Chapter 192 Friend
Gu Shenwei was pondering the information he had received from Xu Yanwei when the prostitute upstairs spoke up again, "Do not think about the lord all the time, and spend some time taking care of my little brother too."
Xu Yanwei's interest in Shangguan Fei was long gone. If there was still a man in the world she still cared about, it would only be Xu Xiaoyi.
"I'm fine. I don't need to be looked after," Xu Xiaoyi rushed to say, but his face was flushed red.
"He's also fascinated by men," Xu Yanwei said with a disdainful tone. She didn't even care about the ninth young lord's special proclivity as much.
Xu Xiaoyi was rather delicate and exquisite and had the potential to be a boy toy. Gu Shenwei had seen too many of his kind in Southern Jade City, so he didn't care much. "You didn't send him to the ninth young lord?"
"What do you think we are?" Xu Yanwei said angrily, slamming on the railing with great force.
Xu Xiaoyi quickly explained before Gu Shenwei opened his mouth, saying "That's not what she meant. I made a friend."
Xu Xiaoyi straightened his back when he said the word 'made' with a very formal tone, which made Gu Shenwei confirm that he had it wrong. "Isn't it good? He has a friend to look after him now, so there's no need for me to take care of him."
The sister and brother scrambled to speak. Before Xu Xiaoyi could open his mouth, the upstairs Xu Yanwei was one step ahead of him. "But the friend he made is a strange child. The day before yesterday, the kid came here late at night and said he had to kill Xiaoyi. As I looked at him, I thought he was serious, but he muttered for a long time and ran away by himself. I think he's abnormal, and that Xiaoyi should stay as far away from him as possible."
Gu Shenwei's first reaction was that it could not be so coincidental, but he immediately recalled that there was no coincidence, because Xu Xiaoyi was the one who was called upstairs for a fortune-telling. "What did the kid look like?"
"Uhh, he's like — " Xu Xiaoyi was still looking for words to describe his best friend before Xu Yanwei got ahead of him again. "He looks like a girl. When I saw him for the first time, I thought that Xiaoyi had finally grown up."
"His name is Chu Nanping, from the Essence Pavilion of City View Alley."
"Ehh, how do you know? He asked me to keep it a secret. Did he not keep it a secret?"
Holding her stomach, Xu Yanwei laughed upstairs. "So, it's a kid from City View Alley. No wonder. Little brother, you treat him well. Ai, let all the bitches starve to death."
The killer didn't smile, and his grave expression surprised the siblings. "That kid is not normal."
"Yeah, he's very good in martial arts, and he's … special in talking too, different from all the people I've met before," Xu Xiaoyi said cheerfully, not knowing that he was in danger.
"He was Immortal Peng's attendant."
Xu Xiaoyi was stunned for a moment. He had gone to the third floor, but he hadn't seen the real Immortal Peng and Chu Nanping behind the screen. He still thought that his best friend was the son of a craftsman in City View Alley.
"And it was no joke when he tried to kill you."
Xu Xiaoyi chuckled. "You're kidding …." but 'Brother Huan' never joked. "Are you serious?"
"He's going to kill you to further his kung fu."
"Kill me to further his kung fu? I, I'm not even as strong as a rat, what kind of kung fu could he need to kill me for?"
"He's a disciple of the 'immortal', so his training method is naturally different from others."
The siblings of the Xu family now believed him and gasped with surprise. Xu Yanwei couldn't think of a solution. She hummed, turned around, and entered the room. Then she ran out again before closing the door, pointing at the killer and saying, "We two are working so hard for you, so you have to protect us."
Gu Shenwei shook his head. "I'm a killer, not a bodyguard."
Xu Xiaoyi was frightened speechless. Xu Yanwei, however, changed her attitude and smiled. "Lord Huan, the killer uses the sabre, and a bodyguard also uses the sabre, so they're quite similar. Although Xiaoyi isn't that obedient, he's still useful, so wouldn't it be better to save him so you can find more information?"
"I said I was a killer, but I didn't say I wouldn't protect him."
Xu Yanwei frowned and stamped her feet. "You are making fun of me."
"I will kill Chu Nanping, so he won't be able to kill Xiaoyi."
This was Gu Shenwei's plan, simple and direct. Although Chu Nanping was still a child, he would be a hidden trouble and it was better to kill him now.
"There's no need to kill," Xu Xiaoyi ventured to say.
"I kill him, or he kills you."
Xu Xiaoyi sadly lowered his head. He had never had a friend before. Brother Huan was just a good lord to him. Chu Nanping was different. He still remembered how the child had accosted him the first time. He was too shy to open his mouth, but when he spoke he was straightforward, as if he had never had a relationship with a normal person.
Ever since their first meeting, Chu Nanping had often come to play with him. Xu Xiaoyi was several years older than him, but the two were almost the same size and had the same naive appearance. Everyone thought that they were peers when they hung out together.
Xu Xiaoyi knew Southern Jade City well, but Chu Nanping was ignorant of everything. So he listened more and said less, and accepted all the wicked ideas Xu Xiaoyi came up with. Together, they stole from taverns, fought with other kids, and crouched on the roofs of brothels, listening to the strange sound below.
The past two months were the happiest times of Xu Xiaoyi's life.
While Xu Xiaoyi was still immersed in his sweet memories, Gu Shenwei had begun preparing to kill. "Do not do business these two days, and also do not go out. Just stay at home."
"No business? I finally managed to get hold of a rich regular guest and he's going to come tonight."
