Plundering the Dao of the Immortal Journey Chapter 8
Peach Blossom Origins
As soon as Pei Zi Yun walked out, the Chief of the Monastery instructed the other nuns to settle Ye Su'er in. The front half of the monastery looked perfectly normal. Once she got to the private area, behind the flower door however, Ye Su'er was stumped.
As she walked through the corridor, she noticed that it was round in layout. Trees, rocks and mountains surrounded her. In the middle was the great hall. Behind the great hall were five rooms, each were richly ornamented. As she stepped into her own room, she observed that it was furnished, and was very tidy. The walls were lined with bark paper. The Daoist Nun smiled and said, "You should get some rest. I will wake you up when it is meal time."
As the nun walked out, she saw the monastery Chief putting down the paper she had been reading earlier. There was a Dao Enchanted Talisman in front of her, bright red in colour. On it was a circle of light and a shadow in it. The shadow was speaking plainly, "Junior sister rarely uses enchanted talisman to communicate. What is the matter?"
"Senior sister, today Zhao Ning of Free Cloud Sect wrote a letter, asking me to protect someone." The Chief laughed and continued, "And so I sold a small small favour."
"This is a small matter, it's just as well that junior sister should protect this person. But you would not suddenly use the enchanted talisman just to tell me this, would you?" The person behind the shadow said.
"It looks like senior sister knows me well. Look at this piece of work, this was done by Pei Zi Yun in less than five strokes. He is indeed talented, take a look at the description"
After she said that, she began to read his work aloud. Peach Blossom Origins was only three hundred and ninety five words, thus, she finished reading it quickly. After she had finished reading, she and the shadow spent some time in silence before speaking, "Although the prose was only a few hundred words, the description was out of this world."
"It sounds like paradise, and a few parts of it seemed to describe the divine mountains."
"This Pei Zi Yun is a disciple of Dao?"
The Monastery Chief laughed and replied "If he were a Dao disciple, why would I be amazed?"
"I know this man. Zhao Ning of Free Cloud Sect has gone to look for his senior uncle who had been reincarnated, and who was to be born in Snail Village. At first, he had noticed him but afterwards realized that he was reluctant to leave this physical world, his only priority was to study and attain top marks in the examinations. Zhao Ning eventually dropped him. It seems like he does not know the secrets of Dao."
"And these descriptions of paradise and the divine mountains, even the disciples from other sects and our own initiate disciples are unaware of. Only true disciples will be able to know this. And Zhao Ning would not have told him."
"That is one of the core secrets of Dao right?" the shadow fell into silence before suddenly speaking once again, "The enchanted talisman is almost spent, and we can't discuss this in detail. How about this, I shall leave the mountains and take a look for myself."
As soon as she said it, a loud snap was heard and the circle of light on the enchanted talisman vanished. The Daoist Woman did not seem to find it strange and laughed, "Haha, never would I have expected myself to be investigating others, but alas! It's all in the name of finding talent for my masters, and shall be worth it in the end!"
Being in high spirits she ordered, "Ask Auntie Li to cook a few more dishes tonight, there is going to be an extra person around for dinner!"
The Daoist Nun agreed without much difficulties. The monastery was quite large in area and they were all ladies running the place. Master usually would not open the kitchen unless unecessary. They would usually go to a nearby eatery to have their meals. At this point however, just asking and providing a few pieces of silver was a small price to pay.
It was just a few pieces of silver. There was no issue with that.
Pei Zi Yun was quietly thinking. It was almost noon, even if a mishap were to occur people still needed to eat. The village was covered with smoke from kitchen chimneys that arrived at his door and assaulted his nostrils. The entire house was covered with ashes and the smell of rice cooking.
"Mother, are you home?"
Pei Zi Yun looked around. It was yesterday that his mother had left home, but had now returned and was preparing lunch.
This was an approximately thirty plus year old woman who looked so weary and tired that she seemed like she was forty instead. And his poor mother had been infected by a virus and was coughing non-stop.
A heat wave came over his chest as he hurriedly walked up to his mother and started massaging her back. Pei Qian Shi turned to see who it was and realized it was her own son who had just came back from being out.
Pei Qian Shi took hold of Pei Zi Yun's shirt and said frightfully, "Son, this morning I was home but did not see you. I heard from the women in the village that the Black Wind Brigand came to extort from us. Having not seen my son, I was so worried. Only after seeing that my son is fine, can I finally relax."
As she was speaking, tears rolled down her face.
His mother in his previous life was like that too, always shedding tears for him. Pei Zi Yun saw his mother crying and felt a jolt of pain in his heart.
At this moment, Pei Qian Shi straightened up her body. Seeing the fire in the stove licking the bottom of the pot, as steam rose up signaling the porridge was almost ready. This household was stricken with poverty. Its kitchen was tiny, and had no chimney thus creating a situation where, all the smoke was contained within the house.
It seemed that as his mother was waiting for the porridge to be cooked, she was sewing to make some extra money for their living expenditure. Due to the smoke constantly being trapped in the house, she developed a cough.
"Mother, more firewood needs to be added, I can do it! Pei ZI Yun pushed his mother aside gently, refusing to let her do more than was needed. Pei Qian Shi, unable to convince her son to let her do it, stood aside and continued stitching.
"Ye Su'er, I am very fond of her. She is so graceful, and knows how to look after a household." His mother said smiling and she spoke, completely unaware that only yesterday the bandits almost took her away.
