Chapter 178 – Cracks
When Pei Zi Yun left the Crown Prince’s Palace, small raindrops of rain were slowly descending, spurred on by the strong winds. The second he walked out of the entrance, he felt an immense relief on his body, and was taken aback.
Before becoming a Yin Master, he could meet the Emperor, and have his strength and even sword skills intact. After becoming a Yin Master, he felt an immense pressure being exerted on him the entire duration he was with the Crown Prince. It felt like as if a wild beast was beside him. His entire Yin Master being was suppressed, and his Dao arts were being restrained as well. That wasn’t all. Even his own physical strength was severely weakened. The Divine Power, Stars Transposition of the second level was almost useless, next to the protection of Imperial Qi over the Crown Prince.
An ox-cart rode over, the driver didn’t speak. The official then pulled out a golden tile from his robes and whispered, “Master Top Scorer, this is the tile belonging to the Crown Prince’s Palace.”
Pei Zi Yun received the tile and held it in his palms as he examined it. There were several carvings on the tile, as if the gold plated tile was dazzling and shiny. In the middle, there were three large words inscribed, “Crown Prince’s Palace”. He then smiled before hearing the official speak once again, “Master Top Scorer, the Crown Prince’s first mission for you is to find a suitable person currently being employed by King Lu who is guilty of a crime, and use that to win him over to our cause.”
“….. He even wants me to do something like that?” Pei Zi Yun could not help but mumble under his breath. At this point, a Plum Flower floated into his vision, as it transformed into an information interface before his eyes.
“Mission : Help the Crown Prince launch an offensive against King Lu. Attract Ren Wei to join the Crown Prince from King Lu’s camp.”
Pei Zi Yun was still in the vicinity of the Crown Prince’s Palace, and he could clearly see the strong enchantments circling around the entire palace. He was certain that even stronger enchantments would exist around the Imperial Palace. Pei Zi Yun didn’t scrutinize it, but thought to himself, ‘Let’s leave the city first before anything else.’
“Master Top Scorer, the Crown Prince instructed us not to take the same route we came from. We have to go by another way.” The official told him, as he led Pei Zi Yun a different direction. Pei Zi Yun then boarded another ox-cart and sat down. He peered out of the window and looked at the raindrops without speaking. The ox-cart started moving off slowly, and all that could be heard were the sound of the raindrops against the ox-cart.
The ox-cart traveled along a narrow road, where it constantly brushed past the trees on the side. Pei Zi Yun extended a hand and plucked out a single stalk of peach blossom, and thought about the original owner, ‘With so much pressure being exerted, even the Divine Power wouldn’t be a match for the protective enchantments. Xie Cheng Dong obtained the Plum Blossom, and thus had to assist King Lu. He then meddled with the Imperial Qi, and caused certain transformation within it. After obtaining the title, he became an immortal, and his flesh became saintly.’
‘As for other matters, they are not as important now. My priorities should be to increase my powers. Before that however, I would have to increase my prestige.’ Pei Zi Yun thought.
The winds started howling, as the peach blossom in his hands were blown away. The petals flew with the wind.
“The wind is getting bigger,” Pei Zi Yun watched as the petals of the peach blossom were carried away by the winds.
Dark Altar Sect’s Mountain, Monastery
The sky was getting darker and it was raining. There was always these kind of dark skies and continuous rain in spring. Several guards stood at the door, all of them alert. The monastery was surrounded by walls and a bamboo fence was set up within the walls. There were several enchanted inscriptions being carved into the bamboo fence. It seemed to be emitting its own source of light, which was faintly flickering. It seemed to be counteracting the black energy which was attempting to shroud the entire monastery, causing the monastery to appear gloomy and dark.
It was pitch black within the monastery, without any colors visible. The blind Daoist was sitted upright. The pair of eyes on his face didn’t have any pupils within and were facing the iron anchor in the dark. The iron anchor was placed atop an altar, and seemed to have many cracks on it. Black energy swarmed the iron anchor, as it was trying to mend the cracks on the surface of the iron anchor.
“Traitorous disciple, you actually dared to reveal that we plundered from the heaven. You almost ruined a hundred years of preparation. Detestable.” The blind Daoist said softly, his face was ashen, “Thankfully you didn’t cause any permanent damage to our plans, and we still can fix it.”
Just as soon as he spoke the last word, there was a loud sound, and the iron anchor trembled. The cracks which were almost fully mended on the anchor tore apart once more. Hearing this sound, the blind Daoist’s face was full of fear.
