Chapter 091 Interpretation
The importance of a sabre had gradually risen in Gu Shenwei’s heart until it had become an indispensable item.
He carried a sabre with him almost everyday while he was at Golden Roc Castle. It seemed that those several kilograms of weight had become a part of him. He would even feel naked if he ever forgot to carry the sabre. This feeling had become more apparent ever since he started living in southern Jade City, where people made their living through the sword and sabre.
The next day, Gu Shenwei went out alone at noon. As he walked along the thick snow, he headed for the place where most of the sabres in the city were hidden, as far as he knew.
The tall fatty at the door of southwall tavern coldly stared at the stubborn teenager, saying, “This is a tavern, not a sabre shop.”
“I’ll pay for one. “Gu Shenwei blocked the door, giving off the impression that he wouldn’t give up unless he had reached his goal. After all, there were no guests going in and out at this time.
The tall fatty and short fatty exchanged a glance with each other before one of them went inside the tavern. Not long after, he brought out a weapon and threw it at Gu Shenwei, “For your Master’s sake, take it, no charge.”
Surprisingly, the fatty still remembered that he was Tie Hanfeng’s disciple. Gu Shenwei took the weapon, but soon replied, “This is a sword, I want a sabre.”
The fatty guarding the door became angry, “Don’t pick and choose. Am I your servant? Go go go.”
Those two fatties folded their arms across their chests, and slowly walked towards the now unwelcomed teenager.
Gu Shenwei gave up trying to get a sabre and returned to his living place where he drew the sword. It was most likely a weapon left behind by a fake noble as the sheath and hilt of the sword was beautifully decorated, but the inlaid gemstones were obviously fake. The sword was light and thin and it wasn’t even edged.
This was entirely different from the sense of sureness that came with holding a narrow knife.
“Does it work well?” Xu Xiaoyi asked as he approached, though he was more interested in the fake gems.
“I’m not used to a sword.”
“What’s the difference? You’ll win no matter what. After all there are no experts in the Ten Dragons Gang.”
Gu Shenwei was enlightened by Xu Xiaoyi’s words. He had once learnt the moves of the mysterious sword manual and used them on his Master. Although it had an amazing effect when he fought with his Master, he almost died in his Master’s hands. That was because Tie Hanfeng’s martial arts skills were way better than him. If his opponent was very weak and he didn’t need to defend, then the purely offensive swordsmanship might work.
This move was risky and not in accordance with Golden Roc Castle’s rule, but Gu Shenwei really wanted give it a try. Although he had warned Lotus not to practise it, he himself thought about it constantly.
Sabre out, sabre in.
Xu Xiaoyi sat onto the floor, touching the non-existing cut on his neck, his face pale, “What do you want? To shut my mouth?”
“Nothing, just wanted to test the sabre.”
Xu Xiaoyi’s face suddenly became red, “Test the sabre? Test the sabre!? Has anyone used a living person to test out a sabre? What if you made a mistake, then I would die without knowing how.”
“No.” Gu Shenwei sheathed the sword, feeling it was quite handy now, “I never make mistakes.”
Xu Xiaoyi didn’t believe him much. The tip of the sword had reached his neck, and he would have been killed if it went even an inch more. To him, anyone could make a mistake, but he didn’t continue arguing and bothering with this Golden Roc killer.
As Xu Xiaoyi’s anger gradually disappeared, he started to realize that the sword move was as elusive as a ghost and was the most amazing swordsmanship he had seen, “Hey, what was that swordsmanship? You are more formidable with a sword than a sabre.”
Xu Xiaoyi didn’t know kung fu, so Gu Shenwei didn’t know how to explain to him that many seemingly formidable kung fu might not work that well in a real fight, “Neck Stabbing Swordsmanship.”
“Bare arms? A swordsmanship used with bare arms?” 1
“A swordsmanship specializing in stabbing the neck.”
Xu Xiaoyi pressed his neck again, curled his lip, “A good swordsmanship, but who would use it when it has such an ugly name?”
