Editors: Cypress Venus Trap, Xu Xian
Chapter 30 The Fighting Partner
Gu Shenwei ran to the school gate early the next morning. Since he had a footman-level yao pai, he didn’t need Xue Niang to lead him there. He didn’t wait to bow to the Miss as Xue Niang would probably explain for him.
Gu Shenwei was the first person to arrive. When Servant Qing came, he nodded to show his satisfaction with Gu Shenwei.
Servant Qing and the others were footmen and outsiders, they were not allowed to enter the inner chambers. Their main duty was to hold various paraphernalia that needed to be sent in immediately when the lords called. They would remain idle if the lord had no requirements. Aside from them, the twins had several other bookkeepers to serve them closely.
Accompanied by a retinue, the twins and Shangguan Yushi arrived together. Gu Shenwei was unable to see them as he was pushed to the back by the crowd.
The two ‘gongzi‘ arrived earlier than usual, which surprised Servant Qing. Before he could ask for an explanation, a voice came from inside the school, “Let the kid who was here yesterday come in!”
Servant Qing shook his head, grabbed Servant Huan out of the crowd, and pushed him towards the gate as if to say, “This is what you asked for.”
Some school kids were already gathered in the yard, forming a circle like yesterday. A gap was left for ‘the kid who was here yesterday’ to enter.
The twins stood side by side, ignoring each other, it was Shangguan Yushi who was responsible for talking. The male attire she wore appeared to fit poorly as she was too tall. “Hey kid, admit your defeat to Ninth Gongzi, or fight again – choose one.”
Shangguan Fei’s mouth was covered by his sister’s hand before he even opened it.
More and more school kids gathered, they didn’t enter the school door, but stayed in the yard to watch the fun instead.
“I won’t give up," Gu Shenwei said.
The school kids pointing at him were all shocked and looked incredulously at the new servant. Did he not see those shivering teenagers, her past opponents who were all covered in scars?
“You won’t give up? You want to fight again? You…” Shangguan Yushi was surprised and asked a series of questions in reply, forgetting what to say next.
Shangguan Fei pushed away his sister’s hand and excitedly shouted, “Good servant!”
Shangguan Ru raised her head proudly. “Well, let’s fight again, still 10 moves, I will not let you stand up.”
Gu Shenwei decided to not be humble towards these twins, and not use those servants’ tricks. He would do the exact opposite; he would use his strength and force to win their respect and trust.
He knew too well how these rich kids thought. When he was still the young lord of the Gu family, his favorite game was to compete with others. Which guardsman who fought against him gained the most favour from him? It was not the one who fell immediately after being touched and kowtowed to admit his defeat, instead, it was the one who appeared to seriously fight against him using their full strength.
He too once had several bookkeepers, however, in the end, he only kept Ming Xiang who had the poorest temper and constantly argued with him. When one had a group of servants, what one wanted most was an equal playmate.
Even the ‘equality’ was fake.
These thoughts of the previous young lord of the Gu family was the weakness of the twins of the Shangguan family now.
Gu Shenwei assumed a posture and said, “Please enlighten me, gongzi.”
He only blocked and didn’t attack unlike yesterday, but today he decided to show some of his real skills.
Surprisingly, a little servant spoke to Shangguan Ru with a tone that a man of jianghu would use, the surrounding school kids roared, they knew they were in to watch lots of fun today. Servant Qing, who was outside the gate, listened intently, he knew that there would be trouble again. It was a pity that he could not drag that ignorant servant out and beat him. Shangguan Yushi became more and more confused, she didn’t know how to react. Shangguan Fei held his head high and wore a smile that boasted how the new servant just earned him some face.
Shangguan Ru’s face flushed for a bit at first, but then she raised her head higher. “Don’t be hard mouthed, we’ll see once we fight.”
