Plundering the Dao of the Immortal Journey Chapter 122
Alas, the city of the Southern Kingdom was still a Prefecture city, and the merchandises available for sale were bountiful. Just catering to a mere hundred people costed 50 taels of silver, and required more than ten ox-carts to bring up the mountain.
Along the way, the vast expanse was filled with low hanging clouds, threatening to rain but managing to hold. On the road they were travelling by, there were fields on both sides. Some of them planted with rice, and others planted with tobacco. Far in the distance, an entire stretch of continuous mountains could be seen. Pei Zi Yun noticed white and blue patterns on the walls of the houses that they passed. They were done by the owners of the house. Pei Zi Yun was relaxed and calm, reminiscing about his life.
"Ai, I've been in this world for two years already. Everything passed in a flash."
He then thought about that fateful night when he first slaughtered the bandits that threatened his village. After that he managed to become an Elementary Scholar, and yet received word that Ye Su'er had left. He then had a conflict with Holy Jail Sect before attaining Top Scorer status. Soon after he took it upon himself to ensure that the Sect received an additional title. Now he was in the Southern Kingdom, all the way on the other side of the world. A hundred emotions welled up within his heart. Before he realized it, they had reached the entrance of a particular mountain.
However the merchants who had sold him the supplies refused to take the ox-carts up the mountain.
"Young Master, it's not without reason that our group refuse to go up the mountains. We know that the mountains are extremely dangerous. Young Master if you really insist on going up, we can only send the ox-carts up." The merchant rejected Pei Zi Yun's request to ascend the mountains.
When He Qing Qing heard this, her face turned cold, "Young Master, there's no need to put them in a spot. The mountainous people had long gotten use to their misconceptions."
When He Qing Qing finished speaking, her face was expressionless. Pei Zi Yun then understood what was happening and sighed, "Leave all the goods here. You can go back."
After he had said this, their merchants were evidently relieved, "Many thanks Young Master. Many thanks."
They then hurriedly detached the cart from the oxes and horses before leaving the area as quickly as they could. They didn't even want the cart anymore. When they were far away they whispered, "This mainland Young Master is really foolish to have such relations and dealings with the mountainous tribes. What's more, he's not afraid of being eaten by the venomous insects and vipers."
"The girl probably stole his heart. Look at that fresh young girl, she probably gave him a love potion to have been able to convince him to go up the mountain. Let's see how long he can survive for."
He Qing Qing did not have much on her mind as she listened to their conversation. Her face then fell as she picked up her blade, "Young Chieftain, these people dare to insult you. I shall go and take their lives."
He Qing Qing then made to leave. Pei Zi Yun however held her back, "You do not have to kill these people. I understand why they're acting this way."
Pei Zi Yun then looked at her warmly, "You've already mentioned it just now. My uncle made his camp atop the mountain. The past few times the Southern King tried to invade it along with the other mountain tribes, they failed."
"Since they could not get what they want through force, they had to use other ways to defeat you. That was through the restriction of money, goods and necessities."
"Not only did the Southern King impose trade restrictions, they even spread false rumors that the mountainous tribes will dig out the hearts of men and eat it. Worse, that there were plenty of poisonous insects and snakes. It's even possible that at the start, they fabricated the deaths of several people who had gone up the mountain. After some time passed, everyone started believing the rumors. Even those merchants who used to trade with the mountainous tribes gradually stopped trading. That is the main reason why the mountainous tribes are living in such harsh poverty."
"Based on this fact alone, it was clear that the Southern King was not just any other ruler. It's a pity that the Southern Kingdom has declined, and would be hard to restore." Pei Zi Yun then continued, "Although the Southern Kingdom had long been annexed and reclaimed by the dynasty, these false rumors were allowed to linger and thus became the truth to many people. Although the King no longer existed, there were still many enemies of the mountainous tribes."
"Hence, the problem could not be easily resolved up to this point."
"Based on the way I see it, this Registrar Official Shi is one of the tribe Chieftains with a feud against the mountainous tribes." Pei Zi Yun then smiled before frowning, "You are tasked to handle the matters of the tribe and should understand this."
When He Qing Qing heard this, she came to a huge realization. Her eyes then turned red, "So that's the reason behind all of this. Actually, the Chieftain did leave behind a huge amount of gold and silver. However, in spite of all the money, we found it hard to find merchants willing to sell us their goods. Even if they did agree to sell it, it would cost many times more than the actual price."
"Mother was always anxious and worried. Before she passed, she grabbed my hands and said that she had failed, and let the Chieftain down. She even said, that these were the property of the Young Chieftain… How was she going to account for the mess that she had caused when Young Chieftain returns…."
