Chapter 220 Secret of the Inner Chamber
The fight between Gu Shenwei and the two attackers was very short and hadn’t attracted the attention of the patrolmen. The Governor’s office didn’t seem like it had been affected by the assassination last night.
It was just that five black-robed killers had appeared at the Kun Society when it was almost dawn.
Shangguan Ru, who was pallid and listless, leaned against the door. Behind her were Lotus and Servant Huan. “What’s the matter?” She asked.
“Just a trivial thing to check with Liuhua and Servant Huan.”
“Since it’s a trifle, do not come disturb me.”
The killer who said the words looked embarrassed. “Well, it’s not that small. Someone was trying to kill an important person in Northern Jade City, and we want …”
“This issue is too big, and must have nothing to do with my people.”
“Well … we’re just following the orders.”
“Certainly not my orders.”
“Uh, Liuhua and Servant Huan didn’t leave the Kun Society, did they?”
Shangguan Ru sent away the Golden Roc killers in a very tough manner before her body softened and fell into Lotus’s arms.
Very few people knew that Shangguan Ru and Liuhua had been ‘evil possessed’ for the second time. Unlike the last time, this episode lasted much longer. For three straight days, the two could only lie in bed, so weak that they were even unable to get off the ground without the help of others.
Gu Shenwei and Lotus couldn’t do anything, and nor could they ask for a doctor. They could only wait. On the other hand, the opportunity to return to the castle to steal the Daoless Scroll had finally come. Perhaps it was their only chance because fall and winter were coming and the two’s three-year deadline wasn’t far off.
Gu Shenwei was still obsessed with the idea of assassinating Wei Song and questioning him about why he had helped slaughter the Gu family, and he also wanted to find out whether or not Liuhua was the man who had saved him. But he had no choice but to abandon all these plans for the time being, for the Governor’s office was heavily guarded and there was no point in breaking in. He could only quietly retreat in the face of difficulties.
Shangguan Ru secretly returned to the castle, and even her brother Shangguan Fei didn’t know it.
Gu Shenwei falsely claimed that Big Head God had sent more gifts for him to deliver. He and Lotus escorted a carriage and sent Tenth Gongzi to the eighth young lord’s courtyard. For the next few days, Shangguan Ru had actually been living with Luo Ningcha.
It was a difficult compromise, and it took a lot of effort on Gu Shenwei’s part to make it work.
The first difficulty was Shangguan Ru. She would rather die than be laughed at by others for returning to the castle ahead of time. But Gu Shenwei had already passed the news to the inner chamber, and Madam Meng had sent her most trusted maidservant to ask her daughter to return to the castle, even saying that she would come down the mountain to greet her personally. Shangguan Ru could only consent.
Gu Shenwei had gone up the mountain with the maidservant to meet Madam Meng, and proposed the secret return plan, which was agreed.
The next major difficulty lay in persuading Miss Luo Ningcha, who had no affection for Madam Meng and the twins and naturally didn’t agree to help. Gu Shenwei spent a whole afternoon talking about the importance of knowing when to yield and when not to, and the benefit of this compromise to the Miss. “It’s better to not let the enemy always guard against you, the best time to attack is when the other side lowers their vigilance.”
“Why do I feel that everything you ask me to do is good for you but may not be good for me?” Luo Ningcha was almost convinced, but she was much smarter than before and could see some of the hidden truth now.
“Miss, please. If I take your side openly, I wouldn’t be of any use to Miss. I have to protect myself first before I can do anything for Miss.”
“Hmph, you’re taking advantage of me anyway. Xue Niang was right, you’re a sinister and sly bastard. All right, I’m in. But you have to give me a chance to use you.”
“Any time, I am the narrow sabre in Miss’s hand.”
No one could have imagined that Shangguan Ru would be hiding beside the eighth young mistress, not even those few close maidservants of Madam Meng.
Luo Ningcha summoned Servant Huan and Lotus in the name of preparing gifts for her father and husband. Lotus served Shangguan Ru, while Gu Shenwei worked as the killer guarding the yard.
