Chapter 167 Mantis
Duke Gao, Zhou Huan, Servant Jing, and Servant Yuan were all killed by killers, which was an apparent fact but was neglected by everyone because of the sword wound.
The sword and sabre had something in common. A top sabreman wouldn’t become too weak with a sword, not to mention that none of the four dead ones were top experts.
Wild Horse had joined Shangguan Yushi’s side a long time ago, and his resentment towards the Bi Nu gang had never diminished.
Gu Shenwei gradually began to understand Yu Gongzi’s whole plan. If Servant Huan and Lotus also died under the sword, Ye Silang would become the major suspect, or perhaps that Chu Yangjun. As for the fact that swordsmen were disdainful about resorting to assassination, who would believe that? Shangguan Ru, especially, was born in Golden Roc Castle and would definitely not believe it.
Gu Shenwei still had several problems that he didn’t understand, such as the identity of the assassin in the Rouge Forest. That person was skilled in swordsmanship and couldn’t be Wild Horse in disguise. And also, how did Yu Gongzi develop a relationship with the Qiu Society and why would she give Duke Gao money?
Gu Shenwei didn’t have too much time to figure out all these things, as the plan of Yu Gongzi and Wild Horse had already begun.
The plan was ingeniously designed. On the surface, Gu Shenwei and Lotus both ‘fell into the snare’ by themselves.
A sabreman had passed the information by mouth to mouth that Huang Shian, the Sabre God of the Qiu Society, was a gambler and that he would go have fun at a place called Thousand Eyes House every two or three days.
Gu Shenwei was still responsible for collecting information, so the news was naturally passed to him. And his responsibility also made him go to Northern Jade City to report this valuable information to Shangguan Ru.
The first attempt to assassinate Huang Shian had failed for some reason, so he had to make every effort to succeed on the second opportunity.
Servant Huan and Yu Gongzi had a little dispute in front of Tenth Gongzi, but Shangguan Ru still assigned the task to Servant Huan because he desperately needed a perfect action to restore his reputation and status in the Kun Society.
Servant Huan’s suspicion seemed to have reached the point of paranoia in the others’ eyes. Except for Lotus, he didn’t take any helpers with him this time. Even the early detection was done secretly by the two. In short, he didn’t want anyone else to know the details of this assassination mission.
Even so, Gu Shenwei was a hundred percent sure that he and Lotus were walking into a trap. A killer would understand one another; their actions would all be anticipated by Wild Horse.
But this time, he was going to have a fight where he was also prepared.
On the third day after he received the information, Gu Shenwei and Lotus entered Northern Jade City in the evening after everything was ready. He paid a private visit to Tenth Gongzi and expressed his doubts, saying, “This is a trap, and I think the target is Lotus.”
Shangguan Ru was sitting cross-legged on her soft bed, lost in her thoughts while wearing a serious look on her face. Gu Shenwei couldn’t help but wonder that the expression wasn’t suitable on the little girl in front of him. She was still too young and had only experienced a life of luxury and privilege; she hadn’t yet experienced any real cruel struggles to be able to cope with such a complicated situation.
Shangguan Ru was still using the oldest method of controlling her subordinates Yu Gongzi and Servant Huan, who were inextricable enemies, by supporting them at the same time. She didn’t know that the balance on the surface between the two had already collapsed, and that the two’s fight would not only be unhelpful in reinforcing the lord’s status, but was also destroying the foundation of the Kun Society from the inside.
Unless one of them died.
“Do you still believe that there’s a spy in the Kun Society?”
“Yes, whoever attacks Lotus tonight is the spy.”
“Who do you suspect? I know you already have a target in mind.”
“Uhh, I believe it is one of the killers. Someone brought the animosity he had when he was still a disciple to the present.”
Gu Shenwei carefully avoided mentioning Yu Gongzi. He believed that Yu Gongzi was doing the same. The more intensely they fought, the more relaxed the surface seemed.
Shangguan Ru seemed relieved. She was afraid that Servant Huan would suspect Yu Gongzi. If that happened, she would have to make a final decision between the two no matter if Servant Huan’s doubt was right or wrong. She would have no hesitation in enforcing the rules impartially if it were only hatred amongst the killers.
And so it was settled. Servant Huan and Lotus would carry out the assassination mission as planned and catch the traitor at the same time.
The two, dressed in black, set off directly from Northern Jade City without going through the normal checkpoint. Instead, they jumped over the high wall, crossed the frozen river to walk to Southern Jade City, and took back their sabres and swords from the hands of the long-waiting cutters.
In terms of the assassination itself, the mission was very simple.
Huang Shian was a real gambler. The information Gu Shenwei had learned from various sources all indicated that the Sabre God was addicted to gambling even before he became famous, which was one of the major reasons why he had not been appreciated by his employers before.
The Thousand Eyes House was located in the east of the city and was one of the gambling houses under the Qiu Society’s protection. It was not far away from the base camp, so it was very safe.
Huang Shian went to this gambling house a lot. Usually, he would bring seven or eight sabremen with him as he enjoyed the hustle and bustle of life and liked to be surrounded and supported by others.
It wasn’t purely a guess from Gu Shenwei that this was a trap. The information he had received from Xu Xiaoyi showed that the Sabre God had been visiting the Thousand Eyes House almost every day in the past few days and had become more and more lavish. “He has thrown away almost ten thousand taels of silver in less than ten days at the gambling house without batting an eye. Ah, my god, he just plays for fun.”
Gu Shenwei immediately thought of the trick Bag Zhou, the big shield of the rice and flour trade, had played. This was another game of transferring gold and silver from the left hand to the right hand. The Qiu Society could attract the Kun Society’s attention in this way without losing a penny.
