Plundering the Dao of the Immortal Journey - lightnovelgate.com
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"You lot should participate too. This way, it wouldn’t just be a dream for the guilty, but become reality."
One of the spirit officials understood this. Earlier, it was just a fake judgement which only took place in the minds of these servants. But to truly be a part of this now, would mean that this would be true judgement from the spiritual realm. In that second, the official turned towards the deity and bowed deeply.
Several other officials along with the spirit constables started making their way in, causing the River Deity to laugh out. They were all positioned within the dreams now, as their shadows looked solid compared to how it was earlier. Their faces were grim and sterns as they dealt with the group of servants before them.
At once, the smells of the boiling oil, the screams of agony all became real.
At this point, the River Deity sat high above in his chair as he slammed the wooden tile down onto his table. Everyone cast their glance towards Bai Ceng, the assistant butler. Everyone of them present were spirit constables, and some of them were weird looking demons. It was truly a terrifying scene.
"Hm, you’re guilty but refuse to confess. That means additional punishment. If you are frank and honest, that might lessen your guilt, and decrease the punishment." River Deity looked coldly at Bai Ceng as he slammed the wooden tile down onto the table once again.
The entire hall was filled with the sounds of water flowing, just like as if it was right next to a gushing river. Bai Ceng was already startled when he found himself here. Although he put up a brave front, and showed defiance on his face, he was filled with fear and regret. At this point, the wooden tile slammed forcefully onto the table again, after the River Deity spoke out, a certain sense of pressure could be felt in his chest, and he started trembling.
At this point Bai Ceng was soaked in cold sweat. All the courage he had earlier had completely vanished. For some strange reason he started speaking out, "River Deity Lord, please spare me. All the bad things I did were instructed by my master, and I had no choice but to do."
Bai Ceng had wanted to explain himself.
Hearing these words, the River Deity cleared his throat as the spirit official next to Bai Ceng asked, "Why haven’t you confess those sins then?"
"Yes, River Deity Lord. Eighteen years ago, the magistrate was a High Scholar from the previous dynasty. During the reign of chaos, he was still a child when he met several bandits who robbed and wanted to kill him. He was then rescued by a warrior who was extremely proficient in martial arts. He swore that he would repay the debt to this man who rescued him, and the both of them soon grew close."
"It’s just that the world was in chaos at that point in time, and his benefactor, the warrior went missing for a long time. My master then thought he was being hauled up and captured by the Imperial Court, or that he had died."
"In order to deal with the present situation, my master gathered several servants and guards to start building a home for himself. One day, this warrior returned and brought several men back to his home. The warrior said that the had met with some soldiers and were on the run, and needed a place to stay."
"When the warrior returned, my master was already a young man and was already a High Scholar. They came in the depth of the night, and was being treated with care by my master, who offered them wine and food. After drinking excessively in the night, the warrior revealed his identity in drunken stupor. This warrior had raised his banners in support for the current Emperor of this dynasty. Back then, the present Emperor was just a General but had started to rebel against the dynasty and wanted the throne for himself. This warrior had won numerous of battles for him and was powerful figure within the rebel camp. In fact, he was promoted to the rank of General, and was known as General You Ji."
"It’s just that this time, they had suffered a defeat, and thus needed to recuperate at my master’s house. They promised to return to their camp a few days later. However, after having some drinks, he revealed that he was a wanted man by the imperial courts."
"My master thus instructed his servants to find out more details about this warrior’s identity. After establishing that whatever he was speaking was the truth, he also found out that anyone who killed this man would be granted with a seventh rank official title. Hence my master instructed me to slip some poison into the soup which would dispel the alcoholic effects."
"That very night, I obeyed the commands of my master, and delivered the soup laced with poison. Most of the men died by the poison. Only one or two of these soldiers were suspicious and didn’t drink the soup. They were stabbed and killed by the rest of us."
"I wanted to cut his head off and offer it to my master. However, the next day, we received news that the rebel army managed to break through the capital city and was on the verge of claiming the throne. My master was alarmed by this news, and hurriedly instructed all of us to bury the bodies."
