Martial King’s Retired Life – Vol. 7 Ch. 60

Puppetry

This old man… is an adept in disguise?

I saw the old man five times as I scanned the crowds, yet I never noticed anything fishy about him. His skin resembled Jiangnan’s elders’ skin condition exactly, wrinkly, yet moisturised. It was difficult to move around deftly in a hunched position. I would’ve mistaken him for a genuine elder if there wasn’t the hostility and calmness on his face.

Blood Fiend Silkworm Transformation was my foundation that allowed me to freely manipulate flesh essence and use flesh from others as my body. There was no disguise technique that could hold a candle to it. Admittedly, I hadn’t mastered the skill completely. Shifu told me that I could give the best in the martial realm a run for their money but was far from truly being undetectable. I could transform my body, but I was still unable to manipulate skin and creases. The old man, on the other hand, demonstrated what was the pinnacle of disguise. I couldn’t spot any flaws despite there being no way he’d know Blood Fiend Silkworm Transformation.

My desire to murder him replaced my shock and indignation: “Who… are you?”

“You have no need to know who I am,” replied the elder, sounding confrontational. “Nobody needs to know.”

The elder’s lips didn’t budge, yet his deep and gruff voice were akin to a hammer smashing at my heart so hard that I actually curled forward and perspired. I had never suffered pain from within and never expected it to feel so dreadful.

The elder didn’t use some sort of special style; I could also do it. All it consisted of was delivering one’s words with internal energy enhancing it. It worked off the same principle as summoning energy. If you sent your voice several kilometres and the target was within no more than thirty-three metres of your condensed internal energy, you’d drum up the insides of the listeners. Pretty much every internal style practitioner could pull it off. Utilising it with a weapon, however, wasn’t so simple. Hence, nobody did it. There are special styles that focus on amplifying the intensity, such as Lion Roar. In reality, they only turn up the intensity a small notch; it still doesn’t inflict debilitating damage. The simple reason was the difference in internal energy. Trying to create a big enough gap in internal energy between one and their opponent was a daunting task.

At my level, I could hurt thirty to forty ordinary adults with a howl. It’s no secret I like having fun. I once tried to howl someone to death for the laughs. Because my target practiced an internal style, the impact was abated. The only way I could’ve subdued him with just my voice was if my internal energy was over ten folds more potent than his. Since the elder could do it without even moving his lips, he was the real deal. He was an adept among adepts! I never imagined Night Fortress’ master had someone so insane among his ranks.

I glared at the elder. To my surprised, he didn’t look sly or violent. Instead, he smiled as if he was looking at his granddaughter. He even changed his tone when he said, “I’ve been searching for you, Lass.”

Before I could figure out what the elder was up to, that wench, Su Xiao, asked, “Who is he?”

Su Xiao returned to grab me after noticing I wasn’t keeping up.

What are you pretending for?! If you can prove you lot aren’t in cahoots, I’ll cut my head off for you to kick around!

Unable to contain my desire to kill, I reached for the blades in my sleeves and vigorously raised my arms: “Motherf-”

A gentle, yet unstoppable, energy travelled from my neck to my entire body all of a sudden. I didn’t know anything like it, let alone any method of stopping it. There was no time to think, either. My arms involuntarily drooped back down. I couldn’t activate any of my true qi. I lost control of my body before I could even manifest the desire to resist.

Su Xiao tilted her head: “What are you two doing? Gramps, do you two know each other? Little Girl, what did you just say about your mother?”

I said, stop motherflipping feigning! I know you’re together!

I was going to wait and see what the elder had to say as well as how they intended to keep up the act, but, for crying out loud, I had no idea what happened to me.  Four meridians on my right arm started to burn before my other arm, legs and stomach felt the same phenomenon. The energy from my neck evoked an itchy sensation wherever it went. I felt as though something was juggling around in my throat. Next, the heat burst and spread throughout my body from five locations. The energy in my throat resonated with it. I could feel my throat and mouth moving involuntarily!

“He. Is. My. Grandpa. I. Was. Looking. For. Him.”

I somehow articulated an entire sentence despite the marionette delivery! I then revealed my pearly whites and curled my eyebrows. The childish and innocent smile was freaking disgusting!

The elder pulled me into his arms and started sobbing: “I’ve been looking for you. Do you know how distraught I felt after I lost you in the chaos?”

Feeling his white beard touching me gave me goose bumps.

The hell is this old man playing at?! Has he lost his mind?!

For some reason, I pulled a touched look. I sobbed until I started wailing in his arms!

“Oh, you’re relatives. I was wondering why we couldn’t find her parents. Well, since you’ve found your grandpa, be a good girl and go with him,” stated Su Xiao.

