Chapter 172 – Enchantments
The snow on the ground was extremely thick. Zhuo Yuan Jiu leaned against the carriage as he looked out through the windows. His expression seemed somewhat perplexed as the snow and wind increased in ferocity. All of a sudden, the ox halted to a stop, “Young Master, we’ve arrived.”
Snowflakes descended continually, and he felt the biting cold pierce through his skin the minute he got off the oxcart. At this point a gust of strong wind assaulted him, causing Zhuo Yuan Jiu to huff and puff. He walked quickly across the yard. Just a few steps caused his entire body to be covered in a thick layer of snow. He reached the front steps and knocked on the door.
He waited for some time, but nobody answered.
Zhuo Yuan Jiu then pushed open the gate, and walked through the yard, which was covered with white snow. He peered across and noticed that the snow was smooth, without the imprints of anyone’s footsteps. All he could hear were the soft whooshing sound of snowflakes falling. He suddenly had a bad feeling about this, as he continued walking.
“Master Top Scorer?”
Nobody answered. Zhuo Yuan Jiu then pushed open the door into the house, and noticed that there wasn’t a single soul within. “There were no footsteps outside. It seems like Young Master Pei left some time ago.”
Zhuo Yuan Jiu then exhaled and heaved a sigh of relief. Although few people knew about the existence of this mansion, hiding and protecting Pei Zi Yun here had its risks as well. Now that Pei Zi Yun had left safely, he was relieved.
“Just as well that he’s left!” Just as he was about to turn around to exit the house, he saw that there were three stacks of paper on the table.
“Could it be that he had more poems for me?” Just as he was thinking this, Zhuo Yuan Jiu walked up to take a closer look at the pieces of paper. He then picked it up and realized that they were different novels. The first was called The Woman Assassin. The second one was The Butterfly Lovers, and the final one was Nie Xiao Qian.
(TN: These were actual stories written by people. Pei Zi Yun copied these stories since they didn’t exist in this world)
Young master Zhuo looked at the first pages of each novel before starting to flip through them. He then let out a laugh, “Master Top Scorer is really refined in his education and knowledge. Even in the face of great perils and dangers, he held on to his true self of writing works. At this point, he could even bring himself to complete three novels.”
“The wine jugs are empty!” He looked down and realized that all of the wine within the house had been consumed. Zhuo Yuan Jiu then recalled the rumors of Top Scorer Pei and his appetite for wine whenever he composed all his great works. Little did he expect all those rumors to be true.
The novel “The Woman Assassin” was the thinnest among the rest, and thus he started to flip through and read it. The more he read, the more astonished he was.
Ah Qing was able to defeat the entire Wu Nation single handedly with just a sharpened bamboo sword. Although in this world, there were no lack of people writing stories, most of them were very traditional, and focused on the main character being a top scholar in his nation. There wasn’t a story even remotely close to this, where a tale was spun, creating a romantic love story between a hero and a heroine.
“A single bamboo sword was used to defeat an entire army. Indeed, only Top Scorer Pei would be able to come up with such a story, as the main character had such proficient fighting skills, such awe inspiring demeanor, and a personality that was lovable and detestable all at once. Only when a person actually experienced such matters would he be able to accurately portray such a wondrous story.”
When Zhuo Yuan Jiu finished reading the book, he realized that it was extremely good, and longed for more stories like these. He picked up the second novel,
He then called the ox-cart into the courtyard, where he took the books and left hurriedly.
The Governor’s Mansion
The main hall was warm and comfortable with the four torches around the entire hall ablaze. The Governor was dressed in his usual robes and a headdress. Although he looked tired, he still persisted in reading the essays before him. At this point, his second son, which he hadn’t seen in ages, pushed the door open.
“Yuan Jiu, aren’t you supposed to be at your second Mansion? How could you bear to be here instead?” The Governor smiled and asked. He understood how one might be persuaded to act out of friendship and admiration.
Hearing these words, Zhuo Yuan Jiu held a huge stack of paper as he stepped forward, “Father, indeed I was at my mansion. Pei Zi Yun had already left. But when I walked in, I found this stack of papers on the table. Hence I took it and started reading. All three novels were stories. It’s strange how this man is in grave danger, and yet could find the time to be inspired and write novels. Take a look for yourself father.”
The Governor then picked up the stack of paper and sighed without looking at it. “If someone were to write stories on a normal day, that would be fine. But he’s in mortal danger and facing tough times, but he could still find inspiration. This shows his true colors.”
He then started reading the novels in his hands before placing it down. Zhuo Yuan Jiu seemed somewhat agitated and stepped toward to ask, “Father, what should we do with these? Should we do him another favor?”
