Chapter 43 Training
The relationship between Gu Shenwei and Shangguan Yushi had become very subtle. On the surface, they held a normal lord-servant relationship, where one was high above the other, who always acted cautiously. But when no one was looking, their eyes would inadvertently reveal the deep hatred they held for each other.
There were no more open fights between the two of them and their battlefield was transferred to Ninth Gongzi Shangguan Ru. After all, they had the same purpose – please Unique King’s most favoured daughter.
Gu Shenwei had regained his status as the most favoured fighting partner and followed the twins to run around every morning. He would make use of every opportunity he got to instill in Shangguan Ru's mind the idea that : she must become a killer if she wants to learn Golden Roc Castle’s most amazing martial arts.
This was just in accordance to what Shangguan Ru had wanted. She had become twelve years old after New Year but was still not eligible to participate in the family business, so she was as curious about their own killers as the other teenagers.
Gu Shenwei thought everything went as he had planned, but it turned out that he was late by a step. The one who finished the incitement task hadn't been him, but Shangguan Yushi.
The first lunar month had ended and the atmosphere of New Year had long been swept away. On that morning, as soon as the twins came to the school, Shangguan Ru stood on the steps. She called all the footmen belonged to her, her brother and Shangguan Yushi to be in front of her. There were about 24 or 25 people in total, then she announced loudly:
“Boys, follow me, let’s play a new game.”
Gu Shenwei knew it was Shangguan Yushi’s idea when he saw her smilingly pat her cousin’s shoulder to show her support and agreement.
Although Gu Shenwei was surprised, he was glad to see that it worked. The footmen head Servant Qing thought it was a headache because Ninth Gongzi‘s ‘game’ was always full of dangers and he was unable to join most of them.
But this time, he still thought it was going too far. The three little lords went so far as to openly bring 20 to 30 people and go straight to the east castle. Wasn’t it enough for them to sneak inside once? Are they going to break in this time? Servant Qing ran to the forefront, he was just about looking for Shangguann Yushi to ask her to persuade Ninth Gongzi not to wanton mischief, before he saw afar that the door of the east castle was already open, which seemed to welcome the arrival of the crowd.
Servant Qing was stupefied. Although he was only in his 30s, he had already served several little lords as he grew up. He had never seen anybody as indulged as the twins. Someone would even help hold the ladder if the twins wanted to climb the sky.
If another young lord behaved like this when he was little, the servants would scold him, telling him to focus on his kung fu practise. The masters at Peng Yue Yuan were more powerful than the kung fu instructors at the east castle. And he would only enter the east castle when his kung fu was better than the general killers and eligible to be called as young lord. At that time, he would enter the east castle as a lord to pick his subordinates, not as a disciple.
The twins were really spoiled too much.
Servant Qing kept shaking his head like a dog drenched with water, and didn’t notice that the teenagers behind him were secretly laughing at him.
For most of the footmen, it was their first time entering the east castle, and so they were both excited and nervous. They kept looking around, hoping to see something peculiar so they could boast in front of the others once they went out of the east castle.
They were disappointed. There was no big difference between the east castle and other places. Similar criss-cross alleys and one yard after another on both sides. The only peculiarity was that there was no people in it. They had walked for a long time and hadn’t seen any figures. It was as if they were walking inside a deserted city.
But this ‘deserted city’ appeared to be rather clean. There was no snow at all on the stone road; the yard doors were also strictly closed. Classic characters were engraved on the towering lintel, which were like pairs of cold eyes monitoring the invaders.
The excitement gradually dispersed and terror spread amongst the footmen, especially when the two gongzis led the crowd to walk further and further. No one knew who let out the rumor, saying that the final destination of the trip was Afterlife Cliff.
In Golden Roc Castle, Afterlife Cliff was much more famous than Groaning Ghost Cliff. For those servants who grew up in the castle, most of them even hadn’t heard of Ji Xin Yuan, but they all knew Afterlife Cliff. They believed that all the dead killers would be dropped into the abyss from here and they were still protecting Golden Roc Castle with another form in another world. It was said that Afterlife Cliff was haunted even during the daytime…
Seeing the cliff at the end of alley afar, Servant Qing’s two legs instantly became as soft as cotton, who could barely move forward by holding the teenager beside him. He cried with a trembling voice: “Two gongzis, please don’t go any further, in front of you is …”
“Afterlife Cliff, why can’t we go?”
Shangguan Ru turned around and said calmly.
The ominous rumor was confirmed, a large number of people softened their legs like Servant Qing. They huddled together and were no longer willing to move forward.
“This is a test.” Shangguan Ru had speculated the reaction of the servants, “Those who have guts can follow me. Cowards should go back and leave east castle by yourself.”
More than half of them were not bold, so they were all relieved after hearing this, but Shangguan Ru hadn’t finished: “Don’t tell others you are our footmen after you leave the east castle, go find new lords by yourself.”
Shangguan Fei, who was frightened and didn't dare to approach Afterlife Cliff before New Year, suddenly became bold. He stood by his sister’s side, exclaiming:
“The ones sent away at Afterlife Cliff were all elites of Golden Roc Castle. Not only the killers, even my father and I will ascend to heaven there after we have died, which of you dislike and want to avoid this place?”
With these words, those who retreated half a step all changed and moved one step forward. Once one had the reputation of ‘abandoning the lord’, they would find it very difficult to survive in Golden Roc Castle, let alone to find a new lord. Although the two gongzis were childish and their punishment was severe, they were greatly favoured by King Lord and their future was immeasurable. It was an easy job to serve the twins, and they could be rewarded every now and then. Only a fool was willing to leave.
