Plundering the Dao of the Immortal Journey Chapter 121
Along the streets were several mansions. Plants and flowers adorned the stretch of roads and birds chirped happily in the background. There was a creek near the stretch of mansions, its streams were flowing noisily. There was a shared well every three houses, and every house had its own garden. Hong Lin was leading Pei Zi Yun, showing him around the city.
They had planned to visit an ancient temple today. From afar, Pei Zi Yun could hear the sound of drums beating within the halls of the temple. Pei Zi Yun followed the crowd as he walked in and placed his incense within the burner before walking around the temple.
This temple was very neat. Pei Zi Yun glanced at the walls, where his attention fell to several paintings being hung on. The paintings were extremely lifelike and were a portrayal of the deities. Next to the wall of paintings were the actual statues of the deities, as they carried a dignified demeanor about them.
Apart from the small and big deities, another difference between the temples here and those back in the mainland cities were that there were different statues of monsters around. These weird looking monsters were all naked and had shoulder spaulders* and headbands. They wore large earrings and bared their fangs, with strange expressions on their faces.
(E/D: Shoulder armor)
Pei Zi Yun sighed, "The Southern Kingdom is very far away from the rest of the country. The statues of these monsters were actually of local deities or tribes deities. These temple were very conscientious in their efforts to include their deities as well."
While he was walking out of the temple, he noticed many people still offering incense. The past few days, Hong Lin had been translating for him, and he had started to get used to their ways.
The mountains were the strongholds of many different tribes. Several decades ago, there was a big conflict that broke out. A particular tribe wished to unify the Southern Kingdom with the rest of the country. Although they had already been unified now, it caused a big disagreement within the rest of the tribes back then, as the feelings between the dynasty and the tribes were hostile. Just as he was thinking about this matter, someone approached him, "Young Master, the Master of my house has arrived and is waiting for you."
"Oh, then let's go." Pei Zi Yun turned around and followed him to an inn. When he entered he saw that on the second level, there was a private room. The Registrar Official was seated there and was having some peanuts and a pot of wine. His face was downcast.
Pei Zi Yun glanced at his expression and felt that something was not quite right. Since he hadn't offended him, why was his expression this grim. He frowned before saying, "So it's his Excellency Shi. Please excuse me for the short wait."
The Registrar Official then nodded before saying, "Waiter, serve some dishes."
Before long, the same waiter brought several dishes up. The Registrar Official then poured himself a cup of wine before smiling, "Master Top Scorer, please have some food and wine."
There was a very cold tone attached to his words that made Pei Zi Yun feel surprised. After several cups of wine, the Official cleared his throat, "Master Top Scorer, I've treated you politely as my guest, why have you tried to harm me by setting me up?"
'Could it be that my Sect Senior Uncle who had deserted came to the Southern Kingdom and committed crimes?' Pei Zi Yun thought to himself before replying, "Your Excellency, why would you say that?"
As for being treated as his guest, Pei Zi Yun laughed before pouring himself some wine. Even his own accommodation at the inn was paid for by himself. To treat a guest like this would cause the people in the mainland to laugh till their teeth fell out.
"Don't you know what your uncle has done?" The Registrar Official asked fiercely.
"I have no knowledge of that whatsoever. That year, my uncle left home and we didn't hear much from him. That's why I'm here today to find out." Pei Zi Yun replied, "If I knew where he was, or what he had done, why would I need to ask your Excellency Shi to help? I would go to him straight away."
At this point, Pei Zi Yun spoke with a tone of sarcasm.
"Hm!" The Registrar Official realized that Pei Zi Yun did have a point before looking at him in the eye. Some time later he spoke, "Your uncle is not any normal person. He got involved in some big trouble with the High Priest and caused quite a stir for some time. You better not investigate any further. If not, even yourself, master Top Scorer would be put in a predicament."
"I ask that your Excellency reveal to me the details. Regardless of what happened, I have to retrieve his bones and ashes. If not, how could I ever face my mother?" Pei Zi Yun exhaled as he spoke.
There was some tension within the atmosphere as the Registrar Official picked up his cup and took a drink, "Master Top Scorer, I've got a memento from you in the form of your poem. Since you really wish to know more, you have to go Lumen Mountain."
"As for any other matters from henceforth, please do not look for me again." As he spoke, he used his chopsticks to retrieve a last piece of meat and ate it before walking out.
