Chapter 200 Late Night Walk
It was already bright outside. The residents of Jade City who were up early were surprised to find that the expected war between the Kun and Qiu Society had not actually taken place. Yes, more than a dozen sabremen had died, a strategist ran away, and Boss Tuo had also disappeared, but that was all. There was no wholesale slaughter or raging fire.
Many people were very disappointed as they recalled the last fight between the Kun and Qiu Society, which they considered as part of the castle's style, and the stirs the other young lords had caused after they received the title of young lord. And before that, when the current Unique King was only thirteen or fourteen years old, it was really spectacular. The wandering sabremen population of Southern Jade City was reduced in half and the merchants didn't dare to open their stores for a month.
Golden Roc Castle actually valued kinship now, and many people treated this as news to talk about in the tavern.
Shangguan Fei fled into Northern Jade City and summoned a large number of sabremen to protect him. But he didn't give any orders all day, as if he had been scared out of his wits, or had already forgiven his sister.
Shangguan Ru also hid in her room and didn't show up all day. It seemed that she had suffered as much as her brother.
The killers under the twins were all at a loss. They were used to follow orders and killing, but not used to guessing their lords' thoughts.
Originally, all of them had belonged to the other young lords and were sent to the twins to help them accomplish a feat. Most of them were now considering rejoining their previous lords.
According to tradition, the killers could actually make a decision after the young lord's first year of trial. Most of them would choose to stay with their little lord. After all, they had been through tough times together, so they trusted each other more. This group of teenage killers, however, had lost faith in their current lords.
Shangguan Fei was thrown into confusion and didn't counterattack immediately, so Gu Shenwei was safe for the time being. But nobody knew how long this state would last.
The seven killers under Shangguan Ru unprecedentedly gathered together for the first time, discussing the current situation. Even Liuhua, who always acted covertly, showed up. Wild Horse calmly nodded to Servant Huan as a sign of reconciliation.
Gu Shenwei once believed this strange-looking killer and thought that he was a man of his word, but ended up being plotted against by him. So he also calmly nodded and even revealed a smile to show that he didn't care.
Unlike the sabremen, the killers were killers, their only nature was to kill by any means necessary.
The meeting was organized by Wild Horse, whose purpose was simple. He hoped for Servant Huan to rekindle the ambition of Tenth Gongzi. Yu Gongzi was dead, and Servant Huan was now her only confidant.
"Tenth Gongzi needs blood, and we will find blood for her. The key is that she has to cheer up. The Kun Society is still very weak and the Qiu Society is in chaos right now. We must use this rare opportunity and act as soon as possible."
The gestures Wild Horse made were too complicated. Lotus had to interpret it for the others to understand.
Instead of agreeing with it right away, Gu Shenwei used this opportunity to ask Wild Horse about his whereabouts in the past few months.
Wild Horse followed the order and led the three killers to visit the villages and streets where the sabremen congregated. In particular, they visited those old experienced sabremen who had status and influence like Tuo Nengya. Most of them kept a low profile and seldom participated in the fight at Southern Jade City, but they held an important position in many young sabremen's hearts.
The visits were usually carried out at night. Many people refused to meet the killers of the castle, but there were still some who were young at heart that responded courteously to Wild Horse's active overtures.
In short, Wild Horse's months of hard work had built him a wide network of contacts among the old sabremen at Southern Jade City. And with enough money, he could quickly build up a team of sabremen surpassing that of the Qiu Society, a team that would also be more loyal than some temporarily gathered rabble.
"He can build ten to fifty teams. And like the sabremen formation used to be led by Tuo Nengya, each team will have twenty to one hundred people, with one or two old sabremen as the leader. The loyalty of the sabremen is guaranteed by the old sabremen. The old sabremen will not betray the society easily because their properties are in Southern Jade City." Lotus continued working as an interpreter.
Wild Horse had devoted a great deal of effort to this grand plan and didn't want to give up halfway. Tenth Gongzi was once very interested in it, but now she was depressed and the Kun Society was short on money. All of these problems had become Wild Horse's concerns now.
In order to gain Servant Huan's support, Wild Horse made a proposal that, no matter how many sabremen team that would eventually be built, the teams would be equally divided into seven parts, one for each killer present.
Wild Horse's 'Snow Mountain gang' had four members left, while the 'Bi Nu gang' had only two, so Wild Horse would still have the upper hand. As for Liuhua, who always remained neutral, he couldn't change the situation no matter which side he was on.
Gu Shenwei actually could have bargained for more benefits and gain the same power as Wild Horse, but he simply nodded and agreed. The fact that he accepted it without arguing a word not only made Wild Horse feel a bit confused, but also surprised Lotus.
Gu Shenwei explained his motives to Lotus afterwards. What Wild Horse wanted was people, but he cared more about the money. The loyalty of the sabremen introduced by those old sabremen might not be a problem, but in the end it was still the money that counted.
Gu Shenwei, who shouldered the high expectations of the other six killers, went to visit Tenth Gongzi that night.
Upon hearing the knock, Shangguan Ru immediately said 'come in'.
The dishes for lunch and dinner were still untouched on the table, but Shangguan Ru seemed normal. There were no signs of the grief and vulnerability that had been present in the morning. Instead, she even wore the mischievous smile which Gu Shenwei was familiar with.
