Chapter 169 Red Robes
Gu Shenwei would rather believe in the illusory Heaven’s Will than place his hopes on the fortune-teller.
“Don’t you want to hear all of it? Immortal Peng said many things, and I still remember all of them.” When he saw that Brother Huan wasn’t concerned, Xu Xiaoyi felt a bit anxious.
“Later,” Gu Shenwei was really not interested. “Do not fool around for now. Also do not ask around. Just stay at home.”
“Oh.” Xu Xiaoyi jumped off the chair and walked out disappointedly. He already had one foot out the door when he turned around and said, “You’ll lose if you compete in swordsmanship, but you’ll win if you compete in killing.”
This wasn’t something that Xu Xiaoyi could come up with. Immortal Peng might be a mystifying swindler, but his sayings indeed had some truth.
Gu Shenwei thought for a long time and gradually restored his confidence. He found Lotus and told her his idea, “Let’s do it as you have planned. I’ll attract Ye Silang’s attention while you kill him. But you have to kill someone else first.”
“The Sabre God.”
The Death Sutra swordsmanship could only be improved through constant killing. The more powerful the practitioner, the less suitable target out there. The Sabre God Huang Shian was an ideal target, as his sabresmanship was strong, but was still inferior to Ye Silang’s swordsmanship. It was like climbing steps; one would have a greater chance of killing the latter after stepping on the body of the former.
“You can do it yourself too.” Lotus understood Servant Huan’s intention, so she declined this rare opportunity.
“No, my problem lies within my heart, I’ll find a way to solve it.”
It was the fifth day since Ye Silang had entered Southern Jade City and issued his challenge, and the two killers drew up a plan to assassinate the Sabre God Huang Shian for the third time.
Several hours later, as he sat on the opposite of the banker, Huang Shian was still wearing his trademark bright smile on his face, but in his heart, he was getting more and more uneasy. He couldn’t remember how much money he had lost, and he had already fallen into the ‘bottomless hole’ of the Meng family, a hole that he could not fill up no matter how much he pledged his allegiance. He could only pay all his debts with his life.
He still remembered the words his mother had said when he ran away from home to wander in Jianghu, “There are only two things you have that are worth a fortune, sabresmanship and your life. So never be in debt, especially not the debt you cannot repay with your sabresmanship.”
This was the fate of all sabremen.
For each dice he had rolled, it was not only money that he lost, but also his life.
Earn it back, earn it all back, the Sabre God prayed in his heart, still wearing an indifferent smile on his face. He roared with his brothers around him, their ingratiating flattery his only consolation now, “Come on, full house! Oh, fuck, my shitty hand. I’d cut it off by now if I didn’t use it to hold my sabre.”
The gambling house was packed with people, but it was safe. Everyone inside had been inspected, so Huang Shian didn’t have to worry about the killers of the Kun Society. He even felt a bit disappointed that the war was going to end before he could even make a large contribution. He thought that if he could bring a string of killers’ heads to Meng Fifth Gongzi, he would not have had to pay his debts with his life.
No one would give him the chance, Huang Shian thought indignantly. He felt that everything was unfair and unreasonable. He was the Sabre God of Jade City, but he hadn’t taken part in too many battles. As he sat in the big house guarded by sabremen, his only pleasure was gambling for several rounds at the Thousand Eyes House. Occasionally, he would act as bait to lure the killer into the trap, but he felt that he was perfectly capable of leading a group of people, storming into the Kun Society’s base camp, and slaughtering all the enemies.
He was never afraid of the killers.
Huang Shian hurled the dice and cursed inwardly about the Sword Offering Ye Silang. He didn’t understand why that the gaudy fellow who looked better than his swordsmanship was qualified to make a fuss in Southern Jade City. It was as if no one else was the killer Yang Huan’s match and they had to wait for him to make a move. That flashy guy had shouted for several days but they hadn’t gotten even one step closer to the Kun Society.
Four dots again. The Sabre God’s smile could no longer hang on. Like a deflated ball, Huang Shian leaned against the back of the chair, closed his eyes and lost himself in darkness. Even his brothers’ deafening cheers couldn’t excite his enthusiasm. 1
Then he opened his eyes, and saw the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.
There was no lack of women in the gambling house, and the Sabre God was somewhat famous. The ten thousand taels of silver and the generous remuneration provided by the Qiu Society were enough to make him the object of any women’s interest.
He was a normal man, a man who would share his joy with the attractive woman he met when he occasionally won some silver and was in a good mood. It was the first time he had ever been impressed by a woman when he lost money.
The woman dressed in a red robe was like a beautiful piece of jade wrapped in fire. She wore gorgeous heavy make-up, though it was strange in that if it were on another woman, it would look gaudy. But on her, it looked extraordinary refined and slightly aggressive.
The red-robed woman attracted everyone’s eyes as soon as she walked in the gambling house. The men forgot to roll the dice, and the women frowned in hopes that their competitor would quickly pick a target.
“Who is she?” Many people asked in a low voice while the others shook their heads puzzledly.
“Old woman Li’s new girl.” No one knew who recognized her first, but still no one knew her name.
Many prostitutes in the surrounding brothels would come visit the gambling house at the beginning of their career, as a kind of propaganda.
