The puppet carriage carried Su Ru Hui and Su Yu back to their residence. Su Ru Hui stopped at the market to buy meat for cooking at home. He remembered that Su Yu had said he wanted to eat meat buns, so he specially bought a piece of beef. After choosing the meat and preparing to pay, he looked up and saw that the meat seller, who had a prominent belly, had become Han Ye.
Han Ye reached out to him. “What are you staring at? Pay up.”
Su Ru Hui handed him the coins and took the beef. Han Ye weighed the coins and asked, “Why did Dan Tai Jing summon you to Bei Chen Palace? What did you say?”
Su Ru Hui was secretly surprised. This guy was too well-informed. He must have his own spies in the Secret Sect, and his official rank was not low. It was easy to get caught lying, so Su Ru Hui decided to tell the truth and said with a smile, “Today, the Eagle Guards led us to visit the Ice Cellar, but it turned out to be Su Ru Hui’s Mechanical Arsenal. I have some knowledge of machinery and couldn’t resist playing with the beast puppets. Dan Tai Jing suspected that I was Su Ru Hui and summoned me to Bei Chen Palace for questioning.”
Han Ye smirked. His gaze swept over Su Ru Hui’s face, and he suddenly attacked. Su Ru Hui instinctively wanted to dodge, but then he remembered that A Qi was a small gangster on the black street and his skills were definitely not good. If he made a move now, he would reveal himself. So he gritted his teeth and let Han Ye drag him into the store. Han Ye pinched his neck, pressed him against the wall, and sneered. “You’re getting bold, daring to lie to me.”
“I didn’t lie!” Su Ru Hui protested.
He had told the truth, but he had omitted Su Gou and Shen Tu. Why did Han Ye think he was lying?
“I forgot to tell you earlier. Su Ru Hui is still alive and is in Immortal Cave. How could Dan Tai Jing mistake you for Su Ru Hui?” Han Ye patted his face. “You have three breaths to come up with a convincing lie.”
This was like a bolt of lightning for Su Ru Hui. Su Ru Hui was still alive? How was that possible? He had clearly died five years ago! If “Su Ru Hui” was still in Immortal Cave, then who was he?
“Your information is wrong,” Su Ru Hui said through gritted teeth, clutching Han Ye’s hand.
Han Ye coldly sneered and took out a Lie Detector Talisman, sticking it to Su Ru Hui’s forehead.
“Why did Dan Tai Jing summon you to Bei Chen Palace? What did you say?” he asked again.
Su Ru Hui gritted his teeth and answered, “I would give you the same answer even if you asked me ten thousand times. Dan Tai Jing suspected that I was Su Ru Hui!”
Under the effect of the Lie Detector, he couldn’t lie, or else he would vomit blood. The only symptom he had was that he was having a little difficulty breathing because of Han Ye’s grip on his neck. Han Ye also frowned and retracted his hand. “You didn’t lie?”
Su Ru Hui coughed incessantly, and did not want to bother with him.
Han Ye muttered to himself: “How is this possible? My information cannot be wrong. Su Ru Hui must be in Immortal Cave. You previously said that Jiang family suspected that there was a treasure in Immortal Cave, protected by a formation that only those who have spiritual power can pass through. That so-called treasure must be Su Ru Hui.”
Previously, Su Ru Hui was trapped in Immortal Cave, and Dan Tai Jing indeed surrounded the cave with a formation. However, the formation did not prevent him from escaping, but rather prevented those outside from coming in to rescue him and leave the Kunlun Secret Sect. Su Ru Hui’s imprisonment was not due to the formation, but due to Sang Chi Yu, who guarded the cave day and night for twelve hours without rest.
Han Ye was pondering, and Su Ru Hui was also very puzzled. Why did Han Ye receive news that he was still alive? Today, Dan Tai Jing’s attitude towards him was very strange. His uncle was a ruthless and uncompromising person. Years ago, Su Ru Hui killed two Secret Sect officials, and Dan Tai Jing was impartial and sentenced him to be executed publicly. He fled the Secret Sect, and Dan Tai Jing didn’t stop pursuing him for years.
Now, Dan Tai Jing was determined to obtain the Puppet Key, and firmly believed that Su Ru Hui held the Puppet Key. According to reason, he would never let Su Ru Hui go.
But he did let Su Ru Hui go.
Also, why did he insist that Su Ru Hui made the Super First-Grade Puppet?
Su Ru Hui’s heart was pounding like a drum. Suddenly, a terrifying guess surged in his mind. Seeing is believing. Did Dan Tai Jing see the Puppet?
He coughed and saw a copper mirror placed on the counter with his peripheral vision. It was an old object, with a dirty surface that reflected a mottled and eerie image. Su Ru Hui calmly reached into his waist pouch and took out a “Divine Eye” talisman.
