Plundering the Dao of the Immortal Journey Chapter 56
Looking upon the newly built school, Pei Zi Yun then entered the hall of the Ancestral Temple. He picked up a book on the Pei family linage.
The Pei family lineage book was rather thin, and the very first page had already started describing their history. It could be traced back up to 400 years ago. The second page described his paternal grandfather, and the third page was about Pei Zi Yun's own father. All the males in the family had their names inscribed on this book.
Pei Zi Yun studied it for some time before putting it aside. Third uncle then said, "It's almost time, let's return to the village. The shed and the stage are ready. Let's go have some fun."
"Sure!" Pei Zi Yun nodded his head in approval. Once he walked out the door, he saw Pei Qian Shi, whose eyes were puffy and red. There was a brazier where she had been burning paper notes.
Today was the official opening of the Ancestral Temple. By traditional rules, women were not allowed inside today, although they would be allowed in on any other day. Pei Qian Shi was thus outside burning paper notes, tears streaming down her face as she was mumbling to herself.
Pei Qian Shi received the document from Pei Zi Yun, declaring that he was officially a High Scholar. There was the seal of the capital transfixed onto it. Her hands were trembling as she looked at the document. She was thinking about her husband, about how she had hidden his memorial tablet in their house all these years, before the Ancestral Shrine was built. In a blink of an eye, ten years had passed. She started crying once more, "Husband, when you were alive, you always said you wished for Pei'er to become a High Scholar, and bestow glory upon his ancestors. Now, Pei'er has already achieved this. I've waited for ten years for this day to arrive."
Pei Qian Shi cried miserably, and this touched Pei Zi Yun as well. His eyes turned red as tears rolled down his cheeks as well.
Pei Qian Shi sighed when she was done crying, and looked much more relaxed after. She stood up and said, "I was finally able to prove my worth to you, and to the Pei ancestors."
Just as Pei Qian Shi stood up, Pei Zi Yun felt his Plum Blossom tremble abruptly, probably because he had accomplished the mission of achieving High Scholar status. He then said, "I will place this Pei family lineage book on the altar in the temple, so that our ancestors can get a good look at it."
Since this made sense, nobody thought anything strange of it. Pei Zi Yun strolled in, and felt that there was something different about this time that he had entered the temple. The previous time he entered the temple, he did not feel anything. Now, he felt that it was much colder, darker and he felt that gloom was overflowing within these halls. A scent of incense wafted through the entire room.
A small white plum blossom floated into his vision, as it rapidly transformed into an information interface. There was a red string of words floating right in the middle.
Obtain High Scholar status to fulfil mother's desire (Completed, Extractable)
A small white petal became visible on his forehead. Just as that happened, a red transparent petal formed beside the white petal. Both petals were glimmering brightly.
Seeing this happen, Pei Zi Yun took in a deep breath.
"I've already obtained half of the second petal. I can now absorb Dao Manuals."
"It's a pity Dao Manual Legacies are much rarer than Wisdom Legacies."
"Dao Manual Legacies are not owned by just any normal person. In fact, a person has to spill his blood, sweat and tears and work extremely diligently in order to create such a unique item. Doing all these creates a True Spirit."
"When True Spirit meets a mystical or symbolic item, that is how a Dao Manual Legacy is formed."
"In a hundred opportunity, if one instance of True Spirit creates a Dao Legacy or Knowledge Legacy, it's considered very lucky."
"As for the rogue cultivator from Black Wind Sect, his Martial Arts was laughable. Yet he was able to create True Spirit through hard work. In doing so, he was able to create the Legacy."
Pei Zi Yun stood still in the Ancestral Temple, shaking his head in pity, "Now I'm the one who has been taken advantage of."
"The original owner had suffered many tribulations. He was afraid that by directly giving me the Plum Blossom, I would not complete any of his missions, and undo his regrets. Hence he set a limit on my powers, and would not grant me further authority until I've met his requirements. This really gives me so much headache."
"On the other hand, if the original owner had not set a limit on Authority, I would've cut corners and taken the easy way out everytime. I would've entered a sect right away. Then I wouldn't have any of these responsibilities, which meant I wouldn't have killed anyone and implicated myself to this extent."
After the sorrow he was feeling dissipated, Pei Zi Yun regained his composure as he felt the Plum Blossom on his forehead fading into transparency. He then placed the High Scholar document on the altar and bowed once before turning to leave.
