Chapter 146 Pawn
Guo Xiansheng was one of Madam Meng’s first targets, so the castle was not yet in chaos when Gu Shenwei and Lotus made their move.
The timing of their arrival was ideal. They only hid themselves for less than a quarter of an hour before they saw Guo Xiansheng lead four guardsmen to hurriedly walk out of the house. Guo Xiansheng was an old fox with a keen sense of smell, and he was alerted as soon as there was an abnormal change in the inner chamber.
However, like everyone else, Guo Xiansheng had still underestimated Madam Meng’s determination and ability.
Guo Xiansheng didn’t care about his own safety. He was going to protect an important person, who was a key pawn in his hand.
The way Guo Xiansheng was walking was towards Shangguan Hongye’s living place, and from this Guo Shenwei was finally sure that his guesses were all accurate.
For the Shangguan family, it was a fierce infighting while for the two teenagers who were performing the assassination mission, it was a rare opportunity to practise their swordsmanship.
Gu Shenwei decided to leave all four guardsmen and Guo Xiansheng to Lotus,
Gu Shenwei had seen Guo Xiansheng’s martial arts skills, and this counsellor’s kung fu was as good as the first-class killers.
The influence of the Essay of Severing Obsession on Lotus hadn’t been eliminated yet. Only through a life-or-death killing could she rekindle her vigorous murderous heart.
Because they had different views about the Death Sutra, Lotus’s killing aura was originally very heavy, so she was even more affected by the weakening of her murderous heart than him.
Gu Shenwei didn’t intend to help. If Lotus couldn’t break through this barrier, she wouldn’t be able to survive in the castle, not to mention being Servant Huan’s helper.
Lotus attacked at a crossroad, and the sword she used was the one carved with the character ‘Huan’.
She only hesitated in her first move. She had already stabbed out for the second move before the first guardsman fell. Everything was like floating clouds and flowing water — natural and smooth. As he hid in the dark, Gu Shenwei couldn’t help but think ‘good’ inwardly.
Watching the Death Sutra Swordsmanship was a pleasure. It seemed that the one who used this swordsmanship was always in mortal danger, and every stab was an attempt to survive after being put into great despair. It always tried to kill the enemy when the enemy’s counterattack was just under their nose, which made people who didn’t understand the swordsmanship break into a sweat with fright and let the people who understood it appreciate it sincerely.
Without the will to die, the will to kill, no one dared to use such a swordsmanship.
Four guardsmen fell in a blink of an eye. Guo Xiansheng was clever for his whole life but stupid at the last moment. His final words were “I’ve served the King Lord for over a dozen …”
He was killed by Lotus before he finished. He didn’t understand that it was just because he was a close confidant to the Unique King that he was destined to die this night.
The process of Lotus’s removing the influence of the Mantra was much smoother than Gu Shenwei. Gu Shenwei could still feel the killing aura emitting from her when he helped her deal with the rest of the situation.
Lotus was more of a natural killer than he was, and Gu Shenwei couldn’t help but think that she had already shown the ruthlessness of a killer at their very first meeting and at that time she wasn’t even holding a real sabre.
The two drew their narrow sabres and stabbed at the wounds to cover up the small and peculiar sword strokes before cutting off Guo Xiansheng’s head and heading to the inner chamber.
The bell for the fourth night watch period had just rang. In two hours, the early risers would find corpses in many places of the castle. The aged and the mature would pretend to be blind and the inexperienced young people would be taken aback until they were calmed down by their acquaintances, and all in all the corpses would disappear by the time the sun was high in the sky.
Gu Shenwei and Lotus were the first to return to report, which made Madam Meng very satisfied. She kept the two in the hall to temporarily act as shadow guards. So one of them hid in a corner of the ceiling, and the other hid in the shadows behind a pillar.
The number of people around Madam Meng grew larger and larger.
Shangguan Yushi came with a sabre. She stayed with Madam Meng as her bodyguard.
A senior maidservant who could read and write hid in a side room. In front of her was placed a short table with papers while two junior maidservants served nearby. As soon as Madam Meng gave an order, the senior maidservant would write it down and hand it to Madam Meng for a look. Then Madam Meng would hand it to a junior maidservant to stamp with the King Lord’s golden seal.
This was how Gu Shenwei and Lotus’s order to kill Guo Xiansheng was made, which left the two feeling very uneasy. Madam Meng’s boldness was to the point of madness, and if Unique King didn’t admit it after the event, none of the related people would be able to escape punishment.
The sixth young mistress, who was also from the Meng family, led several women to pass on messages.
Shangguan Ru was active earlier than her brother Shangguan Fei. She even began to help her mother plan and dispatch people, running between the main hall and side rooms to pass papers.
More and more people heard the news and gathered in and out of the hall. Madam Meng no longer assigned new tasks for the ones who came back from missions nor did she let them leave. She kept all of them in the rooms next to the hall. When the room was not enough, the ones who came later could only stand in the yard. They stood in separate groups and silently made eye contact with each other.
Servant Huan and Lotus were not the only teenagers to have been used. In fact, most of the first waves of killers sent out by Madam Meng were from the small flag battalion, whose fate had long been tied to the twins.
As he stood guard in the hall, Gu Shenwei gradually understood all of Madam Meng’s plan.
Guo Xiansheng had treated Shangguan Hongye and his mother as pawns, but he himself was also a pawn in someone else’s hand. Madam Meng actually had not put him in her eyes; she wanted to cut the weeds and dig it up by the roots this time. Her target was the big young lord Shangguan Chui.
