Su Ru Hui looked for him for a long time but couldn’t find Sang Chi Yu. As curfew was approaching, he had no choice but to return home alone. The empty courtyard still had Su Ru Hui’s socks and clothes hanging on the clothesline. The night wind crept into his sleeves and collar, causing his sleeves to rustle and flap against each other. Su Ru Hui stood in the courtyard and opened his communication compass, which was engraved with Sang Chi Yu’s symbol. He pursed his lips and tried to contact Sang Chi Yu. The symbol on the compass was dim, indicating that there was no response from the other party.
“Bastard,” Su Ru Hui cursed under his breath.
He put away the compass and was about to step into the dark main hall when he suddenly felt a chill run down his spine. His instinct told him that there was someone in the house. He stopped in his tracks, and a faint oil lamp lit up deep in the main hall. Golden light covered the entire hall, illuminating the person sitting on the purple sandalwood armchair.
Xia Jing smiled slightly, and his thin beard twitched on his lips. He said, “Nephew, you stayed out too late playing around.”
This person was inscrutable. Could he be up to no good? Su Ru Hui quietly put his hand on the spirit fire gun at his waist.
“Enough. Don’t even think about trying to do anything to me.” Xia Jing put his hands in his pockets. “I’m just someone who finished my shift and can’t go home to cuddle with my wife by the fire. I had to come here to freeze my ass off and ensure that a certain person’s message is accurately conveyed to you.”
“Uncle, you jest.” Su Ru Hui served him tea. “May I ask whose message it is and what it is?”
“This message is from your senior sister, Jiang Xue Ya.” Xia Jing sighed. “Don’t think too much of it. I’m just repaying a debt. I received a lot of help from your senior sister when I was in the Frontline Guards. Did you encounter any trouble while you were out?”
“It seems that this matter is related to senior sister.” Su Ru Hui smiled and bowed. “Please enlighten me, Uncle.”
“To be precise, it’s related to you,” Xia Jing said. “She didn’t tell me the details, but the gist of it is that in the past, you racked your brains trying to create a Super First-Grade Flesh Puppet. Your other puppets may be exquisite, but they are still just puppets. They have no self-awareness or knowledge. For over a decade, you hoped your puppets could think freely like humans and even develop emotions. To be honest, you’re really bored, aren’t you? Why not just make a person and marry them?”
Su Ru Hui sighed. “I thought the same thing, but unfortunately… um, unfortunately, my ‘wife’ is a man.”
“I see,” Xia Jing said, looking knowledgeable. “The good news is that you have indeed made progress, and that progress is the flesh puppet body you are using now. The bad news is that you still failed to develop a true Super First-Grade Flesh Puppet.”
“What do you mean? Aren’t I Su Ru Hui’s puppet?” Su Ru Hui frowned.
“She said you can find out the specifics by looking around this courtyard. This courtyard was prepared for you by her. When you left Yun Zhou, she had already prepared to rent it to you. While you were stuck in the Immortal Cave, all the blueprints for your Super First-Grade Flesh Puppet were taken from the Secret Sect and stored here by her. It was also from that time that she began her plan to rescue you from the Secret Sect,” Xia Jing explained, holding up a finger. “The first step of the plan was to prepare a new identity for you. Jiang Huai Cang is fond of beautiful women, and there are many illegitimate children in his household. I bought a woman named Bai Cai Ping and sent her to Yun Zhou, where I fabricated a son for her to pass off as Jiang Huai Cang’s illegitimate child. This nonexistent son is Jiang Que Xie, the new identity she prepared for you.”
“The second step was to create a flesh puppet. Your senior sister spent five years creating a perfect puppet body for you according to your blueprints. The Super First-Grade Flesh Puppet is incredibly exquisite. Even someone who just held the blueprints could have successfully made one. We should have started preparing for you to replace Jiang Que Xie with this puppet body. But something unexpected happened – people from the Black Street snuck into the Jiang household, as well as some strange individuals with unclear identities. Your senior sister spent some time dealing with them. She took care of the Black Street people, but she never figured out who the other group was. And now, they’ve started to go after her.”
“Individuals with unclear identities?” Su Ru Hui said, sensing something. “Were they the demon clan?”
“Yes, that’s right. It seems that way now. Since I’ve been stationed at the border, I’ve only been able to communicate with your senior sister by letter, so I’m not sure about their conflict. In short, it seems she lost. I heard that she lost quite a few capable people, but managed to retreat safely. The only thing to be thankful for is that the plan to replace Jiang Que Xie went smoothly. I was in charge of that. I was outside the Jiang household and am not related to them in any way, so I wasn’t noticed. You woke up at the Sang family’s old mansion on the first day of the twelfth lunar month, and our plan was finally successful.”
Su Ru Hui clicked his tongue. “So it was you who killed A Qi.”
