Chapter 233 Conspiracy
On the day Big Head God’s coffin was delivered to Jade City, Luo Ningcha formally removed her veil forever.
Although the Unique King had declared that the Iron Mountain was an enemy of Golden Roc Castle, he had also stated that he would give the Big Head God a proper burial. Shangguan Nu followed his father’s will and not only did he send the corpse back, but with it, he also sent a considerable amount of the Iron Mountain’s wealth back to the castle as a symbol of his allegiance.
This way, the father and the son proved to suspicious outsiders that the castle was still a monolithic block.
The streets were full of opportunistic watchers, numbering almost ten times more than when Luo Ningcha had married into the Golden Roc Castle. And their curiosity was satisfied from the very beginning; Big Head God’s coffin was so big that the gate of the city, which was usually half open, had to be fully opened.
Eight stout bullocks slowly walked into Jade City, each step revealing a melancholy that was both solemn and tranquil. Over a dozen casket protectors also looked solemn with each of them holding a big Iron Mountain Flag. The flags fluttered in the wind, and the spearheads embroidered on them slithered like snakes.
The residents, who were affected by the imposing aura, all felt a kind of reverence and retreated uncontrollably while bowing to show their respects. They had all heard of the absurd legends, tales of how the Big Head God would eat multiple living people every day, and so on. But now they regarded him as a king who had died in battle, and a god who had exhausted all his fortune, saluting him with trepidation and awe. Someone even shed tears.
The sad atmosphere, however, was broken by a commotion when the Big Head God’s coffin reached the center of the city.
The commotion began at the North Gate, and like a fire consuming weeds, it spread lightly and quickly along the street. In an instant, the Big Head God’s coffin was no longer the focus, and everyone craned their necks to look back and quietly pass along the message, “That woman has shown her true face.”
It was from this day on, that ‘that woman’ and ‘the woman of the castle’ stopped being a general term, and exclusively referred to Luo Ningcha.
Without anyone’s support, she walked alone on the bluestone-paved street. Her maids and the rest of her entourage followed ten steps away. Although the roadside was crowded with people, it was as quiet as the desert. This was the first time she had taken off her veil in public and she felt like an ordinary person that had stripped naked for the first time in the street. Countless eyes shot at her like knives, cutting open her skin and stabbing at her heart. Additionally, she felt that she had exerted all her strength for each step she took, but the destination was still far away.
The men were all silent and excited, while the women were ashamed and envious. Nearly two hundred thousand inhabitants slowly came up with the same idea: Madam Meng was dead wrong. How could she have abused such a celestial being? The woman in front of them was like an otherworldly dreamy figure, one who could not possibly commit even the smallest crime.
Luo Ningcha saw the coffin, within which lay her father, her foundation, her backer, and her everything. But now it was merely a cold corpse, as heartless as the walls of the castle.
Luo Ningcha had been frightened these days and didn’t have any deep feelings towards her father’s death until the huge coffin was placed right before her. All of a sudden, the image of the Big Head God appeared in front of her, followed by nostalgia and grief from the bottom of her heart. Unprepared, she was hit to the bottom of her heart.
Father is really dead, Luo Ningcha thought as her body swayed. The crowd cried out with sympathy and pity together, countless hands reaching out before their owners were even aware, trying to hold the woman who had been hit hard and fallen in a desperate situation.
Luo Ningcha didn’t fall. She held the coffin with her pale and weak fingers and slowly walked around the coffin once before she took a deep breath and raised her head to escort her father’s casket through the North Gate of the city, meandering towards Golden Roc Castle.
It was a long journey, but the unswerving residents all followed until they were blocked by the bridge outside the gate of Golden Roc Castle. Even then, many of them still lingered out there throughout the late night, trying to sniff the scent of ‘that woman’ in the air.
As soon as they entered the castle, Luo Ningcha collapsed into the arms of the maidservants. She proudly glanced at the killer behind her before closing her eyes and falling asleep.
She accomplished what Servant Huan had asked of her.
On the night the Unique King resolved the crisis, Gu Shenwei had a deep conversation with Luo Ningcha. All the people including the blind and tongueless Tsui Nü had been taken away by Lotus, leaving only the two in the room.
“Miss, you have no way out now.” Gu Shenwei didn’t use the word ‘we’ because he knew that Luo Ningcha didn’t care about anyone except herself.
Luo Ningcha rarely kept her composure, not crying, or making a scene. She wasn’t really calm but was instead like a cornered little beast, completely stunned. “My husband …”
“Eighth young lord will never return to the castle. He has betrayed the Unique King and everyone knows it. The praise of King Lord is only a delaying tactic.”
“How about I leave the castle? The Big Head God has left me many things.”
“First, the castle will not let you go. Second, without the castle’s protection, Big Head God’s treasure is not an assurance but instead a disaster.”
Luo Ningcha fell onto the bed and started sobbing. She had always been blinded by her selfishness, but she had never been silly. She knew that what Servant Huan had said was true as her father and husband, her two pillars, had collapsed at the same time. She was really desperate now. Although Madam Meng was busy fighting for power right now, as soon as she was free, she would retaliate against her.
Gu Shenwei waited until she was almost done crying before saying, “Burn yourself and then be reborn from the ash. Miss, do you have the courage to start a desperate fight?”
Luo Ningcha straightened up behind the screen. “What do you mean? Do I still have a chance to protect myself?”
“Yes.” Gu Shenwei paused for a long while before he uttered the word that delighted the Miss.
