Chapter 130 Tracking
According to Elder Hong, several other shops had also made such iron spikes. He estimated that, in total, there might have been over a thousand of them made.
Over a thousand nails which could be used for climbing a mountain? Gu Shenwei immediately thought of Golden Roc Castle on the peak of a mountain. But this plan seemed incredulous to him, the mountain peak was surrounded with unfathomable abysses and rivers. To climb all the way to the top of the mountain, one needed the ability of immortals.
In contrast, it was not hard to understand why Lotus decided to make the swords. “This was the only way we could reasonably justify carrying swords around.” Lotus explained her behavior later.
She was right. There were many teenagers in the castle and, naturally, some of them fell in love as time went by. To express their love, the lovers would usually wear paired items, and sabres and swords were the most common choice.
“Since everyone thinks that we are a pair, why not take this chance to wear a sword? I think that we might even need it soon.”
Lotus didn’t show any girly shyness when she said this. She was a natural killer and indifferent to her gender.
Gu Shenwei heaved a sigh of relief and thought it was a good idea. The only thing he had to watch out for was those several teenagers who liked Lotus. They might be very unhappy about this matter.
The two searched for the whole day, but didn’t find any clues. If they wanted to continue the investigation, they would have to go walk around the abyss at the bottom of the cliff, which might take months.
As soon as the two returned to their living place, they got news from Liuhua that they had to meet Guo Xiansheng (Mr. Guo).
The hidden place the disciples lived in when they assassinated the Ten Dragons Gang last winter had now became Guo Xiansheng’s base camp. The alley outside the gate was crowded with people, but the yard inside was empty. Only those who had orders to were allowed to enter.
The four brown-belted killers were soon summoned. Besides Guo Xiansheng and a group of killers, there were also a dozen teenagers from the small flag battalion in the hall, whose leader was precisely Shangguan Yushi.
Guo Xiansheng’s expression was dark. In his view, the decision from the castle was completely unreasonable, but he dared not oppose it because it was carried out under the banner of the Unique King.
“The small flag battalion is responsible for the Southeast area of Southern Jade City. There are ten streets in total. Shangguan Yushi will be the Killing Lord and others will not interfere. The Killing Lord has to send someone to report to me every morning and whenever there’s an accident.”
“Yes, Commanding Lord.” Shangguan Yushi casually replied and didn’t even lower her head. She still remembered how she was treated as a servant by Guo Xiansheng when they were stuck in that room because she stole the black jade palm.
Both the ‘Commanding Lord’ and ‘Killing Lord’ were temporary positions in Golden Roc Castle. They were responsible for commanding all levels of missions. The positions would be rescinded once the missions were over.
Guo Xiansheng impatiently waved his hand, gesturing that the small flag battalion could leave now. He used to wear a humble smile in the castle, but apparently he changed his habit, his expression was now so cold it looked like it could freeze water.
Shangguan Yushi was about to call for her men to leave before Guo Xiansheng pointed at two teenagers in the crowd. “You two, why did you run to the blacksmith village to ask questions today? Who gave you the order?”
Gu Shenwei now understood that Du Qi’s backer turned out to be Guo Xiansheng.
As soon as Gu Shenwei said one word, Shangguan Yushi quickly said, “They were following Tenth Gongzi’s order. We also need to find out more information, don’t we?”
Gu Shenwei was surprised that Shangguan Yushi would speak for him. He originally wanted to say had stayed in Southern Jade City because he was following the order to hunt the enemy, but he hadn’t expected Shangguan Yushi to offer a better excuse.
“Leave,” Guo Xiansheng ordered. He wanted to see what these teenagers could discover.
Shangguan Yushi led the brown-belted killers to a house in the Southeast of Southern Jade City and immediately began assigning tasks. She sent off most of them and only kept a few elites to directly command herself. Servant Huan was left behind, but she obviously wouldn’t treat him as an elite.
“Tenth Gongzi said that her people could die but could not be bullied.” This was said to Servant Huan, letting him know that it was not her will to speak for him. “But I would say, we have to kill more enemies and win honor for her, and not lose her face. Lotus, what have you found out in the blacksmith village?”
Lotus told the story of the iron spikes. Shangguan Yushi sneered and turned to look at Servant Huan. “That’s your guess? Waning Moon Hall and Great Desolate Sect have bought a large pile of nails and are preparing to climb to Golden Roc Castle?”
“It’s possible,” Gu Shenwei said.
“It’s impossible. First, you don’t know who bought these nails. Second, why would Waning Moon Hall go through so much effort to climb to the castle? Do you think the killers in the castle have all gone down the mountain? The King Lord alone can kill them all.”
What Shangguan Yushi said was a bit exaggerated, but Gu Shenwei knew there were a lot of experts guarding the castle. Even those green-faced assassins who never revealed their true faces were enough to eliminate those female killers climbing to the mountain peak.
“I can guess who bought those nails. It was a sabreman called Nie Qing. His younger sister might be a disciple of Waning Moon Hall or Great Desolate Sect. As for the purpose, it may be for intentions other than to kill.”
“Where’s that Nie Qing?”
“I killed him.”
“Heh, this is really Servant Huan’s style, steal the show and make up stories. Well, from today onwards, you don’t have to join any assassination missions. Just focus on tracking those nails, and maybe you can make a big contribution.”
