Plundering the Dao of the Immortal Journey - lightnovelgate.com
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The sound of rain and thunder woke Pei Zi Yun up, who sat up on his bed within his cabin. Strong winds assaulted the boat crew outside and carried along with it bullet like rain drops. Several of the boat crewmen greeted him with a bow when they saw him outside, "Young Master the wind and rain are getting heavy. Please be careful!"
"Don’t worry about that. Where are we now?" Pei Zi Yun looked up at the sky and asked. There weren't many streaks of lightning in this particular shower, but the rain was indeed heavy. "Young Master, we’ve arrived at the Eastern Gorge and are preparing to disembark."
Pei Zi Yun watched everyone as they lowered the sails, the anchors, the platform, and other ropes. He didn’t wish to disturb them and looked around, to see the north-west land which faced the eastern mountains. When he peered further in the distance, he saw the undulating mountainous ridges, where a monastery could be seen. Right at this point, in the midst of the rain, he could see the flicker of a lantern and was bewildered. When he squinted, he got a clearer look at who it was and stepped forward to welcome the person, "So it’s Sect Leader, why have you come personally to welcome me?"
Indeed, the person who came to receive him was the female sect leader, who had brought along several people with her. All of them wore thick woven rain coats which repelled the rain and prevented it from getting on their skin. Pei Zi Yun welcomed them onto his boat, before he invited the female sect leader into his tea room.
The Sect Leader didn’t stand on ceremony as well, as she took off her raincoat and sandals before she walked in. At this point, she looked at Pei Zi Yun and laughed, "The weather is rather cold. Can you get us some hot soup to warm ourselves up?" Pei Zi Yun hurriedly sent the order for some warm tea and soup to be prepared before he laughed, "The matter doesn’t seem as serious as it sounds."
"Actually, the matter isn’t very severe. What’s most pressing now is my inner circle." The Sect Leader stood up and paced around, her voice sounded extremely calm and tranquil against the rain, "After something like this has happened, the behavior of my inner circle disciples have left me feeling very disappointed."
"Several disciples who were already married, and had been wives of men, are starting to think very differently. When they first received information about this matter, they’ve all thought of ways to absolve their families and children from this conflict instead of thinking of ways to help the sect."
"And several other inner circles disciples who aren’t experienced enough in such matters received a huge shock when they heard this news."
"True Element Sect has been around for several hundred years and is a very reputable sect. When everything was going well, we had many allies and stable social connections. Money and power often worked in our favor. Now that something has happened, everyone has gone weak in the knees, and their behaviors have all been substandard. Ai, could it truly be that women disciples cannot match up to men disciples?"
"I’ve brought several people here, so that they would be able to see how you handle matters, and be experienced in such ways. They would also be able to see how a decisive person handles such situations and make rational decisions." The female sect leader spoke out as she walked towards the windows and gazed up at the sky, she watched the rain pour down as it slapped against the windowsills. As soon as these words were spoken, several disciples revealed looks of unhappiness. One of them bowed, "Sect Leader, Sixth Sister married a government official, and there are even some of us who are married to high-ranking officials. With a little bit of effort, we might be able to cause these disciples to back down."
"Listen to this. After thinking for such a long time, their only solution is to use their husbands to suppress the matters with their power and maybe offer up some bribes. Maybe the next step of their plan would involve giving up several of our disciples as wives." The Sect Leader laughed as she spoke.
Pei Zi Yun wasn’t willing to talk about the pros and cons of having male disciples over female disciples. At this point, he mumbled under his breath before he spoke, "There are many possible solutions to the matter, and this young lady has actually brought up a valid point."
Just as he wanted to continue speaking, the kitchen chef brought out several boxes of snacks and a jug of tea in. When the boxes were opened, gold colored pastries presented themselves. They glistened with oil and was steam rose from them. The decadent smell wafted into their noses and filled them with delight.
Everyone present had rushed over in the middle of the night and were hungry by now. After they smelled the delicious aromas of the pastries, nobody spoke. Everyone had a piece and some tea.
"This is tea made from sesame along with walnut kernels and red dates. If the nobles were to drink this, they would even add some ginseng to it. Just a single mouthful would be enough to soothe hunger and thirst…"
The Sect Leader picked up her cup and started to sip the tea as she smiled, "Isn’t this the same drink served by many of those wild Daoists, why did you make this for us?"