Everything seemed to be still on earth for a second before the second boom could be heard. A lightning bolt struck. Just before it was about to land on the monastery, its trajectory changed abruptly as it landed just outside of the monastery, and hit a huge tree, causing it to burst into flames. However the fire was soon extinguished.
Several more cracks of lightning could be heard, as the lightning bolts struck extremely close to the monastery. It always seemed as though it was about to hit the monastery, but always shifted and struck the empty fields nearby instead.
A guard standing outside the door looked at the dark skies and the numerous lightning bolts descending. His face didn’t look too good as he sighed and spoke to his friends softly, “What do you think the blind Daoist is doing inside? Why is he always within the monastery, and would never ever leave?”
“Also, I don’t know if any of you realized, but the entire monastery seems to be shrouded in perpetual darkness, and it’s always gloomy. Just by looking out makes me feel uncomfortable, and the constant lightning makes me feel anxious. It can’t be that a great sin is being committed inside right?”
The guard who spoke was new, and was only here for a month. The minute his words were heard, the leader of the guards glared at him and scolded, “Don’t ever speak such words again. Later on, you will receive ten strokes of the lashes as punishment. In future, be careful you don’t lose that head of yours.”
Hearing his tone and words, the guard trembled, and knew the severity of the offense which warranted ten strokes. He didn’t dare to retort and acknowledged, “Yes, leader.”
After he was done with his scolding, he couldn’t help but cast his gaze at the monastery. He always felt a strange feeling whenever he was near it. He couldn’t understand the source of his feelings, but felt as if a ferocious wild beast was lurking nearby. It also felt as though a strange monster was being kept within. It’s just that he wasn’t exactly sure what was happening inside. He only knew that there was a blind Daoist inside, who couldn’t leave.
The iron anchor which was perched atop the altar was starting to emit a sound from within the cracks. The cracks then started getting bigger. Simultaneously, the blind Daoist’s skin was seeping blood. His body was black, and the blood seeping out was black as well. It was almost like a strong force was being exerted over the blind Daoist’s body. The force being exerted was increasing as the cracks on the anchor became bigger. He was under such tremendous physical pressure that he almost felt like he was being crushed. At this point, he was unable to move an inch. Even just clearing his throat was impossible.
The cracks then stopped becoming bigger, and the anchor started repairing itself once more, as it emitted even more black shrouds of energy, wafting in and out of the cracks, mending it once more. The incense which were on the altar had been extinguished. As the pressure started receding, more black energy seeped out. All of a sudden, a green light lit up within the room, causing a green glow.
“Hua!” The blind Daoist started spitting out blood. The blood which was spat out was bright red. The minute it landed on the ground, it turned black immediately, and started emitting a foul stench.
“Damn it. The minute our fortunes changed for the better, it instantly revealed cracks and reverted back.” The blind Daoist stirred slightly, his face still had an expression of intense fear as he retrieved a vial from his robes. He then poured out a single pill and consumed it. He then mumbled to himself, “The destiny changed once again. The Imperial Qi seemed to be weakening, but the retribution was getting stronger with every wave. It’s terrifying to witness.”
‘Not good, King Lu’s destiny took a turn for the worst, and the Crown Prince’s destiny improved. While one rises, the other falls. If King Lu’s plans were to be ruined, many things will fail as a result of the domino effect. At the end of it, my body and soul will be destroyed, and I will have no chance of being reincarnated.’ The blind Daoist thought about this matter before hurriedly shouting out, “Fetch me the Young Master, I have something to report to him.”
“Did something happen today?” Half an hour later, Xie Cheng Dong who was dressed in a woven raincoat asked the guards instead of rushing into the monastery immediately.
“Young Master, there were sudden bursts of lightning streaks. Soon after, the Dao leader requested for your presence. Apart from that, nothing strange happened.” The leader of the guards replied. He more or less could guess what was happening, but didn’t speak excessively.
“Is that so?” Xie Cheng Dong frowned as he looked at the fallen tree a short distance away. He then paused before turning his strides to the monastery. The minute he walked in, he felt something was not right.
A black wave of energy was circling the interior of the monastery, and a pungent stench was present. Xie Cheng Dong sniffed the air and frowned. This was the result of immense retribution. Heaven’s retribution seemed to be getting stronger. How long more can the blind Daoist hang on for?
