Editors: Nyxnox, Cypress Venus Trap
Chapter 145 The Third Night Watch Period
Teacher Zhang Ji’s attitude towards his ‘extra student’ had changed subtly.
Gu Shenwei’s action of killing his Master had mostly earned him looks of confusion and admiration. It was only at Zhang Ji’s place that he felt some antipathy and vigilance directed at him, which was actually the reaction a normal person should have, but had become abnormal in the castle.
The two chatted casually, but there were still awkward lulls of silence now and then. Zhang Ji wasn’t as talkative as before, and Gu Shenwei also couldn’t directly speak about what he had overheard. He asked in a roundabout way for a long time but didn’t get much useful information, so he had no choice but to get up to leave.
As to why some documents could have disappeared, Zhang Ji thought that it was a common thing, explaining, “They are either too important and kept separately, or too unimportant and were lost. Or perhaps they were destroyed for all kinds of reasons. And I guess that about 20 or 30 percent of all the documents disappeared just like this.”
However, Zhang Ji also said something that Gu Shenwei dwelled on afterwards. And Zhang Ji himself didn’t even know how important those words were. “More than ten years ago? Guo Xiansheng was the deacon of the Ceremonial Chamber at that time, a role similar to the eunuch in the imperial palace. He followed the King Lord everyday and recorded the King Lord’s every word and deed, and that was the start of his career.”
Gu Shenwei’s father used to serve as a palace guard in the Central Plains, and he was influenced by what he saw and heard ever since he was little. He somehow knew a little about the palace and at once understood what Guo Xiansheng’s role was. His heart thumped a bit and he felt like he had realized something.
Back in East Castle, he found Lotus and asked her to find some information for him. He soon received the following reply, “The Transforming Kun Yard used to be a courtyard of the third young lord of the last generation. This third young lord was the King Lord’s younger brother and died many years ago.”
Gu Shenwei’s guess was verified, but it still astonished him. During his night visit to the White Clothes Yard, he never expected that instead of finding documents about the slaughter of the Gu family, he would instead accidently overhear a bigger conspiracy.
He went over the details again and felt that his guess was probably right. The next thing was deciding how to deal with it, whether it would be better to watch the two tigers fight from a distance or to be directly involved in it.
Strictly speaking, this plot had nothing to do with him, but he didn’t want Guo Xiansheng to succeed. Once Guo Xiansheng regained his favour with the King Lord, it would not be a good thing for him in the long run.
Gu Shenwei told Lotus all of the information he had gathered and his guesses, “This is your chance to make a contribution, but it is also risky. If you’re willing to do it, you’d better act now. It may be too late after tomorrow.”
“Don’t you want to do it yourself?” Lotus was certainly willing to make a contribution, not to mention that this contribution was not small.
“I need a helper, so you’d better become an official killer too.” In fact, Gu Shenwei had to enter the inner chamber if he wanted to make a contribution this time, and thus Lotus was more suitable to carry out the task.
Lotus bowed to him. Gu Shenwei was very surprised because this was a courtesy that usually only subordinates showed to their superiors. She didn’t show this much respect even when he was the leader of the Bi Nu Gang.
Gu Shenwei slightly nodded and calmly accepted the show of allegiance. He had made it clear that what he needed was a ‘helper’, and not a ‘friend’.
Lotus took her leave. She wasn’t as simple and candid as Luo Ningcha, so Gu Shenwei didn’t need to tell her how to do it.
But Lotus still told him about the whole process afterwards.
There was a female disciple in the small flag battalion. She was a friend of Lotus and her lord was the sixth young lord, whose wife was also surnamed Meng. The sixth young lord’s wife was Madam Meng’s niece. Although Madam Meng was quite critical of her parents’ family, she was still very close to her niece who was also her daughter-in-law.
Lotus used these connections and was summoned to meet Madam Meng that evening.
At first, Madam Meng expressed her thanks to Lotus for protecting Shangguan Ru on their way to the Iron Mountain camp. Although it was a few months ago, Madam Meng hadn’t forgotten about it. She rewarded Lotus with many foods and jewelries and also curiously asked about the training of female killers.
A maidservant then led Lotus to a side room to pick up the reward and quietly told her not to leave.
After all the women in the hall had left, Lotus was summoned once again. And this time Madam Meng’s face had changed from an easy-going madam of a rich and influential family to a straight-faced interrogator.
Lotus first swore that although she was one of the virgin girls brought by the eighth young mistress as dowry, she had never served the woman of the Luo family and that she was just a slave Big Head God had bought halfway. Then she told the madam something that she had heard.
This was the hardest part. Lotus couldn’t say everything that Gu Shenwei had speculated about because that would make her look like a suspicious insider, so she blamed everything on Guo Xiansheng instead.
Guo Xiansheng had once conspired to wipe out all of the elite of the Jia Chen disciples. Although his plot wasn’t revealed, every brown-belted killer in the small flag battalion hated him.
So too did Lotus. That was why she paid special attention to Guo Xiansheng’s every move. And it was also why she had decided to report it to Madam Meng when she heard that Guo Xiansheng had used his identity as the Suzerain of the documentation chamber to find material from fifteen or sixteen years ago to use against Tenth Gongzi.
Madam Meng wasn’t someone who could be easily deceived, but on that evening, Lotus succeeded. The madam wasn’t ignorant of Guo Xiansheng’s plot, and her expression actually immediately changed when Lotus mentioned ‘a material of about fifteen or sixteen years ago’, which also proved that Gu Shenwei’s speculation was very close to the truth.
The madam soon calmed down and indifferently praised Lotus, telling her not to mention it in front of others and then had someone lead her to leave the inner chamber.
As soon as Lotus returned to East Castle, she found Servant Huan and told him about what had transpired. Both of them believed that there would be a good show at the twins’ adulthood ceremony the day after.
