Chapter 45 Assassination
Shangguan Ru wanted to perform an ‘assassination’, the site would be Golden Roc Castle, and the target…She still hadn’t decided yet.
This plan was not only childish, but also whimsical. Thus, except for Shangguan Yushi, who always supported Ninth Gongzi wholeheartedly, the others all wanted to back out.
In response, Shangguan Ru widened her eyes in an overbearing manner. “There’s no way back for a killer—move forward or die.”
Her words were a bit scary. Although everyone believed Ninth Gongzi would not really kill anybody, they would be punished if they wouldn’t listen to her. So they all pretended to be elated and inspired, and started discussing the first ‘assassination’ target.
Gu Shenwei was well-advised to keep silent. He didn’t want to provoke Shangguan Yushi. This jealous girl would not let him go easily, and the only thing he could do was to not offer her the excuse.
The first victim of the ‘assassination’ game was Servant Qing. Nobody knew who suggested him, but everyone agreed. To the three ‘killers’, Shangguan Yushi especially emphasized, “If you dare warn him, you’ll be a traitor. How do we punish the traitor?”
“Expel from the castle, hack the body with 100 sabres.” Shanggguan Fei rushed to answer. This was the family rule of Golden Roc Castle, so he was very familiar with it.
“Right, be merciless to the traitor.” Shangguan Ru stressed.
‘Hacking the body with 100 sabres’ was not terrible. It was more miserable to be expelled from the castle. Each of the three ‘killers’ immediately swore to heaven that they would not be an informant. This was Gu Shenwei’s strong point, he only needed to tweak the pledges he had made to Luo Ningcha.
What had happened early morning of the fourth day proved that no one was a snitch.
Servant Qing lived on the periphery of west castle, where most of the houses were home of the grown-up servants. He would walk out from home early in the morning, pass through a narrow alley, meet with two teenage footmen at the alley entrance and then head together for the school.
The six of them were divided into three teams each led by one of the twins and Shangguan Yushi. They followed Servant Qing for three days to take note of his routine.
Gu Shenwei was with Shangguan Yushi.
Although Yu Gongzi couldn’t care less about training others, she was not slack on her own kung fu practice. Thus, she made astounding improvement in her lightness skill and competed with Servant Huan intentionally. Gu Shenwei could only match her footsteps in the winding alleys by giving it his all.
Servant Qing didn’t realize he was being followed at all. He was a servant born in Golden Roc Castle. And one of the advantages of growing up in a place full of killers was that he didn’t have to worry about being assassinated. Attacking sneakily within Golden Roc Castle? That was like teaching fish how to swim. It was impossible even without thinking.
Shangguan Ru planned the ‘assassination’ single-handedly. According to it, Shangguan Fei would lead the three ‘killers’ to lay wait in ambush at the alley entrance, just in case the two footmen Servant Qing always walked with changed their routine and destroyed their plan, while Shangguan Ru and Shangguan Yushi were responsible for the ‘kill’.
Although it was only a game, all the youths felt the tension and excitement. In fact, Shangguan Fei was so thrilled that he almost ruined the whole plan by letting out excited sounds.
The ‘assassination’ went very smoothly. The four waiting at the alley entrance didn’t see the scene inside, but they all heard the piercing scream. Those two footmen who came to meet Servant Qing every day also heard it. At first, their body trembled until they almost collapsed to the ground, then they started running towards the alley. But after running only two or three steps, they exchanged a glance, changed their minds and turned running towards their homes, almost scratching and scrambling through. They didn’t show up for the rest of the day.
The two teenage girls who performed the ‘assassination’ successfully were like two little deers who had just learnt how to run, hopping out of the alley in a rush. With glowing cheeks and quivering lips, they seemed to be using all their might to suppress a crazy laughter from bursting forth.
The others followed, retreating at full speed and returning to their real identities.
Servant Qing was really scared. Although the sabre laid on his neck was wooden, his soul went to the Gate of Hell indeed. For three days, his complexion was green, and he developed a fear of people standing on his back, jumping up in fright every time someone spoke behind him.
Servant Qing became a standing joke in the castle. But three days later, when his complexion changed back to normal, he appeared to be very proud of himself. Wasn’t it an honour to be the first ‘assassination’ target of Unique King’s own daughter? Moreover, he had survived, which was a true ‘miracle’.
Servant Qing described the scene of the sneak attack vividly, as if he was not only calm when it happened, but also had eyes on his back. “Clean and agile, disturbing none of the surroundings, it was like an immortal showed up in our mortal world. When the sabre cut down, it stunned me although I had long felt something was wrong, seeing that sabre still stunned me. You can never imagine that sabresmanship could be mastered by a kid who is only a little more than 10 years old … “
However, he still gave severe punishment to the two footmen, who left him to die, sending them to do the hardest task, that was, tending to the dying in Ji Xin Yuan. It wasn’t until their parents showed up and begged Servant Qing, using every possible way they could that he finally pardoned them.
The twins rose to fame. They played more and more obsessively, and the range of their ‘assassination’ targets also gradually expanded until, even the sabrelords and young lords of Golden Roc Castle became their targets.
But strictly speaking, only the first ‘assassination’ contained the element of surprise. The following attempts were more like cooperative games where the targets would always know the twins’ plan in advance but pretend that they were unaware of it; some of them even walked alone deliberately to offer them the chance.
