Martial King’s Retired Life – Vol. 09 Ch. 43

Why Not?

“… Idiot.”

Maybe the moon’s silver light cast down a revelation, or maybe it was just because he knew Ming Feizhen was neither skilled nor gusty enough to offer himself up in a vanguard position. Whatever the case, Su Xiao concluded Ming Feizhen meant to let the enemy hack him. Perhaps it was also why he didn’t fly into frenzy as Shen Yiren did and was, instead, able to expel the rage from her.

The unorthodox mental cultivation Ming Feizhen imparted to Su Xiao was the very style the former gave adepts trouble with back in his active days. Instead of following a universal method, the style required the practitioner to practice different mental cultivation methods depending on the status of their qi, blood and the time at that specific point in time. It was impossible to learn it using orthodox styles; unorthodox style adepts aspired to study it using their unorthodox mental cultivation, but they plateaued partway through despite improving their internal energy by leaps and bounds.

It’s anything but easy to change a style’s mental cultivation style; trying to switch it by the second borders on impossible. Every previous practitioner of the style was touted as one of the best of their generation. The notes they left behind would pack Shaolin’s manual hall, the largest manual hall in the lands, to the brim. For as long as it had existed, hardly a soul would argue it isn’t the most intricate and rewarding style – once mastered. Tell anyone Su Xiao was on the cusp of mastering the first layer, and people would tell you to speak when you’re not intoxicated.

Su Xiao learnt the style the same way Ming Feizhen did. Su Xiao’s true qi wasn’t potent yet, but he was on right track. At Su Xiao’s current level, breathing was the most imperative facet, which was why Ming Feizhen taught him to breathe first and foremost to grasp the keys – plain and thoughtless.

The sound of the breeze outside, the silence inside, the faint veil of light at the entrance and the darkness at the corners inside, the soft snores from Shen Yiren, the small breaths from Ming Feizhen, movements and stillness, light and shadow… Su Xiao sensed a regulative system to it all after repeating several cycles of the breathing technique; it was as though he was viewing phenomena from another realm. The line between light and shadow, movement and stillness became vague. The world moved in slow motion until everything ceased to move. Su Xiao was oblivious to the fact that he was casting a long-lost mental cultivation style.

Su Xiao, upon glancing down to Ming Feizhen, noticed his focal length perception was off when he budged, and then he felt himself inexplicably rivet without detecting the hand that jabbed him.

“Rest up now.” Ming Feizhen opened his eyes once he sealed Su Xiao and Shen Yiren’s accupoints. “Leave the rest to me.”

***

“You told me Mount Daluo’s successor is a punching bag and told us to strike him as soon as we spotted him.” The leader of the ambush team chopped the air with his ghost-head broadsword. “He might be a punching bag, but he has a crazy woman with him! My third brother lost his life to her! How do you explain your erroneous information?”

“Oh, and my second brother didn’t lose his life? Had you not dropped your balls, how could six of us fail to subdue one woman?” Ma Liang argued.

Ma Liang was an official and as ordinary as they came if it wasn’t for his clan’s black aurum iron spear that garnered Luo Ming’s attention. He immediately teamed up with the man wielding the ghost-head broadsword, Ghost-Head Dragonwind, when he learnt the latter was coming. He was always one to prefer staying out of the limelight.

Ma Liang continued, “We agreed to aim for big sects, and I would pretend to help as an orthodox sect if we couldn’t wind while biding our time to jump them. Sects like Cold Mountain Temple and Wudang are the easiest prey because they’re the easiest to fool with that gimmick, but Mount Daluo is a free kill that just fell in our lap, yet you let one woman scare the crap out of you. We wouldn’t have had to retreat if you didn’t expose me.”

“You must eat crap because all you’re spewing is crap. You go fight her. See how many of us will still be alive by the time you’re done with your heroic act.”

“At the end of the day, it boils down to you chickening out.”

“Why not just give it another go?”

The two in argument shuddered and looked up to see a man sitting on the tree stump, torso exposed enough for the bandages inside to be visible. It wasn’t his muscles or nonchalance that concerned them but his covert arrival. They reached for their weapons but stopped for they didn’t remember there being a tree stump there. Lying to the side of the tree stump was the top half of the tree stump he chilled on.

“So, can we get down to business now?”

There wasn’t going to be a fight; it’d be a one-sided pounding, and he’d be swinging the hammer if they showed any aggression.

“Though I don’t want to do this, I do need some helpers. You guys just happen to be free.”

The four saluted the man on the tree stump: “We are at your service.”

The broadsword wielder was upset that he deluded himself into believing he could hurt Mount Daluo’s successor, despaired he had been training for nothing all this time. Thing was, he was certain he hurt Ming Feizhen because of the bandages and the sensation he felt when he slashed Ming Feizhen.

Still not focusing on the four, Ming Feizhen remarked, “No need to doubt yourself. The wound is real.”

“H-how could I have possibly hurt you?” The man reflected on how the event played out and then inquired, “D-did you deliberately let me catch you for the woman to see?”

Ming Feizhen pulled up a corner of his lips without scaring them for the first time since his arrival. He instructed the group then left.

That woman isn’t the crazy one, he is! He’s a nut job!

When Ming Feizhen smiled, what he said was, “Why not?”

 

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