Editors: Cypress Venus Trap, Xu Xian
Chapter 23 Torture Chamber
When the teenagers went to bow to the Miss, there was still no sign indicating that Han Shiqi’s death was known. The Miss didn’t notice the missing teenagers, only Xue Niang frowned and asked something. The six teenagers looked speechlessly at one another, which made Xue Niang shake her head discontentedly, but she didn’t ask anything more.
After returning to Ji Xin Yuan, Servant Ji still hadn’t noticed that there were two people missing. He finally realized that there were only six teenagers left in the yard when, at noon, he decided to find Servant Qi and Servant Xie to ask for more details.
“Where are they?”
Servant Ji looked very surprised. It never occurred to him that someone could be lost in Golden Roc Castle, so it was simply unimaginable.
The teenagers were speechless and looked at each other.
Servant Ji’s surprise was replaced with fury, he waved his red stick and mindlessly blew at those teenagers, ”You dare to play tricks behind my back! You dare to play tricks behind my back! You are all working together, have the two brothers left with third brother?”
All the teenagers answered that they didn’t know whilst they dodged the threatening stick.
The yard was still noisy when, suddenly, the east yard door was pushed open. It was not the servants who sent the dying, instead, it was a group of people dressed in black. They wore clothes which were slightly different from a killer’s. Their belts were not all red, some were green and some were yellow. They didn’t have a sabre hanging by their waists either.
Seeing these people, Servant Ji became more panicked than when he saw a killer, the red stick in his hand fell to the ground. His mouth was wide open, his knees unknowingly bent, he couldn’t even speak a single word, nobody knew if he was going to bow or fall.
The people-in-back were quiet and didn’t introduce themselves. They rushed forward, held the paralyzed Servant Ji’s arms, and left quickly. Someone locked the west yard door from inside, and also locked the east yard door from outside before leaving.
No one explained anything to the uneasy teenagers, they were practically imprisoned in Ji Xin Yuan now. Other than Gu Shenwei, no one knew what the accusation was about.
Two wounded men were sent to the yard two days ago. Usually, the teenagers would avoid entering the two men’s room, but now they all ran inside. They wanted to prove that they were still useful for Golden Roc Castle.
No one brought lunch at noon, which was not a good sign.
The two wounded men didn’t stay alive for long as they died before dusk. The west yard door, which was the way to Groaning Ghost Cliff, was locked. The two corpses could only be left on the brick bed to gradually become stiff.
“I didn’t do anything, we didn’t do anything, did we?” Servant Ji was the one who caused the trouble, we won’t get into trouble, will we?”
The teenager named Servant Zhao suddenly spoke. A long time passed, but nobody spoke. They all felt uneasy but didn’t know what happened. Only Gu Shenwei could speculate most of it, but he would not reveal even a word.
“Xue Niang will save us, we’re underlings of the Miss and we have pledged ourselves to her.” Another teenager, Servant Lei, glanced hopefully at his fellow teenagers as he wanted to gain some confidence from them.
The teenagers nodded hard, all breathing a sigh of relief.
Gu Shenwei also nodded while quietly thinking: The Miss and Xue Niang would not save us. If they had the desire and ability to do so, they wouldn’t have let us serve the dying in Ji Xin Yuan. The eighth young lord’s yard also needed servants, but we still hadn’t been asked to serve there.
Big Head God’s daughter’s time at the top of the robbers’ gang ended as soon as she got on the bridal sedan chair.
The man-in-black with a yellow belt came back at dusk again, but this time, only two men came. One of them gave a short order to the six panicked teenagers:
The teenagers were anxious, but they dared not ask anything, so they obediently followed the men out of Ji Xin Yuan. This was a place they once wanted to leave wholeheartedly, but now it was as fondly remembered as a sweet home.
Gu Shenwei maintained his calm, and was even a little optimistic. The men with yellow belts hadn’t tied anyone up, so they probably just wanted to question them. The facts were clear, a killer was missing and two servants had suddenly disappeared. Anyone would link the two things together and not suspect the people left behind.
Gu Shenwei’s beliefs were not completely correct.
The men with yellow belts were executioners of Xi Xin Yuan. The teenagers were brought there and would be welcomed with a very formal inquiry.
Xi Xin Yuan was not far from Ji Xin Yuan as it was only a courtyard away. It was also called Ghost Yard, a special place for executing punishment in Golden Roc Castle.
Gu Shenwei had wanted to look for his elder sister in this yard, but now he knew it would have been in vain even if he made it here. In Xi Xin Yuan, the cells for prisoners were all underground, and heavily guarded, so anyone outside did not have even the slightest chance of peeping in.
Gu Shenwei felt that it was ironic that a killer’s organization also had ‘prisoners‘.
The teenagers were brought to an underground torture chamber, which seemed to have been used frequently. The floor was filled with greasy sludge, the teenagers had sent away several dying people who came from Xi Xin Yuan and their bodies were stained with this sludge. When Servant Yao was still alive, he said that mud was mixed with human flesh. Judging from the dying’s incomplete bodies, his opinion was quite accurate.
Many strange torture tools were placed in the room and there were iron chains everywhere. A prisoner hung weakly on one of the gallows in a corner, his skin and flesh was so torn that his original appearance was unrecognizable. When he groaned, all the teenagers gasped.