Shangguan Ru and Shangguan Yushi believed there was a ‘hidden traitor’ but couldn’t find evidence. Gu Shenwei knew Yu Gongzi wanted to blame it on him, so he tried to be more careful. He didn’t even say one more word to Xue Niang except to report what had already happened.
Xue Niang obviously didn’t care about this kind of children’s game and even revealed a trace of disdain. But she was very satisfied that Servant Huan could enter the core of the group created by the twins, so she continued helping him improve the internal energy.
Xue Niang’s iron finger was still hard. Every strand of internal Qi she passed was good medicine for improving the internal energy as well as poison for inducing Qi deviation. Gu Shenwei knew this very well, but he still couldn’t resist, enjoying the euphoria of his internal energy increasing rapidly.
The ‘assassination’ game was in full swing now. With Unique King’s acquiescence, no one dared to call a stop this game. But not every target of the ‘assassination’ was as easygoing as Servant Qing. The twins were ‘hunted’ by the old teacher in school for more than a dozen days that they didn’t dare attend school for a long time.
There were also several sabrelords with high statuses who didn’t bow like servants. They could easily find out the teenagers’ little tricks without help. Shangguan Ru and Shangguan Yushi almost got apprehended several times while Shangguan Fei and the other two ‘killers’ were detained several times. Using the kung fu Xue Niang taught, Gu Shenwei also didn’t get caught. Even so, there were two instances when he barely escaped.
Unconsciously, the six teenagers’ kung fu improved greatly. It seemed that the ‘assassination’ game was more effective than the traditional master-apprentice model.
But Shangguan Ru’s requirements were also getting higher and higher. A month later, she ‘expelled’ the two ‘killers’ who always dragged them down. Only four people in the group of six were left now, with Gu Shenwei as the only servant.
Shangguan Fei also didn’t meet Ninth Gongzi’s standard, but it was very difficult to ‘expel’ her own brother because whenever Shangguan Fei used their mother as a shield, Shangguan Ru had no choice but to give in.
But she and Shangguan Yushi added a new part to the game, which was trying to get rid of Shangguan Fei. With growing confidence, they more or less didn’t need a helper now.
Shangguan Fei’s kung fu was not as good as those two’s, so the trick always worked. Gu Shenwei was also discarded several times that he even suspected this of being a trick Shangguan Yushi came up with to deal with him especially.
In truth, this was also a good opportunity he could made use of. Since the two of them were on the same boat, he could try to gain the little gongzi Shangguan Fei’s trust, but his mind was set on following the two teenage girls.
On one hand, he just didn’t want to admit defeat. The more Shangguan Yushi plotted and maneuvered, the more he wanted to defeat her. On the other hand, he was considering utility. Obviously, in the castle, the little sister Shangguan Ru’s status was much higher than the elder brother Shangguan Fei’s. Seizing her would not only be good for Xue Niang’s mysterious plan but also helpful for his future revenge.
Whenever Shangguan Ru and Shangguan Yushi moved to get rid of them, they would always be taken by surprise. The two could communicate in a way that others couldn’t understand. One moment, they would still be walking but then start running the next. Their lightness skills were good, so it was really hard for others to catch up.
Gu Shenwei treated this as a test. He observed the two young girls’ moves, and after several attempts, he had almost grasped their tricks. A look, a flick of finger, a casual pause, could all be the signal for discarding their companions.
Gu Shenwei practised his lightness skill day and night. After several embarrassing failures, he could finally catch up with those two’s steps, and squeeze into their firm coterie. No matter how Shangguan Yushi tried, she couldn’t get rid of him anymore.
Shangguan Ru was happy to have him. Shangguan Yushi was her close friend, cousin and adviser, but this unique servant was her rival. Since she was conceited and competitive, she was very glad to have a comparable competitor.
The three of them spent lots of time traveling almost half of Golden Roc Castle, looking for the best spot for assassination. Shangguan Ru and Shangguan Yushi knew a lot of the killer’s techniques. Half practise, half showing off, they taught them all to the tagalong little servant.
Gu Shenwei took this chance to take a close look everywhere, leading him to the conclusion that his missing elder sister was definitely not in the castle.
They became more and more undaunted, and even tried to ‘assassinate’ the eighth young lord Shangguan Nu.
That time, Gu Shenwei approximately ascertained his enemy’s kung fu level. Shangguan Nu must have long been aware of the three’s little tricks, but he kept his countenance and didn’t bust them until they made a move.
This was a fiasco. None of the three ‘killers’ escaped, a first since the ‘assassination’ games started.
As the eighth young lord’s servant, Gu Shenwei must kneel and kowtow to apologize. In contrast, the two girls acted with shameless mischievousness, asking their target to say sorry.
Shangguan Nu seemed to really like his youngest sister, even showing a side that was completely different from his normal malice and ruthlessness. He not only apologized, but also revealed a rare smile while showing his iron hook to please them.
That cut off right hand was the biggest taboo to Shangguan Nu and would usually get one killed because of glancing at it inadvertently.
Gu Shenwei felt a hint of dread for he wanted to maintain his hatred of Shangguan Nu. In his mind, this man with a broken-off hand was the biggest villain under heaven, so he didn’t want to see the warm, nurturing side of the eighth young lord.
Shangguan Ru rested awhile and went back to school after the failure to ‘assassinate’ Shangguan Nu.
Several days later, when the ‘assassination’ restarted, Gu Shenwei was surprised to find out that he himself became the ‘target’. This time, however, they were not playing for fun anymore.