Chapter 247 Up and Down
On the edge of Groaning Ghost Cliff, Gu Shenwei finally managed to calm down and start practicing the seventh chapter of the Daoless Divine Power.
Not only did the chillness in his body not abate with the practice, but it also caused huge pains as if he were being stung by icy thorns due to the quick circulation of internal Qi in his meridians. Gu Shenwei gritted his teeth to bear the pain, but was unable to hold on, and fell headlong to the ground.
When he woke up, he saw Lotus kneeling beside him, wiping his sweat with a silk handkerchief, her hair somewhat disarranged and her expression full of concern. It seemed that she was in as much pain as he was.
“Beg me, and I will let you die now,” Lotus softly persuaded, her other hand gripping her sword hilt.
Gu Shenwei felt that his nose was finally unblocked. Breathing the cold air on the mountain peak, his chest heaved violently, but his mind was still numb. As he stared at the girl in front of him, he felt that she was so strange, not knowing why she was so sad, and what she meant.
His memory gradually became clear, but the girl’s face became indifferent again as if the scene he had just seen was an illusion in his mind. He would not beg, and he would rather die than beg her.
“You killed her?”
Lotus took out Luo Ningcha’s ring and flicked it towards the abyss. “She was shot by my flying dagger, let’s see how lucky she is.”
This was why the killers didn’t value weapons like hidden weapons, or the bow and crossbow much. Users usually stayed away from the target and therefore couldn’t confirm whether the target had really died. Accidents happened all the time, but Luo Ningcha was surrounded by guards, so Lotus didn’t want to risk breaking in.
Gu Shenwei didn’t care about that woman’s life or death. The chill grew heavier, and he felt like a big iceberg was hanging in his stomach. He wanted to conceal it, but his body shivered uncontrollably now. He had suffered from Qi deviation because of practicing the fake chapter seven, and now he tried to correct it by practicing the right one, but it had backfired.
Lotus hesitated for a moment before holding him in her arms. She had mastered few martial arts skills and didn’t know how to instill her internal Qi to help alleviate his pain, so she could only help him reduce the chillness a little bit with her body temperature.
The sound of horns blew over, bleak and low. The Golden Roc killers usually contacted each other with whistles. It was the first time Gu Shenwei had heard such a sound in the castle.
“They are coming.” Lotus turned to look at the direction of the castle.
The two teenage killers didn’t know that the horn sound was the highest state of alert in the castle, and it was the first time it had been blown since Shangguan Fa had become the Unique King. Even those green-faced assassins hiding in the deepest part of the castle were summoned to await orders at a designed spot.
“I’m really sorry, I’m afraid I can’t hold on to die of Qi deviation.” Gu Shenwei also looked at the direction of the castle, his thoughts flying. For no reason, he thought of the day about three years ago, when he was patrolling around the manor on his pony, chasing after rabbits and birds. He was so excited that he had lost track of time until the sun went down. When he looked at the manor at dusk, he felt that his home was remote and unreal, but his heart was full of strange intimacy.
“Except for me, no one can kill you.” Lotus seemed to have made up her mind and her voice became indifferent and flat. She untied her narrow saber and threw it off the cliff, and pulled out the sword with the character ‘Yun’ and stuck it on the ground. “This is for killing you.” Holding the sword with the character ‘Huan’, she said, “This is for killing them and me.”
Hordes of killers would come at any time now, and they had nowhere to go.
“You’ve finally gotten the Daoless Scroll. It’s not worth it to die like this.”
“I’ve already given it out. Waning Moon Hall will break into the castle, to avenge me, and your vengeance as well.”
Gu Shenwei’s enemy was not only Golden Roc Castle, but he didn’t say anything. It was a delicate moment, and there was no more hatred between the killer and the one to be killed, only a vague sympathy and tacit understanding.
The Golden Roc killers didn’t appear at once. Lotus moved Gu Shenwei under a tree while she guarded nearby. Out of nowhere, she suddenly asked, “Why were you named Gu Shenwei? That’s a weird name.”
