Chapter 189 – Fate Lantern
The person in the middle looked to be around fifty years of age and had a square face. He had a fearsome aura around him as he paced several steps around frowning, “Our original plan was to attack and weaken their sect. We were then supposed to use the Earthen Altar which King Lu gave us to break into their Paradise. As long as we manage to acquire their Paradise for a short period of time, or cause them some disturbances, their Elders and inner circle disciples would have their powers significantly reduced. We can then wipe out the entire Free Cloud Sect. Now that this Pei Zi Yun is returning, there might be some changes to the plan.”
Elder Xu frowned as well as he replied, “Elder Chen, the Earthen Altar which King Lu gave us would provide enough Imperial Qi to break into their Paradise. However, we will be affected by the Imperial Qi as well. Pei Zi Yun’s sword techniques are extremely proficient, and he has killed numerous of officials before without any consequences. He probably has a special treasure on him which protects him against the Imperial Qi. We have to remove this threat from our plan as soon as possible.”
“But we cannot find him now. He has disappeared for quite some time now. Or maybe it’s his treasure which concealed himself from us.” Someone else spoke out. “We’ve used many different Dao arts but are still unable to locate a trace of him.”
“Actually we can use the Fate Lantern to locate him. The Fate Lantern was a sort of spiritual light that becomes activated whenever anyone joins a Daoist Sect as it contains a minute amount of the person’s spirit. Once we manage to obtain his Fate Lantern, we can use his spirit to locate his current location. In fact, we can even use Dao arts on the Fate Lantern, since it works much better than using blood to locate him.” The squared faced Elder Chen mumbled to himself before speaking out.
“But how should we obtain that, Elder Chen?” Another Elder asked.
“We should activate that spy and make use of him to obtain it. Although once he steals the Fate Lantern, his cover would be blown, and we couldn’t use him anymore, it would be worth it. From then on, there wouldn’t be a need to keep a spy within Free Cloud Sect any longer.” Elder Xu then continued, “He’s still waiting for my next set of instructions. I shall order him to do this right away.”
“That will do. We can continue charging this altar in preparation for the attack. You should send some people out to find and kill Pei Zi Yun. Even if we can’t kill him, we can delay him. Three days, all we need is three days. When he arrives late, the effect he will have will be minimized.” Elder Chen spoke out confidently.
“Yes Elder Chen.” Everyone else responded.
The rain was still beating down upon the area as Zhang Yin raised his head to see several shadows descending from the mountain. There were many disciples from Free Cloud Sect patrolling the mountain. Besides, security has been ramped over the past few days as well. Many disciples from all over had been recalled. At this point teams of three to five men were dispatched regularly to patrol the area. All of them were armed with long swords.
“I wonder if the people atop the mountain have realized my absence?” Zhang Yin has been waiting for some time, his heart raced faster with each passing minute. At this point, he felt some heat within the folds of his robes. He hurriedly took the talisman out and tapped on it, causing a shadow to emerge once again.
As soon as he saw the shadow, Zhang Yin fell to his knees, “Elder Xu, what orders do you have for me?”
Elder Xu, who was cloaked in shadows pondered for some time, “Tell me everything that’s been happening in Free Cloud Sect.”
It was clear he wanted to make full use of the spy and find out all that he needed to know about Free Cloud Sect. This was to ensure that he at least had information if the mission failed. Zhang Yin paused before replying, “Elder, Free Cloud Sect are recalling all their disciples from around and stepping up defense preparations.”
“Among those who are returning is the top fighter and most talented disciple, Pei Zi Yun. Several other proficient fighters are making their way back as well. Chen Zhong Yu is probably the best when it comes to using Dao arts in combat. After losing in the finals of the competition, Zhao Yi was extremely humiliated and trained very hard to make vast improvements. He’s a threat to us as well. There’s also……” Zhang Yin reported everything.
After listening to the thorough report, Elder Xu spoke slowly, “You’ve found out about plenty of the ongoings in Free Cloud Sect. I shall record all your deeds within the merit’s book.”
“Thank you Elder Xu.” Zhang Yin bowed in elation.
Elder Xu then took several steps forward before speaking, “Zhang Yin, I have a last mission for you to do. If you manage to accomplish it, you shall become a Core Disciple when you return.”
“Many thanks to Elder for his support. This disciple will not rest until he’s accomplished the mission.” Zhang Yin fell to his knees once again.
Elder Xu chortled, “There’s no need for that. I just need you to steal Pei Zi Yun and Chen Zhong Yu’s Fate Lantern.”
