Chapter 178 Merging Forces
It turned out to be a false alarm. Shangguan Fei was clever, and he looked away from Servant Huan without immediately unmasking him and continued, saying, “Even the sabremen under you have ulterior motives. That Tuo Nengya wants to kill me.”
Shangguan Ru didn’t seem to have heard her brother’s words. She merely stood there in a daze as if she had lost her soul.
Shangguan Fei shut his mouth and listened. When the battle outside was over, the door opened, and a teenage killer knelt on one leg at the door. “Ninth young lord, sixteen people were beheaded and seven escaped, but we’re still hunting them.”
The delicious and succulent fruit of victory actually had a small hidden bug. Shangguan Fei’s face fell and he pulled out his own narrow sabre and asked, “Where’s Tuo Nengya?”
“He … escaped.”
As an experienced old sabreman, Tuo Nengya knew that something had gone wrong as soon as he saw the black-robed killers, so he quickly set up the sabre formation in secret. However, the killers were far more powerful than those sabremen, and the formation was defeated and scattered after the first round of attacks, though it served its purpose of buying some valuable time. Six sabremen protected Tuo Nengya while they escaped into the nearby maze-like streets and alleys. They knew Southern Jade City like the back of their hand, something the teenage killers couldn’t match.
Shangguan Fei lifted his sabre and cut down; the teenage killer’s left hand fell onto the ground. Holding his head high, Shangguan Fei coldly ordered, “I want to hold Tuo Nengya’s head in my hand before dark, or else it will be yours.”
“Yes.” The teenage killer retreated, bearing the pain.
Shangguan Fei’s good mood was ruined. His sister had already fallen into a zombie-like state, and there was no fun in torturing her anymore. “Take Tenth Gongzi to Northern Jade City. If anything happens to her, you can apologize by cutting off your own head.”
The seven killers of Shangguan Ru knelt on one knee and respectfully accepted the order of the ninth young lord before standing up. Lotus carried Shangguan Ru, and the two other killers carried Yu Gongzi’s corpse, all of them retreating like disowned dogs.
This was the grief of Tenth Gongzi, and also the fiasco of the teenage killers.
When Gu Shenwei was passing by Shangguan Fei, the two had exchanged a glance and understood each other’s thoughts. The ninth young lord held Servant Huan’s secret in his hands, so Servant Huan could no longer be disloyal. This was the only reason why Shangguan Fei hadn’t betrayed him on the spot.
Gu Shenwei couldn’t remember how many lords he had pledged allegiance to, but none of his pledges had ever been sincere. He still remembered the words teacher Zhang Ji had taught him: The servant is always the most ideal traitor.
Shangguan Fei thought he knew the servant, but it was nothing more than the fantasy of a gongzi who was caught in a moment of frustration.
The black-robed killers also followed in retreat. Shangguan Fei was fully content with the night and stayed alone in the house to savour the victory at hand. Then he raised his head and saw a teenage girl standing upstairs. The girl had eyes like that of a young doe, frightened and affectionate. She trembled under his gaze, as if she could not bear the awe-inspiring power of his stare.
Xu Yanwei had heard everything upstairs. To her, the teenager’s cruelty and ruthlessness were inexplicably attractive. He was even younger than her little brother, but that didn’t matter. A man’s power had nothing to do with his age.
Xu Yanwei gently waved her hand. Half puzzled and half excited, Shangguan Fei hesitated a bit before walking up the stairs. Xu Xiaoyi dashed past the ninth young lord like a rabbit and ran out of the small building without stopping.
The battle between the Kun and Qiu Society, which had lasted for many days and taken hundreds of lives, had ended in an unexpected manner.
Tenth Gongzi Shangguan Ru couldn’t recover from her setback. Due to the fact that she had organized the kidnapping in Northern Jade City and also caused the direct involvement of the castle, she was actually placed under house rest in Northern Jade City.
Meng Mingshi lost his money, sabremen, and lover, but had to ‘thank’ the ninth young lord of Golden Roc Castle for saving his life. Therefore, he also became depressed and ended up seriously ill, not coming out of his house for a few months.
The unknown ninth young lord was suddenly the big winner. The Kun Society was destroyed, leaving behind only an empty outline. Shangguan Fei kept the name to control the territory and merchants which had been seized by the Kun Society. Similarly, the Qiu Society was also under his name. This was because, just as most people found out recently, Shangguan Fei was one of the original co-founders of the Qiu Society.
From then on, Shangguan Fei used the Qiu Society to draw the rich scions of Northern Jade City and the Kun Society to control the shields and merchants of Southern Jade City. He gripped the killers and sabremen firmly in his hands and soon became a force to be reckoned with in Jade City, which not only exceeded the Unique King and Madam Meng’s expectations, but also attracted his brothers’ attentions.
The victory was perfect, except for one flaw. They never found the old sabreman Tuo Nengya. He was like a piece of mud that had fallen into Southern Jade City and become one with it, never to show his true face again.
Shangguan Fei killed one killer himself, but it was useless. The six sabremen who followed Tuo Nengya in escaping were all caught, but the person he wanted most was still missing. Shangguan Fei flew into a rage because of this and dared not to go to Southern Jade City for a long time.
What no one knew was that it was not only the two Society Leaders who had lost to Shangguan Fei, but also a teenage killer. Gu Shenwei’s efforts to build an independent force had come to nothing. Not to mention half of Tie Hanfeng’s legacy going to waste, he himself had also become a pawn of the ninth young lord.
His only achievement was that his swordsmanship had improved, but his sword was now broken into several pieces. To hide this, he had to walk around with half of his sword in the sheath.
