Chapter 176 Quitting the Society
The whole Jade City was shocked by the death of the Sword Offering Ye Silang. However, the Kun Society, as the victor was immersed in an atmosphere of endless sadness.
“She was waiting for you,” Gu Shenwei said to Shangguan Ru, who had just come. His hand was still held by the dead and he needed Shangguan Ru to gently pry her fingers loose one by one to free him.
Shangguan Ru showed her strong side. She didn’t cry, and was sitting cross-legged before the bed with her hands clasping one of Shangguan Yushi’s hands. The hand that had once clutched Servant Huan, wanting to bring him with her to hell.
The hall was scattered with killers. Lotus rushed back, and Liuhua, who usually hid himself, also showed up in the corner. All the cutters were left in the yard outside the hall with their hands gripping their sabre hilts tightly.
No one, neither inside nor outside, spoke till night fell. Shangguan Ru took a deep breath, rose to her feet, and turned her head as if she had fainted and just woken up, her expression surprisingly calm, declaring, “I want Meng Mingshi’s head.”
It seemed that Meng Mingshi was no doubt the culprit in everyone’s eyes; only Gu Shenwei was a bit suspicious about it.
Shangguan Yushi had blamed everything on Servant Huan before she died because she saw that Servant Huan’s heart was full of hatred and the will to kill.
Gu Shenwei had been trying to kill Yu Gongzi all the time, but he had nothing to do with this action.
Shangguan Fei had indeed been swung to the Qiu Society’s side. He had revealed Meng Mingshi’s plan to hire Ye Silang and agreed that Servant Huan could bring one more person into the gambling house. That was about it. Gu Shenwei knew that he was walking on tightropes in this game, so he was very cautious and made no unnecessary demands from the ninth young lord.
Gu Shenwei was as shocked as others by the fact that the Qiu Society had actually made Shangguan Yushi the assassination target.
Perhaps last night’s counterattack had finally angered Meng Fifth Gongzi and he became suspicious about Shangguan Yushi’s loyalty, or perhaps the surviving sabremen of the Qiu Society wanted to get revenge on their own, or maybe it was Shangguan Fei fishing in troubled water.
Gu Shenwei still had many questions in his heart which were hard to answer after Yu Gongzi’s death.
The killers bowed to Tenth Gongzi together to show that they accepted the order. Gu Shenwei felt that he was obliged to remind the lord of a fact. “We’re in a truce now.”
Shangguan Ru stared at Servant Huan, sparks flickered in her black eyes like burnt charcoal that had finally become dim, responding, “Southern Jade City falls under the truce, but not Northern Jade City.”
Meng Mingshi was hiding safely at home. To kill him, they could only start a fight in Northern Jade City. Although this would break the original unwritten rule of the two influential families, and also ruin the image of the bloodless city Golden Roc Castle had painstakingly built.
Gu Shenwei’s only choice was to accept it. He even drew out his narrow sabre and made a slash towards the ground. This was a killer’s way of saying that they would not give up until they achieved their goal. The other killers made the same gesture.
The death of her best friend brought forth all the will and wisdom of Tenth Gongzi. She had thought long and hard about the risks and difficulties of the whole plan, without being carried away by hatred and relegating everything to her subordinates while she herself simply waited for the results.
“Let’s do it tonight. Since everyone thinks that we’re in a truce now, let’s give them a surprise. Take Meng Mingshi alive and bring him to Southern Jade City, I’ll cut off his head and hold a memorial ceremony for Yu Gongzi by myself.”
Seven killers gathered together and put aside their grudges and hatreds for the time being. Wild Horse was deeply concerned about Yu Gongzi’s death and his desire for revenge was no worse than that of Tenth Gongzi. He quickly worked out a plan and expressed it by making hand signs so that everyone could understand what he meant.
Shangguan Ru led five killers and returned to Northern Jade City while Servant Huan and Lotus stayed in Southern Jade City.
On that night’s third watch period, the two slipped out and passed under the border wall. Above their head was the tall pavilion, from which one could see Southern Jade City. On the opposite side of the pavilion was the base camp of the Qiu Society, which was now a heap of ruins.
Both Gu Shenwei and Lotus were dressed in a killer’s outfit as they remained motionless at the foot of the wall. Their task was simply to wait for the prey to hang from above.
It was difficult to kidnap someone in Northern Jade City, especially when this someone was a gongzi of the Meng family. Gu Shenwei now thought that Shangguan Ru’s plan was too rashy, but the matter was no longer under his control. Wild Horse had volunteered to take on all the heavy responsibilities, and seemed even ready to die for it.
Everyone had their own friends and loyal partners. As they thought of this, Gu Shenwei suddenly felt an unquenchable affection towards the nearby Lotus. He really wanted to open his heart to tell her the truth, and he had the assurance that Lotus would understand and help him.
But he was a killer and what he had learnt was the Death Sutra. He cruelly cut off the sudden burst of emotions without even moving his eyes.
The teenage girl nearby would have never imagined that there was a moment when the teenage boy had been so close to her.
It was still dark at almost the fifth night watch period when a bag was hung down from the border wall. Shangguan Ru and Wild Horse had actually succeeded. Gu Shenwei didn’t know what to believe, whether Northern Jade City wasn’t as safe as he had imagined, or Meng Fifth Gongzi was stupid enough to stay home without any precautions. He should know best about the relationship between the Shangguan family’s two gongzis.
As expected, inside the bag was a soft person. Gu Shenwei carried it on his shoulder and quietly retreated with Lotus. They didn’t go back to the Kun Society, but straight to the retention alley.
Xu Xiaoyi opened the door. It was dark, and Gu Shenwei could vaguely see many people standing inside.