'This Official is indeed extremely impolite and discourteous. However, his words were extremely mysterious. It seems like this man from my sect did indeed have some secret affairs going on. As for what happened in the sect, I have a vague idea. However, whatever happened here in the Southern Kingdom was so bad that even the Official refused to speak of it. Looks like I have to take it a step at a time.' Pei Zi Yun thought to himself, 'However, he did provide a useful information for me to pursue. The High Priest, Lumen Mountain. And yet he refused to continue. How then could I cajole more information from him?'
'Looks like I have to take a trip down to Lumen mountain to take a look for myself.' Pei Zi Yun thought before calling for Hong Lin to come. He then took out two taels of silver and tossed it over to him, "Hong Lin, this reward is for you. The past few days you had been busy with me, and I shall not shortchange you. Inside the room there are several dishes and wine, you can have them all."
Hong Lin received the silver and turned around into the room where he looked at the sumptuous dishes on the table. He was immediately hungry and was delighted and thought to himself, "Young Master is very generous. I've benefited from him."
Pei Zi Yun turned around and started walking to his room. Suddenly, he felt a strange feeling that he was going to come under attack soon and hurriedly drew his sword. He then saw a sword rushing towards him as he rose up to block the assault. Sparks flew in all directions.
When Pei Zi Yun looked up, he saw a woman dressed in black. She wore a gold ankle bracelet and was wielding a Miaodao. It was clear that she was out for his life.
(E/N: two-handed saber with a 1,2 meter blade - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miaodao)
"Who are you?" Pei Zi Yun looked at this Miaodao woman, whose eyes were squinted as though she was in deep in concentration. Hearing Pei Zi Yun's question, she replied coldly, "Since you are the nephew of the High Priest, I have to kill you. If not, should I wait for you to incite a rebellion within the mountain tribes?"
When she finished speaking she swung her sword down towards Pei Zi Yun in a ferocious hack. Pei Zi Yun then understood. It must be a result of the Registrar Official's investigation that leaked information and was traced back to him. The enemies of his sect's senior uncle had come to exact their revenge on him.
Pei Zi Yun then gave a cold laugh, "Who are you? I'm looking for Li Xian Lian, what's it to you?"
"Li Xian Lian was the High Priest of Miao Tribe, don't you know?" The woman in black had a fearsome killing aura on her, and her sword techniques were rather sharp and strangely familiar to Pei Zi Yun.
'I should capture this woman first before interrogating her later on.' Pei Zi Yun was thinking as she smiled, "So you're an enemy of my elder. I shall capture you first before speaking."
Just as he was about to launch an assault on her, he felt a bright white light of Dao energy. Pei Zi Yun blinked his eyes in a daze before the light disappeared, 'Is this Dao Arts? That's strange.'
"Restricting Charm!" Pei Zi Yun pointed at her and the woman in black tripped. In order to regain her balance, she had to use her curved knife to support herself before getting back onto her feet.
Pei Zi Yun then demonstrated the Free Cloud Sword Techniques in an attempt to subdue her. Only after the first few strokes were executed, the woman in black could not defend herself much longer. She retreated in fear as she parried the blows as hard as she could. All of a sudden, she pulled off her face mask and shouted, "Young Chieftain, please stop."
Just as he was about to finish her off, he paused mid-attack. Pei Zi Yun blinked several time, "Who are you?"
After removing her mask, it was clear that she was a seventeen or eighteen years old woman. She carried a sweet scent on her and had beautiful eyes and a set of perfectly aligned teeth. She was indeed gorgeous. At this point she fell to her knees and kowtowed, "I am the daughter of the Chieftain's maid. Now I've taken on the responsibility of the main maid and am responsible for buying and selling of goods for the tribe."
"Why did you try and kill me earlier? And why did you refer to me as Young Chieftain?" Pei Zi Yun asked coldly.
The young woman hurriedly explained, "Young Chieftain, this Registrar Shi Bao is an enemy of ours. He had been gathering information of Li Xian Lian which alerted me. I thus thought it was a ploy by the government officials and the other mountain tribes."
"I later found out that the High Priest's nephew had come. We were all surprised and glad. However, we were afraid it was a trap as well. Hence I've come to see if it's true. I then realized that Young Chieftain knew the Chieftain's sword techniques, and knew magical arts as well. The Chieftain had left a message behind, saying that as long as someone knew his sword techniques and magical arts, that person would be his successor. And that we were to keep him and allow him to inherit the position and treasures, as he will take our tribe to brighter futures."