Gu Shenwei was stunned and thought for a while before saying, “It’s from an ancient book. ’People do good deeds not for fame, but fame comes with it; People gain fame not for profit, but profit comes with it. People obtain profit not to fight others, but fights come with it. So a gentleman must be careful about doing good deeds.” 1
“Be careful (Shen) about doing (Wei) good deeds? It turns out your father didn’t want you to do good when he named you.”
Gu Shenwei smiled and didn’t explain that this wasn’t its original meaning. In fact, he also felt the name wasn’t good, but his father Gu Lun had thought that the name was suitable.
“And you? Is there any special meaning about your name Huo Yun?”
“Nothing, it’s a very common name.”
The two were chatting randomly when the door of the Adding Wood Yard was pushed open from inside. Someone ran out of the yard and looked around to find the killer. She didn’t see the two killers behind the tree, so she could only call out loudly, “Yang Huan! Are you here?”
It was surprisingly Xu Yanwei. Gu Shenwei had thought about secretly sending her out of the castle to meet with Xu Xiaoyi but forgotten about it later on.
Gu Shenwei rose to his feet and waved behind the tree while Lotus jumped onto the tree to hide. Just as before, when Servant Huan showed up, she would be in charge of protecting him in the dark.
Xu Yanwei anxiously ran over and fell once along the way. When she got up, she didn’t even flick off the dust. Instead, she hurriedly came to the tree in a few steps and stuffed a bundle into Gu Shenwei’s hands, cheeks red and panting. “Tenth Gongzi gives it to you and Lotus.”
Gu Shenwei opened the bundle in surprise. Inside it were two sets of black clothes, the highest level of name tags with the character ‘Du’, and some tools for disguise. “She … How did you know I was here?”
Xu Yanwei shook her head and took a deep breath before saying, “Tenth Gongzi gave me these items last night and told me that you might still be in the castle. She said that she was being watched too closely and asked me to transfer the bundle to you if I had a chance. Miss has been assassinated and everyone is talking about you two. I heard that the killers said that they were going to surround Adding Wood Yard, so I came with Miss’s name tag, hoping that there’s still time.”
Xu Yanwei’s words were in disorder. Although it was meaningless now because it couldn’t fool the Golden Roc killers and save his life, Gu Shenwei was still a bit moved. There was no doubt that she had taken a considerable risk to run here at this critical moment, which was an extremely unusual behavior for her.
As death approached, his feelings were richer than usual.
“Your brother …” Gu Shenwei wanted to tell her the whereabouts of Xu Xiaoyi so that the two could have a chance to meet again. But it was too late. The black-robed killers were coming out of Adding Wood Yard one after another.
They were not in a hurry to catch their prey, but formed in a fan shape and surrounded the teenager in it.
“Is Miss dead?”
“Not yet, but she was badly injured.” Xu Yanwei’s voice began to tremble. She had used up all of her courage. Faced with dozens of serious and silent killers, she was like a mouse accidentally caught in a pack of cats and scared to death.
“Go to her and beg for her help as long as she’s not dead. Remember this, she needs you.”
Xu Yanwei didn’t know if she could still live to see the Miss, and she didn’t even know why she had come here to cause herself trouble. Walking in the direction of the men in black, her body seemed to have fallen apart, and for each step she took, she had to reassemble her limbs with all her strength.
The killers watched the frightened woman totter closer with indifference as if she was invisible. But when she came to the door of Adding Wood Yard, one killer held her by the shoulder. Xu Yanwei’s body softened and fell onto the other side.
Gu Shenwei retreated step by step until he reached the edge of the cliff. More killers joined the circle. He had never seen so many men in black appear at the same time, all of whom were silent as if they had come here to simply build a wall of men.
The sabrelord Shen Liang walked out of the crowd with a smile on his face. This was his moment of victory. Servant Huan’s effect had been far greater than he had ever imagined, and the wrath of the Unique King would deal a heavy blow to Madam Meng. That greedy woman wanted to keep all the power in her own hands, and never thought that she would lose favor because of a lowly killer.