Xu Yanwei had a new guest, so the two could only hide outside. The sister and brother couldn’t afford the rent of a small house at the retention alley so they could only settle for a living place in the periphery of the southern Jade City. There were no places nearby to take a rest, Gu Shenwei was a stranger here and he didn’t want to follow Xu Xiaoyi to those messy places so he could only lead Xu Xiaoyi back to the southwall tavern again.
Gu Shenwei handed in the sword, allowing those two fatties to search him carefully, reluctantly letting them in after.
“I’ll pick up the sword when I leave, but it would be even better if it could change into a sabre.”
Gu Shenwei muttered as he entered the tavern. Inside, he selected a table in the corner to avoid attracting attention.
It was not dark yet and at the moment, the amount of guests in the tavern was relatively sparse. Gu Shenwei looked around and although he did not find his Master, an old man sitting several tables away caught his attention.
The old man was drinking alone. For each mouthful of wine, he would slowly taste it. There was only one type of wine on the table, showing that he was a senior drinker.
The old man was surnamed Zhang and his first name was Ji. He was the teacher of the family school at Golden Roc Castle, and Gu Shenwei’s neck was once hit by this old teacher. It was near the end of the year now, so he guessed that the descendants of Shangguan family did not have to go to school anymore.
Zhang Ji also worked at the library chamber where he was the only one actually interested in old files and always read until midnight. As he recalled this, Gu Shenwei suddenly thought that this person might be able to answer his question.
Xu Xiaoyi was devouring the dishes on the table, his appetite belying his small, thin body. Gu Shenwei took out all of the silver from his robe, which was about thirty or forty liang, saying “Go check out.”
“I haven’t finished yet.” Xu Xiaoyi chewed the food, his eyes wide open.
“Go check out that old teacher.”
Xu Xiaoyi didn’t move, only glancing at Zhang Ji as he replied, “Is he your father?”
Gu Shenwei put on an act and sighed: “Ai ya, I’m going to make a report to East Castle tomorrow. I’d better say a few more words for my good helper.”
Xu Xiaoyi jumped off the chair, holding the silver, and walked to the counter while muttering, “Just a bully.”
Not long after Xu Xiaoyi came back, his expression was terrible, “This old fellow is not simple. He has been drinking continuously for several days, and all good wine too. Your silver is far from enough.”
“Put it on a tab.”
“Under whose name?”
Xu Xiaoyi reluctantly walked to the counter, this time he came back even quicker and the tavern keeper also came with him, “Tie Hanfeng doesn’t have a tab here.”
“Then make one .”
Gu Shenwei had learnt one thing from his Master, one should never show any timidity or hesitation in southern Jade City. Insistence can help one achieve his goal while hesitation could only cause one to be swallowed by others.
The tavern keeper looked the teenager in front of him up and down, “You’re his disciple?”
“What if he doesn’t agree with the debt you’re making?”
“I’ll pay for it with my head.”
Gu Shenwei pressed down on the table with one hand, his voice so calm that he seemed to be a killer with rich experiences accumulated after many years. He had been informed when he first entered the southern Jade City that “heads were also a kind of currency here.”
The tavern keeper’s face became cold and for a moment, it seemed as if he was going to burst out in anger. A young kid who hadn’t yet grown a beard yet dared to mess with him. But when he spoke, he said, “A hundred forty two liang. Put it under Tie Hanfeng’s name.”
Xu Xiaoyi sat in the chair on Gu Shenwei’s left, looking at him as if he didn’t recognize him, “Wow, wow, you’re really … What’s your name?”
The two had known each other for a long while now, but Gu Shenwei had never mentioned his name before. Xu Xiaoyi also didn’t ask, he always called him ‘you’ or ‘he’.
“Yang Huan.” Gu Shenwei gave his false name. He was acting as a killer now, so he didn’t have to use the name ‘Servant Huan’.
