Chapter 180 Returning to the Castle
This is so unlike me, a voice in his mind reminded the teenage killer. He never should have been so careless as to enter an unknown place alone, nor been so gullible as to take every word of the other side as a kindness.
“But you have conditions,” Gu Shenwei questioned closely after Immortal Peng said ‘I can’.
“I have no conditions. I can remove the Desolate Finger Energy. I can also instruct your swordsmanship, and help the emotionless sword, murderous sword, and killing sword develop to a higher stage. I just want to see the end result.”
The one who spoke was a young man but for some reason, Gu Shenwei could only picture a greedy old man in his mind, one whose eyes were dull and feverish, mouth constantly salivating, and with thin and long hands that stretched out slowly …
Gu Shenwei retreated to the window. The thirty or forty odd-shaped people turned around to look at him, but no one tried to stop him.
The fear burst forth like a spring. The killer let out a shout and jumped out of the small window, falling onto a heap of dirty snow. He rolled over, clambered up, and ran away desperately.
“He’ll be back,” The white-robed old man said coldly.
“He’ll be back,” The ugly man repeated. Then each person in the room said these words in a completely different voice, but with the same indifference.
Gu Shenwei jumped onto the high wall of City View Alley and only ran a short distance before he met Lotus. The two didn’t say anything; they just continued running until they returned to the hut they had rented at the southwall tavern. Gu Shenwei tore off his black hood, panting and shaking his head as if he had finally gotten rid of something dirty stuck to his body. It took him a moment before he said, “That guy, that Immortal Peng. He seemed to know about the Death Sutra.”
The Death Sutra was a book the golden-crowned roc had carried out from the bottomless abyss. Even the disciples of the Great Desolate Sect had never heard of it. Gu Shenwei had always believed that it would never be revealed, but Immortal Peng had seen through the killer’s swordsmanship.
The moment Gu Shenwei’s leap forward was stopped, he had seen something behind the screen. It was a head with loose hair that left the top of the head bare. Gu Shenwei didn’t notice it at that time, but he slowly realized what he had seen.
If he was right, that head was exactly the same as Ye Silang’s.
Ye Silang’s head had been brought back to the Kun Society by Servant Huan. He paid no special attention to it and didn’t expect for it to have fallen into Immortal Peng’s hands.
That head had the fatal sword wound left by Lotus. The two were too careless at that time and didn’t follow their habits of destroying the wound. Immortal Peng must have figured out something from the head.
If that was true, then Immortal Peng had sacrificed two disciples to determine what kind of swordsmanship the killer used. As he thought of this, Gu Shenwei shuddered and was stunned for a long while before he recovered.
“You’re acting a bit weird.” Lotus watched him for a while and was surprised at Servant Huan’s behaviour.
“It’s not me, it’s the Essence Pavilion and those people.”
Gu Shenwei told his story, heavily emphasizing the strange feelings he had at that time, describing it as, “I seem to … have been manipulated and unintentionally reduced my vigilance.”
“It sounds like some kind of wicked means. Is the Waning Moon Hall behind this?”
Gu Shenwei knew very well that the women of the Waning Moon Hall were good at wicked secret techniques, but Immortal Peng didn’t seem to be this kind of person. “Unlikely, Immortal Peng has lived in Jade City for many years and is famous. If he was a man of Waning Moon Hall, he wouldn’t be able to hide from the castle.”
This was something neither of the two killers knew. Gu Shenwei had already made up his mind to never return to City View Alley again. Xu Xiaoyi’s reminder that there were no normal people there at the beginning was right. Although Immortal Peng knew about the Death Sutra, it seemed that he would not reveal it easily.
The two returned to Northern Jade City at dawn. Shangguan Ru had not yet recovered from the shock; she didn’t even leave her room to listen to Servant Huan’s report.
Gu Shenwei had spent a few days doing nothing. He dwelled on Immortal Peng’s intentions for a while, then thought about how to cheer up Tenth Gongzi without arousing Shangguan Fei’s antipathy. He couldn’t let the big tree he relied on fall.
It was almost the end of February when the castle sent someone to call Servant Huan back, giving him a chance to change the situation.
The siege conducted by the allied forces of the eighth young lord and Big Head God had proceeded smoothly. After a long period of planning and baiting, a large number of men were sent out to the Gobi desert. They finally found several important strongholds of the Waning Moon Hall after the New Year, killing many of the enemies, and capturing the rest alive. These prisoners were all escorted back to Golden Roc Castle.
One of the captives seemed to be the mysterious woman Servant Huan had mentioned before, so he was summoned back to identify her.
Tenth Gongzi Shangguan Ru and several others had once been poked in the chest by the mysterious woman of Waning Moon Hall, leading to a collective fainting. Although they had been treated at the Four Noble Truths Temple and had not yet relapsed, no one was sure that they had completely recovered. Whoever started the trouble should end it. So it would be very useful if this captive really was that mysterious woman.
The prisoners were kept in the Washing Heart Yard. There were more than twenty of them, all female of various ages. Most of them were in rags with wounds crisscrossing their body. They had obviously been tortured, as their eyes were dim and unlike human beings. But there were still several people who held their heads high and measured up the livings in the room with mad eyes like hungry wolves.
These women were indeed the disciples of the Waning Moon Hall. Gu Shenwei was sure of this as soon as he saw them. Although the Great Desolate Sect and the Waning Moon Hall used to be one sect, the disciples of the Great Desolate Sect were relatively normal, while the disciples of the Waning Moon Hall were like freaks who had not been in contact with any other people since childhood, resulting in their eyes were having a look no ordinary person would have.
