Chapter 104 Alliance of the Guilty
Gu Shenwei had never asked Lotus about what else had happened that night. He didn't need to ask as he was no longer an ignorant teenager anymore. He knew about what the young, pretty disciples who studied under the kung fu instructors and killer Masters often went through. In comparison, Tie Hanfeng, who only cursed and beat his disciple, was as kind as a saint.
How could Lotus stand aloof with her good looks? It was not only through luck that she survived when her kung fu skills were initially low. Liu Xuan was just one of those who had coveted and successfully laid hands on her.
Gu Shenwei didn't say anything but it didn’t mean that he was indifferent. He couldn't tell whether it was jealousy or anger, but he knew that he had to kill Liu Xuan and all the other insiders. It was not only to silence them, but also as a responsibility he had to Lotus.
Gu Shenwei could shift the blame of their killings to the roc when it was still turning the castle upside down and kill without restraint during the slaughter. But the roc had flown away and Liu Xuan was cautiously not stepping to the north side of wooden sabre alley. He needed to find another way to kill him.
Gu Shenwei started tracking and investigating alone. He found that Servant Zi had several friends who might be the insiders.
He also inquired about some information regarding Liu Xuan. He was a killer with mediocre martial arts skills. This meant that he was not valued by eighth young lord, so he was rarely ordered out of the castle to carry out tasks and became a pure guardsman in the yard.
Liu Xuan once claimed that his direct protector was a sabrelord, but it was questionable.
Lotus was called out again by Liu Xuan. Gu Shenwei found her later to discuss the method of 'solving the problem'.
Lotus's calmness made Gu Shenwei feel both admired and ashamed. This was his assistant, advisor, friend, and partner, but he couldn’t help her even when she was being bullied in front of his eyes.
Lotus agreed to assassinate Liu Xuan, as he was afterall a disaster. He still didn't know what the clue in his hand meant, but he would surely understand once the two disciple's sabresmanship attracted the attention of the entire Golden Roc Castle.
The two thought of several plans such as luring Liu Xuan to cross the wooden sabre alley, killing him together with Servant Zi, designing an intimate scene of a killer with a male disciple, or even directly killing him and pulling the corpse to the other side. But all of these plans had the same drawback- it might incriminate Lotus.
It wasn't uncommon for a killer to play with a disciple. Liu Xuan probably did not keep it as a secret, and he might have even boasted about it to the other killers. If he suddenly suffered a strange death at East Castle, Lotus, and even Servant Huan would become the first suspect. If that happened, even if Xi Xin Yuan didn't investigate, Shangguan Nu would be very angry.
As for the secret of grinding the sabre, Lotus felt out that Liu Xuan would not reveal the secret he used to control Lotus until he got tired of her. Even Servant Zi didn't know how important the information he accidentally said out was.
Every person Gu Shenwei assassinated in the past seemed to involve trickery because it was either somebody else taking the blame or someone backing him. But now, all these methods couldn't be used anymore. For Liu Xuan, he would use the classic way to deal with it.
Like what his Master Tie Hanfeng always said, he first had to cut Liu Xuan's 'connections'. One could kill someone with a sabre, or with one's mouth, and sometimes the latter was even safer.
Gu Shenwei thought of a bold plan, and even though Lotus didn't agree in the beginning, she was convinced by his detailed analysis that the idea was very good. She then helped him to perfect the plan and fixed as many flaws as possible.
The core of the plan was Miss Luo Ningcha.
When they showed their respects to the lord again, Lotus left as usual, but Servant Huan was summoned by Miss.
This was due to Lotus's scheming. She was close to many maidservants around Miss and they were all willing to help pass the message along.
Those four maidservants Chen, Xin, Sui, and Yi waited by the screen. The blind, tongueless Tsui Nü was close to the service. Luo Ningcha was waiting for a servant's pledge for being loyal to her, which was the only reason she summoned Gu Shenwei. Miss hadn't played this for a long time and unavoidably became a bit curious when she heard a servant voluntarily request this.
Tie Hanfeng called it 'connections', and people in the castle preferred to call it 'backer'. Anyway, the more of it, the better. Servant Huan's movement was not abrupt. Afterall, he was one of the servants brought by Miss.
The oath-making process mimicked the blood oath except that Miss didn't stab her finger to draw blood. She would also not drink the same bowl of bloody water with a servant. Gu Shenwei finished his own part of the ritual, during which he stressed in the oath that he firstly had to be eighth young lord's killer, then a loyal servant of Miss. Tsui Nü did the rest part of the ritual for the Miss.
Miss wasn't as peremptory as she used to be, and at least she had changed a lot on the surface. She was lazy and boring, her tone like a bitter woman who had given up, but what she said was tart, revealing the anger and resentment buried in her heart.
After the pledge, Gu Shenwei was still kneeling on the ground, as he was planning on privately asking for a few words with the new lord. He estimated that the Miss would agree.
This relationship between the lord and servant was strange. Their innermost secrets were in the other's hand. Gu Shenwei called himself Yang Huan, son of the Gu family's servant Yang Zheng. He had sneaked into Golden Roc Castle to avenge his father. Luo Ningcha once murdered someone; although Gu Shenwei didn't know the details, he had duped the Miss into believing that he knew the entirety of her secret.
The relationship connecting the two was delicate and fragile and even a slight tug on the line would get someone killed, but Gu Shenwei decided that he would not only pull this line, but also tie himself and Miss together to form an 'alliance', an alliance of the guilty.
