Chapter 173 – Kill a man, leave a poem
“Zhng zhng zhng!” Pei Zi Yun parried three consecutive strikes as the old Daoist laughed, “I was almost deceived by you. If your martial arts skills were as good as you say it is, can I still strike out at you this way?”
“You probably used some sort of strange spell to break out of our binding spell. However, I know that the Imperial Qi is still being exerted on you, and you can’t use your Dao arts. Apart from whatever the Imperial Qi allowed you to exhibit, the rest of your powers are still being restricted. You cannot get away. Die!”
The both of them exchanged several blows, as the middle aged Daoist watched on from the side. He could tell that Pei Zi Yun was still under the influence of the restricting spell, and wasn’t completely free from it. He then shouted out, “Why do you think the information regarding my junior brother’s residence was given so easily to you? Why do you think there were only a few armed soldiers patrolling the area? All these were part of the plan to lure you here. In no time, the eunuch’s troops will arrive. And you shall be buried in this very place.”
“Die!” Their swords interlocked threateningly as they charged towards each other. With a flash of his blade, Pei Zi Yun counterattacked, breaking their swords apart. As they both retreated several steps from the force, the old Daoist regained his momentum and charged forward once more without second thoughts.
Their shadows entwined with each other, as they weaved in and out. Pei Zi Yun gave a groan, and noticed that he had been slashed across the chest by the old Daoist. His robes tore down the middle, and a line of blood could be seen. It’s a pity that the cut was only skin deep, and the old Daoist was forced to retreat several steps back as well. He had cuts all over his body, but they weren’t deep as well.
At this point, the middle aged Daoist was about to join the fray, when his left shoulder trembled. He felt as if he had just been struck by lightning, and was remained rooted to the ground, paralysed. When he looked down at his body, he noticed that a flying dagger had embedded itself deep into the left side of his chest. He stretched out his hands and pointed at Pei Zi Yun in disbelief, “You use hidden weapons.”
“Damn it!” The old Daoist was furious as he charged forward once more. Pei Zi Yun felt his body became extremely light, and noticed that the spell was somewhat lifted, since the middle aged Daoist could no longer keep up the binding spell on Pei Zi Yun. Although he couldn’t use Dao arts still, the restrictions on his body was severely reduced.
“Your spell was reliant and dependent on the Imperial Qi. It’s just that this spell requires the actual warrant of arrest to bind me for extended durations. So why is it that your spell isn’t holding?” Pei Zi Yun smiled, “A normal Daoist would be afraid of not being able to use his spells, but I’m well trained in the way of sword fighting as well, and such a situation is extremely beneficial for me.”
“You think too highly of yourself. If it weren’t for the fact that the Imperial Court was extremely cautious and prudent, and refused to lift the prohibition on us using Dao arts freely, you would be killed instantly.” The old Daoist looked extremely dissatisfied.
“Go to hell!” Pei Zi Yun moved extremely quickly, as his body contorted, and the gleam of his blade reflected all around.
“No!” The old Daoist fell backwards, the blade had pierced through an inch past his skin. His face turned pale. The more he fought with Pei Zi Yun, the more he was taken aback. In fact, even without anyone maintaining the spell, the restricting spell was supposed to significantly reduced his fighting capabilities. He knew that the remnants of the spell was the only reason why he could hold Pei Zi Yun off for so long.
‘This man was chased around for so long. What on earth did he manage to acquire which allowed him to break free from the spell by more than half? Could it be that he obtained something extraordinary on the mountain?’ The Daoist thought, as he started panicking, ‘We’ve been fighting for so long, why haven’t the soldiers station outside come yet?’
In order for the Daoist to lure Pei Zi Yun, they didn’t station any soldiers outside, but planted them secretly all around the area. As soon as something happens, they were supposed to spring out and apprehend him. Why weren’t they here yet?
At this point, the sound of footsteps fast approaching could be heard. The old Daoist then turned hopeful, “The eunuch’s soldiers are here.”
He then heard Pei Zi Yun laugh, “Yes. they’re here. That means I don’t have to spare you any longer!”
Hearing Pei Zi Yun’s words, the old Daoist was taken aback. The next thing he saw was the blade swinging at him with such speed that he had no time to avoid it. It struck him on his right hand, and took the entire arm off, along with the sword he had been holding.
“Please return to the underworld now.” Pei Zi Yun then aimed a swift blow at his neck.
The old Daoist could see the flash of the blade, as he straightened up, all the hairs on his body stood on edge. He then screamed out, in a last ditch effort to save his own life, “I’m an elder of Clear Grace Sect, which was also conferred a title by the Imperial Court. If you kill me, there shall be retribution upon you. Your sect would then be forced to war with mine. You cannot do that.”