“Brother Huan, I’ll call you Brother Huan then. You are one or two years older than me, tut tut …”
Xu Xiaoyi shook his head as if he couldn’t believe it.
Gu Shenwei ignored him, just staring at the tavern keeper while walking to Zhang Ji. Not long ago, Zhang Ji had called a waiter over to ask the teenager who paid the money to come over.
“I have taught many students, but apparently none of them are as filial as a servant.”
Zhang Ji surprisingly still remembered this servant who had caused trouble at school. Although they had both been working in the library chamber, the two had never talked.
“A little respect from me. Please kindly accept it, teacher Zhang.”
“Someone paid the money, of course I will kindly accept it. Sit down, you don’t have to talk in a roundabout way. Just cut to the point, but I have to remind you. I won’t give back the silver and I can’t guarantee that I will help.”
Gu Shenwei smiled, “It doesn’t matter. I still have a chance to ask for help in the future.”
Gu Shenwei recited the document he remembered with a low voice and neglected the names on it, “Teacher Zhang, do you think there’s anything special in this document?”
Zhang Ji held up a cup of wine and shook it slowly, “I can’t help you. I’m an old, useless man. I never mind the business in the castle.”
“Thank you, teacher Zhang.”
Gu Shenwei didn’t want to ask more. Zhang Ji’s attitude had revealed many things, not to mention the complicated powers at Golden Roc Castle. No one could guarantee the reliability of Zhang Ji’s words.
Gu Shenwei went back to his own seat, ignoring Xu Xiaoyi’s chatter as he was lost in his own thoughts. Zhang Ji had also felt that this document had a problem, which made him surer in his own doubts.
More guests arrived at the tavern. The atmosphere gradually turned noisy as everyone was talking randomly. Several nearby guests weren’t drunk yet, they were talking politely in a roundabout way, which was exactly the same way Tie Hanfeng and Zhong Heng talked.
Gu Shenwei’s eyes lit up. Language was a maze. It could be used to detect others and conceal oneself, and the speaker always added more mist to the maze; only one knew the rule could pass the maze successfully.
Gu Shenwei told Xu Xiaoyi to ask for a pen and paper. Upon receiving it, he wrote down the contents of the document and started to carefully peruse it, examining it word by word from the beginning to the end. As he finished reading through it, he finally knew why he felt uneasy.
In the formal lettering of the document, the plan maker revealed a lack of confidence in the disciples succeeding in the mission. There were many hidden hints in the words, showing that he knew it might fail and that he even thought the failure was a good thing as it could reduce the teenager killers’ arrogance …
Gu Shenwei tore the paper into pieces, stood up and walked towards the door. As he passed by Zhang Ji, he repeated, “Thank you, teacher Zhang.”
“Stay away from me if you want to thank me.”
More people meant more eyes, and Zhang Ji’s attitude had become stiff as he said it without raising his head.
Gu Shenwei didn’t stop as he walked against the flood of incoming guests. Xu Xiaoyi stuffed down his last mouthful of food, drank a mouthful of wine, and followed closely behind.
The tall fatty returned the weapon before Shenwei opened his mouth. The weapon had changed, but it didn’t change into a sabre. It was still a sword, but it was shorter and lighter than before, like a kid’s toy.
The tall fatty wore a mocking smile, Gu Shenwei calmly took over the short sword and also revealed a smile, “You can do better.”
As the sky grew dark, the two stepped onto the hard thick snow and once again went to the Ten Dragons Gang. This time they didn’t have to pay ten liang of silver for joining the gang, but the sour wine was not free. Gu Shenwei had no money left so Xu Xiaoyi had to take out his own money to pay the bill. As he did so, he repeatedly stressed that it was borrowed.
Gu Shenwei touched his short sword and stared at an pretentious man in the crowd, wondering how he could start a fight with him.
- Translator’s note: In Chinese, ‘Bare arms’(Chi Bo) has a very similar pronunciation to Neck Stabbing (Ci Bo). ↩