Chapter 226 Trouble
Gu Shenwei began to sense the hypervigilance of Golden Roc Castle. Before this, he had been hiding in the shadows and doing everything he possibly could to disguise his assassinations as natural accidents and man-made disasters. It was not until he had tried to assassinate Meng Mingxian and the Governor that he finally slipped up and left some evidence, but this opening was immediately seized by the sabrelord Shen Liang.
All of a sudden, Gu Shenwei was plagued by crisis. The surveillance of Washing Heart Yard, the killing intent of the Unique King, and the hidden resentment of Madam Meng all weighed on his mind. However, he never expected that the one who would destroy his grand plan halfway would be Luo Ningcha.
It was the sixteenth of July, and the show of making peace between the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law was about to end.
No one was able to figure out Luo Ningcha's mind on the surface, and her thick layers of veil became the best cover. She must have planned it for a long time to be able to behave calmly, politely, humbly, and obediently like a little daughter-in-law who followed the 'three obediences and four virtues'. Even Madam Meng was deceived, and somehow believed that her daughter-in-law really had changed her temper this time.
Lotus sneaked into the crowd and met Shangguan Ru and Xu Yanwei who had dressed up as a maidservant and who had been waiting for her. They immediately held her, secretly helped her clean up the dust, and smoothed the makeup on her face.
At the end of the worship ceremony outside the temple, the maidservants who were waiting behind came over to serve their lords. The scene was a bit chaotic, and Luo Ningcha, who was surrounded by many maidservants, put one of her hands on the shoulders of the maidservant leading the way while the other hand naturally took a wooden board full of characters from Lotus.
In total, there were ten wooden boards, covered with green silk and held by Lotus with both hands, which made them look like a spare jewelry box.
Lotus didn't sleep for three days and two nights. If she had not received very strict training as a killer, she would have been unable to hold on. Her mind and reactions, however, slowed down drastically due to her fatigue. Although she subconsciously tried to fold her hands, she failed to stop the Miss from taking the wooden board on the top.
Seeing that the green silk was about fall to the ground, Shangguan Ru hurriedly caught it and recovered the wooden boards. She was also surprised as Luo Ningcha's intervention wasn't part of the pre-agreed plan.
Luo Ningcha hid her hand with the board behind her long veil, which was actually a very cleaver cover. Shangguan Ru and Lotus thought she had done it to help them, so they heaved a sigh of relief.
What happened next, however, made them gasp.
Luo Ningcha suddenly turned around and smilingly said with a voice that was not too big but could be heard by the crowd around, "Isn't this Tenth Gongzi? How naughty of you to come here and play maid."
As she finished, Luo Ningcha slowly walked downstairs and left. Still, no one was able to see her expression.
Lotus could only follow the Miss, leaving Shangguan Ru alone to face the unexpected 'attack'.
Not everyone of the hundreds of women present was wise enough to see through the eighth young mistress's move, and someone who had a brain fart approached and was pleasantly surprised to recognize Shangguan Ru. "Ehh, it's really Tenth Gongzi. The makeup is really good, and I couldn't have recognized you if eighth young mistress didn't call it out. Tenth Gongzi, when did you come back? It must be very tough out there, isn't it? Madam must be very happy to …"
Madam Meng, who had experienced numerous struggles, didn't expect that she would be struck by her eighth daughter-in-law whom she always looked down upon. As soon as the reconciliation ceremony between the two was over, they formed a deep hatred that could no longer be resolved.
"Ru'er, come hold me." Madam Meng, with a motherly smile on her face, called her bewildered daughter to her side. "People always say that raising a son is not as good as raising a daughter. It's really true. Whenever a mother is seriously ill, her son is still out there fooling around, but her daughter has insisted on coming back to see her mother."
The news that Madam Meng was seriously ill startled everyone around. The women came over to show their concern, some holding her and some leading the way. All the maids were pushed away. But no matter how hard Madam Meng tried, the matter that Tenth Gongzi had returned to the castle before the end of her trial had been exposed.
The women knew little about the rules of the castle, and did not yet realize the hidden meaning of the incident. Instead, they kept on praising the filial piety of Tenth Gongzi and that the Madam had raised a good daughter, and so on and so forth. But when the news reached the killers' ears, they immediately understood that it would become even more difficult for Tenth Gongzi to win the title of 'young lord' from now on.
There was no rule saying that the young lord must spend a whole year experiencing life and toughening up outside the castle, but it was a tradition and sometimes tradition was even more powerful than the constraining force of law.
After returning to her room and sending away her sisters-in-law and daughters-in-law who were still asking about her condition, Madam Meng, who had always kept her grace, said to her daughter with her face darkened, "I have always raised you as a son, and you have never let me down. Now that Old Eighth's wife has challenged you, what will a man of the Shangguan family do?"
The most dismayed and self-reproachful person, however, was Lotus. She had been thinking about the wooden board in the Miss's hand all the way back, but she couldn't openly snatch it back. Luo Ningcha had also guarded against her and let her follow last, but she did not ask for the rest of the boards in Lotus's hand.
This was the result of Gu Shenwei's anxious waiting.
He asked Lotus to make a copy of the remaining nine pieces of wooden board right away before sending them to the inner chamber. Madam Meng now probably not only hated the eighth young mistress, but also the two killers whose stances were ambiguous. They had to pamper her as soon as possible.
Gu Shenwei also had to see Luo Ningcha himself.
