Editor: Xu Xian
Chapter 079 Survival
In the morning, there was thick frost and thin ice formed on the surface of puddles. At noon time, frost and ice disappeared, it was almost even as hot as the Sun was during sweltering Summers. The two duelists entered the field. This was the least fit time for assassinations, but it was fair for both sides.
The killers in black remained behind in the wooden sabre alley. They almost couldn’t see anything happening inside, they just waited like two groups of loyal dogs. They were sure that, when one of the leaders died, they would immediately smell the scent of a killer’s blood.
Even if this duel lasted for a month, they would wait it out. This was like a sacred ceremony to offer a sacrifice to God. Even if they were non-believers, they were surrounded by fanatics, they wouldn't dare act rashly or disrespectfully.
Gu Shenwei only brought a narrow sabre with him. He proceeded along the foot of the wall carefully. He would rather crawl forward than knock off a single withered leaf when going through overgrown fields. This was not the time to leave tracks for his enemy to follow.
The circle he walked became smaller and smaller. Previously, Gu Shenwei had learnt about the nine best spots to set traps, now he had found another five good spots. But none of these places had any signs of being touched, Wild Horse was smart, he would not choose these well-known places.
Time went by gradually, the warm, afternoon sunshine was already just a memory. Slowly, the chilliness of late Autumn rose from the ground and quickly dominated the entire area at dusk.
Nearly 200 killer disciples lined up and stood in the wooden sabre alley. The ruins was in dead silence and gradually became blanketed in darkness. The disciples behaved like they were enjoying a fascinating drama, fully absorbed in watching and listening. Every rustle of weeds and fall of leaves were like a wonderful turn of events that enraptured the audience again and again.
What Gu Shenwei had learnt in the past month was more than what most disciples who had spent 10 months at Diao Mu Yuan learnt. He skillfully tracked his enemy and covered his own tracks. But his opponent was Wild Horse, another outstanding leader amidst the slaughter, who also had perfect techniques and sharp intuition.
Night fell again. It was easier to hide, but more difficult to search. Gu Shenwei searched the ruins for the second time and still couldn't find anything. He was like a mad man fighting with himself as he circled around in an deserted place. But he knew his enemy was nearby, he could even feel Wild Horse's heartbeat a few times, but when he approached quietly there was nothing. There were other times he felt a strange tension when he was in a disadvantageous location, so he quickly ran away before his enemy could approach him.
For a game like this, sabresmanship and kung fu levels were secondary factors, endurance and willpower were the main tests. Whoever lost their patience first would also be the first to expose their flaw.
The night had passed and frost had appeared again. Even the killer with the best lightness skills would have left footprints on the frost or broken unnoticeably thin ice.
Sitting tight seemed to be the safest tactic, but Gu Shenwei still followed his planned route to search. Waiting at a specific position and ambushing the enemy would only be effective when the enemy was unfamiliar with the environment. For a well-prepared expert, this was nothing more than walking right into a trap. When a suspicious mark was found, the killer wouldn't walk forward, they would circle around instead and attacked from behind the ambusher.
Gu Shenwei found three footprints and two spots of crushed ice, he himself also left roughly the same number of tracks. These were all accidents, he greatly narrowed his search scope and believed that he was very close to Wild Horse now.
That area consisted of four deserted courtyards surrounding a crossroads. It was the main site of the black market before. There were almost no plants covering this place and piles of debris were everywhere.
It was almost noon time again, the duel had lasted for about 24 hours. Gu Shenwei found a half piece of stone brick had been slightly moved, so he carefully searched around it. When he made sure that it was Wild Horse’s mistake and not a trap he set deliberately, Gu Shenwei knew that he could strike now.
He moved a piece of wood in a yard Southeast of the crossroads. The site he selected for the ambush was behind a broken wall at a yard in the northeast. When Wild Horse circled around the suspicious trail to investigate, he would definitely pass through this place.
What Gu Shenwei would do next was lie on his stomach and wait patiently.
After almost two hours, he finally heard very light footsteps.
Wild Horse, masked and dressed in black, but definitely Wild Horse, came from the crossroads. With his right hand holding his sabre, he crouched and walked on tiptoe. Each step, he would stop and look around, which made him look a lot like a chicken thief putting on a drama.
Gu Shenwei couldn't laugh at him since he moved the same way. Killers’ techniques were not dazzling, but practical.
Wild Horse stopped after only two steps. No one knew what had attracted his attention to alert him, he didn’t move forward anymore. He crouched lower and gripped his sabre harder. Then, his eyes shot to where Gu Shenwei was hiding.
Gu Shenwei hid behind gravel and only revealed one of his eyes which was roughly a few inches above the ground. His back was to the Sun, even a hawk’s sharp eyes couldn’t find him.
But Wild Horse was still staring at the pile of ordinary gravel, perhaps he didn’t find anything and it was just out of instinct, a sudden instinct caused by imminent danger.
Gu Shenwei was still waiting, his eyes unblinking. The killers all had a superstitious belief that the emotional wavering of one's heart would be transmitted to their enemies in a mysterious way. So, to avoid being discovered, one had better keep one’s mind as still water.
Wild Horse looked away and made another step forward, Gu Shenwei’s heart suddenly thumped. He even suspected that the thump of his heart had startled his opponent considering how Wild Horse changed direction in his next step. It looked like he wanted to get around a big stone, and also seemed like he would detour in a much bigger circle. This would, if happened, leave Gu Shenwei at a complete disadvantage with his back exposed to his opponent.
