Chapter 123 Fortune or Misfortune?
Gu Shenwei had brought back a lot of questions from the trip to the Iron Mountain and to answer them, the first person he thought of was teacher Zhang Ji.
With the gold and silver bounty sent over by Big Head God, Gu Shenwei could now be considered a rich young man. He had already contacted a businessman of the East Castle's black market to purchase some of best wines. After buying them for a high price, he directly delivered them to Zhang Ji's hands.
Several days later, while taking the opportunity to pay respects to the Miss, Gu Shenwei happened to see Zhang Ji while walking by the school.
Zhang Ji had dismissed his students early and was answering questions as he slowly enjoyed the good wine his disciple had gifted to him. Zhang Ji was thoroughly familiar with the history of every generation of Golden Roc Castle, but he wasn't qualified to read the most confidential materials, so he also didn't understand the motivations of Golden Roc Castle. But since he was a loyal vassal of the castle, he didn't want to take any wild guesses and thus preserved the image of the castle as it alway was.
Zhang Ji had corrected many false memories of Shangguan Ru. The ones that had fought desperately with Golden Roc Castle at first and then made an agreement at the Four Nobles Truth Temple was actually not the Great Desolate Sect, but another 'Golden Roc Castle'.
"Waning Moon Hall was originally a subordinate of Golden Roc Castle that specialized in training of female killers. Their ambitions ballooned later on and even included seizing the throne of the Unique King. So let me tell you, women cannot be trusted. They pretend to be weak and unable to live without a man, but they actually are just concealing a snake's heart, and will stab you in the back, taking everything from you whenever they have a chance."
Zhang Ji indignantly said a lot of things about women before finally restoring his calm and returning to the main topic after a few drinks.
"Waning Moon Hall also called themselves Golden Roc Castle and competed with the official Unique King. The female killers focused on heterodox means, and the mercy powder was originally invented by them. It was a wise and appropriate decision by Golden Roc Castle to never use mercy powder. A real killer never relies on knockout powders."
Although there was no longer anyone else in the school now, Zhang Ji still looked around to check. Then he whispered a secret to Servant Huan in a low voice, "The killers in the castle still like to use a knockout drug but deliberately do not name it. In fact, it is a variety of the mercy powder but not as effective. And while similar to the mercy powder, it is easy to develop an immunity to it."
The way to develop an immunity was very simple. Take a little bit of it each day, and gradually increase the amount. After sticking to that schedule for three months, the knockout drug would be permanently ineffective.
Gu Shenwei told Lotus the secret later on. The two of them started secretly taking the knockout drugs and finally became immune in the winter of that year.
The female killers of Waning Moon Hall were not only good at producing and using knockout drugs, but they were also proficient in wicked methods that were looked down upon by many people. Zhang Ji didn't know much about them, but he also despised them very much. He believed that those means just sounded scary but actually deviated from the real killer's way, "Using the sabre to kill is already low, but Waning Moon Hall's means were even lower. It was inevitable for them to fail in the competition of the castle."
The fight between Golden Roc Castle and Waning Moon Hall was so terrible that it affected all the forces in the Western Regions. In the end, those two sides were forced by external forces to make a truce at the Four Noble Truths Temple. "At that time, Golden Roc Castle was not as powerful as it is today and could only be forced to make an agreement. In fact, with a year or two, those women could have been completely wiped out. Pity, what a pity."
The content of the agreement was not confidential and Zhang Ji remembered it clearly. The Unique King rightfully took over Golden Roc Castle, but he also made a promise that the castle would never resort to any kinds of wicked assassination tactics. Waning Moon Hall refused to give up their unique secret techniques and tactics, but they agreed to retreat to the desert, vowing to never take a step out.
The two sides had mutually drawn their own lines, which neither of them could cross.
After that, Golden Roc Castle no longer specially trained female killers and the skills learnt by female disciples like Lotus were the same as the male disciples.
