Editors: J3000, Xu Xian
Chapter 59 Failure on the Verge of Success
Shangguan Yushi didn’t really expect a clear answer from Servant Huan, she just wanted to show that she couldn’t be played like a fool and had her eyes on him. Having accomplished that, she snorted and also climbed out the window.
Gu Shenwei was left alone with the old man, who seemed to be sanguine and indifferent to his current predicament. He was still tied up underneath the huge, wall-mounted sabre.
Hit with a sudden idea, Gu Shenwei immediately put his cheek against the wall and looked forward. Soon his heart jumped and he felt the gods had smiled upon him. Looking along that smooth wall, something was protruding slightly; the wooden sabre was embedded in the wall not far away and was ‘gripped’ by a thin, tall man-in-black in the mural. It stuck out a bit from the wall. If one did not intentionally or carefully observe, it would have been very hard to find it.
Gu Shenwei rushed forward, he quickly pulled out the wooden sabre at his waist and replaced it with the one in the mural.
The standardized wooden sabres at Golden Roc Castle were basically all the same, even for the owners themselves it was difficult to distinguish between one sabre and another.
Gu Shenwei inserted the substitute wooden sabre, sheathed the original at his waist, and quickly glanced at the old man. That old man was still staring at the roof serenely, without caring or noticing anything.
It could be possible that old man is a profound hidden master. This strange idea flashed in Gu Shenwei’s mind as he quickly ran to the window. He didn’t dwell on this thought for long because his most urgent task was to satisfy Xue Niang.
He exited the window and climbed down the rope, Shangguan Yushi was unlikely to play anymore dirty tricks when Shangguan Ru was nearby.
Gu Shenwei untied the rope and let it swing outside the wall of Liu Sha Dian after he landed. The flying claw would have to stay hanging from the window as it couldn’t be retrieved.
Together again, the four of them retreated the same way they came, Gu Shenwei was the last one to jumped over the outer wall. The whole theft went so well that everyone was proud and excited, but underneath their exhilaration was a hint of worry.
Shangguan Fei became bold as soon as they cleared the outer wall of Liu Sha Dian, after all, this was his home. He kept nagging his sister to let him have a look at the black jade palm but was rejected. From her perspective, the mission was still ongoing and they should continue pretending to be ‘great thieves’ until they were completely safe.
Shangguan Ru was also uneasy, she was unable to cast off the suspicion that someone had spoilt their plans and that this was another arranged game. That old man in the temple especially made her wary, he was supposed to be a great killer, but he’d acted like an obedient dog.
Her doubts were soon verified.
When the four of them returned to Shangguan Ru’s quarters, there was already a person waiting for them in the room.
There was supposed to be a person in the room: that teenager with a sabre who was trussed up. But this person now was not a teenager, and there was no rope binding him.
Wearing a grey robe, this man was short and thin. He had been standing in darkness and lit the small lamp on the table as soon as those four teenagers entered. The lamp light shone and, as the darkness withdrew, his face was revealed to show a well-prepared, humble smile.
“I wish two gongzis that everything goes well.”
He said with the overly oily and ingratiating voice of a practiced courtier. He bowed slightly, which made his smile look even more hypocritical. Shangguan Yushi was completely ignored.
“Why are you here, who let you come in?”
Seeing this person, all of them were astonished. But Shangguan Ru was used to being tyrannical, she tore off the black cloth on her face and questioned harshly. At the same time, she looked around, that teenager with the sabre was indeed gone.
Gu Shenwei was more surprised than the others because he’d seen this grey-robed man before.
The grey-robed man was surnamed Guo, and everyone called him ‘Mr. Guo’. It was he who kept implying all the teenagers in Ji Xin Yuan were possible suspects after the death of the eighth young lord’s killer, and suggested the case had to be expanded in order to catch Han Shiqi’s murderer.
Gu Shenwei still remembered that, according to the rumors, Mr. Guo was the fifth young lord’s confidant and wasn’t on good terms with the eighth young lord Shangguan Nu.