Wild Horse’s true intention would never be known because, at this moment, a series of voices came from outside the ruins. “King Lord has an order, private duels are prohibited now. King Lord has an order, private duels are prohibited now.”
This voice was like a gust of fierce wind that blew across wooden sabre alley and swept away the huge bubble that covered the 200 or so teenagers’ heads. In a mere moment, the disciples who were immersed in the mysterious environment all came to wake up.
In the past month, east castle was like an island in the sea forgotten by God, the residents of the island once thought that they themselves were the Gods, the rulers. The two words ‘King Lord’ reminded them that the real God was still looking down on this small piece of land from high above. And now, he had come to reclaim it.
Every survivor belonged to Unique King.
Those who had passed the order were a team of killers with red belts. Within their arrival, the disciples all awakened and gradually dispersed, confused and ashamed. In their eyes, the halos of the two ‘leaders’ who were still at the ruins completely vanished; they were still just ordinary, teenage fellow disciples.
Wild Horse retreated quietly, likewise, Gu Shenwei left from another direction. Everyone felt that had they taken the initiative, they only needed one final, fatal blow so couldn’t help but feel regret.
There weren't that many people left when Gu Shenwei returned to wooden sabre alley. Only a few of the most loyal members stayed, they nodded to him then also left right away.
Riding their horses, the killers who passed the order turned around and totally ignored the ‘leader of Bi Nu Gang’ on the roadside.
The nightmare of the slaughter ended, but when he opened his eyes, a bigger nightmare awaited him. Gu Shenwei was still that teenage servant far from achieving his goal of revenge.
A small group of people stood at the crossroads of wooden sabre alley. Like the disciples, they dressed in black and covered their faces, but Gu Shenwei knew that none of them belonged to east castle.
The small group of people looked at the lonely Servant Huan like curious nobles staring at a lion cub, with ruthless interest.
Gu Shenwei guessed their identities, he even thought he recognized some acquaintances. He should've thought of it, such a real, splendid game, how could it possibly not arouse ‘Tenth Gongzi‘ Shangguan Ru’s interest?
Shangguan Ru was standing amongst the group, perhaps the small, thin one standing in the middle was her.
A bamboo-like teenager walked out of the group towards the motionless Servant Huan.
The 'bamboo' walked forward until they were face to face with Gu Shenwei. He bowed slightly and called out the masked person's name, “Yu Gongzi.”
“You killed my elder brother.” Shangguan Yushi went straight to the point, her eyes were the same as Gu Shenwei remembered, arrogant and ruthless. “My whole family thanks you,” she even nodded lightly, “but I’ll still avenge him, you’d better be careful, this is what I want to say.”
Gu Shenwei looked at the tall teenage girl in front of him. Several months ago, she was still his toughest opponent, but now she was just a inexperienced, selfish, and arrogant little girl. She accompanied Shangguan Ru to watch for fun, but she had never experienced real blood or vengeful murders.
Did she really know what hatred was? What revenge was?
“Welcome to hatred paradise, this is what I want to say.”
All of a sudden, the humble Gu Shenwei became as calm as an emperor. Yu Gongzi, who had the surname ‘Shangguan’, panicked instead. Although her right hand was gripping its hilt, she lost the strength and will to draw the sabre. Retreating one step at a time, she finally turned around and fled.
The small group of people at the crossroads left, Gu Shenwei looked at the figure whom he believed was Shangguan Ru, his murderous heart disappeared.
Gu Shenwei went to visit Lotus first. Her wound wasn't recovering well, so she left earlier.
“Bi Nu gang is still there,” said Lotus with certainty.
Gu Shenwei didn’t argue, but he knew that only a shadow of the gang was left. Even the shadow would disappear soon, like the frost in the morning.
The killer Masters returned one by one and counted their disciples. Some lost their title and could only somberly leave Golden Roc Castle. They moved into the small houses on the mountain's roadside, expecting to take some better disciples next year.
For those killer Masters with disciples who had survived, they were extremely happy even if only one of their disciples were left. They asked about all the details of the assassinations then taught all their experience to their disciples.
In fact, more than one killer Master publicly declared that this wave of disciples would produce the next top-level killer of Golden Roc Castle.
However, no one was promoted, Golden Roc Castle seemed to think that the training for those disciples was not enough.
Tie Hanfeng also came back. He hadn't drunken any wine so his temper wasn't good. He didn't show the slightest bit of happiness at the fact that his only disciple had survived.
“I heard you’ve organized a ‘women’s gang’, you asked a little girl to be the lord and relied on her to protect you? I thought your mother turned into ashes long ago, why are you still being breast fed? Or do you have a hidden, unique skill in gaining women’s favour, and have decided to go on a sweet joy ride from now on?”
Gu Shenwei would have been irritated if this were a month ago, but now he was completely indifferent. A month’s slaughter was more effective that 10 years’ teaching.
“She’s a qualified killer, she isn't any weaker than anyone else.”
Tie Hanfeng seemed to be very annoyed by his disciple’s calmness. He stared at him for a long time and changed the topic. “How many more monthly tests do you have?”
Gu Shenwei took his fifth monthly test on the last couple days of the assassination wave. His opponent died on the way, he won without a fight. Only with one more record of killing with one move could he graduate, get rid of the word ‘disciple’, and gain the title of a Golden Roc killer.
“Hmm, very good. I forbid you to kill your opponent, you still need more training.”
Tie Hanfeng bluntly threw out a deadly weapon, Gu Shenwei couldn't control his emotions and suddenly became furious.