The Governor took some time to ponder before replying, “Although the Governor did instruct us to look after him, it’s a pity that he’s already embarked upon his Dao journey and we can’t do much for him. Since we’ve already done him a huge favor, that’s more than enough. As for the rest of his endeavors, we don’t have to interfere any longer. Let’s watch on and see how this person overcomes these problems. As for these novels, you can print them and distribute them if you wish to continue maintaining a friendship with him.”
“Yes!” Zhuo Yuan Jiu understood what his father meant and acknowledged.
City, Official Residences
The night brought along with it cold wind, as it swept across the rooms within the building through open windows. A pair of patrolling soldiers held onto their long daggers and stood outside, stepping on frozen ground.
A soldier heard some movement and turned around, and was stabbed instantly.
“Pu!” The long dagger he held onto snapped into halves, as he felt the cold wind sweep across his face. The soldier held his throat, and fell to the ground.
“There’s…..” The other soldier retreated a step back before raising his dagger and charging straight at the assailant. He had a determined look on his face, and was about to scream out. Before any sound could be heard, there was another “pu” and red, glistening blood spurted out from his mouth and he tumbled face first onto the ground.
When Pei Zi Yun finished killing them, he stepped over their bodies and walked across. There were a number of pine trees grown around this house. The trees were partially covered with snow, and everything was still.
The interior of the house looked nicely adorned. This was the residence of the Daoist who had been tracking his position. This Daoist had chased after him numerous times. At this point, Pei Zi Yun managed to locate him, and noticed that the soldiers guarding his house were few in numbers. He knew that he could easily take this Daoist out, and break the right hand of the eunuch.
Pei Zi Yun walked in silently, when his footsteps stopped abruptly. At this point snow was falling mercilessly, and the wind was so strong that he could barely open his eyes. A Daoist man held onto a staff and came out of the room and sighed, “You’ve come.”
Pei Zi Yun gazed upon the face of his target, and was about to kill him. Just then, he heard “Master Top Scorer, please hold it.”
The second he heard these words, Pei Zi Yun noticed a white haired Daoist and a middle-aged Daoist walk into the yard. The old man looked at Pei Zi Yun and spoke, “Master Top Scorer, please surrender. You’ve been on a rampage, killing hundreds of people across prefectures. There shall be divine retribution for every atrocity committed. You’re a Daoist, don’t you know this as well?”
Seeing the Daoist appear, Pei Zi Yun swept his glance across and noticed that there wasn’t anyone else around. He had been taken aback to see someone else appear from nowhere, even after he had conducted a check on the entire perimeter.
The Daoist took several strides before sighing, “A Daoist should always act for the good of the people and commit no evil to any person or creature of the world. Now that Master Top Scorer intervened in matters that weren’t any of his business, the repercussions of fate shall be endured by you. Don’t you know this? You should surrender, and stop whatever you’re doing now. This is to prevent the wrath of heaven upon you for ruining destiny. If not, death is too light an option for you.”
“Your words do make some sense.” Pei Zi Yun waved his hands and replied, “But let me add something. This matter was started by all of you. You laid down an ambush and made a move to try kill me. I wasn’t the one who started all these.”
“If you wish me to stop this, sure. It’s just that if I stop, would the eunuch far away stop as well? My Daoist brother, can you speak for the eunuch and compel him to act accordingly?”
He laughed as he spoke, “But I noticed that both of you think very highly of yourselves, and I presume you must have huge responsibilities on your shoulders. How about this, why don’t the both of you place a spell on me, such that if the eunuch makes an attempt on my life, he will die immediately. If you’re agreeable to this, I will be more than willing to stop my aggressive actions. How about that?”
The Daoist immediate stepped forward in rage, his face turned deep red. He then took a deep breath to compose himself before speaking slowly, “Heaven has its plans for the Imperial Court and its subjects, likewise for Daoists. However you’ve broken the rules by attacking these subjects. I’m trying to counsel and advice you, in hopes that you would turn away from this path of destruction.”
Pei Zi Yun withdrew his smile and replied coldly, “After all that talking, I understand what’s going on here. So you wish for me to stop attacking, and leave me defenseless while you attack me? Such thick skinned requests, I’ve seen more than my own fair share. But it seems like you’re intention is to stall for time. Could it be that you’re preparing men to attack me?”
Listening to Pei Zi Yun’s words, the Daoist standing next to the old Daoist turned red. The old Daoist then cleared this throats before speaking, “All the nice words to be spoken have already been spoken. It seems like master Top Scorer refuses to surrender, in spite of our attempts at coaxing. Looks like the only thing left to do is to attack then.”
