After Failing to Influence the Protagonist Chapter 16 Part 3

Chapter 16.3 Mirror

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Xu Jing could no longer contain himself and let out a scream, “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!”

His cry was deafening! It startled all the birds in the entire forest, causing them to take flight!

In response, someone in the forest ignited a torch. Whoosh! The firelight dispersed the mist, illuminating the surroundings.

A person emerged from within, wielding a cleaver in one hand and carrying a piece of wood in the other. Surprisingly, it was the same old man from yesterday.

The old man detested noise and exclaimed, “What are you screaming about? Seeing ghosts?”

Upon seeing Xu Jing’s appearance, the old man was taken aback, drenched in cold sweat, and dropped the cleaver to the ground.

Xu Jing, as if meeting a savior, rushed forward to embrace the old man.

Startled, the old man stepped back repeatedly, saying, “Don’t come any closer!”

Chaos ensued, causing quite a commotion.

Pei Jing quietly helped Xu Jing resolve the grudge of the lingering soul that wanted to drag him as a scapegoat. Hearing the commotion, Pei Jing’s lips twitched.

Perplexed, he gazed into the depths of the mountain forest.

Surprisingly, the blood-red figure remained completely still. Why? Could it be because the bride was too ugly?

…If only Chu Junyu had been tricked into coming here earlier.

The old man was furiously exclaiming, “I asked you to come here in the middle of the night without fear, and this is how you deceive an old man!”

Pei Jing pulled Xu Jing aside and accompanied him with a smile. “We wanted to repay the favor of your hospitality last night. We heard there are man-eating demons around here, so we came specifically to slay demons and eradicate evil.”

The old man exploded in anger, “Nonsense! Even if they exist, do you think you two junior disciples can handle them?”

Pei Jing scratched his head awkwardly and chuckled, “Haha.”

Xu Jing peeked his head out from behind Pei Jing and said, “No, no, no, Sir, he’s quite capable.”

The old man’s heart skipped a beat at the sight of Xu Jing’s face. “Capable my foot! So, what are you two doing here? Just staying around causing trouble?!”

Pei Jing pulled Xu Jing back and pretended to be hesitant, “Alright, alright, we won’t cause any more trouble. But we can’t make it back now. Sir, please show us your kindness once again and let us stay for one more night!”

The old man twitched his mouth and hoisted the axe onto his shoulder, his words sharp but his heart soft, “One last night. If you end up dead here next time, I won’t care.”

“Alright, alright.”

Agree first, then figure things out.

As they descended from the mountain, Pei Jing voiced his curiosity, “Sir, why were you still out chopping trees in the middle of the night?”

The old man fell silent for a moment before replying, “I have free time at night.”

Pei Jing exclaimed in surprise, “You warn us not to go up the mountain at night, aren’t you afraid yourself?”

The old man bowed his head and remained silent, then slowly spoke, “The ghosts and demons in these mountains won’t harm me.”

Pei Jing was taken aback, “How can that be?”

The old man explained, “I discovered this only a few years ago. One day, as I was chopping trees, I lost track of time and stayed until evening. Suddenly, a bloody head fell from the tree. I looked up and saw a disheveled female ghost feasting on a person. The ghost noticed me but didn’t do anything. After finishing her meal, she vanished. Since then, I have encountered similar eerie sights at night, but they never harmed me. That’s why I dared to open the door for you that night.”

Pei Jing remarked, “You’re truly a good person with good fortune.”

The old man gave a bitter smile and said, “…What kind of good fortune is this? I’ve had misfortune for most of my life.”

Pei Jing observed the kind and benevolent aura that emanated from the old man’s brows. Surely, he had done many good deeds throughout his life, accumulating blessings.

However, if that was the case, why did his house give him such a peculiar feeling?

Pei Jing asked directly, “When I stayed in the shed that day, I noticed a mirror hanging on the wall. Why would there be a mirror hanging there?”

The old man shook his head and replied, “It was my grandson who did that. He was born with a dull mind and couldn’t even speak properly at the age of three. One day, he suddenly clung to a bunch of mirrors in the marketplace. He cried and demanded that we buy them all. I suppose children are fond of shiny things, so he stuck mirrors everywhere.”

