After Failing to Influence the Protagonist Chapter 40

Chapter 40 Zhang Qingshu

<Previous Chapter<Table of Contents>Next Chapter>

Yu Qinglian said, “That’s interesting. No wonder I always felt a dark presence here. After spending too much time, one’s mind would become clouded.”

Pei Jing: “He also told me a bit about the origins of Shu Yan.”

Yu Qinglian’s eyes widened in shock, “He knew about that too?”

Pei Jing: “He found many things in the Sect Master’s hall, including a book called ‘Yunzhong Chronicles.’ It recorded various strange events that occurred in Yunzhong over the past thousand years. The story of Shu Yan was also mentioned there. The author’s real name was Zhang Qingshu. He became an official after passing the imperial examination and spent ten years in military training in Ligu. However, he was falsely accused of treason when his power was at its peak.

“Committing such a crime in the mortal realm was grave. The emperor didn’t trust him, and many treacherous individuals in the court fueled the fire, resulting in him being tortured and mutilated. Oddly enough, he survived it all.

“Zhang Qingshu was covered in blood, stumbling in the imperial court. He managed to stand up and kneel before the emperor, desperately seeking to prove his innocence. The emperor was shocked and afraid, considering him to be a supernatural being. He was afraid to impose further punishment, so the emperor only ordered him to retire and return to his hometown.

“His hometown is right here. It was called Zhonglian Village back then. He was supposed to be his father’s pride, but when he returned, he became the village’s laughingstock. His father cared a lot about his reputation and had no emotional attachment to a son who brought him shame. One day, after drinking too much, he pulled Zhang Qingshu off his sickbed and plunged him into the water jar in the yard, covering it with a wooden board, drowning him alive.

“When his father sobered up, he didn’t regret it. He openly claimed to have killed Zhang Qingshu and even removed him from the family lineage and neglected his grave. The villagers, living in Zhonglian Village, praised this act, as Zhang Qingshu was considered unworthy of righteousness, loyalty, or filial piety in their eyes.

“However, the villagers didn’t enjoy their happiness for long. Strange occurrences started happening in the village. They would hear scratching sounds on the wooden boards at night, and as soon as water was poured into the jar, it turned red. The villagers realized it was the ghost of Zhang Qingshu causing trouble. They hurriedly went to Zhang Qingshu’s father seeking a solution, but when they entered the Zhang house, they found the father dead, strangled by someone, with five green fingerprints on his neck. The water jar that drowned Zhang Qingshu was still covered, and no one dared to open it.

“Terrified, the villagers wanted to move out overnight but encountered an earthquake and mudslide, burying all the households in a single night.

“Later, when the emperor investigated the truth of the past, he returned to reinstate Zhang Qingshu, only to find that the area was flattened. Some fortunate villager who managed to escape explained the events to the emperor. Overwhelmed by guilt, the emperor admired Zhang Qingshu’s immense talent, considering him a reincarnation of the God of the Literature, and thus, a temple was built on the flattened ground in his honor. A statue resembling Zhang Qingshu was placed there to console his spirit in heaven.”

After listening quietly for a long time, Yu Qinglian softly raised a question, “The fortunate villager who managed to escape?”

Pei Jing responded, “The book described the person as hunched over, with white hair and dressed in black. I guess that person must be Zhang Qingshu himself. The emperor did have a little conscience, but we can also be glad he did, or Zhang Qingshu wouldn’t have spared him either.”

Yu Qinglian pondered and said, “So, he was a villain with principles. But if he didn’t harm innocent people, what’s the deal with Zhuangyuan Village?”

Pei Jing had imitated Shu Yan’s handwriting for a long time and had now memorized the Seventh Killing Song. “Kill the disloyal, kill the unfilial, kill the heartless, kill the unjust, kill those lacking manners, wisdom, and trust. By the decree of the Heaven, kill, kill, kill.” He demanded so much, always finding reasons to kill people. “I think those people in Zhuangyuan Village are probably lacking wisdom, always looking for shortcuts.”

Yu Qinglian pondered for a moment and glanced in the direction of the Zhuangyuan Temple. The Night of Wishes was approaching, and it wouldn’t only be the villagers bustling about. The moon shone with a hazy yellow, with faint blue veins appearing at the edges, hidden amidst the mountains. The gentle breeze carried the scent of decaying soil and wood. She smiled suddenly. “It’s also possible that the killings weren’t done by Shu Yan. After all, it’s not just him who suffered unjust deaths in this place. There’s a group of them underground. Shu Yan may or may not even be in this village.”

Pei Jing: “That’s true.”

Yu Qinglianm “What about the incident with the demonic cultivator at Wuwang Peak?”

Pei Jing and Yu Qinglian had known each other since childhood, and there was a certain understanding between them. He spoke frankly, “A mortal, even with deep resentment after death, cannot suddenly gain immense power to cause earthquakes and tsunamis. It’s difficult even for us cultivators to achieve that. But a newly deceased evil spirit can. That Sect Master probably realized this and established a connection with Shu Yan.”

Yu Qinglian nodded. “But Zhang Qingshu, who had his heart gouged out and eyes plucked, was already corrupted by dark energy. It’s hard to say.”

Pei Jing: “Chu Junyu told me all of this, but we still haven’t figured out a way to deal with Shu Yan.”

