Chapter 110 Break Up
Four brown-belted killers were speeding across the moonlit uneven path of the wildness. Gu Shenwei and Lotus were in the front, and about twenty steps behind them were Wild Horse and Liuhua. Their path was not always clear, but the general direction was still vaguely discernible.
They had been riding ahead of the team for more than a dozen miles now, and only now when the horizon was starting to turn bright did they finally see a wisp of smoke rising on the roadside.
The teenagers jumped off of their horses. Without any special arrangements, they all knew their respective positions. Lotus walked in the front, Gu Shenwei and Wild Horse guarded the sides several steps back, and Liuhua held a crossbow while guarding the rear.
People at the camp seemed to be sleeping soundly, and there was not even a sentry.
This place had a familiar smell, a smell that had been imprinted onto Gu Shenwei's mind as he dropped countless corpses off the cliff of Golden Roc Castle.
The camp fire was half extinguished, and there were a total of more than fifty corpses both inside and outside of the tents, the blood of which had coagulated not long ago.
This scene was out of Gu Shenwei's speculation, and he knew that there were bandits waiting ahead, but he didn't expect a group of dead bandits.
The last wisp of smoke rose with the sunrise from the fire at the center of the camp.
"You two go back and ask everyone to stay alert. We'll stay here." Gu Shenwei gave an order; there was no time to think carefully at a moment like this.
Wild Horse and Lotus found their own horses and galloped away.
"Stay within ten steps of me." Gu Shenwei said to Liuhua. In this way, both of them could watch over each other, and he also wouldn't be in Liuhua's optimal shooting range.
Liuhua nodded and lowered his crossbow. He looked to the distance, his ordinary face expressionless.
Wild Horse rode back alone in less than an hour and seemed to have brought back some bad news.
As he neared, he waved and beckoned for them to follow him.
Gu Shenwei trusted him, so he and Liuhua got on the horse and ran back along the way they came.
There must have been a mistake if this was a conspiracy. Gu Shenwei couldn't understand it so he gave up as his thoughts were torturing him. He looked at Wild Horse's back and didn't understand why these teenagers had voluntarily cut off their own tongues.
Several miles away, three corpses were lying on the side of road, the ownerless horses grazing on the wasteland nearby.
All of them were sabremen of the Meng family, and they were also the three whose kung fu skills Gu Shenwei had recognized as above average after observing them. Blood was gushing out from their chests and stomachs and hadn't coagulated yet. They must have been following the brown-belted killers before being ambushed.
Gu Shenwei rose to his feet and looked towards the way he came from. It was still unclear whether the one who had made the move was an enemy or a friend, which made him even more worried.
Those two teams finally caught up near noon. The crowd immediately surrounded them, and Servant Qing almost fainted. He leaned up against a supply servant and repeatedly said, "This is, this is …"
"This wasn't done by average bandits." Gu Shenwei said to everyone. He hadn't seen bandits too many times before, but judging from the the wound marks on the corpses, he knew that they weren't something an average bandit could make.
"You killed them, it's you, you … You've been …" Meng Mingshi pointed at Servant Huan while hiding behind two sabremen. His eyes were full of horror and resentment, which indicated that he actually recognized Servant Huan from the beginning.
It would be too stupid, even for Meng Fifth Gongzi, to try to frame him in this way, Gu Shenwei thought, "I didn't kill them, but those three definitely wanted to kill me."
"Nonsense! Slander! No one wanted to kill you, you, you want to kill me, right? You definitely wanted to assassinate me."
Meng Fifth Gongzi was ranting incoherently. His sabremen, however, responded quickly. They drew their sabres of different lengths and waited for their lord's order. On the other side, those teenagers also unsheathed their narrow sabres, Shangguan Ru challenged, "I want to kill you, so what? Can I not touch your neck?"
Meng Fifth Gongzi probably felt that his neck really couldn't be touched, and he raised his hands to cover it and retreated step by step, "This is a conspiracy! This is an assassination! Your Shangguan family is formidable, but my Meng family is not that easily bullied."
