Chapter 165 Purple Robes
There were two people at the apex of fame in Jade City, Godly Doctor Sun of Northern Jade City and Immortal Peng of Southern Jade City. To see the godly doctor, one needed money and power, but to see the immortal, one could only rely on fate.
Few people had this kind of fate, and the people that did were usually extremely excited. The case of Xu Xiaoyi, who was so frightened he almost wet his pants was really an unprecedented reaction.
"No, no, you must be mistaken. I, I'm just a little footman, and he's the lord."
Xu Xiaoyi stopped lifting his hand halfway before he started putting it down. Meanwhile, he made a quick glance at Brother Huan without turning his head.
The young man was very sure, "It is you."
Gu Shenwei nodded and beckoned for Xu Xiaoyi to go see Immortal Peng. The fact that he didn't know kung fu might be a good thing, as Gu Shenwei didn't have to worry about him causing any trouble.
Xu Xiaoyi rose fearfully and walked up the stairs at the signal of the young man.
The young man stayed behind. He behaved obediently and his demeanour quickly changed from a kung fu expert's to a humble servant's.
The calm atmosphere only lasted for about eight minutes. Xu Xiaoyi was still on the upstairs and although the two killers didn't make eye contact, they magically came to a tacit understanding.
Servant Jing made a move for the second time. The narrow sabre, however, was pressed upon and held down again by the young man before it was even half unsheathed.
Gu Shenwei was waiting and attacked at the most opportune time of when the young man had just made a move and his attention had not yet turned to the other killer.
The narrow sabre left a shallow scar on the young man's neck. Gu Shenwei felt regretful because if he had used a sword, then he would have killed the expert and further improved upon his sabresmanship.
The young man stumbled back three steps, which shocked the people in the teahouse this time. All of them turned to the killer, many of whom also reaching out their hands under the table.
The Death Sutra Swordsmanship had twenty-nine moves, which were actually one move. If the opponent's kung fu was mediocre, Gu Shenwei could attack continuously with disregard for his defence. However, his opponent was an expert this time, so he could only wait for the next opening.
"Good sabresmanship," The young man praised without a care for the wound on his neck. There was also no change in his peaceful expression, so the other guests turned around and continued drinking their tea.
Gu Shenwei laid the unsheathed narrow sabre down on his knee horizontally, saying, "Almost there."
"I'm called Chu Yangjun, but I haven't learned your name yet, Your Excellency." The young man behaved as if they had just met for the first time. He introduced himself and behaved much more politely.
"I'm here to look for someone, and I just have a few questions." Gu Shenwei made his request. Killers didn't have a habit of introducing themselves so Gu Shenwei didn't give his name.
The man with heavy makeup came up and whispered something into Chu Yangjun's ear.
"It turns out that it is Killer Yang Huan of the Kun Society. I've heard a lot about you."
"You flatter me. I'm not here to cause trouble; I just want to ask him a few simple questions. I will not force him to answer my questions no matter what."
Chu Yangjun thought for a while with his head lowered, "Ok, but I have a condition."
"Please go ahead."
"The one you're looking for is sitting here. Hall Leader Yang can try to find him, but you can only try once. Is that OK?"
Gu Shenwei nodded and sat still in his original seat, holding his sabre. He got up after a long while and walked over to an old man with messy hair, bumped head, and a stooped figure, saying, "If I were you, I would not have disguised myself so exaggeratedly or look around so frequently."
The old man looked at Chu Yangjun blankly, sighed, and straightened up, "I know what you want to ask, but I really have nothing to say. I had nothing to do with Duke Gao's death, and I really didn't see anything. I've already been in this position when Zhou Huan died, so it has nothing to do with me."
"Can we have a private talk?"
Chu Yangjun refused before the disguised Qi Da opened his mouth, "I'm afraid that's not ok. It would cause lots of trouble if others knew that he talked with you privately."