Luo Ningcha anxiously rose to her feet and said “Servant Huan, good Servant Huan. Quick, tell me what you can do.”
“Someone has the power, but the power doesn’t belong to him. All power has a source, and that source is the surest reliance, even more reliable than your father or husband.”
“Are you saying … the King Lord?”
“But he won’t protect me. Why would he protect a lonely woman without the Big Head God?” Luo Ningcha’s mind was still clear in this respect.
“Madam Meng has a poor relationship with her parents’ family, but she can still gain King Lord’s favor.”
“The twenty slave girls my father sent! If I can use them to gain King Lord’s favor…” Luo Ningcha cheered up and raised her voice.
“Madam Meng won’t let them be seen by King Lord,” Gu Shenwei said. Originally, he had also planned to use the twenty female slaves but had later changed his mind.
“Then what shall I do?”
Gu Shenwei was silent again for a moment. “Servant Huan ventures to make a request. Please forgive me, Miss.”
“Say it, you may ask for anything,” Luo Ningcha replied eagerly, like a drowning man clutching at the last floating log.
“Miss, please step out of the screen and take off your veil.” As he finished speaking, Gu Shenwei lowered his head and immediately knelt down on one leg, showing a posture of asking for punishment.
There was no response from behind the screen for a long time. Luo Ningcha gradually understood Servant Huan’s plan. She felt angry at first, then ashamed, then wronged and self-pitying, and at last awakened. Everything was illusory in the world. She could rely on her father for a while, but couldn’t count on her husband even for a moment. The two were not people she could rely on for a lifetime, and neither was Servant Huan nor King Lord. The only person she could depend on was herself.
Gu Shenwei heard the rustling sound of the veil being brushed aside and then the soft pitter-patter of footsteps. Then a very light voice spoke, quite different from the Miss’s usual tone, “Raise your head.”
Gu Shenwei raised his head and looked at the Miss in the light for quite a while before lowering his head again. “Those twenty girl slaves cannot compare to even a single hair’s of Miss.”
Luo Ningcha felt dizzy. Taking off the thick veil had made her feel heavy-headed, and the gaze of the third man besides her father and husband also startled her.
“But the problem is still there, and I can’t see the King Lord either.”
Gu Shenwei used to only be thirty to forty percent sure, but now he was seventy to eighty percent sure. “Man proposes, and heaven disposes. Don’t worry, Miss, I have a plan. But, I still need to ask Miss a few questions.”
“Go on, as long as you can save me from this whirlpool, it’s up to you to decide.”
“That Elder Zhang …”
“Hee-hee.” Luo Ningcha laughed, “You told me that the loyal people are often ideal traitors. Elder Zhang is most loyal towards Shangguan Nu, so I tried him. And you were right. I only lifted the first layer of my veil, and he was already dead set on pledging allegiance to me. But he is a stableman and is of no use, so he could only help me hide something.”
Gu Shenwei had once passed all the knowledge he had learned from the teacher Zhang Ji to Luo Ningcha, many of which even he himself couldn’t remember. He didn’t expect that the Miss had taken them all seriously.
“This secret that Miss hid from Big Head God, I want to hear the details.”
Gu Shenwei held one of Luo Ningcha’s secrets. He knew that she had killed someone very important to Big Head God, but he didn’t know the details, so now he wanted to take the chance to let the Miss confess.
“Don’t you know?” Luo Ningcha was alert because Servant Huan had once claimed to know everything.
“I know, but I also want to know the details.”
“Does this have anything to do with what we are discussing now?”
“I’m scheming for the Miss, and I’ll face a death penalty if it’s spread. So, I hope that Miss could prove that you fully trust me.”
Luo Ningcha retreated behind the screen. Her habit of many years couldn’t be easily changed, and she felt more comfortable here. “What other details? I had a brother, and the Big Head God liked him very much. I was not happy, so Xue Ning killed him and then told me that she had killed him for me. In fact, she was trying to control me in this way.”
Luo Ningcha’s voice became indifferent as if she was telling someone else’s story. Xue Niang naturally had an ulterior motive, but Gu Shenwei could speculate that Luo Ningcha must have been very supportive of Xue Niang’s deeds. Luo Ningcha was really a man of the Shangguan family.
“Pretty much like what Xue Niang told me,” Gu Shenwei lied. Luo Ningcha was fickle and irritable. To control her, he must hold her secret like Xue Niang had.
“Now tell me your plan. How can I get the King Lord to see me?” Luo Ningcha was very proud of her countenance, and she was even more confident of it than Servant Huan now.
“It’s very hard, nearly impossible, for the King Lord see you. Instead, we have to let him ‘hear’ you.”
Luo Ningcha was lost in her thoughts. “It’s that simple?”
“Of course not. The King Lord has dealt with countless women. Are you sure of capturing him, Miss?” Gu Shenwei had to ask this because Shangguan Nu had seen Luo Ningcha and had been infatuated with her for a while, but had still abandoned her and betrayed the castle and his father in the end.
Servant Huan’s words appeared to be too straightforward, and Luo Ningcha couldn’t help but become partly bashful, partly angry again. “What do you mean?”
“Miss needs a Master.” Gu Shenwei didn’t care, as all conspiracies were ruthless and one could achieve nothing great by being shamefaced. As for the ‘Master’, he already had a suitable candidate in mind. He had sent Xu Yanwei to the castle for the sake of saving her life and using her to deliver messages. Now, she had an ever greater use.