Chapter 174 Talk at Night
Shangguan Fei had never been to Southern Jade City before and he was not interested in that place. Dirty and narrow streets, vulgar and rude people; one glimpse of that was enough for him. He would rather stay in the castle, but being reduced to Northern Jade City gave him a sense of abandonment.
And the competition with his little sister also made him very embarrassed. If he won, people would say that Ninth Gongzi was the elder brother and also a boy, so naturally he should win; if he lost, people would say those old cliches about how the twins of the Shangguan family had been born with the wrong gender.
In sum, no one valued him. His father, mother, brothers and sisters, and even those servants. They only had Tenth Gongzi in their eyes.
It was already midnight but Shangguan Fei still didn’t go to bed. Instead, he stayed in the yard to compete with two killers with a wooden sabre. The slaughter scene he had just seen on the pavilion shocked him, and the way his sister talked and laughed without turning a hair also made him envious.
He poured all his emotions into the wooden sabre and kept slashing down, forcing the two killers to retreat step by step. But all of a sudden, his mood was ruined, because the killers were just pretending to be powerless to resist.
Shangguan Fei threw away his wooden sabre, the pent-up gloom in his chest growing heavier. He wanted to shout into the air but was afraid that others would laugh at him.
The two killers had been on alert and had already rushed to his side before the lord sensed the danger. They held the wooden sabres horizontally in front of them. The killer could kill with all kinds of weapons.
Shangguan Fei looked back and saw a masked man in full black.
The uninvited guest got down with one knee and didn’t speak.
“You two, leave,” Shangguan Fei coldly issued the order.
The killers slightly nodded and retreated out of the yard. They were responsible to protect the lord but would not interfere with the lord’s private affairs.
“Killer Yang Huan greets ninth young lord.”
“Tenth Gongzi sent you here? What kind of matters can’t she say herself and instead has to ask you to wink at me upstairs?”
Shangguan Fei had been waiting for this servant. In fact, he was looking forward to seeing Servant Huan because he possessed the power of life and death which could kill this servant. This was the first time he had been part of a secret conspiracy and as the most important figure at that. And he was thrilled at the sight of the unsuspecting prey.
“Servant comes here not for Tenth Gongzi.”
“Huh, you’re a killer, not a servant. I forbid you to call yourself that.” Shangguan Fei enjoyed the feeling of loftily issuing orders very much, especially to someone who had once belonged to him but had been taken away by his little sister.
“Hmm, then you’ve come to see me for yourself?”
“For me, and also for ninth young lord’s safety.”
Shangguan Fei couldn’t help but laugh out loud. This servant was always so talkative, and he used to please his little sister like this. “What does Tenth Gongzi want to seize from me? The last few gambling houses? Or … She’s running out of killers?”
Gu Shenwei hadn’t thought of how to gain the trust of the ninth young lord when he had made a show of kindness to Shangguan Fei upstairs. But what Shangguan Ru had said gave him an idea, though this would sacrifice another person. “No, it has nothing to do with Tenth Gongzi. Someone wants to assassin ninth young lord, and the plan is currently underway.”
Shangguan Fei’s heart thumped. Although Servant Huan was two-faced, he would not dare to lie about something like this so casually. “Go on.”
“The big young lord left behind some sabremen and the leader is called Tuo Nengya. These people intend to avenge the lord and their target is you, Ninth Gongzi.”
“Ha ha.” Shangguan Fei laughed again, but his laughter was rather dry. “You mean the sabremen? Impossible, the sabremen work for money. As you’ve seen, they’re not loyal people. People kill each other in the castle a lot, but I’ve never heard of sabremen who have avenged their lord. It makes more sense for them to pledge to a new lord.”
This was again the weak point of Gu Shenwei. He could only guess and had no evidence, but he believed that it was relatively easier to persuade Ninth Gongzi. “I have definite news that the sabremen led by Tuo Nengya will make a move at the second round of the negotiations. As soon as ninth young lord shows up in Southern Jade City, you’ll be under the threat of the sabre formation.”
“Aren’t they afraid of death?” Shangguan Fei believed some of it. Servant Huan’s solemn tone made him take the information seriously, and Tuo Nengya’s sabre formation also frightened him.
“There are always a few sabremen who are different.”
One would be hunted down to the ends of the earth if one killed the son of the Unique King. Tuo Nengya was naturally aware of this, but Gu Shenwei had seen the fearlessness in the eyes of this old sabreman.
“Are you saying that my sister’s sabremen are trying to murder me?” Shangguan Fei still couldn’t believe it.”
“It has nothing to do with Tenth Gongzi. Tuo Nengya just wants to take advantage of Tenth Gongzi as shelter for the time being so he can find a chance to approach ninth young lord.”
With his head lowered, Shangguan Fei didn’t say anything. He had been waiting for this servant to flatter him and didn’t expect to hear such important information. Then he recalled something and asked, “That Tuo Nengya, and those sabremen, weren’t they hired by you?”
Shangguan Fei grew wary and regretted sending the killers away. As long as he opened his mouth, the killers would show up, but he had witnessed Servant Huan’s martial arts skills before …
Shangguan Fei stopped his thoughts which were drifting away and said, “So you saw through the sabremen‘s disloyalty in the first place?”