Pei Jing fell silent for a moment and inquired, “What happened to your grandson?”

The old man let out a bitter smile as he recalled a sorrowful memory. He wiped the corner of his eye with his calloused hand and said, “My grandson… has had quite a lot of misfortunes. His birth was inauspicious, as he lost his parents shortly after he was born. The village fortune-teller advised me to take him to the temple to seek protection and longevity. So, I took him out, but we encountered a violent storm on the way and sought shelter in a remote temple. It was there that we met a monk.

“The monk, seemingly blind with a white cloth covering his eyes, sat on a cushion with a golden staff beside him. My grandson, who usually kept his distance from people, approached him eagerly and sat next to him. Despite my scolding, he paid no heed, so I decided to leave him be. Later, it seemed that the monk had opened his eyes and noticed my grandson. He smiled and gently touched my grandson’s forehead. He told me that although my grandson was missing one soul and one spirit among his seven souls and six spirits, his destiny was favorable. It was just that his constitution was peculiar, making him susceptible to malevolent entities. Today, they had a fateful encounter, and he wanted to help him.

“So, he extended his finger and lightly touched my grandson’s eyes. I don’t know if he was truly a divine being, but afterward, my grandson indeed seemed to become gradually smarter and started speaking. His frequent illnesses also decreased significantly.”

Pei Jing listened to his account and was genuinely stunned. He asked, “The monk you mentioned, did he have a faint golden mark on his brow and wear golden-white attire with three Buddhist beads hanging from his wrist?”

The old man was startled, “Yes, yes, yes! How did you know?”

Pei Jing curled his lips. This description matched that of Wu Sheng, one of the Five Champions renowned throughout the land as Relic Buddha’s Heart, a benevolent figure from the Institute of Celestial Ascension. 

If this old man’s grandson had been influenced by Wu Sheng during his childhood, his future should have been smooth. How could he have died?

Pei Jing said, “I have seen him when I was young. He was a great monk. Please continue telling me about your grandson.”

Upon hearing that he was a high-ranking monk, the old man became even more sorrowful. “Indeed, he was a great monk. At that time, my second son’s marriage prospects fell through, and the prospective in-laws were pressuring us relentlessly. I was overwhelmed with tasks and didn’t pay enough attention to my grandson. Now, I truly regret my past actions.”

He lowered his head, tears welling up in his aged eyes, his voice filled with desolation. “That day, as I was taking my grandson back to his room to sleep, he suddenly grabbed my sleeve and told me that there was a woman in a red dress on the roof, smiling at him. He was very scared and wanted me to stay with him. I thought it was just his imagination and didn’t pay it much heed. There were so many things going on at that time. I scolded him and tucked him in before leaving. But… but…”

The old man’s voice trembled. “The next day, when I went to his room to wake him up, he was nowhere to be found. Later, someone came running to tell me, and I discovered that ᴍʏ ɢʀᴀɴᴅꜱᴏɴ’ꜱ ʙᴏᴅʏ ʜᴀᴅ ʙᴇᴇɴ ɪɴᴠᴇʀᴛᴇᴅ ᴀɴᴅ ᴘʟᴀɴᴛᴇᴅ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ꜰɪᴇʟᴅ. ᴡʜᴇɴ ᴛʜᴇʏ ᴅᴜɢ ʜɪᴍ ᴏᴜᴛ, ʜᴇ ʜᴀᴅ ɴᴏ ʙʀᴇᴀᴛʜ ʟᴇꜰᴛ, ᴀɴᴅ ʜɪꜱ ᴇʏᴇꜱ ʜᴀᴅ ʙᴇᴇɴ ɢᴏᴜɢᴇᴅ ᴏᴜᴛ.”

Pei Jing’s heart sank.

The little boy’s eyes had been touched by Wu Sheng, so what he saw must have been real. Therefore… there really were ghosts in this house.

Xu Jing felt a chill run down his spine. “This is… too creepy.”