Mr. Guo belonged to Bai Yi Yuan in the east castle. Gu Shenwei had never figured out what the responsibilities of Bai Yi Yuan were, so he was very confused and surprised by Mr. Guo’s appearance in Shangguan Ru’s room.1
“Little me followed the order to retrieve two things.”
Shangguan Ru’s tone was still not soft, but Gu Shenwei was shocked again. Two things? Does that include the wooden sabre at his waist?
“The timeless rule passed down through the seven generations of Unique King: to kill without amnesty any intruders of Liu Sha Dian, to execute immediately for touching the ancestors’ items without permission, little me follows this ‘order’.”
Shangguan Ru’s face went red immediately, nobody had ever threatened her with ‘death’. “Good, come ‘kill me without amnesty’.”
She untied the bundle and took out the black jade palm, but she didn’t give it to Mr. Guo. She clutched it to her chest, and glared aggressively at him. She was very unhappy, not only because of Mr. Guo’s impetuous behavior, but also because their ‘great thief’ plan had failed on the verge of success. Behind her, Shangguan Fei was bashful and worried, Shangguan Yushi gripped the wooden sabre with a cold face.
Mr. Guo’s humble smile didn’t diminish, “Little me dares not, little me just wants to take back those two items right now, the rest will be decided by King Lord.”
He said he dared not, but he still treated the four’s behavior as outrageous with his words. Shanggua Yushi couldn’t bear it anymore, she raised her head and said with disdain, “Two items? How come it is two items?”
Gu Shenwei took out the wooden sabre and held it up with both hands. He took one step forward, and didn’t know how to explain his behavior.
“Ahh, it’s you, I knew it…”
Shangguan Yushi cried out loud, Shangguan Ru snatched the wooden sabre from Servant Huan’s hands and quickly said, “I let him take it, but now it is in my hands, if you want to take it back, I’m afraid you’re not qualified.”
Gu Shenwei lowered his head, not daring to utter a sound. Shangguan Ru had saved his life again.
Shangguan Yushi didn’t believe what she said, but she kept her mouth shut.
Mr. Guo was not provoked by the words of a mouthy kid, he bowed again, “Miss is right, little me is going to go call someone qualified now.”
He started walking to the door, Shangguan Ru waved the wooden sabre fiercely and cut at his neck. The word ‘miss’ was exceptionally harsh sounding to her.
Mr. Guo slid one step forward, barely avoided the cut, and walked out of the door as if nothing had happened.
Judging from his appearance, he seemed to be a poor, lackluster scholar, no one expected him to also be a master.
“You will not be tricked by the miss again, will you?”
“No.” A person answered in a low, muffled voice then flashed into the room. It was Shangguan Ru’s shadow guard, that teenager with a sabre. Now his face was as white as paper because of shame.
A shadow guard was a special type of person at Golden Roc Castle, their responsibility was to protect their lords discreetly in secret.
This responsibility required them to make no mistakes.
The sabre-wielding teenager had been subdued by the knockout powder and tied up like a rice dumpling. This not only made him burn with shame, but also meant that his life as a shadow guard was over. The fact that Mr. Guo had ordered him to guard the four in the room clearly pointed this out.
The teenager stood by the door and gripped the narrow sabre so tight his knuckles turned white. His eyes swept over to the corner to deliberately avoid everyone.
“The two gongzis are very stubborn, you might as well prove to them that you’re serious,” Mr. Guo said from outside the room. Then all was quiet again, it seemed that experts could move in complete silence even when casually walking.
Shangguan Ru handed the black jade palm and wooden sabre to Servant Huan, she turned and faced her shadow guard with her head held high. “Are you serious? Me too.”
She had started moving towards the sabre-wielding teenager before the last word was spoken. She tried to block her opponent’s view with her right hand. At the same time she lifted her left hand a bit and scattered the colorless, and odorless, unknown knockout powder.
