Chapter 065 Household Affairs
The narrow sabre in Shangguan Nu’s left hand slanted to the ground, he wielded the hook on his right hand and pierced Xue Niang’s head, raising it and appreciating it carefully.
Xue Niang’s originally sallow face was drained of blood and basked in the pale moonlight; it looked as stiff as the stone man’s nearby..
The headless corpse fell heavily, the green-faced assassin disappeared mid-air – as fast and mysteriously as they’d appeared.
Gu Shenwei shivered several times in a row. All of the pores on his body fully opened, bursts of hot and cold air were emitted in waves, as if something that had lived in his body for a long time was frantically fleeing.
His mind had never been so clear and calm.
The Wooden Sabre and stone figures were a trap Golden Roc Castle had set for Da Huang sect, and from this Shangguan Nu was able to determine Xue Niang’s origin.
Next, how would eighth young lord treat this servant who snitched on Xue Niang? Gu Shenwei stood up and wiped off the blood and filth from around the corner of his mouth, waiting patiently.
Although the burning sensation had disappeared, the internal Qi inside his dantian was still unstable like churning water, but he lacked the time to dwell on this for now.
Shangguan Nu sheathed his sabre, and used his left hand to grab Xue Niang’s hair and pull her head from the hook, then said to the teenager hiding in the corner, “Throw it off.”
This command briefly puzzled Gu Shenwei, but he soon awakened, ‘it’ meant the headless corpse, ‘off’ meant the cliff at the end of the alley.
This had been his old job at Ji Xi Yuan when he’d first entered Golden Roc Castle. Gu Shenwei gripped the corpse by one foot and pulled it deeper into the alley, paying no attention to the blood left on the ground at all.
Beyond the last stone figures was a pile a scattered stone, and behind it was indeed the cliff. Gu Shenwei threw the corpse off, suddenly he felt that his whole body was totally relaxed, and the horror entangled in his heart also disappeared. In his eyes, the eighth young lord became an average person, an average killer, and an average son of Unique King.
Shangguan Nu had been following several steps behind the teenager, his left hand pressing against his sabre’s hilt. He was surprised about Servant Huan’s change. Not long ago, this teenager was still vomiting uncontrollably because of Xue Niang’s death, but now he was calm and composed, as if what he’d thrown off was junk.
Only one without fear towards death could qualify to be a real killer. Shangguan Nu’s sabre-wielding hand loosened a bit.
Gu Shenwei had seen too much killing and death this past year, but fear had never diminished in his heart. Until this night, the green-faced assassin’s one, clean, swift cut had pushed his fear to the maximum, then it’d vanished.
At the Giant Boulder Cliff, When the golden roc was killed in a similar way by the Unique King’s man-in-black, Gu Shenwei hadn’t experienced this. Because, at that time, he’d been completely immersed in grief, and had neglected his own life and death situation.
Shangguan Nu stared at Servant Huan, who was standing on the edge of the cliff. With a simple move he could kill this servant, he would even remove the trouble of throwing away the corpse. This was a great temptation.
“Go.” Shangguan Nu said and turned around, carrying Xue Ning’s head and walking towards the alley’s exit.
Gu Shenwei followed closely behind, he felt eighth young lord’s killing intent gradually disappear as they took more steps. Shangguan Nu had restored his inconspicuous state before they had walked out of the ‘hilt’ part of the alley. Only the head in his hand indicated his killer identity.
A killer with black clothes and a red belt was guarding the alley entrance. Seeing Shangguan Nu, he immediately kneeled down with one leg, holding a red box high with both hands.
Shangguan Nu put Xue Niang’s head into the box. He produced a handkerchief, rubbed the iron hook of his right hand carefully, then cleaned his left hand skillfully with the same move. With a year of practice, his left hand was even more flexible than his previous right.