The old man was overcome with sorrow and fell silent.

Pei Jing comforted him, “Your grandson has accumulated great blessings. Although this life ended with such a fate, in the next life, he will surely enjoy even greater prosperity and well-being.”

The old man forced a bitter smile. “I hope so.”

As they neared the doorstep, under the moonlight, an ordinary house seemed to exude a faint sense of bloodthirstiness.

Pei Jing lifted his head, a trace of coldness passing through his eyes. Then he turned his head and said, “Can you take me to see the room where your grandson used to live?”

The old man grew wary. “What do you intend to do?”

Pei Jing replied, “Please trust me. After all, I am a disciple of the immortal sect and possess life-saving methods. I believe that the words your grandson spoke before his death were not false.”

The old man’s eyes, still slightly red, looked at him earnestly, then closed his eyes and shook his head. He walked ahead, suddenly appearing ten years older. He lit a lamp and held a candle, leading Pei Jing slowly towards a long-abandoned house.

The lock was covered in layers of dust.

The old man’s hand trembled slightly as he took out the key, but he still opened the door. The room was small, with a large bed, a table, and a pair of children’s shoes by the window. It was evident that nothing had been touched since his grandson’s death.

“This is it.”

As expected, Pei Jing found a mirror on the wall.

Xu Jing’s scalp tingled as soon as he entered the room. He no longer resembled a cultivator as he tightly clung to Pei Jing’s arm. “W-What do you intend to do?”

Pei Jing sensed the uncomfortable aura in this place and thought to himself, “Today, I must exterminate that thing.”

He said to the old man, “Let me stay here for a night. I can avenge your grandson.”

Xu Jing exclaimed, “Have you gone mad?”

The old man looked at him with disbelief, shaking his head with a bitter smile. “Please don’t. If anything goes wrong while you’re here, I’ll never find peace even in death.”

Pei Jing reassured him, “Nothing will happen.”

He smiled faintly, embodying a youthful audacity that had always been a part of him. In that moment, he became composed and commanding, irresistibly convincing.

The old man stared at him for a long time, unable to find words to counter him. He could only sigh and depart, carrying the lamp.

Xu Jing hesitated for a long time, wearing the expression of a valiant warrior ready to face death. “Since we’re all here to slay demons and vanquish evil, I can’t back down either. I’ll go with you. If I die, so be it. A disciple of Yunxiao is not afraid anymore.”

Then, Pei Jing kicked him out with a single blow. “With your cowardice and incompetence, you’ll only cause trouble. Go sleep in the woodshed.”

Xu Jing was on the verge of tears again. “I-I-I’m scared!”

Pei Jing tugged at the corner of his mouth. “Don’t the beads on your sword tassel still exist? They serve not only as a signal but also contain the true essence of our Yunxiao Elders’ cultivation. When shattered, they can eliminate all the ghosts and monsters around you. Protecting you for a night is no problem.”

Xu Jing stared blankly. “This is also possible?”

“Of course. Now, get lost!”

Xu Jing stumbled away, looking back three times, repeatedly saying, “Take care of yourself.”

Pei Jing chuckled helplessly. “Hurry, go.”

When you’re not here, I’ll toy with those ghosts and demons in the palm of my hand.

After Xu Jing left and the door closed, the room was left with only him. The moonlight was cold, streaming in through the window and casting its glow on the pair of children’s shoes in front of it.

Pei Jing whispered, “The old man’s grandson was influenced by Wu Sheng, not just in his spiritual vision but also in knowing how to defend against ghosts and demons. Although he may not be fully aware, he would do so instinctively. That’s why… the mirrors.”

He turned around and, as expected, saw a mirror on the wall facing the window.

“Mirrors on the windows, doors, and corresponding walls. Are they all there to prevent ghosts and demon from entering? The woman in the red dress is on the roof.”

Pei Jing leaped up, his robes billowing as his formidable aura dispersed in an instant. He sat on the roof and looked up, seeing it clearly. There was indeed a mirror affixed to the underside of the roof.

However, this mirror…

It had been shattered by someone.

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