Chapter 126 Task
A street vendor selling flour powder in the southern Jade City had his leg broken by someone, which resulted in a pair of Master and disciple going to kill a sabreman.
The Master and disciple didn’t know this vendor at all; they knew neither his name nor his appearance or his personality. The vendor also had never heard of the Master and disciple. His request was very simple: he wanted a finger of that sabreman, but what he finally got was a head.
Only the big shield who worked as the broker knew why the whole matter had deviated from the plan. In fact, a prostitute that the big shield frequently visited was having an affair with a handsome sabreman. She had used the money given by the big shield to support that boy toy, which made the big shield very angry. But the handsome sabreman had some strong backers and the big shield couldn’t afford to offend him for the time being, so he turned all of his anger towards another unknown sabreman.
The hapless sabreman lived in a small village at the edge of the city. It was a place full of wandering sabremen that came from various places, who either hid from being captured after killing someone or were too poor that they only had a precarious life and a notched sabre. They had all heard of the so-called ‘land dominated by sabre and sword’ and tried to find success in this place.
This sabreman named Nie Qing arrived in Jade City less than two months ago. He occasionally worked as bodyguard for some rich businessmen and hadn’t yet established a strong connection. According to Tie Hanfeng’s standard, he was a simple and easy target to kill.
The last autumn rain of that year fell on the day they performed the kill. It rained from early morning and pitter pattered continuously to the evening. The temperature plummeted until there were very few people left walking on street.
A dirty kid ran into the southwall tavern in the rain and whispered something into Tie Hanfeng’s ear. Then he took the silver and ran away.
Tie Hanfeng raised his wine cup, “He will be at home for the whole day. There’s no hurry, so let’s go there when the rain stops a bit.”
But the rain didn’t cease at all by noon. Tie Hanfeng sighed, “Damned heavens, it just doesn’t want you to do something smoothly. Come, let’s get rid of that son of a bitch today no matter what.”
The Master and disciple borrowed two raincoats woven from coconut fibers from the tavern and also picked up two narrow sabres from a small room.
These two narrow sabres were impeccable products of Golden Roc Castle, but no one knew which two killers had left them here.
Along the way, Tie Hanfeng first complained about the weather, then began to describe how wonderful his life would be after he retired from the killing business: Live in a big house in the northern Jade City, sleep with the prostitutes of the retention alley, drink good wine from the southwall tavern, and never touch the sabre again. Maybe there was still time for him to have a son or something.
Tie Hanfeng had become very interested in the topic of retirement recently and cited several examples of successes and failures. Not all of the Golden Roc killers’ ultimate destinies were to die under the sabre. Many people could die naturally, but only those who had prepared early on could live a rewarding life. Most killers were penniless when they lost their title and could only live in the small houses on the sides of the mountain passageway, waiting for the meager pension from the castle to keep their body and soul together. They didn’t even dare to have a drink in the city.
Some killers had to take their old jobs, but they were not allowed to act under the name of Golden Roc killer. They could only join the groups of wandering sabremen and might die under the sabres of unknown killers of the new generation someday.
“I don’t give a shit about this kind of life,” Tie Hanfeng swore and stopped caring about the rain hitting his face.
There were also some successful killers who had accumulated enough money long before their retirement. Some of them went far away, and some bought a house in northern Jade City, enjoying the safe environment created by Golden Roc Castle and spending the rest of their life undisturbed.
Gu Shenwei became puzzled and upset about what his Master said. If a killer was such an average trade, did it mean that he was going further and further away from his revenge goal as he continued with what he was currently doing?
He had been a little distracted these two days, afraid that he was getting used to his Master’s preaching and arrangements. In the end, he might walk on this killer’s road till his dying days in northern Jade City and forget his dream of being a top-level killer and his revenge.
Tie Hanfeng shut his mouth and stopped nagging when they were two blocks away from Nie Qing’s home. He looked around and held his sabre hilt, immediately changing from an old man who had lost his ambitions into a ruthless and cold-blooded killer.
The two killers didn’t need to talk to cooperate with each other. Tie Hanfeng walked in the front and Gu Shenwei followed ten steps away. They trod on the icy mud and made two turns, stopping at the door of a small courtyard.
With a low wall, the small courtyard was very simple. Tie Hanfeng directly jumped inside, Gu Shenwei glanced back and forth and also jumped in.
The water in the yard had already become a ‘pond’. Tie Hanfeng stood by the door and listened for a while before he pushed the door open and walked inside.
Two people in the room glared in consternation at the intruding strangers.
“Who are you? How did you get in?” A woman at her thirties put down the dough she was kneading and asked stiffly. She seemed to suddenly understand something and added, “He’s not here, he’s out drinking.” Then she lowered her head and continued kneading.
Gu Shenwei stood in the doorway and watched the outside. His eyes only stopped for a moment on the teenager’s body.
Thin and black, the teenager seemed to have practised kung fu before. He stood in front of his mother and said nothing.
Tie Hanfeng looked into the inner room and complained, “That smelly kid sent me the wrong information again.”
The woman dropped down the dough and pushed her son aside, “You deal with the man’s business yourself, we mother and son won’t interfere and also don’t want to know about it.”
Tie Hanfeng nodded but didn’t answer back. He turned to ask the teenager near her instead, “How old are you?”
“Fourteen.” The teenager answered coldly.
“Fourteen, you’re a man now. You should know to avenge your father.”
The woman’s face immediately changed. The teenager, not realizing the imminent disaster, rushed in front of his mother and arrogantly said:” You’re not my father’s match. If someone kills him I’ll …”
“Shut up!” The woman snapped sternly, “Your father has already sold his life to others. He deserves his death, why desire revenge?”
