Chapter 205 Feigned Death
The rock on Shangguan Fei's leg actually wasn't that heavy. If he had been calmer and less afraid of pain, he could have pushed it off by himself.
The three killers removed the rock, and Shangguan Ru hastily helped her brother wrap up the wound. Liuhua went to retrieve the horses hidden in the nearby valley and helped the ninth young lord get onto the horse.
"I'll stay, you go," Gu Shenwei said. They needed one person to block the possible pursuers.
"No, let's go together." Shangguan Ru was more determined than Servant Huan.
"Hurry, we can't stay here. Fourth brother will catch up at any time." Shangguan Fei was more anxious than anyone else, he just wanted to run all the way back to the castle.
Lotus glanced at Servant Huan. "Let's go. He knows what he's doing. He'll be fine." Then she and Liuhua escorted the twins to the east.
Gu Shenwei, however, looked to the west, where there was a young lord of the Shangguan family. He could kill the young lord and was likely to go unpunished afterwards.
After all this time, I can finally collect some blood debt myself!
He let his horse graze freely nearby and stained his body with some blood from a corpse. Then he lay down beside another corpse, masked his face, gripped the unsheathed sword, and looked up at the sky without thinking of anything until he heard the sound of horses hooves.
Over a dozen tight-robed men came to the killing scene. Some of them were only armed with broadswords, while the others were armed with both long swords and narrow sabres.
A burly man jumped off his horse and gruffly said, "Shangguan Ruo, you'd better explain what's going on. We the Big Snow Mountain aren't that gullible."
"Can't you see that several of my men have also been killed? This was done by the top killers. Your men must have exposed themselves and attracted the castle's attention. If you had listened to me and beheaded them in the village, there would not have been an accident." A man answered with a cold voice, his tone full of disdain. He obviously thought that people of Big Snow Mountain were very gullible.
"No." Another voice refuted. "Although the killers were all masked, I think they are all teenagers, as young as Shangguan Fei's killers."
Shangguan Fei's killers had died in the rubble. There were four masked 'corpses' at the scene. A swordsman walked up to each one and tore off their mask. "They're all kids, how could this have happened? Why are they also dead?"
A swordsman who had fled back to the village said 'Ehh' several times. "That's strange. They weren't dead when I left."
"When you ran away," the gruff voice stressed and corrected. As a swordsman of Big Snow Mountain, he had actually feared death and run away. It was really an indelible shame.
Shangguan Ruo snorted coldly. The people of Big Snow Mountain were going extinct, but they were still arguing about such trivialities. It seemed that they would even have a fight about it later and one or two of their peers would die even without the enemy's help.
He urged his horse to check the corpses. Yes, these killers had probably just finished their apprenticeship not long ago. "This was Shangguan Ru's killer." He finally understood. "The twins were all here, we can still run after …"
The 'corpse' suddenly became alive.
The warm and humid breath spouted by the horse made Gu Shenwei's vision hazy, but he didn't have to use his eyes to look for the enemy's vital parts.
The so-called twenty-nine sword moves were actually all stabbing at the same target from all angles. Gu Shenwei was lying on the ground and was far from the target on horseback, but it didn't affect his move.
The sword stabbed out as fast as a ghost. Gu Shenwei didn't even see the appearance of the fourth young lord Shangguan Ruo clearly.
As soon as he hit the target, the teenager immediately darted towards his horse in the wild. But he had just leapt once forward before he felt a threat from the back of his head.
It was someone he had been guarded against, the 'green-faced' assassin every young lord of the Shangguan family had.
Gu Shenwei needed a bit of time to recover, which was one of the minor flaws of the Death Sutra swordsmanship. His internal Qi would slightly stagnate after a single shot. It would naturally have no big effects if the second target wasn't an expert, but he had to complete a full circulation of the internal Qi through the Great Circle of Vital Energy if what he faced next was a formidable adversary.
He didn't run any further. Actually, he didn't use all of his strength when he leapt out. As soon as he touched the ground, his body darted back to its original position.
Gu Shenwei and the green-faced assassin passed by each other. The cold and heartless mask looked like the face of death.
Neither of the two had time to make a move.
Shangguan Ruo sat motionlessly on horseback, his expression indifferent as if he had been detached from the world and had no interest in the small killing matter that was taking place in front of him.
The killers and swordsmen had not yet come to their senses from the 'feint death' incident. They had gripped their weapons but only drawn them out half way.
The fight between the teenager and the green-faced assassin happened so fast that they seemed to be the only moving people in a still picture. The sabre and the sword crossed, but no one saw the result clearly.
The teenager then took a big step forward. The first drop of blood fell onto the ground before the killers and swordsmen had drawn their weapons.
The teenager took another big step. The second drop of blood fell onto the ground before the mounts of the killers and swordsmen raised their forelegs.
The teenager leapt into the air and landed on the horse that was still grazing. The third drop of blood fell onto the ground before the green-faced assassin fell straight forward like a stick. The swordsmen of Big Snow Mountain roared with anger, and the nimble killers had thrown their flying daggers.
Crouching on the horse, Gu Shenwei galloped away.
The swordsmen and killers turned to look at Shangguan Ruo and waited for his instruction. It was not until the teenager galloped several dozens of steps away that the crowd finally realized that the motionless fourth young lord of Golden Roc Castle was already dead.
