Martial King’s Retired Life – Vol. 13 Ch. 104

Rat Hole Locks the Door to Heaven and Earth Doors

“Why did you suddenly change your mind?”

Even though she didn’t deliberately speak in a lower register, the lass had the manly voice down perfectly.

“I’ve been in this crappy place for ages, yet I don’t even know where the exit is. Of course I have to expand my horizons.”

I wasn’t the only one in the dark. Therefore, there was nothing fishy about my response. Every now and then, I’d wonder if Jiang Chen set up explosives somewhere. If he did, and the explosives were to go off, the only place they could go to was the next life.

“Crappy place? Huh, your personality is much nastier than I imagined. I never realised.”

“You flatter me. We both share that same trait. You are also withholding a secret, are you not?”

The further we went, the more populated the places were. We went past the usual meeting hall and then to the northwest corner. We passed many places I was familiar with, but none of which were connected.

“Gu Xianxian spoke to you?”

“Yeah, one of his private issues. He told me not to share, so I don’t ask me about it. I will never reveal whether or not his wife is putting something that shares the colour of fresh grass on his head, so quit while you’re ahead.

“Zero” suddenly stopped to turn around to me. Hence, I, too, stopped to look at her.

“Ahem, I don’t care about their private matters whatsoever. You two aren’t close, yet he shared his private life issues with you?”

“Well, you know,” I thumped my chest, “I’m charismatic.”

“…”

“Zero” stared at me, and I stared back.

“Sure.”

We eventually reached a point where there were no guards – nobody out in the open. The only people present were those hiding in the shadows. From their breathing patterns, they were considerably stronger than the guards working in visible areas. Most likely, they were there to stop anyone who accidentally entered the zone and to catch intruders. The ignorant might’ve thought they assumed their positions without any thought process behind it. In reality, they formed a formation that made it unclear whether they were guards or assassins. They’d offer “Zero” a bow, and she’d bob her head back.

There were lots of rules to observe in the compound. Many places were off limits, which was why I couldn’t just strut around freely. I, therefore, didn’t pass up the rare opportunity to expand my hearing radius to locate the secret guards based on the flow of air. That was the reason we didn’t speak during this part of our journey.

“I’ve never brought anyone here before.”

Slow down! I haven’t finished memorising the layout!

“You are the fourth person among everyone in the compound to know about this place.”

I wagged my hand. “Don’t include me so soon. I still don’t know where the exit is, even.”

“We’ve arrived.”

I could only believe her when she was the only one who knew better. With that said, the so-called exit… was a wall.

“This is it.”

“Oh.” I bobbed my head as I scanned the wall. “It sure resembles an exit.”

“According to my promise with Jiang Chen, I’m not supposed to show anyone this spot. However, in light of me needing you to take care of personnel in order to deal with Lord San Shen, I need to be honest with you, so I’m making an exception.”

“I am grateful.”

“No need. This is my personal concern. You just happened to be there when the opportunity presented itself.” Eyes on the wall, Zero smirked. “Needless to say, this might be part of his ploy. For all we know, he could be waiting for me to approach the exit, and then he’ll jump out from nowhere and escape.”

Don’t suddenly grow a brain!

“I just can’t help feeling anxious unless I personally check this place.” She ran her hand along the stone wall, then tapped it a few times. “This is actually a ginormous stone door that is lowered and lifted using a large mechanism. Dozens of people need to activate the mechanism at once in order for it to work. The first step in opening this door is activating the hidden locks in the dungeon. Perhaps you didn’t notice, but I’ve already activated them.”

Yes, I remember the passwords, so open up this last door for me please.

The wall suddenly rumbled as though there was an earthquake from beneath, and the door began to slowly lower. I had assumed it was too difficult to lift up a door so heavy, so I gained confidence in my conjecture as to who built the underground base. There was no way Fiends’ Genesis alone could’ve constructed a place that operated on so many complicated contraptions in a short time. Furthermore, I was confident I had seen the gold thing in my shirt somewhere before.

A golden light the heavens bestowed shone through.

How long has it been since I’ve seen sunlight?

“Ah, th-th-this is…” I looked over to “Zero” with as much excitement as I could muster.

