Chapter 64: Crooked Soul
Han Li used his hand to feel the giant man’s body temperature while staring into his lifeless and inarticulate pair of eyes. Within his heart, he was trying to guess all the bitter experiences Zhang Tie had experienced.
Doctor Mo had most likely colluded with Yu Zhitong to kidnap Zhang Tie, a Way of the Armored Elephant practitioner, giving the false pretense that he left and tricking the numerous eyes and ears within the Seven Mysteries Sect. Then, they secretly used some kind of magic technique to remove Zhang Tie’s soul, causing his body to become as grotesque as it was now. The effects of their technique were similar to that of the backlash from cultivating the Way of the Armored Elephant.
Han Li’s guess was not very different from what had actually transpired.
After administering his test, Doctor Mo suddenly had the idea of combining the Way of the Armored Elephant with Yu Zhitong’s Corpse Refining Technique to create a group of subservient and powerful puppets that could sweep across Jiang Hu. However, he was only able to create this one soldier who Doctor Mo treated as his treasure. He usually kept the Iron Giant hidden somewhere at the bottom of the mountains, and the only time Doctor Mo took the Iron Giant out of hiding was when he returned to the mountain.
But Yu Zhitong was not the least bit interested in this dubious reanimated corpse; in fact, he even snorted disdainfully because when he still had his body, he had been capable of using Qi to deal with these kinds of reanimated corpses without much difficulty. In addition, this animated corpse was incomparable to the high ranked reanimated corpses of cultivators; as a result, it was only useful in the mortal word. The only positive side was that the materials were easier to gather, the process of refining was simpler, and anyone with a little bit of Internal Qi could use this technique.
After a while, Han Li removed his hand from the giant man’s face and turned his unsettled eyes away from his body. His gaze landed upon the destroyed stone door, his mind still in a daze.
In that moment, he felt his heart grow cold, not because of Zhang Tie’s situation but rather because of his own cold and detached attitude.
He originally thought that when he found out about his friends’ miserable downfall, he would furiously lift his head up and shout out, “Mo Juren! Yu Zhitong” with intense hatred.
But in actuality, aside from some sadness, his discovery did not stir up any fury, almost as if the one who fell under these circumstances was not his good friend Zhang Tie but rather a stranger who was not related to him in any way.
Was it because he knew that the Zhang Tie in front of him was only an empty shell and not the Zhang Tie he once knew? Or was it because his heart had become too cold?.
Han Li’s cold and detached behavior caused fear to manifest in his heart. He realized right then that he had changed too much to the point where he was foreign to himself!
Han Li finally awoke from his stupor and looked at the giant man with eyes filled with turmoil, unsure of how to address “him”.
Thinking of what Doctor Mo said about a “lost soul” and a “walking corpse,” Han Li gazed through forlorn eyes and softly said, “Brother Zhang, I imagine you have moved on to the next life, so you have no need for your body. Please allow your little brother to use it! I will definitely be careful, and I hope that you will not blame me for my actions.”
After saying a few words and finding peace, Han Li faced the giant man and said:
“Since you are the body Brother Zhang left behind and don’t have an independent soul of your own, I will call you ‘Crooked Soul’ ! I hope you can provide me with a helping hand in the future.”
Learning to Han Li’s words, the giant man stood there stupidly without moving, and aside from looking tame and obedient, there were no hints of reaction. It seemed like he really lacked a consciousness and could only be commanded into action.
“I can’t believe I am saying these words to body that can’t even think for itself, this is so silly!” Han Li mockingly he shook his head and lightly strolled inside the stone room.
“Crooked Soul, keep up.”
Once Han Li recovered from his downcast state, his expression returned to normal as if he had never been dejected at all. The truth indeed reflected his guess: he had become abnormally cold hearted and rational, not able to be easily disturbed by his own emotions.
Han Li, who was about to step onto the path of cultivation, was unsure of whether this outstanding change would be a source of great calamity or great fortune.
For a short time afterwards, Han Li spent a good half day in order to deal with the aftermath of the situation.
He not only had to bury Doctor Mo’s corpse under some big tree but also had to destroy and throw away all the items in the stone room. He even ordered Crooked Soul to beat up the stone room, tearing everything in the room beyond recognition. Only when he was unable to tell the room’s original appearance was he willing to stop and rest.
After this destruction was over, the day had already transitioned into the evening, and the sun was already setting.
Han Li stood in front of what used to be the stone room, now a stone heap, seizing everything up once and making sure nothing was overlooked before he was satisfied.
“Crooked Soul, let’s go!”
“We still have several matters to take care of tomorrow! It’s a pity you don’t have a conscious and can’t open your mouth to talk; otherwise, I would have someone I can discuss with, which would help make things proceed more smoothly.”
Under the illumination of the setting sun’s fiery red glow, Han Li dragged along a slender and tall shadow. While walking, Han Li constantly talked to the giant man, whom he referred to as “Crooked Soul.” At last, he found a companion to whom he could confide in without the fear of being complained against. Crooked Soul’s expression was cold and detached, making him similar to that of the leader of a neighborhood gang.
After arranging a hiding place for Crooked Soul, Han Li returned to his own dwelling. Once inside his house, he acted like a man who hasn’t returned back home in a long time, touching and rubbing the chairs and tables, looking everywhere, and talking to himself:
“Ah, Today was an extremely long day! It seems like this day was longer than the first 10 years of my life!”
Abandoning all of his worries, he came crashing down on his bed, covered his head with his pillow, and began falling asleep.
He was very tired! He could not bare the mental and physical exhaustion.
“But, being able to live is truly wonderful!” He couldn’t help thinking this, and as he entered into sleep, the corner of his lips lifted up in a slight smile.