Plundering the Dao of the Immortal Journey Chapter 9
- Snail Village. Early Morning
Pei Zi Yun woke up early and started a fire to boil the porridge. He then sat down to study. As soon as he flipped open a book, he realized that even if he had the advantage of having a good memory, this studying intensity felt strange. He started reading and learning until it became too difficult. His heart was heavy with worry.
"The original owner hasn't studied in over ten years, naturally his efforts will not help me now. Even if I were to absorb all his knowledge immediately it would still be hard to ace the Imperial Examinations."
"Looks like I have to quickly find a book hosting wisdom, only then will I be able to attain success."
Pei Zi Yun made up his mind to visit his teacher later at night and see if there was any legacy of wisdom in his library. If there was none, he would find it difficult to ace the imperial exam. However, he cannot entirely place his hopes on the presence of these "legacies". He still has to go through the hardships of studying hard. He immediately picked up his book and started reading once more.
The sun gradually climbed to its peak as the day went past, mercilessly beating down onto his straw cottage, himself and onto the ground. The dew in the surroundings evaporated and became mist. Near his house was a small stream, and further up were some children riding cows and chasing chickens in the field.
Pei Qian Shi started coughing the moment she woke up. As soon as her coughing fit ended she started preparing breakfast. When she stepped out her room she noticed Pei Zi Yun hard at work and felt satisfied. She gently walked across, afraid of distracting him.
Pei Qian Shi entered the kitchen and saw steam rising. A pot of porridge was already boiling over the fire. She took a few stalks of green onion and began to cut them into fine bits and scooped up some preserved vegetables.
She suddenly thought of her son who was studying hard but could only eat plain porridge and salted vegetables, yet she couldn't do anything since there was nothing else to eat.
Suddenly, the clucking of a hen could be heard. It was one of the three hens they owned who seemed to have laid several eggs in the nest and was now walking in circles around them.
Pei Qian Shi squealed in happiness as she walked over to the back of cottage and reached down to feel three smooth and round eggs. She decided to give two to her son, and leave the last one in the nest.
She gently walked to the kitchen filled with smoke and started coughing uncontrollably. This alarmed Pei Zi Yun who was busy concentrating on his studies. Pei Zi Yun rushed to the kitchen where the sound of coughing grew louder.
He saw that the porridge had already been prepared and eggs were now boiling with smoke bellowing from the stove. Pei Zi Yun snatched the pot away from her and said, "Mother, let me handle this. There is smoke and you are coughing so violently."
Pei Qian Shi laughed and said, "I will be more mindful about my cough, you should go and study. I've been doing ten years worth of household chores, why should I be afraid of some smoke?"
As soon as she said that, she snatched the pot back. Pei Zi Yun then gently pushed his mother out of the kitchen without speaking further. He rolled up his sleeves and scooped the porridge into bowls.
Pei Qian Shi took the two eggs and placed them in his bowl, "Zi Yun you will be taking the Imperial Examinations soon, it's tough on you, eat more! Mother is old, eating more or less has no difference."
Pei Zi Yun hesitated while looking at her frail frame, and looked down, heart heavy with sorrow. He took one of the eggs from his bowl and returned it to his mother saying, "Mother, you have one too. If not I shall be too ashamed and will not eat any at all."
Saying this, he put his chopsticks on the table, folded his arms and looked straight at Pei Qian Shi.
Pei Qian Shi, seeing the determination on her son's face, knew that he was a filial son. If she refused to eat the egg, her son would not eat as well. Not able to persuade him, she lowered her head and started eating, tears streaming down her face.
The meal was concluded quickly. Pei Zi Yun looked up at the sky and noticed several clouds floating above. The sun was overhead in the east at its highest point, radiating heat.
Pei Qian Shi picked up her sewing accessories and walked over to the living room to start to work.
Pei Zi Yun walked over and told Pei Qian Shi "Mother, as I was studying yesterday I noticed that my essay was lacking in some aspect. I will go over to Mr Zhao's house later and request for some pointers. I just wanted to let you know that I shall leave soon."
"Go ahead son." Pei Qian Shi replied. Without another word she began to sew. Seeing his mother with cracked skin on her fingers due to all the household chores she had to do, he thought to himself: No wonder the original owner wants to ace the imperial exams so badly. It is just filial piety.
The appearance of the Plum Blossom first occurred when the original owner was about ten years old. At that age, he was still unsure of what was happened, yet he had his first successful absorption experience, a few pieces of old scrolls.
However the original owner was naive, loved studying to a fault and was afraid of this "strange power" and hence wasted so many years.
But Pei Zi Yun would not do the same mistake. He thus began making his way to Mr Zhao's house.
Inside Mr Zhao's fenced yard was a young man, with a bow slung over his back and a dagger in his hands, skinning a hunted beast. He made an incision on the beast before peeling its skin over.
Mr Zhao was currently in his house sipping some tea, while gauging the quality of the book in his hand. He suddenly felt an intense heat in his chest, and took out a piece of enchanted talisman from his shirt pocket. It was burning while emitting a bright red glow. So it turns out the heat was coming from the 'thousand mile reaching' enchanted talisman.
Zhao Ning used his finger to touch it and a ring of light appeared while a small shadow inside starting to speak.
