Chapter 95: To the Capital
Translator: Translation Nation Editor: - -
"Ah!" Seeing that all the assailants had died, the serving maid screamed in fear. A voice then spoke from within the carriage. Hearing her instructions, the maid stood up and shouted, "Come back and protect the miss!"
The remaining few guards then returned to the side of the ox-cart, where they eyed Pei Zi Yun suspiciously. Pei Zi Yun was not angered by them. This was their flawed thinking, that they deserved to be protected. Even after being protected by him, he was still subjected to their scrutiny. Not wanting any more trouble, Pei Zi Yun then turned around to leave. The serving maid hurriedly shouted, "Young master hold it. Young master please stop."
Pei Zi Yun then clasped his hands and saluted, "Miss, I happened to pass by and noticed that you were in trouble. I thus drew my sword to ward off the assailants. Besides, I do not wish for any more trouble, so please do not worry about compensating me. Farewell."
Pei Zi Yun was very eager to leave. No doubt, the perpetrators of this assault were embroiled in a complicated and messy affair. They mentioned about being from the Black King Gang?
Furthermore the lady sitting inside the carriage was not simple as well. Pei Zi Yun had murdered several people this evening and could be in trouble for this matter. He did not wish to be implicated further and get sucked into this vortex. The last thing he wanted was for his own mission to be delayed. If he were to be involved, when will he actually be able to leave and head for the capital?
As of now, he already had to worry about Hou Mansion, Holy Jail Sect and Song Zhi. The earlier he reached the capital, the better for him. His utmost priority at this point was to successfully obtain the title for his sect and become an honorary disciple.
The serving maid looked around and saw these incompetent guards around her, who had been unable to defend them against the assailants. She hurriedly rushed forward to Pei Zi Yun, "Young Master, since you've already helped us, why not help to protect us and ensure we return back safely?"
"Xiao Zi, why should you beg this man. His background is unknown, how can we let him near the missy?" The leader of the guards stepped forward and spoke. He had almost failed in his responsibility in protecting the missy, and was reluctant to take any more chances and allow a random stranger near.
The serving maid sighed and replied coldly, "Your job was to protect the missy, and you could not even do that. What nonsense are you speaking now?"
"Young master, if you would escort the missy safely back, you shall be handsomely rewarded." She then continued, "Besides, young master, you're not wearing a mask and everyone has seen your face. You already have a problem on your hands. However, if you're willing to escort the missy back to the mansion, whatever problems you might face we shall help you dissolve them."
Pei Zi Yun hesitated. He thought about what she had said and realized she had a point. He then changed his attitude, "Since this miss said it like that, I shall escort her back."
The serving maid then smiled, "Many thanks, Young Master."
She then happily jumped onto the ox-cart as it started moving.
The leader of the guards had a strange expression on him. He looked at Pei Zi Yun cautiously and was extremely alert. He scrutinized Pei Zi Yun, as if to tell his motives.
The journey back was rather uneventful, nobody tried to assassinate them again when they finally reached the mansion.
The mansion was very big, and it took sometime for the ox-cart to reach the entrance. Pei Zi Yun then clasped his hands and saluted, "Missy, I've escorted you safely. Goodbye."
The leader then stretched out his hands and blocked his path, "You cannot leave. You showed up all of a sudden. I have reason to suspect you're in cahoots with the assailants, and tried to get near the missy."
Just before Pei Zi Yun was about to retaliate, the serving maid squirmed out of the carriage, "The missy has orders. If this young master wishes to leave, none of you are allowed to stop him. All of you, stand down."
Hearing the serving maid's words, the leader of the guards blushed a deep red. His expression turned to one of anger, before becoming submissive. Biting down hard on his teeth, he replied, "Yes!"
As he replied, he backed down. Pei Zi Yun smiled. This was the reason why he would rather not be caught up in petty squabbles with these half-officials. Especially under such situations where he's incognito and does not have his status to shield him from these low ranking miscreants.
