Editors: Cypress Venus Trap, Xu Xian
Chapter 52 Escape
Amongst all the things that had happened during the day, only these words of Shangguan Ru had Gu Shenwei perplexed.
She’s only 12 years-old and is the most favoured daughter of Unique King. She just made a big contribution so her status should have reached the peak in her father’s mind. Why does she want to escape?
Or was this irony? Perhaps it was to hide some plots? But she could very easily kill Servant Huan if she wanted to. In fact, at the Giant Boulder Cliff, it was only because of her pleadings that he had been able to escape from death and even got the chance to become a killer’s disciple.
Gu Shenwei was puzzled. His hesitation, however, annoyed Shangguan Ru.
“So, you dare not follow your master’s words? You’re the same as her!”
Gu Shenwei knew who this “she” referred to, and therefore quickly made up his mind: he would give an answer completely different from Shangguan Yushi.
“Disciple would like to follow master no matter where she goes and will never stay half a step away, but…”
Shangguan Ru smiled. Her smile appeared rather bright and pretty in the moonlight.
“That’s it then, let’s talk after we leave the castle.”
Shangguan Ru stuffed one sabre into Gu Shenwei’s hand, held his hand as they walked towards the wall, and even turned back to hush him.
Confused, Gu Shenwei held the sabre and followed. This is just a game, they will be blocked by the night watchmen before walking farther away.
Gu Shenwei had been blocked by the night watchmen twice and knew that these people could be anywhere in the castle.
But he was wrong. Shangguan Ru knew the castle much better than him. She walked to the foot of a wall, pressed her ear onto it for a while, then proceeded walking after making sure everything was okay. She would stop to listen after every section of a road and also make turns as if she were avoiding the guardsmen.
Gu Shenwei imitated her and pressed his ear onto the wall and listened. He soon learnt how it worked.
It turned out that he had overestimated the density of the guardsmen of Golden Roc Castle. The night watchmen were not everywhere, they were free and patrolled everywhere. They didn’t use the alleyways, but instead, they walked on the walls. After they patrolled for a while they would knock on the fixed position of the wall so the sound could be transmitted through it. In this way, they contacted each other and exchanged any information.
Gu Shenwei wasn’t familiar with these knocking sounds, but Shangguan Ru was a master of it. She knew how to avoid the coming night watchmen and also knew which route was the safest.
The two of them walked farther and farther and gradually approached the gate. Gu Shenwei was faced with a choice – to continue following Shangguan Ru and ‘escape’, or to call someone to stop this game. The former would please Ninth Gongzi, the latter was the responsibility of a servant.
Gu Shenwei continued to keep quiet.
Shangguan Ru led him to one of the tall walls and listened for a while. Then she unpacked her bundle and brought out a flying claw. She was well prepared for this escape.
Shangguan Ru threw the flying claw up, but it barely reached the top of the wall before it fell. She hurriedly picked it up, but by then it had already made a sound.
They waited for a while but no guardsmen jumped out. It seemed that Shangguan Ru had chosen a very good time.
Gu Shenwei took the flying claw from Shangguan Ru’s hand. His balanced power had just reached the third level of yang energy so his strength had improved a lot. The flying claw was thrown easily and, this time, it went over and was firmly fixed on the wall.
Shangguan Ru threw a faint smile and climbed up using the rope of the flying claw.
Gu Shenwei carried the bundle, hung the sabres by his waist, and also climbed up.
There was no one else at the top of the wall. Shangguan Ru quickly climbed down the other side. Her lightness skill was even better than Gu Shenwei’s, so she landed on the ground quickly. It was Gu Shenwei who had to spend more time finding the right landing position.
There was also no one in the empty space outside the castle. Half a year ago, Marshal Yang had come to challenge and died there. His head was mounted on the spear, but now not even a trace was left.
The two of them arched their back and sped forward. They let out a breath after they passed through the stone beam and walked downhill.
Gu Shenwei felt that escaping seemed too easy. Shangguan Ru, however, believed it was because of her orchestration, so she was very proud. After several turns they couldn’t even see the castle when they looked back. She became bolder and couldn’t help but laugh loudly.
“Aah hah, I finally came out. My father didn’t agree to let me wander in Jianghu, my mother also didn’t agree, even Yu Gongzi objected. But I have still managed to come out. Humph, I won’t come back unless I’ve become somebody. Servant Huan, you are the most loyal one. Trust me, with our abilities, we’ll make something big of ourselves. I’ll teach you all of my martial arts.”
“Disciple is already very happy to follow master in wandering in Jianghu, learning kung fu is not important compared to that, my master is so formidable, what should I be afraid of?”
“Alas, you’re a good person, your kung fu is also good. But you talk like a servant, I don’t like it.”
Gu Shenwei sneered in his heart. He was supposed to be a servant at Golden Roc Castle, if he had revealed his true face he would have been cut down a long time ago.
“You’re my master, if you look at the disciples of different sects, you will see that they all reply to their masters like this.”
“Really? Then I’d like to have a closer look. Anyhow I never talked with my master like this.”
The two of them chatted while walking downhill. Shangguan Ru was so excited that she couldn’t shut her mouth for even a moment as she was very curious about the world outside the castle.
“Servant Huan, you weren’t born in the castle, right?”
“No, I entered the castle a year ago.”
“Then you must know lots of Jianghu affairs.”
Gu Shenwei actually didn’t have any Jianghu experience. He had lived an extravagant life when he was little and his social group was very limited. After he had moved to the Western Regions, he had seldom left the manor, and had lived a life even more closed off than Shangguan Ru. But his Master, Yang Zheng, had lots of Jianghu experience. When he was in the mood, he would tell him some interesting and funny stories from Wulin. 1
Gu Shenwei polished all these rumours before telling them to Shangguan Ru. Shangguan Ru listened with relish, she was especially interested in the so-called Jianghu rules.
