Chapter 196 Rupture
There were only three people in the room: Shangguan Fei, Guan Houlin, and the killer Yang Huan.
Shangguan Fei was too timid to go to Southern Jade City, but he was used to life in the castle and had no fear of the killer who used to be a servant. He could have never imagined that Servant Huan held a killing intent towards him in his heart.
“How dare you?” Standing beside the tall ‘strategist’, Shangguan Fei stooped to look at Servant Huan, which made him appear shorter.
“I don’t get what you mean, ninth young lord.” Gu Shenwei appeared calm and quickly stood up after kneeling, no longer as respectful as before.
Shangguan Fei was obviously unprepared for Servant Huan’s insolence. He blushed and struggled to find words to express his indignation and fury. He took one step back instead and pushed forward Guan Houlin with one hand, as if he would hide behind the body at any time. “You watched the Qiu Society fail on purpose so you could buy off my strategist. Isn’t this true?”
“My intentions were good, but Strategist Guan seemed frightened at that time.”
“Bullshit!” Guan Houlin’s voice was directly proportional to his figure. It was so loud that Shangguan Fei frowned slightly and then revealed an expression of approval and admiration. He needed such a flunkey who had mediocre martial arts skills and was not very smart but had the courage and boldness he lacked. Guan Houlin took a step forward and said righteously and indignantly as if he had been greatly insulted, “You scumbag! I’ve never been afraid. You are daydreaming thinking you can bribe me.”
“How dare you come to see me?” Shangguan Fei drew some courage from the giant and took one step forward. “You’re a traitor yourself, so you want everyone to be like you. I will punish you, by telling my sister the truth. Heh heh, actually I really have to thank you. If you didn’t come to me beg for forgiveness, I would not have thought that that was the best time to kill Yu Gongzi. A flash of inspiration, this is called a sudden flash of inspiration, my sister would love to hear this.”
Shangguan Fei’s eyes flickered with the light. The thought of tormenting his sister and forcing her to suffer made him as happy as if he were flying into the sky.
“It’s better not to.” Gu Shenwei was still calm but his calmness could be easily taken as weakness and timidity.
“Huh, did you hear that? ‘It’s better not to.’ This dog slave is threatening me.” Shangguan Fei laughed like he had just heard a joke. Guan Houlin solemnly nodded to express approval and respect for the lord’s reaction. “I spared my sister once and didn’t kill her in the brothel. I also didn’t eradicate the Kun Society when she entered Southern Jade City. I have fulfilled all my obligations as a brother, but she didn’t give up and she even wanted to poach my man. It’s time to teach her a lesson.”
Shangguan Fei exaggerated his favour. The ones who accompanied him to rescue Meng Fifth Gongzi at Xu Yanwei’s house were killers from the castle. No one dared to kill Tenth Gongzi under their nose. When Shangguan Ru traded back for the Kun Society and commanded it herself at Southern Jade City, he would have to pay a huge price if he wanted to kill her, not to mention the possibility of failure because Shangguan Ru could escape back to Northern Jade City at any time.
Shangguan Fei always waited for the best time to make a move. RIght now the most important target for him was Tuo Nengya, not Shangguan Ru and her Kun Society.
“Ninth young lord, you really disappoint me. If you continue to act like this, I shall have to report to Madam.”
Shangguan Fei almost laughed to the point of being breathless. Servant Huan’s formal tone made him appear quite serious about what he had said, but the ninth young lord was no longer a child. “Idiot, mother wants us to be as ruthless as we could be. As she said, everyone in the castle is an enemy. People of the Shangguan family develop the highest martial arts skills and smartest minds through killing each other. Of course, she hopes that my sister and I can work together to fight against external enemies, but that’s a contradiction born from her petty kindness. Go report you minion, see who else can manage me from now on.”
Gu Shenwei patiently listened until the ninth young lord finished his ‘declaration’. “Madam wants you to be as ruthless as you can. That means she wants you to be a real man, not that she wants you to ‘like’ men.”
Shangguan Fei didn’t expect Servant Huan would threaten him with such a thing. His face turned as red as blood, and his anger flared up, immediately burning away his caution. He drew his wooden sabre and pointed it at the daring minion, yelling, “You bastard, you’ve crossed the line. There are some things a servant can’t say or even think about.”
“What the living servant dares not say, the dying servant dares.”
Servant Huan’s attitude had crossed the most basic line of a lord and a servant, and couldn’t even be accepted by Guan Houlin. Guan Houlin stood in front of his lord and used his burly body to oppress the disrespectful servant, his fists creaking. “A dead servant can’t do anything, let alone talk nonsense to the Madam.”
Shangguan Fei seemed to have figured something out. He stuck out his head from behind the strategist and said, “Go snitch on me, you dog slave. I’m not afraid. I’m a young lord of Golden Roc Castle and I can like anything. I’ve raised a boy toy, and so what? Who doesn’t raise one or two amongst the gongzis in Northern Jade City? People of the Meng family are no strangers to such things. You want me to crash and burn, dream on! Not even a hair of mine will be hurt even if you die.”
Gu Shenwei sighed and knew that he had disturbed the hornet’s nest. But he didn’t care, he would be happier if the hornets filled all of Jade City. “There’s nothing wrong with having a toyboy, but being a toyboy is something different. The gongzis of Northern Jade City seem to have no such appetite.”
Gu Shenwei launched a deadly blow. It was the head of the teahouse of the Essence Pavilion who had reminded him. That remark, ‘Ninth young lord will not like people like us’, might have only been a casual comment from Tang Ji, but it caused Gu Shenwei to consider the matter from a different angle.
