Editors: Xu Xian, J3000
Chapter 56 Intuition
Gu Shenwei’s half-truth story touched the two teenage girls. Although they didn’t comment on it, he knew the first step of his plan was successful.
But this was only the first step. He couldn’t control Shangguan Ru’s mind. He could only wait and see where this imperious girl would take this matter.
The next morning, after the twins went to school, Gu Shenwei found a chance to go back to the courtyard of the eighth young lord and report to Xue Niang. He didn’t use the method Xue Niang taught him because she had apparently overestimated Servant Huan’s influence on Ninth Gongzi; the life or death of a servant was not enough to arouse Shangguan Ru’s interest.
Gu Shenwei met several people carrying a big basket at the gate. He recognized one of them as Servant San, one of the ten virgin boys brought by Miss.
Some of them died, some of them left, only four remained in Ji Xin Yuan. Miss had completely forgotten about them, so there was no reason for others to remember them.
Looking stiff with dim eyes, Servant San didn’t seem to have even noticed Servant Huan. He carried the basket with the others and quickly left with his head lowered.
Gu Shenwei was very sensitive to this trivial matter for some reason, he wanted to know what was inside that basket.
Even if it were a dead man, it wouldn’t be unusual in Golden Roc Castle. But Gu Shenwei couldn’t drive away his curiosity and faint uneasiness. He kept thinking about it before entering Xue Niang’s room.
Unexpectedly, Xue Niang acted kindly. She not only showed her satisfaction with the progress of the plan, but she also praised Servant Huan’s tact. She even awarded him a cup of tea and, whilst he sipped his tea, said, “You’ll know later on how hard it is to find someone that is trustworthy in the world. Invincible martial arts can’t match a stab in the back. You’re a trustworthy person, and we two can be considered as master and disciple now. I have a lot of martial arts skills, the skills I’ve taught you are only 20% of them. I’ll teach you real kung fu after you get the thing. It isn’t tricks played by some kids, it’s kung fu for killing. I know you want to kill someone, once you learn my kung fu, you can kill whoever you want.”
This was not the first time Xue Niang said ‘kill whoever you want’. Gu Shenwei felt that she had somehow guessed his real identity.
He thanked her cautiously, appearing to be neither too cold nor too warm. He didn’t mention anything about the secret of the sabre. Originally, he wanted to find out some clues from Xue Niang, but now he decided to pretend that he didn’t know about it.
The twins could call Servant Huan to compete in kung fu with them at anytime. Gu Shenwei used this as an excuse and left after staying for only a short time.
Only after he walked outside the gate did he discover he had been on tenterhooks, even his walking posture became poor because of muscle tension.
No one was nearby, so he walked to the outside of the south-east corner and found where he had talked with Servant Qian the day before yesterday.
That hole was now sealed with mud.
Gu Shenwei hurriedly ran back to the school gate.
As it was sunny, the group of footmen hid under the shadow of the wall and used their sleeves as fans. Gu Shenwei, however, felt waves of chill pass through his body.
Servant Qian was dead, the murderer was obviously Xue Niang. Her words about ‘trust’ were actually a warning: she knew what those two little servants were plotting.
Gu Shenwei hoped to find more accurate evidence of Servant Qian’s death, so he listened in on the conversations of the surrounding crowd. But Servant Qian was just a killer’s disciple at east castle, on average one or two people like him died everyday in the castle, who would be interested in his death?
He also thought that he might be too nervous, even if the thing in the basket was a dead man, it might not be Servant Qian. But he soon returned to his original guess and became even more sure of it. His intuition couldn’t be wrong.
The teenager was obsessed with revenge and the woman was intent on stealing the sabre, they once walked on the same road, but the crossroads where they would part ways was right ahead.
Xue Niang would kill him to keep his mouth shut once she got the wooden sabre. Gu Shenwei knew Servant Qian was right, but he would still be killed if he couldn’t get the wooden sabre.
Gu Shenwei started devising a murder plan again. Compared to the assassination of Han Shiqi, he didn’t have helpers who came forward to him themselves, nor the convenience of hiding in the dark. Time, place, and people, nothing was on his side.
Gu Shenwei was totally immersed in his complicated scheme. Every time he thought of something new, he refuted it in next to no time and completely didn’t notice someone was talking to him.
“Servant Huan!” That man’s voice became harsh. Gu Shenwei suddenly sobered and looked up to see Servant Qing’s very unsatisfied face.
The fact that Servant Huan entered the inner chamber and became Shangguan Ru’s close footman surprised and slightly annoyed Servant Qing, so he was even more angry with Servant Huan’s indifference.
“So, you can’t hear us servants speak after you’re closer to the lord?”
“Sorry, I…I’m a little sleepy.”
Gu Shenwei tried to find excuses, he had offended too many people and there was no need to offend Servant Qing too.
“Go, take someone to clean Kun Hua Yuan. Ninth Gongzi will be using it.”1
Shangguan Ru often gave some perplexing orders, so Gu Shenwei didn’t ask and left for Kun Hua Yuan with five footmen.
Gu Shenwei didn’t know where Kun Hua Yuan was, so he was led by one of the teenagers. When he arrived, he found out that he had actually come to this place once before.
This was the place Shangguan Yushi hid in, when he had narrowly escaped from under the cliff, and she thought he was a ghost.
This small courtyard had been empty for a long time and accumulated lots of dust and dirt. It took them a whole day to completely clean it.
