Editors: Hibi-Chan, Xu Xian
Chapter 51 Night Visit
Unique King Shangguan Fa stood with his arms crossed behind his back. In front of him, more than a dozen killers carefully held the corpses of the two rocs. One of them held the female bird’s head.
He admired his prey, full of pride.
Golden Roc Castle, Golden Roc Castle, this namesake had been around for over 100 years, but how many people had personally seen the golden rocs? Was there anyone who had captured the golden rocs? Only him, the seventh generation Unique King, had brought the greatest glory for his castle on the mountain peak.
This was a sign, a sign that Golden Roc Castle was going to reach its peak, and the dream of several Unique Kings’ would be realized by him alone.
Shangguan Fa was immersed in great satisfaction and joy, his only regret was that one golden roc’s head was cut off. He could find the best craftsmen under the heaven to sew the head back to make a complete specimen. It would be seamless and no one would notice it. This imperfection, however, still made him feel annoyed.
The densely packed crowd of masked killers at Giant Boulder Cliff all held their breath and waited calmly. The one who had pressed Gu Shenwei down carefully observed his King Lord’s every move, ready to kill this plain servant at the slightest hint.
“Have you caught it?”, a crisp voice asked.
In this world that revolved around the Unique King, only she dared to break the silence.
Shangguan Ru squeezed in from outside the giant boulder, pushed aside the statue-like killers, and rushed over to her father.
“Why did they die?” Her voice was clearly filled with surprise and dissatisfaction.
“The golden roc is not a common bird. They would rather die than surrender so there’s no way to keep them alive.” Shangguan Fa lowered his head to explain it to his daughter. He instantly changed from an arrogant Assassin King into a loving father.
“Like this bird, we, Shangguan family are also not commoners, right?”
Shangguan Fa was filled with joy. “Right, Shangguan family are not commoners, we are the rulers, destroyers, and high lords. But we’re unlike these birds, for no one can force us to commit suicide.”
Gu Shenwei’s heart seemed to explode with rage. It turned out to be Shangguan Ru who had snitched!
The Ninth Gongzi must have come sneakily to Giant Boulder Cliff. She was going to surprise Servant Huan, but found the golden rocs instead. She surprisingly kept it quiet and told her father.
Gu Shenwei had thought he was more mature and quick-witted than his peers, but now he realized how naive he was. Even a 12 year-old little girl could keep him in the dark and twist him around her little fingers.
“Ru’er, you found the golden rocs, so your contribution is the biggest. Say it, what do you want? There’s nothing under heaven you can’t have.”
“Aiya, father has already given me the best thing in the world, what else could I want? But as for that servant, without him, no one would have found the golden rocs, so he should be rewarded.”
Shangguan Ru had surprisingly asked for him to be rewarded instead. Gu Shenwei was startled and became more perplexed about her intentions. In fact, in everyone’s eyes this little servant had hidden the golden rocs so deserved death. But, he was also just a servant and not worth being taken seriously. Besides, no one wanted to risk singing the opposite tune to Ninth Gongzi.
Even for Unique King, his mood was so good that, for the first time, he could easily forgive one trivial servant. He hadn’t let go of any of those who betrayed him since he held his first sabre at five-years-old.
“Kid, what do you want?”
As Shangguan Fa held his daughter in his arms, he continued to look at the dead golden rocs and didn’t turn back to see the shivering little servant.
Gu Shenwei was quivering uncontrollably from head to toe. He feared this man who had ordered the slaughter of the Gu family. This fear came from deep in his heart; it was broader than grief, deeper than hatred. He despised his timidity but it didn’t help the situation.
“I…” Gu Shenwei’s throat was so dry it felt as though it were filled with ash, “I… want to be a killer!”
The killer’s arm holding his neck trembled a bit, as if its owner couldn’t control his laugh.
Shangguan Fa glanced back at the servant groveling on ground and he only saw a back. This was the advantage of standing high above others: people in front of him only revealed their backs, so their threat was smallest. But this was also the disadvantage of standing high above others for he couldn’t see the faces that usually revealed one’s truest feelings.
“Little servant has learned kung fu, and only hopes to enter east castle to be a killer disciple. Even if little servant’s skills can’t meet the requirements in the end, little servant can die without regret.”
Constant suffering had tempered Gu Shenwei. He had skillfully hidden his sorrow deep in his heart and wanted to use this misfortune to earn himself some benefits.
“Okay.” Shangguan Fa turned back to look at the two golden rocs again, and this little servant no longer existed in his mind.
The people at the Giant Boulder Cliff had all left and Gu Shenwei was the last to leave. He seemed to have lost his soul and couldn’t get rid of the idea that it was him that caused the deaths of the golden rocs, but that Shangguan Ru was the chief culprit.
Although he had become a killer disciple as he wished, this comfort was far from making up for the grief of losing his family.
Soon, this comfort appeared to be even more insignificant.
Not long after he returned to the stone hut, Xue Niang ordered someone to call him to her room.
Once the two of them were alone, Xue Niang’s face became livid with fury.
“You stupid, despicable, ungrateful dog, why did you hide information from me?”
Gu Shenwei hurriedly kneeled down. The fact that Unique King liked the golden rocs must have held important significance to Xue Niang.
Servant Huan’s silence incensed Xue Niang. In order to enter Golden Roc Castle, she had waited for many years. In order to realize her final goal, she was prepared to wait even longer. Such a good chance was just within reach, but was wasted by this kid.
