Chapter 225 Making Peace
The news that Madam Meng had reconciled with the eighth young mistress spread all over Golden Roc Castle faster than a gust of wind, and then quickly spread to Jade City at the mountain foot, causing a shock even greater than the death of the two famous gongzis.
Many people both inside and outside the castle were skeptical about the truth of the news. It was not until the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law bowed to each other openly in front of the Liu Sha Temple that people finally stopped doubting it. But it could not cease the people’s discussion, as everyone cared about one question: Who had lowered whose head to whom?
This was also what Luo Ningcha asked Servant Huan. “Make peace with her? Dream on. Other people will definitely say that I’m not her match, and I’ll have to beg for mercy.”
Gu Shenwei thought of a good reason for Luo Ningcha. “Miss, this is not compromising, but retreating for the sake of advancing …”
“Retreating for the sake of advancing? I accepted her daughter, and I also cooperated with saving people for you, what else do you want? I’ve almost retreated to the edge of the cliff, and I will fall off if I retreat anymore.”
“Miss, what’s your purpose of asking for twenty slave girls from Big Head God?”
“For … you already know. Why ask again?”
“But you have to at least let King Lord see them, or what good is keeping them? Now, the road is in Madam Meng’s hand, so you can’t get on the road without making peace with her. This is retreating for the sake of advancing.”
Luo Ningcha thought for a while and said, “Servant Huan, I know you get along pretty well with that little girl Shangguan Ru, maybe too well. What’s the matter with you two? Tell me the truth.”
Gu Shenwei didn’t expect for the Miss to suddenly change her topic. He was caught speechless for a moment before he coughed and said, “She is the lord, and I am a killer. That’s all.”
“Humph, don’t think that you are the only smart one; I’m also not a fool. I see everything clearly. What the so-called saving people and reconciliation are all the little girl’s idea, and a bunch of people is helping her achieve it. As for me, I will get nothing except for illusory fame. No, you have to tell me the truth. I want to know what you are up to.”
Gu Shenwei could only make up a story. “There is a Black Jade Palm in the Liu Sha Temple, which is said to have a secret inside …”
“A treasure map in the castle!” Luo Ningcha’s breathing rapidly intensified. She had plenty of gold and silver, but she never minded having more.
“Maybe.” Gu Shenwei could only go on with the story.
“I want half of it,” Luo Ningcha immediately establishing her terms.
“Well, I have to ask Madam Meng.” In order to make his words sound more credible, Gu Shenwei continued to lie. Luo Ningcha’s value was on its last legs, so he wasn’t afraid that she would turn hostile afterward.
The next day, Gu Shenwei said to the Miss that the treasure could only be split as forty and sixty, with the Miss taking forty percentage and Madam Meng taking the other sixty. Luo Ningcha finally agreed after carefully thinking it over.
As for Madam Meng, she would do whatever was good for her daughter. Besides, she was willing to take the opportunity to ease the tense relationship as she had never considered Luo Ningcha a serious enemy.
This was the inside story of the reconciliation between the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law.
The Liu Sha Temple was the ancestral temple of the Shangguan family, and the fact that Madam Meng and the Miss had chosen to give up their past grievances at this place was what showed their sincerity. But no matter how sincere they were, they were not allowed to enter the temple as women. So they could only burn incense and worship the ancestors at the entrance of the temple.
The women with some status in the castle were all invited, so who would miss such a good opportunity to watch some fun?
On the fourteenth of July, everyone who could move, even old women of seventy or eighty years old, came to the scene with the support of their maidservants. Over three hundred people including lords and their servants were lined up on the red steps in front of the temple based on their status. Those who didn’t have a position could only watch from afar below the steps.
Madam Meng, as always, was dignified and graceful, with a kindly smile. She held her daughter-in-law’s hand while burning incense and praying in front of the Liu Sha Stele together.
Those who thought the eighth young mistress would change her old habits were disappointed. Luo Ningcha still wore thick veils down to her waist. So, many people felt that the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law could be considered as a draw this time, and the eighth young mistress might even have a little upper hand.
In front of the Liu Sha Temple, these two women were undoubtedly the center of attention, and even those spiritual masters who controlled their passions and had few desires couldn’t help but glance at them even while standing far away. The killers guarding the temple weren’t that bold, and they basically waited outside the wall and only did a thorough search after the crowd left, finding many small items left behind like scarves and jewelry.
In this case, no one noticed that a maidservant had disappeared.
In the original plan, there would be three people eavesdropping on the chanting: Servant Huan, Lotus, and Shangguan Ru.
Shangguan Ru didn’t make it because of her mother’s strong opposition. As soon as Madam Meng heard that one had to hang over the cliff for three days and two nights, she forbade her daughter from joining the mission. “Let the killers do it, it’s their job. You are Tenth Gongzi, why would you take such a risk?”
As for Gu Shenwei, it was a bit difficult to hide in a group of women, not to mention that he was under surveillance and couldn’t act freely.
The sabrelord Shen Liang was still investigating the assassination cases in the city and hadn’t yet relaxed his vigilance towards the teenage killer in the castle. And the people of Washing Heart Yard had been watching the eighth young lord’s courtyard, so Gu Shenwei would be followed as soon as he left the gate. Taking all this into consideration, he decided to stay so as not to arouse more suspicion.
Thus, all the burden fell on Lotus alone.
While the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law were busy attracting everyone’s attention, Lotus hid herself on the cliff to the east of the Liu Sha Temple, then climbed all the way to the north of the temple, which was the blind spot. She had to hide here for three days and two nights before she could sneak under the open windows of the east or west side to write down the words while listening.
