Chapter 3: Characteristics_1

Translator: 549690339

"Dad, why bother with so much effort and even have the second brother call him 'dad'? I think that old coot won't live much longer, he might not even survive this winter. Once he kicks the bucket, or better yet, we could just finish him off directly. Then we take over his possessions. You're his cousin, who could challenge our claim?"

"Exactly, I just looked and that decrepit boat has nothing but some pots and pans, worthless junk. Even if we sold it all, it wouldn't bring in much money. The boat itself is so rundown it's useless. Plus, we have to put on a whole feast."

On the awning boat, two young men looked at their father with incomprehension in their eyes.

"You two idiots!"

Zhang Cheng scolded his sons as if lamenting their inadequacy: "Although that dead old man has no children, he has several distant relatives. Normally, they don't mix with each other, but who would miss the chance to feast on a family with no heirs? When the time comes, a large crowd of people will definitely come rushing. How could we alone swallow this whole feast then?"


The two sons exchanged a look, beginning to understand a bit more, but still puzzled: "Is it necessary? What worthwhile fortune could that old guy have? Just some broken household items and a dilapidated boat. Is it worth all this trouble?"

"You know nothing!"

Zhang Cheng cursed again: "In this world, a fisherman who could live to such an age invariably has some secrets tucked away. That old coot has always kept a low profile, not even taking a wife. He must surely have quite a bit saved up, even assuming he hasn't got a penny, we could..."

While speaking, Zhang Cheng lowered his voice: "Use his identity, make those things rightfully ours to dispose of, understand?"


"Got it, got it!"

"Dad, you really are shrewd!"

Upon hearing Zhang Cheng's explanation, both sons finally had their 'aha' moment and began to praise him in agreement.

"Otherwise, how could I be the father of you two blockheads?"

Zhang Cheng snorted coldly before turning his gaze behind him and spoke in a quiet, eerie tone, "Cousin, oh cousin, don't blame me. You've lived long enough; it's time for you to go down there and reunite with your family. Rest assured, I keep my word. In the future, my second son will surely continue your family line..."


That night, inside the cabin, Xu Yang looked at the knife in his hand, its blade sharpened to an extreme, reflecting a chilling light.

Knife Sharpening (Sharpness)

As the name suggests, this skill sharpens blades to a keen edge.

Regarding how sharp can it be… Xu Yang had done experiments. Though it was not to the point of cutting through iron as if it were mud, slicing through meat, chopping bones, severing heads, or piercing hearts was still remarkably easy.

Setting aside the sharp blade, Xu Yang turned to look outside the cabin, where he saw only the night sky, dark and boundless.

Indeed, a perfect night for murder, a perfect time to set fires!

Although Xu Yang did not know what Zhang Cheng and his sons were planning, their actions already posed a direct threat to his safety.

Therefore, they had to die, tonight!

Xu Yang stood up, shedding the oversized raincoat, revealing a bent and hunched body, which seemed no different from a typical old man.

But as he removed more of his clothing, that hunched body, thin and gaunt, began to straighten and fill out. A strange noise of moving bones and sinews could be heard from within.

A moment later, there was no sign of the thin and frail old man in the cabin, only a tall, sturdy build with well-defined muscles, a robust... old man?

And when he touched his face with water, the blotches and deep lines on the old man's face disappeared, revealing a young man with sharp and rugged features.

Breathing (Concealing Presence, Robust, Vigorous, Life Extending, Health Enhancing)

Disguise (Camouflage, Voice Altering, Shrinking Bone, Concealing Presence)

Life Extending is a trait of the Breathing skill that not only extends one's life but also slows down bodily aging. With the additional years, Xu Yang was not an old man but in the prime of life.

However, such abnormality could not be known to the world, so Xu Yang had long practiced a skill—Disguise.

Disguise—how to disguise?

Xu Yang had no idea, but that didn't matter. With the Attribute Panel's skill solidification, whether he knew how or not, as long as he acted and practiced to a certain extent, he could cultivate a skill, develop traits, and turn the decrepit into the extraordinary.

Xu Yang did just that. Initially clueless about disguises and voice alterations, all he did every day was smear mud on his face, don a hat and raincoat when going out, stoop and bow as he moved, and speak in a lowered voice.

Over time, Xu Yang mastered the Disguise skill, developing the traits of Camouflage, Voice Altering, Shrinking Bone, and Concealing Presence.

Skill Traits have the power to turn decay into a miraculous state. With them, Xu Yang needed only simple materials like silt from the river bottom to disguise himself as a decrepit old fisherman, concealing his true appearance and life energy. Ordinary people, and even Martial Artists, could not detect any signs of deceit.

To confirm this, Xu Yang even conducted several tests by crossing paths with members of the Goldfish Gang and other forces' Martial Artists on Dongting Lake, none of whom noticed anything unusual, showcasing the effectiveness of disguise under the influence of skill traits.

