After Failing to Influence the Protagonist Chapter 5

Chapter 5.1 Seeking Wise Counsel

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Pei Jing pondered the phrase “back to basics” for quite some time but couldn’t fully grasp its meaning. With the Sect Master absent from Yunxiao, the only person he could seek advice from was Chen Xu alone.

After resting overnight at Tianqian Peak, Pei Jing headed directly to Wenqing Peak, where Chen Xu resided.

Wenqing Peak was adorned with numerous peach blossoms, their vibrant beauty reaching its peak during this season.

Chen Xu had just finished instructing the ten new disciples about the rules when Pei Jing entered the hall.

The ten disciples took turns stepping back and, at the entrance of the hall, they unexpectedly collided with Pei Jing, who was rushing over.

Pei Jing, dressed in a white robe with a sword at his side, wearing a jade crown and having dark hair, exuded a pure and serene aura.

Everyone was momentarily taken aback, finding it difficult to contain their excitement as they raised their voices and called out, “Senior Brother Pei!”

Startled by their sudden shout, Pei Jing nodded in acknowledgment and chose to remain silent, not engaging in further conversation.

The excitement overflowed in the expressions of the ten disciples, eager to have a few more words with the people they revered. However, hindered by Chen Xu’s dark gaze from behind, they had no choice but to leave disappointedly.

Pei Jing’s attention was not on them. He straightforwardly approached Chen Xu and got straight to the point, “I have something to ask you.”

Chen Xu held a stack of books in his arms, containing the recently announced rules of Yunxiao that he had just read to several disciples from Inner Peaks. The more he thought about Pei Jing assigning Chu Junyu to Outer Peaks, the angrier he became, resulting in an unpleasant expression.

He responded coldly, “I don’t know!”

Understanding his temperament, Pei Jing directly inquired, “What does ‘back to basics’ mean?”

Chen Xu was taken aback. “What?”

Pei Jing repeated, “Back to basics, it’s an idiom that Master mentioned to me yesterday, asking me to comprehend its meaning.”

Chen Xu remained silent and remarked, “If the Sect Master asked you to comprehend it, what purpose does asking me serve?”

“He mentioned that I need to comprehend it because my seven emotions and six desires have yet to fully awaken. I was contemplating your understanding of seven emotions and six desires, thinking that you might have insights. So, I came to ask you.”

Chen Xu exploded, “…What do you mean!”

Pei Jing realized his expression was a bit off and quickly corrected himself, “I mean to say that you have extensive knowledge.”

Chen Xu finally regained his composure and furrowed his brow. “Did you miss the main point?”

Pei Jing decisively shook his head, “Absolutely not. Those three words are what he left behind. Master said that there is a stage in the Yunxiao Swordmanship related to mortal emotions and desires. So far, I haven’t encountered any inner demons in my cultivation, but I anticipate facing challenges at that stage. Since I cannot rush my breakthrough to the Nascent Soul Stage, I can only focus my efforts on this aspect.”

Chen Xu suggested a dubious idea, “The seven emotions and six desires, isn’t that about love and relationships? Why don’t you find a partner?”

Pei Jing doubted his intentions and pretended, “No, that wouldn’t do. Finding a partner might cause disturbances in the cultivation realm. Female cultivators from all over might end up fighting each other.”

Chen Xu sneered. After considering for a moment, he added, “Even if you ask me, I wouldn’t have an answer. It might be better to inquire inside the Celestial Pavilion of the Scripture Repository Tower. Perhaps there would be someone knowledgeable there.”

Pei Jing’s expression became slightly strange upon hearing that and said, “Alright, accompany me.”

Chen Xu rolled his eyes. “Can’t you go by yourself?”

Yet, he placed the stack of books on the desk and reached for his sword.

Walking side by side, Pei Jing said, “If I could go alone, why would I bring you? Elder Lao doesn’t allow me in, so I have to discreetly follow you.”

“What have you done?”

Pei Jing gestured and said, “Nothing major. In the Celestial Pavilion, it’s required to use divine consciousness for questioning and answering. One day, after my sword practice, I had some leisure time, so I spent the whole day in the Celestial Pavilion, answering as many questions as I could. I used the nearby ink and brush to write, but accidentally knocked over the ink bottle, making a mess on the floor. Even after cleaning up, the old man still discovered it. He became furious and chased me halfway down the mountain, threatening to hit me every time he sees me. Now, I don’t dare to casually walk in front of him.”

