Editors: Ann and Aiiee
Chapter 43 Training
The relationship between Gu Shenwei and Shangguan Yushi had become very subtle. On the surface, they had a normal lord-servant relationship, where one was high above while the other always acted cautiously. But when no one was looking, their eyes would inadvertently reveal the deep hatred they held for each other.
There were no more open fights between the two of them and their battlefield was transferred to Ninth Gongzi Shangguan Ru. After all, they had the same purpose — please Unique King’s most favoured daughter.
Gu Shenwei had regained his status as the most favoured fighting partner and followed the twins to run around every morning. He would make use of every opportunity he got to instill in Shangguan Ru’s mind the idea that : she must become a killer if she wants to learn Golden Roc Castle’s most amazing martial arts.
This was just in accordance to what Shangguan Ru had wanted. She had turned twelve years old in the New Year but still wasn’t eligible to participate in the family business, so she was as curious about their own killers as the other teenagers.
Gu Shenwei thought everything was going as planned, but as it turned out, he was late by a step. The one who finished the task of inciting Shangguan Ru wasn’t him, but Shangguan Yushi.
The first lunar month had ended and the atmosphere of New Year had long been swept away. On that morning, as soon as the twins came to the school, Shangguan Ru stood on the steps. She summoned before her all the footmen that belonged to her, her brother and Shangguan Yushi. There were about 25 people in total, then she announced loudly:
“Boys, follow me. Let’s play a new game.”
Gu Shenwei understood it was Shangguan Yushi’s idea when he saw her smile and pat her cousin’s shoulder to show her support and approval.
Although Gu Shenwei was surprised, he was glad to see that it worked. The head of the footmen Servant Qing thought it was a headache because Ninth Gongzi‘s ‘games’ were always full of dangers, making him unable to join most of them.
Moreover, he thought it was going too far this time. The three little lords had gone so far as to openly bring over 20 people and go straight to the east castle. Wasn’t it enough for them to sneak in once? Are they going to break in this time? Servant Qing ran to the forefront, planning to look for Shangguan Yushi to ask her to persuade Ninth Gongzi not to commit wanton mischief, until he saw from afar that the door of the east castle was already open, which seemed to welcome the arrival of the crowd.
Servant Qing was stupefied. Although he was only in his 30s, he had already served several little lords in the past, yet he had never seen anybody as indulged as the twins. Someone would even help hold the ladder if they wanted to climb the sky!
If another young lord behaved like this when he was little, the servants would scold him, telling him to focus on practising his kung fu. The masters at Peng Yue Yuan were more powerful than the kung fu instructors at the east castle, and a young lord would only enter there when his kung fu was better than an average killer’s and was eligible to be called as young lord. At that time, he would enter the east castle as a lord to pick his subordinates, not as a disciple.
The twins really were much too spoiled.
Servant Qing kept shaking his head like a dog drenched with water, not noticing that the teenagers behind him were secretly laughing at him.
For most of the footmen, it was their first time entering the east castle, and so they were both excited and nervous. They kept looking around, hoping to see something peculiar so they could boast in front of the others once they left of the east castle.
However, what they saw disappointed them. With its similarly criss-crossing alleys and the successive yards on both sides, there was no big difference between the east castle and other places. The only peculiarity was the absence of people in it. They had walked for a long time yet hadn’t seen even a shadow. It was as if they were walking inside a deserted city.
But this ‘deserted city’ appeared to be rather clean. There was no snow at all on the stone road, and the yard doors were also strictly closed. Classic characters were engraved on the towering lintel, which were like pairs of cold eyes monitoring the invaders.
The excitement gradually dissipated as terror spread amongst the footmen, especially when the two gongzis led the crowd to walk further and further. No one knew who let out the rumor, saying that the final destination of the trip was the Afterlife Cliff.
In Golden Roc Castle, the Afterlife Cliff was much more famous than Groaning Ghost Cliff. Most of the servants who grew up in the castle hadn’t even heard of Ji Xin Yuan, but they all knew Afterlife Cliff. They believed that it was where all the dead killers would be dropped into the abyss to another world, where they would continue protecting Golden Roc Castle in another form. It was said that Afterlife Cliff was haunted even during the daytime…
Upon seeing the distant cliff at the end of the alley, Servant Qing’s legs became as soft as cotton, barely able to move forward by leaning on the teenager beside him, with a trembling voice, he cried, “Two gongzis, please don’t go any further, in front of you is …”
Shangguan Ru turned around and said calmly, “The Afterlife Cliff, why can’t we go?”
Once the ominous rumor was confirmed, a lot of the footmen felt their legs soften like Servant Qing. They huddled together, no longer willing to move forward.
“This is a test.” Shangguan Ru had expected the reaction of the servants. “Those who have guts can follow me while the cowards can go back and leave east castle by themselves.”
More than half of them were not bold, so they were all relieved after hearing this, but Shangguan Ru wasn’t finished. “Don’t claim to be our footmen when you leave the east castle. Go find new lords by yourselves.”
Shangguan Fei, who was frightened and didn’t dare to approach the Afterlife Cliff before New Year, had become unexpectedly bold this time. He stood by his sister’s side, exclaiming, “The ones sent away at the Afterlife Cliff were all elites of Golden Roc Castle. Moreover, even my father and I will ascend to heaven from there after we die, which of you dislike and want to avoid this place?”
With these words, those who retreated half a step returned to their positions and even moved one step forward. Once one had the reputation of ‘abandoning the lord’, he would find it very difficult to survive in Golden Roc Castle, never mind finding a new lord. Although the two gongzis were childish and gave severe punishments, they were greatly favoured by King Lord so their future was boundless. Anyway, serving the twins was an easy job, and they could even be rewarded every now and then. Only a fool would be willing to leave.
