Chapter 201 Betrayal
A series of strange things occurred all at once. The people of the Essence Pavilion claimed that Tenth Gongzi had killed for no reason, while a rescuer appeared out of nowhere, one with extraordinary martial arts skills but also too timid to show himself.
"I have no grudge against the Essence Pavilion, so why would I kill Tang Ji?" Shangguan Ru angrily questioned. She hated being wronged, second only to betrayal.
"Don't you call yourself Tenth Gongzi? The killer said that they would report to Tenth Gongzi when they ran away."
"Your Kun Society wants to seize City View Alley, so you started with the Essence Pavilion."
"You actually did it but you don't have the guts to admit it."
The people of the Essence Pavilion gathered together and refuted Shangguan Ru in all manners. Gu Shenwei felt that all of the disciples' personalities seemed to have changed after the dwarf Immortal Peng's death. The white-robed Immortal Peng obviously had no ability to control their thoughts.
Shangguan Ru's face grew redder and redder, and she waved her narrow sabre and said, "I killed, so what. Do you want revenge? Come and get it."
The disciples of the Essence Pavilion were eager to try attacking again. That Madman Wu who had only made one move and said one phrase once again opened his mouth from behind the tree. "They didn't kill anyone. I've been following them and have seen everything. Please let them go." His voice was still full of pleading.
Gu Shenwei and Shangguan Ru gave each other a quick glance. The two of them could be considered as experts in lightness skills now, and as killers they had always been vigilant, but they surprisingly hadn't noticed themselves being followed.
"Madman Wu, don't you understand? Tenth Gongzi sent someone to assassinate Tang Ji. These two must have come to verify the news or maybe they ran away too slowly."
Madman Wu really didn't seem to understand, and he just kept repeating the same words, "Please let them go."
The people of the Essence Pavilion also had no clear mind and insisted on convincing Madman Wu. They tried to argue with him but ended up with answers irrelevant to the question asked.
Gu Shenwei didn't intend to listen to such nonsense while he was still in danger, so he held Shangguan Ru's hand, jumped onto the peach tree nearby, and broke through the gap made by Madman Wu with his own lightness skills.
Shangguan Ru lost her temper and had a desire to see the matter to the end. She was dragged by Servant Huan for a while before she exerted her full strength.
Shouting and cursing came intermittently from behind as it sounded like the disciples of the Essence Pavilion had been blocked. Not long after, the two were already far away. They jumped to the ground and quickly left the peach grove.
"What the hell was that," asked Shangguan Ru breathlessly.
"A bunch of lunatics."
"Or it could be a trap set by someone."
Shangguan Ru stopped laughing. Someone had obviously tried to incite the two sides into fighting each other and use the people of the Essence Pavilion to kill her by framing Tenth Gongzi's killers as Tang Ji's murderers.
Who would do that? Shangguan Ru actually knew very well.
"So somebody's been following us."
Gu Shenwei nodded.
It would be a good episode for tonight's hangout if it wasn't a trap but just a misunderstanding. Shangguan Ru forced a smile, trying to show that she had no fear.
Something quickly approached them, and the sabre and the sword counter-attacked at the same time.
It was just two leaves. With the moonlight shining on the ground, they could barely see the shapes of the leaves.
A man walked out from behind the tree and went up to the teenagers with soundless footsteps, as if he were floating on the grass.
The two fallen leaves flew back into the man's hands.
"Nice sabresmanship and first-level swordsmanship." From the voice of a man, it was exactly that Madman Wu whose tone was still a bit timid.
One leaf had been cut into almost two pieces, while the other was undamaged. Gu Shenwei had stabbed out too fast and immediately withdrawn his sword after it touched the leaf, which lessened the blow's strength and avoided causing any damage to the leaf.
The man was in his thirties and dressed in white clothes, somewhat like the newly appointed Immortal Peng of the Essence Pavilion. It was just that he had no beard and his face was ghastly pale, as if he had never seen the sun before. Compared to his pale face, even the moonlight was a bit dimmer. His white robe was dirty, and seemed like it hadn't been washed for a long time.
Gu Shenwei didn't feel a sense of danger from Madman Wu, but he still kept his vigilance. "Your Excellency is also a disciple of the Essence Pavilion?"
Gu Shenwei didn't remember seeing this man, but the disciples of the Essence Pavilion all liked to disguise their true faces and he couldn't recognize all of them.
"Maybe." The white-robed man absently answered as if he didn't understand Gu Shenwei's words at all. He kept staring at Shangguan Ru, and asked, "You're a lord of the Shangguan family?"
"Yes, who are you?" Shangguan Ru wasn't as alert as Gu Shenwei. She actually had a slightly favourable impression of this strange man who had suddenly appeared. After all, he had spoken for her.
"Do you know Yun Gongzi?"
"Ask him for me, is Yingwu (parrot) still alive? I can't live much longer. I want to see Yingwu once before I die."
"Yingwu? A bird? Who on earth are you?"
Shangguan Ru threw out a series of questions, but the white-robed man had already turned around and left, as ethereal as he had come.
Gu Shenwei stopped Shangguan Ru from chasing him. There should be a limit to adventures, and they'd better stay away from the people of the Essence Pavilion.
"Who's Yun Gongzi?" The Shangguan family had a lot of scions, many of whom Gu Shenwei hadn't even heard of.
"He's my third brother." Shangguan Ru's voice also became as feeble as that of the white-robed man. "He's been imprisoned by father for many years."
Gu Shenwei had been aware of a strange lord of the Shangguan family long ago, who was precisely this third young lord Shangguan Yun. The Shangguan family had been divided into two fractions around Madam Meng, but only this third young lord remained neutral while being the least noticed.