“Got it?” The voice of Tuo Nengya asked.
“Hmm,” Gu Shenwei answered as he put the bundle on the ground.
“Lord Huan, please explain to me why you let these men come to my place? They neither sleep nor give money. Are you still treating this place as a whorehouse?” Xu Yanwei stood upstairs complaining.
“Go back to your room,” Gu Shenwei ordered. Xu Yanwei was a little afraid of him now, so she hummed and turned back to her bedroom.
More than two dozen sabremen moved and in a short while, a simple mourning hall was set up in the dark. Yu Gongzi’s corpse was placed in the middle. The candles, incense, and paper money were all ready, but were not lit.
Xu Xiaoyi had a foreboding feeling that things were not going well and dared not to even ask. He crept upstairs and slipped into his elder sister’s room. The two of them understood the seriousness of the problem and looked at each other, not even daring to think about the final outcome.
The sabremen downstairs went out one by one. Some guarded in the front, some behind the building, and others climbed onto the roof. The brothel was airtight now.
Shangguan Ru rushed back with the killers as soon as the dawn was just starting to break. They came through the checkpoint, ostensibly disassociating themselves from the disappearance of Meng Fifth Gongzi.
Lotus lit the incense and candles, while Gu Shenwei untied the bundle and woke up the person inside with cold water.
Meng Fifth Gongzi was too careless. He surprisingly hadn’t stayed at home on the night Yu Gongzi was killed, but had run out for a drink instead. There were not many taverns in Northern Jade City, and good taverns were even scarcer. Meng Mingshi had found a tavern that was relatively quiet and with a pleasant ambience to drink till he was blue, totally unaware that he had been tracked as soon as he had left his house.
Shangguan Ru and Wild Horse had planned a series of complicated actions which were all unneeded now. Shangguan Ru put her palms together devoutly and thanked the blessing of Shangguan Yushi, the spirit of the deceased.
Liuhua acted as the lookout, and Wild Horse and Shangguan Ru leaped into the dining room of the tavern. The funny thing was that Meng Fifth Gongzi was drinking alone, and even his close servants were driven out to wait on him and no one had dared come in.
Meng Mingshi was so drunk that the two kidnappers only needed to pour some ordinary knockout drugs into his mouth. They then carried him off through the window, retreating from the way they came. No killing and no disturbances. The whole process had gone surprisingly smoothly. When they got downstairs, Shangguan Ru grabbed Meng Mingshi’s hair and carefully looked at his face for a long time before she finally confirmed that they didn’t seize the wrong person.
When the servants found that their lord was missing, the unconscious Meng Mingshi was already at Southern Jade City. The anxious servants ran back to the Meng family mansion, worried and frightened. They didn’t know whether they should wake up the Lord or not. Shangguan Ru had already been standing by Meng Fifth Gongzi’s side with a sabre in her hand, ready to cut off his head and offer it as a sacrifice.
They already had an explanation for all this: Meng Mingshi thought that Southern Jade City was at peace now, so he snuck into the home of a prostitute he was familiar with at the retention alley and fell into the hands of Shangguan Ru.
As for the truce agreement, Shangguan Ru also had her own excuses. She was not afraid of the Meng family’s resentment, and as long as her excuse sounded reasonable on the surface, no one would dare to touch her. Besides, the Qiu Society had once kidnapped Tenth Gongzi, and probably also wanted to kill her but had failed.
Meng Mingshi opened his eyes, his hangover leaving him dizzy. He felt as if every bone in his body had been broken and then reconnected, so he didn’t realize where he was until after a long time. By the time he gradually saw Shangguan Ru clearly who was holding a sabre, he suddenly became startled, sat up immediately, and sobered up.
“You … how could it be you? Where is this? What do you want? I’m telling you, do not fool around. I’ll call someone …” There were only killers with black clothes and masks in the room. This was the retention alley. Meng Mingshi was very familiar with the layout of these small buildings, but he didn’t know whose house it was, feebly saying, “We … we had a truce.”
Shangguan Ru had known that Meng Mingshi would say this, so she shouted at the people outside, “Who is it outside?”
“The sabremen of the Kun Society.” Tuo Nengya answered loudly.
“Who is the leader of the Kun Society?”
“How about Shangguan Ru?”
“She was removed from the society.”
Shangguan Ru asked for all the names of the killers and the answer was ‘removed from the society’.
“The Kun and Qiu Society are not at war, but we’re not members of the Kun Society anymore.”
Meng Mingshi felt that Shangguan Ru was obviously arguing irrationally, but he couldn’t find any rebuttal for the time being, only able to stammer out, “You … I’ll go back and tell my grandma. The relationship between the Meng family and the castle is not yet over.”
“You won’t go back. The grandma’s grandchild is going to leave her first.”
When Meng Mingshi finally understood Shangguan Ru’s intention, his face immediately paled. “No no, you can’t kill me, I …”
Shangguan Ru’s pent-up anger finally flared up, “I can’t kill you? I can’t kill you! You should have dropped this fantasy when you decided to kill Yu Gongzi.”
“Yu Gongzi?” Meng Mingshi turned his head and saw Shangguan Yushi’s dead body, his face changing again. No one knew where he found the strength, but he actually rushed to it by rolling and climbing and clutched one of the corpse’s hands, as if to be sure that she was really dead.
“Let go of her!” Shangguan Ru’s voice became shrill as she was both shocked and angry.
Meng Mingshi turned his head, and the grief on his face left Shangguan Ru at a loss.
“Didn’t you know? I didn’t send anyone to kill her. How could I want to kill her? I love her, and she loves me too. Tenth Gongzi, we’ve been in love for a long time.”