Editors: Costard, Nyxnox
Chapter 155 Surrender
Gu Shenwei went to the southwall tavern three times before he finally secured his Master's money, and at the same time also found a large source of income to the Kun Society.
For his first visit, Gu Shenwei went there alone. The new tavernkeeper warmly welcomed the teenager. After they exchanged greetings, he said that he was new and wasn't familiar with the tavern's situation, and so the matter of Tie Hanfeng's silver was something he had to ask the former tavernkeeper about. He asked the teenager to return tomorrow evening to solve this small problem when there were fewer guests in the tavern.
Gu Shenwei still went to the tavern alone his second time, but he asked Lotus and the other three killers to follow him secretly while the sabremen drank and waited for orders in another tavern about a few streets away.
The new tavernkeeper was even more polite than yesterday. He toasted and complimented the teenager for nearly an hour before he embarrassedly admitted that he had yet to meet tavernkeeper Lü, since he was away on business. The new tavernkeeper then pleaded with Lord Yang to wait one more day.
Gu Shenwei accepted the explanation and left the tavern. The two fatties guarding the door had disappeared, leaving him without his sabre and sword. The street was shrouded in darkness, and the sound of some drunkards vomiting in the distance could be clearly heard. By the time he turned to look back, the tavern door was already tightly shut.
A crowd of masked people suddenly rushed out from all directions. Silent and armed with all kinds of weapons, they ran towards the teenager at the door for the kill. Their postures showed that it was definitely not a tacit battle between the sabremen.
Although Gu Shenwei was barehanded, he could still use his fists as weapons. He didn't lean against the door to guard himself, but instead rushed into the enemies and hit everything within his reach instead.
He loved to fight. After working on the many menial chores the 'Outer Hall Elder' role required, he finally had an opportunity to thoroughly vent. But the price wasn't small. After he smashed the jaws of two sabremen, he had already been cut on his back.
As a killer, defence had always been his weak point and after practising the Death Sutra Swordsmanship, attacking without defence was now an instinctual action as well as his trademark style.
Therefore, if not for the timely rescue of Lotus and several others, Gu Shenwei would have died along with several enemies.
The newly joined killers changed the situation, but the attackers had apparently accounted for some helpers as more and more sabremen swarmed out of the darkness, their heavy footsteps churning and melting the fallen snow.
The five killers fought while retreating and ended up surrounded at the gap in the city wall.
Gu Shenwei produced a horn from his robe and blew a distress signal. The horn was one of Tuo Nengya's essential equipment, and he had taught the teenager how to use it.
In the blink of an eye, fifty sabremen had put down their wine cups, lined up in the alley, trotted forward, and arrived at the gap in the wall. They shouted in unison and joined the fight.
Tuo Nengya once claimed that the fifty sabremen formation was invincible in the entire territory of Golden Roc Castle. He was not boasting. As rows of sabres flashed, blood gushed, limbs flew, and the constant screams splitting the night could even be heard in Northern Jade City.
As long as someone had started killing, the sabreman would also kill.
Killing was like a barrel of mellow wine; anyone who came near it got drunk. Instead of retreating in the face of difficulties, the wounded sabremen grew more and more courageous as they killed. It was a bloodbath, and the participants had only one thought: to cut down everything that moved in front of them.
By the time the fighting reached the gap, more than half of the sabremen formation had already dispersed, and nearly two hundred people were at war.
The fearless courage stirred by the killing appeared and disappeared quickly. At almost the same time, many people on both sides realized how foolish it was to fight while risking their lives here. They dropped their sabres and ran away while inwardly cursing both their enemies and lords.
No matter how wonderful the swordsmanship or sabremanship was, it was useless in a crowded scuffle. Gu Shenwei was carried back to the house, but he was still able to walk the next morning. There were hardly any visible injuries on him, except for a minor wound to his face.
The four killers including Lotus were also injured but fine. Seven cutters had died and thirty more were wounded. But the enemy had lost even more. They estimated that over twenty people had died and many more were seriously injured.
"If all the fighting in the future is like this, I will need more people," Said Tuo Nengya, who had gone alone to meet the young leader and made a serious request. "The sabre formation is not a force of god. We still have to protect the merchants who are scattered all over Southern Jade City. Our current power is even less than a drop in the bucket."
As a veteran in Jianghu, Tuo Nengya was acutely aware that the ambush was just the beginning of an even more brutal war. When the flames of war reached their hottest, the well financially off shops would become the most critical battleground.
While the residents of Southern Jade City were busy shopping for their New Year celebrations, the Kun Society and Qiu Society began to fight for territory. The friendly rules amongst the sabremen were broken and people dying in a fight had become a common thing. Even those who were accustomed to corpses couldn't help but be frightened. No one could guarantee that the streets would be clean when they opened their door at dawn.
One needed money to hire more sabremen. And the one who had more sabremen was more likely to win the fight. In this respect, the Kun Society was at an obvious disadvantage. So the several hundred thousand taels of silver from Tie Hanfeng had suddenly become very important.
Gu Shenwei went to the southwall tavern for the third time. The building was empty, and the tavernkeeper and all the waiters were gone. Gu Shenwei found his sabre and sword first in the house where the armoury was kept, and then ordered the cutters to seal everything in the store, especially the barrels of good wine.