Shangguan Nu glanced back at Servant Huan, Servant Huan immediately knew what should be done. He moved forward to pick up the red box from the killer, and carried it from behind as his lord moved on. The killer-in-black retreated quietly instead.
The two returned to eighth young lord’s courtyard. Shangguan Nu seemed to have everything under control and have a detailed plan. After they entered the courtyard, he walked directly towards the small hall in the backyard. A killer, guarding the hall, saw the lord and bowed and left the yard right away.
There was light coming from the small hall, obviously someone was waiting for the return of eighth young lord.
Shangguan Nu opened the door and entered, Gu Shenwei hesitated but then followed after.
A half-transparent screen was placed inside, behind which eighth young mistress and Tsui Nü’s figures could be vaguely seen. The four maidservants Chen, Xin, Sui, and Yi stood beside the screen with panicked faces as though a great disaster was imminent.
There was a person kneeling on the floor. Lotus had both hands pressed to the ground her expression hidden.
Gu Shenwei kneeled by Lotus’s side immediately, understanding that Shangguan Nu was intended to clean up his household’s affairs.
Disappointment had grown in Shangguan Nu ever since he’d rode into the Iron Mountain bandit camp and saw his illustrious match was no more than the daughter of gangsters. The performance of Big Head God’s daughter while at Golden Roc Castle further verified the accuracy of his initial judgement.
Looking at the people she’d brought, they turned out to have been bought on the spur of the moment. They didn’t even question their origins. In the end, two kids assassinated his killer and made him a standing joke.
Then looking at her behavior, she apparently knew her husband was on the same side as her mother-in-law Madam Meng, but she still acted in an arbitrary and reckless manner and almost offended everyone in the castle; compromising her husband’s social position.
Finally, her close wet nurse turned out to be a spy sent by Golden Roc Castle’s enemy, which almost made him lose all face again in front of his father.
This is a jinx, a jinx that has a fairly useless good appearance, Shangguan Nu thought bitterly, he had never wanted to be the only man that could see her face.
“Husband…” Miss enquired with trembling voice, no matter how peremptory she was ordinarily, she had long been aware that the atmosphere was different, different from normal times, especially when Xue Niang was present.
“Get out.” Shangguan Nu ordered coldly.
The four maidservants near the screen all lowered their heads, held their breath, and left quickly. The blind, tongueless Tsui Nü only hesitated a short while, but also walked around the screen and left the room. She was so panicked that she almost hit the door frame.
All the maidservants had left, Big Head God’s daughter felt much lonelier, “Husband, what on earth has happened?”
“Show her.” Shangguan Nu’s voice barely hid his resentment at heart.
Gu Shenwei moved on his knees to the edge of the screen and held the red wooden box high. He tried to lower his head as much as he could, and not see even the slightest bit of Miss.
After a long, depressing silence, Miss finally spoke, her tone was calm and even involved a trace of self-mockery, “I finally get rid of her, husband, is this a gift from you?”
Luo Ningcha’s reaction was out of Shangguan Nu’s expectation, which had also greatly surprised Gu Shenwei. He felt for the first time that Miss was perhaps not as stupid as he’d thought.
“Don’t you want to know why I killed her?”
“She was humble concubine’s servant, also husband’s servant, lord doesn’t need a reason to kill a servant.”1
“Hey, what a good wife, Xue Niang was Golden Roc Castle’s enemy. She changed her name and snuck into the castle to steal something, it’s a pity that the two helpers she selected were worthless and betrayed her on the same day.”
Gu Shenwei suddenly came to understand, Servant Qian had said Xue Niang will kill us three before he died. He suspected at the time that the third person couldn’t be Tsui Nü who sent the message, but Lotus looked to be very loyal to Xue Niang; what were the chances she’d also snitch on Xue Niang? Had she been filled with finger energy that caused Qi deviation too? Most importantly had she already revealed this to eighth young lord?
Gu Shenwei became uneasy again, but what Miss said next made him more uneasy.