It turned out that they had underestimated Madam Meng. The good show was put on in advance that night.
Madam Meng wasn’t a submissive person who would wait for her opponent’s attack. At her grand wedding ceremony with the Unique King, she had already seen the opposition and contradiction of the family and known that she would become the target of all parties. From then on, she had been collecting her own forces and carefully saving up blackmail material on her opponents.
Madam Meng seldom used these materials because she knew that if she couldn’t defeat her opponents completely, a premature attack would only backfire. And so, she had been waiting patiently all these years.
Lotus’s secret report made Madam Meng understand that her enemy was already waiting in ambush under her nose and was about to launch a fatal blow, and that she must strike first.
For most people in the castle, it was a normal evening. Only a few of them were very busy. But the next morning, a great change had taken place in Golden Roc Castle that shocked everyone and its afterglow even spread beyond the Jade City.
Madam Meng’s moves were so decisive and fierce that it far outweighed Gu Shenwei’s expectations. He hadn’t thought that a few words he had overheard would cause such a commotion that he had reexamined the struggle in the inner chamber and felt that Luo Ningcha might be still of some use.
In the middle of the night, a maidservant from the inner chamber knocked on the door of Servant Huan’s living place and passed on an order from Tenth Gongzi, asking him to go to the inner chamber at once.
Gu Shenwei originally intended to give the credit to Lotus, and he himself would hide behind the scene. But life did not always go as planned and the reality was that he was still caught up in it. He was also very confused about why Shangguan Ru would get involved in this matter.
It was only after he entered the inner chamber did he secretly understand and admire Madam Meng’s discretion.
Shangguan Ru actually didn’t know what was going on at all. She was half lying in her mother’s arms, her face full of confusion. Madam Meng was merely acting in her daughter’s name.
One other person was also, Lotus, like Servant Huan, had not imagined the reaction caused by the secret report could take effect so fast.
Madam Meng was seated on her couch wearing a splendid formal dress, which she usually only wore once a year when attending the ancestral worship. This symbolized that she was the rightful wife of the King Lord. With her arms clasped to the twins, she looked so solemn like it was as if her children would die if she let go of them.
There were four maidservants in the hall and only one candle burning, leaving the lighting dim. Madam Meng and the twins were hidden in the murkiness of the shadows.
“I need two people to do something for me, and Ru’er recommended you two.”
Gu Shenwei and Lotus silently knelt, their left hand supporting the ground. This was the killer’s posture to show their willingness to accept the task.
“Although you two were brought into the castle by that woman, I’ve seen your loyalty to Ru’er, so I trust you.”
Madam Meng stood up and turned to stroke the twins’ cheeks, and smiled consolingly at them. Then she went to the two teenagers. A maidservant beckoned for Servant Huan and Lotus to get up.
“Now we, mother and children are in great danger and have to strike first. I want you two to go kill Guo Xiansheng.”
The two teenagers felt surprised as they raised their heads for both they felt that it wasn’t a wise idea.
Madam Meng knew exactly what effect her words would cause, and she immediately produced a folded paper from her sleeve, saying, “This is the King Lord’s written instructions. You can do whatever you want with it.”
Gu Shenwei took the paper with both hands, and saw the following words after he unfurled it, “Guo Chun of the White Clothes Yard is rebellious and malicious. He deserves death.”
Gu Shenwei closed the written instruction and Madam Meng duly took the paper back.
The two teenagers had no choice. They had to follow the order no matter whether the written instruction was genuine or false.
“Order acknowledged.” They knelt again.
“Bring me back his head, now.”
The two received two white jade name tags inscribed with the character ‘Wang’ (King) from the maidservant in case they needed to go into the castle at night and hurriedly left. They found that there were still killers in black waiting in the next room, so they understood that killing Guo Xiansheng was only one part of Madam Meng’s plan.
Guo Xiansheng lived in the West Castle. The two had to go back to the East Castle first to fetch their narrow sarbes. In the thick atmosphere of conspiracies, Gu Shenwei rarely retained his sanity, he had to find a back way for him and Lotus.
“You go pick the sabre and sword, and meet me at the gate of the eighth young lord’s courtyard.”
It was a strange night. The teenagers were running inside the castle and surprisingly no watchmen came out to stop them.
Even so, Gu Shenwei still observed along the way and made sure that there were no followers behind him. Then in a quick series of actions, he directly jumped into the eighth young lord’s courtyard, sneaked into the backyard, and knocked on the door of the middle bedroom without informing anyone.
A maidservant asked only after Gu Shenwei knocked several times.
“I have an urgent message from the eighth young lord,” Gu Shenwei lied casually.
Someone in the room hit the flint to light the lamp, which prompted Gu Shenwei to hurriedly ask, “Please do not light the lamp.”
The one trying to light the lamp stopped. After a while, Miss Luo Ningcha’s voice rang by the door, “I know it’s you. The maid’s ears are all jammed. Tell me what you need to say.”
Gu Shenwei was a bit surprised by Luo Ningcha’s composure, and quickly responded, “Send a message to the Yang, and let Shangguan Hongye leave the castle right now and go into hiding for a while.”
“Mrs. Yang has done something foolish. She conspired with Guo Xiansheng to deal with Madam Meng. The King Lord ‘favoured’ the Yang before, but Shangguan Hongye might as well be King Lord’s illegitimate son. Now Madam Meng has already started to eliminate ‘the evil’. Shangguan Hongye will die tomorrow morning if he doesn’t leave now.”
Gu Shenwei hoped that Shangguan Hongye would live not out of sympathy for him, but to keep him as a backup plan in case Madam Meng tore down the bridge after crossing the river.
But Madam Meng’s action was so quick that he didn’t know whether his arrangement would be in time or not.