“There are rules for a kung fu competition? Same as that of Marshal Yang?”
“The Jianghu outside is different from Golden Roc Castle, they are restricted by rules, the Golden Roc Castle, however, does as it pleases, so Golden Roc Castle is more formidable, isn’t Marshal Yang dead?”
“But I still think the rules outside are better, if everyone uses assassination, everyone has to build a castle because they will all feel unsafe. If they can’t go out freely, the life they’re living is not even as good as ordinary people.”
“It’s not easy to do as one pleases, there’s only one Golden Roc Castle under heaven, even if someone else wants to learn assassination, they wouldn’t know how.”
This was a strange conversation. Unique King’s daughter admired the Jianghu rules, but the Shangguan family’s enemy argued for Golden Roc Castle.
The road downhill was pretty long, Shangguan Ru was already tired halfway through and yawned frequently. “How much longer does it take? If I knew it was like this long I’d have brought two horses.”
“We can buy horses when we reach the foot of the mountain.”
“Hmm, Servant Huan, carry me.”
Gu Shenwei moved the bundle over to his chest, took Shangguan Ru’s sabre and hung it on his waist, then kneeled down on one leg and let her climb onto his back.
Shangguan Ru was very light, Gu Shenwei carried her and continued walking. The two of them didn’t speak for a while.
“Say something, do not let me fall asleep. Or ask me something, master will answer your question.”
Shangguan Ru’s voice was light, after the tension she experienced in the first half of the night, she was really sleepy now.
Gu Shenwei thought for a while, then found a question:
“Do you still remember the affair of me falling off the cliff and didn’t die?”
“Yeah, you lied to me that you climbed back up by yourself. You actually rode the golden rocs and flew up, didn’t you? I remember now, you’re a disobedient, bad disciple, you became friends with the golden rocs and didn’t tell me!”
“Aiya!” Gu Shenwei cried as Shangguan Ru bitterly bit his neck.
“Hmm, I… I…” Gu Shenwei didn’t know how to explain. He especially didn’t know how to tell Shangguan Ru that he would kill her one day for those two golden rocs.
“Hee hee, it’s okay, you have shown your loyalty by following your master downhill. I forgive you. Father is going to stuff those golden rocs and exhibit them, I’ll show you later.”
Shangguan Ru wasn’t apologetic. She was Unique King’s daughter, no matter how much she admired the rules of Jianghu, she still followed Golden Roc Castle’s rules. To her, owning two dead birds for her father’s approval was more important than letting them live.
The anger Gu Shenwei took great effort to suppress rose again, he clenched his teeth and tried to hold in the impulse of wanting to kill the little girl on his back.
“Ask me another question, I almost fell asleep again.”
“Right, I still haven’t asked my previous question, what did you tell Shangguan Yushi that made her want to kill me so much?”
Gu Shenwei was curious about this matter but he couldn’t find any clues during these past two months. Both Shangguan Ru and Shangguan Yushi upheld silence towards the matter.
Shangguan Ru smiled, her breathing puffed onto his neck, but she didn’t answer right away. After a while, as if she had already fallen asleep, a hazy voice came, “Yu Gongzi told me that everybody only has one chance to fully trust another person, no matter how it turns out, you will not believe anybody else from then on. She said that she gave that chance to me, I said that I gave my chance to you. Then she was unhappy and said that you’re a servant with evil intentions. Don’t blame her, she’s a good person. In fact she misunderstood me, there’s no need for me to say if there’s so-called trust or not between me and her…”
Shangguan Ru continued to whisper, but Gu Shenwei couldn’t hear it clearly. She had failed to resist the invasive drowsiness and had fallen asleep.
He silently carried her downhill and regretted asking the question.
The enemy should be vicious and ferocious, so when he killed them he would not have any sympathy or hesitation. Why did she say such words after she betrayed the golden rocs?
The downhill road was long, but it wasn’t as long as he had expected. It ended after a few more turns and the vague outline of the Jade City, with its few, scattered and dim lights, was visible.
Gu Shenwei sighed and turned back to walk up the Mountain.
Under the moonlight, the ground seemed to be covered in mercury. Shangguan Ru slept sweetly and didn’t know that the course of direction had been changed.
Bundle, sabres, a little girl, though his balanced power had reached the third level of yang energy, Gu Shenwei felt that it was still heavy after walking so much.
He had returned to Golden Roc Castle. When he passed by the stone beam that connected inside and outside, he felt that it was a good chance to throw away all his burdens. Then he could also jump off, in that way, this little girl would never know she had given her ‘chance of trust’ to the wrong person.
Gu Shenwei walked through the stone beam and saw from afar that a crowd of people had gathered at the gate. Behind him, many guardsmen also showed up like ghosts and blocked his retreat.
This, afterall, was a game. Everyone was playing a realistic game with the Ninth Gongzi.
Several women rushed forward, carefully took Shangguan Ru from Gu Shenwei’s back, put her on another person’s back, and entered the castle.
No one uttered a sound, Shangguan Ru was still sleeping soundly, she still trusted him.
Gu Shenwei handed over the bundle and two sabres. A middle-aged woman walked over and whispered, “Madam said you did a very good job.”
- Translator’s note: Literally Jianghu means rivers and lakes and Wulin means forests of martial arts. Here Jianghu means the society kung fu practitioners lived in. Wulin means the professional career of kung fu practitioners or martial arts heroes. ↩