“Xue Niang claimed to be humble concubine’s wet nurse, in fact, she had never nurtured me. She came to Iron Mountain several years ago. She dared to cheat my father: husband, thanks to your penetrating observation, humble concubine will write to father to tell him all this, he will thank you.”
“It’s been several years and you still didn’t know the origin of the people around you, which one is trustworthy amongst the servants you brought?”
“Calm your anger, husband, these servants always cause trouble for you and me, no need to keep them, kill them all.”
Big Head God’s daughter had never spoken to appease another like this before. When she first entered the castle, she was upset for half day just due to the trivial matter of changing her maidservant Little Ru’s name, but now she easily suggested killing all the servants.
This advice was too vicious, even Shangguan Nu frowned. The death of Xue Niang would inevitably cause some rumors, if he killed more than a dozen servants, it would probably become well-known amongst the people of Jade City at the foot of the mountain.
“This is none of your business, from now on I forbid your father from sending more people here, staying at that bandit’s camp is more appropriate for those thieves and swindlers.”
“Yes, humble concubine follows the order.”
Miss’s humble behavior was really unprecedented, Gu Shenwei even doubted the person behind the screen was Luo Ningcha. Then he heard her sobbing, and couldn’t help but have some sympathy for her.
His wife’s humility greatly alleviated Shangguan Nu’s anger. After all, she was Big Head God’s daughter, even Unique King couldn’t punish her casually.
With Shangguan Nu’s call, a killer-in-black appeared out of nowhere; pushed the door open and came inside.
“Shut away these two servants, wait for the final decision.”
Gu Shenwei kneeled back several steps, put down the red wooden box, got up and retreated out of the room together with Lotus. The two hadn’t gained eighth young lord’s complete trust, he was still deciding how to deal with these two snitches.
The killer-in-black followed the lord’s order and shut the teenage boy and girl into the same room located in the frontyard.
The room was very small, even if they each occupied a separate corner, there were only several steps between them.
It was past midnight, the killer locked the door and went to rest. There was no need to stand watch, the castle was full of guards, he dared those two servants to try escape.
Neither Gu Shenwei nor Lotus lay down to sleep, nor did they talk with each other.
Gu Shenwei’s mind was entangled in a pile of questions, one popped out after another before he could think one through. It was exactly at the moment when he thought about why Xue Niang hadn’t kicked him to death, that the hot Qi in his xuanji acupoint lost control again and rushed directly towards his dantian.
It was definitely a coincidence. Xue Niang had predicted that he would have Qi deviation more frequently and definitely die in three years. Gu Shenwei had experienced it once two months ago at Giant Boulder Cliff. Today, he would experience it for the second time.
However, compared with the powerful finger energy Xue Niang had attacked with several hours ago this Qi deviation felt really gentle. Gu Shenwei could even bear it upright, but a layer of sweat soon gathered at his forehead.
He thought about the characters in the unknown sword manual and turned the hot Qi into his own internal energy, this was perhaps the most painful practice method in the world, but he had no other way out. His suppressed balanced power couldn’t be improved if he didn’t do this.
The sky is faintly lit with the dawn. The episode of Qi deviation gradually faded Gu Shenwei finally let out a long breath and discovered his balanced power had reached the third level of yin energy. Thinking how he’d trained hard for no reward but had finally had a breakthrough with the latent danger his enemy caused, he couldn’t help but smile bitterly.
Lotus, who didn’t look at Servant Huan for the whole night suddenly turned her head, “You have Qi deviation too?”
“Hmm, it’s my second time.”
“I’d experienced my first a month ago.”
The fact that both of them were filled with Xue Niang’s Desolate Finger energy quickly bonded them together.
“I think Miss will kill us.” Lotus blurted it out for no reason.
Gu Shenwei’ heart thumped, because he had the same thought.
- Translator’s note: Humble concubine is a modest self-reference amongst women of ancient times. ↩