"Elder Zhao, how is the search for your senior uncle coming along? You haven't updated me in a long while. Today our senior brother was prompted by a sudden impulse and ordered me to inquire on the status."
"Haha, I was just thinking why would you randomly think of me. It seems like you were ordered by your senior brother. Please tell him that at this point, I have a strong lead."
"When senior uncle got reincarnated he was to be reborn in Snail Village, and his name would have a "Yun". So I hurriedly came to this village and found that there were two youths both having "Yun" in their names.
"The Dao Arts inheritance is very important. So I've been here reading, and differentiating both of them."
"As of now, it seems more probable that the person in my yard is the one. Although his father is just a hunter, he is intelligent and has some extent of Qi."
"And the other came from a foreign land. He has some strong ancestry ties, being a descendant from government officials. We shall see how he does in this round of examinations. If he does well, he could be senior uncle's reincarnate. For now, we have to wait patiently."
As soon as Zhao Ning said that, he smiled and said, "Look, they are both here!"
The shadow moved slightly as the ray of light faced outside trying to get a better look.
Pei Zi Yun entered the compound and looked at the young man who was skinning the beast. The original owner was familiar with him, yet it was the first time Pei Zi Yun had seen him. On closer look, this youth had a pair of sharp eyebrows and he had a threatening presence and yet seemed very steadfast. This was the hunter's son and was rumored to be the reincarnation of an elder from a sect. He wanted to make friends with him, regardless of the original owner's past relationship.
However it didn't happen as he headed straight for the door. He knocked in and shouted, "Is Mr Zhao in?"
"This is the person with a rich ancestry."
Zhao Ning smiled and said to the shadow before waving a hand, and the light flickered off as the shadow disappeared.
Pei Zi Yun walked into the room and saw Zhao Ning sipping tea and reading his book, looking unimpressed.
"Teacher, you told me yesterday to drop by more often as the examinations draw closer. After returning home yesterday to study, I realized how little knowledge I possess, and my essays reflect that. So I have come today to borrow a book to increase my knowledge and hope teacher would agree."
"Oh, you've came to borrow a book to get wiser. I had expected you to ask me how to score well in the examinations, but you just want to borrow a book. It is indeed strange, but no matter." Zhao Ning continued, "Zi Yun, all the books I have are upstairs, go up and take a look."
"Thank you teacher!" Pei Zi Yun said respectfully and started walking upstairs. As he proceeded upstairs, he noticed the floor he stepped on had some elasticity to it. He reached upstairs in the matter of a few steps and pushed open the door to the library.
At this point he heard from downstairs, "Elder Zhao, teaching this kid, do you think he has a chance of scoring well in the Imperial Examinations?"
Zhao Ning smiled and replied "We are now ruled by a new dynasty and have very few scholars, with all the plundering and violence who can study in peace? The national standards for the examinations are not very high now, or so I wish. If this man truly is the incarnate of our senior uncle, we will have a very interesting story to watch unfold."
He picked up the book on the table and took another sip of tea as he continued sampling the quality of the book in his hand.
There were a total of five shelves in the library upstairs, filled with different volumes of books. Based on the books he had seen, there were a few works personally written by his teacher. Recalling a memory from the original owner's memory he thought, "To gain entry into a Dao, scholars have it the easiest."
"Because only if you have studied will you understand the ways of a Dao."
"In my own past life, there had been stories of normal people becoming immortals, but in those stories what wasn't said was that they were all bright scholars."
As he was thinking hard, his hands brushed past the books on the shelves, book by book to see if any reaction would take place. Looks like I am doomed, this is not working.
Even if there was a book hosting spiritual wisdom, I cannot take it away since teacher is still around.
In order to absorb the wisdom from the book one of three criteria has to be fulfilled. You have to be the owner, the owner personally and willingly gave it to you, or you killed the owner for it.
As he was thinking of how to get a book that would help him, thinking he might need to ask for a recommendation from his teacher, he randomly took a book off the bookshelf and started flipping it. He instantaneously felt his Plum Blossom tremble and heard a buzz. There was a reaction. He was elated!
This particular book, was a legacy harnessing some wisdom.
As he began to read the contents of the book, he found it to be very insightful, although there were many things he could not relate to, and was elated.
Without flipping the book any further, he hurriedly walked downstairs before suddenly pausing. If he looked too eager to leave, he might let the cat out of the bag. He steadied himself before taking the book under his arm, to bid farewell to his teacher.
"Zi Yun, which book did you choose in the end?" asked Zhao Ning as his eyes swept the book being held by Pei Zi Yun. "Oh, it is this book."
"Going by teacher's tone, is there a history to this book? Please explain, teacher." said Pei Zi Yun.
Zhao Ning sighed and said, "This book was written by a top Elementary Scholar of the previous dynasty. He had the potential to become the top student in the next round of Imperial Examinations. However his luck had been poor and he encountered many problems. Realizing he was unable to fulfill his life's dream, he sunk into misery. This person has been dead for a long time, but the book contains all of his ambitions and hopes. However his descendants did not see the value of this book and sold it to me for a mere ten coins, and now it is mine. Zi Yun if you really like, I shall give it to you, and hope that by reading this book, you can fulfill your own ambitions and not disappoint yourself."