The feud between Shangguan Chui and Madam Meng had a long complex history and was deeply rooted in both their hearts.
Shangguan Chui’s status was once very stable and everyone regarded him as a natural successor to the throne. But things slowly changed after the woman of the Meng family entered the castle.
Madam Meng’s control of the Unique King had surprised everyone. Shangguan Fa met all the wants of his young wife and never denied her. She was more favoured than anyone else after the twins were born and even gradually began to threaten Shangguan Chui’s status. Shangguan Chui found that his respectful and submissive younger brothers betrayed him one after another and defected to the new madam.
Like all the young and ambitious sons, Shangguan Chui started feeling a bit jealous and anxious.
Madam Meng won over the second, sixth, and eighth young lords who were dissatisfied with their big brother and also bought over many servants and house-serfs with her unique power in the inner chamber.
Shangguan Chui was actually defeated by a few humble house-serfs.
To eliminate his inner anxiety, the big young lord had secretly resorted to the witchcraft. He thought that he had done it without a trace. However, it couldn’t escape the notice of the house-serfs who cleaned the garbage.
Madam Meng had received this information years ago, but she had remained motionless and given away a great deal of gold and silver to let the house-serfs continue collecting evidence.
This was just one piece of evidence that Madam Meng had collected. She had been waiting for the best time.
The information offered by Lotus had forced Madam Meng to make a move in advance.
The Unique King Shangguan Fa had a long-standing superstition. He believed that he would have ten sons, which was a symbol of abundant happiness and fortunes. In order to make up for this number, he raised his youngest daughter like a boy and for this Shangguan Ru was greatly favoured.
If the twins both became young lords, then Madam Meng’s power would be greatly increased, which also meant that the big young lord’s power would be weakened. At this critical moment, the Yang, who was humiliated in the inner chamber, decided to fight to death.
The Yang once had an affair with her husband’s brother and had a son, Shangguan Hongye. At that time, her husband was still alive and she didn’t dare to speak out. When her husband died, Madam Meng was already full in charge of the inner chamber, and she was even more afraid to speak out. So Shangguan Fa never knew that he had an illegitimate son.
The Yang ratted to the big young lord, hoping to get his support and justify Shangguan Hongye, so that she would no longer have to endure a dreary life.
Shangguan Chui and Guo Xiansheng immediately realized that this was a great opportunity. Shangguan Hongye wasn’t a danger to the big young lord, and supporting him would earn his allegiance and make up the number of ‘ten sons’. In this way, Shangguan Ru would be pushed out of the rank and the balance of power would be broken.
As soon as she heard Lotus’s information, Madam Meng understood the enemy’s plot and acted decisively in advance.
There was one matter that not only did Gu Shenwei not understand, all the people inside and outside the hall also did not understand: Where was the Unique King? Why was the seal the King Lord always carried with him in Madam Meng’s hand?
At dawn, more important figures in the castle awoke, startled to find their own lords in chaos. They either ran to the courtyard of the big young lord, or to the inner chamber. Many people decided their own life or death in this moment of time. The ones who used to be loyal to the big young lord suddenly decided to pay their allegiance to Madam Meng while others who had received money from the Meng family kneeled at the feet of the big young lord.
The guards were virtually non-existent at the moment. Most of the official killers remained neutral, a few of them becoming the killing weapons of the two parties, giving the small flag battalion the upper hand.
Madam Meng’s practice of keeping all her supporters around her proved to be very helpful. In the first few hours of confusion, it was still unclear who would win or lose. The smallest excuse could cause a serious betrayal, and assassinations took place one after the other. The inner chamber had been threatened seven times, but none of them had affected the main hall.
The number of Madam Meng’s ‘aids and staff’ increased greatly. At the beginning, it was full of women, but slowly men became the majority. The Sabrelord Shen Liang of Washing Heart Yard was the eighth young lord Shangguan Nu’s uncle. He represented his nephew in standing on the inner chamber’s side and became Madam Meng’s most important ally.
The Washing Heart Yard (Xi Xin Yuan) was in charge of Golden Roc Castle’s penalties and was very professional in collecting information. The good news soon came back: Madam Meng’s pre-emptive strategy had won a great victory, and many important figures on the big young lord’s side had been killed. Guo Xiansheng’s death, in particular, had been a great blow to the big young lord. The big young lord was thrown into a panic and issued many contradictory orders, which disappointed his subordinates. When the Washing Heart Yard was investigating, many people had come to the inner chamber to confess their guiltiness to Madam Meng in the name of performing tasks,
The fact that Madam Meng delayed the final attack order made her staff anxious. They had openly betrayed the big young lord. If they could not defeat the enemy completely and allowed Shangguan Chui to regain power, they would surely be the victim of cruel revenge.
Madam Meng needed an important pawn. Amongst all the orders she had given, only this one had not worked out well, which made her very disappointed.
At three quarters past five, it was already bright outside. Most of the people in the castle had woken up, only to find that ‘the sky’ had turned upside down overnight. Even if most of them wanted to join one side, they couldn’t figure out how and could only wait in bewilderment.
The ‘pawn’ Madam Meng was waiting for finally arrived.
Several brown-belted killers scurried into the main hall with a man. The man was so frightened that he sank to the ground and started shivering as soon as the teenagers let go.
Gu Shenwei peeked from behind the pillar and recognized that the captured person was Shangguan Hongye.
The Unique King’s illegitimate son wasn’t able to run away.