The people of the Shangguan Family always surprised him. Gu Shenwei needed to deeply reflect on the matter as he had paid the price many times for underestimating his enemy.
The only sure thing was the sword in his hand. Only it had never disappointed him.
Shangguan Ru seemed like she would never return to her former self. She squirreled herself away in her room, alone and not seeing anyone. She would occasionally recover some energy and summon her seven killers. But all she would do was mutter about rallying forces again without coming up with any sort of a detailed plan.
Taking advantage of Shangguan Ru’s quick-witted enthusiasm, Gu Shenwei asked and obtained permission to go back to Southern Jade City to investigate the situation. He took Lotus away.
Shangguan Ru was absent-minded, but Wild Horse and others knew that Servant Huan and Lotus were deserting Tenth Gongzi, their behaviour tantamount to betrayal.
In fact, Gu Shenwei had secretly gone to meet Shangguan Fei again, to convince the other side of his loyalty. Shangguan Ru might have another chance to resurrect, but Gu Shenwei didn’t want to bet his life on one person.
Golden Roc Castle was a castle of betrayal, and every stone bore its mark. Gu Shenwei was not at all ashamed of his behaviour. The fact that the Shangguan family forced their killers to be loyal was just because loyalty was a very rare quality.
It was a consistent principle of Golden Roc Castle that if it could not obtain loyalty of the spirit, it would seize loyalty physically.
The first thing Gu Shenwei and Lotus did after they returned to Southern Jade City was to reforge the sword in the Blacksmith Village. They then rented two rooms in the backyard of the southwall tavern. Although Tavernkeeper Lü had joined Shangguan Fei like the others, he didn’t dare to slight the two killers. He had made up his mind that he would never take part in the fight between killers again.
The brothel of the siblings of the Xu family was the only brothel that hadn’t fallen to either forces. The two of them were still under the protection of Yang Huan, which was tacitly approved by Shangguan Fei.
Five days later, the newly forged sword was sent back. Xu Xiaoyi also brought back the information Brother Huan wanted.
Gu Shenwei didn’t come to Southern Jade City to revive the Kun Society, nor was he seeking the service of the ninth young lord and Tenth Gongzi. He had other purposes.
Although the war between the Kun and Qiu Society was over, there were still several doubts left. Others had already forgotten about them, but Gu Shenwei bore them in mind constantly. The assassin who had tried to assassinate Ye Silang had not been exposed yet, and the reminder Immortal Peng had passed to him through Xu Xiaoyi was baffling.
Ye Silang and Chu Yangjun were Immortal Peng’s disciples, but they had not received any help from their master.
According to Xu Xiaoyi’s information, Immortal Peng was a very strange figure. Everyone in Southern Jade City knew his name, but no one knew anything detailed about him. Everything was contradictory. On the topic of his age alone, there were seven or eight popular claims, ranging from sixty to two hundred years old.
He seemed to have been born along City View Alley, and never left that place since. Some people stated that Immortal Peng was a foreigner, who came to Jade City and built the City View Alley.
Immortal Peng’s profession was fortune-telling, but he seldom showed up himself. The Essence Pavilion had raised many strange people, and every day several of them would be enlightened by the immortal and suddenly gain the ability to tell one’s past and future, and walked upstairs to tell fortunes for the guests in queue. The words they said were not their own; they were all mere mouthpieces for Immortal Peng. Additionally they would lose their ability the next day, and a new batch of people would come upstairs the next day.
Very few people knew that Immortal Peng knew martial arts, not to mention him being the Master of Ye Silang and Chu Yangjun. Gu Shenwei was also suspicious about this. Maybe he was wrong, but he thought that the one who taught the two swordsmanships might have been someone else.
Although Xu Xiaoyi had gone upstairs before, he also didn’t see Immortal Peng’s true face. But like the others, he was in awe of that fortune-telling experience, describing it as, “He is a living immortal. He knows everything, even the things you’ve almost forgotten.”
“Really? What did he say about my past?” Gu Shenwei didn’t believe such things. He would only admire Immortal Peng if he could know the true identity of Servant Huan.
“Uhh, Immortal Peng didn’t say anything about your past. He only told me my past and your future.”
“He said that I could kill two swordsmen?”
“The immortal will not speak so clearly. What he said was that ‘You’ll lose if you compete in swordsmanship, but you’ll win if you compete in killing’. He also said that ‘Being emotionless is better than being passionate because although it’s easier to learn to be passionate, it’s harder to reach the peak. Being emotionless …You know, you know. ”
It had been a long time and Xu Xiaoyi had already forgotten the words, “But he was right about my past, as he said I was destined to kill my elders …”
Gu Shenwei sent Xu Xiaoyi away and talked with Lotus about this Immortal Peng who had come from nowhere.
“Could that assassin in the Rouge Forest be this Immortal Peng? He didn’t seem to care much about his disciples and somehow hoped that I could kill them.”
Gu Shenwei made his speculations first. Now that swordsmanship was his most reliable means of revenge, he must know the details of the other sword techniques experts.
“I think he’s expecting for you to find him.”
Lotus obviously felt that something was amiss, and this might be another trap Servant Huan would have to face.
Gu Shenwei was perfectly capable of ignoring this Immortal Peng. Although it was impossible for him to kill off all of his enemies with his current skill, it was easy for him to kill some of his key enemies in secret.
Immortal Peng didn’t interfere with the teenager’s revenge. Maybe the mysterious fortune-teller just wanted to use the battle between the Kun and Qiu Society to achieve his own purpose, which he would have after his two disciples died.
There’s no need to find trouble. This was the only thought in Gu Shenwei’s mind when he put on his black clothes, covered his face, and headed for City View Alley that night.