Chapter 137 Master Commander
When Gu Shenwei was trying to deduce the Great Desolate Sect's purpose for climbing onto the castle, he could only start with Xue Niang.
Gu Shenwei carefully considered Xue Niang's every action from their first meeting to the last several times before concluding that the Great Desolate Sect's target was a secret martial arts manual. With the false information she got, Xue Niang had obtained a fake scroll. This time the Great Desolate had come back and spent efforts over a hundred times greater than that of Xue Niang, which showed that they had full confidence this time and knew where the secret manual was hidden.
As a result, Golden Roc Castle who received the news ahead of time could replace the item and deceive the Great Desolate Sect again.
What Gu Shenwei hadn't guessed was that the 'secret manual' was a person. He had thought that the secret manual would be hidden in an item inside the Liu Sha Temple (Liu Sha Dian), such as the Black Jade Palm once stolen by Shangguan Ru. But the real secret manual was actually hidden on the Spiritual Master who guarded the temple.
Hiding secrets in someone's heart was better than any book or painting, as the Golden Roc Castle would only need to protect this person.
Now, Gu Shenwei's life depended on how well Shangguan Ru could convince her father. If the Unique King was eager to eradicate the Great Desolate Sect, he would naturally make a move as soon as possible without any regard for a brown-belted killer's life.
The woman in black stared at the trembled teenager, "You're quite clever. Kang Wenmei must have died in your hands."
Gu Shenwei choked down the itchy feeling and shook his head, "Why would I kill her? Only she can remove the Desolate Energy in my body."
Nie Qing's sister felt that the woman in black was changing her mind, and suddenly interrupted, saying, "Master, don't trust this kid. He just wants to deceive you into removing the finger energy."
The black-robed woman turned her head and shot her disciple a stare, showing her dissatisfaction for being interrupted. Nie Qing's sister retreated shamefacedly.
"You're right." The woman in black turned to the teenager, "But Kang Wenmei is dead. Only I can remove the finger energy that I've passed into your body. I can also teach you a set of methods for you to use your own strength to gradually remove Kang Wenmei's finger energy."
"What are the terms?" Gu Shenwei said, trembling not because of excitement, but because of the itchy feeling penetrating deep into his body.
"We're looking for a person, or a book, a scroll, a wooden board. Anyway, it's a secret manual of Waning Moon Hall which has been passed down from generation to generation, but was stolen by Golden Roc Hall. Did Kang Wenmei say anything about this?"
Gu Shenwei could make the show he was putting on even more realistic if he held on a bit longer, but even his internal organs were quickly growing itchy. He had hit his breaking point, so he quickly blurted out a few words and threw himself onto the ground, recklessly scratching his body.
"Yun Ni Wu Fen Bie Long Hu Wu Fang Deng You Qing Qing Bu You Nan Ke Fa Ling Ye."
This was the first line of the strange characters of Death Sutra. Gu Shenwei recited it according to its literal pronunciation. Its real meaning was, 'The soul rises to the nine heavens, the spirit falls to the nine abysses. The living suffers in grief, the dead settle in peace.'
Whether this sentence would work or not, he didn't even care anymore. Nie Qing's sister was right. Dying from itchiness was really special. He even wanted to stuff his arm down to his throat and rip his heart and stomach into pieces.
However, the woman in black's expression immediately changed as she almost shouted out, "What else do you know?"
The teenager who was rolling and scratching on the ground could no longer hear her shouting. The black-robed woman bent down and grabbed the teenager, then circled around and started patting him.
The itchy feeling slowly receded. Gu Shenwei sat on the ground, his hand still trembling. He was right again. The manual the Great Desolate Sect was looking for was indeed related to the Death Sutra, or it might even be the Death Sutra itself. That book had fallen into the abyss and must be inextricably linked to Golden Roc Castle and therefore, also to Waning Moon Hall.
Nie Qing's sister was already dissatisfied when the woman in black saved Gu Shenwei, but she didn't dare to say anything at that time. Now she ventured forth to say, "Everyone knows that. He's lying to you, Master."
Gu Shenwei started reciting the strange passages of the Death Sutra while he distributed his internal energy. Of course, what he was reciting was the literal pronunciation of those characters. He paused after reciting more than a hundred characters, pretending to think about it.
This time even Nie Qing's sister couldn't say anything. The four women listened carefully as if the one sitting on the grassland was a knowledgeable scholar, and they were just young disciples who had come with admiration.
"What's next?" The woman in black urged.
"Is this the secret manual you're looking for?"
"Yes. No," said two voices almost simultaneously.
The woman in black who said yes glanced her disciple and coldly said, "You seem to have a lot to say today."
Nie Qing' sister's face distorted with fear and she immediately knelt down, "Disciple knows her mistake. Please forgive me, Master."
Gu Shenwei's thoughts spun rapidly. There must be a reason for the Master and disciple's contradictory answers. He decided to not recite any more characters as the more he spoke, the more likely it was that he would expose himself.
"It doesn't matter if the answer's yes or no because that's all I know. I was snooping around at that time. Xue Niang died, and I didn't dare to sneak around anymore so I stopped."
The black-robed woman was full of misgivings. The words recited by the teenager indeed surprised her, but she was hesitant as to how far she could trust him.
"I'm Kang Wenhui, the Master Commander of the Great Desolate Sect. Kang Wenmei was my subordinate," the woman in black said as she took off the black cloth covering her face, exposing a beautiful face. The only marks the passing years had left were a few fine lines in the corner of her eyes.
Gu Shenwei immediately knelt down on one leg and said with his head lowered, "Disciple Yang Huan greets Master Commander."
"Get up. Where did you get the verse?"
