Chapter 208 Wooing
Wei Lingmiao had heard about the tenth gongzi of Golden Roc Castle long ago. Shangguan Ru was still a little kid around ten years old when he came to Jade City last time, so he wasn’t interested. This time, when he revisited the old scenes and heard more rumours about Tenth Gongzi, she caught his attention. Unlike the others who cared about who would be the next Unique King, he fell into a reverie about what this unique teenage girl was like as a fourteen-year-old overlord of Southern Jade City.
“Fine.” Gu Shenwei’s tone was a bit cold. He had thought about how he was going to talk about the money, but was unprepared to talk about Tenth Gongzi.
With his mouth corner tilted, Wei Lingmiao revealed a smile, gentle but proud, distracting the woman rowing the boat, causing her to keep looking back.
“I saw your lord at the eighth young lord’s wedding. She ran around in boy’s clothes and wanted to see what the bride looked like. I wanted to see it too. So we cooperated and lifted a corner of the red veil before eighth young lord, but we still failed. Who could imagine the eighth young mistress would wear thick layers of veils even under the red veil? Haha.”
Gu Shenwei hadn’t expected that Wei Lingmiao would actually know Shangguan Ru. “Eighth young lord probably wasn’t happy about that, was he?”
“Who knows, eighth young lord was busy making friends with the big shots of the Western Regions and didn’t notice us, two troublemakers. Eighth young mistress probably didn’t know who we were. Well, it’s funny to even think about it.”
Gu Shenwei, however, was so angry that he almost blew up. Shangguan Nu had gotten married about one month after the extermination of the Gu family, and the Wei family must have heard of this tragedy. However, under such circumstances, Wei Lingmiao had been in the mood to flirt with other people’s bride.
“Eighth young mistress is still wearing a veil.” Not knowing what to say, Gu Shenwei casually replied with this.
“I guess her beauty is overstated. Otherwise, why would the eighth young lord rather stay in the desert than go home? Rather, I’ve heard that the little girl, Shangguan Ru, is getting more and more beautiful.”
There was a decidedly lewd tone in Wei Lingmiao’s voice. Gu Shenwei kept his mouth shut without saying a word. Actually, he didn’t feel that Shangguan Ru had changed in her appearance except that she was now taller.
Wei Lingmiao smiled again, holding the jar to pour the wine himself. “You’re a loyal killer.”
“Killers are all loyal.” Gu Shenwei himself felt hypocritical as he said this. Not long ago, the few of them were still discussing ways to kill the twins through the hands of others.
Wei Lingmiao shook his head with no comment, and his topic was still about Shangguan Ru when he opened his mouth again. “I just met ninth young lord. They’re twins, but Tenth Gongzi isn’t like him now, is she?”
Wei Lingmiao was relieved, and then said in a low voice, “That’s good.”
A few more boats approached. The gongzis in the banquet hall had realized that the honoured guest was missing and had caught up.
“Xiao Miao’er, why did you run off and leave us alone? Those girls are crying their eyes out.” Meng Mingshi struck up a friendship with Wei Lingmiao at their first meeting and had already started calling him by his nickname as his elder brother did.
“Talking about crying, your Meng family’s lake must be made of tears from women.”
“Women’s tears? That’s a good idea. I’ll go find a whip later and let the lake rise a few more feet.”
“Fifth bro, I heard you wept your heart out for a female killer and thought that you were a romantic. So I was thinking that the women must be happy now to have fifth gongzi in the Meng family, but they didn’t expect for you to be so heartless.”
Meng Mingshi shouted to Shangguan Fei, who was on the other boat. “Ninth young lord, don’t you get it? Xiao Miao’er is interested in your killer, go send for her as soon as possible.”
Gu Shenwei had been observing the expressions of these two enemies of his even before the arrival of Wei Lingmiao. Meng Mingshi had either forgotten about Yu Gongzi or he was more mature than before, as he showed no signs of hatred and was as intimate as before towards Shangguan Fei.
Shangguan Fei was afraid of water, so he held the railing of the boat tightly with both hands, his face gloomy. He hummed before saying, “What’s so good about killers, they’re full of scars. My hand even hurt just by touching them.”
Silence fell on the lake. No one knew whether the ninth young lord was joking or satirizing. It was not until Wei Lingmiao laughed and the others followed along to laugh awkwardly that the atmosphere finally thawed.
The party in Bodhi Garden finally ended before dawn. Gu Shenwei didn’t know which woman or multiple women Wei Lingmiao had chosen to sleep with him, as he had left earlier with Shangguan Fei.
“What did he want with you?” Shangguan Fei immediately dismissed the other servants and questioned Servant Huan after returning to his own house.
‘Just a casual talk. We didn’t talk much before everyone else came out.”
Shangguan Fei looked at Servant Huan in disbelief. The two held each other’s secrets and feared that the other side would reveal it. “You’re a killer, you might be fine playing double-faced in the castle, but colluding with outsiders is a death penalty.”
“I’ve always been loyal to Golden Roc Castle. I guess Wei Gongzi wants the ‘peace talisman’.”
Shangguan Fei stopped asking. The one million taels of silver were like a mountain on his shoulder. He had finally shaken it off and didn’t want to have a connection with it anymore.
The feast to welcome Wei Gongzi had gone on for three days in a row, and the content was much of the same. Wei Lingmiao didn’t seem to be interested in the money and was always looking for chances to ask Gu Shenwei about Tenth Gongzi, and Gu Shenwei tried to deal with him in a hasty way.
Wei Lingmiao probably thought that Servant Huan was the only way to approach Shangguan Ru, so he didn’t mind the killer’s coldness. Instead, he kept showing kindness towards him, which reached its peak on the last day in Bodhi Garden.
