Editors: Nyxnox, Xu Xian
Chapter 127 Suspicion
The siblings of the Xu family knew all too well who was the real lord and backer.
Xu Xiaoyi had heard of Lame Tie's large reputation long ago, so the sister and brother did their best to please this half-shield last winter at the southwall tavern. Since their hopes of being nobles at the Stone Country were completely dashed, they had to find a protector to survive in Southern Jade City.
Tie Hanfeng had personally tested Xu Yanwei's ability and thought that she was worth the investment. So he spent some money to rent a small house at retention alley, letting her continue her business. He had also paid off all the debts they owed to Golden Roc Castle and the Meng family.
All this was done in the name of 'Yang Huan'. In name, the siblings of the Xu family had to hand over the majority of the money they earned to Servant Huan, but it was actually taken by Tie Hanfeng.
So, these days, they lived in the brothel. It wasn't just Xu Xiaoyi who treated 'Brother Huan' enthusiastically, even Xu Yanwei changed her demeanor and appeared to be delicate and charming, like the first time they met. She always spoke evasively, saying only half of her sentence.
When she occasionally revealed her true face, she would tell 'Lord Huan' that the guests liked the whores who looked shy. She had been doing this for five years now. In this way, newcomers would think that she was a new prostitute who had been in this business for only a couple of days and, therefore, would give her lots of money.
The only difference was that Xu Yanwei no longer took guests who had special tastes; she was a 'normal' prostitute now. Tie Hanfeng introduced some guests at first, and soon more and more people were attracted by her fame. Although she wasn't the most popular prostitute in the retention alley, she was never short of customers.
Xu Xiaoyi had given up his old job as a thief and now worked full-time serving his elder sister's guests. Sometimes he also ran errands for Tie Hanfeng. He didn't care about Brother Huan sleeping with his sister at all. He was even happy about it because it meant that their 'relationship' would be closer.
"Sister, no more outside guests tonight!" Xu Xiaoyi shouted at the top of his voice.
"The old dog is going to do it again? Let him pay with silver as well," said Xu Yanwei unhappily from upstairs as she walked out of her room.
Xu Yanwei always slept till afternoon before waking up to get dressed and ready for the night. So she usually wasn't in a good mood at this time and it was easier for her to express her true feelings. Tie Hanfeng's comment on this was, "You're so close, just a bit more and you will be the top bitch of retention alley."
The 'old dog' was staring angrily at his disciple and didn't answer Xu Yanwei upstairs. Xu Xiaoyi felt that the situation was not quite right and smiled in an embarrassed manner. "It's not Lord Tie. It's Lord Huan."
Xu Yanwei paused for a while, then smiled and said, "Oh, a new flavor. No need to pay."
Gu Shenwei's anger surged in his chest. What made him furious was not the process of losing his virginity, but the way Tie Hanfeng treated him as a little kid and wanted to fully control every aspect of him, even his thoughts.
The sabre was by his waist, but the power of Death Sutra swordsmanship would be greatly decreased if his emotions were unstable. Gu Shenwei tried to suppress his anger and calm himself down. He wanted to kill with a single blow.
The siblings sensed the killing aura on the verge of breaking out and neither dared say another word. Xu Xiaoyi retreated to the wall; his life on the streets had taught him one truth: when a man with a sabre wanted to fight, never try to persuade him, just watch the fun about to take place.
A killer never owes his Master anything, Gu Shenwei thought, his hand reaching out to his sabre hilt.
But he still underestimated Tie Hanfeng's abilities.
When his right hand was about one inch from his sabre hilt, Gu Shenwei's jaw had already been punched. The Cripple's fist technique was as good as his sabresmanship and was almost constantly changing. It was simply one punch after another, unavoidable despite not looking fast.
Gu Shenwei had a rich experience of being beaten, so he didn't dodge but punched back instead with a mindset of 'you punch me and I'll punch you.' Neither of them tried to block the other's fists, they just punched with their uttermost strength. Not long after, the two's faces were broken and blood spattered. The siblings of the Xu family looked on in astonishment. Even if they wanted to persuade the two, they didn't dare to speak now.
The Master and disciple stopped at almost the same time. Each took one step back, breathing heavily, but still glaring at each other.
Xu Xiaoyi wanted to break the awkward silence, he clapped his hands and shouted, "Wh-what a won-wonderful fight."
Upstairs, Xu Yanwei came to her senses and coldly sneered, "There are a lot of men who would fight for me, but it's the first time I've seen someone fight to not sleep with me."
Someone knocked on the door outside the building. Xu Xiaoyi looked at the 'Old Lord' and 'Big Lord', and didn't know what to do.
"Go open the door," Tie Hanfeng ordered, giving permission for Xu Yanwei to take guests, and his disciple's virginity to temporarily be preserved.
The Master and disciple hid in the bedroom downstairs, which was where they usually lived. The two looked for gauze to wipe the blood. As one stood, the other sat, neither spoke for a long time.
"You, kid … What are you thinking about?"
Gu Shenwei's stupefied expression perplexed Tie Hanfeng. He thought that he had punched too hard and had broken his disciple's brain. '
"I'm wondering … how many female sabremen are there in the city?" Gu Shenwei let out a long breath, his tone showing that he was not joking.
"Why doesn't a prostitute work? Why do you want female sabremen? Seriously, I'm telling you, there's not difference. The female sabremen might even have scars on their bodies."
Gu Shenwei shook his head. "No, I'm thinking about that kid's words, 'my aunt will avenge us.'"
