Editor: Cypress Venus Trap, Nyxnox
Chapter 090 Spy
Gu Shenwei spent a hundred liang silver to buy a copy of the document, but it proved to be wasted money. The house-serf of the documentation chamber had played a little trick. When he had handed out the copy, the assassination mission was actually in the process of being announced, so the only advantage Gu Shenwei gained was that he knew the details of the document several hours earlier than Lotus and the rest of the killers.
In order to prevent espionage, those twenty selected disciples were directly brought away that night and settled outside the castle to undergo a separate training, so Gu Shenwei didn’t have a chance to talk with Lotus and the rest of the group at all.
The feeling of uneasiness often popped out unexpectedly. Gu Shenwei hypothesized multiple reasons in an effort to try to prove that his worry was groundless, but this only resulted in a temporary peace. In the end, he couldn’t stand it anymore and had no choice but to ask his Master for help again.
As Gu Shenwei expected, Tie Hanfeng didn’t take his disciple’s worries seriously. After laughing out loudly, he held the wine pot with one hand and waved the wine cup with the other, yelling, “You’re too suspicious. Even when a rat passes by, you’re thinking about whether a tiger is following behind it or not. Let me tell you, it’s impossible. The document has Mr. Guo’s seal on it, which means that he was one of the plan makers. If someone die during this mission, then he will be held responsible.”
According to Golden Roc Castle’s rules, only an assassination without any resistance was a perfect action. The disciples were as humble as ants at east castle, but once they gained the title of ‘killer’, they were more valuable than gold. If even one of them died, it would cause a big commotion.
Tie Hanfeng’s words were reasonable. No matter what Mr. Guo wanted to do, he would not let himself be implicated in this mess.
This finally drove away the strange uneasiness Gu Shenwei was feeling, but three days later, he found that he himself had also become one of the participants in the disciple’s assassination mission.
This assassination was not difficult, but the whole plan was formally made with every step carefully considered so that nothing was neglected. This was all done in order to let the disciples gain more experience. Part of the plan decided by East Castle was that the disciples needed to choose a spy. The spy would sneak into the enemy’s side to find and collect information and ultimately, Servant Huan was chosen for this position.
Coincidently it was exactly the role the killer Han Shiqi had played in extinguishing the Gu family about one and half years ago.
Gu Shenwei was very surprised because he was still under punishment and had already lost his title of being a killer’s disciple. Arguably, he was not qualified to join this assassination mission, but as a house-serf at Golden Roc Castle, he had no chance question the mission.
A yellow-belted overseer read out the order as another red-belted killer gave out specific instructions while at the same time bringing over a bundle. In it was several sets of commoners’ clothes, several liangs of silver, yao pai for going down the mountain, and other items.
Gu Shenwei couldn’t even go back to his living place to say farewell and ask for advice from his Master. Upon receiving his orders, he put down a dust covered pile of that he was carrying, changed into a new set of clothes and immediately took the bundle and headed for the city.
He hated the role that he was playing and felt humiliated for being a ‘spy’. Although Golden Roc Castle called this type role a ‘detective’, it still couldn’t change the the low, obscene connotation the word carried with it.
Gu Shenwei followed the instructions and arrived at an inconspicuous, small tavern in southern Jade City. He had passed by the retention alley on his way and saw that the small house Xu Yanwei had previously lived in now had a new owner. A fat old woman was introducing the new girl to passers-by with difficulty.
The small tavern was dark and narrow and even the hall was very small without many guests. Gu Shenwei walked into one of the corridors, both sides of which were filled with small, separated cubicles. Even the biggest cubicle could only accommodate five or six people. Since all of them were separated with real walls, it was one of the best places to discuss secrets.
It was the seventh cubicle on the right side. Gu Shenwei didn’t ask the waiter to lead the way; he directly walked in by himself. Someone should be waiting for him inside and this person would be responsible for helping him enter a rising gang.
There was indeed someone inside.
