Chapter 114 Charge
Gu Shenwei sat up abruptly and drew his sabre, but there was no enemy in front of him.
The night passed and the morning sun shone on two black-robed corpses. Their hoods had been removed, revealing two female faces. One of them had been shot with an arrow in the mouth, her eyes still wide open. The other was cut in her left rib and the blood spilled all over the ground.
Wild Horse and White Camel were wounded in the chest but had been bound up. They stood in front of Servant Huan, looking at him with unfathomable eyes. Liuhua was uninjured, and he was standing a bit further away with his back towards the three. He was holding a longbow armed with an arrow and looking at the enemy’s direction as a sentry.
A bit further to the other side was Fang Wenshi, who was squatting on his heels with his hand covering his stomach. It seemed that he was having stomach pains. It also seemed that he was defecating. Seeing the teenage killer wake up, he squeezed out a smile. He didn’t expect this seemingly mature teenager to be even more timid than him.
Gu Shenwei felt so ashamed with himself. He surprisingly had a Qi deviation and lost his conscious at the most critical moment.
Gu Shenwei put away his sabre and didn’t say anything. He knew that his status would decrease a lot in those three brown-belted killers’ heart from now on, which meant that he had sown a substantial amount of hidden danger. He had to prove himself as soon as possible.
The black-robed assassins’ skills were a bit weaker than the brown-belted killers. This was the only good news Gu Shenwei got.
The team that followed from behind caught up when the sun rose up. They didn’t get sneak attacked, but the corpses along the way made them very agitated. So they moved forward day and night and weren’t left too far behind.
But the sabremen who guarded the rear brought the news that a large group of bandits about 200 or so strong had started following them from several miles behind and were only a day’s journey from them.
Although Shangguan Ru appeared tired, she decided to fight right away after hearing that there were pursuers behind and obstacles ahead. But everyone else was exhausted, so the ones who were in charge gathered in a tent to discuss their next course of action.
Gu Shenwei decided that it was better to rest. With black eyes, Servant Qing could only mutter ‘what to do’. The flag-carrying killer didn’t say anything. As soon as Meng Mingshi entered the tent, he ordered all of the Meng family sabremen to protect him from now on.
Gu Shenwei first said what he had learnt in the past two days by running ahead, and finally said, “They want people, they don’t value the money we have.”
Hearing this, Meng Fifth Gongzi’s face immediately paled. He pointed at Shangguan Ru, “Needless to say, the bandits must want the two of us.”
Gu Shenwei shook his head, “Tenth Gongzi sneaked out of the castle, so not too many people know it. What they want is you, the most favoured gongzi of the Meng family. They can extort large amounts of money after kidnapping you.”
Gu Shenwei lied. His main goal was to protect Shangguan Ru; all the other people could be sacrificed as long as he could safely send her back to Golden Roc Castle. If he told the truth, people of the Meng family probably would immediately draw a clear distinction from them, abandon them and flee right away.
Meng Mingshi’s eyes reddened, “Ah, you have to protect me. Doesn’t Golden Roc Castle call itself the head of the robbers in the Western Regions? As long as the golden roc flag is prese
nt, the robbers will run away. Why isn’t it working now?”
The title ‘head of the robbers’ made several people unsatisfied. With a cold face, Shangguan Ru gripped her sabre and pointed at Meng Mingshi, “Golden Roc Castle is the head of the robbers? Then why don’t we hand him out and share in the ransom money?”
Meng Mingshi hid behind Servant Qing and didn’t dare to utter a sound. The flag-carrying killer said, “Golden Roc Castle is certainly not the head of the bandits. But it is strange considering what happened today. Occasionally there’ve been some people who don’t show respect to the flag. But in so many years it’s the first time that several hundred of bandits are blocking the way.”
“Those wandering bandits are controlled by someone, the ones that are behind them were also those black-robed women.”
