After Failing to Influence the Protagonist Chapter 68 Part 2

Chapter 68.2 Awakening

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The rear hall of Shangyang Peak.

On a cold bed made of white cool stones, a young boy lay with thin clothes. He appeared pale from the cold, with a layer of frost covering his lips, eyelashes, and hair tips. The chubby boy had grown thin, revealing a face resembling the handsome protagonist from within the pages of a book.

Pei Jing: “Can you figure out what’s wrong with him?”

Furrowing his brow, Feng Jin took a step forward and extended his finger. A cluster of crimson-golden phoenix fire condensed at his fingertip, gently enveloping the boy’s face.

Ji Wuyou’s eyelashes noticeably trembled, and the frost began to melt.

Underneath his skin, bluish blood flowed through his veins, gathering at his brow, miraculously condensing into a single point, a point of bluish hue.

Feng Jin guided the phoenix fire.

A stream of bluish flames ignited at Ji Wuyou’s brow, slowly rising as if about to burst forth. Finally, after Ji Wuyou forcefully coughed up blood, the bluish flame descended into Feng Jin’s palm, where he extinguished it.

“What do you make of this?”

“This is the Azure Bird’s Heartfire. If I’m not mistaken, this disciple of yours was treated as a human pill. In ancient times, the Phoenix Clan also practiced cannibalism, especially led by the Peacock. The so-called human pill refers to a spiritual pill made from human ingredients and tempered with Heartfire to strengthen one’s spirit. However, the Phoenix Clan strictly forbade it long ago, and only a few are aware of it.” Before Pei Jing could speak, he continued, “It shouldn’t be the doing of Qingying. Crimson Iris told me that Qingying’s true form is currently in an extremely frenzied state.”

Pei Jing: “Then who could it be?”

Feng Jin raised an eyebrow. “The life and death of the Azure Bird Clan are determined by the soul, not the physical body. Who would be kind enough to stabilize Qingying’s soul?”

Pei Jing: “But its physical body was destroyed by someone half a month ago.”

Feng Jing pondered for a while, then turned his head with cold, golden eyes. “Perhaps these two incidents aren’t the work of the same person. Moreover, your disciple is truly surprising. With the Azure Bird’s Heartfire dormant within his body, if it were to erupt, he would perish within three days. But he is still alive.” Crimson Iris perched on his shoulder also nodded in agreement, pretending to be profound.

Pei Jing’s gaze returned to Ji Wuyou, thinking to himself, “Of course, he’s the protagonist. He is under the protection of the heavens.”

The young boy’s furrowed brow gradually relaxed, and his lips began to regain color.

Pei Jing mentally organized the clues.

Demonic cultivators who consume humans appeared in Yunxiao before he entered Shangyang Peak.

Ji Wuyou encountered trouble after they arrived at Shangyang Peak.

The incident involving the disciple from Zhongnan Peak occurred a month ago.

The Azure Bird incident took place half a month ago.

“So, in fact, the Azure Bird Clan’s leader didn’t just appear in Yunxiao half a month ago. It had been here much earlier.”

Pei Jing glanced outside and spoke in a low voice, “I have a suspicion now, but I dare not act recklessly. You mentioned that only a few people know about the practice of using human pills to strengthen one’s spirit. However, the disciple I know couldn’t possibly be aware of such forbidden Phoenix Clan techniques. All the signs indicate that there is someone behind him.”

Feng Jin raised an eyebrow. “Then, what should we do?”

Pei Jing turned his head and spoke to Chen Xu, who had been contemplating in silence. “Chen Xu, go and find the Peak Master of Zhongnan for me. Tell her to wait for me at Tianqian Hall.”

Chen Xu glanced at him and nodded in agreement.

Just then, a faint voice emerged from the stone bed. “Water… water…”

The words escaped from the parched, cracked lips, barely audible.

Pei Jing had no water to offer him at the moment. He melted a piece of ice and poured it over the young boy’s lips.