“Does this child from the black street go by the name ‘A Qi’? At only 17 years old, he’s doing such dangerous things. The world is getting more chaotic, and the more people die, the more children have to become adults after the adults die.” Xia Jing sighed.
After taking a sip of tea, Xia Jing continued, “After your senior sister retreated, the situation became extremely dangerous. Not only were the demons hidden in the Jiang family searching for her, but when it was discovered that she had smuggled the blueprint for you, Dan Tai Jing also targeted her. Nephew, you should know that Star Official Lang Ya Guang of the Secret Sect possesses a special power which can explore memories through people’s dreams. Your memories about the flesh puppets have already been extracted by one of us who can extract memories, but as the executor of all the plans, your senior sister cannot lose her memory. If she is caught back to the Secret Sect, the Super First-Grade Flesh Puppet will be exposed, and you will be imprisoned again shortly after being resurrected, all in vain.”
Indeed, this situation was very tricky. Su Ru Hui shook his head in amazement.
“This girl is clever. She came up with a way to kill two birds with one stone. She can not only escape the pursuit of the demons in Jiang family but also make it impossible for Dan Tai Jing to explore her memory.”
“What way is that?”
“I don’t know either.” Xia Jing shook his head. “All I know is that after the plan was made, she was secretly imprisoned by Dan Tai Jing in the Secret Sect, first in the Ice Prison, and now in Immortal Cave. You don’t have to worry about her; I have a way to help her leave the Secret Sect. It’s about time, she should be in action. She has always been a wise and decisive person, which is one of the reasons why I chose to help her, but she has repeatedly encountered danger for you.” Xia Jing deeply sighed. “It’s tough being a beauty and having to face the danger of being with heroes.”
“Uncle, you’re overthinking. If you have anything else to say, please say it quickly. If you come home late, Auntie will think you have someone outside,” Su Ru Hui said with embarrassment.
Xia Jing took out a crystal-clear glass lamp from his sleeve, which contained a star storage array. He handed it to Su Ru Hui and said, “This is your memory. When the spiritual power user extracted your memory, he didn’t control it and took a bit more. Losing memory is not a pleasant feeling, but even so, I still don’t recommend that you reabsorb your memory. The Secret Sect is watching you, and if you want to protect the Puppet Key, forgetting it is the best way.”
After Xia Jing finished speaking, he left. Outside, snowflakes began to fall, covering the earth. Su Ru Hui also felt that it was not a good time to absorb memories, so he put the glass lamp in the cabinet. He searched for the puppet blueprint mentioned by Xia Jing. The guy did not distinguish him from the real Su Ru Hui, making him feel very uncomfortable.
After half an incense stick’s worth of time, Su Ru Hui found an empty space on the wall. He smashed the wall with the handle of his knife, creating a gap. He reached in and took out a sealed box made of meteorite iron, which was indestructible even by explosives. On top of the box was Su Ru Hui’s special lock, with over three thousand variations that only he could unlock.
Su Ru Hui opened the lock, and a series of gears turning sounded from inside. The lid of the box popped up, and the lock loosened. Inside the meteorite box were many yellowed papers, with clear handwriting. He sat down and looked at them one by one. The papers contained everything from the initial design to the blueprints of the Super First-Grade Flesh Puppets, as well as the bottleneck that could never be overcome, which was how to generate spirits for the puppets. He remembered the years Su Ru Hui had spent toiling away on this project. The warehouse of the Flesh Puppet Department in Paradise Pavillion was filled with defective Super First-Grade Flesh Puppets, and in the Secret Sect’s Immortal Cave, Su Ru Hui had persisted in writing while he was bedridden.
He remembered the first pile of blueprints, but he could not recall the last pile. Judging from the size of the paper, it was eight-foot-long raw silk paper that the Secret Sect exclusively used. It should have been completed by Su Ru Hui in Immortal Cave.
The core of the puppet was the inspiration star array. The star array was like a human brain, with countless possibilities for inspiration changes, corresponding to the endless thoughts of humans. Su Ru Hui’s previous exploration was to simulate the human brain with the star array, but the mystery of the mind was infinite, and no matter how hard he tried, he could not touch the secrets of consciousness. After flipping through a few of the Immortal Cave’s blueprints, he realized that he seemed to have changed the direction of his efforts.
Suddenly, the function of the star array changed from thinking to teleportation.
Teleportation? What was being teleported?
Snow fell outside the window, and bare branches leaned against the windowsill. His shadow was reflected on the high-quality paper, like a puppet show framed by the window. He did not stop for a moment and finished looking through the last piece of paper. He was extremely shocked. He knew that he had not succeeded; he had never created a real Super First-Grade Flesh Puppet. But he had found a way to teleport a spirit for the puppet. He had created a path between himself and this puppet, allowing him to change his human body with this puppet’s body.