The flag-carrying killer thought for a while, “Black robes, women, fingers coiled with steel thorn. I’ve never heard of any sect or bandit gang like this in the Western Regions.”
They couldn’t figure out the origin of the enemy, so they changed topics and tried to plan a way to defeat the enemy. Gu Shenwei wanted to forcefully break through the barrier, but Servant Qing and Meng Fifth Gongzi opposed his idea at once. They would rather walk through the desert than face hundreds of gangsters. Especially when Meng Fifth Gongzi heard that his own sabremen would have to charge in the front, he was 100 percent unwilling to do so. Shangguan Ru had long been waiting for a great fight, so she became Servant Huan’s strongest supporter and drew out her sabre in an attempt to force the others to agree.
Dao San’er was called upon to introduce the terrain of the mountain pass ahead. Behind the antler-like fence was a mild uphill climb which was about half-mile long; then there was a steep downhill, with which one could quickly reach the foot by riding a horse. That was followed by a wide expanse of flat land. If one rode at full speed, one could reach the guarding perimeter of the Iron Mountain.
Gu Shenwei suggested discarding all the gifts to go to the battle-front without any burdens. However, Servant Qing refused because he was responsible for all these gifts and was reluctant to leave them to the bandits.
The discussion was almost over when the flag-carrying killer made a mistake by suggesting that Shangguan Ru stay with Servant Qing and Meng Fifth Gongzi, and not charge in the front.
The flag-carrying killer might have been experienced in killing, but he was still a beginner in dealing with a little ‘gongzi’ like Shangguan Ru who was anxious to show her power. Gu Shenwei had intended to exaggerate Little Sui’s importance so that Shangguan Ru would be willing to stay behind, but it turned out that the flag-carrying killer ruined it with good intentions. In the end, Shangguan Ru insisted on carrying on with the same tasks as the brown-belted killers did and refused to listen to any other suggestions.
At dusk, the flag-carrying killer explained the plan of forcefully breaking the barrier ahead.
Twenty-five sabremen of the Meng family, together with fourteen strong supply servants would charge forward on horseback without stopping, only turning around when they reached the plains. Five brown-belted killers and the two gongzis of the Shangguan family would follow closely behind. They were responsible for killing in the chaos that would result in the enemy’s camp, so that the camels and others could smoothly pass after.
The flag-carrying killer and two sabremen of the Meng family would be responsible for protecting Meng Fifth Gongzi, Servant Qing, and the maidservant Little Sui.
Dao San’er and the cameleers would keep an eye on those camels.
The supply servants would throw away all their belongings and ride horses; they had to protect themselves.
The charge time was set to be at the second night watch period because the pursuers behind would catch up if it was delayed too long.
The killers were not suited for charging but assassinations took time. Once the enemies merged, the several killers they had wouldn’t be able to handle that many people.
Gu Shenwei transferred the cameleer who had come specially to protecting Shangguan Ru to the killers’ team, claiming that the cameleer was a helper sent by Golden Roc Castle to secretly assist him. No one doubted it. Shangguan Ru was completely oblivious to the fact that this inconspicuous cameleer was related to her and she kept laughing at his strange way of holding the sabre.
The scene was a bit chaotic. The sabremen were hired solely for the sake of money. They were all reluctant when they heard that they had to charge in the front. They finally agreed to stay after Meng Fifth Gongzi stood out and personally promised that he would double their payment after breaking through the barrier.
The supply servants groaned and started fighting to get the strongest animals.
It seemed that Gu Shenwei had failed to keep the plan a little secret. Fang Wenshi was right to call them ‘rabble’.
Fang Wenshi led the horse Gu Shenwei gave him and pushed through the crowd, hesitantly asking the teenage leader for help, “Young hero, could you point a sabreman to protect me? Ah? No sabreman? It’s also okay if you could assign any supply servants to help me. I helped you with this idea, and a strategist should be protected, no?
