Chapter 218 Returning to the City
Gu Shenwei guessed that the seed of betrayal had probably taken root when Shangguan Fa had cut off one of his eighth son’s palms.
In the Western Regions, there was the Unique King, not a ‘Single-handed King’. Shangguan Nu, who had lost a palm, was destined to be unqualified to compete for the position of the lord of the castle. There seemed to be only two ways before him: Die in internal strife or seek a way out.
History often went repeated in circles. Shangguan Fa had ruthlessly gotten rid all of his competitors, but couldn’t play too hard against his own son. Perhaps he had already known that his eighth son’s future was doomed, and keeping him alive was just to set a target for his stronger sons.
Through those few secret words exchanged in the tent, Gu Shenwei was sure that Shangguan Nu had known Zhong Heng for a long time and had decided to defect to the Central Plains through this Patrol Commandant. This was also the part that puzzled the teenage killer. The Governor had a much higher status and Zhong Heng even had to play dead to avoid being hunted down, so why would the eighth young lord choose such a failed officer as his backer?
Everyone in Jade City had their own secrets. Gu Shenwei didn’t care much about it, and all he needed to know was that Golden Roc Castle would suffer a major blow soon and that the Central Plains would start cutting one of the Unique King’s ‘arms’.
Big Head God was an important ally of Shangguan Fa, and also one of the pillars of the castle like the Meng family of Northern Jade City. His demise would cause unrest throughout the whole Western Regions.
That was where Gu Shenwei’s chance for revenge lay.
Gu Shenwei had kept a watchful eye on Zhong Heng and Shangguan Nu and finally relaxed a bit after the escorting convoy entered the territory of Golden Roc Castle. The two had no intention of silencing him for the time being.
Gu Shenwei arrived a bit later than the rumours. The news of Wei Gongzi’s death had already spread to every corner of Jade City.
The escorting team caused a sensation before the Iron Mountain flag even entered the city gate. Hundreds of people went to watch, as the biggest suspect in the rumours was Big Head God.
“That’s the Iron Mountain’s territory.”
“Big Head God doesn’t get along well with the Governor.”
“It’s all because of money.”
Rumours raged, and the minions of the Iron Mountain almost begged the killer Yang Huan to help deliver the gifts. Without entering the city, they immediately galloped back to the camp without a halt to report the situation to Big Head God.
The closer they got to the castle, the more exaggerated the rumours became. Naturally, Golden Roc Castle was also suspected.
“Who do you think Big Head God is? A pawn of the castle. Who else could have instructed him to do such a thing?”
“It must be Tenth Gongzi. She’s really ruthless, even more formidable than the previous generations. The other side just liked her, she didn’t have to … You know, I won’t say anything else.”
After analyzing all the possibilities, everyone would add, “What a pity for those fifty beauties. It’s a great loss to Jade City. Big Head God is so cruel.”
The convoy stopped at the city gate, waiting to be checked. The gifts would then be sent to Northern Jade City by the guards. Xu Xiaoyi pushed his way through the crowd before Gu Shenwei dismounted. Seeing that Brother Huan was alone, his last hope was dashed and he couldn’t help but burst into tears. He thought that his sister might have changed her mind and come back.
Chu Nanping rarely understood his good friend’s mood, so he approached Gu Shenwei and said in a low voice, “He is very sad.”
Gu Shenwei didn’t tell the truth and also didn’t let Xu Yanwei show up. It was a matter that required strict secrecy, and he had repeatedly explained to Xu Yanwei that as she was the only one alive, she could get herself killed if she was discovered.
Gu Shenwei didn’t tell her that he would be the first one to silence her.
Back at the Kun Society, the first thing Shangguan Ru said after meeting him was, “He deserved to die.” She didn’t have the will to kill, so she was grateful to the person who had done it for her.
But she wasn’t too concerned about this matter so she heard little about the rumours. She was busy assigning tasks. “We have much more business,” Shangguan Ru said proudly. “The people are panicking and all want to hire bodyguards. That’s a good thing. If it goes on like this, I’ll be able to give you back all the silver in a year.”
