"Northern County, Yellow Monastery, Li Household."
Pei Zi Yun got off the boat and stepped ashore. After he had finished composing the poem, the Sect Leader hadn’t spoken much. Since he couldn’t stay at Peach Blossom Origins for long, he decided to take a boat to the Northern County.
He had wasted several days on board. When he finally arrived, it was late autumn.
In the midst of the autumn colors, Pei Zi Yun gazed at the walls around the county. The sky had not yet turned dark, but there were already lanterns hanging all around. Boats were scattered all across the river, as people came and went about their daily lives.
Pei Zi Yun was looking for people to tell him more about the Yellow Monastery. It was not difficult finding one.
The Yellow Monastery was not far away from the northern end of the county. When Pei Zi Yun got near, he realized that it was not very big. There was a podium in front of the monastery, with a pair of lanterns on each end. Faint chanting could be heard, and it was assumed that night classes were in progress.
"The Li house which I’m looking for is nearby. However, even after asking I realized that there are several houses here, all of which are owned by people with the name Li. Which house is the right one?" At this point, he felt somewhat hungry and thus turned into a nearby restaurant.
"Young Master, do you want some food to eat?" A waiter welcomed him.
"Get me a pot of wine and several dishes too." Pei Zi Yun instructed.
"Young Master, please come in and have a seat. I shall serve it soon."
Pei Zi Yun chose a seat on the second floor so that he could gaze out of the window and look at the monastery just across. He could see many people coming and leaving the area. Several people were welcoming visitors into the monastery, and a Daoist had set up a small stall just outside, telling people’s fortunes.
Occasionally, there would be a bailiff patrolling the streets to ensure that everything was alright. Some of them even carried a blade along.
'Most bailiffs don’t carry swords. Instead, they usually had a metal rod. It was not pointed, which meant that it would not be able to deal fatal injuries and was easy to carry along. Their weapon was similar to the baton wielded by police.'
'However, due to the fact that Meng Luo Gong and all his men had been murdered viciously here, in the Northern County, they increased the security in this area and allowed their bailiffs to carry blades. Since I’m not here to kill anyone, it shouldn’t bother me.' Pei Zi Yun thought to himself.
The waiter then came up to him, "Young Master, your dishes are here."
"A plate of roasted duck, a plate of steamed chicken, a plate of pig’s ear, a plate of peanuts and a pot of wine." The waiter placed them all atop the table.
This wasn’t extravagant, in fact it was just enough. Pei Zi Yun took the pot of wine and poured himself a cup before draining it in one big gulp. He then suddenly thought of the Sect Leader of True Element Sect, and how she had choked up with tears before running off. He then sighed deeply in regret.
The poem had been written by Li Shang and was a beautifully composed poem about the heartbreak and longing experienced by someone. Anyone who had been heartbroken before could identify with the poem and evoke certain strong emotions.
It was apparent that Su’er’s aunt had been through a painful period which was hard to even describe in words. That amount of love she had given, and yet could not be together with him ultimately led to her present situation. Thinking of these matters caused Pei Zi Yun to shake his head.
He then thought of Ye Su’er and a warm feeling envelop his chest. He then pinched the sleeves of his robes before looking at the bracelet on his wrist. There were several pearl beads on the bracelet, with Dao inscriptions written over it. This was Ye Su’er’s protective charm.
'Brother Pei, this bracelet is called the Common Wish Charm and was given to me by my Master. I shall give it to you, so that it can protect you. Also, we can communicate through this. The only downside is that it can only be used once.' Ye Su’er wore the bracelet for him just before he departed.
He then started fidgeting with the bracelet before looking far across at the Yellow Monastery.
'Now that the search for Li household had narrowed its location down to a few houses, I have to confirm which house is the correct one!' He then thought of the waiter who had served up the dishes before shouting, "Waiter!"
The waiter took the tray down, intending to wash it when he heard someone call for him. He hurriedly dashed up the flight of stairs and smiled, "Young Master, do you want more dishes?"
"I do not need more dishes, I just have to ask you something." He then fished out a tael of silver and placed it down on the table, "If you answer the question well, this tael of silver is yours."
