Chapter 70 Monthly Test
It rained lightly in the morning on the day Gu Shenwei went to Lian Huo Yuan to take his monthly test. As the rain stopped and the sun shined again, the mountain wind was a bit cool and the sky was cloudless and blue.
To improve his disciple's performance, Tie Hanfeng stayed sober at breakfast. After walking out of the yard and taking a breath of fresh air, he said, “It’s really good weather for killing and dismembering, the bloody smell will vanish quickly. Disciple, take the sabre, kill the son of bitch like you kill a pig.”
Tie Hanfeng, limping, led the way, Gu Shenwei with his face masked carried a sabre and followed behind. As the outfit requirement of the monthly test specified: Gu Shenwei was dressed all in black. The purpose of this was to prevent the disciples from becoming famous too early. According to Golden Roc Castle’s rule, the best killer was a killer who was silent and unknown.
It was actually a hard standard to adhere to. The young killers could strictly follow the rule of being reticent, but the semi-retired middle-aged killers couldn’t help recall the good old times and wantonly boast about them. In the past dozen days, Tie Hanfeng had already told his disciple many incredible tales of killing. According to him, if the people he had killed were tied with a string, its length would be long enough to stretch across the entire Gobi desert.
The only thing he didn’t dare to reveal casually was the identity of the ones he'd killed, which was one of the unassailable rules of Golden Roc Castle. Even if the killer’s fame was widespread in the world, Unique King still behaved like the killer's of old and maintained a facade of anonymity.
A benign smile spread over Tie Hanfeng’s face as soon as he entered Lian Huo Yuan. He kept greeting every yellow-belted overseer and killer Master. His red face was full of joy, as if he was a guest coming to attend a wedding.
Seven or eight killer Masters had come today, most of them were in their 40s like Tie Hanfeng. They had just passed the peak of their careers and were allowed by their lords to make their living by teaching their experiences and techniques to the next generation of killers.
These people were all reticent and expressionless. They were scattered across the yard and seldom talked with each other. One of their hands was always gripping the hilt of their sabre, the casual glances of their eyes seemed to be able to see through the bottom of one’s heart. Their disciples nearby were required to stand at least three steps away from them. No matter how one looked at them, they were more like real killers.
Tie Hanfeng was the only one who overflowed with enthusiasm in the yard. He left his disciple aside and rushed through the yard. He chatted with one person for a while and then whispered to another. The weird thing was that all the yellow-belted overseers were cold to him but those reticent killer Masters didn’t show him a cold shoulder. They even let him walk into their boundary of three steps to talk.
The measure for concealing one’s identity was useless for Gu Shenwei. He was Tie Hanfeng’s only disciple and everybody knew it. The overseer responsible for carrying corpses walked over and shook his head: “Alas, what a useful servant. Servant Huan, it will be good if you can carry yourself to Afterlife Cliff.” He giggled as he finished.
Every three days Gu Shenwei would come and help carry the corpses as promised, he was a bit more familiar with the overseer now, so he also smiled, “No matter who dies, I’ll send him to Afterlife Cliff smoothly.”
Gu Shenwei’s voice was dull and unclear behind the black cloth. The yellow-belted overseer shook his head again and walked away after saying ‘pity’ several times. Obviously, he believed Servant Huan would be the one dying.
It was from this overseer's reaction that Gu Shenwei realized something was wrong. Although the monthly tests were brutal, usually the loser would only get hurt and probably not even one from 10 fights would die. The overseer seemed to have no reason for treating him as ‘dead’ so early.
Tie Hanfeng came back dragging his right leg, he still appeared elated and waved his hand at a thin killer Master from afar, then he lowered his head and asked his disciple, “Have you offended someone in the castle?”
“No.” Gu Shenwei lied. He had offended many people, and quite a few of them wanted his head.
“Your opponent today is determined to kill you.”
“I also want to kill him.”
Gu Shenwei told the truth this time, he even suspected that his Master was trying to stimulate his fighting spirit by saying this deliberately. Actually, it was totally unnecessary, his mind was determined, the masses of sabre wounds on his body were proof of this.
“Hey hey, little bastard, you're bold now, even daring to lie to your Master. Look, that bitch standing over there is your opponent. His Master said you two have a personal grudge, you two will decide your lives with one sabre cut and no one will interfere.”
Three steps away from that thin Master stood a stocky black-dressed teenager. Gu Shenwei could swear that he had never seen this disciple before, he had only stayed five or six days in total at Diao Mu Yuan and didn’t have a chance to get acquainted with anyone.
“Whatever, I’ll kill him.”
With a pure heart, Gu Shenwei gripped the sabre hilt tightly, he didn’t feel nervous about going to kill a stranger at all.
Tie Hanfeng jeered, “Personal grudges, fuck, I haven’t heard these words for a long time. Well, go kill him. Remember, no matter how many moves you fight, you must kill him with one move and never add one more cut.”
A yellow-belted overseer waved his hand to show that the test was to begin.
Gu Shenwei pushed open the assigned door, inside was a ‘narrow alley’ which could only allow two people to walk side by side. A small lamp with dim light hung above his head and 10 steps away stood that stocky teenager.
The doors were closed, only the two killer’s disciples were left in the ‘small alley’. The only concealment and protection was the set of pitch-black clothes on their body.