Yu Qinglian’s expression turned slightly strange in an instant, her eyebrows furrowing. “Don’t you find this junior disciple a bit too mysterious?”

He had been contemplating this question for days. “…Of course, I do.”

Yu Qinglian walked under the moonlight, her slender fingers lightly touching her chin, her beautiful face lost in thought.

“Although we’ve traveled together, I haven’t seen him much. I heard he even ventured alone to Wuwang Peak. When I was at the Foundation Establishment Stage, I didn’t dare to be so audacious. This kid is remarkable.”

Pei Jing smirked slightly.

As she analyzed the situation, she couldn’t help but mock, “I knew it was just luck that got you through Wuwang Peak back then. Even if your swordmanship is exquisite, it’s still difficult to deal with a Nascent Soul cultivator. This time, you’ll only end up getting beaten up inside, won’t you? But this Chu Junyu saved your life and gathered so much information. I wonder if he’s hiding his true identity and is actually a highly accomplished cultivator.”

Pei Jing suggested, “When we return, I’ll hand him over to my Master.”

Yu Qinglian, fully engrossed in her contemplation, continued stroking her chin. “But something doesn’t add up. If that’s the case, why would he infiltrate Yunxiao? To steal your Yunxiao sword technique? Come on, that mediocre cultivation method is widespread. It only takes a little effort to find it. Even I can recite some of it. Revenge? It’s been a year, as you’ve described, yet he hasn’t taken any action. Did he explicitly express hatred toward someone?”

Yu Qinglian’s words jolted him.


Yu Qinglian tilted her head. “Who?”

Pei Jing pointed at herself. “Me.”

Yu Qinglian: “Huh?”

“I was by his side posing as Zhang Yiming, and he confided in me multiple times. He doesn’t like Pei Yuzhi.”

Yu Qinglian couldn’t help but chuckle mischievously. “I see, he has good taste.”

She waved her hand dismissively. “Never mind, this is an internal matter of your Yunxiao Sect. Besides, Chu Junyu doesn’t seem like a treacherous person. You can handle it on your own.”

She let it go lightly.

However, Pei Jing was still persisting, lost in thought for a moment.

The two of them walked along a nighttime path in silence. In the countryside, the frogs croaked in the fields, and flickering fireflies dotted the scenery. Before the arrival of a fierce storm, the night was peaceful.

Yu Qinglian enjoyed her leisure, her slender fingers gently touching flowers, grass, and fireflies. Her gauzy dress floated gracefully, her beauty unmatched.

She plucked a branch with delicate blossoms.

Suddenly, a muffled voice came from beside her.

“What does it mean when someone makes a vow to protect you in front of the heavens, earth, sun, and moon?”

Yu Qinglian shook the flower in her hand, and the bells on her wrist tinkled melodiously.

“You’re here in the middle of the night to confide in me again. Did another female cultivator get entangled with you? Well, it depends on the situation and the person. What kind of person is she in general?”

There were indeed plenty of things to criticize.

Pei Jing said, “Aloof, indifferent, behaves strangely, and can be venomous.”

Yu Qinglian was taken aback. “Are there really people like that?”

She sighed, somewhat exasperated. “Can’t you be more gentle with a female cultivator? But if she truly has such a personality as you described and still made such a beautiful promise to you, she must genuinely like you a lot.”

Pei Jing: “What if it’s not a female cultivator?”

Yu Qinglian smiled mysteriously. “To pledge a lifetime of protection under the witness of the stars and moon? I don’t believe such a deep bond exists in this world. And I don’t believe someone with that kind of temperament would say such words out of mere friendship. There must be more important relationships involved.”

She continued, “Our relationship with you isn’t bad either. Do you dare to declare now, in front of the heavens, earth, and sun, that you will protect me for a lifetime?”

Pei Jing: “……”

Yu Qinglian pondered for a moment and shook her head. “Never mind. It’s nauseating just thinking about it.”

She concluded, “Admit it, it’s a case of admiration.”

The young girl clicked her tongue a couple of times. “I’ve heard a lot in Yingzhou about your tumultuous relationship with Feng Jin. Many people thought you were lovers. Of course, I don’t think so because the relationship between you and Feng Jin is purely about quarreling. I used to think your disinterest in women was due to your peculiar taste. After all, you would always say I’m ugly, as if no female cultivator in the world could catch your eye. But now, I’m starting to suspect there might be other reasons.”

Pei Jing tugged at the corner of his mouth. “I think you’re ugly. Please don’t involve all the female cultivators in the world.”

Yu Qinglian laughed, her eyes shimmering with an enchanting radiance.

“With so many people throwing themselves at you, giving you secret glances, you never asked me about it. But when one man makes a promise, you come to me with questions. Pei Yuzhi, this… Is it a failure on your part?”

Pei Jing: …

He initially asked Yu Qinglian because he thought women might be more perceptive about people’s emotional motivations, and she might have some insights.

Now, he truly understood the terrifying aspect of women.

He had only said a single sentence, and she had already figured out the entire situation, including its future development.

If you enjoy this novel, support the Translator ginevre on her ko-fi account :))

<Previous Chapter<Table of Contents>Next Chapter>

2 thoughts on “After Failing to Influence the Protagonist Chapter 40”

Leave a comment