The memorial tablets were a place for the souls to temporarily reside in, away from the Underworld. When the memorial tablets were placed within the ancestral hall, they were able to roam the entire hall. That was why many people did not feel safe placing the memorial tablets within their own homes. The ancestral halls were therefore more Yin than Yang, and nobody should stay inside for extended periods.
There was a glow of spiritual light within the memorial tablet. After some time, the glow transformed into a faint shadow of a man. It seemed he was made out of mist and smoke, with several black threads of Qi around his body. If it weren't for the amulet separating the black Qi from his body, it would've completely engulfed him.
And yet when the High Scholar's document was placed onto the altar, it radiated threads of white energy followed by red energy. This energy combated the Black Qi, and forced it to be reduced by a considerable bit. In fact, this white and red energy now enveloped him, expelling the black Qi away from his body.
The shadow of the man inside the memorial tablet bore an uncanny resemblance towards Pei Zi Yun. Just as he saw Pei Zi Yun turn around to leave, he said softly, "Mistress Ping, Yun'er."
There was an amulet placed behind the memorial tablet. It gradually became brighter and brighter before it was completely engulfed in flames. After some time, it turned into grey ashes.
The middle-aged man's faint shadow turned into ashes, along with the amulet, as he disappeared from the memorial tablet. At the exact same time, in a monastery some distance away, a middle-aged Daoist was meditating. He suddenly felt a strange feeling in his chest and sighed, "Brother Yuan Shen, your bad karma has past. This calls for a celebration."
As soon as Pei Zi Yun left the Ancestral Temple, he heard the sounds of firecrackers in rapid succession. They then made their way back to the village together.
The last time he returned to the village as an Elementary Scholar, there was some celebrations. This time, the celebration was on much bigger scale. They had prepared fishes, poultry, different kinds of red meat. The delicious aroma of the meat wafted through the entire village. When Pei Zi Yun reached the entrance of the village, there was a big plot of open area before him. Many tables were arranged neatly, where several Elementary Scholars from other villages were guests, and thus the front row seats were reserved for them. They smiled and welcomed him.
Pei Zi Yun returned the smile, and clasped his hands to acknowledge them. He then said to the Chief Patrol Officer, "Your excellency, please sit."
"Master Top Scorer, please sit!" The both of them were equally courteous to one another as they took their seats.
Cao San followed behind the Chief Patrol Officer. He led a group of soldiers as they took their seats. There were several landowners, scholars, and physicians, all present for the celebration. Seeing that everyone has taken their seat, there was a shout, "Begin!"
The performance was a play, displaying the role of a government official in a comedic fashion. Pei Zi Yun could not help but smile. Seeing that everyone has already been seated, and the show has begun, the dishes were served.
Pei Zi Yun received several toasts from people around as they celebrated his new title. The Chief Patrol Officer and Pei Zi Yun were having casual talks as they turned to their drinks during the short pauses between. After just several drinks, both of them were flushed red from the alcohol, and were just staring wide eyed at the stage.
As for people at the back, they were playing number games and had to drink whenever they lost. Most of them were red faced from having too much drinks. It was a huge banquet, and everyone had started drinking from early in the day, all the way till nightfall.
At the end of the night, Pei Qian Shi was in a talking mood. She dragged Pei Zi Yun to a corner and started talking to him. She spoke of many issues, mostly about Pei Zi Yun's father. Only after the night got deep did she head back to the house to sleep. Pei Zi Yun did not feel bothered by this at all. He walked past the guest room, and found the Chief Patrol Officer snoring within.
The other room was occupied by Cao San and the rest of his troops. They were sleeping on the floor, snoring soundly as well.
'This Chief Patrol Officer is really something. He's able to command and able to submit.' People always assume that military people were always straightforward. This impression however, is not true. Pei Zi Yun realized how this Chief Patrol Officer had changed his attitude towards him numerous of times.
Pei Zi Yun realized this was human nature too. If he were to take and pass the Grand Scholar Examination, the Patrol Officer wouldn't even bother talking to Pei Zi Yun, his status was too low to match Pei Zi Yun's.
However, if he had chosen to join a sect, although he was a mere High Scholar, it would complement the Chief Patrol Officer in many ways. One was a powerful military official within the county, and the other was a Top Scorer, a High Scholar whose fame was vast.