This was the second time she had used this trick and the sabre-wielding teenager wasn’t fooled again. He shook his body to avoid Shangguan Ru’s right hand and waved his left sleeve. He not only blocked the knockout powder but also reflected some of it back.
Shangguan Ru breathed in her own knockout powder and became unstable. She fell backwards and was caught by Shangguan Yushi. “How dare you!” Shangguan Yushi snapped.
Without a word, the sabre-wielding teenager drew out his narrow sabre. Shangguan Fei abruptly jumped behind the two teenage girls. “What do you want?”
The sabre-wielding teenager wanted to prove he was serious. His attacking target, however, was not those lords, but the only servant present.
Gu Shenwei already knew this sabre-wielding teenager’s kung fu was better than his when he was sneakily attacked that night. But now he held items in both his hands so he became more flustered. Under the pressure of this critical moment, he steeled his mind and forcefully sucked in his chest, falling backwards away from the incoming blade.
He still got cut. The sabre’s tip had pierced his clothes and left a long shallow mark on his chest.
The sabre-wielding teenager failed to kill his enemy in one move and didn’t continue attacking. He resheathed the sabre and looked away, as if everything was solved.
This time those four ‘great thieves’ all knew this sabre-wielding teenager was ‘serious’.
Gu Shenwei stood up, his whole body had become achy and limp. That cut was indeed out of his expectations, if the sabre-wielding teenager’s kung fu was a little bit better, he would probably be dead already. He would have died in Golden Roc Castle for no reason, without anyone even knowing his true identity or purpose.
Luckily the wound was not severe and he didn’t need to bind it. No one had the intention to bind it for him either.
The mysterious knockout powder didn’t have an antidote, but its effects were short-lived. Shangguan Yushi carried Shangguan Ru to the edge of the bed, where she gently rubbed her forehead for a while. When she could finally sit up by herself, her cheeks were flushed with anger. Gu Shenwei had seen it many times before.
“Let that old dog complain and run his mouth, but no one dares to actually touch you.”
Shangguan Ru merely responded Hmm to Shangguan Yushi’s comforting. She was already engrossed in schemes to exact ‘vengeance’, Mr. Guo and the sabre-wielding teenager were utterly detestable in her eyes.
“We’re just playing for fun, we’ll be okay if we return the items, won’t we?” Shangguan Fei whispered, he was a bit afraid now.
Gu Shenwei knew he had no chance to speak so he kept silent and took this opportunity to look around Shangguan Ru’s room.
The room was only a little bigger than an average servant’s room and was simply decorated. There was nothing but a table, a chair, a bed, and a furnace, and he couldn’t find anything special a girl should have. Shangguan Ru was imperious in the castle and was always accompanied by a group of servants. Gu Shenwei was very surprised that her living room was so simple and crude. He couldn’t help but think once again that Unique King really spared no efforts in nurturing his daughter to be more like a boy.
Shangguan Ru could stand up now. She waved at Servant Huan, Gu Shenwei returned both the black jade palm and wooden sabre. She held an item in each of her hands and stubbornly said, “No one can take them away unless King Lord comes himself.”
Shangguan Fei shrank his neck but didn’t say anything. But Shangguan Yushi tightly held Ninth Gongzi‘s shoulder, revealing the same firm look as her. “True, no one stopped us at Liu Sha Dian, and now they want them back? No way!”
Gu Shenwei hoped they could resolve this matter soon while also hoping that Shangguan Ru would attract everyone’s attention. This was because he had brought two wooden sabres with him, one of them was embedded in the mural, and the other was in Shangguan Ru’s hand. The real wooden sabre of Liu Sha Dian had already been hidden by him.
This was supposed to have been the trick he would use to deal with Xue Niang. But once his ruse was discovered, even if all of Unique King’s daughters begged for clemency, it wouldn’t be enough to save this audacious servant’s life.
- Translator’s note: Literally Bai Yi Yuan means White Clothes Yard. ↩