Seeing the young master depart, the serving maid then helped her missy down the carriage. All the guards around her didn't dare to look at her, and all hung their heads in shame. This lady then glanced far ahead where Pei Zi Yun was walking.
The great doors opened, and a white faced and hairless man emerged. This person walked up to the lady, "Mistress, the Crown Prince has ordered me to wait for you, and I've waited for a long time. Since you've already paid a visit to your parents, it's now time for you to return to the palace."
Hearing the eunuchs voice, a troop of armed soldiers marched out from the mansion. They stood guard on both sides of the carriage. The sound of armor clanking and boots marching across the ground could be heard, making it a fearsome sight.
"I shall go in now." The mistress said matter of factly.
After the mistress entered the mansion, someone whispered to the eunuch, who gave a cold harrumph, "Hm, I already know about this matter. The Crown Prince does not have many sons, someone is trying to cause some problems here."
"No matter what, you must not let mistress suffer any scare, for she is carrying an unborn dragon within her."
"Yes!" Many people replied. A few seconds later, someone asked, "What about that youth?"
"Since the mistress has commanded, do not lay a finger on him. However, we have to conduct some checks on his background. When you've dug up the information about him, report it back to me. Only then can I report the matter to the Crown Prince."
Pei Zi Yun returned to the pier and realized that his back was sweating cold sweat, "Who were these people within the mansion. Just looking at them gave me the chills."
"Regardless, I have to stop being sidetracked from my objective. I can't even take the same boat to my destination any longer, for I've missed it. Thankfully I am within a city in the prefecture, and there's a direct passage to the capital. There has to be at least one boat heading in that direction, although it's almost the new year already."
With these thoughts in mind, he started approaching boats that seem likely to make the travel. Although it was already at night, it wasn't very late. He asked several boat captains if they would make the journey, but most of them were merchants who had docked here and were selling their wares here. Others would only leave after the new year. He finally asked a captain who agreed. His surname was Chen, and was a young man. Although the boat wasn't very big, it was sufficient for Pei Zi Yun. he then said, "If young master wishes to go to the capital, he would have to spend the new year on the boat."
"And who would wish to spend the new year on the boat? However I'm afraid nobody else would take the journey at this time. Since my wife is young, and we wish to earn more money, I shall offer you a ride to the capital. However, I would only be willing to go if young master would pay me ten taels of silver. If you agree, my wife and I will set sail immediately."
Pei Zi Yun nodded his head, "Apart from stopping to refuel and resupply, you must not stop for any other passengers, how's that for a condition?"
Since the new year was fast approaching, there wasn't going to be many passengers wishing to travel at this time. Besides, when the boat reached the capital after the new year, there would be more passengers to pick up. Captain Chen then replied, "If young master is willing to to pay this price, I shall not stop to pick up anyone."
"Good, we have a deal then." Pei Zi Yun smiled and threw out some silver, "I shall give you half of it first, and give you the rest later on."
Silver could take on many different values and shapes. There were ingots, nuggets and even bars. Their value depended on their weight, colour and purity.
Since Pei Zi Yun has a scholar status and the Plum Flower, making money should not be too difficult for him. Hence, he was in no rush to start earning money. Besides, out of the 1,000 taels of silver he possessed, he barely spent a 100 taels. Since he did not have any intention to start a business, he spent his high quality silver whenever necessary. The boat captain looked at the quality of silver, and knew that it came from an official somewhere. He then smiled.
"Have you replenished the supplies needed for this trip?" Pei Zi Yun boarded the boat and noticed that it was about to snow. He then returned to the cabin.
Seeing Pei Zi Yun enter the cabin, a scholar dressed in fresh robes stood up, "Your servant is called Yu Mao. I'm heading to the capital to take the examinations. May I ask, your name is?"
Pei Zi Yun clasped his hands in salute, "This servant's name is Pei Zi Yun. I am the Top Scorer from Ying Prefecture."
This man clearly didn't know that Pei Zi Yun had joined a sect, although he expected it since Pei Zi Yun was not dressed in the official robe. However he was still shocked to see such a young Top Scorer. He immediately returned the salute, "So it is the Top Scorer from Ying Prefecture."
