Chapter 193 – Words from the heart
Pei Zi Yun understood that the efficiency of a strategy didn’t matter. In fact, in any society, the most efficient method would always end up being subdued and monopolized by someone else after a weakness was exploited..
If a person didn’t understand this, and insisted that using the most efficient method was the best, he was missing out on something important.
Somewhere in the forest, Pei Zi Yun reached into the folds of his robes and pulled out the communication talisman. He wanted to report this matter to his sect. As he whipped it out, he pressed down hard on the middle, and a buzzing sound could be heard.
This time, the lighting didn’t successfully conjure a shadow. Instead, a loud cracking sound could be heard as the entire talisman split into two and fell apart.
‘Communication networks interrupted?’ Pei Zi Yun was stumped. He was only too familiar with this from the memories of the original owner. But seeing it happen right now made him jump up in fright all the same.
‘Even the sect’s entire communication have been blocked off. That means that Dark Altar Sect arrived at Free Cloud Sect, and blood has been spilled. This is years too early!’ Pei Zi Yun couldn’t help but punch the tree in frustration.
At this point, a Plum Blossom appeared before his eyes as it grew bigger rapidly before transforming into an information interface. It bore with it faint light perception as numerous words appeared on the screen.
“Mission : Rescue Free Cloud Sect, become the Sect Leader!”
‘Has it really gotten to this stage?’ Pei Zi Yun didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. He understood the system very well, and the missions which were issued came as a result of the original owner’s experience.
‘Looks like they weren’t just testing the waters, instead they really launched a huge offensive.’
“Dark Altar Sect seemed like they were still in their planning stages earlier, but looks like they were not fooling around about attacking the entire sect.”
A map was unfolded on the table.
“I think we can attack him here.” Someone pointed at the approximate location of Pei Zi Yun and spoke out.
Hearing these words, Elder Xu paused and considered for a moment. At this point, a lantern beside them was extinguished. The man who was speaking raised his voice, “Oh no. Pei Zi Yun is coming. Jian An has been killed.”
Elder Xu stood up, his face bore a severe look as he looked at the map and instructed, “Send word out to the Senior Elder. Find out if Jian An’s soul has been led away. Find out how he was killed. He was just freshly murdered, and the Senior Elder should be able to work with him.”
“This isn’t within a city, and thus the response from the authorities won’t be as quick as our response.”
“Also, fire the flares at the point where Jian An was murdered and gather there. I want five men to a group and we shall form three groups. Go in triangle formation and close down on the area. Find out who was it who killed Jian An.” Elder Xu gave out the orders methodically.
Everyone present knew that the commands issued weren’t to find out who was the culprit responsible for Jian An’s death. Instead, it’s to use the lives of his men to pin point Pei Zi Yun’s exact location. He was using these men as bait.
Hearing Elder Xu’s words, someone pulled out a talisman to send out instructions. With a blade in the other hand, he pushed through the door and exited. Another person then retrieved the flare to send out the signal.
After some time, a Daoist hurriedly came over and fell to his knees, “Elder something happened. An entire group of patrol has been killed. Senior brother Jian An has also been killed in the same area.”
Just as Elder Xu was about to reply, an Elder approached him, “Elder Xu, Senior Elder received some answers. It was Pei Zi Yun who killed Jian An. Jian An tried to stall for time, but Pei Zi Yun saw through his tactics and killed him almost instantly.”
Recalling the soul of a recently departed person was a rather quick process. The Senior Elder was just several hundred meters away from where Jian An died. Summoning his soul to interrogate him took only several minutes, hence the replies came quickly.
“What a vile creature. Jian An’s sword techniques was one of the best among the swordsmen. And yet he was killed so easily. Damn it!”
“This person is very bold, strong and fortunate. His sword techniques are really extraordinary as well. He really deserves the nickname, Sword Saint.”
“What’s most vexing about the entire pursuit is that he still has some weapon or treasure on him. Even after using his Fate Lantern and searching the area thoroughly twice, he still managed to kill our men. In fact, he killed one of our strongest swordsmen. Everyone has to be careful from here.”