The executioners of the Washing Heart Yard didn’t give Gu Shenwei any clues, but he quickly found the woman they wanted him to identify.
The woman was tall. Amongst all the captives her clothes were comparatively intact and there was not much blood on her face, so Gu Shenwei could still recognize her true face.
This wasn’t that mysterious woman, although it was a dreamy glance and Gu Shenwei was still deeply impressed by her. The figure of the prisoner in front of him was very similar but she was not that beautiful. The key was that the captive’s eyes were full of the peculiar madness the disciples of the Waning Moon Hall had, but that mysterious woman’s eyes were normal, with a smile that radiated endless gentleness.
“Very similar.” Gu Shenwei stood in front of the prisoner and stared at her without blinking. “It’s been too long, and I can’t remember but they’re similar. Very similar.”
Just let Golden Roc Castle be careless for once, Gu Shenwei thought. This matter had nothing to do with him, and it was better to let Shangguan Nu make a contribution and lower the siege and suppression of the Waning Moon Hall.
“Look carefully.” The executioner wanted a more positive answer.
“Nine times out of ten I would say that it’s her, but I’ve only seen her once, so I can’t be certain.”
Gu Shenwei was sent out of the torture chamber. He heard a scream behind him before the door was closed.
Servant Huan’s task was done, but there were still a few people who wanted to see her, the first of which was Madam Meng, the mother of the twins.
Conventionally, the grown-up sons of Unique King had to leave the castle and be completely independent in the first year and seldom went back home. The fact that Shangguan Ru insisted on going down the mountain was because of this. She also didn’t want to be laughed at. So it was with Shangguan Fei. No matter how much he missed the life of the inner chamber, he couldn’t go up the mountain at will.
Madam Meng couldn’t break the rules, so Servant Huan’s return to the castle presented a very valuable opportunity.
Gu Shenwei felt a bit worried. He was one of Shangguan Ru’s most trusted killers and he was naturally responsible for the fiasco of Tenth Gongzi. Madam Meng had high expectations of her daughter, so she would not be pleased with the current situation.
To his surprise, Madam Meng showed no sign of anger. She was as amiable as a friend’s mother next door. She not only asked Servant Huan to have a seat, but also had the maidservant bring tea and cake. Both of Gu Shenwei’s hands were occupied, so even if he wanted to take one more he couldn’t.
Madam Meng was not as determined as she was a few months ago when she killed the big young lord, but now she was only the mother of the twins. She was very concerned about the lives of her children and kept asking about every detail, some of which even Gu Shenwei couldn’t answer. He could only try his best to say good things.
After chatting for nearly an hour, Madam Meng finally got to the point. She breathed out a long sigh before she said, “It’s really a pity that Yushi died. Her mother comes to me everyday. Although she doesn’t say anything, she probably hates Fei’er in her heart.”
“Yu Gongzi volunteered to be the commander at Southern Jade City, while ninth young lord was superb at strategy. Please forgive the lowly me for saying whatever I want. Since we’re killers, it’s inevitable …”
“Well, it’s true, but I watched her grow up, so how could I not be touched? Especially Ru’er. She and Yushi were like peas in a pod, of a single mind. I’m afraid that she must feel even sadder than me.”
“Tenth Gongzi is tenacious and outgoing. She will get over it.”
“I understand Ru’er’s temper, but even the high mountain needs the support of earth and stone. She can’t do it all alone, so I’m really worried …”
Gu Shenwei understood Madam Meng’s intentions now. He immediately knelt down on one leg and took the chance to free his hands, saying, “Madam, please rest assured. Since little me is a killer under Tenth Gongzi and favoured by Madam, I will repay it no matter if my body is smashed to pieces or not.”
“You’re a good kid to have this kind of heart. Take care of Ru’er for me. She’s my lifeblood, and so is Fei’er. I can’t take it no matter who goes wrong.”
So the talk ended like this. Madam Meng didn’t make any specific requests. One of the close maidservants took Servant Huan to a side room and wrapped the cake as well as gold and silver jewellery for him to take away.
As the maidservant was working, she said without raising her head, “You must understand what Madam Meng means, don’t you?”
“Please enlighten me, sister.”
“Madam hopes for Tenth Gongzi to be good and also doesn’t want ninth young lord to feel sad. They’re twins and different from the other sisters and brothers, so how could they kill each other? Actually, the whole world is vast, and even the Jade City is not a small place. There’s no need for the two of them to only stare at the big young lord’s territory. The younger ones have grown up and needed some places to practise their ‘wings’, while the elder brothers naturally have to somehow tolerate it. Afterall, no one will starve to death. Madam didn’t say this, but my stupid brain made me think that since the young lords controlled their own countries, they would not mind the small merchants in Southern Jade City. Especially the eighth young lord, he is still busy wiping out the strongholds of Waning Moon Hall and will have a great future following Big Head God. How could he still care about the small profits in Southern Jade City? You used to be eighth young lord’s man, so why don’t you help share your lord’s worries?”
Gu Shenwei understood now. The eighth young lord Shangguan Nu used to be the ally of Madam Meng, but he was too close to Big Head God now and had aroused Madam’s suspicion. She wanted to use this method to test his reaction and also give her daughter a chance to rise again.
Killing two birds with one stone.
Gu Shenwei thanked the maidservant for her reminder. He left the silver and gold jewellery he had received behind and only took the useless cakes.
As soon as he walked out of the inner chamber, a servant who had been waiting at the door summoned Servant Huan to the eighth young lord’s courtyard, saying that the eighth young lord had sent someone to pass words to him.
Gu Shenwei wasn’t surprised at all. This was obviously Luo Ningcha’s idea.