Martial King’s Retired Life – Vol. 7 Ch. 21



Detective Su Xiao (Part 2)

“Tang Ye is Lord San Shen…? I must be Buddha, then!” I thought in my head. I asked, “Do you seriously think Tang Ye is Lord San Shen? You think he’s a bad guy?”

Su Xiao rested his chin on a finger and pouted: “I don’t know. We’re brothers. He must have his reasons. His background story might be true. He might really be after information on the Shangri-La massacre. For as long as he’s been with us, he’s never crossed the boundary, which is enough to prove our brotherhood isn’t just a charade. I don’t think he’s hatching any evil plans.”

“Wait, wait, Xiao, you’re missing something… Lord San Shen is arguably quite famous in the pugilistic world, and he established himself a long time ago. Tang Ye is only eighteen. Don’t you think the numbers don’t match up?”

“Oh, true that,” realised Su Xiao, nodding. “In other words, you’re suggesting he can reverse aging? Ew! Do I have to call him Uncle Tang?”

‘I just want to face palm myself right now… Does your brain grow in circles and loops or something?!’

“No, think about it. His Majesty saw Lord San Shen at Feiyun Hall. Tang Ye was right beside him at the time. Wasn’t he also by His Majesty’s side during the Orange Prince’s revolt? Don’t forget he was also injured. How could he be Lord San Shen?”

“Hmph, don’t treat me as if I’m an idiot. I exhaustively analysed it already,” griped Su Xiao, puffing his cheeks. “They aren’t called Demon Sect for nothing. I’m sure he has a secret technique of some sort, you know, such as Appearance Alteration, Bone Alignment…”

“It’s Bone Reconfiguration. Bone Alignment is used in massage.”

“Fine, whatever floats your boat. Hmph, you know them well, don’t you? I wonder if you’ve been a demon before.”

… I was forced to react with a workplace smile…

“Great, you made me forget what I was going to say,” complained Su Xiao, pulling a funny face. He then used his fingers to keep count as he continued, “Appearance Alteration, Bone Reconfiguration, Clone Technique and Psychic Communication are all methods that allow one to go under the radar. I bet they’re unbelievably skilled, as well. I think Tang Ye’s injury was pretence. Think about it: what better tactic is there than using a clone to defeat an opponent whilst pretending to be injured? Yep, I knew it. He feigned injury but was actually fighting.”

I was speechless. If somebody wasn’t feeding him all the ideas, then…

“Also…” Su Xiao folded his arms and looked serious: “The competition with Jin Wangsun was also quite suspicious.”

‘You’re suspicious of me, aren’t you?! Lord San Shen wasn’t there to fight Jin Wangsun, yet Su Xiao can link it back to me?!’

Su Xiao waved a hand: “Lord San Shen’s presence is only a superficial trick. The Seven Champion Princes claim there are never any problems under their leadership. How do they explain Vice-Captain’s pinch in their territory? Most importantly, I have two pieces of evidence to justify my suspicions.”

Su Xiao extended two slender fingers and beamed, “First, your martial arts skills are shit.”

Su Xiao looked cute, but god damn what was the insult all about…?

‘My skills are shit? Your skills are an insult to the word shit!’

“Hey, listen, will you? I thought long and hard about this.”

“You think anything that comes out of your bird brain would be correct?! If it wasn’t for me, you’d be still conducting a search on ground level at Feiyun Hall!”

“M-Meanie!”

Maybe I took it too far. Red in the face, Su Xiao bit down on his lip and turned away, refusing to make eye contact with me, speak to me or listen to me – an exemplary display of “The Three Nos Policy.” I poked his sides again using my true qi, making him laugh. I said, “Sorry, I was too harsh.”

“I’m still angry!” exclaimed Su Xiao, wearing on his cranky expression forthwith. Once tears welled up in his eyes, he sulked, “You threatened me and forced me to talk. When I talked, you refused to believe me! What do you want?! What do you want?!”

I put myself in Su Xiao’s skin and added to his whinge, “But it’s okay for me to sulk whenever somebody says one mean thing because I’m Su Xiao.”