The two of them fought for more than 100 moves the second time, the supporters’ shouts from each side rang out through almost half of Golden Roc Castle. No one mentioned the 10 moves anymore, now they just wanted to know who was stronger. Was it the imperious, undefeated Shangguan Ru? Or the bodacious, unique litter servant?
This fight was different from the previous half-genuine fight. Shangguan Ru fought cruelly, the little servant also did not hold back, his Tiger Subduing Fist moves were vigorous and the school kids standing nearby even had to move away to avoid his momentum.
Servant Qing was stupefied seeing the scene through the gate slit, he didn’t understand what was wrong with this Servant Huan. Wasn’t he afraid of causing trouble, or getting a lot of people into trouble? In the end, he came to the conclusion that the people brought by the robber’s daughter were all disobedient.
Gu Shenwei had indeed used his full strength in his fist and foot techniques; he even used the Eight Trigrams Palms he had learnt when he was still at home, but he still had reservations. He only used less than 50% of his balanced power. The ‘equality’ was limited, he could not hurt this androgynous ‘gongzi‘.
But Shangguan Ru was not an average rival, though she was a girl and was 3 or 4 years younger than Gu Shenwei, her martial arts skill was extraordinary. She knew more fist techniques than Gu Shenwei, and used at least five different martial arts in those 100 moves. In the end, Gu Shenwei had to block instead of attack. Even so, he struggled to stay afoot, he wanted to use his full balanced power, but now, he was already out of physical strength.
It was that lofty old teacher who stopped the fight again, saving Gu Shenwei from his predicament.
The two of them were fighting too hard and the onlookers were also too engaged. The old teacher called out several times but nobody answered him. He had turned red in the face, waved his ruler, and hit several people's necks before the group of teenagers returned to reality from their madness. They all shrugged, stuck out their tongues, and hurried back to the school.
Gu Shenwei was really tired, he hadn't felt this tired even when he used to have to carry the dead everyday.
Shangguan Ru, who was standing opposite him, also seemed to be the same, beads of sweat formed on her face and her hair was dishevelled. She looked like she wanted to say something in jianghu jargon, but she took a few breaths and failed to speak.
Shangguan Yushi spoke for her cousin and said, "Wait and see," then carried Shangguan Ru into the school.
Shangguan Fei was more timid than his little sister. Seeing how the old teacher became angry, he didn’t have time to care about the new servant who just earnt him some face, he immediately ran away.
Gu Shenwei bent over and held onto his knees, breathing heavily. His sweat fell onto the thin snow, pounding small holes in the snow. Then, his neck was hit inexplicably.
The old teacher looked angry. This was his territory, Golden Roc Castle was full of killers, only this place still preserved some politeness, but it was disturbed by an unknown humble servant.
Outside the gate, what awaited Gu Shenwei was an even more furious Servant Qing, he spent more than two hours explaining the rules of the castle, proving how Servant Huan had done something completely outrageous which would not only cause trouble for himself, but would also cause others to be blamed.
“If the little miss lost even one hair, you won't be able to afford it, even if you’re torn into pieces.”
In his anxiety, Servant Qing called Shangguan Ru ‘little miss’, which was her true title in everyone’s hearts.
Gu Shenwei almost didn’t say anything else except yes. No one knew how many hairs Shangguan Ru had lost during their fight, but he knew how far to go and didn’t hurt her. On the contrary, she hadn't shown any mercy, his face was filled with bruises and his body had even more.
Servant Qing was determined to send Servant Huan back, even if it was at the expense of offending the eighth young lord.
But when the school ended at noon, his resolve wavered and he became even more astonished.
As always, the twins and Shangguan Yushi exited the gate first. Shangguan Ru was in the middle, her breathing was smooth and her hair was rearranged. She stopped and pointed at Servant Huan who stood farthest away. “This kid will be my footman from now on.”
Servant Qing was too surprised to say anything, Shangguan Fei was also amazed. “Ehhh, eighth brother send this kid to me.”