“You follow me.” Gu Shenwei said. He still had a few words to ask this person but it was not the right time, “I kill people, so people will not kill you.”
Fang Wenshi smiled uncertainly. He had already heard the similar words before, it turned out this teenager had suddenly fainted. So he was not convinced about his killing techniques. But upon thinking closely, he remembered that all of the young hero’s several companions were experts, so he decided to follow him closely.
Gu Shenwei finally had a chance to privately talk with Lotus before the charge. The experience of Qi deviation last night reminded him of an important thing, “Never repress the urge to kill, you have to see the blood after you make a move, or you may black out.”
Lotus knew the meaning of ‘black out’; “I’ve also had a bad feeling these two days, it seems that we can’t hide it tonight.”
Gu Shenwei nodded. It would be a melee tonight, so they didn’t have to worry too much about exposing their swordsmanship. The regretful thing was that the two had thrown away the sabres they had grounded down after being discovered by Liu Xuan. Now they only had the normal narrow sabres which were less powerful. Since the mysterious swordsmanship required them to kill in one shot, they would be in danger if they missed their target. The slight decrease of power might be a matter of life and death.
This was a well-planned, but poorly executed mission. Those sabremen were absent and seven or eight of them ran away as soon as the charge started. They rode to escape towards the direction of the desert, not knowing that there might be an even bigger trap waiting for them.
More than half of the remaining sabremen died before they reached the antler-like fence, and the ones who broke through were also trapped in the enemy’s camp and couldn’t escape. The situation finally reversed itself when the killer’s team caught up.
Gu Shenwei had told the eight killers before about the strange women, so all of them focused on attacking those black-robed women with strange looks. The rest of the bandits were all wandering bandits and many of them ran away after seeing what was happening.
No one could help the others in the darkness, so they all focused on killing by themselves. The pent-up killing aura Gu Shenwei had was finally released. The enemies were more like black shadows at night, but he could still accurately find the neck of the enemy, which surprised even himself.
He did not know how many people he had killed, and it was only when someone kept urging him to hurry up that he found a horse in the enemy’s camp and rushed up the hill.
There were few people nearby. Gu Shenwei was bit worried about the losses. If Shangguan Ru died behind, he would have no choice but to drop his sabre to surrender and join the black-robed women’s side.
Gu Shenwei’s heart sunk before running to the top of the hill. He saw the red light flashing in the distance. Obviously someone had lit a fire. Atop the hill, many people were gathered, among which Meng Fifth Gongzi’s crying could be clearly heard.
The enemy’s plan was meticulous.
Roaring flames was found at the foot of the steep slope; the enemies behind them had gathered again and blocked their route of retreat.
The first thing Gu Shenwei did was to look for Shangguan Ru. Seeing that she was fine, he breathed a sigh of relief and started counting the people remaining. They had suffered a huge loss. Less than a dozen sabremen remained and most of the supply servants weren’t able to break through. Servant Qing and Meng Fifth Gongzi were alright, but they were frightened to the point that they were frozen to the ground. No matter how hard the others pull at them, they wouldn’t get up.
It was a miracle that Dao San’er had driven ten camels to arrive at the peak.
Fang Wenshi was clever. He didn’t follow the ‘young hero’ to kill people at the enemy’s camp. Instead, he had arrived at top of the hill a long time ago and was now comforting the maidservant Little Sui who seemed to have lost her soul.
No too many sabremen of the Meng family remained, so Meng Mingshi’s attitude towards Sabremen immediately changed. He held Servant Huan’s arm and kept saying ‘you have to protect me’.
Gu Shenwei also didn’t know what to do if there were enemies on the other side of the fire. He had lived through many life-and-death crises, but none of them were so passive. He almost had no choice but to charge forward with all his might.
Gu Shenwei ordered Dao San’er to open one wooden box. There were many good weapons inside, which were gifts for Big Head God. However, he needed them to get ready for the enemy’s charge now.