"I have the honor to inform Master Commander that disciple had followed Xue Niang's order to approach Tenth Gongzi of Golden Roc Castle and had successfully gained her trust. She taught disciple the paragraph of the scripture. Then Disciple entered the East Castle and had little contact with Tenth Gongzi after Xue Niang died, so disciple didn't learn the rest of the scripture."
"Are you telling the truth?"
"Absolutely true. Xue Niang didn't tell disciple at that time, so disciple failed half way. Disciple can go back and asked Tenth Gongzi again."
Gu Shenwei felt his heart pounding. If he could get Kang Wenhui to let him go, the whole plan would be a complete success.
"Not so fast." Kang Wenhui had somehow calmed down. "I have removed the finger energy at your Yongquan and Xuanji acupoints. The Baihui acupoint was unresovled, so do you know how long you can live for?"
"Disciple's life shall be at the mercy of Master Commander," Gu Shenwei said insincerely. He was actually concerned the most about this question but dared not to ask.
"Hey, your situation is very special." Kang Wenhui revealed a trace of a smile like a child who had a hidden secret. "Originally, I suppressed Kang Wenmei's finger energy, but now I've released it again and it will soon be restored to its original state. This way, you will have two strands of Desolate Finger Energy in your body: one in your Xuanji acupoint, and another in your Baihui acupoint. Each of them can cause an irregular Qi deviation. You can still live for another year or two if they break out one by one. If the two broke out at the same time, you can go see Kang Wenmei."
"Please do me a favor, Master Commander."
Kang Wenhui had already awakened from her initial shock, and the more she thought, the more she felt that the teenager's words were full of holes. She couldn't help but sneer, "Are you still thinking about going back to Golden Roc Castle to ask for the scripture? Or staying beside me and telling me the whole truth."
Gu Shenwei's heart sunk, his plan had met a problem at the last step. There must be something wrong with the scripture he had recited which aroused the suspicion of the other side. He had tried to ask Master Lian Hua and teacher Zhang Ji before to understand the relationship between the Death Sutra with Golden Roc Castle and the Great Desolate Sect, but had gotten very little information about it.
"Disciple … doesn't know what Master Commander means."
"Take your time," Kang Wenhui said unhurriedly, "You're a man, so you'll have to work harder than a woman to join the Great Desolate Sect. But first you have to be completely honest. You'd better stop playing this trick of saying half of your words."
Gu Shenwei felt cold sweat running down his back. Even if he had a sabre in his hand, he might not be a match for the four disciples of the Great Desolate Sect, let alone barehanded. If he couldn't make Kang Wenhui let him go, the whole plan would be a complete failure for him. He even wanted to reveal his deepest secret that Yang Huan was the descendant of the Gu family and Golden Roc Castle was his mortal enemy, and he would like to ally with the Great Desolate Sect and the Waning Moon Hall, and so on and so forth.
This idea just flashed in his mind before being immediately abandoned. As a powerless and ordinary teenager, what he could rely on to ally with others? Why would anyone believe him?
There was only one way to proceed. Gu Shenwei suddenly thought of an idea, but he had no clue about how far it could go.
"There was another thing I felt was unimportant and didn't say it at first. Now I that recall it, it may be useful."
Kang Wenhui coldly stared at the teenager, waiting for him to continue.
"Tenth Gongzi said that the scripture was not passed down from the old times in the castle. She had learnt it from the Four Noble Truths Temple, and —-"
"And there's another way to read the scripture."
Gu Shenwei repeated the hundred or so characters he had just recited with the pronunciations taught by Master Tiger Monk.
Kang Wenhui listened more carefully this time, "This sounds more reliable. The Four Noble Truths Temple? Didn't you go with that girl to the Four Noble Truths Temple the other day?"
"She's fine, you don't have to worry about her."
Lotus didn't need Gu Shenwei's concern. If Shangguan Ru had followed the plan, then Golden Roc Castle would have already made a move in the city. If Lotus was not dead, then she should have been saved now. It was only he himself that had to find a way to get rid of these four malicious stars and return to the city without them.
"Yes, disciple has been to the Four Noble Truths Temple. Disciple, Tenth Gongzi, and several others had been ambushed by the Great Desolate Sect, I …"
"The one who ambushed you was Waning Moon Hall, not Great Desolate Sect. Don't get it wrong."
Kang Wenhui's voice was obviously filled with dissatisfaction. Gu Shenwei was a bit surprised. According to what he had heard, the Waning Moon Hall had created the Great Desolate Sect in order to circumvent the truce agreement, so the two should be the same thing.
"Yes, disciple and several others were ambushed by the Waning Moon Hall and were instilled with …. something strange." Gu Shenwei didn't know what attitude he should hold towards the Waning Moon Hall's mysterious techniques.
Kang Wenhui curled her mouth, "You'd better never touch the Waning Moon Hall's stuff. But don't worry, you have the Desolate Finger Energy in your body. That's the mark of our sect, and the Waning Moon Hall wouldn't dare to touch you with it on you."
Gu Shenwei breathed a sigh of relief. The fact that Shangguan Ru and others had been 'bewitched' while he and Lotus were fine, already showed that the mysterious woman didn't do anything to them. But it was still a good thing to be sure.
"To exorcise evil spirits, disciple and the others went to the Four Noble Truths Temple to learn the scripture. But disciple has a low status and has only learnt one hundred or so correct pronunciations. Only Tenth Gongzi has learnt the whole scripture, but if I ask …"
"Forget about Tenth Gongzi." Kang Wenhui interrupted the teenager, "Let's go to the Four Noble Truths Temple, I'll visit the eminent monk you've mentioned."
'The first step of the new plan succeeded,' he thought. But, he didn't know how to patch up this big lie when they got there, and also didn't know if Monk Lian Ye could defeat the four female killers of the Great Desolate Sect or not.