Chapter 72.2 The Divine Maiden of Peng Mountain
Pei Jing and the Zhongnan Peak Master had a meeting.
The Zhongnan Peak Master whispered softly, “He is participating in the Outer Peaks Grand Competition, and this time, he should be well-prepared. Sect Master, I…”
Pei Jing knew she was deeply disappointed, wishing she could personally eradicate the rebel disciple, but she spoke slowly, “There’s no need to rush. It’s enough to lure him out. I will handle the rest.”
The Zhongnan Peak Master sighed. “I am also at fault for this rebellious disciple.”
Pei Jing smiled and said, “You are merely a mentor to him. Whether he chooses good or evil is not something you can control.”
After bidding farewell to the Zhongnan Peak Master, Pei Jing met with several Elders from other sects who had been affected by this demon. After comforting them, he rode his sword to Xianxiang. Following the guidance of the mortal youth, he arrived at the end of an alley in Xianxiang, under an old locust tree.
Naturally, when he descended the mountain, he changed his appearance and presented himself as Zhang Yiming. Xianxiang was mostly populated by mortals, so the street was bustling with activity—various food stalls, restaurants, bustling with people.
Upon seeing a vendor selling candied hawthorns, Pei Jing went to buy a string, only to realize that they only accepted spiritual stones, which left him feeling both amused and exasperated.
The residents of Xianxiang were descendants of past Yunxiao disciples and considered themselves descendants of immortals, refusing to return to the mortal world.
With a candied hawthorn in his mouth, Pei Jing didn’t know what to make of their thoughts, whether they were right or wrong. Suddenly, he remembered the words Xu Jing had spoken to him in front of the Purple Bamboo Forest. A Yunxiao disciple longing for a carefree life in the mortal realm, while a group of ordinary folks aspired to enter the immortal sect. It was quite intriguing.
Vaguely, his Dao heart underwent some changes.
Under the old locust tree, there was a pawnshop.
In the cool depths of the alley, with a gentle breeze in the afternoon, the boy lying on the table was drowsy. It seemed like he was dreaming about something delicious, even smacking his lips.
Pei Jing walked over and tapped on the table.
Knock, knock, knock. The boy startled awake and mumbled, “Who’s there?” Pei Jing cleared her throat and smiled, “I am an envoy sent by a celestial being from Yunxiao, here to inquire about some information.” Upon hearing the words “Yunxiao,” the boy fully awakened, his eyes gleaming. “You’re from Yunxiao?”
A similarly-aged boy in brown clothes flashed a bright smile, revealing a row of white teeth. “Yes.”
The mortal boy went to find his grandfather.
The old man was sitting by the counter at the entrance of the pawnshop, idling away, using a feather duster to clean the tabletop. Upon hearing the curtain being lifted, he didn’t even raise his eyes as he spoke, “Is the customer here to pawn something or to buy something?” Pei Jing smiled faintly, “Neither. I’ve come to ask you something.”
The old man put down the feather duster and silently turned his gaze toward Pei Jing.
Being a businessman at heart, Pei Jing couldn’t let him suffer a loss. He took out an exquisite piece of spiritual stone from his sleeve. Since entering Yunxiao at a young age, he had never worried about money, so he had no concept of its value and had no idea how precious this exquisite spiritual stone was. He appeared to be a carefree prodigal.
As the old man’s initially gloomy and sour face saw the spiritual stone, he instantly brightened, and he smiled as if he were a blossoming flower. “Oh, young friend, whatever you wish to ask, this old man will surely speak without holding back.”
Pei Jing sat on a stool and became serious. “Do you remember selling a mask? Can you recall?”
“A mask?” The old man pondered for a moment and said, “Seems like there was such a thing.”
Pei Jing asked, “Can you tell me about the mask?”
The old man stroked his beard, glanced sideways, and slowly said, “Are you referring to the mask belonging to Zhang woman?”
“Ah, that… It’s quite a long story. It happened on a rainy day,” the old man immersed himself in memories. “The rain was pouring heavily, and the wind was strong. Late at night, the flower rack in the courtyard got blown apart. I couldn’t sleep peacefully, so I went outside to try and fix it. Unexpectedly, there was a person lying under the flower rack. Covered in blood, severely injured, and tightly clutching a bundle in their arms.
“This place is called Xianxiang. It’s split equally between cultivators and mortals. It’s not uncommon for those with enemies to end up in such a state. I thought it wouldn’t be right to let someone die in the courtyard. So, I dragged him into the house. I applied some herbal medicine to his wounds. Upon closer look, he turned out to be a young monk.
“That monk kept crying in his dreams and refused to let go of the bundle in his hands. I changed rooms and slept with my grandson. When I woke up the next day, I found that he had regained consciousness, but it was as if his soul had departed. The bundle he had been holding tightly the day before was thrown far away. When he saw me, he didn’t say anything, but immediately knelt down.”
The old man muttered, “He was quite a strange person. He insisted that I accept the bundle, but seeing the way he acted, I felt that there was something ominous about the contents of that bundle. I refused to take it. The monk bowed to me several times and told me that it was indeed an evil object, but its effects varied depending on the person. As a good person like me, holding it would only bring blessings and prosperity.”
Hearing this, Pei Jing asked, “And you believed him?”
The old man cleared his throat and lifted his sleeve. “No, I didn’t believe him at the time. But while the monk was recuperating under my care, I hung the contents of that bundle on the wall. It was a mask, exquisitely crafted and remarkably beautiful. It made for a fine decoration. And boom, as the monk had said, I earned several hundred spiritual stones during those days.”
Pei Jing could already speculate about what would come next. “So, you accepted it?”