Hearing these words, Zhang Yin paused in shock before he hurriedly replied, “If I were to steal their Fate Lanterns, I wouldn’t be able to remain here as a spy, and wouldn’t be able to help our sect from within any longer.”
Zhang Yin’s back started cold sweating. Stealing their Fate Lanterns didn’t mean that they would die. Every disciple has his own Fate Lantern. When he dies, it will be extinguished and guide the spirit along his way. It can be said that the hall which contains all the Fate Lanterns is the core of the entire sect, and thus the most heavily guarded.
Elder Xu smiled, “After obtaining the Fate Lanterns, you can come back and will be immediately promoted to Core Disciple. Think about it.”
Hearing Elder Xu’s words, Zhang Yin gritted his teeth and replied, “Elder Xu, I was just considering how to steal those items. How would I ever dare to turn down an order from my sect.”
Elder Xu nodded his head, “I understand. Obtain it and then contact us once again with the talisman. We shall pick you up from the foot of the sect when you are ready.”
“Yes, Elder!” Zhang Yin replied loudly as the Elder nodded his head in approval. He gave several more instructions before turning the talisman off.
Zhang Yin’s forehead was dripping with sweat as his expression turned sullen. He took several steps forward, ‘I have no choice but to acquire the Fate Lantern. It’s just that the grand hall which contains all the Fate Lanterns would always have at least five senior brothers guarding it. If I wish to steal it, I cannot use strength and fight my way through. The only way is to use intelligence.’
The rain started to cease, but the skies were still dark. A large gale of wind swept across, as the trees around swayed in a rhythm. Zhang Yin carried a box of food as he arrived at the grand hall which housed all the Fate Lanterns. He then heard someone call out suspiciously, “Who is it?”
Zhang Yin looked across and saw the senior brother who was guarding the grand hall. Zhang Yun smiled, “Senior brother Qin, I just wanted to thank you for guiding me all these while. I thought about how you’ve been warm and nice to me, and prepared some meat and wine for you.”
When senior brother Qin saw that the person before him was a junior brother whom he was familiar with, he broke out in a laugh, “I was wondering who it was. So it’s Elder Chen’s fourth disciple Zhang Yin. You’re a good person to remember the good I’ve done for you. Thank you.”
Zhang Yin was about to take out the food and wine from his basket when Qin Zhen extended a hand and closed the lid on the basket. “Follow me inside, there are tables where we can lay the food out.”
He then took the basket from Zhang Yin and walked into the hall, where he laid everything out nicely on the table. There was even an entire jug of wine for him. Qin Zhen dipped his nose into the jug and took a sniff as he beamed at Zhang Yin, “Junior brother Zhang, this is the Qin Lian wine from our sect. In order to get your hands on such good wine, you must’ve paid a hefty price. You shouldn’t have gone to that extent!”
“Ai, senior brother, a hero is befitting of good wine. I’ve been thinking about how you’re one of the most proficient fighters within the sect. Besides, we’re such close disciples and I wanted to thank you for guiding me all these while.” Zhang Yin raised the jug of wine and poured it out into a cup as he spoke.
Qin Zhen laughed and patted Zhang Yin on the back, “Looks like my junior brother really knows what’s going on.”
“Ai, senior brother, where’s everyone else?” Zhang Yin looked around and asked. At this point Qin Zhen picked up a chicken drumstick and took a massive bite out of it. He then picked up the cup and drank a huge gulp before sighing, “I wonder which sect decided to wage war against our sect. Everyone else was dispatched to defend the sect. I’m the only one remaining, left to guard this grand hall. People hardly ever come by here anyway.”
“Drink up, drink up.” Qin Zhen finished his cup of wine before using his chopsticks to pick up the huge piece of meat. Zhang Yin then filled his cup to the brim once again. In his hand however, he held onto some powdery substance which remained obscure from view. He then poured another cup out from himself as they both drank together.
After several more drinks, Qin Zhen felt someone heavy headed as he looked up and heard Zhang Yin counting, “4,5,6….”
Qin Zhen felt extremely hazy as he asked, “Junior brother, what are you counting to?’
At this point Zhang Yin had already reached “10”. He looked at Qin Zhen and replied, “Senior brother, I was counting to when you would pass out.”