Pei Zi Yun halted his slash, and left his blade touching the neck of the old Daoist, “Sect Elder and you’re not even an Earth Immortal? Just then when you were trying to kill me, you didn’t think of the repercussions for our sect. Now that you’re about to die, you finally bring your sect in, and all the consequences.”
“It’s still the same problem, you can kill me, but I cannot kill you. If your sect wishes to seek me out for revenge, please tell them to go ahead. Do you really think that your sect members would actually start a bloody war with my sect, just because of a disloyal Elder who showed his open support for the Imperial Court?”
“No, you will regret this.” The old Daoist exclaimed. At this point, Pei Zi Yun slashed his sword down, causing his entire head to soar into the air. Blood was spewing out from his neck, and the headless body seemed to panic, as it took several frantic steps before falling to the ground. At this point, some energy from his body seemed to head in the direction of the underworld.
Pei Zi Yun didn’t bother doing anything, but moved forward to pick up the hidden weapon. He then smiled, “I never thought that I would be able to kill off anyone sent by King Lu because of the sheer numbers they always came in. You gave me that chance.”
‘Thanks to the memories from the original owner, my senior great-uncle and the Crazy Daoists, using this hidden weapon wasn’t difficult at all.’
‘Eh, this hidden weapon was able to buy me five minutes of time.’
‘To me, that is more than enough.’
At this point, the sound of footsteps made by the armed soldiers could be heard. Patrol officers, constables, military troops and even archers gathered together. Additionally, there were also the thirty additional soldiers led by the eunuch. There were a total of three hundred men present.
Eunuch Ding stepped forward, and saw the number of men waiting for an order to be issued. He then lowered his voice, “Surround him. Archers prepare yourselves. If he moves an inch, kill him!”
The rows of soldiers bowed, and the leader among the soldiers acknowledged, “We obey your orders!”
As he spoke, he waved his hands and a group of people stepped forward. “Boom!” The group of people broke down the door, and two rows of soldiers rushed in. “Group up, move forward!”
“The target is in the yard!”
Eunuch Ding was dressed in his sixth ranked official uniform, and looked extremely neat and clean. He had several people following closely behind him. They were dressed in fresh robes, and had pointy caps on their heads. When eunuch Ding swept a glance across, he saw a man standing in the middle.
He looked extremely young, definitely not older than seventeen or eighteen. Despite being surrounded by so many soldiers, he still had that proud and complacent look on his face. Eunuch Ding could not help but admire him. He then spoke in a shrill voice, “You are Top Scorer Pei? Indeed, your looks are befitting of your reputation. No wonder you could bring yourself to repeatedly ruin things for King Lu.”
“But everything under the heavens belong to the royal family. Since you’ve offended King Lu, even in spite of your reputation and talents, I have to kill you in order to keep my position.” Eunuch Ding laughed out. Immediately after he spoke, droves of soldiers appeared on the upper deck. These were the archers, who had been searching for a vantage point to get a clear shot.
“Shoot him down!” Eunuch Ding ordered, not wanting to speak more than was necessary. He hurriedly ordered after seeing that the archers were already in position. The archers bent their bows, and were about to fire. At this point, more soldiers were still flooding the entrance, surrounding a Pei Zi Yun entirely, trapping him within the yard.
Pei Zi Yun shook his head and sighed, “Is that it?”
As soon as Pei Zi Yun spoke out, everyone within the yard started to tremble. They could all feel an immense pressure being exerted on their bodies, and nobody could move a muscle.
“It’s Dao arts. No!” Eunuch Ding reacted and hurriedly retrieved the warrant of arrest from his robes. As long as the warrant of arrest was present, he could pull out the authority vested within it and dispel the effects of the Dao arts.
Pei Zi Yun looked at the sight before him and noticed that only eunuch Ding and the patrol officers we’re able to move. Pei Zi Yun then darted across the battlements, his shadow turned into a blur as he charged them down.
“What impudence!” The patrol officer’s eyes widened like an eagle looking down at its prey, and he seemed very intimidating. After shouting out, he drew his blade and charged across.
Pei Zi Yun didn’t stop his movement and ran straight at the oncoming patrol officer. When they ran past each other, a rain of blood descended down. The patrol officer’s head had been severed and floated in the air for some time. Although Pei Zi Yun gave a loud groan, he didn’t stop.
“Eunuch Ding, you’ve been chasing me for so long. It’s time I sent you to the underworld. Maybe King Lu might grant you a title then, so that you might have a plot of land waiting for you in the underworld.”
Eunuch Ding’s face turned pale as he withdrew the warrant from his robes, “Release…..”
