Chapter 136 Kidnapping
It was getting late, so Gu Shenwei snuck into the Adding Wood Yard (Ji Xin Yuan).
He was no longer that ignorant teenager who had just entered the castle and kept hitting dead ends. He knew how to press his ear against the wall to listen to the sound of footsteps and overhear the secret code and to move forward quietly by making use of the idleness of the night watchers.
Ever since he left, Gu Shenwei had never been back here. He refused to return to this land of death even when he was seriously wounded.
And this time he wasn't going to visit any 'old friends'.
He climbed up the wall, got on the roof with his hands, and landed feet first with his body parallel to the roof. He quietly moved forward like an agile cat. Kung fu experts seldom lived in Adding Wood Yard, so a little noise would not wake the people inside.
Outside Adding Wood Yard was a triangular flat space with several pine trees and a cliff at the end.
Gu Shenwei tied one end of the string to the tree and slowly lowered the other end that had black iron off the cliff. He tried to avoid making any sound, which was also the main reason why the Great Desolate Sect needed him. The sound of hammering the nail into the cliff would go travel far at night, so they could only climb to a certain height, and would need an insider's assistance from the top of the cliff to climb the remaining distance.
The area of the Groaning Ghost Cliff outside the Adding Wood Yard wasn't small, and Gu Shenwei wondered if the disciples of the Great Desolate Sect could find the hanging string in the dark. But this wasn't something he needed to worry about.
It was a dark night with a dim moon and dilute stars. The Great Desolate Sect had chosen a good day.
Gu Shenwei waited for a long time under the tree. At first, he thought about how Shangguan Ru was doing, but the more he dwelled on it, the more depressed he felt. In the end, he simply stopped thinking about it. Since he had done everything he could do, it was useless to back out or try to come up with a better plan now.
He thought of the days when he first came to Golden Roc Castle; he had often sat here missing his family and sometimes even wanted to jump off the cliff to follow them into death. Now, his revenge was beginning to show a ray of light, but he still felt that the road ahead was too long and that there was little chance for him to walk to the end. To him, death still seemed to be a tempting choice.
Many characters of the Death Sutra appeared in Gu Shenwei's mind, which were not the convoluted incantation-like characters in the last few pages, but the swordsmanship before that.
The ones who controlled his life and death might be climbing along the rope, but the plan he and Shangguan Ru had made might not be carried out as expected. As he leaned against a pine tree which might be even older than the castle, Gu Shenwei's heart was more peaceful than ever and those mysterious characters seemed to have suddenly become friendly and opened their arms to welcome him.
In that underground secret chamber of the desert, Gu Shenwei felt like he had glimpsed something profound at a critical moment and killed the enemy in the dark, but afterward, he didn't understand how he had located his target. Similarly, at this moment the door for decoding the ultimate secret of Death Sutra was in front of him, but he couldn't find the key to enter.
Someone jumped out from under the cliff. One, two … A total of seven men in black kneeled on one leg around the teenager under the tree, as if he was a god who had died in a sitting posture.
"I did it." Gu Shenwei said.
One person in black spoke, her voice exactly the same as the woman who had instilled the powerful finger energy in his body, "Very good. Wait here."
Gu Shenwei actually wanted to go with them, but he still followed the order and stayed.
Six men-in-black went under the wall, leaped onto the roof, and soon disappeared into the darkness. Their lightness skills were much better than Gu Shenwei's, and their moving figures could hardly be seen.
One man-in-black left knelt as he sat on Gu Shenwei's opposite side, who looked to be a sloping stone from afar.
"How does it feel to rape a woman and kill a child?" The man-in-black suddenly asked, her voice light but full of evident hostility.
It was Nie Qing's younger sister.
"Nothing special," Gu Shenwei said, still sitting under the tree. He didn't have a narrow sabre with him and wouldn't be able to resist if the other side wanted revenge.
"You will feel very special when you die."
Gu Shenwei had already experienced the feeling of dying several times, but didn't intend to argue. He kept silent for a while, then asked, "How long did your Master give you?"
The way the Great Desolate Sect taught internal energy was very special. The Desolate Finger Energy was both a poison that could cause someone to have Qi deviation regularly and a good medicine that could improve the bearer's internal energy. In this way, the Great Desolate Sect could firmly control their disciples.
"You'd better care about your own life. If anything goes wrong tonight, you will die tomorrow at noon. Do you want to know how painful it is to die? I'm willing to tell you. At first you'll become weak, then your skin starts itching like countless ants are gnawing at it. But it is not painful, not painful at all. The itching sensation will slowly penetrate into your flesh, your bones, and you'll want to tear your whole body apart, but you can't because you don't even have any strength. You can only scratch it lightly. You won't die even your whole body is scratched till bloody. The itchy feeling will still be there. In the end, it depends on your fate. You may die in two hours or you may die after several days, but you are not going to die of pain. You will die itching. By that time, since you'll have been scratching and rubbing your skin the entire time, there won't be a single piece of intact skin. No pain, just itching."
Nie Qing's sister's voice was not loud, but filled with venom, as if every word she said was a murderous dagger.
Gu Shenwei could understand her hatred, but didn't take it to mind. It was really strange. For a long time, he had been hesitant to dispel the feeling of guilt that arose after he heard Tie Hanfeng insult Nie Qing's wife and after he himself killed Nie Qing's son. But now, he felt indifferent. It seemed that the mantra, Essay of Severing Obsession, had lost its effect.