Chen Xu chuckled in an unkind manner and made a fair assessment, “You brought it upon yourself.”

Pei Jing didn’t agree, “If you ask me, why should we rely solely on divine consciousness? Are the ink and brush in the Celestial Pavilion merely decorations? It’s outdated!”

“Save those words for Elder Lao.”

“Forget it.”

Elder Lao had a notorious reputation in Yunxiao for being strict and cranky. He wore a black robe, always with a stern expression, and seemed capable of making evil spirits cry with just a glare. It seemed as if the words “menacing” and “sinister” were permanently etched on his face. In addition, his profound cultivation and ancient seniority made few dare to provoke him within the sect. Pei Jing had also been given strict orders by his master to avoid causing trouble in that place.

Only someone insane would willingly walk into the muzzle of a cannon.

Hidden among the foliage, the Scripture Repository Tower rose a hundred feet high. Pei Jing compelled Chen Xu to exchange pleasantries with the Elder, inching step by step towards them. Chen Xu managed to force out a smile that was more unpleasant than tears. The Elder and he stared at each other in silence. Chen Xu had never encountered such an awkward situation before, silently berating Pei Jing in his mind. However, he had committed to the task and had to follow through. With a rigid expression, he said, “Elder, I would like to ask you something.”

Elder Lao was far from a benevolent senior and particularly loathed being disturbed. His rough hand pressed against the pages of the book, exuding impatience, almost ready to take action.

Seizing the opportunity, Pei Jing hugged the wall, concealing his face in the shadows. When the elder wasn’t paying attention, he swiftly ascended the stairs.

Chen Xu, realizing this, hastily said, “It’s actually nothing important, Elder. You’re busy.” In the freezing gaze of the elder, capable of turning things to ice, he too hurriedly ascended the stairs.

Pei Jing, above, couldn’t contain his delight, “Look at you, so timid.”

Chen Xu shot him a menacing glare.

Pei Jing nudged him forward, making a beeline for the Celestial Pavilion. “Hurry up, don’t let him catch you.”

The Celestial Pavilion occupied the tower’s topmost floor, accessible only to cultivators at the Golden Core Stage and above. Once the door closed behind them, they were greeted by countless rolls of parchment cascading down.

Voluminous scrolls sprawled in every direction, gracefully rotating along a prescribed path.

Pei Jing was overwhelmed by the scene unfolding before him, his first time setting eyes upon the Celestial Pavilion.

His master explained that the Celestial Pavilion served as a realm for spiritual exchange among cultivators, a feature present in every sect and clan of the cultivation world. It facilitated the dissemination of knowledge and sought to resolve doubts. Within its confines, questions and answers flowed freely, occasionally attracting reclusive experts.

It was only when Pei Jing witnessed it firsthand that he grasped its similarity to something like Baidu Q&A.

Alternatively, in his comprehension, it bore similarities to an ancient version of Zhihu, albeit without the customary “Thank you for the invitation” response.

At the heart of the Celestial Pavilion stood a modest and refined table and chair, adorned with paper, ink, and brushes.

Pei Jing let out a sigh and approached, picking up a brush. “Why are these still here, serving no purpose for writing or drawing? Why keep them around?”

Chen Xu felt uneasy and stood by the window, keeping a vigilant eye on the Elder’s movements below, urging, “Just hurry up and write, then let’s get out of here.”

Seated on the floor, Pei Jing’s robe was neatly arranged. Holding a brush in his hand, he displayed an arch of brows and focused eyes, appearing refined amidst the suspended poetry and books. However, his casual manner of speaking stripped away any hint of elegance. “What’s the rush? Can he climb up here and devour us? We finally get a chance to visit the Celestial Pavilion, and you’re not even learning anything?”

Chen Xu cursed, “What’s there to learn?” However, his grumbling had become a regular occurrence. After ensuring the Elder was engrossed in his reading, paying them no attention, he reluctantly walked over to Pei Jing’s side, wearing a sullen expression.