The shock only lasted for a little while. This was a gambling house, and everyone knew that true gold and silver were the true unique beauties and that no one was more attractive than those yellow and white things.
Only, the Sabre God’s eyes couldn’t move away from her because the red-robed woman was also looking at him, with a blushing smile on her face.
The other women all heaved a sigh of relief. This two were perfect for each other, and the Sabre God had better take her upstairs now so that the others could continue their business.
The Sabre God had lost badly tonight and wasn’t as attractive as usual.
The woman in red seemed to know nothing about the business, and she stood in the doorway hesitating, and was just about to take a step forward before a big man who had had a few drinks and won some money rushed out from the side. He held her by the waist and kissed her hard on the cheek, then he put her in his arms and cried out in a voice that could be heard throughout the gambling house, “Wine, Money, Women! I’ll have them all tonight!”
The red-robbed woman was so weak that she couldn’t even lift that man’s finger. Obviously she disliked this guest, but she couldn’t refuse. She cast a furtive glance at the Sabre God, revealing a pitiful look asking for help.
Huang Shian turned his head, but a nearby sabreman urged, “Brother God, such a beautiful flower. How could you let someone else pick it?”
“I really have bad luck tonight, so I don’t want to touch women.” Huang Shian said sullenly. He grabbed the die and shook them in his hand for a long while before he threw them down.
When he looked up again, the burly man and the red-robed woman were gone.
The Sabre God felt lost, and his luck at gambling was still bad.
The gambling continued.
A moment later, strange noises came from upstairs. Someone became curious and went upstairs to listen, then came back with an ambiguous smile. The women also gloated, “Let her be unlucky, to have Song Laosan as her first guest. Humph, I’m afraid that she won’t be able to get up for a few days.”
The noises grew louder. A man’s roar mixed with a snapping sound and a women’s occasional cry, which was like ethereal music to the gamblers downstairs. The gamblers’ enthusiasm rose imperceptibly, and they bet more money and threw out more small numbers.
Huang Shian couldn’t see the dots of the dice clearly anymore, and his mind had left long ago. Anger kept growing in his heart, to the extent that he couldn’t suppress it any more.
The Sabre God stood up abruptly and strode up the stairs, “Motherfucker, what’s all the noise for. Do you not want us to play anymore?”
Everyone stopped gambling as they looked up at the Sabre God and waited for some fun. The sabremen cheered for Brother God, yelling, “Beat him! Throw him out of the window!”
No one thought of helping or protecting the Sabre God.
Huang Shian kicked the door open and forced his way in. There was a moment of silence, then the thudding of fight suddenly rang out. A figure flew out from the room and fell heavily on the floor downstairs. The people around scrambled to dodge it.
The women screamed as the one that fell was a corpse. Covered with blood, Song Laosan died with his eyes wide open. Wine, Money, Woman, he had them all and finally had another thing — death.
“Stop shouting. It’s no big deal for Brother God to kill someone. Go find the Qiu Society if you want revenge!” The sabremen drew out their sabres to threaten the crowd. No one uttered a sound anymore. Two sabremen carried the corpse and threw it out, and the matter was over.
Song Laosan wasn’t a big shot, and he should feel lucky to die at the hands of the Sabre God.
The gambling house soon returned to its normal state, the men played dice and the women leered. It was not until an hour later that someone finally thought of the Sabre God, “Heh, the Sabre God is really a god (impressive) tonight. He actually lasted for so long, usually he can’t even last for a quarter of an hour!”
The sabremen gave off a look of disdain at first, but then they also became a bit confused. A bold sabreman quietly walked upstairs and happened to see a pair of man and woman come out of the next room. “Go in and have a look, it’s been quiet for a long time.” The woman said.
“Brother God …” The sabreman knocked at the door, which was unlatched and opened right away. The sabreman immediately went downstairs after making a glance, and whispered a few words to his companions.
Four sabremen ran upstairs, drew out their sabres and guarded at the door. They forbade the others to look inside and ignored all questions. The other sabremen ran out of the gambling house and soon brought back more sabremen.
The curious guests at the Thousand Eyes House were driven out before they were satisfied. But the next morning, not only the guests of the night before, but all the residents of Jade City heard the news that the Sabre God Huang Shian had been assassinated.
The Sabre God had died under a sabre and the assassin was a woman, which made the Qiu Society lose its face and become a laughing stock. The advantage in the influence it had obtained with difficulty had turned into nothing in a blink of an eye.
The next hapless person to suffer was the brothel madam, old woman Li. She knelt down and vowed to a crowd of wolfish sabremen with a quivering voice that she had never taken a red-robed woman and she hadn’t even seen her.
The sabremen searched the brothel from top to bottom while a group of prostitutes were stripped and left trembling in cold wind. When all was well, the old woman Li fell ill and immediately joined the Kun Society after getting better.
Only two people knew about the details of the assassination that night. As he looked at Lotus who he almost couldn’t recognize, Gu Shenwei asked, “Was he a good sabreman?”
By assassinating the Sabre God Huang Shian, Lotus’s swordsmanship went up one more step, and now the one who needed to improve was Servant Huan.
- Translator’s note: Gamblers throw two or three dices when gambling, so ‘four dots’ is actually a small number. ↩