What bloody grandpa?! I don’t know this old trout! You flipping Su Wench! You’re handing me over to a dangerous stranger here!

“I. Shall. Leave. With. Grandpa. Then.”

Su Xiao gave us a sweet smile. She was definitely glad she got rid of a burden, yet lied, “Great. We have work to do, so I can’t look after you. Bye.”

Ye Luo: “Oh, you found your family? Life must be tough for you, Elder. Please accept this money to buy some clothes for the young girl.”

Save it for yourself! If it wasn’t for that wench, would I be in this state?! Just you wait. I’ll teach you a lesson sooner or later. Now, who the hell is this old man, and what has he done to my body?! Why can’t I control any part of my body?!

The elder draped an arm over my shoulder and led me away. I tried my best to resist futilely. My legs moved by themselves, seemingly. We eventually left the small town and gradually picked up the pace. Initially, he controlled my gait. He eventually ramped up his speed to the point that I struggled to breathe. How was I supposed to keep up with a tall adult when I was as tall as an eight year old girl? To make it easier for me, he lifted me onto his shoulders and picked up his pace. I could breathe, but it was ten times more embarrassing! I swore I’d kill him! I swore it!

It was tedious, but I managed to move my eyes to scrutinise him for openings. After analysing people so many times, I could gradually spot openings even if it was our first time meeting. However, I couldn’t find any of the old man’s openings. I couldn’t figure out how to kill him for the life of me. I felt I was looking at Master. On second thought, Master’s might surpassed human limits and my comprehension, but I could figure out how to kill him.

Master was a battle monger. It was exceptionally easy to kill him if I wanted to. Just pitch him against somebody stronger than him, and he’ll get himself killed. In the elder’s case, I didn’t have the foggiest idea what he wanted. I mean, I was a good analyst, but I wasn’t able to correctly figure out what someone was after. I could effortlessly differentiate between someone with a burning will to fight and someone who lost the will to fight. The elder didn’t fit either category, though. He wasn’t confused about life. He knew what he was doing. He showed the attitude of a careless youth and experience of an elder.

Why do you have to be so hard to read, damn it?! I’m going to kill you! I need to kill this guy as soon as possible! I’m pissed!

I couldn’t control even my thumb despite my rage. Once we reached a dilapidated shrine, he threw me aside but didn’t unseal my meridians. It took everything to mouth, “Wh-what have you done to me?!”

The elder didn’t have a foul temper. He answered, “It’s called Puppetry. It’s one of the uses of my Shadow King String.”

I thought he could detect my lip movements. The heat energy I felt had to be from his internal energy he had in every nook and cranny of my body. Nobody would even believe you if you told them he controlled me without touching me and only using his internal energy. You, instead, might have stories of an immortal who descended to the human realm!

Wait a second… Shadow King String. Is he controlling me… using some sort of string?

I mouthed: “Are you… controlling me using silk strings?”

“Not too shabby. I see there is someone with a functioning brain among Evil Spirits.”

The elder’s raspy voice carried a gloating undertone. The grin on his face told me he was usually the type to not take things serious. Serious people wouldn’t be so laid back so easily.

“It’s secret style that hasn’t been revealed to the world. So, what rank do you hold, Lass?”

I mouthed, “Why did you capture me if you’re not with Night Fortress? As disguisers, we stay in our own lanes. What do you want? Since you’ve captured me, I’ll provide you what I can afford to provide you. If I can’t, then this is pointless.”

The elder teased, “Girls shouldn’t speak in that tone. People might misunderstand I’m imposing my will on you, otherwise.”

I mouthed, “You think I’m a girl just because I have the appearance of a girl? Too naïve. I have countless forms. It’s embarrassing to think you don’t know that when you’ve been watching from the shadows. I don’t use an amateur-level disguise technique. Shame on you as a disguiser.”

I actually started to feel smug until he revealed, “Blood Fiend Silkworm Transformation is a fearsome technique. Collecting new corpses or flesh essence from the living for your own usage certainly is quite the idea. The ‘fiend’ character in its name refers to your ability to control blood, thereby preserving flesh for thirty days. I know you can disguise yourself as the other gender and even animals if you want. It’s not an orthodox technique, but it would be a waste for it to be removed from the unorthodox skills.”

“How does he know so much?” I pondered, startled.

“Since it comes from Demon Realm Sky Palace, though, only females can learn it. You wouldn’t be able to have such a solid grasp of it if you weren’t female. Lass, you’re addicted to disguising yourself as a man, aren’t you? Own up to it already.”

I mouthed, “Who… are you? Why did you capture me?”

“You don’t need to know who I am,” answered the elder, smirking domineeringly. “I captured you solely to ask you where Liu Shan Men’s vice-captain, Shen Yiren, whom you attacked four days ago, is right now.”

 

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