A fight might break out between those two sides at any moment. The flag-carrying killer had been squatting and checking the corpses before he stood up, "Lower your sabres, these three dead men have nothing to do with Golden Roc Castle. Look at these wounds, they are not our style, and also don't seem to be sabre cuts."
Meng Fifth Gongzi couldn't figure anything out, and he was still cautiously staring at Shangguan Ru, but he believed the flag-carrying killer. "Not sabre cuts? Even the guts are spilling out."
Those three corpses had been split open from chest to abdomen. Except for several people from Golden Roc Castle, nobody else dared to look for too long.
These were not sabre wounds for sure, and the wounds seemed to be more like something caused by a weapon duller than a sabre. Gu Shenwei didn't know what it was, and the flag-carrying killer also didn't say it.
"We should not be separated again, let's hurry up and keep moving forward. If anyone dares to run around randomly again, he will suffer his own consequences." The flag-carrying killer issued the order with a cold face, his eyes staring at Gu Shenwei.
"Sorry, we're two different teams, and I'm the guardsmen leader of this team. My suggestion is that we each go our own way, and don't interfere in the other's business."
The flag-carrying killer's face became livid, Servant Qing loudly said at the outside of the crowd, "No, no, I'm the main leader. I suggest that we go together, the more people the better."
Gu Shenwei tightly gripped his sabre with his head held high, "The main leader can take the goods and go with the Meng family. Conversely, all the guardsmen have to follow me. We don't ally with people with evil intentions."
The other six teenagers immediately stood behind their leader.
"Evil intentions? Who has evil intentions?" Meng Fifth Gongzi cried out behind several sabremen.
Gu Shenwei pointed at the road straight ahead, "There is a camp several miles away. Over fifty people were waiting for to rob us but all of them are dead now. They died the same way as these three. Fifth Gongzi, how are you going to explain this?"
"All dead?" At a loss, Meng Mingshi asked, then he reacted, "They are just a group of bandits. It doesn't matter if they are dead or alive, it has nothing to do with me."
"Let's cut to the point, what kinds of goods are your camels carrying right now?"
Gu Shenwei decided to lay the cards on the table. He speculated that the real purpose for Meng Fifth Gongzi to lure everyone to walk on this road was probably to perform a robbery with fake bandits and kill him in the process. Meng Fifth Gonzi probably also wanted to frighten Shangguan Ru. The fake bandits would rob both teams, and in this way his real purpose would be concealed and Golden Roc Castle would definitely not bother arguing with the Meng family for the sake of a dead brown-belted killer.
The sabreman shot to death yesterday was just a trick.
But someone unknown had interfered in this matter and the people under Meng Mingshi had all died. Besides, Gu Shenwei also didn't think that the unknown outsiders were helping him.
Meng Mingshi wasn't the type of person who could understand the situation right away, but he still didn't want to admit his scheme had been seen through, "It's none of your business to care about my goods. Who do you think you are, asking this and that?"
Gu Shenwei wasn't anybody special, but there were some people behind him who had a much higher status. Shangguan Ru and Shangguan Yushi dashed out to the camels of the Meng family and cut the ropes. The box fell, exposing the stones in the box. They checked several more boxes carried by different camels and there were all similar items inside.
Those two teenage girls held their sabres while walking back, their eyes revealing killing intent. Shangguan Ru opened her mouth, "People of the Meng family are really good at doing business, they even can sell bricks and stones for money."
Meng Mingshi's facial colour switched between green and pale white. He had hired a group of wandering sabremen to pretend to be bandits, but he didn't want to lose real gold and silver, so he had organized dozens of camels and loaded them all with stones and similar items.
The sabremen of the Meng family took a defensive stance around their little lord as Shangguan Ru and Shangguan Yushi waved their narrow sabres. Although they were perhaps less vigilant than those disciples of East Castle, their sabresmanship had been taught to them by top-level killers and could only be stronger than the brown-belted killer.