"Those wild Daoists often try to assume an air of poise and pretend to fast. Using such drinks often helped to serve their purpose. They would pick out items of high nutritional value and add it to these drinks. Thus, they always seemed like they were fasting and abstaining from food, but this would help them tide through their hunger." Pei Zi Yun then replied, "This tea would go very well with the pastries. Besides, we aren’t like those wild Daoists who need to put up false pretense in order to earn incense money."
"Since such drinks aren’t expensive, and they are able to nourish the sailors as well as combat the cold, we are fond of it. Additionally, it goes very well with the pastries."
At this point, Pei Zi Yun finished a cup of tea. He was the Sect Leader of the Free Cloud Sect and was an Imperial Court appointed Dao Master, who killed took away whenever he deemed fit. He was just being polite and courteous to the Sect Leader at this point. He thus looked up and spoke coldly, "I did say that we could try some methods earlier, but things have changed."
"Ever since the stabilization of the dynasty, everything has changed. People are forgetful in nature. When the dynasty first was established, there were already instances of prefectural magistrates being corrupted and acting unreasonably. If from the start, these magistrates were compromised and perceived as weak that means they’re being undermined this year. Then what would happen in the following years?"
"After compromising the magistrate of a prefecture, what happens to his future successors and his subordinates? It’s needless to say that all of them would be compromised as well, and would be overwhelmed by all these unscrupulous men out there waiting to exploit and bribe them." "Lands, fields, and businesses are all property belonging to someone. But yourselves and the Dao arts aren’t’ properties? Which official wouldn’t wish to marry a beautiful, smart lady who possesses Dao arts and would willingly help him earn a living?"
"But when something like this happens, more will follow. We belong to Daoists sects, and have Dao arts with us. When it comes down to the final straw, the only way is to kill or to rebel."
"So once something like this sets a precedence and is allowed to happen without consequence to the magistrate, even powerful Daoists sects would be just like chicken eggs. Once it falls, it will break and never recover. But that doesn’t mean nothing should be done to prevent this from happening. Taking action would have to start from the root of the problem."
"And to get to the root of the problem would mean killing officials." Pei Zi Yun’s face was filled with smiles as he spoke of something so terrifying in such a light-hearted manner. When the ladies within the room heard this, their hands started to tremble. Even when their fingers dipped into their cups filled with scalding hot tea, they didn't even realize it. Most of them had their eyes and mouths wide open.
Even the Sect Leader couldn’t help but sighed as she spoke, "Since that’s the case, what should we do then? We probably can’t send an assassin to kill the magistrate!"
"Of course not. Having anything directly related to killing an official would see backlash from the Imperial Qi. With everyone’s current cultivation level, you would die immediately from the severe backlash."
"Besides, killing the officials directly would incite the fury of the Imperial Court and bring more misfortunes to your sect. Everyone within the magistrate’s office knows this as well, that’s why they’re so fearless." Pei Zi Yun spoke gloomily, "But the reason Daoists sects can exists up to this point without going extinct is because we have our own methods as well."
"The first step is to be polite. If that doesn’t work, we shall then use force. As for speaking with the magistrate, I presume you’ve already done it?"
"We’ve already tried speaking to them. But the magistrate was full of empty words, as he kept speaking about acting on behalf of the people, and wouldn’t let us off!" One of the female disciples spoke out abruptly.
Pei Zi Yun wasn’t the least surprised by this. He cast a regretful look around the room before he spoke, "Then we have to take the next step. In actual fact, this step is very simple. He is an official, who is of the fifth rank and the leader of the entire office. It can be said that Dao arts simply wouldn’t affect him." "Any types of Dao arts, with the exception of a few wouldn’t get to him at all."
"But what of his family, his servants, and his kids?"
As soon as these words were spoken, an entire door of possibilities seemed to have opened up and everyone started to excitedly discuss.
"Don’t think of the wrong ideas, we have to bring the discussion back to where it’s most important and effective. Killing these people is out of the question, for that would violate the Emperor’s laws and flout the Imperial Qi." Pei Zi Yun took a sip of tea before he continued, "Everyone there has children and family. But in settling such conflicts, we have to handle it correctly and with precision."