"Then let your brother die."
Xu Yanwei stomped her feet again and gnashed her teeth for a while before saying, "Well, you're the lord. Ai, hundreds of taels of silver. He's going to fool around with other women for sure."
As she finished, she went back to her own room in a daze. No guests meant she didn't have to put on make-up and clean the bedding. She was at a loss at what she should do now.
The Retention Alley had chefs who prepared banquets especially for brothels. They brought the prearranged food and wine in the evening. Xu Xiaoyi didn't cancel it, but instead shared it with Brother Huan.
It was completely dark outside, and the busiest time for Retention Alley had come. Someone knocked on the door. Gu Shenwei gripped his narrow sabre and hid by the door while Xu Xiaoyi opened a crack and apologized to the guest outside. The guest was very displeased, "You despise me, don't you? What kind of sickness prevents her from seeing me? Let me have a look, she's not taking another rich lord, is she?"
"No no, you know, she's on her period, and we don't want you to lose money, do we?"
The guest was finally sent away. Xu Xiaoyi breathed a sigh of relief.
Back at the table, Gu Shenwei asked, "You sister's regular visitor is Guan Houlin?"
Xu Xiaoyi scratched his ear. His sister had a new acquaintance every few days, who would soon become a stranger again. He never remembered them.
"It's him." Xu Yanwei was standing upstairs again. She was determined to not go downstairs. As she ate sunflower seeds, she carefully lined up the shells on the railing. "The servants all want to know what kind of women their lords have touched, especially a servant who has some money."
"When he comes again —"
"We have provoked him, so who knows if he will come back or not."
"He'll come. When he comes next time, ask him who the person the ninth young lord … is getting along with."
"Ha ha, 'a person he's getting along with', is this a new saying? To me, it's all male bitches. All right, I'll ask for you."
Don't let him find out anything."
"Pah, believe it or not, I can get him to tell me the truth without remembering what he has said."
Gu Shenwei didn't say a word. He didn't want to know what means that woman would use upstairs; he only wanted the result.
As the night dragged on, Xu Yanwei wrapped the shells of the sunflower seeds and went back to her room to sleep, nagging, "It's so early, how can I fall asleep? Ah, a useless man, and a man I can't use. Ai, it's really …"
Xu Xiaoyi kept himself busy by tidying up the scraps of the table, sweeping the floor, and fiddling with the furniture. Gu Shenwei knew that he was scared. "Soon. He said yesterday that he would come to kill you in three days, so it will end by tomorrow."
"Can I talk to him? There's no use in practising this evil martial art. He may change his mind, he always does what I tell him."
"He may listen to you, but he may also kill you. I can't guarantee your safety if you want to reason with him."
Xu Xiaoyi sighed, thinking that people of City View Alley really had major problems. He was worried that he would become 'wanted' the first time he went and didn't expect for it to actually become true. To kill was to kill, why he must do it after they became friends?
It was the third night watch period now, and the streets outside were settling down. Sitting in the chair, Xu Xiaoyi was dozing while Gu Shenwei was standing motionlessly in the shadow of a corner.
Xu Yanwei's scream rang out from upstairs.
Xu Xiaoyi woke up and looked up, and saw that Brother Huan, who used to be in the corner, was gone. So, heedless of his fear, he shouted at the top of his voice, "Xiao (little) Chu, run! There's a killer!"
At the sound of screaming, Gu Shenwei leapt to the second floor and rushed into Xu Yanwei's room.
A shadow was standing by the bed, holding a sabre.
The scream had not ceased, and Xu Xiaoyi's warning had only been at the first word. But Gu Shenwei's sword had already pierced into the shadow's neck.
The shadow fell by the bed. Xu Yanwei finally stopped screaming after a great deal of effort, still shivering. "Wasn't he trying to kill Xiaoyi, why he did come at me?"
"It's not him."
The shadow was clearly an adult, not Chu Nanping who was only over ten years old.
Gu Shenwei lit the lamp. "Why are you not wearing clothes?"
Xu Yanwei pulled up the quilt corner. "I'm sleeping, of course I don't dress myself."
Gu Shenwei placed the oil lamp closer to the corpse. The man seemed to be an ordinary sabremen and he had never seen him before.
He dragged the body out of the room, threw it in the doorway, marked the wound with his narrow sabre, twirled the wick to put out the lamp, and then went down to the corner again.
"Not him?" Xu Xiaoyi asked with a pale face.
"Heh heh, I was just … I don't know why I called it out."
"It's nothing, I can still kill him."
After his experience and toughening at the Essence Pavilion, Gu Shenwei was even more confident about Death Sutra now, not to mention that Chu Nanping was still a kid and was far from being an expert amongst Immortal Peng's many disciples.
Not long after, the now dressed Xu Yanwei also went downstairs. "What's going on here? Who is this guy? Why did he try to kill me?"
No one answered. Gu Shenwei had already guessed what was going on but didn't know the specific reason.
There was a knock on the door. It was so late that it couldn't have been a guest or an assassin. Xu Xiaoyi's face paled again, because Chu Nanping often came to play with him in the middle of the night.
Gu Shenwei opened the door, it was Lotus. Xu Xiaoyi's palpitating heart went back to normal. He didn't know how many times he could stand such shocks.
"Someone is coming to kill you." Lotus glanced upstairs as soon as she entered the house. She was a killer with a keen instinct for the dead. "Rumours say that you have stolen Immortal Peng's treasure. Everyone wants a piece of it."