The old man touched his nose and said, “We businessmen always seek good fortune, and besides, I saved his life. I just considered it as his gesture of gratitude. The monk didn’t stay for long. Before leaving, he repeatedly urged and advised me not to sell the mask to anyone.”
“Where did that monk go?” Pei Jing found it amusing that a mask would protect the virtuous. After all, a monk, known for their compassion and selflessness, should already be virtuous, right?
The old man replied, “How would I know where he went?”
Pei Jing straightened up, his gaze fixed on the old man. “But in the end, you still sold it.”
There was a momentary odd expression on the old man’s face as he vaguely said, “Well, it was that immortal from your Yunxiao Sect who insisted on buying it.”
Pei Jing smiled. “Tell me more.”
The old man continued, “He’s actually a regular customer of mine from Yunxiao. He often comes here to sell talismans and spell papers at a low price. One day, he suddenly came over and bought that mask from me.”
Pei Jing’s voice turned cold. “When was this?”
“I can’t recall precisely, whether it was a month ago or half a month ago. But when he came, he seemed to be injured. His arm was wrapped in cloth.”
Pei Jing remained silent. Injured… most likely from a bite. As for the timing, Pei Jing was already certain. It happened right after that incident with Mingyu, the disciple from Zhongnan Peak.
The old man said, “That’s pretty much the story about the mask. Do you have any more questions?” His eyes were already glued on the spiritual stones.
Pei Jing directly pushed the exquisite spiritual stone towards him and said, “One last question for you: Did that monk have a slight red mark on his forehead?”
With a joyful smile, the old man eagerly accepted the exquisite spiritual stone. His eyes widened instantly, and he exclaimed, “How did you know?”
Pei Jing lazily smiled and replied, “Why do you care how I know?”
He hopped off the chair, walked out, and the sunlight cast a cold light upon his face through the branches of the locust tree.
A reddish mark on the forehead, a monk—could only be a disciple of the Shaolin Temple.
Shaolin, a sacred place in Buddhism, the sect where Wu Sheng belonged.
Quite interesting. Fengqiu Mountain, Yingzhou, Yunxiao, Shaolin Temple… Was there another clue leading to the Ghost Realm?
He returned to Yunxiao and immediately encountered the Shangyang Peak Master, who informed him that Ji Wuyou had awakened. Pei Jing thought to himself, it seemed like everything was piling up together. However, he felt that Ji Wuyou might not necessarily want to see him at the moment, or perhaps dare to see him. Suddenly undergoing such a transformation while still being recognized as Zhang Yiming, he might not be able to accept it.
After instructing the Peak Master to take extra care, Pei Jing went to the main hall of Tianqian Peak. Using the spiritual jade, he transmitted his divine sense—one to Ji Wuduan and the other to Wu Sheng.
However, in reality… Pei Jing thought that they would eventually gather at the Institute of Celestial Ascension.
Chu Junyu stood in silence, and a patch of azure feathers slowly rose from his palm. Then, after a burst of intense light, countless starlights intertwined in the boundless wind. The feathers transformed into ethereal shadows, outlining the figure of a young girl in the air.
Raven-black hair cascaded down, and the azure feather robe she wore was stained with scattered bloodstains. A grim red mark circled her fair neck, while her flesh still seethed and churned.
“Open your eyes.”
Her scar-ridden fingers moved, and her tightly closed eyes opened. The girl still carried a hint of innocence, and her eyes were spirited and bright. The color of the sky, a pristine and untainted blue, ignorant of the mundane world. She looked around with a hint of confusion. Descending from the sky, her pristine ankles bore unhealed wounds, causing excruciating pain upon contact with the ground. However, the pain was numbing, and she had grown accustomed to it.
Silently gazing at the man before her, with silver hair and black garments, Qingying dared not speak. The sinister and chilling aura emanating from him was more terrifying than anything she had encountered in her life. Unconsciously, she wanted to conceal her own aura, slowing her breathing.
Chu Junyu asked, “Where is the Queen Mother of the West?”
Upon hearing this name, Qingying’s sensation of pain intensified twofold, causing her to recoil.
But the man in front of her seemed to possess neither patience nor good temper. His blood-red eyes gazed over, his expression cold and indifferent, with his unabashed aura of killing intent.
Qingying suddenly felt a suffocating sensation.
The wound on her neck remained, being squeezed tightly through the air. Blood and flesh churned, causing excruciating pain that tore at her heart.
She opened her mouth, but only a dying wail, reminiscent of a bird’s cry, escaped.
Chu Junyu withdrew his hand and spoke with a cool tone, “Where is the Queen Mother of the West?”
Qingying collapsed to the ground, supporting herself as her eyes, veiled by a mist of red, gradually regained clarity. Due to damage to her throat, her voice was faint, akin to a thread of silk. “… She is already dead. As my physical body perished, she died with me.”
Chu Junyu laughed, his eyes filled with icy coldness. “If she is dead, I wouldn’t be asking you.”
Kunlun Queen Mother, daughter of Mount Peng, a divine being of nine lifetimes, and now possessing the power of the heavens. How could she possibly die so easily? In fact, she was meant to be eternal.
Qingying’s frail fingers clenched bit by bit, her pupils widened, and in her mind, only one sentence revolved.
… She didn’t die. She didn’t die.
The suppressed resentment, anger, grievances, and despair in her heart surged overwhelmingly once again.
She had thought it would be a mutual destruction, both perishing together, but in the end… only she died.
Chu Junyu said, “Enough. I will keep you for other purposes.”
Qingying remained kneeling for a long time, under the chilling moonlight, her hair as cold as ice. The young leader of the devastated Azure Bird Clan suddenly let out a sorrowful sob. With her hands, marked with numerous wounds, covering her face, scalding tears seeped through her trembling fingers.
If you enjoy this novel, support the Translator ginevre on her ko-fi account :))