After Failing to Influence the Protagonist Chapter 46

Chapter 46 Rain of Punishment

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Pei Jing raised an eyebrow. “Taboo? Does that mean we can’t go?”

Zhao Youqing scraped the candle with her fingernail. Despite her gentle appearance, she had been stuck in this dark and desolate place since her death, covered in a layer of gloom. Her lips tightened as she spoke with a cold tone. “You can’t go, and the people in this village can’t either. Don’t worry, your friend won’t be imprisoned there.”

Pei Jing shook his head. “No, he is there. He personally told me.”

Zhao Youqing looked up, her eyes of a pale gray color examining deeply. She asked, word by word, “He told you himself?”

Pei Jing made up a story. “Yes, we have a strong connection. He appeared in my dream and spoke to me.”

Zhao Youqing smiled at the words. “Such deep affection and loyalty. Well then, go ahead. It’s in the South Mountain. Just keep walking south from here—pass the sacrificial altar in the South Village, and you’ll reach a ruin. At the end of the ruin is Zhang’s house.”

Pei Jing said, “Thank you, Sister Youqing.”

Zhao Youqing’s mood visibly soured. She lowered her gaze and said, “Why call me ‘sister’? I’m old enough to be your ancestor.”

Pei Jing smiled. Well, that’s not always the case.

The night of inheritance had not yet come to an end. Here, even without stars or moonlight, it had its own day and night. Zhao Youqing lit two candles, saying that when the flames died out, he could leave. Pei Jing felt bored, watching as the fire slowly descended on the candles, making a crackling sound. His gaze then turned to Zhao Youqing’s hand beside him—thin, pale, yet revealing a life of privilege and elegance.

She used a small stick to adjust the wick, gracefully rolling up her sleeve.

Pei Jing: She must have been skilled in calligraphy and painting when she as alive. So he said, “Sister Youqing, you must have been a talented woman in your life.”

Zhao Youqing put down the stick and said, “If you want to know something, just ask directly.”

Pei Jing’s eyes immediately lit up, sitting up attentively. “If you’re willing to share, I’m actually quite curious about what happened with the Zhang family. This whole village is filled with ghosts, do you ghosts also have taboos among yourselves?”

Zhao Youqing: “Taboos are things that are feared and shouldn’t be touched, regardless of whether they involve humans or ghosts.”

She lowered her head and said softly, “Who knows what happened with the Zhang family back then. The entire village avoids that place like the plague—both repulsed and in awe. They won’t go in themselves, and they won’t let others in either. I should have reminded you earlier to be careful on your way to Zhang’s house, to avoid being discovered.”

“Alright, thank you for the reminder, Sister Youqing.”

Pei Jing continued to feign youthfulness outwardly, but inside, a sense of heaviness slowly settled. It was something he and Yu Qinglian had discussed before—the ability that could drive a Nascent Soul stage cultibarrelor of Wuwang Peak to lose control, the mysterious power hidden within Zhonglian Village—the power that bestowed Zhang Qingshu with unimaginable abilities, granting eternal life to the people of this underground world.

His only remaining doubt was why Zhang Qingshu didn’t just kill him.

And, was Chu Junyu really trapped by Zhang Qingshu?

As the candle burned halfway, the sound of rain suddenly came from outside, each drop falling on the dark soil, seeping into the bones, making a steady pitter-patter, resonating loudly.

Zhao Youqing abruptly lifted her head, stood up, and swiftly ran outside like the wind.

Pei Jing wondered and couldn’t understand her urgency. He followed her outside, only to see Zhao Youqing halt in front of the cave, looking up at the pitch-black heavy rain outside, her eyes as gray as if they had been dormant for centuries.

Pei Jing curiously glanced at her, then reached out his hand, letting the raindrops fall onto the back of his hand, contrasting against his skin and leaving behind a red mark.

He murmured, “So it’s not black after all.”

Then he heard it, the cries and moans of various wicked spirits reverberating through the sky, coming from the direction of Zhonglian Village, piercingly loud.

“What’s going on?”

Zhao Youqing remained silent, also extending one hand, palm facing upward, catching the rain falling from the sky. It corroded her skin, ate away at her flesh, and then eroded her bones. Her hand seemingly vanished within the rain, leaving behind a grotesque stump.

Zhao Youqing tugged the corner of her lips almost imperceptibly, retracting her hand. Ghosts could regenerate their bodies, but her expression was sullen. “You really have terrible luck.”

Pei Jing: “What?”

Zhao Youqing: “You can’t go to Zhang’s house anymore. The people from Zhang’s family have returned.”