"It's that we were useless, to be unable to see through their ploys."
He Qing Qing's eyes started welling up with tears before a single teardrop rolled down her cheek. When Pei Zi Yun heard this, his heart wrenched for all the pain they had to endure. He then waved his hands, "Okay that's enough. As long as people are alive, that's the best thing you can hope for. Let's move these goods up the mountain."
He Qing Qing then quietened down and ceased her crying, "Young Master, please wait here for awhile. I shall call the rest of our tribesmen to come down."
He Qing Qing then placed both her index fingers into her mouth and whistled loudly. It was a single, sharp whistle. Before long, a huge eagle flew down upon them. He Qing Qing extended a hand and allowed the eagle to land on it. She then patted its head adoringly.
"Little feathers, take this piece of cloth and return it to our tribe." He Qing Qing then tied the cloth onto the neck of the eagle and allowed it to fly off. It soared into the skies, away from their view.
Before long, a group of more than ten shadows could be seen making their way down from the mountains, "Tribe Leader, you've finally returned. If you'd stayed out any longer, we would no longer have any food left on the mountain."
Pei Zi Yun then looked at the group of people. Among them, there were several tall and strong men. However, most of them were old and frail. Seeing the goods that they had brought, which included rice, they were extremely relieved as they surrounded the goods.
"All of you come, I've finally found the Young Chieftain. All of you pay your respects." He Qing Qing shouted. Hearing them, the group of people did not react. Instead, they launched into a tirade of discussion.
He Qing Qing hardened her face and pulled them over to her, where they started whispering. Before long, the entire group of people fell to their knees, "Respects to Young Chieftain."
As they greeted him, Pei Zi Yun found it slightly awkward to accept their respectful gestures. However, he showed no indication of this, "Everyone please rise. Let's move these provisions up to the mountain."
The rest of the people then stood up, "Many thanks, Young Chieftain."
Several people started pulling the crates of goods up, and others were pushing. Everyone got busy and excited about finally receiving food and necessities. They were speaking with enthusiasm and laughter.
When they reached the mountain stronghold, there weren't many people around. Pei Zi Yun then looked at He Qing Qing, "Where's everyone else, why are there so little people?"
He Qing Qing's eyes then gave a crestfallen look, "All these years, our stronghold had been suppressed and came under numerous attacks. A group of people could not take it any longer, and fled."
Pei Zi Yun then sigh. The people who had not fled and remained in the stronghold then gathered around them. Indeed, there were only a hundred of them. Most of them looked extremely dejected.
He Qing Qing then started speaking with an old lady. Among the lot, she was the most properly attired. Despite her old age and wrinkles, her beauty from all those years ago could still be seen on her face. The old lady then asked, "Miss, is this our Young Chieftain?"
He Qing Qing replied, "Yes, granny. I've already checked it out. Not only does Young Chieftain bear the same sword techniques as our Chieftain, he even has the same magical arts. He should be able to take us to a brighter future."
Everyone around then erupted in cheers. Many years ago, the Chieftain had gathered all the fighting men from this tribe and attacked all the other tribes in every direction. He managed to to overcome more than ten different tribes in battle. The pride and glory of that moment was still etched in the memories of the older generation, and were passed on to their children, and the successive generations.
The next group of people then came and fell to their knees, "Respects to the Young Chieftain."
Pei Zi Yun raised his hands, "Please get up. There're rice grains, cloths and meat. Divide it among yourselves. These are considered nothing, there will be more in future."
The crowd erupted into cheers once more after hearing Pei Zi Yun's words. They then started distributing the wares before grilling the meat on the spot and drinking wine in joyous celebration. Many people started dancing around the fire regardless of gender or age. They linked arms and danced merrily.
When He Qing Qing saw this, tears rolled down her face. How long has it been since she had last seen a scene like this?
Pei Zi Yun maintained an expressionless face. Although He Qing Qing mentioned that the remaining people were the most loyal and devoted, based on his observations, most of them were numb and apathetic. The hard years had burned away their fierce loyalty and devotion. Accepting him was just out of courtesy and obligation. However, this was human nature, and Pei Zi Yun did not have any opinion on it. He then looked at He Qing Qing, "Since my uncle had passed away, I should visit him now. Please take me there."
He Qing Qing nodded her head, "Young Chieftain, that's only correct. Please follow me."
The core venue of this tribe's stronghold was a huge courtyard. The first impression that Pei Zi Yun got was that it was magnificent and awe inspiring. There were delicate columns and pillars around, with double stories. It was richly ornamented with white washed walls. Hexagon bricks covered the walls and added to the rich feel of this place.