During these three days, the only safety protection measure for her was a thin rope. She had to act cautiously as no one else would help her regardless of wind, rain, thunder, or lightning.
Lotus volunteered to undertake the task, with her reason being simple and straightforward; “This is also saving my own life.”
Recording the actual words was the main problem. Paper and brush pen would definitely not work while she was dangling in the air. They finally figured out a way to find some soft planks and cut them into ten pieces, then ground out two thin iron pens, and Lotus spent several days practising writing with them. As the chanting might take place in the evening, she also had to practise writing with her eyes covered.
In order to safely get Lotus out, the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law had to put their show of reconciliation on for three days. On the first day, the daughter-in-law Luo Ningcha would show goodwill, then on the second the mother-in-law Madam Meng would acknowledge and return the respects, and finally on the third day the two would worship the ancestors of the Shangguan family together.
While Lotus was risking her life to hang over the cliff, the ones waiting for her also had a hard time. Every two or four hours, Shangguan Ru would come over to ask Servant Huan something. Was the rope Lotus brought with her strong enough? What if she got caught? Was the wind outside too strong? Gu Shenwei could only tell her that Lotus had very good lightness skills and would certainly be fine. But in fact, even he himself wasn’t sure about it.
Fortunately, Luo Ningcha was waiting for the great fortune Gu Shenwei had promised and didn’t cause any more trouble. Gu Shenwei specially cautioned Tenth Gongzi not to expose his lies.
Two things happened on the fifteenth of July. Shangguan Ru was so worried that she insisted on disguising herself as a maidservant and following Luo Ningcha to the Liu Sha temple. As soon as they left, someone from Washing Heart Yard came to look for Servant Huan.
Shangguan Ru had warned him not to meet anyone who came for him in the castle, but that yellow-belted executioner had come to deliver something, so Gu Shenwei met him in the front yard.
“Sabrelord asked me to give these two things to you.” The yellow-belted executioner extended his hand and carefully observed the change in Servant Huan’s expression.
It was a gold hairpin and a jade pendant, but Gu Shenwei didn’t take them. “These are not mine.”
“A mad man named Wu Shenqing abducted a woman, but now they are all dead. These two things were left by the woman, and Sabrelord said that they were from the inner chamber and that you might recognize them.”
Gu Shenwei took a close look and shook his head. “No, I don’t recognize these, and I’m not familiar with the inner chamber. Sabrelord Shen must have made a mistake.”
The executioner closed his hand. “Maybe. Either way, I’ll convey the message that ‘you don’t remember,’ to the Sabrelord.”
This was a kind of threat. If one side couldn’t stay calm, they would give themselves away. What Gu Shenwei couldn’t understand was why Shen Liang always kept a close eye on him. The two held no grudges, not even a common dispute between them.
Later, it was Luo Ningcha who explained the probable cause to him. “You are not always in the castle, so you’ve missed a lot of things. Shen Liang and Madam Meng’s friendship has ended. The two used to be in cahoots with each other, but they fought over the spoils and broke up. Shen Liang wanted his own men to take over Guo Xiansheng’s position but failed. He also tried to get more killers for my husband who was a long way off, but ended up with nothing. He thought you were Tenth Gongzi’s killer, so he wanted to look for trouble from you, and strike the little girl. Tut tut, that must be it. You see, my eyes are much brighter now than how I used to be …”
Shangguan Ru was stunned at the news of Wu Shengqing and Chen Yingwu’s death for a long while before she asked, “Shall I tell third brother?”
“If you don’t tell him now, he will resent you when he finds out.”
Shangguan Ru didn’t know how to face her third brother, so she asked her mother for the name tag and sent Servant Huan to pass on the grievous news. “What should I tell third brother? He will die of grief.”
“You’ve met Chen Yingwu; was she happy to be able to leave the castle?”
“Yes, I’ve never seen a person so excited. I … I think the castle has mistreated her too much.”
“Wu Shenqing was also very happy. That is enough. No one can be happy all his life.”
Shangguan Yun’s reaction was much calmer than his sister’s. He sat on the stone bed and looked out at the full moon. “As always, no one can escape from the castle. You’ve done a great job getting the two of them together.” After pausing for a while, he added, “Thank you.”
Both his most loved person and best friend had been killed. He should have felt anger and grief, but he didn’t. Looking at the moon, Shangguan Yun’s face even wore that same mysterious and mischievous smile, as if he had lost his heart or his consciousness, and become mad.
Gu Shenwei walked to the wall and for a while, touched the place where Shangguan Yun had written the secret. There was no tool in the cell, and Shangguan Yun had used his finger to draw those words and then wiped them with his palm. The power of his internal energy shocked Gu Shenwei, but also made him rest assured.
Gu Shenwei shook Shangguan Yun’s hand before he left and handed him one thing.
It was a small piece of wire saw, with which Shangguan Yun could saw off the chains on his feet.
Shangguan Yun watched in amazement as the killer left. He thought for a long time and finally understood when he could no longer see the full moon from the narrow window. The killer had given him a chance to avenge himself, which he had tried previously but failed and been locked up in the dungeon. Now that the old dog had lost all of his internal energy, it really was a Heaven-sent chance.
Outside the dungeon, Gu Shenwei didn’t think about Shangguan Yun’s reaction, but instead looked in the direction of the Liu Sha Temple. If everything went well, Lotus should be writing the Daoless Divine Power in earnest haste at the moment.