He made a guess, which he thought was the only possibility and was immediately confirmed. Shangguan Fei might be very clever, but not to the point of keeping his countenance upon hearing unpleasant news.
“You betrayed me?!” Shangguan Fei’s voice was full of grief and indignation and his eyes were not on Servant Huan, but on the strategist Guan Houlin instead.
Guan Houlin was even more flustered than his lord. He shrank down almost to Shangguan Fei’s height, stuck out his hands, and said with a begging tone, “No no no, it’s not me, it must have been someone else. I’ve kept my mouth shut …”
The ninth young lord and the strategist staged a tragic comedy, full of criticism, sadness, despair and pain. Having no intention to continue watching, Gu Shenwei turned and left.
“I will kill you!” Shangguan Fei’s howling could even be heard at the gate. No one knew whether this ‘you’ meant Servant Huan or the strategist.
Gu Shenwei broke away openly with one of the Shangguan family’s lords. The two held each other’s secrets now. The temporary balance between the two was even weaker than the cobweb in the rain.
Back at the Kun Society, Gu Shenwei went to meet Shangguan Ru alone and elaborated on his plan in detail.
Shangguan Ru was pleased that the crisis caused by Immortal Peng’s death had been quickly solved, but she was a little worried about Servant Huan’s plan. “You’re sure? We can’t fool him anymore if we act rashly and alert him.”
“It’s not going to get any better if we wait any longer. Let’s take a risk.”
As she looked at Servant Huan, Shangguan Ru somehow had a strange feeling from nowhere, as if the lovely pet she had grown since she was little had suddenly grown into a beast with sharp fangs and claws.
When she was determined to avenge Yu Gongzi, none of the killers or servants dared to support her idea openly. Everyone was afraid and tried to avoid becoming a victim of the twins. Even Wild Horse, who had feelings towards Yu Gongzi, was very inactive and seemed to want to forget the sad things of the past.
Only this Servant Huan joined in with great enthusiasm and drew up a plan to lure the snake out of its hole in just a few days.
The scene of galloping on the walls of the castle as a child appeared in Shangguan Ru’s mind. She slowly sat down and seemed to discover the truth for the first time: she had entered the world of the adults as a fourteen-year-old teenage girl. She used to practise killing in games, but now killing was the game.
“Go ahead, let’s put an end to it.”
Gu Shenwei left as commanded. He was anxious to get revenge and unable to carefully conceal himself as he used to. The deadline of the Qi deviation was going to take place this year, and he had to act as soon as possible.
He took Lotus away and also went to the brothel to call Chu Nanping. From that day on, he decided to stop acting alone.
Xu Xiaoyi forgave his ‘good friend’. In fact, he was very happy about Chu Nanping’s arrival. He brought out a lot of delicious food and made detailed inquiries about the emotionless swordsmanship. He questioned when he heard that one must kill ‘someone one didn’t want to kill’ to break through the fourth level.
Xu Xiaoyi didn’t know martial arts, so his questions were naturally random. Chu Nanping, however, took it seriously and refuted them point by point to prove the necessity of killing his best friend. “I’m waiting for Yang Huan. As long as he’s willing to continue practising it, I will kill you.”
By the time Gu Shenwei arrived, the dispute between the two wasn’t over yet. With his forehead dripping with sweat, Xu Xiaoyi wanted to cheat. “No no, the last person you want to kill must be yourself. Can you master the sword techniques by killing yourself? You can’t master it by killing yourself, or killing me.”
Chu Nanping couldn’t think of any words to refute that for the time being. He filled his mouth with cake and grabbed his sword, ready to ‘protect’ his dual cultivator. “You have a point, and I’ll think about it. But the swordsmanship isn’t wrong. I will prove it to you.”
When he walked out of the brothel, Chu Nanping held out a hand and said, “I agree.”
“To be your protector.”
Gu Shenwei wasn’t as serious as the other side. He gripped Chu Nanping’s wrist and shook once before saying, “The deal is nonbinding. You can leave at any time.”
“No, I won’t leave before I reach the seventh level and can kill you.”
Gu Shenwei smiled. His life had been taken away by Xue Niang in advance, and there were still many people covetously eyeing it. Perhaps this little swordsman would never have a chance to make a move.
The three of them went to the Rouge Forest after nightfall. Lotus hid her traces, and Chu Nanping followed ten steps behind Gu Shenwei while carrying the long sword in his arms and warily watching the passing sabremen.
The Rouge Forest wasn’t cold and cheerless even at night. Bonfires crackled and the Bloody Sabre Convention went on as usual. The homeless sabremen would wager on their fellow men, hoping to double their silver.
Gu Shenwei walked around the forest and watched the sabremen compete for a while, but didn’t bet. Then he appeared tired and went deep into the woods and sat down to rest under a big tree.
The Bloody Sabre Convention ended after midnight. One sabremen in black came over and stood under a tree opposite to Gu Shenwei. “Tenth Gongzi let you come?”
“Yes. She and you have a mutual enemy, and both of you want to draw him out.”
The old sabreman Tuo Nengya was silent for a moment before he asked, “She has the determination to kill her own brother?”
“She’s a man of the Shangguan family.” Gu Shenwei thought that this said it all.
“Do you have any ideas?”
“Lure the snake out of its hole. But we need a bait, and it’s your head.”
Gu Shenwei drew his sword.