He wasn't much older than that teenager, but he treated him like a little kid.
Tie Hanfeng was stunned, he didn't expect for his disciple to still be dwelling on this. "What's the matter? Little kids always talk big and scare people. It would be great if he has an aunt. As long as she's not ugly, let me take care of her."
"No, I mean that there are not too many women who study kung fu." From Gu Shenwei's impression, he rarely saw any women learn martial arts except at Golden Roc Castle.
"Not too many. There are just a few even in the whole Western Regions, and more than half of them are in our Golden Roc Castle."
"There are more female killers in Waning Moon Hall and Great Desolate Sect than in the castle."
Tie Hanfeng finally understood his disciple's meaning, he gave a short laugh, "You think his aunt is a female killer just because of what he said?"
Gu Shenwei nodded.
Tie Hanfeng looked at his disciple in amazement and suspected more and more that he had beaten him too much. "Sometimes you're smart, and sometimes you're … too smart. You're taking what you have learnt from the castle too seriously and being too suspicious. Do you think that someone is hiding under this bed? Could the guest upstairs be a killer from the Stone Country? Has Xu Xiaoyi already been bribed and tried to poison us? Right, I heard someone say 'smithy' yesterday, does it mean that someone is plotting against me?" 1
Gu Shenwei didn't say anything at first. His paranoia was not taught by Golden Roc Castle, but was something he had specially developed to deal with Golden Roc Castle. "I was holding a sabre, and that kid's eyes showed … that he knew it was a sabre of Golden Roc Castle. But he still confidently said 'my aunt will avenge us'. I've been thinking that it has been many days but no one from Waning Moon Hall have come to us, so how about we take the initiative to look for them? It's better than simply doing nothing and being bait."
"Take the initiative and go look by yourself if you want to." Tie Hanfeng became very dissatisfied after finding that he had failed to persuade his disciple on several matters. He was silent for a while before saying, "You're really a troublemaker. Look how much trouble you've caused since you've entered the castle and how many people you've offended. There are so many people working as disciples similar to you, but none of them have as many enemies as you. Do you know why? Your problem is that you're too suspicious, ambitious and always refusing to obediently be a servant and killer. You're running too fast and blocking others' way. You'll die because of this sooner or later."
Gu Shenwei knew these things, but he was a teenager who had lost his entire family and wanted to take revenge on all of Golden Roc Castle. How could he have any chance of success if he didn't have any suspicions or ambitions?
"I need your help," Gu Shenwei said. Without Lame Tie's instruction, no one would answer his questions in Southern Jade City. He was already tired of passively waiting for the enemy to come to him because he had already tasted the bitter experience of lost opportunities and now always wanted to take it back.
Tie Hanfeng frowned. He would rather take this chance to consolidate his private business. "Well, don't waste too much time of my time."
"No, I won't. I'd like to ask Nie Qing's friends first. Since he brought his whole family here, he probably has some acquaintances here."
Tie Hanfeng had already found out everything about the sabreman Nie Qing before killing him, "Nie Qing came from the military garrison villages in the Northeast, where there are many poor people. A lot of silly sabremen come from there and pour into Southern Jade City like rats. Piles of people die but they still don't realize the real situation. He must know someone, someone who is so familiar with him that they would also betray him. Let's go to toad tavern, that's where they usually hang out."
The Master and disciple left the brothel on good terms with each other, they even humbly asked the other to walk out first at the door. Xu Xiaoyi was too surprised to say anything. After closing the door, he kept shaking and nodding his head and didn't even hear the guest calling him upstairs.
Toad tavern was located on the edge of the city, not far from the village where Nie Qing lived. This was Tie Hanfeng's territory, and he was naturally very familiar with the tavern keeper.
It was already late at night when the two arrived at the tavern. The atmosphere inside was busy and noisy, as it was peak hour for the tavern.
Tie Hanfeng talked heartily with the tavern keeper, and after a while, he pulled his disciple aside, "He can't talk about it randomly, this is the rule. You have to find out by yourself."
Tie Hanfeng patted his disciple's shoulder, curious about what his suspicious disciple could find out all by himself.
The tavern wasn't big, but there were plenty of guests. Dozens of rough sabremen were having the best time of the day, competing in drinking, bragging, fighting, and talking about women, as if all their dreams had already been fulfilled.
There were so many people, but Gu Shenwei knew none of them. WIthout Tie Hanfeng's introduction, no one bothered this teenager with gloomy face.
"Nie Qing!" Gu Shenwei called out loudly and suppressed the clamoring sound in the tavern. He had been standing there for some time now and he'd rather do something.
The tavern was quiet for a while, all the guests turned to look at the teenager but no one said anything. Then, all of a sudden, they turned back and continued talking, as if the teenager were invisible and nothing had happened.
Tie Hanfeng stood from afar, shaking his head, but his face revealed a smile. It was time to teach his silly disciple a lesson and let him know the rules on how to survive in Southern Jade City.
Two guests asked a waiter to check out, Gu Shenwei rushed forward and sat opposite the two. He unarmed his narrow sabre and put it on the table, "There's still so much wine, don't you want to drink more before you go?"
Tie Hanfeng couldn't help but curse in his heart. His disciple actually found someone. Those two guys weren't calm enough and wanted to leave as soon as they heard the words 'Nie Qing', exposing them.Translator's note: In Chinese, smithy is called Da Tie Pu, which literally means Beat Iron Shop. Tie Hanfeng's surname Tie means Iron. ↩