“What? Elder Xu, what do you mean? Could it be that this person has been spying on our position and know of our every move?”
Elder Xu took several steps and cleared his throat. “His divine power shouldn’t be able to let him do that. Pei Zi Yun is just a mere Yin Master. He has just opened the gates of heaven. In fact, he was expelled from the sect domains for a year because he killed Song Zhi.”
“It’s only been a short while, how much could his divine power improve? Or could it be that Free Cloud Sect managed to evade our communication blockade and found a way to inform him of our actions. Or it could also be that he could feel the position of his Fate Lantern.”
“I trust our Senior Elder’s screen which disrupt all their communication. Him being able to sense the position of his Fate Lantern is more probable.”
“That’s right. Free Cloud Sect’s disciples are all trapped on their mountain, and have no way of coming down. This person couldn’t have received any help from his sect. Once we kill him, we can trap his soul and interrogate him to find out his secrets.”
Elder Xu then spoke out coldly, “Him being able to kill Jian An like that shows that his sword techniques are excellent. It’s been said that no techniques could rival his. Seems like that’s true. The only way we can take him down is to surround him and kill him with numbers.”
Elder Xu spoke out before issuing another order, “Use your communication talismans to talk to each other and close in on him. Pei Zi Yun must be nearby, and hasn’t left. Send the rest of the men now. Once we discover his location, stall him. The rest of the swordsmen and us, Yin Masters, will surround him. We have to kill him by surrounding him and attacking together.”
“We must not give him a chance to strike out and break through our men.” Elder Xu spoke out loudly.
“Yes!” Everyone around acknowledged.
Although the earthen altar was small, it followed strict rules when it was built. It was three levels tall, filled with inscriptions and emitting a bright ray of light. If it was being concealed in the past, it was now out in the open in all its glory.
The Senior Elder sat atop a boulder and glanced far across as he asked softly, “Have we given a heads up to all the government offices within the counties?”
“We’ve given them a heads up using King Lu’s name. Even if the Crown Prince’s men find out about this, they would know that it’s not worth acting just for a mere Free Cloud Sect.”
“Besides, the magistrate is not a man of the Crown Prince. Don’t worry, as long as the Emperor does not issue a decree himself, or unless the Crown Prince shows up personally, we would be able to completely take them down within ten days.” An Elder spoke out.
“Oh, how is it going with Pei Zi Yun?”
“Elder Xu is leading the troops. He took a great number of people along with him. The most important thing is that he’s extremely good with curses and spells. Now that he has obtained Pei Zi Yun’s Fate Lantern, he should be able to kill Pei Zi Yun without too much difficulties.”
“Even if he doesn’t kill Pei Zi Yun, they just have to keep up the attack and trap him there for three days. By then, their fates would already be sealed. With such a strong force accompanying him, and with the odds swinging to us, if Elder Xu is unable to contain him for just three days, he should give up on his position.”
“What about the situation with the underworld?”
“With the current standings between our sect and King Lu, we’ve already given word to all who might interfere. You don’t have to worry that any problems would arise from the spiritual realm when it comes to our sect and the dynasty. You also don’t have to worry that there would be a problem with the Yin and Yang. A living person would be able to enter the Underworld and investigate should the need arise, but nobody from the Underworld would be able to interfere in matters of the living. If not, the previous deceased Emperor might interfere with the present stage of the dynasty.”
“What about the screen which we used to disrupt activities on Free Cloud Sect?” The Senior Elder asked expressionlessly.
“We used several spells to create the screen in order to prevent them from communicating with anyone outside Free Cloud Sect. I presume they must’ve found out about it by now. But at this point, our plans to kill them and overthrow their sect are already out in the open. They’re just trapped on their own mountain now.”
“Have we managed to establish a communication channel with our Patriarchs?”
“It’s already been done. All that’s left is to complete the rites.” As he spoke, the Senior Elder’s face turned severe.