Although Liuhua also had an ‘evil possession’ episode, he was much less important. Amongst the three killers, only he remained in the Kun Society in Southern Jade City and continued protecting the non-existent Tenth Gongzi and helped handle daily affairs for her.
On the first night back to the castle, Lotus accompanied Shangguan Ru into the inner chamber to secretly meet Madam Meng.
Whereas, in the eighth young lord’s courtyard, Luo Ningcha summoned Servant Huan and immediately ordered the maidservants to put him into torture. “Pull his ear, do not be soft-hearted.”
As one of the maidservants, Xu Yanwei seemed to know the Miss very well now. She came up to Gu Shenwei and lightly grabbed his ear before she immediately asked for forgiveness, saying, “Miss, Servant Huan is a killer. I’m a little scared.”
After all the irrelevant people left, Luo Ningcha smashed a few teacups as usual, appearing to be in a very bad mood. “You audacious dog slave, what did you take me for? How dare you order and use me?”
Gu Shenwei didn’t understand why the Miss was furious. She had agreed to keep Shanguan Ru by her side; could it be possible that she regretted it? “Miss, no one under the heavens dares to order you around.”
“It’s you. You’re the one who keeps telling me what to do and doesn’t even listen when I’m done. And I’m still waiting for you to make a decision.”
Gu Shenwei now realized that the Miss’s displeasure had nothing to do with Shangguan Ru. “Miss has found Madam Meng’s secret?”
“Hee hee, the old woman thinks I’m stupid, but I’m going to surprise her.”
The way Luo Ningcha addressed Madam Meng changed again. Gu Shenwei listened quietly and didn’t interrupt her, but the Miss was displeased again. “You have to ask me, or how can I be interested in going on?”
“Yes, Miss, what have you found that will surprise Madam Meng?”
“Don’t worry. Just hear me out.” Luo Ningcha appeared to be very proud of herself. She sipped some tea and paused for a while. There were always many tea sets near her, and Tsui Nü would replace the broken ones as soon she heard the smashing sound.
“Come on, Miss, I can’t wait to hear it.” Gu Shenwei was absent-minded. His mind was fully occupied by the idea of how to extract the secret manual of Daoless Scroll from the guardian of the Liusha Temple.
“There’s a woman surnamed Tong around the old woman, do you know her?”
“I seem to have seen her before.”
“Well, she’s in my service now, voluntarily.”
Gu Shenwei was really taken aback. There were several people around Madam Meng who were brought from her parents’ family and were greatly favoured and trusted by her. The twins had called one of them ‘Aunt Tong’. It was exactly this Aunt Tong who had once run back and forth trying to rescue Shangguan Ru and several others when they were blocked in the room by Guo Xiansheng. She was obviously a confidant of Madam Meng. 1
“It’s that …”
“Right, it’s her. There’s only one person surnamed Tong by the old woman’s side. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
“How come?” Gu Shenwei thought fast and suddenly recalled that this Aunt Tong hadn’t stayed with Madam Meng in the process of killing the big young lord, which was really strange.
Luo Ningcha became more elated after successfully arousing the curiosity of Servant Huan, and wished that she could drag Servant Huan to her side and tell him everything in the most mysterious tone. “The woman surnamed Tong was pregnant, but had an abortion because of the old woman. She was even told to sweep the floor, so she hated the old woman to death. She said that I was the only one in the castle who could stand up to the old woman, so she was willing to serve me.”
“Could it be a Battered-Body Trick?”
“Do you think I didn’t think of that? I’ve asked around, and the pregnancy was real. Her belly was getting big. Many people saw it.”
This Aunt Tong was really daring, how dare she do such a thing in the castle? Gu Shenwei even felt that Madam Meng’s anger was justified. “Who’s the baby’s father?”
“Haha, even you can’t figure it out sometimes. Whose else can it be? Does anyone else want to die?”
“King Lord!” Gu Shenwei cried out in a low voice.