"Then let's talk here. I believe that you have nothing to do with Duke Gao's death." Gu Shenwei paused for a moment before continuing with the question he cared about most, " How did Duke Gao provoke that special gongzi and result in you being scolded?"
Qi Da's face was covered with so much powder that the changes in his facial expression could not be seen, but he was stunned with his mouth open. From this, Gu Shenwei knew that his guess was right. Servant Jing had overheard the quarrel between Yu Gongzi and a man, and the man being scolded was exactly Qi Da.
"I, I …"
"I said that I would not force you to say anything you are unwilling to say, but you have to think twice about whether the other side will believe you or not."
Gu Shenwei did not know which word of his had offended the other side, but Qi Da suddenly stood firm. "I don't know anything, and I also don't know what you're talking about. If you know the rules, then don't ask me any more questions you've mentioned in the 'end'." [Translator's note: The author is making a play on words here. By saying 'in the end', Qi Da subtly gave Gu Shenwei a hint to look for a clue in the back of the Essence Pavilion.]
Gu Shenwei retreated back to his original position and said to Chu Yangjun, "That's it. I'm done."
"It couldn't have been better." Chu Yangjun seemed more and more interested in this killer as he stared at him and asked, "You use a sword?"
"No, someone sent me the sword."
"Right, Ye Silang said that you're a swordsman, but you didn't use the sword when you two had the kung fu competition, and you also didn't use it today."
Xu Xiaoyi came down the stairs, his expression strange. He looked like a survivor who had just escaped from a great tragedy, full of both sadness and joy. It seemed that the whole world had changed its appearance in his eyes.
As soon as they stepped out the entrance of the Essence Pavilion, Xu Xiaoyi couldn't wait to share the fate he had just learnt, "Immortal Peng is really a living immortal, he …"
To his disappointment, Brother Huan wasn't interested in this matter. Gu Shenwei pulled him along to leave while saying "later".
What surprised him even more was that Brother Huan walked around a corner and directly went to a gorgeously dressed man. As he leaned against the door, the man was obviously a bit surprised with the business, "I only serve one person a time, three …"
Before he finished speaking, Gu Shenwei had already pushed him aside and dragged Xu Xiaoyi into the house.
"Ai, you don't have to be in such a hurry." The man was a little unhappy.
"You two stay here, and do not go out."
As he finished speaking, Gu Shenwei pushed open the back window and jumped out.
Both Xu Xiaoyi and the man were stupefied. They exchanged a glance and were about to ask something before Servant Jing pulled out his narrow sabre. The house became quiet again.
Several feet behind the house was a high wall, which separated City View Alley from the rest of the city. Garbage was all over the ground, so much that it couldn't be concealed even through the whole winter's snowfall.
Gu Shenwei was pressed against the wall as he rapidly moved forward until he reached the back of the Essence Pavilion. But no one was there.
Qi Da's last remark seemed to have a hidden meaning. Gu Shenwei felt that he was right, so he looked around carefully and finally found what he was looking for at the foot of a wall.
Someone had written a few lines on the wall with snow-water, which was very light in colour and would definitely be gone if Gu Shenwei had come a little later.
"The Duke asked the gongzi for money. The gongzi said that she had given him the money and warned him not to reach out for a yard after taking an inch. Nothing else."
This was what Qi Da wanted to say to Killer Yang Huan, which was also what he had argued with Yu Gongzi about that night.
Gu Shenwei was a bit surprised. He thought that the person who wanted money would be Shangguan Yushi, and he didn't understand where Shangguan Yushi could get money for Duke Gao or why she would give him.
He grabbed a handful of snow to wipe the writing away and decided to retreat from where he had come. He wasn't able to go too far because the road ahead was blocked.
Chu Yangjun was wearing a purple robe as he avoided the countless amounts of rubbish by standing on a small snowdrift. His feet didn't even seem to touch the snow, and his hand was holding a sword.
"The life of a swordsman is like a chess player's. It would be a lifelong regret if you don't have a game after meeting another swordsman. Please enlighten me."