"Are you here to be a lobbyist?"
Shangguan Ru, who originally wanted to tease Gu Shenwei, was actually waiting for him to say no. She didn't expect that he would admit it, so she sighed, "Go ahead, I'm listening."
"I have nothing to say."
Shangguan Ru raised her head with surprise.
"After all, it's your own decision. If I can persuade you with words, you wouldn't be the son of the Unique King."
"The son of the Unique King," Shangguan Ru repeated, softly.
"It's already dark," Gu Shenwei said casually.
"It's the busiest time of Southern Jade City. Do you want to go for a walk? No guards."
"Ah, it will be a good chance to get us killed," Shangguan Ru said. But at heart, she was itching to go.
"Just give them a chance. Killing and being killed should always be equal."
They didn't walk like those ordinary guests, but like what they had done two years ago when they played the assassination game, leaping onto roofs and vaulting over walls with their lightness skills, hiding in the dark to observe and listen. They wandered around without a purpose, simply jumping from one roof to another and treating Southern Jade City as a bigger castle.
The tavern was filled with the noise of the content as it shook the tiles. People indulged themselves and expressed their feelings, true or false, under the stimulation of wine. Some wept bitterly to swear as brothers, while others sought revenge for the smallest grievance and quarrelled.
The noise in the gambling house was rhythmic. Silence, dice rolling, and howls of anguish repeated again and again. Occasionally there would be a pale-faced gambler who walked into the street, wandering like a ghost before joining the drinkers' ranks.
The sound of the brothel was more peculiar. Shangguan Ru was so curious about figuring it out that Gu Shenwei had to push hard to take her away.
Southern Jade City was not all about these three depraved places. Large areas of it were already shrouded in darkness, and ordinary residents who had toiled all day were safely asleep. They had come to Southern Jade City not for enjoyment, but for profit.
On the roof of several houses where the lamps were still on, the two heard the rattling of copper coins and silver pieces. The couples were excitedly calculating how much they had earned today, and at this rate, how many years before they could leave Jade City and go back to the countryside to live happily ever after.
The stoves in the Blacksmith Village were burning fiercely. The droopy-eyed young disciples were pulling the bellows with great effort at the scolding of their Masters.
The two went round in a big circle, and at the strong request of Shangguan Ru, they came to City View Alley, a place that many people feared but were curious about. Shangguan Ru had only seen its wall in the peach grove from afar.
No women were found in City View Alley. As she saw those men with heavy make-up accosting the cloaked guests, Shangguan Ru couldn't help but smile and feel that this world was so weird. In the end, when they went into the peach grove, she finally burst into laughter.
The laughter gradually ceased, and she felt as if she were in a dream and all she had seen and heard was a bizarre motley. "I've always been told that the sabre and sword are everything. But you see, even this little Jade City has so many people unrelated to the sabre and sword. The outside world is vast; how big a place can the sabre and sword rule?"
"A blacksmith forges iron, and a tavern sells wine. For them, iron and wine are everything. So, for the killer, the sabre and sword are everything."
"Yes, I'm a killer." Shangguan Ru's voice lowered as if she had suddenly woken from a dream.
Gu Shenwei silently stood beside her. The world is as fair as it is cruel to everyone, he thought.
"Who is it?"
Gu Shenwei shouted with a low voice and drew his sword. Shangguan Ru simultaneously unsheathed her sabre.
Something was approaching them fast and reached them in the blink of an eye. The two stabbed out their sabre and sword like lightning.
It was a soft rope, slipping in and out like a swift serpent.
People scattered everywhere on the trees and ground, surrounding both Gu Shenwei and Shangguan Ru.
"The Essence Pavilion." Gu Shenwei whispered.
"I'm Shangguan Ru from Golden Roc Castle, let Immortal Peng come out to talk," Shangguan Ru said loudly, wanting to question that newly-elected Immortal Peng as to why he would sneak attack her.
"It's really her," a husky voice said bitterly.
The encirclement narrowed. Gu Shenwei and Shangguan Ru stood back-to-back, ready for a tough fight. Without an exception, the people of the Essence Pavilion were all kung fu experts and would definitely not be easy to deal with.
It was a clear and cloudless night, but there was a sudden rustling sound of rain starting pouring down from above.
The two opposing sides looked around, but no one could determine the source of the sound.
A gust of wind carried countless damaged branches and withered leaves over the two teenagers in the centre, swept over the people of the Essence Pavilion, and broke a hole in the ring of encirclement.
The dozen or so experts were caught unprepared. One of them shouted out, "Madman Wu, are you crazy?" The speaker probably felt like his words were nonsense, so he snorted and busied himself with blocking the pile of leaves.
"Please let go of her," A begging voice came from behind a tree not far away. The person seemed to be very frightened.
"They just killed Tang Ji, how can we simply let them go?" The people of the Essence Pavilion questioned indignantly. Tang Ji was the head of the teahouse and was poor at kung fu. His death was really a pity.
"Ehh, that's bullshit. We've only been here a short time. How could we kill someone?"
"You didn't, but the killers you sent did."
Gu Shenwei turned and exchanged a glance with Shangguan Ru, not knowing where the misunderstanding had come from.