Martial King’s Retired Life – Vol. 09 Ch. 01

Convoluted Machinations

The nightmare that plagued Luo Ming for a decade already might’ve woken another man, but it was no longer enough to get a reaction of any form out of him.

Luo Ming, eyes on the golden orb outside, eventually uttered, “Jian’er…” just as he always did every time he woke from the nightmare.

Ever since the tragic defeat, Luo Ming started killing people for no rhyme or reason, something he never perpetrated before. There was this madness, darkness thrashing inside him that he couldn’t repress. He started to interact with unorthodox sects regardless of the negative influence they brought to Luo Sword Manor when he swore to not associate with them prior or do anything he didn’t want to, pressure or no pressure. Nightmares used to run from him, yet he started having nightmares he couldn’t run from until he learnt it was futile to try running from them.

When Luo Ming finally escaped the demon in his sleep, he sought out Nanjiang’s Poison King for a formula to invite the nightmare back so that he could see his sons once again. Over time, he no longer saw the nightmare through lenses of regret, agony and hatred but yearning. He wanted to go back to when his brother was his right-arm man, when his four children lived under the same roof with him. By no means was the dream leading him astray from reality; he knew what was real and what wasn’t.

Luo Ming held his spread, callous hand, the hand that manufactured many swords and wrote the history of swords in Jiangnan over the last decade, out to the sun. With the very hand he once carved his name into history, protected things and people with, he had steeled his resolved to crush them despite knowing the inherent risks.

Although League of Assassins’ assassins didn’t bring back River Monster’s corpse, it didn’t bother him since it was part of their policy to report honestly. He spent an arm and a leg to hire one of League of Assassins’ leaders, so them failing an assignment was next to impossible, yet there was one person’s whose whereabouts were shrouded in a question mark.

A man in back softly landed on Luo Ming’s sealing and relayed, “Master, someone has forced their way into Lotus Root Grounds and is currently at the first gate.”

“Finally here, huh?” Luo Ming remarked stoically.

There was only one man Luo Ming could think of who would storm Luo Sword Manor at this point in time, and he was also the most volatile factor in Luo Ming’s plan – Abels.

Had Luo Ming not leveraged Abels’ preeminent desire against him to goad him into stealing Shaolin’s golden Buddhist, resulting in injury, Abels would be a hazard to Luo Ming. Luo Ming wouldn’t prefer scrimmaging with Abels any more than he would with Master Ming – not to say the reverse was true. To add, Luo Ming not only destroyed Evil Spirits but also passed the buck to them. While Master Ming might not have a vengeance against him, Abels sure would.

The last time Luo Ming and Abels scrapped in Beijiang, there was no decisive victor. If Abels didn’t stop in time, the two would’ve brought out their Divine Realm skills, wounding them if not killing one of them. Old ailments still afflicted Luo Ming, while his new strength had yet to solidify, so he would’ve lost if Abels used Sea Deer Hunter that day. Now, their roles were reversed, with Luo Ming having improved by leaps and bounds, while injuries suffered at Shaolin had whittled down Abels. Plus, storming Lotus Root Ground solo when it could stop an army in Huzhou wasn’t the brightest of ideas.

In a muffled voice, Luo Ming instructed, “He is formidable. Capture him alive if you can. If it is derelict, kill him.”

“As you command.” The individual on the roof vanished silently.

Luo Ming already saw Abels coming from the moment he chose to do away with Evil Spirits. He learnt firsthand that exchanging words was useless in the face of absolute power when he lost his sons to him.

“Master, Mr. Li is waiting for you at Windy Plum Blossom Pavilion,” reported Luo Clan’s chamberlain.

“Ask him to wait for a moment. I will be there soon.”

“Understood.”

Luo Ming looked at the reflection that started to resemble those he despised more and more in the mirror as he fixed his clothing.

I know what I’m doing. I know what the price is, and I’m willing to pay even more to fulfil the request, “Dad, please avenge me.” I’ll walk through anything and everything.

***

The watershed outside Lotus Root Ground was close to the smithing workshop, which was why none of the swordsmen guarding the area were surprised regardless of whatever boat showed up until today. Although the name of the place was pretty, nobody had ever entered the forbidden zone on a canoe. Hence, the swordsmen clutched their sword hilts when the canoe was still a good sixty-odd metres’ away.

“Y-you sure this is the place?” a woman on the three-section canoe stuttered.

The man, who almost took up two seats, sitting opposite her replied, “No.”

“You’re not sure?!”

“How do you expect me to know which direction to row when I’m wobbling on a boat?” The man leisurely yawned. “Who even cares if where we start if we’re going to be storming in anyway?”

“D-did he just say, ‘storming in’?” a swordsman on the island asked.

“Y-”

“Don’t you guys agree?” all of the swordsmen on the island heard.

They had no idea when, but the man on the canoe had vanished from the boat before their eyes. Following that bizarre moment, they heard about a dozen men around them growling and groaning all at once. When they felt their head hurt, they spun around and dropped without knowing how or who was culpable. The last person they saw had hair contrasting the darkness they gradually drowned in.

 

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