Martial King’s Retired Life – Vol. 5 Ch. 70



The World’s Dazzling Talent – Celestial Spider

Does thou know?
The dragons roar brought the support of the gods down below the clouds.
The phoenix’s cry shook the moon.
One fool banned nine states.
The devil ruined the dynasty of five generations.
Does thou know?!

I examined the text Great Grandmaster left behind.

Tsk, tsk, tsk, Great Grandmaster’s calligraphy displayed his scholastic talents developed and refined over a century. Every inch and every segment illustrated grace. Look at the “This old one is tired” in the middle. Look how righteously it was written…

‘I have to say, the Emperor sure has too much spare time. Why would he waste time on trying to solve this ridiculous garbage…?’

Back on Mount Daluo, we often played word riddles with Great Grandmaster by trying to guess what he wrote at New Year. It was all for entertainment. There was never a shortage of “Dragons and phoenixes are retards” or “What the fuck are you bitching for?” type of traps. Merely seeing “Forbid the Divine Moon”, and “Clouds move nine five” made me think he was trolling with tripe again.

The poem was carved with excellent martial prowess. It was highly improbable anyone could make sense of it purely through guesswork. To decipher it, one had to defeat the hidden taolu within.

“Be cautious. Blindly retreating won’t get you anywhere,” I reminded Tang Ye.

Tang Ye struck out without hesitation. His hands were immediately inhibited by two swords before they returned to their sheath. The swords he saw, however, were a mental manifestation without form. That was why they instantly vanished into thin air.

The flying swords were left behind by Great Grandmaster.  We manifested them as we tried to grasp the meaning of the text. As such, I couldn’t see what Tang Ye saw, while he couldn’t see what I saw. All I could do was infer where the swords were approaching him from according to his body movements. Apparently, my guesses were on the dot. If I was wrong, though, Tang Ye could very well have lost his life, for phantoms could be lethal.

The skill wasn’t derived from Mount Daluo’s Five Divine Styles or Mount Daluo’s main style. The technique fell in the same category as the technique I used on Fu Xiang, but it was completely different in aspects besides its nature. Although the technique was in the same category as Heart Sword Subconscious Sword Intent techniques, which were styles that inflicted damage via delusions, it was completely different.

I folded my arms and silently observed the myriad swords around me. The swords didn’t attack me; they were immobile in the air, instead.

I peered at the white wall with blood stains behind the swords. There were a number of scratches in addition to the carving. I wasn’t sure if somebody in the past made the marks or if it was A Hu and Jin Wangsun’s work from before. There was dark-red blood splattered on it. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say there was the blood of others from the past, as well. Blood aside, there was also a trail of huge claws that started from the top left corner. The deep trail ran from top to bottom and from left to right. I was confident that A Hu was the one who created the trail to save Jin Wangsun just before. Due to that, however, seven words were damaged. There were only thirty-one fully intact words among the thirty-eight words. Having said that, the Sword Spirit didn’t diminish. Tang Ye and I still ended up being caught in the technique.

Tang Ye faced off against the illusion for a long time. He didn’t fight back head on; he followed my instructions and made sure to dodge one after the other. He kept it up for an entire hour. It was challenging; he sweated profusely. Sternly, he remarked, “The Sword Intent is swift and ferocious.”

He did his reputation as a young and talented man justice. He couldn’t grasp the profound intricacies. Nevertheless, he was able to sense what made the Sword Intent extraordinary based solely off the text. It took me an hour, but I finally discerned what the so-called “Hero Shenzhou’s late carving” was all about, and how the anomaly giving His Majesty a headache came to be.

The first thing to address was the text on the white wall itself. They didn’t have an offensive setting.  The people who passed out when they looked at the white wall weren’t defeated by a ferocious Sword Intent or profound Sword Qi.

Regardless of how mind-blowing Great Grandmaster’s qigong and internal strength might be, and even if his qi could hypothetically remain for two decades, it should’ve vanished by this stage, because think about how many people would have seen the wall and how many times the skill had activated. There wasn’t energy left on the wall; it was Great Grandmaster’s Sword Intent hidden in the text that influenced the viewer’s state of mind.

From what I could see, there was an unfathomably profound swordplay hidden within the text that was highly enthralling. It produced an irresistible urge that led to people trying it out. As a result, they activated their true qi. That was where the tragedy began.

Strength was born from one’s mind, and also controlled by one’s mind. The text influenced their true qi, thereby generating visual and auditory illusions. It was the same concept as a dream.

The illusions the victims saw were influenced by the thirty eight words’ Sword Intent. The victims, themselves, generated the illusions. That was the exact reason their measure of internal energy determined how many illusions they saw. It, therefore, was perfectly understandable as to why His Majesty praised A Hu. As for how the adepts the Emperor invited fell into comas regardless of skill level, it was pretty self-explanatory.

Since the viewer generated the flying swords with their own true qi, if they fought back with all they had, they were attacking themselves with the equivalent output. It was a case of them fighting themselves; the greater their output, the greater the flying swords’ output. Another key factor was that while the internal energy belonged to them, the flying swords’ attack method was Great Grandmaster’s swordplay. Thus, the adepts weren’t defeated in swordplay superiority, but through rapid expenditure of their internal energy. Once they were empty, they passed out. The issue wasn’t that the Emperor asked people who lacked in the internal energy department; superior internal energy just wasn’t of any help.