Luo Ningcha met Servant Huan in the bedroom, where she placed a screen in front of her, leaving only Tsui Nü and Xu Yanwei to serve her. She was so proud of herself that she couldn't even sit still. As she paced back and forth, she said in a cheerful tone, "Finally, it's my turn. This is just perfect. How was my trick, Servant Huan? Even you were kept in the dark. Haha, the old beggaress wants her daughter to hide in the castle secretly, but I will not let her dream come true. Servant Huan, you've made a big contribution. I've acted the way you told me, 'retreating for the sake of advancing', and 'striking after gaining the enemy's trust.' It's so much fun."
Gu Shenwei suppressed the anger in his heart. This woman didn't realize that she had put herself in mortal danger, and was still gloating about her victory. "Miss is really smart. I've just made a few suggestions and Miss has already mastered them all and come up with your own ideas. Where's the board?"
"I've hidden it."
"May I have a look?"
"No." Luo Ningcha's refusal was straightforward. Then she burst out in a series of laughter. "Poor little Servant Huan, you think you can fool me with the treasure map, don't you? Heh, I've already figured out that the things you were trying to steal weren't that simple when the old beggaress was willing to make peace with me. Although my husband is a useless fellow, he is very ambitious. He used to tell me that he would become Unique King sooner or later and he also said a lot of things about the so-called Daoless Divine Power or Liu Sha Sabre. It's a pity that he can't get King Lord's favour and doesn't even know where the divine power is hidden, but today I've got it."
Gu Shenwei really wanted to tell this woman right now that Big Head God was nearly finished. The Miss's backer was about to collapse with enough dust to bury her deeply ten times.
"Miss, you've done a great deed for eighth young lord." Gu Shenwei pretended to be indifferent. If Luo Ningcha knew that the divine power recorded on the board was related to the deaths of three people, she would definitely not hand it out easily.
"Humph, I did not do it for him."
"Miss plans to practise it yourself?"
"Bah, I don't have time to practise the so-called divine power."
"So Miss has other plans."
"Hee hee, do the old beggaress and the little girl want this board very much?"
"I suppose so."
"Don't suppose this and that. Servant Huan, if you ever dare to play tricks in front of me, I … I will use this board to exchange for your life."
Hearing this, Gu Shenwei calmed down instead. It turned out that the Miss didn't have a fully formed plan and that she had done this purely for challenging Madam Meng and making her uncomfortable. He became more and more confused about whether this moody woman was too foolish or too clever.
"Ai, Miss's eyes are really sharp. I can't hide anything from you. I'll tell the truth. According to the rules of the castle, only the King Lord can learn the Daoless Divine Power. The reason why Madam Meng stole the secret manual was because she wanted one of the twins to inherit the throne, but this was all interrupted by Miss's brilliant move. Now, she's being held in Miss's hand."
"So she'll agree to anything I say?"
"Of course, as long as Miss is willing to return the board."
"Well, I'll think about it. I'm too excited to think of anything today. You go to tell the old beggaress. Let her wait and do not play tricks. I've hidden the board properly, so none of you can find it; even Tsui Nü and Wan Nü don't know it. If you provoke me, I will make everything public, and let the King Lord know that you've stolen the divine power."
Gu Shenwei had to admit that Luo Ningcha was in control of everything now. She was a reckless woman, her mind simple to see through but at the same time unpredictable. He had to carefully coax her.
Gu Shenwei and Lotus went to the inner chamber to send the nine pieces of wooden boards, Madam Meng pretended to be ill and didn't show up. Shangguan Ru had already recovered from the incident, and felt both angry and funny about the Miss's deeds. "What on earth does eighth sister-in-law want?"
Gu Shenwei briefly explained the Miss's idea, but Shangguan Ru only became more confused. "She took away the board and used it to threaten us without even thinking of any terms?"
Luo Ningcha was like a rapid river, and although her heart was too clear to hide anything, it flowed fiercely and no one knew which way it would go.
"Miss … is a little cranky." Gu Shenwei said helplessly.
"It's all my fault." Lotus had not yet recovered from her guilt. "If I had held it tighter … or memorized it."
"How can we blame you? You hadn't closed your eyes for three days, so how could you memorize all those characters? If there's anyone to blame, it should be me. I should have held the boards for you at that time."
The two teenage girls rushed to take the responsibility. Gu Shenwei listened for a while and said, "We have to find a way to get the Miss to hand over the board."
The three of them started reading the characters on the board. Lotus wrote it very neatly, and the small characters didn't even seem like they were written in the dark.
The three were familiar with the first two boards, which were strange characters like the last part of the Death Sutra. Shangguan Ru had only learned the first one thousand or so characters, so she was very surprised to see the rest.
Then there was a set of complex method for training internal energy. For each paragraph they read, Shangguan Ru would happily cry out 'I've learnt this'. The passage finally looked unfamiliar to her after the fifth board.
The internal energy training method of Golden Roc Castle came from the Daoless Divine Power. It was only a very small modified part of the Daoless Scroll, as the real Daoless Divine Power was hundreds of times more powerful, which was exactly the reason why the Unique King of the past generations could surpass all the killers.
The three exchanged a glance after they finished reading it. The part Luo Ningcha had taken away was actually the last part of the text. They could still practise without that part, but they wouldn't be able to reach completion.
The importance of Luo Ningcha was suddenly reduced a lot, and Shangguan Ru recalled the words of her mother, 'What will a man of the Shangguan family do?'