"Since everything was in chaos and pandemonium, with fights and wars breaking out regularly, nobody knew about this. Additionally, General You Ji and his men came to our residences secretly, and thus the secret was preserved with their deaths. The rebel army investigated their deaths, but couldn’t find any evidences, and thus assumed that he died at war."
"We were afraid for many years, until after this dynasty had been stabilized and nothing happened to us. We then realized that nobody suspected us at all. Our master thus took the palace examinations and became a Palace Scholar. Since there were many deaths during the war, and the population size was small, he became a county magistrate before long and rose to the rank of prefecture magistrate eventually."
"River Deity Lord, I was just a mere servant then. Although my master promoted me to the rank of assistant butler, I had no say in the commands given to me. Alas, I had no evil in my heart while committing these acts." Bai Ceng fell to his knees and begged, "River Deity Lord, you know my plight then, if I refused to obey orders, I would’ve been beaten to death. Nobody would even miss me or redress my grievances."
"Your excellency, your excellency, I am innocent!"
Looking at the mirror, and hearing these words, Pei Zi Yun laughed out, "Forget the other matters. A crime like this, especially after the rebel side has won the war, is truly a severe crime. I never expected something like this to be revealed!"
"Quick, ask for the real name of the general and the location of burial. The magistrate is finished."
Pei Zi Yun spoke out this way as the River Deity slammed the wooden tile onto the table once again, "You’ve been honest in your answer and very truthful. There’s only one thing. What was the real name of General You Ji, and where were the bodies buried? Why have you left out these details?"
When it came to these important details, Bai Ceng started to realize something was rather amiss. Despite his fears, he didn’t dare to reveal the answers and hesitated. The River Deity smacked the wooden tile violently on his desk once again.
As with every time the wooden tile was slammed on the table, a loud sound rang out, causing fear to fill the hearts of those who heard it. Bai Ceng could feel his heart hammering in fear, and yet his mind was a mess.
River Deity pounded his fists on the table, "You still wish to hide facts? Drag him down to the burning oil!"
As soon as these words were uttered, the entire hall turned cold as a pair of spirit constables stepped forward. Their cold steel chains draped around Bai Ceng’s neck. At this point, he could feel hot blood rush into his head, and knew that he was in trouble. As he was being dragged, he couldn’t breathe and was struggling fiercely.
All of a sudden, the cold chains loosened, as Bai Ceng’s face flushed red. He fell to his knees and started weeping, "I shall tell you, I shall say everything! Please be lenient your excellency!"
Bai Ceng slumped onto the ground weakly, "General You Ji’s real name was Gao Chang Yi, and he’s buried under the tree within the magistrate’s residences. The heads of the bodies are buried within five meters of the Jade Mountain Pavilion some distance away from the city.."
"Have you touched the bodies after you buried them?"
"River Deity, your excellency, we haven’t. They’ve always been buried there."
"Are there any other evil deeds which you’ve done?"
"Your excellency, there is. There’s more. The magistrate ordered me to threaten and blackmail a lower ranking official into making his daughter marry the magistrate. In fact, I had to coerce the official to give the magistrate 2,000 taels of silver and give his daughter up to become a mistress to the magistrate."
"The magistrate also arrested the boss of a business for his brother in law, so that he could obtain his business."
Bai Ceng was with the magistrate for a long time, and finally revealed all the more important and incriminating details.
Hearing these, Pei Zi Yun laughed out coldly. Indeed, the magistrate wasn’t clean. Other matters could be considered minor. But killing the Emperor’s trusted General You Ji, Gao Chang Yi was enough to cause the Emperor to be enraged. The most important thing now would be to hand the evidence over."
"Such sins are punishable by death." Pei Zi Yun spoke, not caring about Bai Ceng as he turned to look at the Sect Leader and asked, "Do you know of any officials who are in conflict with the magistrate? Who are his enemies? Have you found out?"
