Chapter 197 Interconnected
It was not until early in the morning that Gu Shenwei returned to the backyard of the Southwall Tavern, where there was already an anxious guest waiting in the room.
This guest, like those who wanted to conceal themselves, was wrapped in a cloak from head to toe, but his burly figure exposed his true identity. “You have to save me.”
Gu Shenwei’s room was very simple, with only a bed, a table, and two chairs. Sitting in one of the chairs, he breathed out wearily and asked, “Mm, what happened?”
Guan Houlin took a glance at the child in the corner. The child looked delicate and pretty, but he was gripping a long sword, with his head tilted listlessly and his face as expressionless as a ghost oblivious to its surroundings. All this only increased Guan Houlin’s nervousness. “I want to have a secret talk.”
“Just pretend he’s not there. He will not spread gossip around.”
“The ninth young lord wants to kill me.” Guan Houlin hesitated for a moment before he opened his mouth. He had been driven into a corner and actually had no other choice now.
“It’s amazing that you still got out.”
“No, the ninth young lord will want to kill me. It’s just that he hasn’t come to that decision yet. I know him, I know him better than anyone else. He will kill me, and then he will come kill you. Our destiny is the same.”
“I can’t even save myself, not to mention you.”
“You can, and only you can. You have the guts. I’ve seen many killers from the castle, including several currently serving under the ninth young lord, but none of them is as good as you. You have the guts and also the murderous heart. Others would wring their hands wasting time, but you will fight back, am I right? You would never be willing to wait for death.”
Guan Houlin talked a bit incoherently, his eyes full of expectations. He would be very disappointed if the killer Yang Huan wasn’t this type of person.
“How do you want me to save you? Help you hide somewhere or run away?”
The two were beating around the bush and no one wanted to mention it first. In the end, Guan Houlin couldn’t help but say, “None of those methods works; there’s only one way. Either the enemy dies or we perish.” The killer in the chair was still stoic, so Guan Houlin could only clarify further by saying, “We won’t be safe unless we kill the ninth young lord.”
“First, it’s impossible to kill him. Second, killing him will make us less secure, because the ninth young lord is the son of the Unique King.”
Seeing that the killer was still not getting the point, Guan Houlin was really anxious now. “Yes, that’s why we have to use Tenth Gongzi. Tenth Gongzi also wants revenge, right? It will be an internal fight of the Shangguan family and have nothing to do with us.”
Gu Shenwei’s left hand was on his knee, his right hand holding the sword hilt, and his eyes gloomy and grim. His postured made Guan Houlin feel nervous and uneasy, and he thought that he had said something wrong when Gu Shenwei replied, “Go on, what do you have in mind?”
Guan Houlin sighed with relief. “Uh, I have an idea. That Tuo Nengya, Boss Tuo, the ninth young lord fears him the most. The ninth young lord is very angry that we’ve failed to capture him several times. If we can find him, the ninth young lord will surely take someone to kill him in person. By that time …”
“Hmm, the key is finding this Tuo Nengya. You guys have spent months searching but still have found no traces of him.”
“We know that he’s been hiding in City View Alley seeking information. The sabremen dared not enter City View Alley when Immortal Peng was alive. But now that he is dead, the current Immortal Peng can’t suppress all the people. We’d better make a move as soon as possible and not let the ninth young lord get ahead of us.”
Gu Shenwei kept silent for a while to assess the other party’s sincerity before he opened his mouth and said, “Tuo Nengya is no longer at City View Alley.”
“You’ve found him?” Guan Houlin’s eyes lit up.
“Then my plan …?”
“Wait for my news. I have to talk with Tenth Gongzi first.”
“You’d better hurry, as I don’t know if I can live past today or not.”
“You have to take a risk. Go back to the ninth young lord and come see me tonight at the second night watch period. I have a message for you to pass to the ninth young lord.”
Guan Houlin obviously didn’t have much confidence in his future. He opened his mouth and wanted to continue persuading, but stopped halfway. He donned his cloak and took his leave before saying, “You yourself also be careful. Now, the person the ninth young lord hates the most is you.”
Gu Shenwei nodded and watched Guan Houlin leave.
“He’s very afraid.” Chu Nanping in the corner suddenly said. This unworldly child rarely noticed the moods of other people.
“He’s very afraid, because he will die if he fails to deceive me.”
Gu Shenwei stood up and paced back and forth a few times, adding the appearance of Guan Houlin to his plan. Then he called Lotus on the next door to go to see Tenth Gongzi together.
Shangguan Ru also thought Guan Houlin was using the Battered-Body Trick. “He wants to use us to find out Tuo Nengya, then mercilessly humiliate me again.” As soon as she thought about the situation calmly, she could clearly see what her brother was up to.
“We can outwit him at his own trick.”
After they finished discussing the matter, Gu Shenwei left the Kun Society and returned to sit at the Southwall Tavern for a while. Since Immortal Peng had ‘resurrected’, Tavernkeeper Lü didn’t care about the killer’s appearance. He personally brought a glass of red wine and enthusiastically greeted Lord Yang, probably in an attempt to make up for his previous attitude.
Gu Shenwei didn’t drink, just simply staring at the red wine. The blood-like liquid could calm his mind.
Tavernkeeper Lü introduced several guests to meet the killer. They could order a few cups of wine at the right price and put them on Lord Yang’s tab as long as they provided some information.
The cutters of the Qiu Society went to sweep up the Rouge Forest in the early morning. They just had a few quarrels and left without too much severe conflict. Meanwhile, the Qiu Society was also expanding its efforts to recruit more sabremen, and the stingy ninth young lord was generous this time and offered generous treatment without a quota. He seemed to want to gather all the wandering sabremen of Southern Jade City in the Qiu Society.
