Chapter 46 Mine
When the twins started getting bored of the ‘assassination’ game and went back to study in school, the summer season had already started. Lush green mosses started growing in the crevices of Golden Roc Castle and the air was filled with the rich fragrance of unknown flowers.
He didn't know why, but Xue Niang became anxious and started forcing him to try harder at pleasing Shangguan Ru so that he would be allowed to follow her to the inner chamber. This was the first clear goal Xue Niang had set.
Gu Shenwei had no choice but to promise that he would make it. But in truth, it was very difficult for a footman to enter the inner chamber. Most of the time Shangguan Ru would bring him along to play for fun and treated him like a regular friend. But when she felt tired, she would naturally changed back to being ‘Ninth Gongzi’ and enter the red door, delineating their status: Inside the door lived the lords of Golden Roc Castle and their confidants, outside it were the readily available servants.
Now, his main daily duty was to clean the Giant Boulder Cliff.
The Giant Boulder Cliff was now the twins’ stronghold. As time went by, the crevices of the stone wall and the secret cavities under the boulder became filled with all kinds of paraphernalia. Items like wooden weapons, small target butts, ropes, flags, and books were stashed all over the place. Gu Shenwei had to put them away properly and remember their exact locations so that he could find them immediately whenever the two gongzis needed them.
This was a task requiring several footmen to work together, but ever since the twins returned to school the other footmen started to get lazy. They only checked in near noon, in case the little lords suddenly showed up.
Gu Shenwei liked it this way instead of having to wait for orders at the school gate every morning, because Servant Qing didn’t like him which caused the other footmen to isolate him. Since the small door of east castle was always kept open for him now, he just came to the Giant Boulder Cliff directly. After cleaning up every item on his own, he could focus on practising kung fu without worrying about being disturbed .
The twins would usually come in the afternoon to play for a while. Aside from their constant companion Shangguan Yushi, they would sometimes bring some scions of the Shangguan family too, making the winners of such an 'honor' feel proud of themselves to the point that the number of times these scions went to the Giant Boulder Cliff became the basis of their status in Golden Roc Castle.
Shangguan Ru and Gu Shenwei’s kung fu competition was always a part of the program. The two of them didn’t compete with their fist or foot techniques anymore and instead fought with wooden sabres. Their sabresmanship was far beyond that of the others that no one dared to challenge Servant Huan anymore. Even the little gongzi Shangguan Fei refused with a disdainful attitude.
Perhaps, Shangguan Yushi was the only one comparable to those two, but she also refused to compete with Servant Huan. Without giving any reason, but the others all could see her loathing of this servant.
Inevitably, rumors about the three of them started to circulate, but Gu Shenwei never put such things in his mind. He was, however, more alert knowing that the longer Shangguan Yushi waited, the more vicious she would be when she attacked.
That morning, as usual, Gu Shenwei went directly to the Giant Boulder Cliff. The east castle was as desolate as always, but he could now sense the guards hidden near several intersections. As he walked closer to the Afterlife Cliff, the feeling vanished. The cliff had always been the least guarded place in the Golden Roc Castle.
As soon as he walked into the Giant Boulder Cliff, however, Gu Shenwei immediately realized someone was waiting in ambush nearby. Although that person was trying their best to hold their breath, they were not comparable to the experienced guards.
Gu Shenwei thought it was the twins skipping school to play here and wanted to make fun of him, so like their previous ‘assassination’ targets, he also pretended to be unaware as he cleaned up the scattered items on the ground as usual.
The assailant was obviously impatient, immediately sneaking an attack as soon as Gu Shenwei bent his body for the first time.
Gu Shenwei decided to bear the move to please this sneaky attacker. However, the moment the weapon touched his body, he immediately changed his mind and wanted to counterattack, but being too late, he could only roll forward to barely avoid the fatal blow. And yet, he still felt an intense pain on his back—he had been stabbed.
When Gu Shenwei stood up, what he saw wasn't one of the twins but the frosty face of Shangguan Yushi and the weapon she gripped with her hand was not a wooden sabre but a cold, shiny steel dagger.
He instantly understood that Shangguan Yushi was not joking, she really wanted to kill him!
Although Gu Shenwei had prepared for this, he was still very shocked. Shangguan Yushi was only 14 years old—even younger than him by a year—yet she had forborne for several months until she finally retaliated with—surprisingly—a real assassination. There weren’t even any signs that she was almost at the end of her rope.
But not long after, he came to realize how he was also 14 when he got involved in two murders, that of Servant Yao and that of Han Shiqi.
It's just that, seeing her desire to have someone all to herself be as intense as his abhorrence of the extermination of his family still shocked him, making him believe that she must be mad.
Shangguan Yushi was not mad and was more calm than any other time. Servant Huan thought he had squeezed into the small coterie and changed the two-person world into a three-person world; thus, she took advantage of his pride to kill him.
Because the first blow failed, Shangguan Yushi immediately leaped forward and pressed on, not giving her opponent any space to breathe.
Gu Shenwei retreated until he was at the edge of the cliff, his heel already pressing against the iron-chain fence.
He had been tolerant but fury suddenly burned in his chest. He had paid too much for revenge: changing his name, being sold as a servant, being humble, and being a boot-licker, all of which were things he used to believe were worse than death. Now, he had done it all and would continue doing so.
He would not be soft-hearted to any blocks on his road to revenge. Shangguan Yushi wanted him to die, so he would return the favour.