"I prefer to kill with a single blow, leaving no loose ends."
"That is your Golden Roc Hall. The killer's rule will be changed when we take back the castle."
Nie Qing's sister called Golden Roc Castle 'Golden Roc Hall'. Gu Shenwei guessed that the two sides must hold different views about who was the lord and who was the subordinate.
The two didn't speak for a long while, and after about two hours, six men-in-black came back. To Gu Shenwei's surprise, what they brought back was neither books nor treasures, but a person.
The person seemed to have been hit in the acupoint and was now motionless and being carried in a black bag.
Gu Shenwei had speculated about the purpose of these people sneaking inside the castle, but he hadn't expected that the 'purpose' was actually a person. Then he suddenly came to understand, and even admire Golden Roc Castle's method of hiding secrets.
If Shangguan Ru had followed the plan, this person would be nothing more than an insignificant stand-in.
"You have achieved your purpose," Gu Shenwei stood up and said.
This was the first danger of the whole plan. If the other party didn't believe in him, or didn't take him, the snitch, seriously, he would die here.
The leading black-robed woman ordered the disciples to hold the captive and climb down the rope while she herself guarded behind. After, she turned to Gu Shenwei and said, "Remember where you were taken, and go meet me there before noon tomorrow. You still need to be tested before you can become a disciple of the Great Desolate Sect. Also don't forget to put away the rope and drop it."
After the black-robed woman finished talking, she jumped off the cliff.
Before long, the rope shook continuously. Gu Shenwei untied it and threw it off the cliff.
He still had to wait for another half day, but this was expected.
The disciples of the Great Desolate Sect entering Golden Roc Castle at night didn't cause any reactions and Gu Shenwei also did not visit anyone. He stayed at the Groaning Ghost Cliff until dawn, and climbed over the wall before the door of the Adding Wood Yard opened. He then borrowed a horse from the courtyard of the eighth young lord, left the castle, and hurried down the mountain.
The next danger was the Unique King himself. If he was in a hurry to make a move, Servant Huan would have no chance of removing the Desolate Finger Energy in his body.
Gu Shenwei rode through the Northern Jade City and arrived two hours earlier at the meeting spot where he and Lotus had been captured. The grass and trees there were withered and yellow. No one had arrived yet.
He released his horse to graze while he himself sat cross-legged on the ground, waiting silently. He touched his belt now and then, missing the feeling of a narrow sabre hanging by his waist. Without a sabre, he was like a roc without its wings, or a vegetarian tiger, restless and weak.
But this time, what would save his life was not a sabre.
It was noon now, and Gu Shenwei suddenly felt his body become itchy. He couldn't help but to scratch his arm and found that there were actually a few ants on his arm.
Four masked women in black suddenly appeared from different directions, and one of them leaped to Gu Shenwei and kicked him heavily in the chest.
Gu Shenwei fell on to the ground, and his whole body, from hair to toe, began to really itch.
"Why?" Gu Shenwei managed to jump up and ask as the itching feeling was still not strong enough to be unbearable. But he soon felt his whole body grow weak and it was even difficult for him to stay on his feet.
"You dare to trick me!" The woman who had attacked him snapped. It was still the woman who had instilled the Desolate Finger Energy in his body.
"What are you trying to say? I did everything you asked."
"You gave away the secret."
"If I let out the secret, would I dare to come and see you?"
"Heh, you even tried to trick me into removing the Desolate Finger Energy from you. Unfortunately, that man couldn't hold on for too long and exposed himself in a few words."
This was the third danger in the whole plan. His life and death depended on whether Gu Shenwei could worm his way into deceiving this woman or not.
'I don't know 'that man' you're talking about. Even if he was the one you kidnapped last night, it has nothing to do with me. You've never told me what you wanted, and even if I want to snitch on you, I wouldn't know what to say."
The itching became more and more intense. What Nie Qing's sister had said was right. Gu Shenwei clenched his teeth and resisted the urge to scratch his skin. He had to muster the will to deal with the dangerous situation he faced right now.
"You wouldn't need to know. As long as you snitched on me, the people of the Shangguan family could naturally guess it."
Gu Shenwei wore a look of innocence. He had done this many times and was skillful at it. "Well, I snitched. If the Shangguan family did something to 'that man', then what? Would they just let you go? Just play a joke on you and then it's over? Do you think the Unique King would care about a killer disciple's life?"
This was exactly the part the black-robed woman couldn't understand. If Servant Huan had snitched on them, Golden Roc Castle would definitely send a group of people to track them and would have immediately started killing after finding their hidden place in Jade City. They had even searched this place, and there was no ambush waiting for them.
"No more talk, let's just leave him here to die."
Gu Shenwei almost couldn't bear the itching as his body shivered and voice trembled. "Tell me, what on earth do you want? Maybe I can help."
"You?" The black-robed woman said with disdain, "That's the deepest secret hidden in the castle, how could you know."
"Xue Niang once had asked me to look into many things. I don't know her purpose, but she was quite satisfied with me. So, since what I've learnt was useful to her, it might be useful to you as well."
The black-robed woman hesitated, "Say it."
"Stop the itching for me. I can't fucking take it anymore."
Gu Shenwei finally made his offer.