Ji Wuyou felt as if he had just awoken from a long, endless dream. He had walked alone on a deep and silent path, with malevolent spirits and fierce beasts lurking beside him, much like his life before, filled with ignorance yet shrouded in murderous intent.

The eerie village where life and death were reversed, the suffocating well of despair, the jingling sound of bells that resonated through his soul, awakening dormant emotions from his childhood.

Crying, laughing, glory, shame, right, wrong.

The weary scholar who arrived under the dark rain with a disillusioned and cold demeanor, mockingly pointed him towards a path. And within the pure white light and shadows, a gentle woman who had always shown him kindness softly urged him, “You must become stronger as soon as possible.”

To become stronger.

He wanted to become stronger!

During the days of his unconsciousness, his internal organs burned, and his blood clashed with alternating cold and heat—whether it was due to his constitution or the hallucinations caused by pain, he couldn’t tell.

He often dreamt of a bird. The bird’s soul resided within the fiery energy that swirled in his lower abdomen. Originally filled with hostility and a desire to incinerate him, it gradually calmed down for unknown reasons. But its mere existence made him wretchedly miserable.

Amidst the agony, his senses became heightened. The bird’s emotions constantly affected him, causing him to occasionally slip into illusions.

This time, the illusion depicted a pristine land, so pure that it made one forget all sorrows and pains.

Mist drifted in the morning sky while a faint drizzle fell in the evening. A mountain path appeared before him, carried by a fragrant breeze that moistened the earth. The scent permeated the air, and as far as his eyes could see, exotic flowers and extraordinary plants adorned the landscape, with towering peaks leaning against one another. The clouds accompanied him like delicate silk and gentle water.

As he continued forward, the road became exceptionally treacherous, with steep mountains and winding complexities.

Just as he despaired over the lack of a way forward, he suddenly caught the fragrance of flowers. It was the elegant and noble aura emanating from a woman, accompanied by her soft laughter as she turned her head.

Emerging from the mist and clouds was a divine maiden, clad in a water-blue dress adorned with silver-threaded pomegranate flower patterns. She disappeared with the mist and clouds. Her hair was elegantly styled, and she held a nine-turn ceramic incense burner in her hands, from which gentle smoke wafted. Her smile exuded grace and composure, while her brows and eyes emanated elegance.

Beside the woman, an azure bird flew, its tail exceptionally long and exquisite, resembling verdant peaks.

The divine maiden smiled and spoke to him, “This place is Peng Mountain. If you wish to travel to the Western Kunlun Mountains, Young Master may need to detour around two peaks.” Her voice was gentle and captivating.

He remained silent within the illusion.

The divine maiden lifted her hand, revealing her slender jade wrist as she gently caressed the azure bird beside her. She laughed and said, “It seems this person has lost their way. Would you like to lend a helping wing?” The azure bird rolled its eyes, clearly reluctant, but still spread its wings and flew ahead. The divine maiden, observing this, smiled tenderly in her eyes.

Amidst the mist and water, her flowing sleeves and the bird’s tail feathers formed a picturesque scene.

The Kunlun Mountains were shrouded in layers of mist, with fragrant winds guiding one’s way.

However, everything felt dreamlike and elusive.

Time stood still.

In an instant, the world grew dim.

The white immortal mist turned black, thickening and taking on a bloody hue, clinging viscously to those present. Every blade of grass and every tree withered at a visible speed. The sacred land of the Kunlun Mountains was tainted by malevolence.

The smiling divine maiden who stood in place also underwent a transformation.

The smile in her eyes froze, and a hint of red overflowed from the corners, forming mysterious and enchanting patterns. The incense burner in her hand turned into a gory skull. As she moved forward, her once elegant and refined demeanor became bloodthirsty and frenzied.

Ji Wuyou was frightened.

The words that escaped her lips carried a hint of distortion.

“So, you are the one she has chosen.”