He made the tavern his base camp and decided to auction away all the fine wines in three days. Meanwhile, he let someone pass the information that if Tavernkeeper Lü didn't come out to clean up his mess, this would probably be the last batch of good wines in Southern Jade City in a few years. This news made the price of the wine skyrocket, and many people even came in early to buy the alcohol.
Tavernkeeper Lü, who was enjoying himself in Northern Jade City, finally showed up the night before the auction, his usual composure broken. In a mortified tone, he said that he had been deceived and that the new tavernkeeper was a villain who had used the southwall tavern to murder his most important customer.
Gu Shenwei felt no need to expose the lie, so he put forward his conditions for reconciliation. Tavernkeeper Lü accepted all of them and promised that the southwall tavern would only accept the Kun Society's protection from now on and that all of the goods in the tavern would be protected by Tenth Gongzi's men. In the past, he had paid both the castle and the Meng family, but from now on he would only pay the castle.
The fact that the southwall tavern was forced to choose between one of the two forces caused a series of major repercussions. Many merchants in Southern Jade City were paying several backers at the same time and they were deeply dissatisfied with the Kun Society's arrogance. So they followed the example of the Blacksmith Village and sent several representatives to put pressure on the small and big shields. The shields also elected representatives to express their concerns to the big forces of Jade City, saying that although Southern Jade City was a chaotic place, it was also a place of commerce. Once the merchants felt insecure, it might affect the prosperity of the whole Jade City.
Tenth Gongzi had caused such a big stir in Southern Jade City less than two months after she became independent. Interestingly, no one knew whether Unique King was happy or angry that she had done so. His response was to send the second young lord and Madam Meng to meet with several rich businessmen. After some private talks, the castle finally announced that the fighting was just child's play and that no one needed worry about it as long as there were no lives on the line.
It was these few words that nearly made the sabremen at Southern Jade City shed blood like water. Because the 'lives' mentioned by the big shots obviously didn't include the ordinary sabremen who made a living here.
Beside this, Golden Roc Castle and the Meng family also made several unwritten rules. The main figures of the Kun and Qiu society must stay in Northern Jade City and not participate in the fight in Southern Jade City. The killing was limited to those who carried sabres and neither party was allowed to interfere with the merchants. The merchants could choose the protectors of their own will, but they were not allowed to take part in the struggle between the two societies. Merchants, like southwall tavern, had surprisingly tried to assassinate killers and the result was they only had themselves to blame for the consequences.
Tuo Nengya was right. The war quickly focussed on securing the support of these powerful businessmen.
The old sabreman's great value was now fully realized. In terms of gaining the trust of merchants, a Tuo Nengya with double curved sabres hanging by his waist was better than anyone else. No matter how fast those teenage killers could wave their sabres, their young faces were hardly reassuring to the experienced businessmen.
Tuo Nengya played the card of having the banner of Golden Roc Castle and patiently told the merchants a truth, that the Kun Society was the Golden Roc Castle Tenth Gongzi's organization. It existed today and would still be there in the future because it was a major business of Golden Roc Castle. With regards to the Qiu Society, it was simply a gang of playboys who suddenly wanted to set up it for fun. Even if they won the fight this time, they might break up once they lost interest. As a businessman preparing a long-term deal in Southern Jade City, which side would you choose to be your protector?
In this so-called truth, the Ninth Gongzi Shangguan Fei was deliberately hidden, as if the only representative of Golden Roc Castle was Shangguan Ru herself.
Tuo Nengya convinced many people, but it wasn't enough to only pay lip service. Gu Shenwei hired more sabremen, and Shangguan Ru sent all of her killers to Southern Jade City. She even sent Shangguan Yushi to command the battle. To be tit-for-tat with the Qiu Society, Shangguan Yushi had to command the killers while Servant Huan led the cutters. There was bloodshed everyday, which reminded the teenage killers of the former slaughter amongst disciples, making them all become excited.
A total of eleven killers including Yu Gongzi were divided into five teams to specifically target the famous sabremen of the Qiu Society. Soon, the sabremen of Southern Jade City gave the titles of 'bloody sabre' to the teenagers.
Gu Shenwei lived a double life. He managed the cutters during the day and returned to his role as a killer at night. He prefered the latter role and gradually handed over most of the cutters' affairs to Tuo Nengya.
Gu Shenwei and Lotus were in the same team, and they made full use of this rare opportunity to practise their swordsmanship. Although their disputes in the details of the sutra were increasing, it didn't affect their progress in any way.
Gu Shenwei became more and more skilful at finding the enemy's 'living Qi'. He started by deliberately blindfolding himself and gradually he was able to do it with his eyes open. The reason he was so obsessed with this technique was because his internal energy couldn't be improved after the yin and yang energy was fused, but he felt that the swordsmanship was endless. Everytime he killed someone successfully he could go one step further.
Lotus had developed her killing aura to such a level that she had to practise how to hide it and only release it when she stabbed out. Many of her adversaries had actually been crushed by her sudden surge of killing aura before she stabbed out like a flash of lightning. They died without shouting or resisting.
The two teenage killers improved silently. They would destroy the sword wounds after each killing to conceal themselves. Everyone's eyes were on the fight between the Kun and Qiu Society, so very few people noticed their changes.
Finally, one day, both Gu Shenwei and Lotus found that killing ordinary sabremen was meaningless and that they needed stronger opponents.
The opportunity came unexpectedly on the last day of the year when the Sword Offering Ye Silang, one of the most famous swordsmen in the Western Regions, publicly challenged the killer Yang Huan.