Miss behind the screen let out a light laugh, and her tone was full of sarcasm and sadness, "Look, my servant comes to me to discuss 'matters', as if I still have a bit of status in this family. He calls himself a 'loyal servant', but he will become a killer soon. By that time, perhaps I will have to personally go to him to discuss some 'matters'."
"No matter alive or dead, Servant Huan will always be the servant brought into Golden Roc Castle by Miss, who was once surnamed Luo, and will forever be surnamed Luo." Gu Shenwei still remembered some words he had used to please his lord.
"Xue Niang also swore that, but she betrayed me in the end, kept me in the dark, and caused me to be resented by my husband, to be sneered by others." The Miss's voice suddenly grew cold, then she sighed, "All of you go out, I'll plot some 'scheme' with this servant. Maybe I can regain my status as a lord in this castle one day."
Unlike Xue Niang, none of these maidservants dared to persuade Miss, and all of them obediently retreated without daring to say even one more word.
"You've grown up. If it was at the Iron Mountain camp, my father would have castrated you, and even with that you wouldn't be qualified to be alone with me in my room." Miss bitterly said, her tone full of endless yearning and longing.
This was one of the matters Gu Shenwei had been puzzled about. Big Head God was the head of the bandits, who was vulgar and impolite. The Western Regions were also a place where the rural life was common, but he had followed the strictest standard of etiquette to train his own daughter. Even a real princess or queen didn't have as much etiquette as her.
"That is because Miss trusts Servant Huan and knows that Servant Huan's oath can be taken to the heart."
"Taken to the heart? I want you to tell me who all of the insiders are, and then kill all of you so you can bring that secret to the hell. Are you still willing?"
"I'm willing to. As long as Miss opens the mouth, and there's no other insiders. Servant Huan lied before, as only I know Miss's secret."
"I knew it, but it's useless now. I have to report to your real lord for even swatting a fly. Instead of calling him my husband, it's more accurate to call him my jailer. Go report to him, tell him all I've said, betray the new lord you're begging to be loyal to, I don't care. I've already fallen to the bottom of the pit, I don't care if you make the pit a few feet deeper."
At that moment, Gu Shenwei suddenly felt that he understood what was on the Miss's mind. It was just a moment of time, but what Luo Ningcha lost was the power she had never gained, and what Gu Shenwei had lost was his family and his whole world.
"Miss, please trust my pledges. I pledged to be loyal to you not because of your status at Golden Roc Castle; actually you have no status at all. It's also not because of your identity; Big Head God is meaningless to me."
"Huh, you finally start telling the truth? This is a thing that has been dug out by the castle long time ago. It's harsh, but I still want to know your real purpose.'
'Servant Huan begs Miss to help avenge me. For the sake of revenge, Servant Huan has passed by all hardships and is willing to be a servant. For revenge, Servant Huan would pay any price. Eighth young lord is Servant Huan's lord, but Miss is Servant Huan's benefactor."
Miss kept silent for a while behind the screen as she remembered the words Servant Huan confessed before, "You have found the one killed your father?" she finally asked, as if she wasn't interested.
Miss is smarter than before, Gu Shenwei thought, "Yes, it's that guardsman Liu Xuan."
Gu Shenwei didn't know if Liu Xuan had participated in the mission of slaughtering the Gu family, but he speculated that Miss also didn't know. She would never care about a trivial killing matter.
"Liu Xuan? I know him. You want me to help you kill him?"
"I can't even kill a servant like you, how can I kill a killer? You have to beg the eighth young lord, my husband. If you lick his toe and repeat the oath you just made to me, maybe he can wave his hand and avenge you."
"Killing someone has a price, and I don't have anything to pay eighth young lord. But I can provide the help Miss mostly needs."
"Alas, I thought that even if I didn't have any status in Golden Roc Castle, I'm still a lord. It turns out that I'm not even a lord, I surprisingly need a humble servant's help."
"A boat needs the water so that it can float on its surface, a bird needs the lift of wind to fly in the sky. If Miss wants to do something big, then the humble servant's lift is necessary."
Miss was silent behind the screen, "I've heard too much flattery, even those maidservants speak sweeter than you. Forget about the killing for now, just tell me, what you can do to 'lift' me?
"I'll help Miss destroy Madam Meng's arrogance, and avenge all the humiliations Miss had suffered. Let the ones who laughed at you beg you, and let the ones who looked down on you kneel before you."
Miss didn't say anything sarcastic nor did she answer. Gu Shenwei could hear the rustling sound of clothes behind the screen and feel the restless emotions, so he spoke the words he had carefully prepared. If he could persuade Miss, he could not only get rid of Liu Xuan, but also create a huge crack in the interior of the castle.
"Miss, please think about it carefully. In this castle, the status of a man depends on his bloodline and sabresmanship, while the status of a woman depends on her husband and family. Why did the lord married you? Because you're Big Head God's daughter. Why is Madam Meng in charge of the inner chamber? Because she is the daughter of the Meng family in northern Jade City. Why does Madam Meng look down on you? It's not because the Meng family of northern Jade City is more powerful than Big Head God. Rather, it's because Big Head God is thousand miles away. One is far away, while another is nearby. His fame can't spread to the castle. To thoroughly change the situation, no matter how hard Miss tries it will be useless. You still have to find a way to distinguish yourself from Big Head God.'
Gu Shenwei waited for Miss's reply. Luo Ningcha was not a smart person who could understand the point right away, but he hoped that she wasn’t so stupid that she wouldn't be able to understand what he had said.