Years later, the Great Desolate Sect appeared in jianghu.
Waning Moon Hall made use of a loophole in the agreement and set up a separate sect, specializing in taking female disciples. They also created several sets of martial arts skills focusing on using fingers and claws as weapons and continued to compete with Golden Roc Castle for hegemony.
But even after all that, without the help of those wicked and secret techniques, the women were inferior in learning martial arts skills to men. So the Great Desolate Sect was soon defeated, ceasing all activities and no longer openly showing up. Every few years they would plot something new but they never succeeded.
"Tenth Gongzi was lured into the desert, which means that the women of Waning Moon Hall will be back in jianghu again. They blamed Golden Roc Castle for breaking the agreement. If you ask me, say that these women are still too stupid. They probably stayed in the desert for too long and now their brains are filled with sand. Golden Roc Castle is in its prime, and to challenge it now is nothing more than suicide."
Gu Shenwei finally figured out everything. The black-robed women belonged to the Great Desolate Sect, and the red-robed women were probably the disciples of Waning Moon Hall. However, Gu Shenwei was still very confused about one thing. What was the meaning of Waning Moon Hall sparing no efforts in pushing the blame of breaking the agreement onto Golden Roc Castle? He had grown accustomed to the killer's commandment of being unscrupulous, and didn't find it difficult to be deceitful.
"No one can do whatever they want, not even the Unique King, and the agreement made in the Four Noble Truths Temple is sacred." Zhang Ji felt that he had said enough. He raised a glass of fine wine to taste it, immersed in the complex aroma of the wine.
From then on, Gu Shenwei entrusted the businessmen at the black market to deliver good wine to the teacher every ten days and Zhang Ji accepted all of them. Although, he preferred someone to ask him questions so he could teach the history of the castle which he had learnt in the past decades. That was even more refreshing than the best wine.
Gu Shenwei felt very upset with the information he had learnt from Zhang Ji. That dreamlike mysterious woman must be up to something. The Waning Moon Hall were good at wicked and secret means, and Gu Shenwei was afraid of being a victim again.
More than ten days after returning to the castle, Gu Shenwei's foreboding feelings were confirmed. But he was not the one who was 'possessed by evil', it was Shangguan Ru and the other teenagers.
The 'evil possession' incident took place in broad daylight, which made it even more sensational.
In less than a month, Shangguan Ru would be thirteen years old. She was snuggling up to her mother and making all sorts of requests when she suddenly shut her mouth, got up and walked to the door.
The women present felt both laughable and perplexed, thinking that Tenth Gongzi was up to her usual tricks again.
Shangguan Yushi stood up at almost the same time and followed Shangguan Ru. Everyone thought that she was going to hold Tenth Gongzi, but it turned out that the both of them fell down at nearly the same time at the door, convulsing violently.
The crowd was stupefied with terror.
Seeing her beloved daughter fall ill, Madam Meng made a loud cry and immediately ordered someone to seek doctors, daoist priests and monks. The inner chamber was in chaos.
At the same time, two more 'evil possession' incidents occurred at the small flag battalion on the southern side of the castle.
Wild Horse was talking silently with his half-tongued brothers before his expression suddenly changed and he pushed his way through the crowd as if he had seen something strange. Then he fell and convulsed, exactly like the two gongzis in the inner chamber.
Liuhua who was good at hiding his tracks fell from a tree and lay on the ground for a long time before he was discovered.
The rumor that Servant Huan had once fainted was suddenly not worth mentioning.
On that day, those four far-off 'evil possession' incidents had not yet been linked by people at the castle. It was not until all the abnormal information was reported late that night that someone finally realized that the two 'evil possessed' disciples of the small flag battalion had once entered the desert together with Tenth Gongzi.
The Godly Doctor Sun from Jade City personally went to the mountain to see the two gongzis, while the four brown-belted killers were detained and repeatedly interrogated. Waves of people asked almost the same questions, as if they didn't communicate with each other.