But Shangguan Yushi’s kung fu was not inferior to his, and she had a sharp dagger in her hand. Xue Niang was right: fist and foot were not the match of sabre and sword.
The only advantage Gu Shenwei had was his real murderous heart. For revenge, he didn’t care even if he lived or died.
Shangguan Yushi wanted to kill, but she hadn't comprehended what the murderous heart was; therefore, she didn’t have the will to sacrifice everything for the kill.
And she also lacked some of the essential experience a killer should have, such as, once one had the upper hand, one must not stop attacking. So, she stopped when Servant Huan was only one more step back was the unfathomable abyss, believing she had driven her opponent into a corner..
Like most avengers, she wanted to say something before her enemy died.
People seldom realized that, similar to sabres and swords, words were also important tools for revenge, sometimes even more important.The exhilaration of successfully exacting vengeance was often reflected by the pouring out of denouncement. In his murder of Han Shiqi, Gu Shenwei’s biggest regret had been not revealing his true identity and asking for the location of his sister.
“She’s mine.” Shangguan Yushi said viciously. Her words contained blood-chilling malevolence. At this moment, she wasn't a 14-year-old girl anymore. She had crossed a subtle line, and entered the world of grown-ups, where possession was everything.
Gu Shenwei didn’t answer her for words wouldn’t stop this mad girl. He took this chance to stabilize his stance and adjust his Qi, looking a way to save himself.
“You smelly servant, how dare you compete with me?”
Gu Shenwei thought Shangguan Yushi should direct her questions to Shangguan Ru instead since he had never felt that he was a threat to her. No matter how hard Servant Huan had tried, he was still a servant to the Ninth Gongzi, and Ninth Gongzi’s only friend was her cousin.
Shangguan Yushi was like a dominant lion feeling challenged by Servant Huan's wobbling in the small circle she delineated, and so wanting to kill him.
Before she finished speaking, she had already stabbed at Gu Shenwei, who didn’t retreat anymore, adjusted his stance slightly to protect his vital parts and used his left shoulder to take the blow. At the same time he lunged at Shangguan Yushi making her fall heavily on the ground.
With no other way, he could only break through the dead end by getting hurt with her.
He used the seizing tactics Xue Niang taught him successfully. His following moves were the vicious techniques used for splitting or twisting the bone, but with the two of them fighting with their body against each other, most of the moves were not applied properly and their fight of life and death devolved into a match of strength.
Gu Shenwei finally took the upper hand. His balanced power had improved quickly since Xue Niang helped him and was almost at the third level of yang energy now. Besides, he was a boy, making him physically stronger. Thus, after several moves, he grabbed Shangguan Yushi by the throat.
Her dagger was still embedded on his left shoulder where blood dripped continuously, but Gu Shenwei couldn’t feel the pain. His heart was full of killing intent with all his strength concentrated on his hands.
Shangguan Yushi tried to struggle hard, her face turning crimson due to the lack of air and her eyes filled with terror. She was frightened. This boy was as ferocious as a beast, his body exuding boundless killing aura, which completely overwhelmed her.
“Let her go, what are you two doing!?”
Gu Shenwei raised his head and saw Shangguan Ru standing near the boulder, panic-stricken. She seemed so stunned in terror that she just yelled and couldn't even stop them.
At that moment, Gu Shenwei wanted to just kill Shangguan Ru, as well. Her kung fu was as good as his, or might even be stronger with some moves. But this little girl was the same as Shangguan Yushi, without a real murderous heart. The ‘assassination’ game was only an exercise of skill and not the will to kill.
Reason returned to him at the last moment, dragging him back from a complete break down.
His revenge had just begun, and making a move now was the same as failing halfway. Because, no matter what, he wouldn’t be able to conceal these murders afterwards. Shangguan Ru and Shangguan Yushi were neither ordinary servants nor killers with dirty stains, and if the two of them died at Giant Boulder Cliff, he would be left with no choice but to follow suit.
Gu Shenwei let go of Shangguan Yushi’s neck and stood up in a daze. He didn’t know how to explain this. Shangguan Yushi attacked him first, and the dagger in his shoulder was the best evidence.
Shangguan Yushi also jumped up, and before Servant Huan could open his mouth, she had already pressed her bruised neck with one hand and pointed at her enemy with the other, shouting, “He wanted to kill me!”
“No, I didn’t…” Gu Shenwei was anxious to argue for himself and made the same mistake as Shangguan Yushi did—hesitated when he was on the upper hand, but his mistake was even worse for he forgot he was on the edge of a cliff.
Shangguan Yushi seemed to have used up all her strength, but that was just a trick. She unexpectedly attacked again with a kick even under Shangguan Ru’s gaze, and it hit him exactly at his abdomen.
In order to get rid of her opponent, she would stop at nothing.
Gu Shenwei couldn't evade and could only bear it. Shangguan Yushi used her full strength for this kick, which even a grown-up could not bear. He staggered, stepped back once more and was just blocked by the waist-high iron chain fence.
Even so, he could still barely stand. But Shangguan Yushi was ruthless, kicking again despite Shangguan Ru’s scream.
Gu Shenwei was overturned and sent tumbling over the fence. His hands flailed but couldn't reach the iron chain in time.
How truly ironic… Gu Shenwei was still in the air, but surprisingly, the first thought that popped up in his mind was self-mockery. In the series of ‘assassinations’ in Golden Roc Castle, I ended up as the only one dead.
Shangguan Ru’s scream sounded vaguely, but soon he could no longer hear it.