TLDP Ch. 85: The Skeleton Puppet
Meanwhile, there’s a loud thud behind me, so I know the bullet didn’t hit me.
I marched forward and looked over my shoulders. The skeleton has gotten up!
How could a skeleton move? I’ve never heard of anything like this. There was nothing about this n the Niu Family Book of Demon-Slaying.
Zombies move because Yin qi invaded the brain and the mysterious magnetic field makes the dead body attack. Usually when you bust the zombie’s brain it would stop moving. But right now, we have a skeleton that moves!
What I’m seeing makes no sense at all!
Before I got into the bakery’s yard I had put on cattle tears. The skeleton is moving on its own and not controlled by any ghosts, and there is no Yin qi on the skeleton either.
The skeleton has a hole in its head from the shot. It rubbed its skull, opened its mouth a few times, looking especially grotesque in the moonlight.
The skeleton bent its bleach white leg bones and lurched toward me！
Of course i didn’t stand still to be hit. I backed away and shouted, “Don’t shoot! Guns don’t work.”
Why didn’t I let He Xue shoot? It’s simple, I was afraid of stray bullets. I was still freaked out by her shot earlier. I’ve gotten stronger lately, but I’m no match for bullets, any bullet would make a hole in me, so I would rather face the skeleton alone than have He Xue help me.
When I backed away so quickly, the skeleton missed and fell to the floor, but it got up again, trying to strike me with its arms and claws!
What the fuck is this thing? How could it be so strong? It has no Yin qi whatsoever, so my Sun Charm and Shadowbane Sword wouldn’t work on it. I bent down and ducked behind it, I grabbed one of its shoulders with one hand and with my other hand gripped its arm, then I twisted as hard as I could.
Yes, I was using the “16 ways of Grappling” method!
But it’s freakishly powerful, as soon as I tried my move; its arm landed on my chest and pushed me down, hurting my chest.
The skeleton ignored me and leapt toward He Xue.
He Xue shot off more bullets. I wanted to help her but was afraid of being hit, so I sat there.
Every time the skeleton was hit, it would pause a second as a big hole appeared in its bones.
I reminded He Xue, “Shoot the joints! Shoot its knees!”
We were in the dark however, and He Xue was panicking, so the bullets all missed! The skeleton landed on He Xue and the two of them began a hands-on fight.
When I saw He Xue put away her gun, I stepped forward. She shouted before kicking the skeleton on its neck, but it only shook a little before reaching out its bony hand toward He Xue’s leg!
It was a good thing we were dressed in thick winter clothes, so He Xue only got hers pants ripped and had no injury.
I have been thinking the whole time, how is this thing moving? It’s against all rules of the normal and paranormal! Ghosts and zombies have scientific explanations but this made no sense at all. It didn’t seem to have any weaknesses, so I didn’t know how to overpower it. But if I didn’t help He Xue, she’d be in big trouble. I really didn’t want her to die in front of me. I leapt on top of the skeleton’s back, gripped its head and twisted it with all the strength I had.
“Pow!” I heard the sound of bones cracking. The skeleton’s neck bone cracked and its skull fell off. I tossed the skill aside but stayed cautious, who knows whether it had a second life?
Just as I had feared, the skeleton kept moving without the skull!
It hit me in the belly with an arm, and I was in so much pain I groaned. I had no time to check my injury, but I quickly kicked the skeleton. When it fell, I jumped on it and pushed it to the floor. I shouted at He Xue, “Get me some rope!”
The skeleton was strong, I almost fell off a few times, but I held on for as long as I could and kept pressing it down.
It’s not easy for He Xue find rope, who knows where it could be. If she doesn’t get them to me soon, I would be out of strength! Just as I was gritting my teeth, the skeleton stopped moving!!!
What is going on?
I slowly let go of the skeleton and saw it was indeed still. He Xue, in the middle of tossing the room to look for the rope, was surprised too.
I spoke fast. “We don’t know why it’s not moving, but for safety, we better tie it up. Go buy some rope at that hardware store. I‘ll watch the skeleton.”
He Xue agreed and ran out. She crawled up the wall and jumped off.
If she was a cop, she’s not a normal one. How did she stay calm with supernatural things like this?