On the other side, Sang Chi Yu stood behind the shop window. Su Ru Hui had been buying meat for too long, so he came to check it out. When he entered the street, he saw Han Ye bringing someone into the shop. He didn’t rush to save him but observed his surroundings. Many people’s gazes were focused on the butcher shop. They were members of the Black Street, disguised as pedestrians or vendors, or perhaps they were originally lurking in the vicinity as vendors.
Special power – Mind Reading.
The level was too low. He could only read one person at a time. No wonder Su Guo did not read his mind. He passed by these Black Street gangsters and heard them muttering in their minds, “What is the boss doing with that kid? Are they having sex in there?” He frowned and went around to the back window of the shop. The window frame opened a gap, and he saw Su Ru Hui’s silhouette, and Han Ye whispering something beside him.
He lowered his head, pulled out his crossbow, loaded a short arrow, and aimed at Han Ye.
He didn’t really care if Han Ye lived or dies. He just felt like this guy was getting in the way. Han Ye was always bothering Su Ru Hui, so maybe it was better to just kill him. Just as he was about to pull the trigger, he suddenly realized a problem. If Han Ye died, would Su Ru Hui be sad?
After hesitating, he used his Mind Reading on Su Ru Hui. Strange thoughts flooded his mind, like a whisper:
“Why did Uncle let me go?”
“Did Uncle see the Super First-Grade Puppet? Why is he so sure that the Puppet Key exists in this world?”
“If Su Ru Hui is still alive, then who am I? Could it be… I am that Super First-Grade Flesh Puppet?”
In an instant, both of them were shocked by the sudden thought.
Su Ru Hui looked at the bronze mirror and cast a spell. The scene in front of him changed instantly, with the skin and flesh disappearing, revealing a skeleton. Han Ye became a standing skeleton frame, with a hot red heart beating regularly in his chest. The earth and brick walls became transparent, and he saw people coming and going on the street, all of them skeletons, with blue meridians interweaving like a net and blood flowing.
Looking back at the bronze mirror, he saw himself. He was also a lonely skeleton, with spider-like meridians, but in the center of his head, there was an extra golden star array core. He clearly saw his snowflake emblem, at the center of the star array, deep in his skull.
This was the biggest difference between puppets and humans. Whether it’s a Fourth Grade Wood Puppet, a Third Grade Iron Puppet, a Second Grade Leather Puppet, or a First Grade Flesh Puppet, they all need a core star array. Even a Super First-Grade Flesh Puppet couldn’t escape this rule.
A world-changing event only takes a moment. It was as if all the sounds had gone away, and the world was silent, so silent that Su Ru Hui could hear the sound of his own heart breaking.
He was not Su Ru Hui. He was a puppet made by Su Ru Hui’s own hands.
“What’s wrong with you?” Han Ye gently shook him. “Why are you in a daze?”
Su Ru Hui woke up from his daze as if he had just woken up from a dream. “What happened?”
“You didn’t answer when I called you.” Han Ye frowned and looked at him. “You were daydreaming.”
Wasn’t it a dream? Su Ru Hui thought sadly. Has something gone wrong with the spell? He suddenly remembered the secret revealed to him by the system. So, “not human” means this. His name did not belong to him, his memory did not belong to him, and maybe even his emotions did not belong to him.
Su Ru Hui grabbed his head and began to despair. He was Su Ru Hui’s creation. Su Ru Hui was his father and Sang Chi Yu was his wife. Should he call Sang Chi Yu mother?
“Boss,” Su Ru Hui asked with a dejected look, “do I look a lot like Su Ru Hui?”
“You look very much alike.” Han Ye looked him up and down, crossing his arms. “The first time I saw you, I thought he had come back.”
Su Ru Hui hung his head and asked again, “Do you think I’m better or worse than Su Ru Hui? Are there any differences between us?”
…Han Ye’s eyebrows furrowed tighter and tighter. “Why are you suddenly asking this?”
Su Ru Hui sighed. “It’s nothing. I just feel like my life is particularly fake. I thought I was myself, but in the end, I am actually a fake, a substitute. You haven’t answered my question. How do I compare to Su Ru Hui?”
“You still want to compare yourself to him?” Han Ye sneered. “A hundred of you can’t compare to one Su Ru Hui.”
Su Ru Hui sighed again. “I understand.”
This guy looked like he had given up on himself, and for some reason, Han Ye suddenly felt uneasy in his heart. Ever since A Qi looked like he had taken the wrong medicine and was going to die. Han Ye thought back, and it seemed that everything stemmed from Su Ru Hui. A Qi had always been comparing himself to Su Ru Hui.
Han Ye had heard that substitutes were easy to get jealous because they knew they couldn’t compare to the person that their lover truly loved in their heart, so they always tried to prove that they were better and more deserving of love than that person.
Didn’t A Qi dislike him? Why did he care so much about Su Ru Hui?