Just as he was thinking, he spun around. Although more thought and deliberation should be placed into this matter, now was not the time for it. In fact, it was now time for him to absorb the contents of the Legacy, since his new authority permitted it. Once the legacy had been absorbed, it would create spiritual roots. Then, he would be able to cultivate the Dao arts. He then left the room.
He realized that this house was rather narrow, and made plans in his head to rebuild his house. He walked into the bedroom and noticed that the layout of it was tidy. The walls were lined with decorative wallpaper and the bed was within. There was a screen in the middle, dividing the room into two sections. Pei Zi Yun ran straight for the bookshelf and took out a book.
This book was old and slightly torn. He placed in under his pillow and placed his head down on the pillow. Once his head touched the pillow, he fell into a deep sleep.
He was staring into nothing, and the sound of people could be heard some distance away as they converged upon him.
Standing in a crowd of people, his eyes were looking forward. Then came the sound of firecrackers. People were jostling around him, as they shouted in excitement, "The bridal sedan is coming, the bride is coming!"
The sound of drums beat in rapid succession, unceasing. Everything around him was red. It hurt the eyes to see so much red everywhere. When he looked at the streets, his bride was there.
The bridal sedan was perched on a glorious white horse. The horse wore a huge rose around his neck.
It was almost as if he couldn't move a muscle regardless of how much he wanted to.
It was like a scream, but so weak and soft that he couldn't even hear it himself. Just then, the bridal sedan trembled, as it revealed the opening end of the sedan.
When he gazed in the direction of the sedan, his eyes met a pair of tear-filled eyes.
In the first moment, they laid eyes on each other. In the next moment, someone bumped into him, amidst the jostling crowd, and broke their gaze. When he looked up, the bridal sedan had already past by.
Everyone dispersed in groups of two and three. He looked at the sky and took in a deep breath. The sky has become overcast with clouds as the wind grew bigger.
"Don't you regret?"
"That was the woman you've loved your entire life."
"..." He walked away hurriedly. In order to cultivate Dao, how could he turn back. Tears welled up within his eyes. Before long, he heard a faint voice calling from afar. It led him to an old hut. He pushed open the door, and saw a woman weaving fabrics within. Her hair was white and her movements were slow due to old age.
The wind grew stronger, as it made loud sounds. He realized there was blood on his cheek as he touched it and looked at his hands. He could only see her white hair as he approached her, reaching out his hands as he shouted once more, "Mother!"
The rain was heavy in the middle of the night. Just before she could raise her head, everything turned into dust and smoke.
"Ah!" Pei Zi Yun jolted awake in shock. He felt like he had only been asleep for a short while. The new candle that he had lit before going to sleep had only a small portion that was melted. A single tear rolled down his eyes. A strange, inexplicable feeling came over his chest. His entire body was trembling in shock.
Indeed he had entered a lifelike dream. Just like the past few times.
A scholar, with dreams of eventually becoming an Elementary Scholar. One day, he obtained a book pertaining to the Dao Arts. This book had ignited the spark, kickstarted his dreams of cultivating, and becoming a Daoist.
Without any concern or care for his aging mother. Hardening his heart towards his woman's tears. He struggled and persevered on towards the Immortal Path. In the blink of an eye, everything that he once held dear had left him.
The sunset was still a long distance away, and he had done everything wrong. He had lost his mother to sickness, and lost his beloved woman to another man. And yet he persisted in his crazy endeavors to cultivate. Even if his motive for cultivation was to rob and plunder, and to attain evil and dark Dao Arts.
In the blink of an eye, ten years had gone by. In his old age, the glass had been shattered and he had realized all the madness, all that he had lost. A deep sense of despair permeated through his entire body, from his bones to his stomach.
"Did he regret?"
He regretted every bit of this. If only he could turn back time, he would've burnt that book of Dao Arts that he had found. He would focus on his academic studies, and make his mother laugh in pride and happiness. He would've married the love of his life, and not thread along the Dao, and reject cultivating.
When he woke up from the dream, Pei Zi Yun touched his face, and felt tears on his cheeks. He felt the exact same despair deep down in his heart, and could not shake it off for a long time. This was how he felt, all the way till the time he died.
Only after trying to keep his composure, Pei Zi Yun managed to get a grip over his feelings.
Although it was still late in the middle of the night, cicadas were croaking just outside. He pushed open the windows, and glanced at the full moon overhead. The moonlight shone in, and Pei Zi Yun pointed at the tree outside.
There was no wind, yet the tree shook violently. He had finally acquired spiritual roots.