Chapter 77 – Revenge
“What is it Mistress Cloud?” High Scholar Fu asked with concern.
Yu Yun Jun frowned and sighed after a some time, “Bringing Pei Zi Yun into the sect, I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do.”
Seeing the bewilderment on High Scholar Fu’s face, she then replied, “The energy of a noble, or famous person boils the clouds and cause them to turn red, you know this too.”
“Initially, Pei Zi Yun’s aura was red and white, with white being predominant, and a faint red glow in the middle. That’s not uncommon.”
“But just now I realized that over this past month, his aura started to roil and crease up. It was initially a muddy color, but today it formed a green single thread. It was profound, and very bright. That means that his literary efforts have reached their pinnacle. He has finished writing a piece that will rock the entire literary world.”
When High Scholar Fu heard this, he paused for a long time before asking, “A green thread that’s profound and bright? What’s the meaning of it?”
“Green is used to indicate that he has written a masterpiece, but nobody knows this yet. Once someone applauds his work, it will first turn into the colour of a rainbow. It will first form three colors, green, red and yellow. The more people recognize and praise his work, the shade of red and yellow will shed, leaving behind only the green.”
“When it turns green it means that this person has finished whatever he wished to express, and his work will live on forever. With such a gift in literary arts, he might even feel that the sect is beneath him. That’s why I said I’m unsure about my decision to pull him into the sect.”
High Scholar Fu thought about how Pei Zi Yun’s essays had improved by leaps and bounds over the past few days. His essays had shocked the entire city, and word have been spreading all across the nation. He moved his lips to say something, but nothing came out, “But according to you, Pei Zi Yun is gifted in his Dao Arts as well?”
“Yes, he can write well and he can fight well.” Yu Yun June said with mixed emotions.
“Isn’t this a good thing? Anyway, he’s your disciple. The person who would increase your reputation would be Pei Zi Yun.” High Scholar Fu sighed and said, “Who wouldn’t want to be born as Pei Zi Yun.”
“Brother Wei, I’ve finished reading your books and shall return them to you.” A guard was leading Pei Zi Yun into Wei Ang’s yard. The last time Pei Zi Yun was here, he composed the poem that shocked everyone. Hence, Wei Ang instructed all the guards and maids to lead Pei Zi Yun here whenever he dropped in.
When he entered the yard, Pei Zi Yun called out loudly for Wei Ang, but instead the serving maid, Huang Li appeared, “Master Pei is here, my third master is not in. He should be here soon, please take a seat.”
Huang Li was extremely polite and led Pei Zi Yun in, and started preparing tea while he took a seat.
The water was boiling on the stove as the maid used a fan to control the flames. He sat there for a short while when he heard some activity at the door, “Brother Pei is here?”
Wei Ang then strolled in, wearing a splendid looking robe, giving off a lordly aura.
“Brother Pei, you’re here. Have you finished reading the books?” Wei Ang looked down and saw two parcels being wrapped in paper. His eyes then shone. Pei Zi Yun smiled, “I’ve finished reading them, and am here to return the books.”
Wei Ang then replied, “Why would you return these books to me? You can keep them brother Pei.”
Pei Zi Yun insisted, and picked up the seven books and handed them over to Wei Ang, who reluctantly received them. He placed the books aside and said, “Brother Pei doesn’t come out very often, and you shouldn’t be cooped up in your room for too long. How about we take a walk?”
“I’ll be most glad to!” Since Pei Zi Yun completed his book, his mood was good and agreed readily.
A group of people then started packing some alcohol before leaving. The mountain they were heading to was to the north of the city. It wasn’t a very tall mountain, and yet the peak of the mountain gave a bird’s eye view of the entire city. After they had reached the foot, they realized that the entire mountain was a hue of greenish grey.
“Brother Pei, there is a stream at the peak of the mountain, causing the entire mountain to be overgrown with lush and verdant vegetation. That’s why the mountain looks green. The pathways are narrow, and the vegetation along the way is rather thick. Several poets decided to build a pavilion here so that one would be able to gaze into the distance and gain some inspiration.”
“Higher up is the Tang Gong Shrine.”
Pei Zi Yun ascended several steps and entered the pavilion. He then gazed into the distance. Although it was winter, he could see the many pine trees growing on the mountains around him. A strong gust of wind blew past him and he could hear the howling sound. They proceeded further up and saw a shrine.
This shrine wasn’t big by any measure and there were a few incense being placed on the burner. When he looked up, he saw an inscription that read “Tang Gong Shrine”.
“This Tang Gong Shrine was popular for a very long time. During the reign of the previous dynasty, Tang Gong was a part of the entourage with the Emperor. During one of their journeys, they came under attack. There was fierce fighting, with both sides taking many casualties. Right at the critical moment, an arrow came soaring straight towards the Emperor. Tang Gong dived in front of him and took the arrow for him. He died as a result.”
“The Emperor escaped with his life. As a means of repayment, he built this shrine here in this city, atop this mountain. Tang Gong’s offsprings were also rewarded by being elevated to Viscount status.”