The strange thing was that those sabremen, who used to only move for money, became aloof from silver temptation and many of them didn’t accept the Qiu Society’s offer. And those who had already been tempted were threatened there and then. There had been a number of fights because of this but no deaths so far. Southern Jade City, however, was getting tense.
Xu Xiaoyi also came to the tavern. The brothel had been harassed by a group of sabremen who broke in, did a random search without a word, and just left.
With Brother Huan’s permission, Xu Xiaoyi took Chu Nanping away. He wanted the little swordsman to see his ability in inquiring information.
Many people, again, felt the impending fight between the Kun and Qiu Society.
Gu Shenwei went to see Tenth Gongzi again, because there was one thing he didn’t understand. “Who is agitating the sabremen for not joining the Qiu Society?”
“Wild Horse.” Shangguan Ru gave the name but didn’t explain any further. Wild Horse was not on good terms with Servant Huan and had even tried to assassinate him. So she assigned the two completely different tasks, not even letting them meet.
Gu Shenwei understood that Wild Horse was best suited for this sort of thing. This mute teenager was born with a strange charisma, which had already been proven during the slaughter amongst the disciples at the castle. He must have won a lot of followers among the sabremen of Southern Jade City, and the only thing he probably needed was a sharp-tongued interpreter.
The fact that Shangguan Ru didn’t reveal her entire plan made Gu Shenwei a bit alert. He knew very clearly that everyone had their own plans and everyone wanted to take advantage of others, because that was what he himself was doing.
Gu Shenwei made a special inquiry after he went back to the tavern. It turned out that not many people had heard of the name Wild Horse, not to mention seeing a teenager with far apart eyes. Even Xu Xiaoyi, who called himself a know-it-all, knew nothing about Wild Horse.
Wild Horse hid himself well.
Xu Xiaoyi wandered around and came back with important information. “The Qiu Society bought a house near the checkpoint under the guise of a group of merchants who claimed to be having fun at Southern Jade City, but all the people who live in it are actually sabremen.”
“Is the news accurate?”
“Of course.” Xu Xiaoyi opened his eyes wide as if he had been humiliated. “Xiao Chu (Chu Nanping) and I have checked it out. We deliberately provoked a gang of kids and had a fight at the door. Someone came out to drive us away, and Xiao Chu exchanged moves with one of them.”
Chu Nanping nodded. Not knowingly if it was because of excitement or from running too fast, his face was flushed red. “There were fifteen people in total, and all of them knew kung fu and are not weak. Several of them are like you.”
“Killers of the castle, all very young.” Xu Xiaoyi explained.
At the second night watch period, Guan Houlin came as promised, appearing more restless than yesterday. Shaking back and forth, he was like a bear trapped in the cage and couldn’t wait to crash the house.
“What do you think? I can’t wait any longer. I’ll be dismembered in two days.”
“Ok, we’ll act according to your plan to lure the ninth young lord out of Northern Jade City with Tuo Nengya. But, there’s a problem.”
“What’s the problem?”
“Tuo Nengya is dead.”
Gu Shenwei picked up a wooden box from the floor and put it on the table.
Guan Houlin approached and looked it carefully. Right, that was the famous Boss Tuo for sure. He had seen this senior when he was only an average sabreman and he would definitely not be mistaken.
“I killed him the night before yesterday. I was going to use his head to gain the trust of the ninth young lord, but your plan is better.”
“But he’s dead.”
“Use a counterfeit instead. Go back and tell the ninth young lord that Tenth Gongzi is going to discuss allying with Tuo Nengya at the fifth night watch period on the day after tomorrow. She will meet him in the wilderness outside the peach grove of the Gui Garden without bringing many people. That’s an open area and the only place people can hide is the peach grove. The only thing you have to do is instigate the ninth young lord to lurk there.”
“How am I going to explain the source of the message?”
“Tell him I offered it.”
“Mm, I’m loyal to Tenth Gongzi, but I also don’t want to have a feud with the ninth young lord. That’s because I have to take responsibility if either of them has an accident. Just tell him this. After all, someone will always find out you’ve come to see me.”
Guan Houlin nodded, “So that’s it.”
In the next room, Shangguan Ru and Lotus were waiting.
“Will he be fooled?” Shangguan Ru wasn’t as sure as she was at the beginning of the plan.
“It’s hard to say. The ninth young lord will know the so-called negotiation is a trap and will also know that Tuo Nengya’s head is fake. He will take advantage of this opportunity to wipe out Tuo Nengya and the Kun Society.”
It took a lot of time to create a realistic head and because of this Gu Shenwei didn’t reply to Guan Houlin at that time but asked to meet him tonight instead. He needed this trick to make the ninth young lord believe that Tuo Nengya had really joined forces with Tenth Gongzi.
“So he will turn the ambush in the peach grove into a trap?”
“No, the ninth young lord knows that Guan Houlin couldn’t deceive me and I would not be fooled. So the ambush in the peach grove will be a feint and he will deliberately show a flaw to lure us into another trap which is the house near the checkpoint.”
Shangguan Ru frowned and then smiled. “Your game is so complicated. You guess and see through him, he guesses and sees through you. If it goes on like this, then that house is also a feint, and the real trap is actually in another place.”
“Maybe.” Gu Shenwei’s mind was a bit chaotic. The plot was like a whirlwind gathering momentum, its scale getting bigger and bigger. All the guesswork seemed to have offset each other.
“I don’t care where the trap of the Qiu Society is, I just want to know where he’s going to hide.”
“The ninth young lord is too timid. He won’t show up at where the fighting will take place, but he likes solving all his problems in one move, so he will direct the mission in person for sure.
Gu Shenwei’s eyes lit up. The ninth young lord was very clever, which was perhaps his biggest loophole and would actually reveal his whereabouts.