The two approached step by step, Gu Shenwei really wanted to ask his opponent what kinds of ‘personal grudges’ lay between them. Then he felt it was unnecessary because he would kill his opponent even without a personal grudge, perhaps that was just a story made up by the teenager to sharpen his murderous heart.
Only five steps away, the teenager opposite advanced and attacked before Gu Shenwei could make his own move. The teenager leaped and targeted Gu Shenwei's chest with a probing thrust, stopping his attack short, he had already kicked off the wall and launched himself over Gu Shenwei's head.
This was a typical disciple of Golden Roc Castle, no matter how cramped the environment was, he still tried to attack from his enemy’s back.
The teenager jumped up and down like a monkey, but Gu Shenwei tried to stabilize himself and block his flaws by spinning in time. The two actually didn’t touch each other for 5 or 6 moves in a row.
The teenager was about to jump up for the tenth time, his move was slightly slower than the previous ones. He'd already lowered his shoulders but hadn’t jumped. This was a sign of fatigue, which also exposed his intention too early.
Gu Shenwei chopped down right away.
The teenager discarded his narrow sabre, his hands clutching his chest in vain. Blood gurgled between his fingers. Unconvinced, he tried to stabilize himself but could only retreat step by step and finally fell. His legs twitched a few times, then death.
This was the first time Gu Shenwei had killed someone in a face-to-face kung fu competition, and he felt a wave of uncontrollable nausea from deep inside his stomach. This was a feeling he'd had many times, and thought would never experience it again after he threw off Xue Niang’s corpse.
Blood was spreading under his feet, Gu Shenwei retreated step by step. He was suddenly awakened as he bumped into the door. He turned around and heavily knocked three times on the door, indicating the match was over.
Gu Shenwei walked out of the room, expressionless. He had already suppressed the sense of sickness, the overseer guarding outside was apparently astonished, even several killer Masters nearby couldn’t help cast their eyes on him.
This was the only 'killing with one cut' that day, Several others were injured severely. With unrealistic expectations, they were sent to Ji Xin Yuan at west castle.
Gu Shenwei followed his promise and carried the corpse to Giant Boulder Cliff alone. He recited the ‘Death Sutra’ three times and threw the corpse with dry blood off the cliff, food for the chick, if it still lived.
The dead’s Master was indifferent to this matter. This was the most common, intrinsic scene in a killer’s career at Golden Roc Castle, he didn’t even take one more look at his disciple.
The one who was extremely unsatisfied with this test was Tie Hanfeng. He checked the sabre cut carefully and didn’t say anything at that time. When Gu Shenwei returned to the small yard after he discarded the corpse, he saw a Master without a smile.
“Little bastard, now you've slain someone like a carnivore you're qualified to be a dog that eats meat, has anybody said you’re not like a killer?”
Gu Shenwei recalled that the kung fu instructor Han Shining at Diao Mu Yuan had said his kung fu had ‘deadly flaws’, so he replied yes.
“Killing with one move in your first test, you feel very proud of yourself, don’t you?”
“No.” Gu Shenwei didn’t understand why his Master was mad. He'd finished the task and thought he'd done it well.
“Fuck, don’t you know to kill someone from behind? Your cut was in the chest, what is this all about? Haven’t you learnt anything from those bastards?
“I haven’t stayed at Diao Mu Yuan.” Gu Shenwei gripped the sabre, his tone was stiff.
Tie Hanfeng was stunned a bit. He had learnt Servant Huan’s past and followed Han Shining’s recommendation. Actually he was targeting this teenager when he went to Lian Huo Yuan to take a disciple. But he had underestimated Servant Huan’s lack of basic training as a killer. This was actually not his fault because in so many years Servant Huan was the only killer’s disciple who had not been trained at Diao Mu Yuan.
“Fuck your 18 generations of ancestors and all your aunts, are you coming to plot against me or what? You don’t know anything, why do you want to be a killer? You make me miserable, I’d better kill you now; cut you into meat mud to feed the dog; then kill the dog to feed the pig; kill the pig to feed the rat; then throw some of the rat into the mountain; some of it into the river: and let you miss several pieces of flesh over all your life cycles.”
Tie Hanfeng carried the sabre and rushed forward while cursing. Although he treated the fact that his disciple only knew frontal attacks as an unacceptable flaw, he aimed directly at the chest when he made a move. In his eyes, the two of them had a huge difference in power and it was not necessary to use advanced techniques like attacking from the side or the back.
Gu Shenwei had always been wary of his Master. Seeing the malicious-looking face, he thought this time was serious.
Tie Hanfeng didn’t lift his sabre, he always attacked like lightning. His moves were fast and disappeared in a blink of an eye. He had very few flaws, even if they were found it was hard to find countermeasures.
Gu Shenwei also didn’t lift his sabre, his sabresmanship was far from his Master’s, he would only die faster if he rashly made a move.
Gu Shenwei retreated one step, his mouth had a faint sour taste and his heart filling with resentment towards his Master. Even if he knew this old man didn’t particularly direct his vile language against anyone, he still couldn’t bear those dirty words. The traces of his past life had diminished but they were all deeply ingrained. He would rather deal with treacheries and cattiness than living with this crude speak that opened old wounds.
Sabresmanship of Gu family, sabresmanship of Iron Mountain, sabersmanship of Golden Roc Castle, all of these were considered in Gu Shenwei’ mind instantly and were discarded immediately. Then something flashed in his mind, he attacked, cut, no, stabbed at his Master’s neck.