Shangguan Ru seemed to be gradually regaining her former personality, but it turned out to be an illusion. Gu Shenwei found out when he met Lotus in private. “Tenth Gongzi always stares blankly at night as if she’s thinking about something. Sometimes she asks me ‘For each dead person, there’s always another person out there who is sad for them, isn’t there?’.”
But it was a good thing to persuade Tenth Gongzi to return to the castle early. All Lotus needed was an appropriate opportunity.
Gu Shenwei had brought back many secrets, but he didn’t tell Lotus. It was not that he didn’t trust her, but because he didn’t think it had anything to do with her and there was no need to get her involved.
After he escorted the gifts up the mountain, Gu Shenwei only stayed in the castle for less than a day. He immediately went down the mountain after paying a visit to Luo Ningcha. He was afraid that Madam Meng would summon him, because there were many things that he couldn’t explain clearly.
Gu Shenwei had recommended a female slave to the Miss and asked her to take care of the slave. Luo Ningcha had many words to say to her ‘plotting teacher’, but got no chance to, so she was very dissatisfied. “Where did Big Head God buy such a coquettish young girl? She doesn’t look like a decent person. Let me take care of her? Humph, I will take ‘good’ care of her.”
Gu Shenwei had already said what he needed to say. Whether Xu Yanwei could win the Miss’s favour or not relied on her own ability. She could probably learn a lot from the blind and tongueless maidservant around the Miss.
Gu Shenwei motioned for Xu Yanwei to leave, and Luo Ningcha also tacitly beckoned the other maidservants to retreat and plugged Tsui Nü’s ear.
“Tell me the truth, was that woman your … lover?”
Luo Ningcha’s voice was so stern that Gu Shenwei was a bit stunned. Arguably, the Miss was not supposed to ask such a question, and even if that woman was his lover, it had nothing to do with the Miss. “No, I brought her to the castle to make it easier to pass on messages later.”
Luo Ningcha didn’t seem very convinced, but she let it go for the time being because she had more important things to show off. “Do you know? I’ve done a lot of things these days …”
Gu Shenwei didn’t have the mood to listen to her, as he had to get down the mountain as soon as possible. “Listen to me, there’s something important you have to help me find out.”
“What is more important than what I’m going to say?” Luo Ningcha’s voice rose again.
“It’s about the King Lord.” Gu Shenwei lowered his voice.
There was a moment of silence behind the wooden wall. Luo Ningcha’s voice also lowered when she spoke again. “What happened to the King Lord?”
“There are rumours that he is ill, seriously ill, and that it has been a long time.”
“Really?” Luo Ningcha cried out, but quieted her voice right away, “No wonder the old hag surnamed Meng can shroud the inner chamber and no one cares no matter how much she goofs around. So that’s why.”
She used to call Madam Meng ‘bitch’, but now she changed it to ‘old hag’.
“It’s only a rumour, so do not tell anyone. Not even to those sent by Big Head God.”
“Of course. Do you think I don’t know the importance of secrecy? I’m telling you, I’ve got so many secrets on my mind now, I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear them …”
Gu Shenwei decided to accept the ‘shock’ in the future, so he interrupted her at once. “Try to find out if the rumour is true. Is the King Lord ill? What’s the disease? How’s his condition? These are vital for both you and Big Head God.”
Luo Ningcha’s only backer, Big Head God, was going to fall soon. Gu Shenwei had to make full use of her last period of time. The Wei family wanted to fish for information through Tenth Gongzi, but Gu Shenwei thought that it wasn’t a good idea. As for Shangguan Ru, he had other plans.
Gu Shenwei left the mountain in a hurry. Luo Ningcha became very angry for not being able to show off, and smashed a lot of porcelain. Fortunately, Big Head God had sent her more spares.
Gu Shenwei was faced with a tricky matter as soon as he returned to the Kun Society. Someone from the Governor’s Office came to urge payment of the ‘peace talisman’ again.