This was especially important to Servant Qing for whom Shangguan Ru and Shangguan Fei would probably be the last two lords that he would serve. He had to work harder so he could obtain an important position when they grew up.
No one left. They all mustered up their courage to walk towards the Afterlife Cliff, as if they had a just cause making them fearless of death.
In the end. the most terrible thing didn’t occur because Shangguan Ru’s final destination was not the Afterlife Cliff.
On the south end of the alley was a giant boulder, which was less than 33cm away from the wall, making a path where one person could barely pass through at a time. As they walked through it, they found themselves in a semicircular open area.
The area had the wall of a yard on the west side, the giant boulder on the north and a cambered cliff that curved from the east to the south.
Although it was close to the Afterlife Cliff and was a cliff itself, it was a particularly hidden spot due to the the giant boulder blocking it off. Moreover, because the cliff edge was secured with the waist-high iron chain fence, the safety had been increased. The footmen let go of their fear and praised continuously, all wondering how the two little lords found this place.
Gu Shenwei was also perplexed, nobody knew this place when they came here last time. After careful observation, he discovered that the iron chain and stone pillar near the cliff’s edge were obviously newly installed. The ground showed signs of being cleaned, having no gravel and so flat it seemed polished.
It must be King Lord gave the order to clean this place and gifted it to the twins for their enjoyment.
Gu Shenwei had also been doted on by his family, but he had never been treated like the twins who could do and get whatever they wanted.
Out of nowhere, Gu Shenwei felt jealousy rising in his heart. The favour received by the twins kept reminding him of how wonderful the life he lost had been. This, however, also strengthened his resolve for revenge. He even indulged in his thoughts for a while, imagining the scene of one day killing the twins and breaking of Unique King’s heart.
He quickly controlled the ‘wild horse’ inside his heart and pretended to give praises like the others.
The twins and Shangguan Yushi looked pridefully at the footmen under them, and when the gasps of admiration eased down a bit, Shangguan Ru declared the content of the new game, “Listen, I will choose among you the people with good potential and train them to be killers by myself.”
Shangguan Fei interrupted, “And me, I’ll also train killers.”
“Hmm, and also Yu Gongzi, the three of us will be Sabrelords, and the most formidable ones among you will be killers.”
The crowd calmed down after hearing this. It turns out they’re going to play a ‘fake killer’ game. With the twins’ protection, no one will be punished no matter how much he rummages and tosses around in the castle, so there’s certainly no real danger. If the two gongzis have fun, they may even be rewarded the title of ‘killer’. If that happens, it would be very lucky for them. Considering this, all the footmen rushed headlong to register. Even Servant Qing was tempted and pushed into the crowd, claiming that he was helping restore the order, but in fact, he himself went to stand at the forefront.
But some also sneered in their hearts. When the two lords grow up, they will inevitably gain the status of ‘young lord’, but now they want to reduce themselves to be ‘sabrelords’, really childish.
But the three ‘sabrelords’ were very happy and started competing for their own ‘killers’.
Gu Shenwei’s heart relaxed. Although this was just a game, if he got it right, then he could learn the killer’s techniques that the twins learned from Peng Yue Yuan, benefitting him immensely. And along this process, he could even gain more of Shangguan Ru’s favour. Amongst this group of teenagers, who could learn better and faster than him?
He thought logically, but he had neglected one point, how could Shangguan Yushi possibly let him come into frequent contact with Shangguan Ru?
Shangguan Yushi called him as soon as they started selecting ‘killers’. Smiling proudly at the twins, she said, “We agreed that the one who speaks first gets him, do not cheat.”
Chagrin was written all over the twins’ faces. Servant Huan had the highest kung fu amongst all the footmen, so both of them wanted him. Learning quickly, Shangguan Fei immediately called another teenager whose kung fu was not bad, leaving Shangguan Ru with no other choice but to roll her eyes and finally pick her ‘killers’.
Gu Shenwei could only hide his chagrin deep in his heart. He lost another round, but his fight with Shangguan Yushi would continue.
The selection quickly ended, with the ‘sabrelords’ selecting three ‘killers’ each, while the others were led away by Servant Qing.
Servant Qing, who hadn’t been chosen, sighed and left with others like him. Actually, he didn’t know any kung fu and couldn’t even dare watch people get killed.
The three ‘killer’ teams selected their training spaces, with Shangguan Yushi occupying the north side near the giant boulder, Shangguan Ru the central area, and Shangguan Fei the southern side.
Shangguan Yushi looked coldly at the three people she chose then made them carry the wooden weapons as a first training exerciser.
Gu Shenwei soon understood her intentions.
It was never a part of Shangguan Yushi’s plan to train her so-called ‘killers’. She just kept sending them away to do some chores, carrying wooden sabres and swords, taking kung fu manuals, delivering tea and handkerchief, and so on and so forth. In sum, reducing their time to participate.
Like this, Gu Shenwei not only failed to learn anything, he even lost the chance to approach Shangguan Ru.
In contrast, the two other teenagers were happy with it. Playing with the lords had always been what they wanted; they didn’t want to practise kung fu seriously, and since these chores were actually their duties, they dawdled deliberately. If possible, they wouldn’t even come here for a whole day.
Compared to Shangguan Yushi, the twins took this game seriously. They had learnt many of the unique skills of killers which they forced their underlings practice rigorously, making the teenagers complain in private and envy the ones under Shangguan Yushi.
Several days later, it became even worse.
When there’s really nothing to do, Shangguan Yushi would order the three to guard outside, calling it by the impressive name of ‘hidden sentry’ and saying that it was a technique a killer must have.
Gu Shenwei encountered a barrier he couldn’t even make a detour on. This girl, who harboured a grudge, was even more stubborn than that giant boulder.