The forces at Golden Roc Castle were complex, and all parties wanted to take advantage of the initial period of chaos to gain as much information as possible to make use of the incident for their own benefits.
The eighth young lord Shangguan Nu was not in the castle, so his uncle, sabrelord Shen Liang of Heartwashing Yard (Xi Xin Yuan) took the four teenagers almost as if he were kidnapping them. The four of them were kept in separate rooms, and Servant Huan and Lotus were specially told to not talk randomly.
Servant Huan and Lotus weren't 'possessed by evil', so they became the focus of suspicion. Gu Shenwei only told Shen Liang about the mysterious woman and described that woman's face in detail. He knew that only by relying on his relationship with the eighth young lord could he safely get through this crisis.
It turned out that the way for the four brown-belted killers to escape from danger was more complicated than Gu Shenwei had imagined.
After Godly Doctor Sun finished his diagnosis, he confirmed that it was the Waning Moon Hall's means. The godly doctor was knowledgeable, so it was still him explaining to the audience about the origin of Waning Moon Hall. Many people didn't recall it until he mentioned its connection to the Great Desolate Sect.
Godly Doctor Sun found some particular internal energy instilled by Waning Moon Hall in Wild Horse and Liuhua's body, but in Servant Huan and Lotus's body only the finger energy of Great Desolate Sect was discovered. "Those two types of energy are very similar, but they also have some conflict. These two kids are fine, but won't live for long." Godly Doctor Sun explained. He surprisingly still remembered Servant Huan and persuaded this teenager to go see a doctor as soon as possible, "You don't have too much time left."
Godly Doctor Sun's diagnosis showed that Wild Horse and Liuhua had nothing to do with the incident of 'evil possession'. Servant Huan and Lotus were still being held, as the two had to explain the finger energy in their xuanji acupoint.
Shangguan Nu went back to Golden Roc Castle as soon as he got the news. He personally vouched for his two subordinates that they were not controlled by the Great Desolate Sect because the one that had instilled the finger energy was already dead.
The whole matter wasn't over, but there was little to do now with the two teenagers involved. A few other young lords rushed back after they heard the news, and fought openly and secretly. The focus of their strife gradually extended from the two brown-belted killers to the Great Desolate Sect and Waning Moon Hall. In the end, someone even questioned Tenth Gongzi's reckless journey to the desert, saying that this action would make Golden Roc Castle bear the blame of violating the agreement and that the daughter of Unique King had been tampered with by the experts of Waning Moon Hall, which would be a great hidden danger.
All kinds of mysterious tales about Waning Moon Hall's wicked and secret means were dug out from the old files. Someone claimed with certainty that the Waning Moon Hall had the ability to control people's hearts and minds, and that the people who were controlled might even kill their own parents without realizing it.
The war ahead was also not optimistic. The allied forces of Golden Roc Castle and Iron Mountain were still stockpiling grain and fodder and only sent small groups of people into the desert. Although they occasionally won some of the battles, they also had some losses. Shangguan Nu's ability, therefore, had been questioned again.
The violence of the fight actually saved Servant Huan and Lotus's life.
Madam Meng, who found that her daughter was becoming a tool for the young lords to seize power and their target was even Shangguan Ru herself, couldn't help but become furious and showed her temperament as a female hero. She broke into the White Clothes Yard (Bai Yi Yuan) and scolded those young lords in front of the sabrelords for not having any family affections as older brothers. When she reprimanded them, she sometimes shouted like thunderstorms, and sometimes wailed. Not a single person of the different groups who had just been in a heated argument dared to stand out to argue with her.
Eight days after the 'evil possession' incident, the two gongzis and four brown-belted killers went together to the Four Noble Truths Temple to ask Buddha for help. In Tie Hanfeng's words, "Disciple, your misfortune has turned into a fortune."