Martial King’s Retired Life – Vol. 09 Ch. 08

Mount Daluo’s King of King of Checkers

We eventually found ourselves at an island, one that I tried to row around, only to circle back to the first place we came to when we spotted it. By that point, I didn’t need to be a genius to realise we had to disembark. A-Lan’s injuries didn’t inhibit her mobility, but the same couldn’t be said for Mountain Monster. Although bringing her along was a hassle, it would be impossible to take care of her at all if we left her behind. And so, I carried the featherweight, furious lass on my shoulder notwithstanding her inveighing.

I glanced back at Mountain Monster’s neck and down… I then shook my head and wiped my eyes. Luckily, I saw her bear her fangs and flexed my neck before she could bite it.

You understand what I motioned?!

“Is that any way to treat your saviour?!”

“What… What did you look back at me for?”

“I was just taking a look. It wasn’t as if there’s some meaning to it.” I shook my head as I added, “Narrow minds are correlated to impeded chest growth.”

“I… I’ll bite your neck off!”

As I flexed my neck again, I felt a field of heat wave, so I pulled my head back, returning to a cool field.

If there’s a hot spring or something of the sort on the island, I should be able to feel torrid waves even from afar, but…

Also noticing the peculiar atmosphere, Mountain Monster stopped messing around, letting me off with a pinch.

As soon as I stepped in the direction I flexed my neck, I felt the torrid sensation come across half of my body, which conflicted with the winter breeze on the other side. An invisible wall that barricaded the cold draft outside and contained the heat inside couldn’t possibly be normal.

Staying outside was just wasting time. Hence, we took a few steps in the direction of the heat. Since there was no flying arrows or ambush, we continued further five hundred metres, noting the increasing temperature that blew against our skin. Around the centre of the island, it was practically summer, with the greenery around us being those that only bloomed in summer.

“That’s a big sun,” I remarked.

“We must be at Summer Gate,” A-Lan noted. “We’ve reached the second gate.”

“What happened to your sulking?”

“Is that a question you should be asking after you went on a frenzy?!” A-Lan used the same hand she flicked her hair with to block out the sun and said, “The heat comes from the underground heat and sun. You can’t muscle your way through the formation.”

“I remember you mentioning something about locating a needle core?”

“I said formation core! The crux of the formation lies in the mechanisms. It’s hard to find the skilled formation operator unless they show themselves. The challenge is finding the formation core that operates the mechanisms of the formation because of its size and the mechanisms preventing you from proceeding, but it’s our only option. I remember there are thirteen formation cores.”

“Mhm, mhm, wait. Why do you sound so uptight?”

“What do you expect? Haven’t you noticed that the sun… is getting hotter?”

“I think so.” While I was actually just a tad thirsty, A-Lan was having trouble with the heat.

“The temperature here gradually creeps up as they’re using a mechanism to ramp it up. Soon, it’ll be the same as being dipped into boiling water, so the longer we dally, the greater our risk.”

“Sounds dangerous. How about… we head back?”

“Are you messing with me?! Does it look like we’re on a vacation?!”

“True.”

“Hahaha, you think you can just leave after entering the flame demon of hell’s gate?”

“You think you can leave?”

“You think you can leave?”

“You think you can leave?”

Though they could be perceived as echoes on paper, they were distinct voices, and over a hundred men armed with bright-red iron rods, attired in green robes for camouflaging with the environment, emerged from the woods. Hiding in the sunlight reflected off the men’s mirror-like gear, the formation operator threatened, “I shall grant your death wish for trespassing into Lotus Root Ground.”

“Trespassing into Lotus Root Ground!”

“Trespassing into Lotus Root Ground!”

“Trespassing into Lotus Root Ground!”

As if each repeat was some kind of trigger, the temperature increased a little each time.

“Regret trespassing into the flame demon’s hell, hahaha.”

I noticed Mountain Monster grimacing due to the heat.