“It seems I’m wrong. I believed in you, but you betrayed me. I let you suffer too little. Raise your head!” Xue Niang ordered sternly. Then she lowered her body, stuck out an iron-like finger and poked right at the xuanji acupoint on Gu Shenwei’s chest.
It was only one poke, but the strength was more powerful than ever before. A large bundle of hot Qi burst in Gu Shenwei’s body and rushed towards his dantian like a wild wind sweeping the leaves.
It felt like fire. Every inch of his skin, every internal organ seemed to be burnt to ashes. He fell heavily onto the ground, and like a fish out of water, he desperately twisted his body as he opened and closed his mouth, but could not utter a single sound.
Although Gu Shenwei had experienced Qi deviation two months prior, it was incomparable to this experience. It was as though one hoped for life but couldn’t live, as though one prayed to die but couldn’t die. The burning sensation inside out even drove away his most deep-rooted emotions like grief and hatred. He just wanted to beg for Xue Niang’s forgiveness, but he couldn’t say a word.
The hot Qi foamed out from his throat, which seemed to have melted his internal organs.
Xue Niang sat back on the chair. Servant Huan’s pain eased her fury a bit. Drinking tea as she thought, she ignored him and left him to roll and twist on the floor.
In these two hours where he felt more dead than alive, Gu Shenwei walked through hell and back.
“How is it, my finger energy isn’t too inferior to Unique King’s, huh?”
“Little servant dare not anymore, please forgive me Xue Niang.” He said in a hoarse voice.
“Get out!” Xue Niang shouted sharply.
Gu Shenwei dragged himself to the stone hut and lay feebly on the brick bed.
Fire could burn everything, fire could also cast steel. He grinned silently. The pain had passed now, his heart hardened after being quenched. Everyone was his enemy, all the people were walking dead.
The text fragments of that nameless sword manual suddenly surfaced in his mind and he now felt that it became more and more aligned with his state of mind. That book didn’t seem like much of a prank anymore.
Gu Shenwei jumped off the brick bed, practised his ‘balanced power’, and smiled again.
Xue Niang’s finger energy had brought a lot of pain, but it had also helped improve his internal energy. The energy of that finger poke was so strong that it had surprisingly pushed his balanced power to the third level of yang energy.
But why did it happen like this? Xue Niang definitely wasn’t this kind.
Gu Shenwei found a clue when he was on the brick bed, but now he finally understood: it was all because of that nameless sword manual.
He had spent three days carefully reading the book, and even though he hadn’t fully understood its content, many phrases had imprinted themselves in his memory. When he was abused in Xue Niang’s room, he unconsciously recited the phrases in his thoughts. Although it didn’t help relieve his pain, it helped turn Xue Niang’s finger energy into a trigger.
The deviation felt so painful at that time that he didn’t realise it, but now he suddenly came to understand it.
Then what kind of book was it?
A large lump of suspicion arose in Gu Shenwei’s heart. The book was not just the sword manual it seemed to be, the explanatory notes contained an internal energy practice method.
The more he thought about it, the more excited Gu Shenwei grew. He almost wanted to go to Giant Boulder Cliff right away to find the book and read it carefully again, but he held back. It was afternoon now and without the twins’ company it was almost impossible to enter east castle at this time. He had to wait until tomorrow morning to study the mysterious book carefully.
Today seemed to be a day of getting luck from misfortune: the golden rocs got killed, but he realized his dream of entering east castle to be a killer disciple; Xue Niang triggered his Qi deviation but unknowingly improved his internal energy and made him begin to understand the secrets contained within the unknown sword manual.
But all this was not perfect. On that night, as they slept soundly in the stone hut, they were suddenly woken up by a knock on the door.
Gu Shenwei and Elder Zhang sat up at the same time. The one that knocked had already entered and stood at the entrance.
“I have something to talk to you about.”
The one who had come was Shangguan Ru. He couldn’t see her face, but recognized her voice.
Elder Zhang was a standard good servant even when he was half asleep. He seemed not to have heard, and simply turned over and continued sleeping. He even started snoring, as if his previous actions were sleepwalking.
Gu Shenwei was very surprised. He was just hating this girl and didn’t expect she would visit in the dead of night.
Was this just another game she wanted to play? Or another conspiracy instigated by Shangguan Yushi?
Gu Shenwei put on his clothes under the blanket and whispered: “Ninth Gongzi, what’s your order?”
“Am I not your master?”
“Yes, master, may I ask the master if there is anything your disciple can do for you?”
Shangguan Ru waved her hand and walked outside the stone hut. Gu Shenwei followed closely, but silently took precaution.
“Do you seriously regard me as your master?”
The moonlight made it brighter outside than inside the hut. Gu Shenwei saw that Shangguan Ru looked serious and was not as happy as she was during the day. On her back was a big bundle and her right arm held two sabres. They were real sabres, not the wooden sabres they used for practising kung fu.
“Yes, master. One day as a master, a life as a… what disciple said were true words.” 1
“Good, follow me. We escape now.”
- Translator’s note: What Gu Shenwei didn’t finish here is a Chinese idiom called ‘One day as a teacher, a life as a father-figure.” It means even if someone is your teacher for only a day, you should regard him like your father for the rest of your life. It also works for the Master. For example, even if someone is your student for only one day, you should regard him like your son for the rest of your life. So in old times of China, masters of all areas were very strict in choosing a student to pass on their unique skills. ↩