The new Patrol Commandant was not as tactful as Zhong Heng. He forced the Kun Society to hand over the money as soon as he arrived, and had almost rekindled Shangguan Ru’s murderous heart. Gu Shenwei persuaded her and volunteered to meet the Governor to explain the matter.
Gu Shenwei knew very clearly that it was just an excuse for the Governor to send someone for money. The money had in fact become a gift to buy off the killer Yang Huan. This lord finally wanted to see him.
The Governor’s Office wasn’t the largest and most luxurious building in Northern Jade City, but it was at the center of the city, and the street in front of it was larger than anywhere else, showing a bit of specialness.
White-faced, the Governor Lord didn’t have too much beard and wasn’t tall. Although he was wearing a civil official’s attire, his upright body made him emit a demeanour of a general who was an equally accomplished man of letters, which was quite different from his dissolute son.
Gu Shenwei didn’t raise his head and spoke after bowing to show his respect. Wei Song also kept silent for a long time. He stared at the young man not far away, as if he was measuring him up. “Two people recommended you, and both of them are dead.”
Zhong Heng and Wei Lingmiao. Gu Shenwei didn’t know how to respond, but he didn’t come here to ‘pay his respects’ to the lord, but to negotiate as equals. And this was a study, so there were no others except him and the Governor. “It’s always risky to approach a killer. Some say that people like me have the evil Qi that can infect other people.”
Wei Song smiled, but it was more like a bitter smile. “My son didn’t die of evil Qi, but of conspiracy. I want revenge, and I hope you can tell me who is the enemy.”
“It’s said to be Big Head God, but no one seems to have any proof.”
“Huh, proof. Only those who can’t avenge themselves look for proof everywhere, so that they can find an excuse for their incompetence.”
“My lord already knows who the enemy is?”
Wei Song stared at the killer, and the killer also stared back. The two looked at each other to capture the clues on each other’s faces, wanting to determine to what extent they could trust the other side.
“Lingmiao says you are not a talkative person.”
“As a killer, I never ask more than necessary.”
“Good, you’re a killer right now, and I’m hiring you to kill.”
“Yes, my lord.”
“My request is very fair. My favourite son is dead. No pain of life is greater than this. My enemy has to suffer the same pain as I do.”
Wei Song stopped for a while, and Gu Shenwei patiently waited.
“Meng Yuzun has five sons. Go kill one, any one of them will do.”
“Yes,” Gu Shenwei casually replied. He didn’t expect that Wei Song would think the Meng family was his enemy rather than the Big Head God.
The killer indeed didn’t ask more, but Wei Song couldn’t help but to add an explanation. “The Meng family wants to take back their money, thinking that they can frame others.”
The Governor’s words might be baffling to those who didn’t know it, but it was plain enough for Gu Shenwei to understand. Those gold plates of the wagons must have been built by the Meng family. Gu Shenwei appropriately showed a puzzled look, and said after Wei Song restored his calm, “It is easy to kill the people of the Meng family. What price do you want to pay, my lord?”
“Do you prefer the Central Plains or the Western Regions?”
“The Western Regions.”
“That’s good. Since you’ve got plenty of money, I can arrange an official position for you. Prime minister or general, you can take whatever you want as long as the country is under the control of the Central Plains.”
The Wei family’s money had been ravished away, and the Governor actually wanted to hire the killer with a painted cake, so Gu Shenwei naturally showed that he was unwilling to accept it.
“Believe me, you won’t be in Jade City for long. There will be a great change soon, and everyone will be affected. You will need a safe place to stay, and by that time, my promise will be worth a fortune.”
Gu Shenwei agreed, but appeared reluctant.
Gu Shenwei left the Governor’s Office. What interested him more was not the Meng family, but the Governor himself. When he saw Wei Song, he suddenly recalled that he had an impression of this lord. And that was not all of it, he had recalled something more important.
Golden Roc Castle had sent a spy to the Gu family before the slaughter. The spy’s name was Han Shiqi and he had sneaked into the Gu family mansion with a recommendation letter. Gu Shenwei couldn’t remember who had written that letter, but now the referrer’s name was clearly visible to him.