Plundering the Dao of the Immortal Journey Chapter 102
Pei Zi Yun headed back home. The minute he stepped into his home, he was stunned. Although the big doors remained the same as before, there was a new addition, a signboard above the door that read "Pei Mansion".
Before, the corridors and rooms were old and had paint peeling off their surfaces. However, it had been cleaned and repainted. The wild weed in the garden had been removed and the overgrown plants had been snipped.
Pei Zi Yun stepped into the living room and felt a gust of warm heat. A new ceramic fireplace had been installed within the living room. It was about one meter tall and it was producing whiskers of steam as the fire within continued burning.
In the courtyard, there were still a group of people busy at work. Within the house, there were three women including the old broker woman. One of them was wearing a traditional robe which looked old and obviously had been mended and patched many times before. Her face was haggard with age. There was another young girl, who was about fifteen or sixteen and was shyly following behind her.
Upon closer inspection, Pei Zi Yun realized that the new items added to his home weren't new. Instead they were clearly second-hand items, but they were extremely clean. He stepped into the kitchen, where he noticed that rice, vegetables and even some meat dishes had been prepared.
"This is not bad, not bad at all. Granny broker, go outside and have some food. Every worker that helped preparing this house shall be rewarded with 10 extra copper coins." Pei Zi Yun gazed at the dishes that had been prepared and knew that these dishes weren't prepared for the upper class to eat. He then understood that the meal being prepared by the kitchen maid was also for the rest of them to eat.
"Serve up some dishes for me in the small hall."
Immediately, someone came up to serve food. There were four dishes of meat and four dishes of vegetables. It was clearly not a luxurious meal, and yet the ingredients were fresh and smelt delicious. Pei Zi Yun took a bite before saying, "The both of you can stay. However your clothes are too old. Granny broker, take them to buy some clothes and take a bath later."
As he spoke, he took out two ingots, each worth ten taels, "This should be sufficient for all your troubles I suppose?"
The woman broker received the silver and laughed, "This is enough. Thank you Young Master for your generosity." One look and they all could tell that he was generous and kind. He had such a big house to himself, and he even asked the maids to buy themselves a change of clothes. It was evident that impression and face were important to him.
The kitchen maid's eyes immediately lit up with hope and said with a trembling voice, "Many thanks, Young Master."
Ever since the demise of her husband, the amount of money she had in her purse became smaller with each passing day. She was on the verge of being completely broke until she met Pei Zi Yun, and had a change in fortune.
She took a deep bow before taking her daughter out with her.
When they walked out, several tables were placed within the garden where the food was. Clearly Pei Zi Yun received the superior part of the food portions. However the workers were still very grateful and appreciative. After sometime, everyone started leaving and left the house to the mother and daughter.
When Pei Zi Yun noticed that they had left, he then walked out into the garden where he started practicing the Hundred Beasts Movement.
'Eh? I'm starting to produce slightly greater strength.'
'The fifth and sixth steps cultivated inner strength, while the seventh and eighth steps could cultivate extraordinary strength. Such strength would allow a person to snap a bow easily, lift heavy boulders, put on heavy armor and wear it with ease. A person could even kill in and out of battle without tiring out easily.'
'I've been involved in numerous battles. Having dealt with plenty of martial artists, the six riders and even killed pirates. I can feel some improvement in my skills.' Having emerged victorious in all these battles, Pei Zi Yun's sword techniques clearly improved several notches. He even reached new heights in his Free Cloud Sect's Daoist Manual, as though he was almost breaking past the sixth level.
He could feel the gradual production of extraordinary strength flowing through his body. According to his memories, this was a clear indication that he had broken past the sixth level, and rejoiced. He walked up to the tree and punched it hard. His fist had left an imprint on the bark of the tree. Pei Zi Yun was elated, seeing his mark on the tree, 'I've finally finished the sixth level and have broken through the seventh level.'
The original owner had focused on cultivating Dao Arts and neglected the martial arts. Although he did occasionally practice the Free Cloud Sword Technique, it wasn't his strongest suit. With regards to the sword technique, Pei Zi Yun had surpassed the original owner and thus was unable to rely on his memories for assistance as of now. He then looked at the transparent information interface.
"Free Cloud Daoist Manual: Level 7"
"Techniques: 31 Variations, Advanced "
"Free Cloud Sect Sword Technique: Advanced (36.1% Completed)"
He then thought to himself, 'Now that my foundation is complete, the next most important step was to obtain more Dao techniques and improve on my sword techniques. This way, it will facilitate my journey to having a longer life. As for Dao techniques, I have yet to break through the gates of heavens and thus must be extremely careful in what I pick up. As for sword techniques, I shouldn't be too selective with what I acquire.'