“Zero” cautiously approached the “exit”, surveyed the surroundings and then exhaled. “Thank heavens, nobody has been here.” She subsequently looked back at me and bobbed her head, answering, “This is the exit. The vast world is just on the other side.”

It took me a while to finally pick up my jaw and shout, “This is a rat hole!”

“Indeed.”

“Can a person even fit through this?”

“Probably not.”

“Then, why were you worried Lord San Shen escaped?”

“What if he’s learnt some skill that allows him to shrink?”

“Shrink into what to fit through this tiny hole?!”

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Moreover, nothing is impossible now that Xue Yanjun is with him.” She visually audited the surroundings one more time before smirking. “It seems they aren’t hiding nearby. You can come out now.”

Ouyang Xiucai and Cross Phantom Soul Broadswordsman, the strongest two-man team in the compound, stepped out from hiding. Usually, one would be happy to be tidy, yet they looked disappointed.

What the hell are you two doing here?!

The fact that I never heard them meant that they were hiding their presence and waiting to erase life from someone.

Ouyang Xiucai: “Hahaha, you are working really hard these days, Brother Wu, working with patients and now even conducting inspections here with Mr. Zero.”

I tried to keep on a friendly vibe as I responded, “What are you doing here?!”

“Have you noticed anything out of the norm during your time here?” Zero asked of the duo.

Lang Qing, Cross Phantom Soul Broadswordsman, replied, “No.”

Ouyang Xiucai elaborated, “Unless his qinggong is twenty folds superior to my own and has some secret path to hide himself, I can say with absolute confidence that nobody could have come here.”

Given it was practically impossible to even be ten times above Lang Qing and Ouyang Xiucai, it was tantamount to saying that Lord San Shen couldn’t have made it to this spot. If only they knew.

“Thank you,” conveyed “Zero”. “He didn’t take the bait. You can head back now.”

The two saluted and left.

“And that was?”

“Fishing.” She scoffed before continuing, “If Lord San Shen was watching from the shadows and trying to find a way out, Ouyang Xiucai, Lang Qing and myself would’ve worked together to subdue him. The three of us can beat him if he hasn’t recovered his combat abilities. Regrettably, he’s smarter than I thought and didn’t take the bait.”

You baited me successfully and almost had my fooled. If that rat hole didn’t stun me in place, I’d be in pieces by now!

“What happened to me being fourth to know?”

“Aren’t they second and third?”

Based on your logic, you might as well tell every outsider! Do you think it’s appropriate to hide secrets from your teammate? Wait, why the hell is a rat hole even a secret?! You’d be insulting your teammate if you told them this is an escape route!

“Are you seriously telling me this rat hole is the exit?”

“It is.”

“I came in through this hole?”

“That’s right.”

In response to my flummoxed expression, “Zero” expounded, “It is the entrance/exit. There is a second stone wall where the rat hole is.”

“Another hole?”

“Yes. The doors operate on the principle of yin and yang. As one rises, the other one lowers; when the first door is lowered, the second door is raised. The light you saw before was the last ray of light as the opposite stone wall rose. You can probably imagine that much light couldn’t possibly come through this tiny rat hole. In order to get out, the second wall needs to be lowered, which means the first wall needs to be raised.” She pointed to the first wall and went on. “In order to raise this wall, you need to unlock all of the hidden locks that I’ve just locked, then come back here and open the doors as I just did. Therefore, it’s literally impossible for someone to escape by themselves.”

***

I felt defeated afterwards. The lass wasn’t even worried I’d be able to escape when she took me to the exit.

Dear whoever designed the Heaven and Earth Doosr – and had the dozens of people build the contraptions – I hope you trip on your face and break all your teeth! Rather than figuring out how to unlock the locks twice at the same time, I’d be better off finding a way to shrink myself enough to fit through the damn rat hole!

I planned to down two pots of tea and then knock off once I returned to my room, but someone suddenly pulled me aside.

“What’s your deal?”

Gu Xianxian hastily dragged me along. “Come with me.”

“If you want me to follow you, you should at least tell me where we’re going.”

“To my wife’s room.”

“That’s… inappropriate, don’t you think?”

“What are you thinking about? I want you to check out my wife’s room. Her lover might’ve left traces there!”

 

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