Chapter Eleven - Plunder
Since Xu Yi got the ten golden discs from Elder Feng, he wouldn’t appreciate mundane items anymore.
Therefore, Xu Yi directly went for the study of Junior Zhou’s father, instead of the warehouses. It was common sense that the most valued of things would be hidden somewhere in the study or bedroom, rather than the warehouse. At this moment, Xu Yi had decided to take a shot to see what he could get.
Needless to say, the study was huge. If you would put a couple of horses in it, they’d enjoy running around freely, not limited by space. All the features here were antique and exquisite. The desk was made of Jinsi Nanmu , and an incense burner was decorated with a blend of silver and gold that was beautifully sculptured on the surface. The room was filled with the welcoming smell from the aroma of the inflaming sandalwood in the burner.
Rummaging through the drawers and chests, Xu Yi eventually discovered a dozen of priceless calligraphies and paintings. Only a piece of them would be enough to financially support an ordinary person throughout his entire life.
However, Xu Yi had no big ambitions for this worldly wealth.
- Boom, Boom, Boom -
Xu Yi slammed his fists against the walls of the study, in an attempt to discover a hidden crevice, or perhaps even a door. Eventually the walls were riddled with differently sized holes. Looking around, Xu Yi hoped that he would find something special for himself. Fortunately, deep beneath the left wall, Xu Yi spotted a red wooden box, in which he found two extremely thick gold discs, which emanated a deep red glow.
Out of curiosity, Xu Yi put one gold disc on his palm, calculating its weight – it should be roughly a hundred taels he deduced from this. He stared at them for a couple of seconds, before he quickly tucked them into his bag.
When Xu Yi was about to discard the box, at the bottom, he noticed a wax-sealed envelope. The envelope had to be something confidential he thought, as he quickly tore the envelope open and pulled a letter out.
This was a rather long letter from Junior Zhou’s father to Zhou Daoqian. To save time, Xu Yi thumbed through the letter so that he could skip the nonsense and he quickly obtained the essential information. In the letter, Junior Zhou’s father implored Zhou Daoqian to persuade the Peak Tower to increase their dividends in certain mineral veins.
The letter also said that the two gold discs were supposed to be tribute money for the Peak Tower. The Zhou Family would contribute tributes to the Peak Tower once every three years.
“For every three years! The two gold discs were actually the accumulation of wealth of three whole years! Luckily, I don’t care about the Peak Tower or the traitor Zhou Daoqian... These are now mine!”
Even the very thought of the name of Zhou Daoqian made Xu Yi furious, his desire for revenge would flare up whenever he heard it. He held the letter in the fire of a nearby candle and after it caught fire, he threw it against the wooden window. In a twinkling, the whole room was on fire.
The blowing wind and the roaring flames made a perfect match, which quickened the collapse of the Zhou Family’s grand mansion. A couple of minutes later, the whole building had turned into an ocean of fire. The once grandiose mansion turned out to be an inferno.
At this moment, a group of people were marching towards the Zhou Family estate; they were approximately five kilometers away.
In front of the group was a young man in white clothing, whose appearance was frighteningly similar to Junior Zhou’s. The sword hung on his waist was decorated with colorful germs and the horse he rode on, was one head taller than the others, the fur of which was pure, without any parti-color.
The blue sky and white clouds reflected in the billowy water of the Evil Dragon River. The plants were flourishing on the Hui Yin Mountain, through which the wind gently blew, bringing the pure smell of nature. The man in white clothing was inspired by this beautiful scenery and chanted: “朝朝翠山下 (I come down from the emerald green mountain, day after day.)”
“How poetic it is!” Magistrate Wu, who was behind the young man in white clothing, clapped his hands.
“You are distinctive in appearance, while your talents are also impressive. What makes you even more extraordinary, is that you have already obtained the peak state of a forged body at such a young age. You deserve to be the inheritor of Zhou Daoqian.“ Wu continued.
“You flatter me, Uncle Wu. I’ve heard from my father that back when you were a student in Guanan, your talent in poem was rivalless. Look now, twenty years later, you’ve become the magistrate of a country. You are destined to be a genius.” The young man in white clothing replied politely.
Magistrate Wu twiddled his beard and smiled.
Up until now, the identity of the young man in white clothing was self-evident. He was the second son of Zhou Daoqian – Zhou Shirong.
The purpose of their return to Guanan was two-folded. Firstly, they would pay a visit to their relatives – Junior Zhou’s family. Secondly, the more important one, they would collect the tributes from their relatives, that was derived from the profits of the mineral veins. As the three-year deadline would soon expire, the Peak Tower had started urging them to hand in the tributes as quickly as possible.
However, the journey from the Peak Tower to Junior Zhou’s family was rather long and rugged. Zhou Daoqian wouldn’t take any risk in losing the tributes, so he had deployed his son to escort this group.
Magistrate Wu was an old friend of Zhou Daoqian, they had encountered each other long before the latter was admitted to the Peak Tower. They used to be classmates in Guanan.
Nowadays, Wu Dao was not only prosperous but also diversified. Numerous new schools and prominent families were quickly emerging because of Wu Dao.
In the old days, when Zhou Daoqian’s talent in Wu Dao wasn’t yet discovered, his only ambition was to learn well and obtain an official rank. Daoqian, together with other students at the time, established the “Club of King Ming” (in order to pay tribute to the king). Magistrate Wu, who was one of the club members, was very talented in literature, while Daoqian’s martial art ability far surpassed that of Wu’s. In terms of social status, Wu was overshadowed by Daoqian, as one’s ability in Wu Dao was the benchmark of social recognition.
Because of this relationship, Zhou Daoqian had asked Wu to join the mission.
Even though the Peak Tower was already one of the three most prominent schools in Guanan and its authority was undeniable. However, they still needed the help of local officials to serve as lubricants in the operation of their missions. Government officials represented absolute authority, and local civilians trusted them more than members from the Peak Tower. Magistrate Wu, for instance, who was only a local official with a rather low rank, had much more influence over the local issues.
Indeed, Magistrate Wu was excited when Zhou Daoqian invited him to join the escort. Due to his presence in the group, the journey was rather successful, as nothing unexpected had happened.
As Zhou Shirong and Magistrate Wu were busy exchanging flattery, a cloud of smoke was slowly ascending. As they spotted the smoke, they stopped in the middle of their conversation. Shirong whipped his horse, making it jump high enough to see what was happening in the distance. Suddenly, his face turned ghastly pale.
Judging from Shirong’s face, Wu’s bouncing heart jerked for a second, as he consciously knew a crisis was imminent. Taking a step further, he saw where the smoke came from. And he was quite sure that it was the Zhou estate that was on fire, because no other buildings in the vicinity would have the same magnitude of damage.
As a distinguished family in the local area, the Zhou Family was the gathering place for local celebrities, including Magistrate Wu. Right now, the place where this dominant family stood, was covered with black smoke and raging flames.
: Jinsi Nanmu: an extremely expensive wood for making furniture. In ancient times, furniture made of this wood is a symbol of prosperity.