"I know you and Ye Su'er are childhood sweethearts. In the future, no matter what, you must always be kind to her. You both look like innocent playmates now, but once you start a family, I will finally be at ease." As she spoke, she noticed that the porridge was finally done and went to get a few bowls.
Son and mother having salted vegetables and plain porridge quietly. The Pei household brought their child up with strict rules. During meals, unless it was something important, no words should be spoken.
After finishing their lunch, Pei Zi Yun told his mother about meeting Mr Zhao and hiding Ye Su'er. He was telling her about Mr Zhao giving him the money, and permitting him to take the imperial examinations when his mother put down her stitching and started talking.
"Your deceased father was a scholar under the rule of the previous king. During that time, the imperial court was unmanned, and so he decided to initiate a suppression of the armed bandits in the country. He was killed by the bandits as a result.
"This was the meaning of dying for your country. To be trapped and to die is better than surrendering to the bandits and murdered."
"In the chaos, who can tell the difference? I escaped with your uncle. There was such pandemonium around, and no peace. Your uncle tried to save me, and as a result ruptured his old wound and breathed his last."
"When we were escaping amidst the chaos, I only had time to bring a few belongings out. When I arrived at this village, I only had some money to buy some house necessities. After giving birth to you, life got harder. Apart from leaving behind your materials for studying, we sold off everything we had as collateral for the house. Thankfully I know how to sew, and have been using this skill to survive ever since."
"As the new dynasty settled down, peace was gradually estored. Many years ago, Mr Zhao came here and took pity on this household. He then accepted you as his disciple and student in an attempt to raise us from poverty, teaching you to study daily."
"Today, hearing you say you are going to take the imperial examinations, my family has done something to make our ancestors proud. You father can also rest in peace in his grave. When you finally attain top scores, please do not forget the help rendered to you by Mr Zhao."
As his mother was speaking, Pei Zi Yun could not help falling into a daze. He walked to his small room, with a small window and a wooden bed lay in the middle of the room. On the bed were sheets that had already been washed and were folded neatly. There was a shelf too, nailed the wall where numerous books sat. This was what his mother had strived so hard for, a bookshelf filled with books. Instead of bringing over gold and silver and valuable belongings she brought his books.
These, are the fundamentals of a scholar.
The books on the shelf had all been read before by the original owner. A file on the table kept his ink and paper.
Pei Zi Yun sat on a small stool below the bed as he observed his surroundings with a heavy heart and was lost in thought. Remembering the mission on the system he reached some sort of an understanding.
It seems like the original owner was not completely inflexible. After his father and uncle had died, he and his mother were left to fend for themselves. Pei Qian Shi was originally a country girl and had faced considerable sufferings.
And this system was part of the original owner's spiritual gift that had no regard for anything else but for the mission. The objectives set were all related to the regrets of the original owner. That was why the first mission was to rescue Ye Su'er and the second mission was to ace the imperial examinations. The main reason for wanting to score well was in front of him, his mother who had not turned forty yet had entire head of white hair and wrinkles.
Pei Zi Yun opened his writing materials, prepared his ink, picked up his quill and started writing an essay.
After some time, when the essay was completed, he sampled the quality of it and realized it was not up to standard. The essay had something severely lacking, but he could not quite put his finger on it. He thought hard in silence.
The original owner's intellect was not very high. After ten years of studying, at this point, he gave up. Following that, he wasted five years of his time before finally scoring well. Although he had inherited all the memories from the previous owner, that did not equate to capability. It was akin to reading someone else's book.
And now, even with the memories, his essay was still unable to meet the quality of an Elementary Scholar.
Of course, with the memories he saved a few years of studying. But to ace the examinations with the original owner's standard, that would still require another few years.
Can he and Pei Qian Shi wait another few years?
In the original owner's memory, Pei Qian Shi would die in seven years from an illness.
He thought long and hard before picking up his teacher's essay and beginning to read it. Before long, he let out a sigh, "Even if I were to spend another few years, I am unable to come up with an essay of this standard!"
"Then it looks like I have to cheat."
"The original owner really was narrow minded to be afraid of his own talents. I, however, am not afraid."
"The system is just there to announce missions and to unlock powers. Actually, going by the previous owner's memories, this Plum Blossom has the ability to steal wisdom and Dao Arts!"
Pei Zi Yun sat in his room, with the windows half open and facing south. Suddenly a stalk of plum blossom bloomed outside his window. He observed it, thinking hard and considering its moves.
"The Plum Blossom already has one petal open but is still unable to steal Dao Arts. It can however steal unnaturally strong wisdom. At this point, all that is needed is to find an object that is harnessing this wisdom."
"If this does work, it can tremendously speed up my acquisition of knowledge. If I were to ace the imperial examinations, it would have to be through this method."
"I remember Mr Zhao being a Daoist, he must have a huge library containing a lot of books."
"Following the memories of the original owner, if the book was printed or copied, even if it was filled with incredible works, it couldn't be absorbed. This is because it doesn't harness any Dao Wisdom."
"Only when a scholar or Daoist spends a lifetime, with blood, sweat and tears, writing with his own hands, and intentionally harnessing their wisdom in the book, can it be stolen."
"Mr Zhao has innumerable books. Maybe there's one that is suited to my needs. Since I have already troubled Mr Zhao today, I won't go today and will go tomorrow instead."
"Since I had been murdering all night and am exhausted, I shall take the day and rest."
Thinking this way, Pei Zi Yun settled his heart down. Feeling fatigued physically and mentally, he rolled around on the mattress, falling asleep before long.