“Yes, so I was thinking that instead of letting the enemy stay in dark, I might as well keep them under my nose so that I can always keep an eye on them.”
Shangguan Fei’s eyes widened slightly. He remembered hearing something similar but he had forgotten whether it was from his father or some teachers. “So you found out that they were trying to kill me ?”
“Just because I stabbed my big brother.”
“Then they should also kill you. Many people saw you put a lot of effort into that thrust.”
Gu Shenwei had been speaking this whole time with his head held low, but now he raised his head and looked at the ninth young lord who was full of fear and indignation. “They will kill me, for I’m ninth young lord’s man.”
Shangguan Fei wanted to laugh but he thought that he should keep his dignity. He didn’t know how to respond to that absurd phrase. Those old killers and teachers had taught him a lot of useless knowledge, but had said nothing about how to refute the odd talk of a daring servant. “You are my man?”
Shangguan Fei had been asking questions all night, which made him very angry. But once he opened his mouth, he still asked with doubt in his heart.
“Yes, I’m ninth young lord’s man. I’ve never forgotten that the eighth young lord had originally sent me to you.”
This was another sad thing that bothered Shangguan Fei. He didn’t care about a servant; what made him angry was his sister’s insolence.
She would take away anything that was a little better from him. The anger in Shangguan Fei’s heart almost burst through his head. He measured Servant Huan up with his head tilted and recalled his past experience. Yes, this servant had always been respectful in front of him. Although he was audacious sometimes, he had never looked down upon him. Who he hated most was his little sister and Yu Gongzi, especially that Yu Gongzi, who even dared to make gestures at him while in his little sister’s presence.
Servant Huan had once stabbed the narrow sabre into his big brother’s chest with him, which was a symbolic act in the tradition of the castle.
“Why didn’t you come earlier to show your loyalty?”
Shangguan Fei’s voice still appeared indignant, but Gu Shenwei’s nervousness could finally ease a little and his purpose was about to be achieved.
“Because I’m still on Tenth Gongzi’s side. I wouldn’t have come to see ninth young lord tonight if I didn’t have such urgent information.”
“But you’ll still be on her side. Do you dare to leave her? She will kill you as a traitor.”
“There’s something I shouldn’t say.”
“Say it. Since you claimed that you’re my man, there’s nothing that you may not say before me.”
“Tenth Gongzi … She’s a woman.”
Shangguan Fei almost wanted to rush to hug Servant Huan. Why couldn’t anyone else see this simple fact? From the Unique King to the beggars in the dirty, dark streets of Southern Jade City, they all treated her like a boy, as if she could inherit the throne, but she was a girl no matter what. “Heh, she’s a woman, so what? Now it is a woman who’s in charge of the castle.”
Shangguan Fei even had a faint grudge against his mother now.
“But a woman will marry and live with her husband sooner or later, while I am a killer and will never leave the castle.”
Shangguan Fei suddenly understood, it turns out this servant wants to save for himself a way out. He’s clever. The ninth young lord felt that the pent-up frustration in his chest had finally dissipated a little bit. Right, just wait a few more years, and everyone will see the situation clearly like Servant Huan and understand which of the twins is the true son of the Unique King.
“I see. Keep your mouth shut and leave,” Shangguan Fei said with his head held high, thinking of the means of playing cat and mouse with the subordinates. Do not let the servant see through the true thoughts of the lord. Let them guess and doubt, and use torture to temper their loyalty.
Gu Shenwei stood up and retreated to the foot of the wall slowly, his heart pounding. He didn’t come here specifically to pledge allegiance.
“Wait.” Shangguan Fei called, thinking that there was still something important that he hadn’t told this new loyal servant.
Gu Shenwei left the ninth young lord’s place after the fourth night watch period. He didn’t wait for the checkpoint to open, but instead directly climbed over the border wall and entered Southern Jade City instead. He found Lotus and assigned a task to her, then went back to Northern Jade City through the checkpoint to say goodbye to Shangguan Ru, ready to attend the negotiation.
The stronghold of the Kun Society was filled with a jubilant atmosphere. All the sabremen were very happy because they had made a contribution and the war was coming to an end. All the living ones had the chance to enjoy the rich reward.
Last night’s great fight had caused nearly two hundred casualties for the Qiu Society, while the Kun Society had lost less than thirty people. The victory was perfect. Shangguan Yushi couldn’t hide her excitement, and even her attitude towards Servant Huan was much more affable. She didn’t say anything against him when he said he was going to take most of the cutters away.
Gu Shenwei summoned Tuo Nengya and asked him to organize the cutters, in preparation for the negotiation.
Tuo Nengya was calm and efficient as always, and was the only one who remained unmoved by last night’s victory. Gu Shenwei carefully observed the behaviour of the old sabreman, hoping to add a little evidence to his guesswork.
Tuo Nengya’s performance was flawless, except for one thing which had caught the attention of the teenage killer. Gu Shenwei found that although the twenty or so sabremen Tuo Nengya had led in the Rouge Forest had gone through many brutal bloody battles, none of them had died or had ever fled. They were loyal to the old sabreman like the Golden Roc killers who were loyal to the Shangguan family. They also didn’t ask for any increase in remuneration after they became the well-deserved core of the Kun Society.
In all likelihood, the ones who didn’t desire money usually harboured deep hatreds. Gu Shenwei drew this conclusion based on his own experience.