“In the previous dynasty, not only would they reward people by elevating the status of their offsprings, they would erect shrines for the entire family as well. This included outstanding officials who served well. Although this dynasty has been established, they didn’t remove the shrines, as a loyal subject was still deserving of such honor. However, they didn’t confer any title to this shrine. Naturally, the status of Viscount awarded by the previous dynasty were all nullified as well.”
“What’s more, after he had been martyred in the name of his Emperor, his family returned to the statuses of ordinary citizens. Apart from them, nobody else would visit this shrine and offer incense. Likewise nobody would bother cleaning and tidying the shrine. It is extremely disheartening.”
At this point the wind carried along with it certain droplets of rain. Hearing this story, everyone’s heart fluttered with compassion and pity. Pei Zi Yun then said, “Humans act according to logic, and Heaven’s Will is unfathomable.”
The servants who had accompanied them noticed that there was a table nearby. They then placed several dishes and refreshments, “Both young masters, please have a drink to dispel this sadness and warm yourself up as well.”
“You have a point.” The both of them then took a drink from the table and started chatting once more. Four guards stood around them, watching their surroundings for any sign of movement. After their second drink, they suddenly heard several shouts coming loud and fast towards them.
Pei Zi Yun turned around and saw eight assailants holding swords rushing towards them.
“Holy Jail Sect has sent someone for my life once more?” Pei Zi Yun was startled. He instinctively touched his sword and was about to draw it. From his peripheral vision, he saw the guards beside Wei Ang spring into action. All of them drew their swords and the sound of metal reverberated through the air. Three of them rushed forward while another stayed back to guard Wei Ang.
There was a cliff beside the resting spot they were standing on, and a faint sound could be heard from beneath the cliff. Just as Pei Zi Yun drew his sword, he saw an assailant climbing up from the cliff and rushed towards Wei Ang. He shouted in a ferocious voice, “Ji Bei Hou you scoundrel, time to pay for the hundreds of lost civilian lives from Wealth County.”
Before this assailant had the chance to kill, the guard next to Wei Ang parried his blow. This guard was extremely skilled with his sword and was trading blows with the assailant. With determination on his face, he fought the assailant off and slashed him on his chest. Blood oozed out of the wound uncontrollably.
The assailant fell to the edge of the cliff and gasped deeply for breath. Their plan was to outnumber Wei Ang and kill him off, but they were caught unprepared by the number of guards around. The assailant’s eyes were bloodshot as he shouted, “You bunch of guilty bandits, you’re accomplices to the Japanese pirates!”
He was still gasping rigorously for air, as his face became pale. He then spat out a large mouthful of blood onto the ground.
The guard then walked over to him and stabbed him in between his shoulderblades. He fell flat on the ground, more blood gushing out from his mouth. The look on his eyes was that of intense hate and anger. His mouth was still moving, as he whispered before dying, “Ah Mao, Ah Jin, I am coming…”
“Kill!” The guards from the city were skilled with martial arts. Before long all the assailants but one had been killed. Only one of the guard had sustained injuries but it wasn’t life threatening. They kept one of the attackers alive for interrogation as the guards restrained him. Wei Ang stepped forward, “Who are you people. Why have you attacked me?”
“Pui! All of you are dogs belonging to Ji Bei Hou, who had ties with the Japanese pirates. Everyone of you here should die a horrific death. It’s just that I’m not skilled enough to deliver death to you, and have been caught. If you wish to kill me, or cut me, do as you please. I, Chen Nan was not a good man, but I have changed over the past eighteen years. And yet now I have vowed to kill off the entire family of Ji Bei Hou or die trying. All this to exact revenge for the hundreds of lives lost in Wealth County.”
When Pei Zi Yun heard these words, he felt a chill ran down his spine. Could there really be some inside information made known to these assailants from Wealth County?
Wei Ang’s expression was that of bewilderment and confusion. It was quickly being replaced by a look of comprehension. He then scolded the man before him, “I am a master of Ji Bei Hou’s mansion. Our family has been shown favor and grace by the dynasty. They even put us in charge of the entire An Prefecture, where we have been exterminating bandits. How could we be in cahoots with the pirates? Do not falsely accuse.”
The assailant kneeling on the ground laughed coldly, “Don’t tell me you’re not aware….”
Even before he could finish his sentence, the guard who had defended Wei Ang stepped forward and hacked down on his neck, where his head rolled off, blood dripping onto the ground. He then cursed, “Damn traitorous bandit. You dare to smudge the reputation of Hou Mansion. You shall die for that.”
The guard then turned around, “Young master, it’s possible that these men have more accomplices. Today’s not a good day to have fun. Let’s hurry back to the mansion from where we will make a report to the city.”
The guard who spoke was the leader of the guards. He knew what to do in case of an attack like this.
Wei Ang was clearly deep in thought as he made no move to respond. The guards surrounded Wei Ang and Pei Zi Yun as they made their descent. The guards were all alert and ready to defend themselves should another wave of assailants emerge. They threaded gently and carefully.