"We shan’t kill anyone. Instead, we shall capture some of their servants and interrogate them, before subjecting them to judgement. The law states that anyone who is accused of defying the laws can be subjected to questioning. Since it seems like these magistrates themselves have defied laws, we can do something about it as well."
"Adultery, greed, murder, disloyalty, and dishonesty along with many other illicit activities. Why can’t we find out about these?"
"When it comes to the courts, which one of these officials have no enemies?"
"Even if they truly didn’t have foes within the Imperial Court, there are many other officials within the courts who are looking to impeach guilty officials. In fact, some of them are willing to kill the guilty, law breaking officials so as to earn an extra bounty."
"Once we send news of these crimes committed by the officials, there’s a chance they might be impeached or even lose their heads. Unless these officials have been spotless in their records and have been innocent their entire lives."
"Unless they’re perfect, but are their families perfect too?" Pei Zi Yun asked as he looked out at the rain.
"In the previous dynasty, there was an official who lived in a tent fashioned out of cloth. His wares and utensils were made from bamboo. Even people living in harsh poverty wouldn’t live the way he lived. He only ate meat once a month."
"However, because he was too proper, he despised the Daoists sects, for he thought they were improper and a stain on society. He thus ordered for the monasteries nearby to be demolished. There were 10,000 devotees kneeling down outside with incense, sincerely begging him to spare the monastery."
"This official was enraged and destroyed the incense burner on the spot. He wanted to banish and prohibit anyone from ever burning incense. He then told the crowd that if the horse was unable to drag away the statue in the middle of the monastery, they are allowed to keep it, since that was fate."
"At last, the horse was truly unable to topple the statue in the middle. This official was thus infuriated and shouted at the statue, saying that he would be willing to die to see this statue come down."
"What happened next?" Even the Sect Leader haven’t heard of such a story and asked.
"What came next was simple. This man was above reproach. Although he wasn’t a high ranking official, he had a good reputation everywhere else. However, several people noticed that his sons didn’t behave in accordance to certain laws. Hence, they were accused for defying the rules. At last, one of them was beheaded, while another was sent to jail. Within several years, he became nothing more than a mere beggar."
Pei Zi Yun sighed before he smiled, "This story wasn’t to speak about who was right or wrong. Rather, if a person who was loyal to the throne and the country was able to act above the law, while they sabotaged whoever they wished, wouldn’t they just be a bullying official?"
"This official reaped what he sowed. To the Daoist sects, his offspring reaped what he sowed."
"Without retribution, us as Daoists, would have all the power in the world."
"To show open disrespect to power, was also a crime."
A single burst of wind and rain splashed down upon the boat, before it ended. Everyone was deep in thought and agreed with everything Pei Zi Yun had said, yet they could feel a chill run down their spines.
"Everyone should finish drinking the tea. We have things to do and shouldn’t delay any longer. We have to go to the prefecture!" Pei Zi Yun then asked, "Are there any reputable temples around here?"
The Sect Leader cleared her throat before she replied, "There’s a Shin Wong Temple in every prefecture and county."
"Shin Wong Temples won’t do. Those are for normal people and won’t do for officials." "Besides, that won’t be a good location for it would be too crowded and wouldn’t be good to settle problems there." "There’s a River Deity Temple nearby. Although it’s not the most reputable, it’s only three kilometers away from here. What do you think?" The Sect Leader asked.
"Fine, that would do." Pei Zi Yun replied without further hesitation.
"We shall go to the River Deity Temple to make arrangements, while the few of you should return to the prefecture city. I’m certain most of these officials and their guards are asleep at this time. You know martial arts and should be able to sneak in. Use the incense to keep them asleep and take hold of several servants then bring them to this River Deity Temple. I shall conduct a trial for these servants."
"We shall settle the matter of this prefectural magistrate once and for all."
"We shall then hand him over to his enemies in court and allow them to send him to jail." Pei Zi Yun spoke coldly before he smiled. "Oh, where’s Ye Su’er."
She should’ve been here to witness this.
"Ye Su’er was supposed to come, but she’s already in the tenth stage. I left her behind to cultivate further." The Sect Leader replied before she smiled.
"Alright, let’s set off then!" Pei Zi Yun spoke as he walked onto the deck and into the rain…