“Looks like all the preparations have already been made. Whether we succeed or fail is all dependent on our fates then.” The Senior Elder stood up and interrupted the Elder before he could speak. “We still have to respect the will of heaven.”
“Besides, it’s not good to fight over Paradise. You and I both know this.”
“With the tile from King Lu, it’s not going to be difficult to break into Free Cloud Sect’s Paradise since the backlash would be received by King Lu. In fact, the current dynasty inherited a great deal of fortunes and wealth from the previous dynasty. Being a new dynasty, the rewards of merit were extremely high. If this was a dynasty which was older than fifty years, nobody would be willing to do anything for them anymore.” The Elder laughed as he gazed far across in the direction of Free Cloud Sect.
Free Cloud Sect
It had been raining consecutively for several days without a single clear day. The entire walkway of the monastery was flooded with rainwater. The rainwater had accumulated over the past few days and was gradually trickling down to the foot of the mountain.
In the midst of the torrential rain, a devastating piece of news was being spread throughout the entire sect, “Our sect domain has been surrounded. Anyone who descends the mountain will be killed.”
The evening of that same day, the Sect Leader had just finished his dinner and was lying down, resting. Someone then burst through the door, “Sect Leader, Elder Zhao has returned!”
The Sect Leader propped himself up in shock as he asked, “Where is he?”
“He’s sustained some injuries and is being treated now. He’s also having some food.”
The Sect Leader was about to rush out when he paused to think for several moments. At this point the rain was getting heavier. He looked out and noticed that everything was dark and hazy. The raindrops pelted down incessantly across the trees and everything else beneath. Although it was rain in summer, it could still cause one to catch a chill.
The Sect Leader didn’t speak and his expression fell. A sort of inauspicious feeling overwhelmed him.
After some time, Zhao Ning came over to find the Sect Leader. Although he had changed his clothes and taken a shower, he still looked dreadful. He had a deep gash on the left side of his forehead, and his footsteps were unsteady. The minute he walked through the door, he bowed to the Sect Leader.
“Why are you still being polite at such a time! What’s the situation like?” The Sect Leader gazed out and noticed that the rain was still increasing in intensity.
“I have a small piece of good news.”
“We still have a small chance at survival. I led a group of six people down. Two died but the other four managed to escape. They’ve managed to successfully board a boat out of here. They would get help and return as soon as possible”
“The bad news is that the officials and even the magistrate can’t be relied on. Or at least, they won’t be able to help us. Besides, our enemy at this point is Dark Altar Sect. Although their history is only slightly longer than us, their might and influence is very strong.”
“In attempting to escape, we’ve already revealed our hand, and they’ve seen how we managed to escape. It would be virtually impossible to do that again.”
When the Sect Leader heard this, he didn’t speak for a long time. After several moments passed, he finally spoke, “Looks like we have to wait for death.”
“Even if several disciples managed to go out and re-establish a new sect domain elsewhere, even if we have another island somewhere, once we lose our Paradise, we are nothing but mere rogue cultivators.” Zhao Ning watched the rain outside and spoke plainly, “Sect Leader, as Daoists, we don’t have any other options.”
“Life and death are all dependent on the will of heaven.”
“What about Pei Zi Yun?” The pair remained silent as the Sect Leader asked.
“The screen prevented us from communicating, and we haven’t been able to reach him. The last time someone spoke to him, he was rushing back and was merely several hundred kilometers away.” Zhao Ning replied after thinking for some time.
“Actually, I don’t wish for him to come back and save us. Although I have some animosity and hatred for him, I have to admit that he’s the best talent and genius I’ve ever seen in these few hundred years of our sect’s existence.”
Being a genius was innate, but being talented was trained. Zhao Ning understood this. He then heard the Sect Leader continue, “If we really do fail, and lose our Paradise, the only person who could revive our sect from the ashes would be Pei Zi Yun.”
At this critical juncture of life and death, the Sect Leader managed to get rid of his intense hatred and speak the truth. Zhao NIng listened to him and swallowed whatever words he wanted to speak and heard the Sect Leader give a long sigh.