Pei Jing: “Who?”

Zhao Youqing: “Someone you’d better not provoke.”

Her mood seemed even more downcast as she watched her disappearing hand. “This rain can be called the nightmare of the entire Zhonglian Village. Ever since I arrived underground, it has been raining like this. At that time, the houses collapsed, and there was nowhere to seek shelter. The villagers could only rot in the rain and be reborn, repeating the cycle endlessly. But back then, I couldn’t be harmed by the rain, just like you.”

“This rain is here to punish the sinners. The greater the sins, the more intense the suffering. The deeper the wicked thoughts, the more tormenting it becomes. Now, I… have somehow accumulated sins and wicked thoughts too?”

Her voice grew increasingly softer, carrying an indescribable sadness.

Pei Jing was beginning to grasp Zhang Qingshu’s character.

A madman immersed in his own notions of good and evil, obstinate and unyielding, attempting to save the world.

The Seventh Killing Song, the Rain of Punishment… Did Zhang Qingshu never consider that all this evil originated from himself?

He was the greatest villain of them all, so why didn’t he choose to end his own life?

When Ji Wuyou regained consciousness, he received a vicious kick to his stomach. Before he could open his eyes, a foul stench assaulted his senses, causing his stomach to churn. In the basement, a faint bluish light emanated from the oil lamps hanging on the walls.

His hair was forcefully yanked, pulling his head up. The first thing he saw were several pieces of human skin displayed on the wall. As his vision cleared, he encountered a face marked with deep furrows.

It was an old man, wearing a strange expression, who scrutinized him from head to toe. Seeing Ji Wuyou wake up, the old man raised his hand and issued a command in a commanding voice, “That’s enough.”

Ji Wuyou was frightened and took two steps back, but the strength of the people on either side was stronger, and they pressed him to the ground. His face was cut by something sharp. Blood streamed down, but he no longer felt the pain. Fear consumed his mind entirely.

The old man spoke, “This chubby one has plenty of flesh. No need to keep him in the tank, just eat him directly.”

Those words were like a bomb detonating in Ji Wuyou’s head, making him break out in a cold sweat. He tried to speak, but his head was forcefully held down, and his tears, mixed with snot and blood, flowed onto the ground.

At that moment, someone approached from outside, their voice cold and piercing, “Elder, the other sacrifice has also awakened.”

The elder replied lazily, tapping the ground with a cane made of human bones, then turned around. “Let’s go and have a look. Bring this person along as well.” Ji Wuyou was lifted up by someone and dragged forward. The candlelight flickered, illuminating severed limbs and organs hanging on the walls, gruesome and blood-soaked.

He closed his eyes, afraid to look up.

The elder led him into another room where a coffin was placed. Before he entered, he heard the familiar sound of bells.

Startled, filled with trepidation and fear, he slowly raised his head and saw Yu Qinglian sitting inside the coffin—her blood-red gown, dark hair tied low, and a face as calm as water. Her entire aura was both alluring and chilling, like a cold blade unsheathed, a completely different version of her.

The candlelight in the underground cast a deep glow, and she stood alone, a beauty blossoming like a flower.

Suddenly, the elder halted his steps, and a wicked glint appeared in his gray-brown eyes, concealed within his wrinkles.

Ji Wuyou’s heart rose to his throat, unsure whether he should call out to her. The girl before him seemed unfamiliar, making him somewhat afraid. In the past few days, he had seen her laugh and scold like an ordinary person, treating him with the warmth and gentleness of an older sister. He never imagined that this seemingly ordinary girl would face evil spirits in such a situation.

The elder took a step forward and chuckled softly, “This year, we’ve received quite a good offering. It’s been so long since I’ve seen a girl, especially such a pretty one.”

Yu Qinglian was still in a daze, only remembering seeing a beam of light on the statue of the God of Literature.

That light was like the birth of heaven and earth, nurturing the sun and moon. Afterward, she lost her memory and woke up to find herself lying in a coffin. Upon standing up, she was confronted by a group of lowly demons.

She rubbed her temples with her hand, trying to piece together the sequence of events. A frigid and murderous intent slowly seeped from her half-closed eyes.

The old man continued to move forward, his voice tinged with greed, “Little girl, do you know where you are?”

“This is the underworld. Here, living beings are treated like livestock. You either become a slave or food. But upon seeing you, I have taken a liking to you, so I’ll offer you a choice. If you follow me, I’ll let you live. How about that?”