The minute his last words were spoken, Pei Zi Yun could feel a large pressure exerted on his body, causing him to tremble.
When the three Daoist saw that Pei Zi Yun had been successfully contained, they heaved a sigh of relief. The middle-aged Daoist laughed, “Pei Zi Yun, you’ve finally fallen into my trap. Did you really think that you’re the only person who knows martial arts and Dao arts?”
Wu Luo then came out from behind and laughed, “If it weren’t for Eunuch Ding who’s so eager to get his hands on you, I wouldn’t have used myself as bait and lured you here.”
“The dynasty had always been against people like you, who ignore the laws and rules of the reigning monarch. We thus managed to acquire King Lu’s warrant of arrest, and used the power bestowed on that warrant to conjure a restricting charm. It’s so strong that even if there were a few more of you, you’ll still be helpless.”
“It’s a pity that such a spell required some time to prepare. That was why we gave you a chance to surrender. Who would’ve expected that you’d be so blinded. At this point you can’t blame us for acting this way.”
All of them looked contentedly at Pei Zi Yun, who was rooted to the ground, unable to move. Wu Luo was a Daoist Official, and was thus granted blessings by the Imperial Court. This was manifested in his ease of cultivation, and his quick progression. His rewards in the cultivation world were highly dependent on the Imperial Court, and could fluctuate depending on their mood. Should they wish to, the Imperial Court could assist in his cultivation with all the resources available. Hence, an official like Wu Luo would do everything in their power to please the court.
Wu Luo then stepped forward and smiled sheepishly, “Oh I almost forgot. As long as Master Top Scorer is binded under this spell, he would be unable to speak. I apologize for speaking too much and expecting an answer.”
The Daoist walked up, a blade in his hands as he inched closer to Pei Zi Yun, “It’s a shame that you were gifted with extraordinary innate talents. But today, your luck has run out. This spell was specially prepared for Yin Masters. Haha!”
As he spoke, the smile on his face gradually melded. He then thrust the blade out, its cold steel waiting to sink into its victim’s flesh.
At this point, Pei Zi Yun shook his head and sighed, “Tigers would always be dangerous to men. But do the tigers know that men can be dangerous to them as well?”
As he spoke, the flash of his blade could be seen. Under normal circumstances, Wu Luo wouldn’t have been able to avoid such a quick blow, at such close distance. Today was no exception. There was a loud “pu”, as Pei Zi Yun dug his sword into his chest, and split open his rib cage. His stab was so ferocious that the tip of his sword exited from his back.
Wu Luo screamed out in pain. His anguished cry was so piercing that it caused the hearts of everyone to turn cold in fear. At this point, Pei Zi Yun withdrew his blade from the chest of his victim. As he withdrew his sword, he twisted it out and completely destroyed all the internal organs in his body. Wu Luo was screaming so much, before stopping abruptly. Apparently blood had overflowed within his throat, and prevented him from screaming any further.
When Pei Zi Yun withdrew his sword, he heard a loud thud, and saw Wu Luo’s corpse drop to the ground heavily, and he was no longer alive.
“No, Junior Brother!” The white haired Daoist screamed out sorrowfully. “How could you’ve escaped the shackles of the spell? The spell had infused Dao arts and Imperial Qi, and was extremely potent.”
Pei Zi Yun glared at the pair of remaining Daoist before him. He could sense their fear. His face then burst out into a laugh, “All of you assumed I was recuperating and recovering from my injuries these past few days. No no, I came here prepared.”
“On the account that both of you look so fearful, I shall let you in on a secret. Actually, your spell had no hold on me at all.”
From the corner of his eye, an information interface appeared. He glanced at it and could see certain words.
“Divine Powers: Stars Transposition Level 2 (5.71% Completed)”
Honestly, whatever Pei Zi Yun had told them was a lie. He had been in quiet meditation these past couple of days. Not only was he recuperating his energy, he was also converting all his past prestige and fame via the Divine Power. That was how he managed to break through the second level.
‘The first level of the Stars Transposition, I’ve already experimented enough. It can roughly withstand the backlash from attacking a ninth ranked official. The second level would be able to tolerate backlash from attacking an eighth ranked official. Although I am not completely able prevent and suppress the spell cast on me, breaking out of it wasn’t a problem.’ Although Pei Zi Yun could feel the binds still on him, which felt like a thin rope wrapped around him, he acted as though he was completely unaffected.
“Junior Brother, maintain the spell. I shall rush and kill him.” The old Daoist didn’t charge forward immediately, but instructed his junior brother coldly.