Even before he could speak another word, he heard the sound of the sword penetrating his flesh, as his throat was split open by the force. Eunuch Ding had a look of disbelief etched over his face. He clutched at his throat, trying his hardest to speak, but no words came out. He then fell over, his entire body started twitching and fresh blood seeped out from the wound.
Pei Zi Yun could feel the blood roiling within his own body, and his face turned pale instantly. Blood starting dropping out from his mouth and nose. At this point nobody could speak, but they were making a great deal of noise.
A constable then shouted, “This man has rebelled. He killed eunuch Ding!”
Pei Zi Yun dashed in front of the row of King Lu soldiers. He stood in front of the leader, who was struggling, but still couldn’t move. “Pu” Pei Zi Yun’s sword was uncompassionate, as it pierced through his heart. He then moved onto the next soldier.
The sounds of sword penetrating flesh could be heard one after another. In just a minute, he killed more than thirty soldiers. The initial din being made by the soldiers as they struggled to move had died down by the time he killed the first ten of them. At this point it was completely quiet, everyone was accepting their fates. Most of the soldiers were pale, and their legs went weak. Several others were retching their guts out.
When he was done killing the thirty soldiers belonging to King Lu, he threw a piece of paper at the corpse of the eunuch. He then picked up a cloth from the ground and started cleaning the blood stained blade on his hands. He then walked out, completely composed and calm, and disappeared into the distance. The hidden weapon then exploded into dust fragments. In the next second, all the soldiers who were immobilized started moving in panic, as the spell lifted.
One of them was more brave than anyone else and shouted out, “Let’s chase after him. He couldn’t have gone far!”
Everyone could hear him, but nobody answered. All of them had witnessed how he had killed so many people in cold blood, and it had scared most of them stiff.
One of the constables was pale as sheet, and he seemed somewhat older than most of the men present. He then forced a laugh and spoke out, “It looks like all of us here are finished.”
A soldier then replied sympathetically, “Yes, Eunuch Ding died right here. The best case scenario for us would be to receive thirty strokes of the lashes, and to be stripped of our authority.”
A middle-aged constable then replied, “Since that’s the outcome, there’s nothing we can do about it!”
In the midst of the panic, the door burst open as a man wearing official robes strode in. His face was pale as he looked on at the sight which greeted him.
“Who are you?” Several constables were stunned as they asked.
“An official working for the Crown Prince!” The official dreaded his brows as he looked at the soldiers. He carried a fearsome and prideful demeanor about him. He then stepped forward to investigate.
When he reached the corpse of Eunuch Ding, he picked up the piece of paper and started reading the contents of it.
“The knight rode across the state of Zhao, his sword sparkling with the falling snow.”
“He rode atop a spotless white horse, which moved like a meteor in the night sky.”
“Every ten steps, he slays a man, a thousand steps he takes, showing no mercy.”
“After the matter had been settled and concluded, he flicked his sleeves and walked away, not giving a hint to his identity.”
“Walking down the mountains to consume some wine, he placed his sword atop his legs.”
“He drained three cups before swearing an oath, taking the matter of such vows extremely gravely.”
“Despite the flush in his cheeks and ears, he remained steadfast to his words.”
“Even after his death, his reputation spread far and wide, for being a steadfast and true hero of his time.”
“And who could ever emulate the actions of this white knight, who set a legacy for all his forebears to come.”
“Killed a man and left a poem on his body. This is really….” The official’s face started twitching. He was a direct subject of the Imperial Court and thus understood the authority and power wielded by this eunuch Ding. His task was just to determine the outcome and record everything that happened. His job wasn’t to help Pei Zi Yun. He thought that Pei Zi Yun was dead for sure this time, and thus expected to deliver a report stating that Pei Zi Yun had been killed.
He didn’t expect such an outcome at all. Although it was known that the pair were fierce enemies with their own strengths, the sight which greeted him felt more like a rabbit being slaughtered by a wolf instead of the equal fight everyone anticipated. The middle-aged constable then stepped forward and asked, “Your excellency, what should we do?”
“Don’t ask me. I’m just here to record my investigations.” Although the constable was all smiles, this official replied him coldly. “This is your business, not mine.”
When he was done concluding his investigations, he wrung his wrists before leaving, everyone else was still gaping, wide-eyed, expecting some sort of instruction.
Some time later, the middle-aged constable then sighed, “Report this matter to the government office in this Prefecture. Report it to the Governor. As for us, we’ll just have to see what fate heaven has for us.”
Some people gritted their teeth, and others seemed anxious. There were even some who were furious. However, their emotions all froze before long, just like the snow outside. Nobody from the courtyard chased after Pei Zi Yun.