Gu Shenwei's only regret was that he hadn't beheaded the enemy.
He caught up with Shangguan Ru and the others at the mountain pass.
"Got it?" Shangguan Ru asked.
"Mmm," Gu Shenwei nodded.
"I'll explain everything to the castle."
Gu Shenwei had personally killed a young lord and he could only leave the rest for Shangguan Ru to deal with. Although Shangguan Ru had lost her status in the killers' eyes, she was still the Unique King's most favoured child in the castle at the moment.
The four of them rode day and night and finally reached Jade City after two days and two nights. The rumour had actually reached the city one step ahead of them.
The whole Jade City heard that the twins had been ambushed and killed by swordsmen from Big Snow Mountain. The Unique King was outraged and was gathering all the killers, ready to attack Big Snow Mountain.
The fact that the twins came back alive had startled a lot of people, and had also disappointed many of them.
Madam Meng immediately sent someone down the mountain to inquire about what had happened. She also asked the Godly Doctor Sun of Northern Jade City to treat Shangguan Fei's leg, but severely rejected her son's request to return to the castle. This was a crucial period of the familial infighting, and withdrawal was tantamount to suicide. Even if both of his legs were completely broken, he couldn't go home before the end of the trial.
The loyal servants didn't deliver bad news, so Madam Meng had no way of knowing the twins' real situation, let alone that her son Shangguan Fei had completely lost his will to fight.
Shangguan Fei was holed up in the house at Northern Jade City. The first thing he did after he got better was to send Servant Qing to plead for peace with his sister. He would like to hand over all his territory and was even willing to join the Kun Society as long as his little sister could protect him.
Eight of Shangguan Fei's nine killers were dead and the only one still alive was the one that had stayed at Jade City. He feared that he would be assassinated again. His ferocious brothers would probably not care about breaking the order of Northern Jade City. He would rather hand out everything to show that he had no intention of fighting for power.
Shangguan Ru was ostensibly in a better position because she wasn't scared out of her wits. But the daughter of the Unique King had actually become tired of killing. Only three killers knew this secret and they would not reveal it.
She stayed at Southern Jade City and had communicated to the special envoy from the castle that she would take on all the responsibilities, especially the assassination of the fourth young lord, which was her decision and order.
She had meant to protect Servant Huan and didn't expect that this would earn herself unprecedented fame.
"The Fight for the Throne has begun," the residents of Jade City all excitedly whispered. All of a sudden, the older generation became popular and everyone wanted to know the details of the last battle.
The current Unique King had been a tough guy since he was young. All the people who had experienced the last 'Fight for the Throne' said with assurance that they were optimistic about this ferocious young lord. Didn't you see that the castle was full of widows? To be the Unique King, the first thing one had to do was to be ruthless to one's family. Tenth Gongzi had a good start, and Golden Roc Castle might really choose a female King Lord for the first time.
A few wise men were contemptuous of the nonsense, and said to those who would listen. "The Fight for the Throne is far from starting. The current King is in the prime of his life. He's not even sixty yet, so who would dare seize the throne? Who has the ability to seize the throne? Chose a woman to be the Unique King? Huh, it's a joke. Even if the current Unique King is willing, thousands of killers of the castle are unwilling. Just wait and see, this is just an accident, it won't cause a war. The fourth young lord died in vain."
Truth often lay in the hands of a few. The so-called 'Fight for the Throne' really did not happen. The fourth young lord was originally an enemy of Madam Meng, so his death only weakened the power of the fraction of the big young lord and they could no longer fight back.
Madam Meng actually hoped that the twins could take this chance to launch a large-scale retaliation, but Shangguan Fei refused to leave his room and Shangguan Ru's mind was too hard to guess.
Tenth Gongzi took over all of her brother's territory. The Kun Society and Qiu Society merged again, but it wasn't as glamorous as it looked to be because this meant that she had to pay 1,150,000 taels of the 'peace talisman' all by herself.
The three killers took charge of everything for her. Gu Shenwei took advantage of Tenth Gongzi's remaining fame and made a prompt decision. He took twenty of the finest sabremen with him, and visited all the young lords' strongholds in Southern Jade City.
It was these strongholds that were nominally given to the twins but still worked for their own lords and had refused to hand over the core power as well as pay the monthly silver in advance.
For each place he visited, Gu Shenwei would bring an extra sabre, put it on the overseer's desk, and patiently explain Tenth Gongzi's order. "Accept the sabre, or hand over everything."
The first one to surrender was the fourth young lord's stronghold. Since their lord was dead, there was naturally no need for the living ones to continue showing their loyalty. The stronghold was withdrawn, all the people were merged to the Kun Society, and all its money deposited withdrawn.
A few other young lords' strongholds appeared tough and showed that they would resist to the end. Things finally went smoothly after Gu Shenwei beheaded an overseer's head in public.
The outsiders had yet to discover Tenth Gongzi's change. Gu Shenwei had to take this chance to strengthen his own power under the name of Kun Society. He still remembered Wild Horse's plan to build sabremen teams and he intended to follow through. So, when the Kun Society finally collected the 1,150,000 taels for bribing, he had other ideas about the use of the money.
He was ready to clash with the money collector.