously would not make it known that he was aware of her name. He then threw himself to the ground, on his knees and kowtowed. He then said, "Teacher is above me, please accept this disciple."
Yu Yun Jun received Pei Zi Yun's kowtow and was immensely relieved. This disciple was genuine and firm, and she admired him for that. After she had accepted him, she looked at him and said, "Since you are now my disciple, you and I are now one family. I shall offer you a word of advice. Dot not be too caught up in the wealth and riches of this secular world. The only thing that matters is your lone cultivation, for everything else is just but an illusion."
Mistress Cloud thought for some time before saying, "At this point however, I am only able to accept you as an Outer Disciple. These are the rules of Free Cloud Sect. Once a disciple enters the sect, he will start off as an Outer Disciple. Should he cultivate successfully, or make big contributions, he will be able to advance to the Inner Circle or even become an Honorary Disciple, who gets to learn and receive guidance directly from the Sect Leader. But for now, Pei Zi Yun, you have to return to the capital and record your name down in the sect. Only then will you officially be part of the Free Cloud Sect."
Pei Zi Yun took a step forward, cupped his hands in traditional salute and said, "I will do it."
The little girl remained at the side smiling before walking over to Pei Zi Yun and pulling his hands, "Junior Brother, I am your Senior Sister now. From here onwards, I shall guide you to the best of my abilities."
The original owner had a deep impression of this little girl, as she was his Senior Sister. Her spiritual cultivation was rather queer, and she had teased the original owner countless of times. However, she met with a disastrous ending, and was killed horribly by a sword.
Seeing the little girl like this, Yu Yun Jun went up to her and patted her affectionately on her head, "Pei Zi Yun, hurry and settle all your secular world issues. I shall then lead you to our sect where you will be accepted into the sect records. As long as you cultivate diligently, nothing will be too difficult for you."