Especially Servant Qing, Shangguan Ru and Shangguan Fei were probably the last two lords he served. He had to work harder so he could obtain an important position when the lords grew up.
No one returned, they all mustered up their courage to walk towards Afterlife Cliff, as if everyone was fearless of death for a just cause.
It turned out the most terrible thing didn’t occur and Shangguan Ru’s final destination was not Afterlife Cliff.
On the south of the alley end was a giant boulder, which was less than 33cm to the wall and one person could barely pass through. As they walked further, the narrow path led suddenly to a semicircular open area.
On the west of the open area was a tall wall of a yard, the north side was the giant boulder. A cambered cliff was on the east side which was suddenly cut straight on the south side.
Although it was close to Afterlife Cliff and itself was a cliff, it was a hidden and particular spot after being separated by the giant boulder. It's safety had been greatly improved especially after the cliff edge was surrounded with waist-high iron chain. The footmen let go of their fear and praised continuously, all wondering how the two little lords found this place.
Gu Shenwei was also perplexed, nobody knew this place when they came here last time. After a careful observation, he found the iron chain and stone pillar near the cliff edge were still new. Obviously they were newly installed. The ground had a sign of being cleaned, there was no gravel. It was so flat as if it had been polished.
It must be King Lord, who gave the order to clean this place and sent it to the twins for having fun.
Gu Shenwei had also been doted on by his family, but he had never been treated like the twins, who could do and get whatever they wanted.
Gu Shenwei suddenly became jealous out of nowhere. The favour gained by the twins kept reminding him of how wonderful the life he had lost. This, however, also strengthened his resolve for revenge. He even indulged his thoughts for a while, imagining the scene that one day he killed the twins and broke the heart of Unique King.
He quickly controlled the ‘wild horse’ inside his heart, and pretended to praise like others.
The twins and Shangguan Yushi looked very proudly at the footmen under them, when the gasps of admiration rested a bit, Shangguan Ru declared the content of the new game:
“Listen, I will choose several talented from you, and train them to be killers by myself.”
Shangguan Fei interrupted: “And me, I’ll also train killers.”
“Hmm, and also Yu Gongzi, the three of us will be Sabrelords, and the most formidable ones among you will be a killer.”
The crowd calmed down after hearing this. It turns out that they are going to play a ‘fake killer’ game. With the twins’ protection,one will not be punished no matter how one rummages and tosses around in the castle and there’s certainly no real danger. If the two gongzis have fun, one may even be rewarded the title of ‘killer’. If that happens, it would be very lucky for them. Considering this, all the footmen rushed headlong to register. Even Servant Qing was attracted, he pushed in the crowd, claiming that he was helping restore the order. In fact, he himself went to stand at the forefront.
But there was also someone who sneered in the heart, the two lords will gain their status as ‘young lord’, now they want to reduce themselves to be ‘sabrelords’; they’re really childish.
But the three ‘sabrelords’ were very happy, they started poaching their own ‘killers’.
Gu Shenwei’s heart rested. Although this was just a game, if he got it right, the twins had learnt many killer’s techniques from Peng Yue Yuan, which would be always helpful for him. And along this process, he would be favoured more by Shangguan Ru. Amongst this group of teenagers, who could learn better and faster than him?
He thought perfectly, but he had neglected one point, how could it be possible for Shangguan Yushi to let him contact easily and frequently with Shangguan Ru?
Shangguan Yushi called him as soon as they started selecting ‘killers’. She smiled proudly at the twins: “We said the one who spoke first gets to own him; do not cheat.”
The twins’ chagrin was written over their faces. Servant Huan had the highest kung fu amongst all the footmen and both of them wanted him. Shangguan Fei learned quickly. He immediately called another teenager whose kung fu was not bad. Shangguan Ru rolled her eyes, and finally chose her ‘killers’ without any other solutions.
Gu Shenwei’s chagrin could only be hidden deeply in his heart. His fight with Shangguan Yushi was still ongoing, and he lost another round.
The selection quickly ended, each of the three ‘sabrelords’ had selected three ‘killers’, the others were led away by Servant Qing.
Servant Qing hadn’t been chosen; he sighed and left with other losing candidates. Actually he didn’t know any kung fu, and didn't even dare to see people get killed.
The three ‘killers’ team selected their own place to train. Shangguan Yushi occupied the north side near the giant boulder, Shangguan Ru was in the middle, and Shangguan Fei was in the southern part.
Shangguan Yushi looked coldly at the three person belonged to her. The first training was asking them to carry the wooden weapons.
Gu Shenwei soon understood her intentions.
It never crossed Shangguan Yushi’s mind to train the so-called ‘killers’. She just kept arranging new chores for the three, carrying wooden sabre and sword, taking kung fu manuals, delivering tea and handkerchief, so on and so forth. In sum, to reduce their time of being present.
In this way, Gu Shenwei not only couldn’t learn anything, he even lost the chance to approach Shangguan Ru.
But the other two teenagers were happy with it. Playing with the lords had always been what they wanted; they didn’t want to practise kung fu hard, and these chores were actually their duties, so they deliberately dawdled. If possible, they’d like to not come here for a whole day.
But the twins took this game seriously. They had learnt many unique skills of killers and forced their underlings to train hard which caused the teenagers to complain a lot and all of them admired the three person under Shangguan Yushi.
Several days later, it became even worse.
When there was really nothing to do, Shangguan Yushi would order the three to guard outside, calling it by a good name of ‘invisible sentry’ and saying that it was a technique a killer must have.
Gu Shenwei encountered a barrier he couldn’t even make a detour about. This girl, who harboured a grudge, was even stubborn than that giant boulder.