Yu Qinglian adjusted her sleeve, stepping out of the coffin with her red veil fluttering. The whip that had been wrapped around her arm as an adornment slowly fell, landing back in her hand. “No need for your favor, I don’t have that kind of life to spare.”

The old man chuckled with a meaningful smile, “I know you’re a cultivator, but here, you can’t use your spiritual power. You’re simply no match for me, my little beauty.”

Yu Qinglian pondered over the phrase “little beauty” and found it somewhat amusing. There weren’t many people in this world who dared to address her in such a way.

Blooming Green Flowers in a Pool of Blood. That night in Yingzhou, the Spirit Canal ran red with blood. Perhaps she had killed more people than the entire village combined.

Even without spiritual power, you old folks are no match for me.

She gripped the whip, her garments flowing like blood, as she moved forward.

A presence exuding a murderous aura.

The elder’s face slightly stiffened under the pressure.

Among the Five Great Champions, Pei Yuzhi was probably the one closest in temperament to her. Both renowned for their prowess in killing, while the other three had their own concerns and reservations in their actions.

As the Emperor of the Phoenix Clan, Feng Jin’s every move was tied to the reputation of the Yao Race. Ji Wuduan, as the Young Master of the Ghost Realm, had an unpredictable disposition, constantly scrutinized by the Ghost Clan. As for Wu Sheng, he was a practitioner of the Buddhist sect, burdened by numerous taboos.

She wondered if Pei Yuzhi had encountered a similar situation.

Anyway, waking up in such a foul mood. It seemed she would have to cleanse this place with blood before moving forward.

As the wind cut through the shattered air, the golden bells resounded.

With a single whip, heads rolled.

The elder’s severed head tumbled to the ground, his expression frozen in terror until death.

With the second whip, she raised her wrist high, her garments swirling. Onlookers only glimpsed a red shadow, ghostly and elusive. Wherever her whip struck, no one survived.

Stepping over the backs of the living dead, she reached out her hand, using the whip to bind two lifeless bodies that had been pressing down on Ji Wuyou, then flung them aside.

All of this happened in the blink of an eye. Before Ji Wuyou could fully comprehend the situation, she had already taken his hand and was leading him out. The fragrance on the young girl’s body was fresh like morning dew, her aura radiating vitality, untainted by filth.

“Let’s go.”

Her voice was decisive and resolute, like a gust of wind, like a beam of light.

Ji Wuyou’s face was dirty, with a mixture of snot, tears, saliva, and fresh blood clinging to his hair. Initially, he had been so frightened that he couldn’t even cry, but now he was faced with a familiar person, someone who had come to rescue him. Suddenly, his eyes welled up.

Throughout his life, he had been overlooked, treated coldly, and disrespected. But now, in this life-and-death moment, he felt the sensation of someone caring about him.

The resurrected ghost quickly rejoined his severed head on the ground, grinding his teeth in anger. His voice turned chillingly cold, “Do you think you can escape?”

Naturally, Yu Qinglian wasn’t foolish enough to antagonize an entire village of ghosts when she had no supernatural powers to defeat them. It would be a waste of time. It was better to escape first.

Her spiritual awareness remained intact, allowing her to find a way out.

She pulled Ji Wuyou out of the dungeon. In the fading daylight, she turned his head and saw the disheveled chubby boy crying convulsively.

His crying was particularly pitiful, yet remarkably genuine.

Ji Wuyou, who had always been anxious and eager to hide himself away, revealed his true emotions for the first time—fear and sadness.

Yu Qinglian was momentarily taken aback, then burst into laughter. “Oh my, dear boy, you’re so moved that you’re crying.”

Ji Wuyou gasped for breath, wiping away his tears. “S-Sister Qinglian, th-thank you.”

Yu Qinglian never expected to have such a day. She waved her hand and said, “No need to thank me. If I were to leave you behind, I wouldn’t have the face to see Pei… uh, your Senior Brother Zhang.”

Ji Wuyou continued to cry as he choked out, “Th-thank you, thank you for not abandoning me. Thank you all.”

Yu Qinglian couldn’t help but chuckle.

They fell silent.

They had now escaped to the back mountains of the village, with abandoned farmland on one side and desolate tombs ahead. The withered trees cast eerie shadows, and the graves were scattered. Ji Wuyou was frightened by this scene. Afraid of causing trouble, he stopped crying and walked with a cautious shudder at every step. On the other hand, Yu Qinglian walked ahead, seemingly carefree, observing the terrain as she looked around.

Although her spiritual powers were unusable, her imposing presence remained, keeping lesser ghosts at bay.

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