Chapter 49 Sword Manual
Gu Shenwei’s internal energy was completely under Xue Niang’s control. He could only make some progress with the help of her Iron Finger internal energy. At the same time, the internal energy infused by Xue Niang gathered at the xuanji acupoint like a dormant parasite, which might at anytime burst forth and swallow its host’s flesh and blood.
Xue Niang’s punishment was the application of a strong driving force. After one night, the hot Qi inside his xuanji acupoint suddenly broke free and moved directly towards his dantian.
Gu Shenwei was totally unprepared. Although he was not fully recovered, the sunshine of early summer was so bright and warm and he was immersed in the good feeling of having escaped a deadly assassination by heaven’s will. All of a sudden he lost the control of his body and straightly sat up. He felt his chest was abnormally tight and he wanted to open his mouth and yell, but couldn’t utter a sound. .
If someone had been watching nearby, they would without a doubt believe Servant Huan was a ghost.
However, no one was nearby and no one helped. Gu Shenwei fell onto the ground in a blink of an eye, his distorted body twitching as his mouth uttered a series of groans.
These symptoms lasted only for about a quarter of an hour, but the aftermath was like being soaked in a basin of hot water for a whole day. His whole body was sweating, his limbs loose. and he couldn’t even move a finger.
He thought he could take advantage of Xue Niang and use her a backer, but now he understood that for the two of them who had their own ill intentions, their common road at Golden Roc Castle had almost come to an end. .
While he was lying still, Gu Shenwei thought about Xue Niang and Shangguan Yushi for some time.. After he unconsciously felt his body could move again, he sat up and saw the golden rocs land in front of him.
These two beasts probably thought they hadn’t repaid the human’s good will of saving their child. Since this man disliked the eyeballs of wolves, they brought some more delicious food – two fresh hearts, which were so fresh that they seemed to be still beating.
Gu Shenwei was very excited to see the golden rocs again. They gave him lots of comfort, and even made the pain bearable. .
This had been the first time he had been liked by others unconditionally since he lost his family. But it was still very disgusting, so he made another series of complex gestures to first show his thanks and then refused the delicious meal.
The two golden rocs appeared to be surprised. They lowered their heads to look at this picky human and suddenly bit the hearts and flew away.
Gu Shenwei felt a bit regretful. He didn’t mean to offend them. In this cold castle, he had to wear a mask even in front of a dog. It was a luxury to have two living things that he could treat without disguising himself.
The golden rocs seemed to have felt they had been treated coldly and didn’t show up for the rest of the day.
For the following days, as Shangguan Ru said, ‘everything became normal’. They practised kung fu together and discussed who would be the next ‘assassination’ target. In order to show that she had ‘forgiven’ Servant Huan, Shangguan Yushi appeared more lively than usual and offered many ideas.
But Gu Shenwei could see clearly from her eyes that after she withdrew her fear of ghosts, not even the slightest bit of her resentment had diminished.
Gu Shenwei didn’t dare mention his Qi deviation in front of anybody, including Xue Niang.
What made him happy was that the golden rocs didn’t bear any grudges toward him and showed up the next morning. This time they brought two types of food: the female bird held a unknow fruit in its mouth while the male bird had grabbed a colorful living snake.
Gu Shenwei chose the fruit without hesitation and gobbled it down without caring if it was poisonous or not. He also showed that he was very satisfied while eating it.
The female bird pecked at her partner’s body to show that she was right. The male bird turned his head majestically and opened his beak, swallowing the living snake in two or three bites.
Gu Shenwei was very happy to see the golden rocs again, he approached carefully and tentatively stretched out his arms, wanting to touch their black feathers.
Obviously the golden rocs didn’t like being touched by a human.. They hadn’t had a choice to carry him before, but this time they immediately refused and flew away with their outstretched wings. .
From now on Gu Shenwei would have one more secret in his heart, but this secret was not depressing and dark, but instead filled with joy and brightness. From the two golden rocs, he felt the warmth akin to his family and he even had one ambitious wish: if these two giant birds could help him take revenge…
But the golden rocs had no interest in revenge, for they deliberately tried to avoid human beings. Every time they came to see Gu Shenwei, they would first scope the area for a while and appear only after making sure he was alone. .
Because of these two giant birds, Gu Shenwei even postponed his plan for revenge. Actually, he didn’t really have a formed plan yet. After half a month, his wounds healed and since Shangguan Yushi didn’t openly challenge him, he also had to pretend that nothing had happened.
The golden rocs seemed to feel that no matter how many things they brought, the gifts were not enough to repay this human being who had accidentally appeared. So they changed patterns to brought him stuff. After generally understanding of his taste, they gave up those bloody food, and brought all kinds of peculiar flowers and fruits instead.
To show his appreciation, Gu Shenwei swallowed these flowers and fruits right away. The flowers brought by the golden rocs were so pretty he couldn’t help but to sometimes want to keep them. But it turned out the golden rocs grabbed the flowers to discard them, so he had no choices but to rob them back and chew quickly.
Fortunately, in most circumstances, the flowers that smelled good also tasted good.
One time the flower’s fragrance was so strong that the flavour of it lingered even after he ate it. In the afternoon, when he was practising kung fu with the twins, Shangguan Ru sniffed around him and asked: “Are you rouged?”
Gu Shenwei flushed and anxiously refuted, which, however, aroused the ridicule of the surrounding people. ‘Servant Huan rubbed rouge secretly’ had become a hot topic amongst the teenagers in the following days, but no one took it seriously and it was slowly forgotten.