A-Lan whispered, “We need to find the hidden formation cores. Don’t be rash as you can’t muscle your way through this one like the last one. The people before us are only pawns. If you kill them, another group will replace them, so don’t waste your energy.”

The master of the formation verbalised, “Not bad, young lady. You’re still a long way off, though. I was expecting a superior trespasser, but all I have myself is an ignorant fool with no checkers skills.”

“No checkers skills.”

“Horrendous checkers skills.”

“Crap checkers skills.”

“Do not forget the principles in checkers. Seek solutions. Do not try to force your way through,” stressed A-Lan.

“It won’t change the outcome. You three won’t be leaving alive,” the controller threatened.

“You three won’t be leaving alive.”

“You three won’t be leaving alive.”

“You three won’t be leaving alive.”

Man, you people are getting on my nerves now.

I gathered white, free-flowing energy in my hand and manipulated it into a ball. Since I didn’t deliberately extend my arm, they didn’t notice the energy floating above my hand.

“Maul the three of them!” the operator commanded.

“Disperse first and then search for the formation cores!” A-Lan ducked into the woods.

“Too slow!” The operator chanted, “Fire cloud solid droplet waving p-”

“Moonlight.”

As a white beam streaked past the group, they heard the individual behind them hit the ground, blood leaking from his forehead. Subsequently, cold winds began to billow, driving off the hot air pervading the island. And… everybody just suddenly went silent on me.

I motioned at the sky the way an adult would when calling a kid over: “Who was dissing my checkers skills just before? Let’s have a word.”

Thus, I showed them what “hell” really is. You can slight the King of checkers, but you can’t slight his skills!

Anyhow, we then kept searching and came to another island – the third gate. Autumn Gate, a place where people must fall just as leaves do I autumn. Every man carried, at least, three weapons on them, polished to the point that they could reflect the sun.

A-Lan notified, “… This, this… is autumn… It’s the third gate, done.”

“Righto.” In one palm strike, I smashed the operator into the lake, illustrating an artistic moving scene of bubbles coming up to the surface. “What?”

“Wh-wh-why do you always beat them before they finish their recital?! Don’t you realise that’s rude?!” castigated A-Lan.

A better question is, why the hell are you sticking up for the enemy?!

The rest of the enemies: “Wh-who are you?”

“Doesn’t matter.” I turned my head onto an angle and flicked them a wry grin: “You know why you lost?”

“Erm…”

“Your formation is similar to a checkers game. This island is a checkers board. Coincidentally, I happen to be the best checkers player in the world. They call me The King of K-”

“King of Crap!” Mountain Monster interjected.

“The King of King of…” I started. “What was it again? Anyone want to give me a prompt?”

“The King of Crap?” the enemies repeated in reverence.

I’ll feed you crap!

***

Those accompanying Luo Ming to Lotus Root Ground didn’t utter a word for they were aware he wasn’t happy about having intruders. Suddenly, he called, “Luo Zong?”

Luo Zong, a disciple of the swordplay department responded, “Present, Patriarch.”

Eyes on the lake, Luo Ming instructed, “Hurry over to reinforce our brothers at Lotus Root Ground, fill in any gaps.”

“What about you, Patriarch?”

Luo Ming sliced a rail on the boat with two fingers using the sword qi method. Next, he ejected energy from his hand, blowing the rail off: “I’m going on ahead.”

In one leap, Luo Ming jumped to the rail, landing both feet on it without sinking it and then surfing across the lake. Clutching Brave Shine hard to ease his nerves that set in inexplicably, he declared, “You’re not getting away.”

Glossary

King of King of Checkers – The author uses a homophone joke here. King (one version of it)/overlord almost perfectly rhymes with b*stard (Mountain Monsters way of pronouncing it), so MFZ mishears their pronunciation for Mountain Monsters version. I don’t know how you’re ever going to make homophone out of that in English, so I rewrote the entire section.

 

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