Gu Shenwei pretended to not understand Yu Gongzi’s sarcasm. He bowed and accepted this ‘tough mission’.
“Let me do the investigation with him,” Lotus said. Surprisingly, other than Shangguan Ru, someone stood on Servant Huan’s side in front of Shangguan Yushi. This was something that had never happened before. The remaining teenagers, including Gu Shenwei himself, were taken aback.
This was the second time Lotus had surprised him today.
Shangguan Yushi was also surprised and slightly stunned. She knew that Lotus had a close relationship with Servant Huan, but she still believed that she had the ability to win Lotus over. So she was very dissatisfied with this open ‘betrayal’. “No, you have to stay. I have a task for you.”
A moment later, Shangguan Yushi changed her mind. Instead of forcing Lotus to stay with her, it was better to wait until she came around and pleaded to join her, “Uhh, well, you will be with Servant Huan. Don’t forget to report to me between 5 and 7 P.M. everyday.”
Shangguan Yushi was very sure that after this mission, Servant Huan would be kicked out of TenthGongzi’s group.
Gu Shenwei asked Lotus for an explanation after they went outside. Lotus shrugged, “You’ve forgotten. My murderous heart has become weaker like you. I’m not decisive enough to draw the sabre, and it’s too risky to join the assassination mission.”
Gu Shenwei felt relieved. He was not averse to Lotus, but his first impression of her was imprinted deep into his bones. Although they had experienced a series of hardships together; practised the Death Sutratogether; and Lotus was who he trusted the most now that he would even entrust her with his life, there was still a distance he couldn’t cross in his heart.
The reason why Shangguan Yushi wouldn’t let Servant Huan participate in the assassination mission was revealed the next day. According to a brown-belted killer who used to be a member of the Bi Nu Gang, in more than a dozen days it would be Shangguan Ru’s birthday and Shangguan Fei would gain the title of ‘ninth young lord’. Shangguan Ru, though she couldn’t be a ‘young lord’ for the time being, would also select her own killers.
The brown-belted killers of small flag battalion had always been outstanding, and even better than some of the average official killers. The reason for not giving them the killer title was because they were waiting for their coming-of-age ceremony.
Twenty teenagers who killed the most and made the biggest contributions during this mission would be given the official title of killer and assigned to the siblings as core members.
Almost all the brown-belted killers had taken a blood oath to their own young lords, but the young lords agreed to offer help by handing over these disciples to their younger brother and sister until the two had a full team of killers. This was also a tradition of Golden Roc Castle.
Being excluded from the assassination mission meant not being able to join the killing competition and losing any chance of becoming an official killer. Shangguan Yushi made use of the trouble caused by Servant Huan himself and plotted against him.
Gu Shenwei couldn’t pretend that he was indifferent to this. He had always dreamed of being an official killer so he could reach more people with a higher status at Golden Roc Castle and prepare for his revenge, but he kept encountering various obstacles. He once again planned to get rid of Shangguan Yushi, but had to give up in the end.
Shangguan Yushi and Servant Huan were in a delicate balance now. As long as Shangguan Ru was present, brutal murder between the two would not be allowed. Shangguan Ru wasn’t stupid; she would suspect the other if either of them died.
Tracking down the nails was originally a whimsical idea of Gu Shenwei, but now it was of great significance. If he could really discover the Waning Moon Hall’s secret plot, he would make a big contribution and therefore be qualified for the killer’s title.
But Gu Shenwei had no clue at all about what to do next.
Lotus, however, was thinking about another matter. She believed that the most pressing problem was to get rid of the influence of the fake Death Sutra. A killer who wasn’t determined enough to kill was a killer who was constantly exposing his own back to the enemy.
Lotus had also lost her chance of becoming an official killer by standing on Servant Huan’s side. Gu Shenwei felt sorry about this, so he agreed to her plan. The two decided to go to the Left Mountainside Vihara, the place where Tiger Monk had been cultivating by himself before he died, to look for the answer.
Gu Shenwei once felt a moment of remorse over Tiger Monk’s death, but now he finally understood how right Lotus was.
The small flag battalion commanded by Shangguan Yushi won a victory the next day. They killed two disciples from Great Desolate Sect and found the iconic steel thorn in their possession.
Later that evening, Servant Huan said he had found nothing in his routine report. After being ridiculed, he set off with Lotus for a night ride to the Four Noble Truths Temple. The two turned back several times along the way to make sure no one was following them.
They hid the horses at the mountain foot, took a narrow road, and arrived at the Left Mountainside Vihara near the Four Noble Truths Temple at midnight.
It was late autumn now, and the trees had lost all their leaves and the insects had all disappeared. A lit lamp in one of Left Mountainside Vihara’s thatched cottages was particularly conspicuous.
The two teenagers were very surprised because, usually, only Tiger Monk lived in the Left Mountainside Vihara and his food was always delivered by a timely novice monk. Now that the Master was dead, who would occupy this place so quickly?
Lotus guarded the rear while Gu Shenwei drew his sabre and quietly jumped to the cottage door. The door was unlatched, and through the door gap, Gu Shenwei saw a monk sitting inside, whose skin was transparently white. The monk, who looked exactly like the Master Tiger Monk, suddenly smiled at the door.