'Since I've killed so many people thus far, my enemies will naturally respond in kind. The next batch of people who pursues me will not be as amateurish as before. I have to improve my skills, as they will hunt me down with increasing cruelty. In fact, I've always been simply defending myself, and yet I've been able to turn it into a slaughter fest. I wonder what the return journey will be like?'
Pei Zi Yun had lived in a modern era of peace during his previous life. In spite of the dangers he faced in this current world, he had been unable to get rid of the false sense of peacefulness and security.
'Furthermore with the increase in my skill level, it would be harder and slower for me to improve. Based on the speed at which I'm improving, I would require another 5 years before I can break past the advanced stage and reach the master level.'
'It would be too late then. The best way would be for me to obtain a Dao Legacy from a Daoist Cultivator. That would help me improve quickly.' The minute this thought formed in his head, a stream of red words entered his field of vision, where a new objective started.
"Mission : Obtain a Dao Manual Legacy."
"How should I start searching for Dao Manual Legacies?" Pei Zi Yun was not surprised by this mission. He thought to himself, 'The original owner is hiding the location of Legacy from me again.'
'This Dao Legacy is exactly the same as the Knowledge Legacies. A person would sincerely embark on his Dao jointly before forming Dao roots. He would then embed it within an object. Dao Manual Legacies could be searched for and found, and yet cannot be asked for. Sects would definitely not leave their Dao Manual Legacies lying around. The only option left would be to start with Rogue Cultivators.'
'A Rogue Cultivator had no sect to rely on and thus had to experiment with different techniques by themselves before they could embark on the Dao journey. There are many different paths to take to embark along the Dao. They could've possessed a Dao Manual, or be proficient in a particular aspect. Afterwhich they could combine mental and physical strength to produce the skills required to become a Rogue Cultivator. To succeed on a path that was inherently difficult would mean that he was extremely skillful.' Pei Zi Yun thought about this as he paced several steps.
'Right, and the original owner himself was a Rogue Cultivator. During his time, he had heard rumors of several Rogue Cultivators who had reached the highest possible level of enlightenment.' Cultivators who had opened the gates to heaven and cultivated up to Dao Masters became Masters of Yin which could live up to a 120 years old. In actual fact, most would not live past 100 years. There were many different ways of ruining a person's longevity, of which the most common was sustaining injuries during battle. Obviously one doesn't have to speak about being killed in battle.
'Although these Rogue Cultivators had to be brilliant in their own ways for them to open the gates to heaven without the assistance of any sects, it was certain they took many wrong turns and wasted precious time. That was why their lives were often short. Most would die at around 50 or 60. Although I'm not sure of the reasons behind their failures, according to rumors these Rogue Cultivators would have left behind some belongings. As long as I am able to trace and locate these items, I might be able to find a Dao Legacy. Then, I can improve my skills by leaps and bounds.'
'The monks from the Inter World Temple, the determined and loyal Daoists from Clear Shroud Monastery and the Semi Deities from the Li Family Villages, and others!' There were other random people scattered across Pei Zi Yun's memories as well. All these people had long departed from this world, and were the most prominent Rogue Cultivators. Pei Zi Yun recorded all these people down. He was not familiar with them. However, he could assign the granny broker the task of locating these people down. That should not be a problem.
Pei Zi Yun had these thoughts in mind before leaving home to find the granny broker. When he arrived at her brokerage, he saw her chewing on seeds and counting the money she had made earlier from him. Her eyes lit up the minute she saw him and welcomed him, "Young Master Pei you are here again. Do you have any complaints? Or do you wish to employ more maids? I have several families here who wished to offer their daughters for marriage and a lot of pretty maids. Do you wish to take a look for yourself?"
The granny broker had earned quite a large sum from Pei Zi Yun. Putting his age aside, the most precious trait he possessed was his generosity.
Seeing the enthusiasm from the granny broker, Pei Zi Yun gave a laugh and replied, "I have no needs for anymore serving maids. A kitchen maid and a serving maid are more than enough for me. I have something I wish for you to do. If you do it well, you shall be rewarded handsomely."
As Pei Zi Yun spoke he tossed up an ingot of ten taels. All these brokers had their sources of information and were very widely informed, not to mention knowledgeable. If not, they would not be where they were today.
The granny broker received the silver and yet her face was filled with worry. She then said softly, "I hope Young Master does not wish for me to do anything illegal. This is an official-endorsed brokerage. I would not be able to do anything illegal."
The private brokerages provided special services for married women to earn some side income by selling their bodies. Could it be that this Young Master wanted such a service?
Seeing the worry etched on the face of the granny broker, Pei Zi Yun broke out into a laugh, "Ha ha granny broker you think too much. Since I've approached an official endorsed brokerage, what I need would clearly have to be legal and open. It's just that I have a special interest in high achieving Daoists and am extremely envious of them. I have a namelist here, and I want you to find for me some of their old belongings which they've left behind. I will reward you heavily."