Tie Hanfeng used to be a killer under the third young lord, but he had been 'lent' to the eighth young lord Shangguan Nu and he had mentioned nothing about his former lord.
Shangguan Yun was just an inconspicuous name on his waiting to kill list and it had held no meaning to Gu Shenwei other than that. It was that Madman Wu who aroused his interests.
Afterwards, he asked Chu Nanping about this man.
Madman Wu's original name was Wu Shengqing. He was in his thirties and was once also a disciple of Immortal Peng, but he had become half-mad long time ago. He used to wander around City View Alley from morning to night. His mind was sometimes confused, sometimes clear, and he had only lived to this day on the food provided by the kind-hearted people.
These were all the things Chu Nanping knew. He wasn't a curious person, so he never cared about the origin of Madman Wu.
That was it. Gu Shenwei didn't intend to look into it any further as he had no time.
And besides, the men of the Essence Pavilion hadn't come for revenge because they were reluctant to leave City View Alley.
That night, when he escorted Shangguan Ru back to the Kun Society, the two didn't mention the Essence Pavilion much. Shangguan Ru already believed that it was her elder brother's trick, so she didn't want to talk about it.
Gu Shenwei went back to his room and found that the killers were waiting for him. Only one of the killers that was working as a watchman didn't come.
"It failed,. Someone else got involved, so we have to find another way," Gu Shenwei said.
Shangguan Ru should have died in front of him on that night.
It was Wild Horse's idea. Servant Huan was responsible for leading Tenth Gongzi to City View Alley, while he and Liuhua would kill anyone of the Essence Pavilion to enrage the disciples of Immortal Peng so they could use them to kill Shangguan Ru. Tang Ji had very poor martial arts skills and was just unlucky enough to be the target.
Then the killers would 'avenge' their lord together. After that, they would get the chance to return to their former lords.
The killers had to die for their lords, but Shangguan Ru didn't have this privilege because she hadn't received the title of 'young lord' yet.
But this was still a dangerous plan. Even if they succeeded, they were likely to be killed by the furious Madam Meng. But they were no longer willing to serve a weak lord. The Kun Society was weak, and Shangguan Ru had lost the will to fight, so they would be wiped out by the ninth young lord sooner or later. By that time, it was just another dead end for the killers.
After a calm and heartless analysis, they decided that they would rather take the plunge.
And the person most in danger would exactly be Servant Huan. He had to accompany Tenth Gongzi and would bear an unshirkable responsibility for the lord's death. In fact, Gu Shenwei accepted the role on his own initiative on the condition that Wild Horse and others had to assassinate Shangguan Fei afterwards.
Wild Horse agreed. He was willing to cooperate as long as he didn't have to do it with his own hands. And by doing this, he could also avenge Yu Gongzi.
Gu Shenwei would run to his previous lord Shangguan Nu to seek refuge after killing the twins.
Gu Shenwei was willing to walk this tightrope because he was so eager for revenge. But the accident actually helped him come up with a better plan. In retrospect, he found himself recently a little too anxious and without any sense of calmness.
The killers with evil intentions were faced with a dilemma. If they continued to secretly plot to murder their lord, they might expose themselves. But no one dared to be the first to suggest giving up, because then they would be perceived by their accomplices as a snitch.
In the end, Liuhua broke the deadlock. "Let's wait for some time, as there will always be an opportunity. Everyone must keep it as a secret. We have seven people, so whoever snitches will be the mastermind. The other six must agree on this."
Liuhua's proposal was adopted.
After the meeting, Lotus went to see Gu Shenwei alone. "Wild Horse suspects you."
Gu Shenwei, of course, knew that he seemed to have intentionally sabotaged the mission in the others' eyes. After all, he was regarded as the 'confidant' of Shangguan Ru and had always been there for her. "He'll still suspect me even if we succeed."
A killer could never be trusted. This was the conclusion Gu Shenwei had made after he himself became a killer. They had learnt too many things about seeking unscrupulous means and one day they might use them on their own lords. That was why Golden Roc Castle had made draconian rules to force the killer to serve their lords into death.
"Should we act first? I have the confidence to draw Liuhua to our side."
Liuhua had tried to assassinate Lotus before, but Gu Shenwei still believed in Lotus's persuasive ability. The problem was that Wild Horse wasn't alone. If they decided to act now, they had to kill the four members of the Wild Horse faction in a single blow.
"That's the only way."
Both of them knew too well that it was the only way. At this moment, Wild Horse was also planning to cut the weeds and dig up the root, or perhaps trying to buying over Liuhua.
This was all the killer's principle. Even if they had killed Tenth Gongzi tonight, both sides would still try all means to silence the other side when the whole matter was over.
This couldn't be the so-called "safe killing" by Tie Hanfeng, and it couldn't be a complete secret in advance, nor would it lead to no suspicion afterwards. Therefore, both sides had to wait for the best time to pass the suspicion onto others.
Tenth Gongzi got up early the next morning, completely unaware that the late night walk last night was a secret plot hatched by her own men and that all the killers had betrayed her. On the contrary, she felt that she had gotten rid of enough grief to get back on her feet.
"The Qiu Society must be eliminated, just let Shangguan Fei complain to my mother," She said.
The killers pulled out their sabre and slashed towards the ground, but they no longer believed that the little girl in front of them would be a ruthless commander-in-chief.
If the commander was not heartless, her killers would be in danger.
Soon, the killers would have a golden opportunity, with which they could not only kill the lord but also wipe out their accomplices.