The teenager blushed, “I’m also a sabreman, I want my revenge.”
“Go fetch your sabre.” Tie Hanfeng ordered.
The teeanger turned and ran towards the inner room, Tie Hanfeng leaped forward and hit him in the back of his neck. The teenager flopped around for a second and stopped moving.
The woman grabbed a chopper and rushed towards the killer while screaming.
Tie Hanfeng casually knocked the cooking chopper away from the woman’s hand, and then put her in a chokehold while covering her mouth, “Take care of this kid, your Master has to deal with other problems.”
Gu Shenwei couldn’t be more familiar with the expression on Tie Hanfeng’s face, but now it looked uglier than ever. “Is this necessary?”
The disciple’s question surprised the Master, “Of course, it’ll save me a few dozen taels of silver. You know how expensive those bitches are. Besides, this woman is going to die, so wouldn’t it be a waste to not use her?”
“I thought we were just killers.” Gu Shenwei could accept a badly damaged corpse, but he found it real hard to acknowledge his Master’s current behavior.
“Fuck your mother, you want to be a good guy again. Keep your mouth shut, and if anyone bothers me, or if the boy on the ground is alive when I come out, you won’t have to hang out with me anymore. I’ll let you know how the good guys end up.”
Tie Hanfeng dragged the woman into the inner room and soon came the sounds of rips, sobs, and wheezes.
The fainted teenager on the ground suddenly woke up. He wiped the blood due to bruises on his forehead, called out ‘mother’ and dashed towards the inner room. He only made it one step forward before he was knocked down to the ground again. As he looked up, he saw a teenager in a rough raincoat with a unsheathed narrow sabre in hand, the point of which was pointing at his heart.
Gu Shenwei focused all his attention on the tip of the sabre and admonished himself: You can’t help him by letting him escape, that cripple will definitely take him back and kill him. The only thing you can do now is to lessen his suffering.
The teenager jumped up but was knocked down again. The little bit of kung fu skills he learned from his father was not worth mentioning in front of a killer.
As he listened to the sound coming from the inner room, the teenager sat on the ground with his head held high and his neck against the sabre tip, “Kill me, my aunt will avenge us.”
Gu Shenwei gave him a look and thrusted the sabre in.
Tie Hanfeng came out of the inner room without wearing his raincoat. He casually grabbed a towel, wiped the blood off of his hands, sat on the cooking bench, and shot a look at the corpse on the ground. “Wait for a while, that sabreman will come home sooner or later.”
Gu Shenwei stood by the door frame and hummed, his eyes falling on the pile of dough.
Outside the house the rain was still softly falling down but inside the room it was very quiet.
“People are just a ball of flesh and blood.” Tie Hanfeng suddenly opened his mouth and lectured his disciple like usual, “They are no different from cats, dogs, pigs, and sheep. The sabre goes in and the people are dead. A man will die, a woman and child will die. You will die, I will die, people come to this world to fucking kill each other.”
Gu Shenwei still didn’t utter a sound. He would never argue with this cripple until he was sure that he could defeat his Master. In his mind, there was another way of living, which he once had but was robbed of by Golden Roc Castle overnight. And he would never see his dead family members as merely a ball of flesh and blood. Without the love for his family, all his efforts would be meaningless and all the suffering and humiliation he had gone through would have exceeded the limit of what he could bear.
Tie Hanfeng stared at his disciple and his cheeks were slightly puffed up because his mood that was ruined by the rain was just about to get better before it was disturbed by this kid again. “I have a way to punish you.”
Gu Shenwei had learnt his Master’s sabre and fists for many times, so he didn’t care.
The sky got dark early and the rain gradually ceased. The outside became as quiet as the inside now. Two killers waited quietly for the target to walk into the trap.
Someone pushed the yard door open and bumped inside. The smashing sound of the water made a big noise as if a bear had come in. He shouted while walking, “Honey, come to welcome back the emperor! I’m back, so don’t play dead. Smelly kid, where’re you? It’s better to raise a dog than raise you, because a dog knows to greet its lord …”
The drunk sabreman Nie Qing pushed open the door and stood staggeringly in the doorway. He frowned as his eyes adjusted to the dark environment. He first grew angry when he saw a strange old man sitting on the cooking bench. Then, he saw the corpses on the ground and suddenly understood, roared, and tried to pull out his broadsabre.
His broadsabre was only half drawn before a narrow sabre pierced his back, straight through his internal organs. He could even see the sabre tip by looking down.
The sabreman Nie Qing opened his mouth, his mind in a daze. He fell back with his hands folding behind his back in vain, trying to grasp the weapon that had pierced through his body.
Gu Shenwei pulled out the narrow sabre; the corpse fell forward. Tie Hanfeng leapt forward, grabbed the hair, and drew his sabre to cut off the head. It barely affected the trajectory of the falling corpse.
Tie Hanfeng sheathed his sabre, produced a piece of black cloth, wrapped the head and threw it to his disciple.
The Master and disciple silently looked around at the gate of the courtyard and left briskly while no one was nearby.
The head was given to a sneaking young man on their way back, and the task was finished.
The two returned to Xu Yanwei’s small house, and Xu Xiaoyi opened the door. Seeing their gloomy faces, he didn’t dare to smilingly say hi like before.
“Where’s your sister?” Tie Hanfeng asked.
“Is there a guest?”
“Not now, but we will have some later.”
“Well, take my disciple upstairs, let her teach him how to be a man.”
This was the what Tie Hanfeng had thought of to ‘punish’ his disciple.