Editors: J3000, Xu Xian
Chapter 60 Ritual
The ‘great thieves’ were trapped in Shangguan Ru's room, completely ignorant of the chaos sweeping through Golden Roc Castle as a result of their 'mission'.
The first to visit and explain their situation to them was a beautiful, middle-aged woman called Aunt Dong. She was an esteemed servant of the Meng household who had accompanied the Madam on her journey to Golden Roc Castle.
She arrived in a rush soon after Mr Guo's departure, and called out My little devils as she stepped inside.
Both the twins broke into wide smiles when they saw the lady enter. They rushed forward to hold onto her arms and fawn over her. The sabre-wielding teenager hesitated as he was about to act, but decided to feign ignorance. He had only been ordered to bar the four's exit, it wasn't his business to stop anyone who wished to enter.
“Aunt Dong, you have to back me up, what’s wrong with that Mr. Guo? He snuck into my room, threatened me, and even ordered my shadow guard to imprison us here. Does he want to revolt? Isn’t my surname Shangguan?”
Aunt Dong held the twins, and after listening to Shangguan Ru's tyrannical speech didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, “Well, don’t you know the trouble you've caused?”
“We just entered Liu Sha Dian to play around and brought back something to have a look at, what’s the big deal?”
Shangguan Ru had a glib tongue and spoke for the group. Shangguan Fei wanted to interrupt several times to explain, but didn’t get the opportunity.
“You two know that Liu Sha Dian forbids anyone from entering except for on special occasions, and it's always forbidden… for women to enter.”
“Mother said that I have to be a man of indomitable will. Besides, so what about that rule for women? It's too late now, it's just one more of the castle's forbidden areas I've explored. No one's blocked my way in the past and they shouldn't now.”
The more Shangguan Ru spoke the angrier she became, Aunt Dong could only shake her head, “It’s okay for other places, but Liu Sha Dian is different, Mr. Guo happened to be the one on duty tonight, he…. Alas, come here, listen to me…”
Aunt Dong whispered something into Shangguan Ru’s ears, Shangguan Ru let go of her arm, stomped her feet, and said, “It was I who entered, why blame the servant?!”
Gu Shenwei had been standing silently in the corner. Hearing something that directly involved him, he raised his head. It turned out that this Aunt Dong wanted to put all the blame on him. He was an easily disposable servant, if he became their scapegoat, there was a possibility they could make the young lords' transgressions seem less serious.
Aunt Dong didn’t expect Shangguan Ru would immediately blurt out the truth, she shook her head quickly and sighed, “Madam is going to meet King Lord right now, I hope she makes it ahead of Bai Yi Yuan. Madam wants you two to wait here and behave yourselves.”
“Someone's watching us with a hand on his sabre, what else can we do?” Shangguan Ru protested.
“Aunt Dong, we should be fine if we give the items back, right?”
Shangguan Fei was a bit timid, Unique King had never favoured him as much as his sister; knowing that his position was weaker, he couldn't help but feel vulnerable.
“Don't worry, as long as Madam is here, who would dare lay a finger on you?”
Aunt Dong left quickly after comforting the twins awhile.
All this time, Gu Shenwei had been observing from the side. He'd noticed that Aunt Dong hadn't said a word to Shangguan Yushi from the beginning to end, not even the smallest greeting or farewell; and that the brash, domineering Shangguan Yushi that had caused him such a headache had vanished in favor of a nervous and docile girl. Gu Shenwei felt uneasy about Aunt Dong’s last words ‘who would dare lay a finger on you’, which clearly didn’t include him and Shangguan Yushi.
Shangguan Yushi seemed to understand something and turned to glance at Servant Huan. At that moment, those two bitter rivals suddenly understood each other.
“It was you who snitched on us, wasn’t it? I knew you were plotting something.” Shangguan Yushi made one step forward, and said harshly to Servant Huan.
Gu Shenwei didn’t know exactly where this was going, but he immediately played along with her. “I’m not qualified to enter Bai Yi Yuan, how could I snitch? I think whoever casts blame onto others probably has something to hide.”
“You mean me?” Shangguan Yushi abruptly raised her wooden sabre and slashed at Servant Huan.
Shangguan Fei didn’t know what was happening, he scrambled out of the way and sighed out of exasperation. “You’re still fighting with each other at a time like this?”
Shangguan Ru, however, got the hint. She waved her hands. “What’s wrong with you two? Go fight outside if you want.”
Although Shangguan Yushi was play-acting, she slashed at him as if she actually meant to slice him apart using her full strength. Gu Shenwei was empty-handed, he jumped aside and ran towards the door, pretending to follow his lord's command. Shangguan Yushi, who appeared to be very aggressive, waved the wooden sabre and quickly pursued him.
The sabre-wielding teenager would let someone enter, but restrain any of the four if they tried to leave. Whoosh, he unsheathed half of his narrow sabre. “Halt.”
Gu Shenwei was stuck in the middle with no choice but to turn and face Shangguan Yushi. One attacked, one dodged, and they edged closer and closer to the sabre-wielding teenager.
“Halt!” The teenager shouted again and completely unsheathed his sabre this time.
Shanggguan Ru’s face reddened in anger, she rushed to stand between the two. Just at that moment, Gu Shenwei staggered and fell toward the sabre-wielding teenager. The teenager was momentarily stunned before striking the daring servant.
He had learnt martial arts at Golden Roc Castle since he was little, though he was very clear about the principle of ‘all was fair in war’, he still lacked the real battle experience needed to respond to such sudden surprises. Whilst he was briefly stunned, he'd revealed a fatal flaw.
Shangguan Ru played the same trick for the third time, scattering the nameless knockout powder.