The Sect Leader pondered for several moments before replying, "There are!"
"Chen Yuan Zi, who’s an advisor official now. He’s only of the fourth rank, and lives nearby the magistrate."
Pei Zi Yun nodded as he returned to the altar and lit up an incense before bowing and taking a step back. This concluded the ritual. He then turned around and looked up at hte skies before smiling to himself, "Return these men back to the magistrate’s residences. They would probably think that they were just having nightmares."
"Yes!" Several Daoists responded as they dispelled the Dao arts and burned more incense to ensure that these servants remained deep in sleep. They took down the earthen altar before getting up on the oxcart.
It was late in the night and not a shadow could be seen on the streets. It was raining at this point, with strong winds blowing. The streets were narrow and small, as the watchman navigated his way through. He was dressed in a thick coat and hit on his gong while he carried a lantern.
The winds blew against the barren trees, causing a rustling sound as the twigs shook. Somewhere in the distance, the sounds of the oxcart broke the tranquility in the air.
Several shadows leaned against the magistrate’s walls as a person in black robed scaled the walls. After looking around, he realized that it was clear and made his way to the backyard.
Pei Zi Yun frowned as he got near and spoke softly, "Everyone don’t use any spells. Remember to seal your spiritual powers, and find the rooms. Then, place these men back to their rooms and on their beds."
"Although it didn’t matter even if we woke the entire residences up, since the most important thing was that we obtained the evidences. However, it would be best if nobody found out about this. Keeping the magistrate in the dark till the last moment would be optimal."
"Yes!" Seeing that they were about to succeed in their mission, everyone was careful as they stealthed their way in. After some time, everyone came out, "Everything went smoothly."
Pei Zi Yun swept a glance across at the backyard and said, "Let’s go. We should find this advisor and give him a detailed report about everything we’ve discovered. He must be extremely happy to find out about the dark past of the magistrate."
The sky was gradually turning bright and several servants had just woken up. When Bai Ceng woke up, he was still confused and afraid. He then felt a dull ache in his neck. He hurriedly stood up and looked in the mirror, but there were no scars or cuts. It was just a dull pain.
"Was the dream I had about the River Deity real?" Bai Ceng thought to himself, as he was alarmed. If it was just a dream, it was a small matter, but the pain in his neck was real. At once, his heart started hammering as he rushed out from his dormitories.
"Butler!" Someone called up, giving him a shock. When he turned around, a little servant had delivered a bowl of noodles over, "I’ve brought you some food."
Bai Ceng took the bowl of noodles, as the delicious smell of it whet his appetite. There were large pieces of meat inside, and the noodles were made of chicken broth. It was truly deliciously, and yet for some reason he didn’t feel like eating anymore. All of a sudden, someone shouted for him again, "Butler, our master has called for you."
Bai Ceng immediately felt dizzy, as his face turned pale. He then placed down the bowl of noodle and rushed out. When he reached, he bowed deeply. The magistrate cast a glance at Bai Ceng and was filled with disgust, "Why do you look so wretched, what did you do yesterday? You look like you barely slept."
"I deserve to be scolded." Bai Ceng didn’t argue.
The Governor sat down, and looked rather uneasy. After sometime, he then spoke, "You should keep torturing those female Daoists, and make them confess to their actions. In fact, you should make them admit to luring students, and seducing them with the help of incense. We should find some headless dead bodies and blame it on them, saying that they killed their prisoners once they were done with them. I’m quite worried about those constables, who might have some relations with the women from True Element Sect. You should keep an eye out to see if the constables are working together with this. I want this case to be ironclad!"
"Hm, a mere True Element Sect. Even if they were capable, I wish to let them know that the law is at hot as fire!" The magistrate laughed as he issued the command.
When Bai Ceng heard this, he felt a surge of fear rise up, as his face turned pale. Seeing the magistrate looking at him, he hurriedly acknowledged, "Yes!"
As soon as he spoke, he recalled the incident from last night and wondered if he was dreaming or if it was real.