After three days of playing, Wei Gongzi finally decided to do some real business. It was still Zhong Heng, the patrol commandant, who invited the ninth young lord to discuss the ‘secret matter’. Shangguan Fei naturally knew what the ‘secret matter’ was, so he calmly admitted that the Qiu Society had merged into the Kun Society and Tenth Gongzi was in charge now. If he really wanted to talk about it with someone, the killer Yang Huan was a more suitable candidate.
In this way, Gu Shenwei came to face Wei Lingmiao and Zhong Heng alone in one of the studies of Bodhi Garden.
Zhong Heng was rarely so straightforward, saying, “Hall Leader Yang, the day after tomorrow will be the final date. Tenth Gongzi should have everything ready.”
Gu Shenwei shook his head. “We can’t make it the day after tomorrow. You’ll have to wait for another month.”
Zhong Heng wasn’t a person who could easily be irritated. He wore the same smile and glanced at Wei Lingmiao. That philanderer was looking at the books no one had ever read on the bookshelf and didn’t say a word as if it had nothing to do with him.
Zhong Heng also shook his head. “Hall Leader Yang, that’s not what we said before.”
Gu Shenwei’s purpose was to challenge the Governor’s bottom line. “Hmm, that’s true. But at this point, I can’t help it. The silver is not enough, and no one can make silver appear out of nowhere.”
Zhong Heng could barely keep up a smile. He had dealt with the teenage killer several times and had accepted silver monthly from the other side. He always thought that Yang Huan was a man of great potential, and didn’t expect him to be so ignorant of officialdom rules. “Well, if Tenth Gongzi really has some difficulties, she can ask help from the castle.”
This was a threat, but Gu Shenwei pretended not to understand. “Tenth Gongzi won’t ask for help from anyone. Either wait for another month or reduce the amount, there’s no other way.”
“That’s what Tenth Gongzi meant?” Zhong Heng was surprised, and a faint anger rose in his heart. Yang Huan was not giving him any face in front of Wei Gongzi.
“That’s what she meant,” Gu Shenwei said in a firm tone. But actually, Shangguan Ru didn’t care about the matter at all. She had left it entirely to Servant Huan and let him do whatever he wanted.
The atmosphere suddenly became awkward. Gu Shenwei’s plan was to irritate the Governor and then observe the reaction of the castle to find out the way the two connected with each other. He wanted to know how much influence the unknown Governor Wei Song had, and whether there was any compelling reason or an inside story for him to turn a deaf ear to the slaughter of his relatives by marriage.
Golden Roc Castle was a killer organization. In the tragedy of the Gu family, the role which was yet unknown was the employer. Gu Shenwei thought it was a clue as soon as he recalled the relationship between the Governor Wei Song and his family.
Wei Lingmiao, whose mind had drifted away, suddenly turned around. “Waiting for a month is not impossible.”
“Gongzi … “ Although the money would not fall into Zhong Heng’s hands, he was responsible to the Governor and could not bear the charge of being soft at will.
Wei Lingmiao waved his hand to show that he knew what he was doing. “But with some terms.”
“What terms?” Gu Shenwei’s tone grew colder.
Wei Lingmiao coughed, and Zhong Heng retreated at once.
“You should know what I’m thinking.”
Gu Shenwei knew, but he didn’t want to help. “I’m just a killer. I know nothing except for killing people.”
Wei Lingmiao smiled. He was even harder to enrage than Zhong Heng. “Alright, kill a person for me, and then the payment can be delayed a month.”
“Who?” Gu Shenwei just casually replied and didn’t expect that Wei Gongzi would actually take advantage of the opportunity to make a murder request.
“I haven’t thought of any yet. I’ll think about it and let you know in a couple of days. Anyway, it’s easy for you to kill, isn’t it?”
“Any time.” Gu Shenwei nodded slightly, wishing that he had a sabre in his hand to point at Wei Gongzi’s chest, forcing out all the truth.
Gu Shenwei went back to Southern Jade City, while Xu Yanwei stayed in Bodhi Garden. There seemed to be a chance that she could win over Wei Gongzi, but the competition next would still be very hard, because there were too many prostitutes left and none of them was sure that they could gain Wei Gongzi’s favour alone.
At the gate of the Kun Society, Gu Shenwei saw a horse-drawn carriage, and several servants were carrying things into the courtyard, all of which were gifts neatly wrapped in silk.
Shangguan Ru, accompanied by Lotus, was practising calligraphy in her study when she saw Servant Huan come in. “What’s going on? That Wei Lingmiao ordered someone to send gifts every day. Isn’t he here to ask for money? How come he’s now so generous,” asked Shangguan Ru.
“He has fallen in love with Tenth Gongzi.” Gu Shenwei was straightforward.
Shangguan Ru’s expression immediately changed. Lotus retreated to the wall. She had the ability to make it as if she didn’t exist.
“What a bold and brazen fellow. Aren’t the women of the entire Jade City enough for him to enjoy?”
Shangguan Ru’s reaction met Gu Shenwei’s expectations. An idea suddenly popped in his mind. “Wei Gongzi will not give up easily.”
As a killer, Shangguan Ru’s killing will might have been reduced, but this didn’t mean that she would be a weak and easily bullied little woman. “Oh, really? Then let’s do something ‘difficult’ to make him give up.”
“He’s the son of the Governor.”
“So what? I don’t even want to give them the so-called ‘peace talisman’. It’s time to teach the pair of father and son a lesson.”
Indeed, Gu Shenwei thought, the key was to what extent.