Hearing these words, Qin Zhen froze, as if he was trying to say. The next moment, his head fell into the bowl in front of him. Zhang Yin looked down at him regretfully, and took his head out of the bowl and allowed him to rest comfortably. He then sighed, “Senior brother Qin, thank you for looking after me all these while. It’s just that, there are some thing I have to do. If it weren’t for the fact that I want to excel in my Daoist life, I wouldn’t have to become a spy and conceal my true identity. I wouldn’t have to take all these unnecessary risks to my life and put myself in danger.”
Zhang Yin then turned around and walked into the great hall without further hesitation. The minute he walked in, he realized that the hall was unlike any he had ever seen before. Although there were rows upon rows of faint glimmering light, which were the Fate Lanterns, it was unnaturally still and quiet.
Zhang Yin knew that a spell had been placed within the hall. However, since he was a member of this sect, the spell didn’t restrict his entry within the the hall. However, if he remained here for longer than he had to, he would be discovered. Hence, he hurriedly started searching for the Fate Lanterns.
It wasn’t difficult for him to locate them. However, he didn’t remove them from the shelves right away. There was an additional spell placed upon these lanterns. Once someone touches them, the Sect Elders and Sect Leader would know about it. Hence, the disciples were allowed to come into the hall to check, but weren’t allowed to touch it necessarily.
Although he had already found the lanterns, he knew that the moment he touched it, he had to flee. If not, he wouldn’t make it out at all.
Zhang Yin stood in front of the lanterns and hesitated, “If I could destroy some, it would conceal my tracks.”
Destroying the Fate Lanterns didn’t mean that the owner of the lantern would die. However, he would feel a break within his spirit and his soul will be injured. Thinking this way, he sighed, “Five years of being a spy with these people, I’ve developed feelings for them as well.”
As Zhang Yin mumbled under his breath, tears rolled down his cheeks as he hurriedly wiped them away with his palms. He then turned towards his own Fate Lantern before glancing over at Pei Zi Yun’s and Chen Zhong Yu’s lanterns. He then picked one up. Immediately, there was a loud buzz sound. The Patriarch within the hall opened his eyes as he looked completely bewildered. A ray of light burst forth, “Someone has touched the Fate Lanterns!”
Zhang Yin placed the Fate Lanterns within a bag as he retrieved the talisman and ran towards the door and out. He made a quick descend down the mountains without turning back.
Several Elders were asleep, while others were patrolling the area. They all received the warning by the Patriarch and paused in shock, “What, someone dared to steal the Fate Lanterns? Damn it. Check it out. Who’s the one who stole the Fate Lanterns?”
Before long, all the Sect Elders congregated at the main hall where they saw Qin Zhen sprawled across the table, unconscious. A Sect Elder stepped forward and sniffed the wine jug on the table. “It’s the Unconscious Immortal Powder, it’s not poisonous. He’s just knocked out cold.”
“Wake him up.” The Sect Leader cleared his throat.
An Elder then stepped forward with a single pill as he tipped Qin Zhen’s head back and forced the pill into his mouth. It dissolved within the matter of minutes and Qin Zhen awoke. He looked around and noticed that the Sect Leader and all the Elders were surrounding him. He then shouted out in fright, “Sect Leader, master, Elders, how come all of you are here.”
The Sect Leader then asked, “Who was it who drugged you?”
Qin Zhen was already sweating cold sweat as he reported, “Set Leader, it was Elder Chen’s fourth disciple, Zhang Yin. He brought some food and wine here. I drank several mouthfuls and was rendered unconscious.”
The Sect Leader was about to berate Elder Chen when a Sect Elder emerged from the hall. He had arrived earlier and went to investigate the matter. “Sect Leader, I’ve already conducted a check. We’ve lost three Fate Lanterns. They belonged to the traitor Zhang Yin, Pei Zi Yun and Cheng Zhong Yu.”
Yu Yun Jun had been standing at the side, not speaking. She stepped forward in clear rage, “This person actually had the nerve to steal Pei Zi Yun’s Fate Lantern? Outrageous!”
Yu Yun Jun turned around to chase after him. Chen Zhong Yu’s master heard this as well, his face turned red in anger as he followed Yu Yun Jun in a bid to chase the traitor down.
The night was deep and dark as a boat docked at the pier. Pei Zi Yun disembarked from the boat and noticed that it was raining. Although it was now time for most shops to close for the day, there were still a multitude of people around. In fact, many stalls were still opened due to the overwhelming amount of people around. He sighed, ‘After the sea routes opened, the ports are all flourishing with trade and prospering.’
While he was walking, he felt a chill ran down his spine and knew that his divine power, the Stars Transposition had reacted to something. He then mumbled, “Is this a warning sign?”