It was a matter of being in different realms, not internal strength profoundness. If one failed to grasp the nature of it, no level of skill would point it out for them. In the end, they’d just end up wasting effort, and then refuse to give up, and then most likely dying in their own nightmare. It wasn’t swordplay. It was the same as my Night Steps, but also a god-like internal style. That was how those who scrutinised the text wounded up injured. From there, things only became more and more difficult.

The sword intent was inconceivably profound and was capable of spurring the viewer’s own Sword Qi. Everybody who visited attempted the swordplay in the text to some degree. Put it this way: if it was an internal mental cultivation technique, then everybody used it once before. See, if one swordplay was attempted by countless different people, then the accumulation of twenty years of people activating Sword Qi in the hall would have bolstered it beyond what most sword sects in the pugilistic would have accumulated. That was precisely why there wasn’t a single sword in sight, yet an incredible Sword Soul was nurtured into reality.

If the visitor was illiterate or wasn’t trained in martial arts, then the Sword Intent wouldn’t affect them whatsoever. Everyone else who possessed martial arts skills and was literate, to the contrary, would be wounded by the Sword Intent. One factor worth noting was that if they possessed martial arts training, yet were weak, then they wouldn’t be able to make it past the violent Sword Howl. The Emperor did mention seeking out scholars. But alas, all efforts to decipher the text were futile. By my estimations, the Sword Howl must’ve been more than they could bear.

“Big Brother, what do I do?!” Tang Ye turned left and right, presumably to dodge the incoming swords. Totally baffled by me standing there with my arms folded as though nothing was happening, he asked, “Why have you not been affected?”

“Because I’m not afraid.”

Since Tang Ye was baffled, I laughed: “Tang, let me teach you something practical today. There are, at least, three ways of overcoming the attack.”

Unarmed, Tang Ye couldn’t catch or clash with the Sword Qi head on. He, therefore, had no other option but to evade. Frustrated, he demanded, “Just tell me any one of them!”

“First option: calm yourself. The text’s illusions attack you according to your movements. That’s the best way of dispelling the illusion. The only way it’ll work is if you’re completely convinced that what you see isn’t real.”

The method I suggested was the best method for Sword Heart Subconscious Attacks. Only by steeling one’s heart could they resist the attacks on their subconscious.

Yan Shisan, one of the Ultimate Three, for example, could look straight at the text without being affected thanks to that method. They put their mental fortitude through rigorous training. Consequently, no illusions could intimidate them. With that said, it was easy said, not easy done.

Who wouldn’t be worried if there was a flying sword in front of them? That reaction, the fear realised the illusion. Once one was victimised, they would probably need medical attention for three days. There were plenty of warriors who had strong mental fortitude, but the number of individuals who were able to reach the threshold The Ultimate Three attained were far and few between. Essentially, there were only two types of people who could reach that level. The first type was the supreme adept who reached the Divine Realm. The other type was the type who were wired differently, the type who could watch the sky fall without batting an eye. The latter’s emotional state was referred to as “Savage Heart”. It was a state of mind that allowed one to see through everything in life.

Personally, I relied on Divine Realm to not fall prey to the illusion.

Tang Ye, who had his hands full trying not to die, shouted, “That’s not happening. Next!”

“Second option: destroy the text just as A Hu and Jin Wangsun did. You need to leave a scratch or hole on the wall. Due to the altered text, your perception is altered, thereby granting your temporary relief from the illusions.”

At the end of the day, illusions were conjured by one’s mind. To dispel the illusion, one had to alter their perception, specifically their perception of what induced the illusion. The crucial factor to its success was escaping right away once one successfully disrupted the perception. Stay too long, and your eyes would be exposed to the second word, which would conjure up another illusion.

“And third option?”

“Third option…” I touched my nose, “You’ll have to summon the snow spirit container I left in your care.”

“Huh?” exclaimed Tang Ye: “The celestial spider silk is the key to dismantling it? I didn’t bring it with me!”

“Worry not. I did want to inform you two that I didn’t store celestial spider silk in there. When I was waiting around, I spent another few days to go back to Heavenly Mountain. I collected some ordinary snow spirit spider silk. I only grabbed two or three spiders-worth, having said that, so there’s hardly any. It’s not worth as much as you two think. I spent all that effort to climb the mountain, yet you two still couldn’t win ‘Thousand Miles’. You two really are something else.”

Tang Ye’s expression changed. No, he didn’t regret that he mistook it for something it wasn’t; he was surprised. To me, he looked as though he was surprised I managed to make a trip to Heavenly Mountain from Nanjing in those few days.

‘Kiddo, a horse wouldn’t even see my back when I use my qinggong.’

“What I was trying to tell you was that I always wore celestial spider silk on me.”

I raised an arm. My snow-white shirt underneath my coat moved on its own. A string that one would struggle to see with their naked eye came out. I used my qi to furtively eject two threads from underneath my robe similarly to a leopard preparing its claws.

“The third method is… take it head on. If you see ten thousand swords, destroy all ten thousand.”

Glossary

*Poem – Some of the poem is not supposed to make sense, and you never will make sense of it. It was there for fluff and to make the poem read in multiple directions. That is deliberate. Should’ve mentioned it back in volume 3. For instance the phoenix’s cry shook the moon. It’s gibberish even in Chinese.

**Number of damaged words – Just a reminder that I’ve adapted it to English as opposed to going with the Chinese character count.

 

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