The man was Servant Ji.
He was the overseer of Ji Xin Yuan in the morning, but now he was qualified for being sent to the yard to wait for his death.
One teenager fainted right away. Another two were stunned and liquid dripped from their trouser legs.
More than 10 people were standing in the torture chamber, including the executioners with yellow belts. Some other people were also present, several of them didn’t even wear black clothes. They didn’t care about the teenagers’ fear, they wouldn’t be surprised unless someone could stay calm after entering Xi Xin Yuan.
Gu Shenwei felt his legs tremble, he felt an impulse in his heart, the impulse to turn around and run away.
He was the descendent of the Gu family, the officials of the Central Plains. His playmates were all sons of generals and ministers. For them, excruciating torture was as legendary as a ghost or god.
How did he end up like this? Wasn’t it enough to have lost all of his family? Did he have to experience the most humiliating way of dying too?
No one thought that there would be a young lord of the Gu family amongst the teenagers, not to mention understood his feelings. The executioners expertly tied the six of them on different gallows and began whipping without a word. With a single whip, the fainted Servant Lei cried like a pig being killed, then screams rang throughout the chamber.
No one dared to resist.
This was the rule of Xi Xin Yuan. Whether one did something or not, confessed or not, one had to suffer a punishment. Whipping was already the lightest punishment.
After the whipping, the executioners ordered the teenagers to speak, but they didn’t say what they wanted to know from the teenagers.
The teenagers were scrambling to confess. They told them everything, even their experiences of having served tea for Servant Ji. They still thought that the one causing the trouble was the overseer of the courtyard.
Next, the executioners asked the teenagers to talk about the missing Servant Qi and Servant Xie, which in turn led to a bunch more details.
Although it was all nonsense, the executioners still kept a straight face, they were trying to identify loopholes within the nonsense and see who was the real insider.
Although his legs were trembling from the caning, Gu Shenwei’s fear vanished after being whipped. Compared to the hidden pain in his heart, the pain from his skin and flesh was insignificant.
But he also shouted and confessed nonsense. This was the first time he had entered a torture chamber, and also his first time facing an executioner, but his mind was surprisingly clear, and all their tricks were as plain as daylight in his eyes. He pretended to be no different from the other ordinary teenagers as he secretly observed them.
The ones asking questions were all minions, the only two real power-holders stood far away and seemed to be uninterested.
One of them was a thin, tall man with with a sullen face who wore black clothes and a yellow belt. Obviously, he was the head of Xi Xin Yuan. Another man was very short and thin and wore a gray robe. He wore an expression of a pedant, deep in thought and meditation.
The two of them were not equipped with a killer’s signature sabre.
The inquiry had ended and the executioners retreated to one side. As expected, it was those two who made the judgement.
“They don’t know anything, the two servants did it alone.” The man wearing the yellow belt said first. The teenagers’ hearts calmed down a bit.
“Hmm, it seems so, but we should be careful, some kids are sneaky, especially when they have adults to teach them.” The man wearing the grey robe said casually. His face had a trace of humble smile, as if he was not judging the case, but pointing out an ordinary fact.
“Perhaps, it hasn’t been a long time since these kids entered the castle, they have had contact with very few adults, it seems it would be easy to find the person behind them, wouldn’t it, Mr. Guo?
The ‘gray robe’ who was called as ‘Mr. Guo’ exposed a very obvious and surprised expression, “Sabrelord Shen, you misunderstand what I meant, I just feel that we should not easily believe these kids. Han Shiqi was a killer, it seems unlikely that he was plotted against by these kids themselves.”
Han Shiqi was his real name. Most of the Golden Roc Castle killers were unknown, so it was unnecessary to use a fake name when performing a task.
Sabrelord Shen and Mr. Guo had a dispute, the former wanted to minimize the matter, but the latter wanted to dig deeper instead.
Gu Shenwei promised himself that, if he could get out of Ghost Yard alive, he would learn more about Golden Roc Castle. Every point of the internal contradictions was likely to help his great cause of revenge.
The interrogation continued intermittently without a focus. The executioners seemed to talk at random. Gu Shenwei had a feeling that it was intentional. Every time the teenagers mentioned Xue Niang and the eighth mistress, the executioners would not ask any details. The smarter teenagers understood the matter and stopped mentioning things about the eighth young lord’s courtyard.
It was unknown how much time had passed, Sabrelord Shen and Mr. Guo left and came back several times. After that, the two of them didn’t say much, there were no signs that indicated they had a disagreement, but they didn’t look at each other anymore.
The eighth young lord also came once. This was the second time Gu Shenwei saw his enemy who exterminated his family. This time the distance between them was even farther and his chance for revenge was much less.
Shangguan Nu only looked around and left without saying anything. He nodded to Sabrelord Shen whilst he was there, but turned a blind eye to Mr. Guo. Mr. Guo, however, respectfully bowed to the young lord.
It was about midnight when several men-in-black abruptly rushed in without any warning. They threw something onto the ground and retreated immediately after bowing to Sabrelord Shen and Mr. Guo.
The thing was a live human. He raised his head, and the first person he looked at was Gu Shenwei.
Servant Qi had been caught.