“Rubbish! Sob, sob!”

‘I’m in the wrong after you insulted me?!’

Su Xiao hugged my pillow and cried on it, executing The Three Nos Policy again. I gave in to his whims: “Fine, fine, fine, go on. I’ll listen.”

Su Xiao plastered his face to the pillow, muffling his voice, and said, “No more cutting in?”

“Yes, no more cutting in.”

“No more finding faults with me?”

“… No.”

Su Xiao pulled the pillow aside, revealing one eye: “And if I curse you?”

‘Don’t push it, you little runt!’

Su Xiao: “Sob, sob, sob.”

I surrendered with both arms: “Fine, fine, fine, whatever. No cursing, no hitting and no touching you. I’ll put you on an altar and worship you, okay?”

“A man never goes back on his word, got it?! Hahaha,” quickly said Su Xiao, smiling brightly without a tear on his face.

Blasted kid didn’t learn anything proper since joining Liu Shan Men and learnt to be a woman, instead!

Su Xiao extended his fingers again: “All right, I’m resuming. First, your skills are sh-.”

“Shit, right?! I heard you already! The entire city knows now! You done broadcasting that part?! Can we move on now?!”

“Why so hasty? You need to do something about that temper,” grumbled Su Xiao, curling his lips. “How could you have fought evenly with Jin Wangsun, then? That doesn’t make any sense. You couldn’t hold a candle to Jiangnan’s Sabre King, Jin Wangsun, with your skills. You remember how the fight went?

You squared off in teams of two. Tang Ye and Jin Wangsun’s exchange was brief, and they were evenly matched. I heard Jin Wangsun’s slave was superior to him. Logically, then, it’s a miracle you two even survived against them. You fought to a draw? It didn’t make any sense until now. The only explanation is that Tang Ye is far more skilled than he lets on. The only way you would’ve won was if Lord San Shen was pulling strings in the dark and had comrades with him. Else, it wouldn’t have been possible.”

“… And your second piece of evidence?”

“Personal vendetta. For Lord San Shen to take the big risk of fighting in the imperial palace, he must’ve had a personal score to settle.”

‘Hmm? How does Su Xiao know about Young Shiyi?’

“You’re probably unaware, but when Jin Wangsun first arrived in the capital and caused mayhem on the streets, Tang Ye was the one who stopped him. That’s why the two clashed right from then. Jin Wangsun even challenged Tang Ye in the imperial court. His fiancée was also close with Tang Ye. There was a variety of reasons for them to hate each other. Tang Ye hated Jin Wangsun’s guts! That’s why Tang Ye used his identity as Lord San Shen to help you defeat Jin Wangsun. I also heard someone resembling Lord San Shen appeared in the capital before the competition and chopped a boat, too! See, plenty of concrete proof, right?”

‘… Amazing. Phenomenal. Su Xiao’s intelligence is off the charts!’

All I could say was I’d prostrate myself in Su Xiao’s great presence… Besides the key culprit in question being wrong, his deduction was logical and supported. If he reported that to the imperial court, I bet even the Emperor would believe him.

Looking smug, Su Xiao asked, “You think I’m correct, don’t you?”

“No,” I answered with a stern look. “You remember Lord San Shen peeping on Princess Hongzhuang bathing? That had to be him, too!”

“What?! Uncle Tang is…!”

“Yeah, he even used Zhong Ning’s name to cover his misdeeds. You remember the five elders of the Black Robe Brotherhood were assaulted? Zhong Ning was the culprit. I think it was also him.”

“Why would he do that?”

I folded my arms and put on a grave look: “I think Uncle Tang’s unorthodox style played tricks on his mind, triggering him into committing fraud as Zhong Ning. Don’t blame him, though.”

Su Xiao clenched his fists: “I must watch him to prevent him running rampant and committing mistakes again! What do you think, Big Brother Ming?”

I gazed up to the sky then patted Su Xiao on the shoulder. Voice solemn, I replied, “Watch him closely. Don’t let him get away.”

“I will!”

 

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