The next day, both Shangguan Ru and Shangguan Yushi didn’t go to school, they came to Kun Hua Yuan instead. They commanded the footmen to carry many tools and objects into the yard, many of which were taken from the inner chamber’s garden.
At first, Gu Shenwei thought Shangguan Ru wanted to move out and live alone. He eventually found out that she was actually designing a kung fu practice field.
That afternoon, Shangguan Ru and Shangguan Yushi drove away all the footmen except Servant Huan. Servant Qing tried to fight for a valuable position for himself, but ended up being kicked out by Yu Gongzi.
Naturally, he blamed this on Servant Huan.
Shangguan Ru was truly touched by the story of Miracle Hand Dragon and was determined to become a great thief that could leap onto roofs and vault over walls. Shangguan Yushi didn’t want Ninth Gongzi to be influenced by Servant Huan at first, but she soon changed her mind and enthusiastically pushed for it. Her active involvement surprised Gu Shenwei.
He soon understood that Shangguan Yushi actually intended to compete for the right to control Shangguan Ru.
As for Shangguan Ru’s attitude, she not only didn’t detest the competition between her cousin and her servant, but she actually liked it a bit.
Gu Shenwei hadn’t taken himself as a kid for almost a year, so he could clearly see the essence of this game of currying favour.
Even kids are not naive, he thought.
15-year-old Shangguan Yushi had already been aware of the truth of being backed by a big tree and tried to tie herself firmly to the ‘big tree’. And 12-year-old Shangguan Ru knew how to balance the interests of her ‘favoured minions‘ just out of instinct.
Reality was always ugly. Gu Shenwei tried to recall his past life as a young lord, he had also unknowingly played these tricks before. He would continue playing them now, but this time he had a clearer, bloodier goal.
Shangguan Fei also ran over, he was the two teenage girls’ ‘footman’ who couldn’t be gotten rid of. After using both hard and soft means, they could only let him stay, but drove away his footmen as usual.
The Great Four Thieves of Golden Roc Castle was formed like this.
Other than Gu Shenwei, none of them knew the true purpose of this game. But Gu Shenwei couldn’t tell them, so for the first three or four days they only focused on practising lightness skills: because they were apparently the most basic and important skills of being a great thief.
The twins even asked for a kung fu instructor from Peng Yue Yuan. This man looked ordinary; he was short and kept a shabby mustache, but his lightness skills were amazing.
For the three gongzis, he taught with serious dedication. But for Servant Huan, a teenage servant who got special treatment, he simply ignored him.
Gu Shenwei could only follow his lords and practise the same things they did. He was not good at the lightness skills so he struggled to learn and could barely catch up with the two teenage girls.
The small bearded instructor probably felt this servant was too sniffy, so he checked Servant Huan’s internal energy. He only pressed his palm onto the key acupoints of Servant Huan’s chest for a short while before impatiently coming to a decisive conclusion, “You can’t learn advanced lightness skills, your internal energy and that of Golden Roc Castle are two different ways, you may catch up now, but you won’t be able to later on, just give up.”
The small bearded instructor didn’t explain the ‘two different ways’ clearly, but Gu Shenwei felt that what he had said made sense. Balanced power, the internal energy used as the foundation of the Gu family’s two superb sabresmanship and spearsmanship skills, focused on standing firmly and fighting steadily. In his impression, his father Gu Lun and the others did not seem to value lightness skills too much.
But where there is a will, there is a way. Gu Shenwei didn’t give up working hard because of this, especially since Shangguan Yushi’s attitude motivated him. After she heard the small bearded instructor’s words, she practised lightness skills harder. She would be very happy if she could surpass and leave Servant Huan far behind within one of the martial arts skills.
The patience of the three gongzis only lasted three days. They didn’t want to practise hard for years to become a great thief, so they started talking about their target.
For Gu Shenwei, this was the most difficult part of the whole plan. If he couldn’t lead Shangguan Ru to become interested in Liu Sha Dian, this would really just be a game and all his efforts would be in vain.
So he cautiously interjected the conversation to try his best and discreetly influence the others. For example; when Shangguan Fei wanted to steal his father’s token he would point out that, though it was fun to play the great thief game, they should never embarrass their elders. When Shangguan Ru wanted to steal a treasured sabre at east castle, he would say the east castle was always open to the twins, it was not challenging if they could enter it freely.
Some of the suggested goals were too easy, it was like pilfering and they were refuted by the others before Gu Shenwei opened his mouth.
Those four teenagers discussed in secret for the whole afternoon, they became impatient. It was Shangguan Yushi who said the three words Gu Shenwei anticipated most, “Liu Sha Dian, there’re many treasures there and it is heavily guarded. Remember last time when we wanted to play inside but were driven out? Those people would not deliberately relax their vigilance.”
Gu Shenwei kept silent, waiting patiently for the two gongzis to eagerly say yes.
Regardless of the others’ goals, he only wanted to steal the wooden sabre. After that, he still had to find a way to deal with Xue Niang, so even he himself became a bit hesitant about whether to hasten or delay the stealing of the sabre.
- Translator’s note: Literally Kun Hua Yuan means Kun Change Yard, respectively. Kun is the name of an enormous legendary fish, which could change into a roc. One can search ‘Enjoyment in Untroubled Ease(Xiao yao you) – Zhuang Zi’ in google for more information about ‘Kun’. ↩