“It’s you!” The two called out surprisedly at the same time.
Xu Xiaoyi exerted his strength to spit on the floor, “If I knew it was you, I’d rather be beaten to death than do this job.”
Gu Shenwei sat in the opposite chair, “No matter who the person is, I’m not willing to do this job.”
The two sat silently for a while, but it was still Xu Xiaoyi who lost his cool first, “You really made my sister and I suffer a lot.”
“Sorry, I didn’t die for your happiness.” Gu Shenwei couldn’t help but reply sarcastically. If not for his persistence, the sister and brother would have become corpses rotting in the wild a long time ago.
Xu Xiaoyi grunted, his whole body retracting into the chair for a while before he sat up again, “To tell you the truth, we really didn’t want to kill the big prince. Although he was not a good guy, only a few guests of my elder sister are good guys. In short, we didn’t want to frame you. That officer also said that it was you who helped my sister and I get rid of the charge and saved our lives.”
“It seems that what I had done was not enough.”
“Hey, I didn’t want to be ungrateful, the key was … You know … My sister and I could have almost escaped from this damned rotten place. The second prince promised that he would let my elder sister be the queen and I would be a chancellor when I grew up.”
“And you two believed that?”
“Uh … He was the guest. He would even promise killing his own mother when he was happy, but, this was still a chance somehow. As long as we left, my elder sister can always find some rich, silly people.”
Gu Shenwei also grunted, “Where’s the money of the older prince and Big Belly Buddha?”
“It was taken away by someone. This side took a bit, that side took a bit. They all said it was their money. Now my elder sister and I have become poor again and we own lots of debt. She continues to be a prostitute and I, fuck, I have to go on errands for you.”
“This is life.”
Gu Shenwei’s chivalry ran out. He didn’t have any sympathy for the sibling’s miserable experience. At the southern Jade City, doing their old jobs was their only choice. It was same with Gu Shenwei in that he could only be a killer now.
“It’s not … “ Xu Xiaoyi still wanted to argue but changed his mind as soon as the words were out. They still had some serious matter to talk about, “I’ll lead you there tonight, it’s very simple. They’ll take you as long as you pay the silver.”
Jade City attracted the exiled nobles from different countries, but it also attracted some desperate fugitives. These people gathered in the dirty, disordered southern Jade City, looking for an opportunity to be noticed and become famous right away. Some impatient people even set up their own gangs, trying to grab some leftovers from the tiger’s mouth.
Golden Roc Castle seldom interfered with these small gangs which appeared and disappeared quickly. Sometimes it even made use of them to do some business, but after a period of time, there were always some people who misunderstood Unique King’s attitude and had some ambitions they should not have had. When this occurred, Golden Roc Castle would nip them at the bud to give the others a warning.
The targets the disciples would assassinate were part of a gang that fell into this category. This small gang had been founded in less than a year, it was called ’Tian Shan Sect’, while the outsiders nicknamed it the ‘Ten Dragons Gang’, because it was founded by ten sabresmen. 1
The Ten Dragons Gang’s gathering place was in a yard outside the city near the wild. Instead of calling it a gathering place, it was more accurate to call it a nameless tavern. In front of the tavern, there were more wine jars placed in the yard than weapon racks, and as soon as the night fell, seven or eight thatched cottages became noisy, even more so than the southwall tavern. People always flew out horizontally, or several people dragged and fought each other from inside to the outside.
It was indeed very simple to join the Ten Dragons Gang. One only had to have a referrer, hand in ten liangs of silver, and one would receive a roughly made piece of black iron. Even a basic ritual like kowtow was not needed.
Compared with the southwall tavern, the wine here was like poor vinegar. Gu Shenwei didn’t drink anything as he still had a task and had to observe carefully about everyone.
The Ten Dragons Gang was not small, with more than two hundred people walking in and out of the tavern, most of whom brought a sabre and wore broken coats. They were like a group of unemployed robbers, coming for drinking, boasting and fighting and only leaving after finishing all three. Gu Shenwei thought of his Master and thought that Tie Hanfeng would feel like a fish in the water if he were here.