Pei Jing shifted slightly to make room for him, taking an ink stick and starting to grind it.

The scrolls in the Celestial Pavilion rotated one after another.

Among the disciples at the Golden Core Stage from various sects, many possessed youthful dispositions. In the Celestial Pavilion, devoid of elder supervision, some earnestly sought knowledge about alchemical techniques, while others indulged in random questions and gossip. Just like now, the question that had floated before them was clearly posed by a bored cultivator.

Take a guess, in the upcoming Trial of Challenging the Heavens, who do you think has the highest chance of claiming first place?

Pei Jing set aside his pen and tapped to secure the scroll. He smiled and remarked, “This is intriguing.” Chen Xu furrowed his brow and followed Pei Jing’s gaze, scanning from top to bottom.

Various styles of handwriting filled the space below the question, flowing with elegance and precision, line after line.

Different sects intermingled, showcasing their unique expertise.

I’ll wager a spirit stone on Pei Yuzhi. In the previous Heaven’s Trial, I witnessed it firsthand. Within three moves, Pei Yuzhi forced Feng Jin to retreat step by step. He is undoubtedly the current top-ranked. Believe me!

The initial response carried a sense of bravado, brimming with a challenging tone. Other sects responded with skepticism and ridicule.

Three moves? Are you kidding me? Did I dream about the final trial? Or is it you who’s living in a dream?

Is the one above a disciple from Yunxiao? Talking boastfully without fear of tripping over their words. It’s evident that Pei Yuzhi had a stroke of luck, narrowly defeating Emperor Feng with a single move. If you don’t understand, then keep your mouth shut. The next top-ranked in the Trial remains uncertain.

Mediators started to appear.

Why argue over this? In my opinion, any of the five individuals who secured a place in the previous Trial of Challenging the Heavens have a chance. I’ll bet on the Fushang Fairy from Yingzhou. There’s no need for a specific reason; being the only female cultivator and attractive is reason enough.

A Buddhist disciple, mingling among the crowd, had something to say.

Has no one considered Venerable Master Wu Sheng from the Buddhist sect? Insider information: the Master recently achieved a breakthrough to the initial Soul Transformation Stage! Ascending to first place is just a matter of time.

The Yunxiao disciples engaged in a random and lighthearted discussion.

I’m not up to date with the latest news. I don’t know if our Senior Brother Pei has emerged from seclusion and achieved the breakthrough to the Nascent Soul stage?

I can vouch for that. On the day of the sect’s selection, Senior Brother Pei emerged and gracefully soared through the clouds on his sword in Yunxiao. I was fortunate to witness it firsthand. Judging from his demeanor and aura, he no longer resembled a Golden Core cultivator. His imposing presence was akin to that of a Nascent Soul powerhouse. Senior Brother Pei is remarkable!!

Pei Jing found it amusing and chuckled, “…I’ve supposedly achieved the Nascent Soul Stage, but I had no idea.”

These Yunxiao disciples probably took advantage of the spiritual communication to compensate for the absence of real individuals, leading to their audacious fabrications. It was quite embarrassing, to be honest.

Chen Xu also noticed and glanced at him, unable to discern any signs or demeanor on Pei Jing that would suggest him being a “Nascent Soul cultivator”. Based on his current relaxed posture, one could easily mistake him for a leisurely mortal.

As the discussion progressed, the nature of the question became distorted. Some participants harbored lofty ambitions, while others simply sought attention.

Throughout the generations, the world of cultivation produces talented individuals. It’s uncertain whether new prospects with hidden potential will emerge, possibly resulting in a complete turnover of the Five Champions in the next Trial.

I agree with the previous cultivator. Remember the name Xu Haoran. Next year, he will surpass the previous Five Champions and claim the top position. Don’t ask me why. It’s just my confidence speaking.

I, Ye Batian, also aspire to leave my mark on the Trial of Challenging the Heavens.

Stop arguing. Last night, I studied the celestial formations and made calculations, and neither of your names appeared on the ranking.

That’s because your understanding in this matter is limited.

I, Xu Haoran, lack confidence in the Trial of Challenging the Heavens. That person who shamelessly tarnished my name, just pray I don’t find you.

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