A month later, the golden rocs felt it was not enough to just bring food, so they tried to find something that a bird or beast would not use but might be valued by human being.
Golden Roc killers were not the only things that fell off the cliff. This castle was more than 100 years old, and for every lord in charge, they would habitually throw the previous owner’s items off the cliff.
The golden rocs would select presents for Gu Shenwei from these scattered items that lay at the base of the cliff.
These gifts included rusted armor, ruined sabres and swords, scattered jewels and half-rotten clothing, most of which had no value. Gu Shenwei always accepted in front of the golden rocs, hid the items in the holes under the giant boulder, and then looked for opportunities to throw them away. He only kept a few pieces of jewelry that still looked good.
Occasionally the golden rocs would bring some treasure that would brighten his eyes. One of them was a long sword. Nobody knew how long it had been buried under the cliff but it was still cold and shining, as if it had just left the swordsmith master’s hand.
Gu Shenwei accepted the gift, but even though he played with it for several days, in the end he still reluctantly threw it away. At the Giant Boulder Cliff, the weapons were all wooden and this sharp sword was too suspicious. He didn’t know how he could explain it if someone saw it and to make matters worse, Shangguan Yushi was always looking for a chance to cause him trouble.
Shangguan Yushi had been restored to her regular self, which meant she was full of jealousy towards Servant Huan. But she concealed it around Shangguan Ru. She still believed Ninth Gongzi belonged to her alone, that no one else had the right to approach her even including the little gongzi Shangguan Fei. If the sister did not look down on her brother, she would have been jealous of him as well.
Gu Shenwei cautiously maintained a quiet state around her. Unless he got a perfect opportunity, he would not risk his plan of revenge. .
During the next several weeks, the golden rocs’ trust towards this human gradually increased. With their permission, Gu Shenwei could now gently stroke their feathers. Some of those feathers were soft, some were hard. Especially the tens of feathers at the tip of their wings and their tails: when angered they would flare out and make the body appear larger.
After the golden rocs felt it was completely safe, the chick was brought up once. It was still bare and had not grown any taller from eating all that meat. .As soon as it came, it began looking ravenously for food, as if he hadn’t eaten anything since it was born.
Perhaps because it was too easy for its parents to hunt, its developmental period as a chick was much longer than that of other birds or beasts. It had been almost two months, but it was still the same size when it first broke free of the shell.
Fortunately, it still remembered Gu Shenwei and ran after him to peck desperately. Therefore it wasn’t before long that its mother took it away.
Perhaps they felt the chick was impolite, for the golden rocs didn’t bring it anymore. But Gu Shenwei actually missed that ugly beast a bit.
When mid summer arrived and marked the anniversary of his family’s deaths, the golden rocs brought Gu Shenwei a special gift. It was neither food nor items, but a book.
They probably thought it wasn’t enough, so they brought many delicious fruits at the same time to make up for the ‘unimportance’ of this gift.
That book was made of sheepskin and seamed according to the style of Central Plains. Worn and old, it didn’t even have a cover. It must have fallen into a crack to be unscarred by the elements.
Each page was outlined with a simple figure, under which were written several words as abstract as poems. On the two sides of the figure were explanatory notes written with completely different handwriting.
After the golden rocs left, Gu Shenwei quickly looked through the book. He almost couldn’t understand a single sentence of it, but the figures clearly pointed out this was a unknown sword manual.
He hid the book in one of the cracks in the stone wall before the twins came.
Even though Giant Boulder Cliff was the twins’ stronghold, no one was more familiar with it than Gu Shenwei. No one would find the things he hid unless they searched inch by inch.
Gu Shenwei spent three days and generally understood this sword manual. He felt it was both scary and ridiculous and almost threw it away.
On the first page of the sword manual written several abstract sentences: “To make someone die, one must die first. One’s body should be like dry skeleton, one’s heart should be like dead ashes. If one kills one’s thoughts, one will live forever. If one keeps having uncontrollable thoughts, one will never live forever.” 1
Several sentences were borrowed from the book of Zhuangzi. Gu Shenwei wasn’t quite clear about it when reading the book, so he grew even more confused. Even the explanation on the right sides of the book pages seemed to be covered with mist, and it was full of death and more death.
The figure was pretty simple – a sword was stabbing towards someone’s neck. The victims getting stabbed all looked grim, as if they were the evil ghosts escaped from hell.
Every figure had the same content – a sword stabbing at the neck. The only difference was the angle of the sword.
What was this sword manual about? Neck Stabbing Swordsmanship? Gu Shenwei even thought this was a deceptive book, a mischief made by someone. If such a swordsmanship really existed, the countermeasure was very simple: as long as one wore a strong neck protector, the swordsmanship would be useless no matter how skillful it is.
Gu Shenwei stood on the cliff edge, several times he wanted to throw it away, but he felt some resonance with the words in the book. And the book was not thick, so he hid it again.
But he didn’t read this book for a long time afterwards. After a very distressing thing happened, he almost completely forgot about it.
- Translator’s note: These words are from the classic Zhuangzi and are very abstract. The translation is only my own understanding. One can search in google for more information if you’re interested. Besides, in Chinese Taoism, to cultivate to become an immortal and live forever, one must discard all of one’s emotions and thoughts. So, for a real immortal, it must have no feelings for anything. ↩