These people could barely be called ‘gang members’ as their main purpose was to drink and boast and they didn’t have any clear goals, not to mention a formed plan.
‘Old Dragon Head’ showed up on the second night watch period, and this rabble of more than a hundred people finally start to behave a bit like a gang.
Old Dragon Head was one of the co-founders of the Ten Dragons Gang. He was an old man of more than sixty years old. His two eyes always popped out as if he were staring at someone. He wore a lined jacket and threw it to his men as soon as he entered the room, revealing ten Azure dragons with fangs and claws on his bared upper body.
“Has everyone arrived?” Old Dragon Head called out loudly and suppressed the clamouring sound of the crowd. Even people from other rooms heard the sound and rushed here.
“Old Dragon Head! Old Dragon Head …” The tipplers shouted in unison, as excited as if they were drinking the best wine in the Jade City.
“A thousand people united together, the Tian Shan Sect is going to be the biggest gang in the Western Regions.”
People shouted and jumped for joy.
“Tian Shan Sect is rising, who will lower their head?”
“Golden Roc Castle, Golden Roc Castle …” The drunkards yelled like they got wicked, the tumult almost caused the grass roof to collapse.
“Who will be bled?”
“Meng Yuzun, Meng Yuzun … “ The yell became louder. Meng Yuzun was the patriarch of the Meng family at the northern Jade City, one of the richest men in the Western Regions.
The question-and-answer game lasted for almost an hour, and it was all about how to defeat Golden Roc Castle and share the numerous wealth of the northern Jade City. Then Old Dragon Head put on his clothes and left, leaving the drunkards delighted and with bright eyes. They walked into the snowstorm and with this daydream, they could bear several more days of their miserable life.
Gu Shenwei laughed involuntarily. This was not a gang meeting. It was obviously a money-sucking organization. Except for those members who had paid 10 liangs of silver, it was basically innocuous.
But he still conducted his task seriously. He stayed a little while longer until the last wave of drunkards left. He even fell on the table and pretended to be drunk until the drunk Xu Xiaoyi insisted on pulling him away.
It snowed heavily outside, the footprints of over a hundred people quickly being buried under the snow. If Xu Xiaoyi was not leading the way, then Gu Shenwei wouldn’t have even been able to recognize which side was the city and which side was the wild.
The two shook off the snow on their body after they entered the dark house. They had both felt the coldness penetrate deep into their marrow. Gu Shenwei had internal energy but even he still felt very cold. Xu Xiaoyi’s lips were now purple and he couldn’t even speak a word.
There was a brazier in the room, so Xu Xiaoyi poke the fire up a bit. The two sat face to face, warming themselves at the fire in silence.
“Xiaoyi, you’re back?”
Gu Shenwei turned around and looked up. He saw Xu Yanwei standing on the second floor, wearing a brocade gown. She was curiously looking at the person her little brother had brought back when her facial colour changed, “Why it’s him?”
“I had no choice, he was the one who was sent from the mountain.” Xu Xiaoyi muttered, his body still shivering.
Gu Shenwei turned around to continue warming himself up as he was not in the mood to argue right now.
Xu Yanwei directly walked back to her bedroom and did not come out any more.
“She could have become a queen, but in the end she’s still a prostitute. You have to understand how she feels,” Xu Xiaoyi persuaded.
Gu Shenwei answered reluctantly. He was still thinking about the Ten Dragons Gang as the majority of the gang members were not a threat. Only Old Dragon Head could barely be considered a big shot with several others having some moderate ability.
“We’ll be there again tomorrow night, but I have to find a sabre first.”
Gu Shenwei didn’t answer. He needed a sabre. Without it, he couldn’t even fall asleep anymore.
- Translator’s note: Literally Tian Shan means Heavenly Mountain, one can search Tian Shan in Wikipedia for more information. ↩