“Hmmm, I want him, he belongs to me from now on.”
Then, Shangguan Ru pulled the sniffing Shangguan Yushi to leave with their heads held high whilst Shangguan Fei nagged and argued from behind, but everyone could guess the outcome. The elder brother never held a chance against the little sister.
Servant Qing wanted to say something even though he didn't know what to say. He reminded Servant Huan that this was a coincidence and that nothing good would happen, even if Ninth Gongzi decided to take him away. He suggested to Servant Huan that it was better to admit his defeat or his ending would be more miserable and so on and so forth.
The Shangguan twins had walked far away before Gu Shenwei got rid of Servant Qing.
The plan hadn’t developed as he had expected, Gu Shenwei wanted to please the little gongzi Shangguan Fei, but he had been taken away by Shangguan Ru.
What he was worried about was dealing with Xue Niang, she clearly ordered him to please the little gongzi. However, when he went to give his report at night, Xue Niang just sneered and didn’t say who's side she was on.
Soon enough, Gu Shenwei found that it was not easy to follow Ninth Gongzi. Shangguan Ru treated him as a well-matched rival, and would fight with him at least once a day. At school, on the road, or outside in the yard to practise kung fu, whenever she wanted, she would fight him. Shangguan Yushi and Shangguan Fei also practised with him occasionally.
Shangguan Ru was Unique King’s daughter, so naturally she had many masters to teach her. She was also very competitive and smart, so within a couple of days, Gu Shenwei had to use his full strength to keep up with her.
Shangguan Yushi was a deeply shrewd girl, she had always appeared to be equally matched with Shangguan Ru when they fought, but after Gu Shenwei fought with her several times, he was completely sure that she was actually more powerful, but hid it well.
Although Shangguan Fei was a boy, his kung fu was ordinary and he was a bit bad-tempered. Gu Shenwei could only deal with him patiently and avoided fighting with him.
But this was it, Gu Shenwei had no more chances to make further progress in pleasing the twins. In their eyes, he was just a servant who could bear their punches and had dared to fight against them, it was impossible for him to be treated as their ‘equal’.
Gu Shenwei only knew two sets of fist techniques and it remained limited no matter how hard he trained himself. He wanted to improve, but he didn’t want to beg, and Xue Niang was not the kind of person who took pity on people. So Gu Shenwei continued reporting to her everyday, telling her how fast Shangguan Ru had improved and how much she liked fighting, after almost a month, he finally persuaded Xue Niang into teaching him the set Wishful Palm.
Xue Niang said that the fists and feet were the base, the sabre and sword were the things a killer should rely on. However, Servant Huan’s opponent was Unique King’s daughter, so she could only strengthen his foundation, she didn’t teach him any more sabresmanship nor increase his internal energy.
The Wishful Palm was both offensive and defensive so, compared to the Tiger Subduing Fist, its moves were more abstruse. Gu Shenwei spent 10 days learning it and then learnt a set of catching and leg techniques. He and Xue Niang were similar to a master and a disciple, but their relationship was still as cold as it was in the beginning, she didn’t even reveal a word of her true goal.
Gu Shenwei’s kung fu was improving, but Shangguan Ru also hadn’t fallen behind. The two of them competed with each other, fighting from early to late winter. Since the new year was arriving, the twins didn’t have to come to school and he finally had some time to rest.
Gu Shenwei originally thought about going on like this to slowly keep the twins in the palms of his hands. Then he would take advantage of them to enter the inner part of Golden Roc Castle. However, his ideal of being a killer was rekindled due to an occurrence in the twelfth lunar month .
In the past few days, even Golden Roc Castle, which relied on murder to make a living, was decorated, preparing to celebrate the New Year like ordinary families. No one could have thought that someone would be so arrogant to blatantly pass through the Jade City, walk up the mountain, cross the formidable stone beam, set up a flag, arrange a sabre and spear, and openly challenge Unique King.