The teenager was in the middle of his strike when he felt the strength seep away from his body. As the sabre slipped from his hand, he fell with a flop onto the ground; he'd been tricked by his lord once again.
With their mission accomplished, the three of them stopped acting. Shangguan Fei, who was standing behind them, still didn’t know what had happened and looked quizzically at them.
“He must have snitched on us.” Shangguan Yushi said glancing at the fallen figure. Shangguan Ru nodded, she thought the same thing. She produced a small iron box from her sleeve and proudly said, “The knockout powder could be used three times, you probably forgot about it?”
Shangguan Yushi picked the real sabre up and said, “Kill him.”
Shangguan Ru gave her cousin a surprised look and retreated a step. She just wanted to subdue her shadow guard and never contemplated killing anybody.
Only Gu Shenwei understood Yu Gongzi. In order to save the twins, the Madam seemed willing to sacrifice some unimportant people. Since this was so, they might as well take things farther and become tied to each other.
Gu Shenwei even began to admire Shangguan Yushi a bit now.
Facing the threat of death, the sabre-wielding teenager neither begged nor looked scared. He was struggling to stand up again.
“He listened to Mr. Guo, that means he is against Madam and the lords. He’s not your shadow guard anymore, how can we pardon the traitor and let him snitch on us for credit?”
“You can't be serious?”
Shangguan Fei looked very pale, and looked even more scared than the condemned shadow guard.
The knockout powder’s effect would soon wear off and Mr. Guo might show up at anytime. Their opportunity might slip away any moment.
Shangguan Yushi handed over the narrow sabre.
Shangguan Ru took the sabre and pointed the sabre tip at the chest of the teenager. She'd always disliked this shadow guard, he had foiled many of her ‘big plans’, and the events of tonight had annoyed her greatly…
She stabbed the sabre in then pulled it out. The teenager quietly held his shoulder, blood gushing out between his fingers.
Shangguan Ru’s eyes were a bit puzzled, then they quickly hardened again. She gave the sabre back to Shangguan Yushi.
Shangguan Yushi stabbed the teenager’s other shoulder. In this way, even if the knockout powder's effect wore off, he would be unable to attack.
She turned back and looked at Shangguan Fei. “It’s your turn.”
“My turn? My turn for what?”
“Stab him, let everybody know people from the Shangguan family won’t allow betrayal.”
Shangguan Fei shook his head hard and retreated until he plunked himself down on the bed.
The sabre-wielding teenager couldn’t hold his wounds any longer, his clothes were almost completely soaked with blood. His expression was neither terror nor fear, it was more like embarrassment and shame.
One of the Golden Roc Castle 'killer’s commandments' was to be unscrupulous, to never fight fair. The fact that the teenager was fooled twice was like a famous poet failing at simple conversation.
“Coward, it’s a shame you’re a scion of the Shangguan Family,” Shangguan Yushi said disdainfully. But she didn’t try to force Shangguan Fei. She gripped the narrow sabre and said to Shangguan Ru, “Let’s kill him together.”
Yu Gongzi‘s show of contempt for little gongzi seemed to have confirmed Shangguan Ru’s thoughts, she bit her lip and nodded heavily. Then she held her cousin’s hand, the two of them pointed the tip of the sabre at the teenager’s heart.
Gu Shenwei suddenly moved forward and held Shangguan Ru’s hand. He'd already used his strength to push down on the narrow sabre before Shangguan Yushi could say anything.
The teenager let out his last breath, and his head tilted lifelessly.
The three had killed him.
On this night, no one wanted to kill, but it'd just happened. The sabre-wielding teenager became a sacrifice. No one knew him and no one even cared about his name.
Clasped hands; vicious sabres; flowing blood; elapsed life; all of these elements joined to paint the grim scene of an evil ritual. The three of them had reached a special, profound understanding. Shangguan Fei, who sat on the bed, became a complete outsider. He was too shocked and lacked the strength to open his mouth to voice his disagreement.
It was the first time that Shangguan Ru had killed someone, though she looked a bit panicky, her big, black eyes were astonishingly bright. Those eyes seemed to hide great power and joy, which clearly proved she was Unique King’s offspring.
Gu Shenwei had rushed to join the ritual at the last moment. It was weird, but now he seemed to understand Shangguan Yushi’s every idea. They were like two longtime Zen friends who could draw complex conclusions from each other’s subtle movements.
“Throw him out,” Shangguan Yushi ordered Servant Huan. The more they understood each other, the more they hated each other.
Gu Shenwei was used to the dead, so he was very calm. He forced himself not to think about how unjustly the shadow guard had died because he hadn't been the one to decide his fate.
Gu Shenwei grabbed the corpse’s hands and was just about to drag it out when the door was pushed open.
It was Mr. Guo. He was so quiet and no one in the room had heard his footsteps.
Seeing what had happened in the room, Mr. Guo’s unchanged, humble smile disappeared to reveal his true, cruel face. But in the blink of an eye, he wore that smiling mask again.
“Ahh, what cruel means. Young lord, you’d better be careful.”
At present, there were in total eight young lords at Golden Roc Castle, and only one of them didn’t need their rank to be mentioned, it was Unique King’s eldest son.
Young lord appeared at the doorway. He was tall and sturdy and had noticeable eye bags that sagged to occupy almost half of his face. He didn’t look like a scion of the Shangguan family.
“King Lord has an order, Ru and Fei will go to the outside of Liu Sha Dian to confess their sins, the followers will be beheaded as sacrifices.” His voice was ice cold, obviously he had no feelings towards his little brother and sister. He didn’t even look at the corpse laying on the floor, as if it were the most normal decoration a room could have.