On the opposite side of the Thousand Eyes House was a small alley, which Huang Shian had to go through to return home after gambling. Gu Shenwei and Lotus had spied on him for three consecutive days and both agreed that this was the best place to ambush him.
The two made the following plan: Gu Shenwei would hide on top of a house at the entrance of the alley and sneak attack the enemy with a bow and arrow. Once he was discovered, he would run away immediately, and people of the Qiu Society would definitely jump on the roof and run after him. Huang Shian’s kung fu was weigh better than the others and would probably be ahead of others. Instead of attacking the other sabremen, Lotus would wait in ambush along Gu Shenwei’s escape path and kill Huang Shian when he passed by.
The assassination method wasn’t perfectly reliable because its success largely depended on the enemy’s reactions, but it could help the performers avoid the traps on the ground.
Lotus had already hid herself, so Gu Shenwei went to the entrance of the alley and hid on the roof to spy on the gate of the Thousand Eyes House.
Just a quarter of an hour later, Huang Shian and seven sabremen showed up. It was hard to judge whether they had won or lost from their appearances, as the Sabre God was always in high spirits. He didn’t frown a bit even if he lost a month’s worth of salary.
Gu Shenwei was also going to carry out a second plan. The assassination was secondary, as their main goal was to capture the spy tonight.
He had already made a fake figure lying on the snow on the roof. It was wearing black clothes and also had his bow and arrows. Then he lowered his body as much as he could and circled to the back of the spot where Lotus had hidden.
The two had chose this spot because from here, Gu Shenwei would be able to see the enemy regardless of whether their target was Servant Huan or Lotus.
The mantis stalks the cicada, but behind them lurks the oriole. But now the mantis was hunting the oriole.
The laughter of the sabremen resounded through the quiet night, and Huang Shian’s cheerful laughter and curses could be heard from far away.
If Gu Shenwei was that oriole, then he would choose to make a move the moment the assassination mission of Huang Shian started, when Servant Huan and Lotus were the most focused and didn’t have the time to care about what was behind them.
The target appeared and approached the hidden Lotus from another direction. Although it was just a blurry shadow, Gu Shenwei could still recognize the characteristic movements of the Golden Roc killers it used. In East Castle, he had covertly observed the disciples’ behaviours numerous times and was very familiar with them.
Instead of hiding its tracks, the target moved at a great speed and soon Gu Shenwei was able to see the man’s general appearance: Black clothes, masked face, and both a sabre and a sword hanging by his waist.
It was exactly like Servant Huan.
This was the way he killed Servant Yuan and Servant Jing, disguised as their most trusted one. Even if there were a few parts that weren’t perfect, they were covered by the dark night.
Gu Shenwei couldn’t wait any longer, as he had to put Lotus’s safety as his primary concern.
Motionless, two Servant Huans stood face to face as if the both of them were stupefied by the sight.
Down the alley, the tumult made by the Sabre God and his men grew louder. They were probably wondering why the assassination they had expected hadn’t come yet.
“It’s him?” Lotus asked from the ambush spot.
The two Servant Huan nodded, then one of them suddenly attacked while the other also drew his sabre. For the onlookers who didn’t know sabresmanship, they would think that the two killers must be too weak and that the fight wasn’t difficult at all because the two attacked straightforwardly without any flashy moves.
But the fight was finished in one move, one of the Servant Huan’s palm fell together with his narrow sabre. He snorted and turned to run to the east.
The sabremen in the alley had pricked up their ears long ago, and someone immediately shouted, “Assassin!” A dozen or so figures jumped onto the roof abruptly and ran after the man in black not far away.
The assassination attempt on Huang Shian had no meaning anymore. Gu Shenwei nodded and ran to the west with Lotus, which was exactly the opposite direction of the fake Servant Huan. The two had already decided on their retreat route, so after a few ups and downs, they successfully got rid of the trackers behind them.
“Don’t we go after him?” Lotus was a bit surprised.
“No need. If he’s a killer, there’s only one place to go.”
Tenth Gongzi’s killers all lived in the Kun Society’s stronghold at Southern Jade City. The fake Servant Huan had lost one palm, so he would definitely go back to ask help from the behind-the-scenes. Running towards the east was just a trick to mislead others.
Gu Shenwei believed that the mastermind was Shangguan Yushi and the one who had an injured palm must be Wild Horse.
Although Servant Huan’s sabresmanship had improved a lot with the help of the Death Sutra, Wild Horse’s sabresmanship wasn’t much worse than his. It was just that they met accidentally and Wild Horse had been overwhelmed by his momentum.
The two men in black returned to the stronghold of the Kun Society but didn’t go inside at once. Instead, they took up positions on a roof on the south side of the courtyard. One watched the roof and the other the ground.
The alley to the entrance of the stronghold of the Kun Society was on the east side, but the killers never took that road in the evening. They would always go around to the south side and jump in instead.
A staggering shadow appeared when it was nearly the fourth night watch period.
The two waited until the target jumped into the yard and followed inside after waiting a little longer before going straight to Yu Gongzi’s bedroom.
Shangguan Yushi, who was either already awake or very alert, opened the door and showed up as soon as the two men in black arrived. She gripped the sabre and loftily asked with her head held high, “It’s you two. Where’s the Sabre God’s head?”
‘Lotus’ tore off the mask, “It’s me.”
“Tenth Gongzi!” Shangguan Yushi cried out with surprise, and immediately loosen the sabre hilt.
“There’s really a spy. He’s injured and just ran back, let’s go take him out.”
Gu Shenwei stood silently nearby, waiting to see how Yu Gongzi would respond. It would be strange if the one who had an injured palm wasn’t in her room.
Well, it was indeed quite strange.