Han Ye looked down at A Qi. This boy really did resemble Su Ru Hui. He was smart, knowing when to yield and be flexible, and having a slick tongue. But Han Ye also felt that they were different in some way. What was it? The person in front of him was dejected, like a withered trumpet flower. He seemed… even cuter than Su Ru Hui.
“Are you very upset?” Han Ye asked.
“Yes, I’m so upset that I feel like dying,” Su Ru Hui said, covering his face.
This kid really did fall in love with him, Han Ye thought. He had resisted him so much before because he didn’t want to be Su Ru Hui’s substitute. Han Ye couldn’t help but laugh. What a stubborn kid. He not only didn’t dislike him, but he even appreciated him a bit.
“Is there anything else?” Su Ru Hui stood up. “If there isn’t, I’ll leave first. I have to hurry back home for dinner. Life is fake, but we still have to eat.”
He stepped down the stone steps, facing a bustling crowd. Just as he was about to leave the butcher shop, Han Ye suddenly reached out and pulled him back. He didn’t stand firm and took two steps back, falling into Han Ye’s arms. A carriage rushed past in front of them.
“Pay attention to the road. Don’t be absent-minded,” Han Ye scolded.
“Oh…” Su Ru Hui waved his hand nonchalantly. “I’m leaving.”
“Wait!” Han Ye shouted.
Su Ru Hui turned around. He was a seventeen-year-old boy wearing a black robe with missing sleeves. Despite his youthful appearance, he was a striking young man with a tall and slender figure, standing out among the bustling crowd like a cedar tree. Amidst the blur of the crowd, he shone brightly.
Han Ye turned away because his radiance was too dazzling.
“You don’t have to compare yourself to Su Ru Hui. You’re not inferior to him,” Han Ye said.
Su Ru Hui smirked and turned to disappear into the crowd. His smile faded instantly as he vanished into the crowd.
The difference between him and Su Ru Hui was their memories.
Su Ru Hui knew the method of creating a Super First-Grade Puppet, but he didn’t. He didn’t receive all of Su Ru Hui’s memories, except for the Puppet Key. Perhaps Su Ru Hui was hiding something else.
If he was a puppet, he was neither A Qi nor Jiang Que Xie. Someone killed A Qi and used Su Ru Hui’s Super First-Grade Puppet to impersonate A Qi as Jiang Que Xie. Who was that person? What was special about Jiang Que Xie’s identity that he had to be placed in it?
Jiang Que Xie was Jiang Xue Ya’s younger brother, and A Qi had been lurking in the Jiang family for half a year when Jiang Xue Ya was not imprisoned. Jiang Xue Ya was one of Su Ru Hui’s few friends and the only one who could be contacted when Su Ru Hui was trapped in Immortal Cave.
The answer lay with Jiang Xue Ya, and he had to find Jiang Xue Ya.
He returned to the puppet carriage and bent down to enter the compartment. Sang Chi Yu sat upright on the side, his expression as calm and indifferent as ever. His jet-black eyes were like a quiet and deep antique mirror.
Su Ru Hui sat down in front of him, snapped his fingers, and the carriage creaked into motion.
Sang Chi Yu stared out the window, and the light and shadow changed on his face. The crowd outside the carriage receded rapidly like a surging tide of time.
Some people’s sadness was like a river pouring down, causing the world to collapse, while others were like a hidden current beneath a calm sea, suppressed and restrained. Sang Chi Yu was the latter. The sadder he was, the more silent he became. The world was shrouded in a layer of amber at dusk, and everyone seemed to be enveloped in it. He couldn’t help but remember when Su Ru Hui whispered in his ear in Immortal Cave, “Sang Chi Yu, if I die, will you cry for me?”
Would he? He actually didn’t know.
“I just received some news,” the man across from him suddenly spoke.
He turned his head silently and looked at the puppet Su Ru Hui.
“I have a friend whose father passed away, leaving behind a young, beautiful, and destitute lover,” Su Ru Hui said, hugging his arms and tilting his head. “Do you think my friend, who will take care of the lover for the rest of his life, will make his father’s spirit happy?”
Sang Chi Yu’s brow furrowed tightly.
Su Ru Hui smiled and said, “I think so.”
Sang Chi Yu clenched his fist tightly, his veins bulging. He said coldly, “Shameless scum.”
Su Ru Hui was stunned. “Why are you scolding me for something my friend is going to do?”
Sang Chi Yu ignored him and leaped out of the carriage. Like a black swallow diving into the wind, his figure disappeared in a flash. Su Ru Hui rushed to the curtain but didn’t even manage to grab his clothes.
“Su Yu!” Su Ru Hui panicked and shouted, “Sang Chi Yu!”
Yang Su: I thought it was a stand-in literature.
Su Ru Hui: I didn’t expect it to be a little mother literature.