She was back in three minutes, bringing a flaxen rope. During the wait, the skeleton lay still on the floor. I tied it up many times and tried to relax. It was a pretty close fight just now!
If the skeleton got away from me and jumped up again, I’d have a big problem. It didn’t act the way I expected it to, it moved just as well without a head and had so much strength. My “16 Ways of Grappling” wouldn’t work on him at all. Invisibility didn’t work on him. If I wanted to burn it to ashes, I needed to shoot flames at it for at least 20 minutes, but I could only hold on for 40 seconds. It had no weaknesses, so I would have no way out but running.
He Xue asked, “Do you know what it is?”
I shook my head. “I’ve not seen anything like this before. It defies logic. Dead bodies could move, but bones can’t, unless a ghost was controlling it, but I saw no ghosts here, the skeleton moved on its own.”
“This is a Skeleton Puppet.” She said. “So Ma Xiujun was here.”
“Skeleton Puppet? You’ve seen this kind of thing before?” I asked.
“As far as I know, a Skeleton Puppet is just a skeleton powered by someone who has wizard skills, when the power is added, the skeleton moves. Ma Xiujun is one of those wizards.”
“So this guy did both the skeleton and the poisoning witchcraft?”
“Yes, he’s done crimes in other cities too, so I wanted to arrest him. But he’s hard to track and changes his looks a lot, so I’m not sure where he is now.”
“Change his looks? Is that why you thought I was him?”
He Xue shook her head. “Your height is different, you’re only 175 cm, but Ma is 185 cm, I don’t think you can change your height that much.”
I thought for a moment. “What do we do with the skeleton?”
“I don’t know.” He Xue sighed.
“We can’t leave it here.”
“We’ll give the police an anonymous tip.”
I was shocked. “Aren’t you the police?”
“I don’t want the Qiling City police to get involved, they’re all regular police and won’t be of much use here. They’ll only get injured.” She looked at me. “If they had your skills then I wouldn’t worry.”
It’s obvious she wants my help.
Zhang Zixuan has warned me before. It’s not wise to anger anyone who knows poisoning witchcraft. I thought he was fear-mongering before, but I think he’s right; those people are hard to fight. This one Skeleton Puppet was enough to give me a lot of trouble. If we had a face-to-face fight, I’d be in over my head. I should volunteer to help, but this is a lethal favor, I need to be sure before I offer my services.
Seeing my hesitation, she said. “I’m actually a secret operative, if you help me now, I’ll owe you. If you have any troubles later, I can help you.”
I said, “It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s that our opponent is too bizarre. I’ve never seen anything like it nor do I know how to beat it, I won’t be of much use.”
“Fine, I won’t force you. I’ll call the police anonymously. Don’t close this door.” He Xue left.
I left by flipping over the wall too. I didn’t rush back to the hotel in a taxi, rather, I took my time walking back. I still wasn’t sure what to do about helping He Xue.
My phone rang.
It was an unfamiliar number. I picked up. “Who is this?”
“Hello? Is this Xiaolong?”
The voice sounded familiar, but I can’t recall the name. I apologized, “It’s me, but I don’t know who you are.”
“I’m Chen Haotian.”
I finally remembered, this is definitely Chen Haotian’s voice. I smiled, “Big Brother Chen, you changed your number? What’s going on? Are you getting married to Miss Jiang yet? I’ll be at your wedding!”
Chen Haotian was silent before saying, ”I got banished by my family. I have nowhere to go. Can I stay with you a few days? I’ll look for a job soon.”
Banished by his family?!!
Is he so broke he can’t afford a hotel? But sensing his desperation, I didn’t ask more questions. “Of course, where are you now? Need me to pick you up?”
“I have nothing on me right now. I had to borrow a phone from someone on the street. Would you be able to add some money to a bank card? I need cab fare, and also to thank the person who lent me the phone.”
“Bing Brother Chen, you’re being too polite, just tell me the bank card number and I’ll go add the money.”
Chen Haotian being banished? This is insane. I’ve admired his skills for a while, if he could teach me some of it, I’d be so much more powerful. Plus, he’s quite an outstanding person, if I helped him now, it’s equal in helping myself in the future.