As he said this, Pei Zi Yun retrieved two banknotes, each of a hundred taels in value that came from the Scenic Pride Bank. It was a one for one exchange to silver taels.
The granny broker was relieved and accepted the banknotes wordlessly. She then hurriedly thanked him, "Many thanks Young Master. You are really generous. I will handle this matter and will not let you down. Do not worry."
The granny broker clutched onto the banknotes tightly, revealing her yellow teeth, "Young Master, when do you want this by?"
Pei Zi Yun pondered for sometime before saying, "It will be more worth it for you to take a shorter time rather than a longer time. When you've found these items, and you've ran out of money, come and look for me."
Pei Zi Yun was aware that he was spending more than was required on this task. He even knew that most of these items that the granny broker would bring to him would not be Legacies. However, as long as she managed to locate one, it would be all worth it.
Hearing Pei Zi Yun's words, the granny broker felt some heat. This was the chance for her to earn some serious money. It was a chance that came by every ten years or more.
The granny broker looked at Pei Zi Yun and thought to herself, 'It seems like this master Pei intends to stay in the capital for the foreseeable future. If I mess this up, it would ruin my reputation. On the contrary if I do this well, I could earn much more in the future.'
She was smiling from ear to ear as she ushered Pei Zi Yun out. She then turned around to the serving maid behind her, "Little Gui'er, follow granny out. We have some big money to earn."
Grand Princess Mansion
The Grand Princess Mansion was near the Palace itself, and had been specially designed and built under the orders of the Emperor. The entire mansion was richly ornamented and even had a huge garden within. The east wing of the mansion was a huge block, from which sweet smelling scents wafted in the air. Silk curtains were swaying on each doorway and window panel. Within this courtyard were many young serving maids, all in the prime of their youth. They were all pretty, sweet and bubbly. It was almost as if this entire wing itself encapsulated the gentleness and sweetness of women.
There were a pair of serving maids who were standing at an entrance downstairs. They had just watered the plants grown by the Canton Princess and were giggling. Their laughters were like the faint sound of bells jingling.
"Ai, right, tell me what happened to the Canton Princess today? She's been locked up in her room the entire day and refused to come out. Could it be that she's down with sickness?" A serving maid asked softly.
"Hai, the only sickness that the Canton Princess would be down with is love sickness. You're thinking too much." The serving maid beside her replied softly. She was the personal maid to the Canton Princess and knew more about her than any other maids.
"Oh, why?! Love sick?!" She asked her partner in shock, and almost spoke too loudly. She covered her mouth, clearly startled.
The Emperor's daughter was addressed as Princess. A Prince's daughter would be given the title of Canton Princess. A Canton Prince's daughter would be called County Princess. The next generation of offspring would be referred to as Region Princes or Princesses. Their husbands would become military advisors. Titles were only given if a person's father was royalty.
In actual fact a Princess's daughter was not a part of the royal family and would not be given the title of Canton Princess. This title however was specially conferred by the Emperor, due to the fondness he had for her. Naturally, whoever she marries would be a huge subject of debate.
"Shhhh… Lower your voice. My stupid mouth, how could I not watch it. Let's not talk about this matter anymore." The serving maid then decided to stop talking.
"Little sister, don't you know what kind of person your older sister is? Whatever is spoken shall remain between the both of us, I shall not speak of this to anyone else. Please tell me more…" There was an intense look of curiosity etched on the face of the serving maid who was asking for more details.
"Fine, I shall tell you. In actual fact I chanced upon this while I was serving some tea. The Canton Princess was in her room drawing. I noticed she was giggling to herself as she was drawing, and happened to catch a peek at the picture. Can you guess what she was drawing?"
"Was it a handsome and awe-inspiring Prince?"
"Ah, Grand Princess, Your Majesty!" The serving maid realized that the Grand Princess appeared behind the maid who had been speaking and was scared stiff, face pale. She covered her mouth and whispered her salutations. They wondered how long she had been standing there, and how much had she overhead. Before any of them had anytime to react, both of them serving maids fell to their knees and bowed, "This slave deserves to die. This slave deserves to die. We deserve to be punished!"
The Grand Princess's expression fell, as she glared coldly at the both of them, "Gossiping about your masters, give yourself 50 slaps on the mouth. If your tongue is still so loose, we shall punish you harsher the next time."
"Slap slap slap" The pair of serving maids were slapping their own faces viciously. Before long, their entire lips were swollen. This however, was a light punishment. To be found guilty of such an offense could even mean being beaten to death.
The Grand Princess didn't bother watching them finish out their punishment and strode upstairs. She was slightly anxious, especially after seeing the materials given to her by the Emperor. In fact, she was astounded after reading the notes. This man was too dangerous to play around with.