Martial King’s Retired Life – Vol. 11 Ch. 32

Interlinked Hearts. Floors of Heaven.

The driving force behind Shen Yiren’s desire to train had always been to take revenge, not out of a love for martial arts. Training, to her, was strictly training, an exchange of sweat and time for skills that she now harvested. Up until now, her gift for martial arts and the mentorship she was blessed with ensured a smooth-sailing journey to the top ranks of her age bracket.

A distinction between training and studying must be made. On an intrinsic level, a martial artist who solely trains according to the instructions of their predecessors can never compare to someone who chases answers for questions they have regarding martial arts until they have that answer. Following in the footsteps of those before you has a severe limitation: the limit of their teaching is your limit.

Although Shen Yiren had yet to hit a plateau, the silhouette of the figurative wall was now visible to her, and it was attributed to her lack of dedication to swordplay. From her perspective, as long as the weapon could exact her vengeance, then she was satisfied. Even if she didn’t have a weapon, she’d claw them apart if that was what it took. With no attachment to swords, she had no motivation to research. She was never going to attain mastery of Snow Makeup when she was blindly following instructions instead of going the extra mile.

Ming Feizhen giddily passed Shen Yiren a book, a sloppily slapped together book that didn’t even have a cover, he kept in his shirt.

Upon casting her gaze onto the fresh ink and paper, Shen Yiren exclaimed, “You know how to write books now?!”

“I copied it. Save your questions for now. If you want to improve, finish this book. Rather, memorise everything inside. When you can recite it off by heart, I guarantee you will be to wield a broadsword.”

Despite glaring daggers at Ming Feizhen, Shen Yiren stuffed the book into her shirt. Because she stepped standing there after, Ming Feizhen asked, “You still want to spar?”

“No. I can’t beat you, anyway. Do you know why I wanted to fight you?”

“I can’t lie, yet I refuse to share my plans. You’re wondering if I can be trusted.”

“So you knew.”

“Now that we’ve had our little match, what do you think?”

“… Why didn’t you hit back? You afraid you can’t control your qi and hurt me?”

Ming Feizhen narrowed his eyes, oozing a pushy aura that not even he noticed. “What makes you think so?”

“… Ming Suwen told me the Fengpeng story.”

Ming Feizhen sort of scrunched his face as he smiled all whilst flinching. “Hahaha, no wonder… I was wondering why you weren’t surprised I knew about Six Evils’ return. You already knew? Is that why you’re here to question me?”

Ming Feizhen looked as though he was going insane. He unwittingly pressured his listener without even realising how menacing his laughter was.

“Yes.” Shen Yiren did her best to keep her nerves at bay whilst struggling to breathe in Ming Feizhen’s presence. “I came to ask… if you’re all right.”

Ming Feizhen stopped laughing and pressuring.

In the same tone, Shen Yiren continued, “You mentioned you could smell it waking. Do you change in correspondence to its awakening? When it awakes, will you also undergo changes you can’t circumvent? … Are those changes taking place already?”

Ming Feizhen, now calm, touched his nose once he recollected his thoughts: “No comment.”

Shen Yiren exhaled deliberately: “… I still trust you.”

Ming Feizhen’s lips gradually stretched toward his ears a tad as he deployed a nod, and she acknowledged him with a smile of her own.

It was faint, but it was there in those eyes locked with his. After she left, Ming Feizhen, noticing the emotions in her gaze in that moment, stayed rooted in the courtyard for a while. Subsequent to a sigh and head shake, his left eye barely had any white. There was only a barely-visible black dot inside his red eye. He was oblivious to the upward curve at the corners of his lips when he took off. Whether he willed it or not, he smelt blood.

***

“He killed them? He killed the four rulers, hahaha!” Gewu slogged back a drink. “What a fool. He’s set a new bar for idiocy, hahaha!”

News of the four rulers’ assassination was publicised on its own only about half a day after Gewu received word of it.

“The fool dug his own grave. You think I’m scared of you? Why should I fight brawn with brawn? I had you by the nose. You only have yourself to blame, hahaha!”

“Had my master not given you the blueprint, you would not be able to drink so merrily now, would you, Your Eminence?” Qiushui ribbed from Gewu’s right-hand side.

Gewu adjusted his face into a flattering smile for the person sitting opposite him. “Of course. This old could not have restrained him so fast. ‘Yellow River’ inviting you is the biggest expression of sincerity.”

The woman outfitted in silver armour from head to toe – even her face – robotically responded, “The job is done. You need only wait for the visit. When he comes, leverage his plan against him, and he will be hopeless. I shall take my leave now.”

“Why not stay here for a few days since you have come here?” Gewu expressed with a smile. “It would be uncourteous of us if we were to just let you leave. It is our great honour to welcome Sky Palace’s three pillars back to the realm of man.”

 

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