Gu Shenwei was a bit disappointed that Shangguan Fa hadn’t come in person. He thought that Shen Liang would say something, either blaming or humiliating him, but an experienced sabrelord would never waste his breath on a common killer.
Gu Shenwei himself, however, had a lot to say. His true identity, his bitter hatred, and the most vicious curses. This was human nature, but years of killer’s training prevailed, and he spread his arms and decided to not say anything.
Words could make people feel pleasant, but that contentment was illusory. Even if he indignantly berated Golden Roc Castle and talked the Shangguan family’s head off, it couldn’t blow a speck of dust off the stone wall.
Some succeeded in revenge, and some failed. There was nothing special about it.
‘Endless killing along the six paths of reincarnation’, so was hatred. The enmity of extermination of his family, which to him was like the sky falling and destroying his life, was just a routine action to Golden Roc Castle and was merely a trivial matter to the Unique King who didn’t even remember it.
He raised his head and looked at Lotus hiding in the tree. This strange girl had gone through great pains to make him die of Qi deviation, but decided to make a last desperate effort to protect his little remaining life with the sword carved with the character ‘Huan’. This showed that hate was only one type of emotion. No matter how strong it was, it couldn’t occupy the whole heart. There were always some other feelings hidden deep in the heart, which could surface and make waves at some point.
He looked down the cliff and saw two men in black clinging to the cliff. The Unique King said that he wanted the two alive, so the killers had to cast an escape-proof net.
The exposed killers immediately took action and jumped onto the ground together, reaching out to catch the defenseless teenager.
Lotus, who looked back and saw the scene, immediately flew down without hesitation.
With two clean shots, Lotus killed for the first time in public and it was also the first time the Death Sutra swordsmanship was revealed in the presence of unwitting living beings. And from then on, her name would be remembered by every Golden Roc killer.
The smile on Shen Liang’s face was gone. The King Lord wanted them alive, so he had to capture them alive. It should have been certain with those two experienced killers lurking on the cliff, but the teenage girl, her swordsmanship …
Lotus pulled out the sword with the character ‘Yun’ on the ground with her left hand and looked at the teenager on the cliff edge. This wasn’t her ideal ending, but a better ending.
Gu Shenwei smiled, which was the last smile in his life. From then on, there was no person or thing that could touch him.
In addition to the Daoless Scroll in his robe and the Death Sutra in his heart, he had nothing left in the castle, so he had nothing to lose. And he wanted nothing more from the people in the world, so he owed others nothing.
The teenager leaned over and fell into the abyss.
The sword with the character ‘Huan’ in Lotus’s hand was only about a foot away from him, but she didn’t stab out in the end. She only paused a moment before also jumping down.
“No!” Shen Liang roared with anger.
The groups of killers no longer looked on expressionlessly; they had failed to carry out the King Lord’s order to capture the two alive and felt as anxious as the Sabrelord.
The killers ran towards the edge of the cliff. All of a sudden, a gust of wind swept over the ground, blowing sand and rolling pebbles. Everyone couldn’t help but stop and look at the incredible scene with their hands protecting their eyes: A black giant bird soared and rocketed into the sky, and on its back was exactly the expressionless teenager who knelt down on one leg.
Years later, people still remembered the scene and regarded it as a harbinger of the turmoil and carnage to come. But at the moment, it was only a fleeting scene, and those who stood behind didn’t even have a chance to see it.
“Look, there’s a rope!” A killer shouted out.
Sure enough, a thin rope had been tied to the tree on the edge of the cliff, with its other end hanging down to the foot of the cliff.
One up and one down, two teenage killers escaped from the castle.
- Translator’s note: The original text comes from the Liezi, known as one of the three most important texts in Daoism, together with the Dao De Jing (Tao Te Ching) and Zhuangzi (Zhuang Zhou). ↩