Ji Wuyou felt an icy chill coursing through his body and let out a scream, attempting to retreat. However, his consciousness remained trapped within the bloodstained gaze, and he couldn’t break free, no matter how hard he struggled.

Then, he heard the cry of a bird, piercing through the air. He turned his head—

The azure bird that had guided him, its body contorted to the extreme, let out a long howl into the gusty wind.

Its physical body had been destroyed, leaving only its consciousness, torn apart by the boundless and ferocious winds.

Meanwhile, the enigmatic divine maiden, holding a severed head, smiled strangely. In a whisper so faint, so low, she said, “This is revenge, Qingying.”

Ji Wuyou’s blood ran cold to the core. He hadn’t even had a chance to fully turn around.

Suddenly, the divine maiden took a step forward and spoke to him, “Chosen Child of Destiny, it is time for you to awaken. Rest assured, we will meet again.”

He was swallowed by a tremendous vortex, completely losing consciousness.

Seeing signs of Ji Wuyou awakening, Pei Jing instructed the Peak Master of Shangyang to arrange a new room for him.

When he returned to Tianqian Peak, the Peak Master of Zhongnan had been waiting there for quite some time.

“Sect Master,” she addressed him this time, abandoning the usual “Senior Brother.” This change indicated that something serious had indeed occurred.

Pei Jing asked her, “I know I called you here, but what is the matter?”

The Peak Master of Zhongnan looked pale and said, “Following your instructions, I investigated the individuals frequently entering and exiting the Crescent Moon Forest. Upon questioning the disciples, many of them mentioned having seen my senior disciple, Chang Wu, inside.”

Pei Jing nodded. “Please continue.”

The Peak Master of Zhongnan continued, her expression growing dim. She gritted her teeth and said, “Since he is currently traveling outside, I decided to visit his abode alone. To my surprise…,” her expression turned grim, “…his residence has a concealed tunnel leading deeper inside. Following that tunnel, I arrived at the main hall of Zhongnan, behind the waterfall. Most importantly, beneath that waterfall, hidden by the flowing water, I discovered a plethora of bleached bones.”

Pei Jing laughef instead. “Tell me more about this Chang Wu.”

The Peak Master of Zhongnan hesitated for a moment and replied, “He is someone with mediocre talent but possesses an unwavering spirit. He is diligent and can endure hardships.

“Two hundred years ago, he entered the Outer Peak. For a decade, he persevered in his arduous cultivation, with the sole aim of advancing to the Inner Peaks. During each Outer Peak selection, he exerted his utmost effort. I personally witnessed him progress from being one among thousands to the top five thousand, and then to the top one thousand. However, due to unfortunate circumstances, he was obstructed by the Inner Peak Elders in the previous Outer Peaks competition, even though he had already secured a place on the top hundred list. Afterward, he became even more diligent in his cultivation, verging on the edge of obsession.

“It seems that hard work pays off in the end. Considering his aptitude, I thought achieving Foundation Establishment was hopeless for him. However, to my surprise, he has now become the most outstanding disciple in our Peak.”

Pei Jing let out a soft laugh.

The Peak Master of Zhongnan also realized that this might not be a result of diligent effort but rather a shortcut taken by delving into a forbidden path. She sighed and said, “This rebellious disciple has done such a thing. It’s up to you, Sect Master, to decide his fate.”

“Let’s not be hasty.”

Moonlight shone outside, illuminating the 108 peaks that lay in a deep slumber within the darkness, visible from the highest pinnacle of Tianqian Peak.

“How long has it been since the last Outer Peak competition?” Pei Jing inquired.

The Peak Master of Zhongnan paused for a moment and answered, “It has been seven years.”

Pei Jing smiled with a hint of mystery and said, “Seven years… Well, that’s quite a long time. What harm would it do to advance it by three years?”

The Peak Master of Zhongnan suddenly lifted her head, her expression alert.

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