"Wait." Gu Shenwei didn't want to trigger an infight right now, so he said, "Fifth Gongzi was playing a joke, I'll take it as a joke."
"Right, right." Meng Mingshi cried in the crowd. Gu Shenwei could only hear his panicking voice but couldn’t see him. "I was just joking around. Tenth Gongzi, I didn't mean to kill you, my parents would not forgive me if I touched your hair even a little bit."
The indifference and arrogance in the flag-carrying killer's eyes reduced a bit, "If so, what are you planning to do, leader?"
"Unite the two teams as one, with all the sabremen following my order." Gu Shenwei threw out his plan.
"I just care about carrying the flag." The flag-carrying killer retreated to the side, thinking that he no longer needed to get involved and decided to give the decision-making power back to Meng Fifth Gongzi.
Behind the human shield, Meng Mingshi peeped at Servant Huan, his face full of distrust.
"The castle will also not forgive me if I touched your hair." Gu Shenwei raised his hands up in a helpless gesture. He told the truth. No matter what this Meng Fifth Gongzi had done, a brown-belted killer wasn't qualified to take revenge. He could only frighten this fifth gongzi a bit at most.
Meng Mingshi obviously hadn't thought of the advantages his status brought for him, and he hesitated for a while before saying, "All the sabremen will listen to you, but you have to swear to protect me."
"I swear to protect Meng Fifth Gongzi's safety. If I violate this oath, may the heaven damn me and the earth destroy me."
It was almost instinct for Gu Shenwei to swear an oath.
The two teams merged again. The first thing to do was to throw away all the boxes carrying stones. The camels of the Meng family helped carry some of the Shangguan family's gifts. Everyone was asked to ride either a camel or a horse as far as possible.
The team camped on the spot. Gu Shenwei decided not to move forward for the rest of the day. He sent some sabremen to ride fast horses to explore the road: five to the front, and another five to the back. If the road to the back was safe, he still wanted to return to the high road they had originally selected.
Meng Fifth Gongzi admitted that the sabremen who were shot yesterday was a battered-body trick he had played, which meant that their back road might not have been blocked by bandits.
According to Shangguan Ru's desires, where there were bandits was where they should go. But this time she acted as an ordinary sabremen and didn't argue with her leader.
Gu Shenwei also disliked this sort of situation. He knew nothing about the origins and purposes of the enemy. He also had to be cautious of the whole affair being another battered-body trick of Meng Mingshi because sacrificing a dozen lives probably wasn't a big deal for the Meng family.
Gu Shenwei preferred to take the initiative, but he had no choice but wait at the moment. Tenth Gongzi Shangguan Ru was in his team, and no matter how critical the situation was, he couldn't deal with the consequences of her being injured.
The cameleer secretly assigned by Golden Roc Castle seemed to be an experienced killer, but Gu Shenwei still ordered Lotus to follow Shangguan Ru just in case. He asked her to forget about anything else and only focus on the Tenth Gongzi's safety.
As for Meng Mingshi, the sabremen of the Meng family would naturally protect him. It wouldn't be a problem for Gu Shenwei even if he suffered a bit.
It would be simple if the bandits' target was the twenty boxes of gold and silver as his bottom line was to give up the money and protect the people.
The sabremen who went out scouting the road ahead returned on time and reported that there was nothing abnormal around them for dozens of miles. These five sabremen saw the camp which had been slaughtered, and therefore acted much more respectfully and cautiously towards the teenage leader.
None of the sabremen sent out to explore the back road returned, and only a single horse ran back at midnight.
No one was asleep, when a sabreman led the horse back to the camp. Servant Qing and Meng Mingshi almost fainted at the same time after glancing at the horse.
A head was tied on the back of the horse, on each side of the stirrups was a foot, but the body was gone.
Someone wanted them to continue moving forward, but Gu Shenwei was hesitant to do so.