This was the effect Luo Ningcha had been longing for. She had tried to say it several times before but hadn’t had a chance. The joy of the moment was too great for words to express that she finally couldn’t help but stand up and walk to the lattice wall. “Come over here.”
Gu Shenwei walked over, but immediately held his breath and stood sideways to the wooden wall after smelling a delicate fragrance.
Luo Ningcha was about to speak before she turned around and blocked the maidservant Tsui Nü’s ears. She was careless and forgot about it just now. Then she whispered, “King Lord is a lecher. In order to keep her position, the old woman has offered all the women around her. She even asks her parents’ family to send beauties regularly. However, if anyone gets pregnant, she will force them to have a miscarriage, and sometimes she will even kill the mother and baby.”
Luo Ningcha excitedly talked about the miserable experiences of the women in the inner chamber, her voice full of uncontrollable exhilaration.
Gu Shenwei suddenly came to understand why the Meng family would buy little female slaves every year and why rumours said that those female slaves couldn’t live long. They had actually been sent to the castle. Madam Meng really spared no effort to ensure that the twins were the last two children of the Unique King.
But he wasn’t as excited as Luo Ningcha because the matter was of little use to his revenge cause. Even if it spread out, it would have little effect on the reputation of the Unique King. Shangguan Fa was one of the overlords in the Western Regions, and no one dared to meddle in his affairs even he openly claimed that he was a lecher.
“So … Miss asked Big Head God to send those slave girls?”
There were twenty slave girls amongst all the gifts Big Head God had sent, and Xu Yanwei was one of them.
“You finally got it. The old woman can send women, so why can’t I? The old woman doesn’t want King Lord to have any more children, so I have to make the women of my side have a lot of children.”
Gu Shenwei was surprised and amused. The news Luo Ningcha had found was beyond his expectations, but the idea she came up with was too childish. Even if she had the belles of the Western Regions, she had no way of letting them come into contact with the Unique King as long as Madam Meng was still alive, not to mention making them have children for the Lord of the castle.
“Don’t be rash in this matter, Miss.”
Luo Ningcha banged her fist on the wooden wall. “Cautious, cautious, when can I stop being cautious? Since I have the old woman’s daughter in my hand, I will make good use of it.”
Gu Shenwei stopped persuading her. For Luo Ningcha, there were indeed not too many opportunities left. Big Head God was facing the treachery of his son-in-law and the secret plot of the Central Plains. Once he collapsed, Luo Ningcha would immediately fall from the clouds into the muds, and it was hard to tell whether she would be able to keep her life or not.
Gu Shenwei decided to stay away as far as possible from this woman to avoid himself being related to her plan of offering beauties.
“By the way, that Wan Nü you sent last time is really good. She really helped me a lot. What was she used to do? She seems to know how to make men happy.”
Wan Nü was Xu Yanwei’s new name at the castle. Although Luo Ningcha said that she didn’t look to be a ‘decent person’ the first time they met, it was just a casual remark and she didn’t actually see through her true identity.
“Prostitute.” Gu Shenwei didn’t intend to conceal it.
“Oh.” Luo Ningcha didn’t get angry, her reply seemed to have the meaning of ‘so this is what a prostitute looks like’.
“Has Miss found out anything about King Lord’s illness?” After listening for a long time, this was the only issue that Gu Shenwei cared about.
“No, it won’t be that quick. But King Lord is indeed much more secluded than he used to be. It’s been several months and very few people have seen him.”
It was as if someone had said an incantation, and as soon as Luo Ningcha finished, a maidservant said outside, “Someone from the inner chamber has come to see Servant Huan.”
“What is the matter?” Luo Ningcha was still waiting for Servant Huan’s advice, so she was very displeased at the interruption.
“King Lord wants to meet him.”
The Unique King had actually summoned an average killer. In Gu Shenwei’s impression, this has never happened before.
- Translator’s note: I’ve mistakenly put ‘Aunt Tong’ as ‘Aunt Dong’ in previous chapters. ↩