Seeing that this person didn't know who he was, Pei Zi Yun was taken aback before understanding, "The olden days communication system is very slow. Although my name and reputation has spread all over the Ying Prefecture, we are a thousand miles away. Even a scholar here might not have heard of me."
"Hence in order to gain a reputation in the olden days, a person had to remain relevant and famous for at least ten to twenty years. Only then would the entire nation know of him."
They didn't speak much to each other then. The next day in the morning, the boat was already on its way to the capital. Pei Zi Yun realized how many days he had wasted being in this city. The layout of the cabin was simple, and there was a small bed and table within his room. He spend most of the journey reading and gazing out at the scenery. Occasionally, he would talk to Yu Mao. However, this Yu Mao was already thirty years old. When he found out how old Pei Zi Yun was, a look of envy spread all over his face. He was even more envious when he realized how talented and capable Pei Zi Yun was. His expression was so clear and indicative of his feelings that he did not even bother concealing it. However Pei Zi Yun was unperturbed and they spent the next few days avoiding each other.
The only event that happened aboard the boat, was spending the new year over the seas. Pei Zi Yun gave the ship captain 3 taels of silver for good luck. The captain in return cooked up a lavish meal for everyone. And that was how the new year was spent.
The Grand Scholar examinations was held in the capital and took place in February during Spring. If the examinations weren't held in the capital, the High Scholars would be able to spend their new years on solid ground instead.
For many, the journey to the capital was long and treacherous. For some, they would even have to depart half a year earlier.
After more than ten days, they finally reached the capital. This pier was called Northern Sun Pier and it was an important harbor, constantly bustling with activities. In the previous dynasty, this pier had been wrecked and most of it had been destroyed. Now that the tide is high, the boats can dock right at the pier. However, when the dry seasons are around and the tides are low, the boats can only stop a hundred meters away. Then people have to get off and manually push the boats to the pier.
After the establishment of the new dynasty, their first priority was to clear up the river canals and remove the sludge and dredge. With a certain depth, the boats would be able to stop over directly in the ports. Pei Zi Yun glanced around and saw that the pier was prosperous and flourishing. Many shops lined up the sidewalks of the pier and it was bustling with activities.
Although the festive occasion had just passed, there were still many boats along the river bringing in merchandise and wares. Many merchants and ship captains were canvassing for passengers and business.
Everyone started disembarking from their boats as people swamped the entire pier. Pei Zi Yun was in a good mood himself. He threw the remaining five taels to the ship captain and headed off the boat. Looking far ahead, he could see a long wall surrounding the city. He looked up and saw that there was a narrow passage beneath the wall, where only eight ox-carts could squeeze at any one time.
On both sides of the streets were lined with numerous buildings, all with the same shade of deep red. They were imposing and extremely dignified.
Pei Zi Yun followed the road and continued walking up until he reached a narrow alley. Many banners and flags of different shops were flying in the wind. There were tea shops, inns, jewellery shops and all kinds of other stalls.
There were several young merchants, holding up their wares and shouting out special prices to people who were walking past.
Although the original owner had been here many times, Pei Zi Yun took in all the sights and sounds and relished at every aspect of the capital city that overwhelmed his sense. The capital city did look like a fun place to be, and yet Pei Zi Yun was not here for leisure. He was on a mission. He decided to focus on his objectives and looked around. He then saw a stall keeper selling some candy and approached him, "Boss, are you free to tell me more about the city? I wish to ask for directions."
Originally, Pei Zi Yun did not need to do anything of this, as it was Liao Ge's responsibility. Yet with his demise, he had to figure out everything on his own.
The stall keeper then smiled slyly, "Is young master here to take the examinations? Then you've found the right man. Give me 500 copper coins and I shall show you around. It will save you a great deal of time and effort trying to find your way around."
Pei Zi Yun paused for sometime, knowing that 500 copper coins was quite a high price. And yet without much hesitation he agreed, "Fine, show me around."