Gu Shenwei gripped his sabre hilt.
"There are no strangers here. Even now, your Excellency doesn't use your sword?"
Gu Shenwei had his own principles. He didn't want to show his true martial arts skills to the challenger who had come to him on his own initiative.
"Swords are useless."
Chu Yangjun didn't care about the provocation and no longer asked the killer to use a sword. His robe was fluttering, as if he was about to fly off at any time.
Both of them were very surprised because neither of them had detected any killing aura from the other party, as if no one was ready to take action.
Gu Shenwei was looking for the enemy's 'life Qi'. Chu Yangjun's Qi was unique, as it was clearer than others', but it also circulated much faster. The flaw appeared and disappeared all the time, and Gu Shenwei actually couldn't find the chance to make a move.
The kung fu competition ended suddenly. No one knew why Chu Yangjun changed his mind, but he only said a "goodbye" before he jumped to the roof and disappeared.
Gu Shenwei turned back and saw that a window on the third floor of the Essence Pavilion was open, which he was quite sure was closed just now.
Gu Shenwei felt that his internal Qi wasn't flowing smoothly. One needed to fully concentrate when using the Death Sutra Swordsmanship, as it could cause great damage to the user's body if one didn't release it after reaching one's peak state. He had had a Qi deviation because of this before, and recently he had several times to make a move but failed to do so.
There were still two strands of Desolate Finger Energy hidden in his Baihui and Xuanji acupoints, which hadn't flared up for several months. Gu Shenwei was hoping they would not break out at this critical period.
Gu Shenwei left a silver ingot for the fancy man and led Servant Jing and Xu Xiaoyi to leave City View Alley. Although he had received some important information, the doubts in his mind didn't decrease, but increased instead.
Gu Shenwei couldn't understand why a dignified duke would have surprisingly asked a female gongzi of the castle for money and also succeeded. He also suspected that the patrol commandant Zhong Heng had taken advantage of him again and that every clue offered by that old fox had an ulterior motive.
He had made a small step closer to the truth, but the clues he still had left were getting fewer and fewer.
Gu Shenwei was so occupied by his worries that he didn't even notice two fights among sabremen on his way back. It was not until they had almost reached the base camp of the Kun Society and the screams and cries were ringing out from afar that he finally came to his senses and immediately sent Xu Xiaoyi away and rushed to the house with Servant Jing.
The largest battle of the Kun and Qiu Society was currently underway.
The battle took place in a nameless alley and the aggressor was the Qiu Society. Hundreds of sabremen were rushing forward, who took up the positions of the fallen and rose to fight one after another. Meng Fifth Gongzi must have promised a very attracting reward to make his men work so hard. Every time they cut down a man, they would cut off their head like the killers of the castle.
The road back to the base was blocked. The two killers jumped onto the roof and joined the battle.
Experienced killers and sabremen would usually not enter the centre of the battle unless they were forced to, because it was very crowded there and even experts couldn't make full use of their martial art skills. The killers normally ran around the perimeter like wild predators shaving away at a large herd, only attacking loners and retreating immediately after succeeding. This way, they could kill far more people than those fresh sabremen who shouted hoarsely.
It was a scuffle that no one could control. Only a handful of people in the sabre formation developed by Tuo Nengya managed to stay in formation; the rest were all encircled.
The fighting went on late into the night. It was the fifteenth day of the first lunar month and the moon was full, but there were no lanterns lit in Southern Jade City.
Over a hundred corpses were lying in the streets. For three days, the merchants of Southern Jade City hadn't opened for business, and all the families had shut and locked their doors. There were almost no pedestrians on the streets no matter if it was daytime or night. The busy Southern Jade City had suddenly turned into a ghostdom.
Gu Shenwei had finally released his long-pressed murderous heart. Several people died under his sabre, but the loss outweighed the gain. He had lost an important partner.
Servant Jing was dead.