The young woman was visible shaken as she deeply kowtowed once more.
"Oh, really?" Pei Zi Yun pondered for some time, trying to analyze the facts before him. He then told her, "Throw your weapon away first, and then tell me everything in detail."
The young woman picked up the blade in her hand and tossed it aside. She then retrieved a dagger, poison powder and throwing knives from within her robes and placed it aside. She then answered, "Young Chieftain, ever since the High Priest died, my mother managed to bribe the soldiers. We then managed to escape to Lumen mountain. Soon after, we openly declared our support for the Imperial Court. If it weren't for the venomous insects and vipers protections, we would have been annexed by the other tribal strongholds. It's just that without a Chieftain, our own stronghold had been becoming weaker by the day."
"The High Priest left a prophecy before he left, that there will be someone who would come and take over him. We should thus believe that the new Chieftain will take us to greater heights. My mother was the closest person to the High Priest and she had witnessed the great skills and powers exhibited by him. The magical skills used by Young Chieftain, and the proficient sword skills made me realize that it was you."
Pei Zi Yun thought for some time before understanding the entire matter. However, he could not understand why she would kowtow to him and acknowledge him as the Chieftain in the middle of the fight. It was no wonder that this woman's sword skills and magical skills bore faint resemblance to Free Cloud Sect's. Having such skills in martial arts and Dao arts, it was not difficult to effectively serve the stronghold.
It's been so many years and they're all still so fiercely loyal, it was rather scary. He then instructed, "Tell me everything there's to know about your Chieftain. I came from the mainland, and am not clear about what has happened here."
"Yes!" She then explained everything in detail.
"The Chieftain used his Dao skills to treat the sick. Before long he became the Priest of a particular region of the mountain and saved countless of lives. Over time, his expertise in this area became more proficient as he became responsible for the health of most of the tribes in this area. At it's peak, there were more than ten different tribes who pledged their allegiance to our King and we had several tens of thousands of soldiers. However, the King of the Southern Kingdom was extremely weak and could not withstand a single blow. At that point in time, everyone pledged their allegiances to our Chieftain to steal the throne and become King himself. The rest of us were extremely excited."
The young woman spoke proudly, before her face turned gloomy, "The day before his coronation, the Chieftain suddenly passed away, and everything collapsed from then on."
"At first, we still had the support of the other tribes. Gradually they started dying out as well. Without the Chieftain, the remaining tribes started to disobey. Some other tribes even attacked us. And the new King of the Southern Kingdom announced that the Chieftain was a traitor, and wanted to annex the entire tribe."
"All these years, only the most devout and loyal believers remained, and we gathered at the top of the mountain. After many years, most of us have either died or scattered. Now, there are a little more than a hundred of us and we are all living in poverty."
"Unexpectedly, our Young Chieftain finally arrived."
"What's your name? And what's Lumen mountain?" While Pei Zi Yun listened to her, he had several thoughts of his own. His sect senior uncle was a Miao person. It was no wonder that regardless of how gifted he was, he had been unable to ascend to the Sect Leader position.
(TN: Miao was a Chinese ethnic group from the south western areas of China)
Coming back to this situation, based on the way Pei Zi Yun heard this, he had used his Dao arts to raise a vast army. However, he suffered retaliation for overusing his powers and died suddenly? Although the country of the Southern Kingdom is small, it was still an independent country.
"My mother named me He Qing Qing. Lumen mountain was where the Chieftain made his camp. Our tribe is thus established on Lumen mountain. The Chieftain's tombstone is there too." At this point, He Qing Qing kowtowed, "Young Chieftain, please save us all. We've waited for more than twenty years, and life is hard for all of us. Our tribe has not had grains for the past three days."
"At this point, I have no other options to go. I was just thinking of selling the items the Chieftain gave to my mother and I." As she said this, she pointed at the gold ankle bracelet and started wailing.
Pei Zi Yun sighed. Just as he wanted to speak out he stopped. He finally nodded his head before saying, "Rice grains are a small matter, it's just money. I have plenty of that here. Take some and buy whatever you need."
"It's just that my uncle's tombstone…" Pei Zi Yun said gravely before continuing, "I have to go and pay my respects."