Dressed only in shorts and having restored his original appearance, Xu Yang stepped out of the cabin and onto the deck, securing the sharp knife and a cloth bag around his waist.


Just then, a clear cry sounded, and a dark shadow descended, settling firmly on top of the awning.

It was—a cormorant, an exceptionally large cormorant.

Breeding (Taming, Growth, Exotic Fish, Fish Eagle)

In this strictly hierarchical world where ascension was hard to achieve, Xu Yang had been devising various ways to secure his own survival. Since martial arts were out of his reach, he decided to approach it from other angles.

Therefore, Xu Yang honed the skill of Knife Sharpening and, through "Throwing stones and skipping water," mastered the precise art of the Flying Stone. In the cover of night, he wielded his blade in secret, training a powerful slashing skill with strong traits.

With the Breeding skill and obtaining the Taming trait, he aimed to pursue the path of "Beast Taming," hoping to acquire a shrimp soldier or a crab general, perhaps even birds and beasts to act as bodyguards.

Although subsequent developments were less than ideal, with no shrimp soldiers or crab generals, or transcendental traits emerging from Spirit Beast enlightenment, the combination of "Growth" and "Fish Eagle" did procure Xu Yang a formidable assistant.

"Growth," as the name implies, means to grow very large. Animals bred with this skill developed better effects, grew at a faster rate, and ultimately achieved sizes greater than the average.

As for the Fish Eagle, it meant he could train fish eagles to follow commands and enhance their abilities.

This large cormorant was the product of Xu Yang's meticulous cultivation, named Laoliu!

Why call it Laoliu?

Because the previous Laoyi, Lao'er, Lao san, Lao si, and Lao wu had all perished!

Laoliu had just reached adulthood, it was the prime of his life as an eagle, and he would still accompany Xu Yang for some time.

"Found it?"

Xu Yang glanced at Laoliu, who humanly nodded to him.

"Very good!"


Seeing this, Xu Yang didn't say anything more. With a command, the fish eagle flew up into the sky, guiding the direction with its loud cries.

Xu Yang also leapt from the bow of the boat, plunging into the dark and profound waters of the lake.


The water of Dongting Lake in the deep autumn night had a bone-chilling coldness to it.

But Xu Yang felt nothing of the sort, diving into the water, his body moved with astonishing speed as he started to swim.

Swimming (Like a Fish in Water)

After experiments, Xu Yang found that Skill Traits also ranged in hierarchy; two-character traits were common, whereas four-character traits were rarer, higher in level, and more potent in effect.

The Swimming skill's "Like a Fish in Water" belonged to the rarer four-character traits. It allowed Xu Yang to move in the water just like a fish, as if he were a large fish of the same size.

Given Xu Yang's current physical condition, a big fish of his body size would almost be considered a spirit monster in the water.

So, one could imagine how Xu Yang performed under the water. Even if the Zhang family's boat was more than ten miles away, he was able to swim swiftly to the location without needing to sail on water and attract attention.


With the cries of the fish eagle guiding him, Xu Yang, like a fish, dived and swam swiftly, soon reaching the waters where the Zhang family's boat was moored.

Xu Yang surfaced, only to see a large black-canopied boat moored in a natural harbor ahead.

Not all fishermen live on their boats. Those with property and houses on land would reside ashore, taking to their boats only when necessary for fishing.

It was only the truly destitute, those whose entire belongings were encapsulated in a solitary, decaying boat, that endured the torments of the wind, rain, humidity, and sickness from within their unstable abode.

Xu Yang was one such person, and the Zhang family was not much better off, with all three members living aboard that large black-canopied boat.

The boat was moored in the bay with a small lamp lit for illumination, to prevent collisions with other vessels.

Xu Yang observed the sky, estimating the time, but ultimately he dismissed the idea of boarding the boat directly.

Though he was strong and had a sharp knife as his weapon, making a stealth attack highly likely to succeed, it was just that—highly likely—and not a guarantee.

One man can hardly fight against many; the other side had three people, two of whom were fit and strong. Moreover, he had not practiced any formal martial arts. Aside from being a bit more robust, he did not have much of an advantage, and a direct ambush risked overturning his plight.


Xu Yang opened the small pouch tied to his waist, retrieving a goose egg-sized pebble.

Flying Stone (Precision)

This was another one of Xu Yang's attack skills, the art of the Flying Stone, cultivated through "Throwing stones and skipping water." It currently possessed just the Precision trait, ensuring extremely high hit rates within a certain range.

Despite having just one trait, it was sufficient for his current offensive needs. Xu Yang did not believe any of the Zhang family could withstand a blow from his Flying Stone to the head.

Now, all that was left was to wait patiently for someone to get up during the night to relieve themselves.

Of course, if the wait proved fruitless, or if they had the habit of preparing a toilet onboard, Xu Yang would still board the boat and forcefully take lives.