As they were leaving, they had to walk past Chen Nan’s corpse, who was still oozing out blood. Pei Zi Yun noticed that there was a piece of paper sticking out from the folds of his clothes. Making sure that nobody was looking at him, he started swinging his hands before swiftly bending down and retrieving it. Since the guards were all looking out in other directions, they did not notice this.
After something like that had happened, they were not to go out again for the night. The guards escorted the pair of them down to the foot of the mountain, and back to the mansion. A guard then left them to inform Mister Shen of whatever happened. Before long, the same guard had a horse readied as he rode away, towards the city to inform the relevant authorities about this matter. The life of Hou Mansion’s third master had been threatened. This was not a small matter. If this case were to escalate, the governor would be questioned.
Before long, Shen Zhi hurried over. Seeing Wei Ang was fine, the knots in his heart loosened, “Young master, thank the heavens you’re alright. You should avoid leaving the house for the next few days. We shall wait for our guards and the city’s officials to investigate clearly. Only when the threats cease to exist should you leave.”
Wei Ang’s facial expression was somewhat uncomfortable. He clasped his hands in salute, “I shall do as Mister says.”
Shen Zhi then faced Pei Zi Yun and spoke, “Top Scorer, whatever happened today, Hou Mansion will be sure to get to the bottom of this. Later on, we will assign several guards to escort you back home. We seek your understanding on this matter.”
Pei Zi Yun agreed. After some time, several guards arrived and escorted Pei Zi Yun in an ox-cart back to Fu Mansion.
On the ox-cart, Pei Zi Yun noticed that nobody was around to observe him. He then retrieved the piece of paper and took a close look. There were words written on the paper that indicated it was a message of thanks from the japanese pirates. The message was written partially in Chinese and Japanese. The main message of the note was very clear, it was the pirates thanking Ji Bei Hou. How did these people manage to get this paper?
Pei Zi Yun hesitated.
These people had clearly grouped together to plan this assault. It seems like they were from Wealth County, and managed to acquire this message. The minute they saw their target, they decided to attack.
This message could be a fake, or it could be used to frame Ji Bei Hou and make him the scapegoat. Pei Zi Yun thought deep, and recalled seeing the samurai warriors in Hou Mansion. In the original owner’s memories, there was an assassination attempt on the governor. Following this, the imperial court surrounded Hou Mansion and annihilated them. After this happened, the imperial court then underwent a few years of wiping out all the pirates within the nation.
In a flash, all the seas were rid of these Japanese pirates. Up till the time of the original owner’s death, there was no word that the pirates ever rose up again.
Considering how Ji Bei Hou was a person highly regarded by the Emperor now, and yet his status was removed before he was executed, everything started to make sense.
“Based on the present situation, the dynasty has been established and all the military resources was to be converted to education and literature since it’s peace time. The governor has the endorsement of the imperial court, and was sent to suppress Master Hou, and to gradually remove his authority.”
“Master Hou was displeased about this. Based on the eventual outcome, he must’ve engaged the japanese pirates to stir some conflict, in order to raise his value within the imperial court. He would eventually kill off these pirates to show his capabilities in handling such conflicts.”
In the original owner’s life, Wei Ang did not perish but lost his repute and fame. Pei Zi Yun had started to understand everything. He then sighed, “Wei Ang, do you know about whatever’s going on?”
“If you’re not aware, it’s still okay. But if you do, although we’re on good terms, our friendship cannot continue.” Pei Zi Yun sighed. Should any normal person be subjected to such an attack by the pirates, it would leave a scar in his memories.
“According to the original owner’s memories, the assassination of the governor was due to take place in a few days time. Although it was ultimately unsuccessful, naturally the governor did not know this.”
“If I were to take pity on the governor and save him, I would earn an invaluable friendship. And yet I would cause Ji Bei Hou anger. Although Ji Bei Hou was merely using the pirates to elevate his usefulness, if he did not rid the country of the pirates, the people would be suffering under the pirates constant attack for a very long time, and that must not happen.” Pei Zi Yun decided on his next course of action when he heard a sound outside. High Scholar Fu was shouting, “Zi Yun, are you there?”
“Uncle Fu, I’m here.” He then got off the ox-cart and saw the look of relief on High Scholar Fu’s face, “Curfews have been implemented. It’s been said that Ji Bei Hou’s third son came under attack. And I heard that you were with him, and was extremely worried. It seems now that you are fine. And I am relieved.”
“Thank you uncle Fu for your concern. I was out with third master Hou today to have some fun, but came under the attack of several assailants. I am fine. Before I could react the guards killed off all the attackers.”
“Before I forget, there’s been an invitation by the governor recently to a banquet. I’ve not been to that prefecture and wish to take a look.” Pei Zi Yun asked.
High Scholar Fu was somewhat surprised before responding, clearly relieved, “You’ve been cooped up in the room studying all the time I thought you’ve forgotten. There has been an invitation that came a few days go. You can go by yourself.”
“You and I are both scholars, and the governor is of utmost importance to us.”