He then entered the interior and saw that the corridors to each floor was linked via a staircase. This made it extremely convenient for someone to climb up and down the floors. In the courtyard, the passageways were intersecting with each other. Windows were at every corner, completely symmetrical with each other. It was extremely imposing. However, in spite of the splendid architecture of the place, it was clearly old and run-down.
"This is where the Chieftain used to live. Since the Young Chieftain is now here, we will clean it up." He Qing Qing was slightly embarrassed, "Now, let's go to the mountain behind, and pay our respects to the Chieftain's tomb."
Southern Kingdom's City
Within a yard stood Shi Mu Zhong, who had followed Pei Zi Yun all the way to the Southern Kingdom. He was listening to the report by one of his chess pieces that he had planted here in the Southern Kingdom.
"Li Xian Lian, Daoist, Uncle? Lumen Mountain?"
"Are you saying that the name of the High Priest from twenty years ago was Li Xian Lian?" Shi Mu Zhong asked, frowning.
"Yes, however, not many people knew the High Priest's name. It seems like Pei Zi Yun doesn't know what's going on as well. Coincidentally, the person he seeked help from was the person we planted within the government office, the Registrar Official."
"At first, even the Registrar Official didn't know himself. He only found out after checking."
Shi Mu Zhong paced forward several steps, doubts shrouded his heart, "Based on the reports, Lumen Mountain was the burial place of the High Priest. Let's take one step at a time. What does this person have to do with Pei Zi Yun? Unless he wishes to continue the failed rebellion? If that's so, it's really funny."
"Pei Zi Yun traveled more than a thousand kilometers to get here. It could not be that he came all the way here because he was bored and wanted to incite some conflict. Could it be that it's one of the many deviants from heaven's initial will that I'm unable to see?"
After hesitating, Shi Mu Zhong decided that he needed to check up on the situation in Lumen Mountain before proceeding. He then instructed, "Go back and search up for more information about Lumen Mountain. Be as detailed as possible."
"Yes!" This man walked out and more than ten soldiers followed him, making for an intimidating sight.
Shi Mu Zhong then opened up the Enchanted Talisman. It was only too easy for him to check up on Pei Zi Yun's movements. Young Master Xie had a spy, revealing all the information to him. Apparently it was someone from within Free Cloud Sect.
The Enchanted Talisman then started to glow brightly, before the shadow of a man appeared. Shi Mu Zhong then asked, "Do you know of anyone from Free Cloud Sect who has been to the Southern Kingdoms?"
The shadow within the Talisman pondered for sometime, "As of now, I'm sure there isn't any. This is because Free Cloud Sect's influence doesn't extend to the Southern Kingdoms. They probably do not even have any interactions with the people there."
"However, about twenty years ago, there's a person named Li Xian Lian. It's been rumored that he was a blood relative of the Southern Kingdom's King. When he did not manage to attain the Sect Leader position, he deserted the sect and returned to the Southern Kingdom."
"So it's like that. Tell me everything about the Free Cloud Sect's updates of late." Shi Mu Zhong took several steps forward, thinking that he should not waste this opportunity to ask.
The Enchanted Talisman wasted a considerable energy. That was due to how far he was from the mainland.
"Recently within the inner sect, big Senior brother Song Zhi recently entered the Exponential Powers Cave to cultivate in hopes of breaking past the gates of heaven. This was due to the increased competition by Pei Zi Yun, who was making a push for the Core Disciple spot. Also, within the inner sect....." The man continued speaking
"Okay good. Please be careful." Shi Mu Zhong said contentedly.
"Naturally. I've been here for so many years, and nobody has suspected anything. Why would my identity be divulged now?" As he finished speaking, the Enchanted Talisman expired.
Shi Mu Zhong paced several steps, deep in thought, 'So there's indeed such a link between them. However, Free Cloud Sect did not pursue and kill their deserter. Besides, he's already dead now.'
'What is Pei Zi Yun doing here? Is he trying to confirm that he's really died? But that wouldn't need Pei Zi Yun to be here himself, he could have sent someone here. Unless he's been guided by someone? Could there be a treasure in his tomb?'
Shi Mu Zhong took another few steps, a plan was starting to form in his heart. After some time, he laughed, "Regardless, even if you do gain something from this, I sure ensure you will make plenty of enemies in doing so."
"Most of the people do not want the High Priest's old tribe to return to power. Regardless of whether there's a treasure or not, as long as I leak this information out, there would definitely be someone who would be dead set against this and take action. When that happens, I will be like the fisherman, controlling all the fishes."