When the waiter heard this, he looked at the tael of silver on the table expectantly. The dishes and wine on the table would not even cost half a tael of silver, and the rest would be his to keep. A smile appeared on his face, "Whatever Young Master needs to ask, please ask away. If I know the answer, I shall not conceal it from you."
Pei Zi Yun then poured himself another cup of wine, "Let me ask you, do you know the Li households which live near the Yellow Monastery?"
"If that’s what Young Master’s question is, you’ve found the right person. I’ve lived here all my life, and the three generations before me all lived here as well, and we can’t be more familiar with this place. Around this area, there are at least seven households, all with the surname Li. If you walk further down Yellow Circle Lane, there will be more households with that surname. What kind of person are you looking for, Young Master?"
"Indeed I am looking for someone. I have a senior who I’ve heard moved near this area. I only know that his surname was Li, and am not sure which household he belonged to. Do you know out of all these Li households, which of them moved in twenty years ago?" Pei Zi Yun asked.
"Young Master, based on your inquiry, it seems like you’re not very close to the person are you? If it’s anything against the law, I shall not tell you any more. If a case were to arise out of this, I would be implicated as well." The waiter thought for some time before speaking.
"This is for you, I’m just here to look for a senior relative and not to do anything bad." Pei Zi Yun then tossed the tael of silver to the waiter. The waiter took a look at it and realized that it was of the highest grade of silver and gulped, "Young Master, the Li family which moved most recently is just across the Yellow Monastery. It’s been rumored that the person who lived there was a Daoist. Some time later, the Daoist disappeared. Nobody knew if he died or he ascended the mountains to become an Immortal. The house was then bought over by the Yellow Monastery. I found out about this matter from an elderly man."
The waiter mumbled to himself before looking at Pei Zi Yun, who was deep in thought, "Young Master, my lips are extremely tight. Since I’ve accepted your silver, no matter what happens I shall not say anything. Young Master, don’t worry."
"I already said, I’m looking for a relative, what are you talking about?" Pei Zi Yun laughed, and the waiter seemed to be somewhat embarrassed, realizing that he had formed a misconception of Pei Zi Yun.
"Good, you can go down now." Pei Zi Yun waved a hand, as the waiter spoke, "Thank you Young Master for the tips."
He then beamed at the silver tael in his hands as he retreated from the room.
'Everything seems to match up. It seems like this is the very house. I shall take a closer look later at night. If I can’t seem to find anything, I might have to buy the whole house.' Pei Zi Yun thought to himself.
The night was getting darker and nobody was walking on the streets anymore. Occasionally, there would be a bailiff patrolling the streets.
"It’s late in the night, be wary of your candles, do not let them burn down your houses. It’s late in the night, be careful." The night watchman clanged his gong as he strolled down the deserted streets. Once he walked past, a man dressed in black garb walked across stealthily before climbing over the wall of the Li Mansion.
The man is black garb was Pei Zi Yun. After he had vaulted over the wall, he realized that he was standing right before a huge yard. There were around six or seven bedrooms within this mansion. Many trees had been planted along the yard as well, providing adequate shade to the house, and causing it have a very cooling feel.
It was quiet within the house, and no lights were on. Pei Zi Yun thought that whoever was inside must have been fast asleep.
He took a look at his surroundings before a memory floated into his mind. It’s been rumored that Shen Zhen had been rescued within the inner yard of this mansion. Soon after, due to a series of coincidences, he managed to discover the magical pill. Not only did it heal all his wounds, it provided him with a spiritual energy boost. It was because of this that he managed to continue contending with Xie Cheng Dong.
The only problem was that the trees around were dense and overgrown. Could it be buried under the trees? Pei Zi Yun walked an entire round and didn’t find any traces of where it could be hidden. If he wanted to start digging he would have to buy over the entire house.
'That’s not right. According to the original owner’s memories, the Daoist’s magical pill was found within the yard. It seems like it’s inside the house and not buried under the trees.'
At this point, Pei Zi Yun could hear the sound of someone waking up. He then hurriedly hid behind the shadows. He then noticed an old man walking out. It must be that he needed to use the toilet.