This was an unparalleled technique in the world, an unparalleled Teleportation Star Array. If someone with evil intentions knew about it, it would cause chaos in the world. With this Teleportation Array, people would obtain immortality. If their previous body deteriorated, they could create another puppet body to accommodate the spirit, and they would live on forever.
No wonder he refused to hand over the Puppet Key. In order to escape captivity, he even had Jiang Xue Ya erase his memories and remove the part about the Spirit Teleportation Array.
He understood now. He understood everything. His way of escaping from captivity was to abandon his physical body and transfer his spirit. He had found a new life for himself with the Super First-Grade Flesh Puppets.
He was a puppet, and he was also Su Ru Hui.
The so-called “Su Ru Hui” in the Secret Sect was probably just an empty shell.
According to the belief that human consciousness and physical body were two separate systems, he created a First-Grade Flesh Puppet. With the spiritual power provided by the inner spiritual stone of the puppet, the puppet could breathe and blink like a human being through these spiritual flows. In addition, if given orders through the central spiritual inspiration star array, the puppet could perform more complex activities, such as attacking, simple conversation, and even laughing and crying.
The Secret Sect must have set up a life-sustaining star array for him, which would continue to supply spiritual power day and night to extend his life. These spiritual flows activated his extraordinary meridians, stimulated his muscles, and allowed him to remain alive and perform activities that did not require consciousness, such as breathing, coughing, opening and closing his eyes. However, he couldn’t do actions that required conscious participation, such as speaking or walking.
In any case, he was a dying person, and any sign of his imminent death was not surprising. As long as the body occasionally opened its eyes and coughed, it could create the illusion that he was still alive and deceive the idiots in the Secret Sect.
When the truth was revealed, he breathed a sigh of relief. Great, he didn’t have to worry about calling Sang Chi Yu his mother anymore.
Su Ru Hui took out the crystal mirror he carried with him, placed it on his nose, and inserted the needle into his acupoints. The subtle spiritual power reached his central inspiration star array. Through the transparent lens, his eyes shone slightly, reflecting the scene inside the star array. He saw the complex star lines crisscrossing, like the changes of ancient stars, all in this small array. In the center of this vast array, he saw a twisted line as thin as a spider web. This was the path leading to his original body.
He spread out the puppet construction blueprint and used a vermilion pen to sketch the back neck of the puppet, which indicated where the spiritual stone was inserted. He touched his own neck and felt that the temperature here was obviously higher than other areas of his body, which was because the spiritual stone was inserted here.
“How long can the spiritual stone in my body last?” Su Ru Hui asked the system.
[Scanning… Scan complete. The spiritual stone in your body can last for at least one year. To be safe, you need to find a reliable person to replace the spiritual stone for you before the spiritual power of the stone is exhausted.]
“It’s still one year away. Let’s talk about it later.” Su Ru Hui felt relieved, but the spiritual stone was a bit difficult to handle. Spiritual stone distribution was controlled by the Secret Sect and couldn’t be bought like iron tools or firearms.
The system kindly reminded him: [After completing ‘How do I save you, my disabled husband?’, I will activate the daily item access function. This function is equivalent to an ‘unlimited gold coin’ or ‘unlimited props’ plug-in, and it is very easy to use.]
“What are you exactly?” Su Ru Hui was surprised that the system could even activate a plug-in.
The system fell silent for a moment and said: [Your permissions are not high enough, and there is not much information I can provide. However, you can understand my nature in this way:
The living environment in this world is extremely harsh, with narrow territories, dense populations, and a strict hierarchy. In order to increase the survival rate of the race, the creators opened a backdoor for some of the people, which is what you call spiritual power. Ordinary people who practice spiritual power formed an alliance called the “Kun Lun Secret Sect” and maximized the use of magical resources, reaching the strongest peak in human history. However, the survival rate of individuals is not directly proportional to the survival rate of the race, and the survival rate of non-spiritual power users is much lower than that of magic users. It can even be said that spiritual power users increase their own survival rate by plundering the survival resources of ordinary people.
When you were ten years old, you lost your spiritual power and went from being a plunderer to being plundered, greatly reducing your survival rate. Most people can only resign themselves to fate, but you are different. If this world is a game, then I am your modifier. While others follow the rules, you modify them. I will do my best to help you survive and increase your survival rate. But please note that I am your deepest secret, and do not reveal me to anyone.]
[Because cheaters will be hunted down by everyone in the server.]
The communication compass suddenly vibrated, and Su Ru Hui opened it to reveal Xia Jing’s symbol shining.
“Just received news that Sang Chi Yu has invaded Immortal Cave, and the Secret Sect has issued a Class A alert. Sang Chi Yu now belongs to the Black Street, and his purpose in invading Immortal Cave is unknown. Nephew, stay at home and don’t go out if there’s nothing to do. Hey, nephew, can you hear me? Reply!”