“Young Master Xie, what’s happening of late? Heaven’s retribution is getting stronger, and King Lu’s destiny is weakening. I’m afraid I cannot hang on for longer than a year. Young Master would also be affected by this disastrous turn of events.” The blind Daoist hurriedly asked Xie Cheng Dong. As he spoke, he revealed a look of intense fear.
“What? If heaven’s retribution was so strong, why didn’t you inform me earlier?”Xie Cheng Dong looked at the pathetic state of the blind Daoist and felt some sort of satisfaction. As he spoke, he creased his brows.
“Young Master, who told you that retribution was a slow accumulation and would increase over time?”
“Maybe that was correct in the past. Today, there were multiple bursts of lightning. The Imperial Qi which used to be attached to this monastery was severely weakened. The wrath of heaven thus became more apparent. It was only then that I hurriedly called for Young Master to come. This is the warning from the heaven that something big happened.” The blind Daoist could sense that something wasn’t right about Xie Cheng Dong’s expression, and realized that maybe he had spoken out of turn and wasn’t polite. He then hurriedly regained his decorum and propriety and spoke slowly and carefully.
Xie Cheng Dong walked several paces, his brows were still twisted in a frown, “I’ve received reports that King Lu made a move against Pei Zi Yun recently. Two sixth ranked eunuchs died and an entire group of soldiers sent by King Lu died as well. I also found out that we’ve lost our networks within Liang and Yong Prefectures. Could it be that this harmed our foundations and ruined our destinies?”
Hearing these words, the Daoist pondered for some time and only spoke after he had considered his words, “According to your reports, even if a pair of sixth ranked eunuchs died, or that thirty soldiers died, even if the casualties were worst by ten folds, it still wouldn’t be able to hurt King Lu’s might. As for us losing our network in those places, that’s even more indirect than King Lu failing to kill Pei Zi Yun and losing man. The impact of losing our networks would not be so great.”
“But with the reduction of Imperial Qi, I could feel the intensity of the retribution. Hence, I’m certain that either us or King Lu received a blow to our foundations. If the Crown Prince earned a stroke of good fortune, that would mean that King Lu would suffer. When one party gains, the other would lose. It seems like we’re in dangerous waters now.” The blind Daoists sighed.
“What? Damn it.” Xie Cheng Dong stood up and paced back and forth once more, his face was cold, “Who is it? Who caused such a change? Could it be Pei Zi Yun again?”
Hearing these words, the blind Daoist then replied slowly, “Pei Zi Yun has sabotaged our plans numerous times. With the present change of Imperial Qi, I guess it has to do with someone else.”
“I’m afraid this is the retribution for plundering from the heaven.”
Xie Cheng Dong then laughed coldly, “By being idle, I would’ve amounted to nothing. Only by plundering from heaven would I actually have a chance at becoming an Immortal. Since we’ve already stolen, then that should be the end of it. What else should we do? Return it? If I wanted to ascend to immortality, how could we not steal? We’ve been trying to kill this person so many times, and he didn’t even steal from the heaven, how could he evade us so many times? After hearing mister’s words, I suspect that this person has a source for his ridiculously good fortunes, or was even granted an immensely great destiny. If not, how was it possible for him to become Yin Master in just two years?”
“Even after I stole such an ideal destiny from that person, and after obtaining so many strokes of good fortunes, I took five years to become Yin Master. How could he reach that level so quickly?”
“Whether he has a secret treasure or not remains a mystery. At this point the grand destiny is a blur, and nobody understands what’s happening. But based on the way we’ve been losing, this person must be the main cause for all our recent failures.”
“Haha, does this person wish to plunder from the heavens too?” Xie Cheng Dong laughed coldly. In his tone, a sense of irritability and annoyance could be detected, “Mister, what do you think, would there be another great change in the will of heaven?”
Xie Cheng Dong’s words immediately caused the blind Daoist to tremble. He knew that Xie Cheng Dong suspected something. He then hurriedly spoke, “As for that, I have no idea.”
“Is that all? Then have a good rest mister.” The minute he spoke this line, he turned around to leave, shutting the door with a loud boom.
“I felt it. In the future, you will have to make up your mind.”
“Both of you Xie father and son are too easily suspicious, and too greedy. All those years ago, you used your powers to threaten me, if not I would be destroyed. It’s just that our destinies were entwined from way before. I couldn’t escape from it, do you think you can escape yourself?” The blind Daoist spoke softly as he burst out into laughter. He then started coughing as blood dripped down as it turned black.