'It’s too troublesome to have someone around. I have to think of a way to thoroughly search the house. Thankfully I came prepared. I didn’t expect myself to turn into a thief tonight.'
Pei Zi Yun prepared the Befuddlement Incense. He then looked up to see that the old man was done with his call of nature and was returning to his room. At this point, he felt a cold breeze brush against his face. The full moon was shining a white and bright light down upon the mansion. Pei Zi Yun then inched his way towards the window before lighting up the incense, allowing the wind to blow the scent into the house. He waited for the incense to spread across the entire house. After some time, all he could hear was complete silence. He then walked into the room and started searching.
He then scrutinized the room and realized that it was not small. He could tell that the original layout of the house was nice, and yet at this point it was a complete mess. With all kinds of items and clothing sprawled across the ground. A table sat in the middle of the room, where paper, scissors and glue were on it.
It might’ve been a beautiful house sometimes ago, but at this point it was clearly aged. Pei Zi Yun searched the entire house once and came out from the last room and didn’t manage to find anything. He was growing suspicious. He’d found the mansion which contained the magical pill and yet could not find the actual pill. What was the reason for that?
Could it be that this was the wrong mansion?
That’s not right, it had to be the Li family which moved in the most recently!
'Then it must be something that I’ve not considered.' Pei Zi Yun tapped his head as he thought hard.
'Right, there’s something else about this house I’ve yet to consider.' Pei Zi Yun then realized something, 'Since the magical pill was found in this house, it might mean that it was refined here. Since I’ve yet to encounter a pill refining room, it must be down in the basement.'
'From the yard, there can only be one possibility, the main hall.' Pei Zi Yun thought to himself before walking in the direction of the main hall. He fumbled his way around in the dark, trying to find something. He was touching everything he could, when he finally felt a switch behind a pillar in the main hall. When he pushed it, there was a snap sound and a corner of the wall gave way, revealing an entrance.
"So it’s here!" Pei Zi Yun laughed before retrieving an oil lamp and followed the steps down to the basement.
When he reached the basement, a pungent smell perforated his nose. A pill furnace could be seen in the heart of the basement, with a decomposed human skeleton resting beside it.
Pei Zi Yun used his robes to cover his nostrils and mouth. Since the entrance to the basement had not been opened in a long time, the foul air dispersed through the opening which he had found. The air within the basement became significantly fresher.
He then noticed that there was another oil lamp within the basement. He then proceeded to light it up.
Under the light from the fire, Pei Zi Yun could see his surroundings very clearly. There were all kinds of herbs and medications around. It’s just that they had rotted and decomposed a long time ago. When Pei Zi Yun pinched the contents, it turned to powder.
"All these herbs can no longer be used." Pei Zi Yun sighed in pity.
'Based on the overwhelming stench, it must’ve came from the rotting human corpse. But could it also have been because of heaven’s wrath against this man, which caused him to be unable to be fully decomposed?’ Pei Zi Yun thought to himself
'The pills around here cannot be used as well.' Pei Zi Yun saw a table in front of him, where several vials were on it. He opened one and sniffed the contents of it before deducing that it was spoilt rotten as well.
'That’s not right, why aren’t the pills here. Unless they are still within the pill furnace?’ Pei Zi Yun stepped forward and opened the furnace. A strong scent of clean herbs wafted out from the furnace. Just by smelling the aroma made Pei Zi Yun feel sharp and smarter. He felt a chill ran down his spine before feeling extremely comfortable. Without much happiness on his face, he sighed, "So this world has one theory I can be sure of, the conservation of energy."
'Secular pills, Immortal pills.'
'To boost and benefit a person’s strength and spiritual energy would rely on the herbs that had been refined into the pills. But the ability to convert a person from a normal life to an immortal life meant that this was an immortal treasure.'
'As for other worlds, I’m not sure. But for this world, which Immortal Treasure isn’t born out of the will of heaven?'
'This Daoist managed to obtain such a precious treasure and yet decided to break it down to make into a pill. Of course he would suffer the wrath of heaven. It’s just that he did the dirty work for me and benefited me.'