Chapter 11: The Groom
Translator: Transn Editor: Transn
Although they became sworn brothers against their will, the 10 teenagers felt closer to each other after that night, as if they had found a long-lost sense of belonging.
Gu Shenwei also thought it was a good idea. Without any backer or the Kung Fu secret manuscript, it was impossible for him to openly seek revenge, so he could only resort to insidious means. Therefore, it was not a bad thing to have a bunch of brothers after all.
Of course, he would not tell his secret to anyone, nor would the other teenagers. In the small group where trust and sincerity did not exist, no one would risk telling the truth.
Over the next few days, the 10 brothers bonded even more. They helped one another and learned each other's language. Occasionally, they made a joke. No one foresaw their future after entering Golden Roc Fort.
On the morning of Miss Luo getting married, the entire camp was completely renovated. All the people, including Bighead Kingpin and his underlings, dressed up and looked neat for the first time.
Regardless of their status, thousands of gangsters stood on both sides of the road, hoping to see the groom. As Supreme King's son, he always considered himself superior and could rarely be seen even by the largest bandit gang of the Western Region.
Gu Shenwei was especially eager to see him.
The news that Golden Roc Fort had slaughtered the Gu family from the Central Plains had been spread everywhere. The Shangguans did not try to hide it. Therefore, more and more details of the tragedy became available to Gu Shenwei.
Shangguan Nu, the Supreme King's eighth son, led the business. The Iron Mountain Gang regarded killing people as "a business". All he took were 20 killers, 70 machetemen, and probably a black-masked assassin.
Machetemen, killers, and assassins varied in status in Golden Roc Fort. Machetemen were mostly people hired from different places in the Western Region and junior members of Golden Roc Fort. Killers were men cultivated by the fort, therefore, were much stronger and the core of Golden Roc Fort. Assassins were the most mysterious group of people, whose existence had been disputed. Anyway, they were said to be the strongest and had their identities hidden by wearing black masks. Therefore, they were also called "black-masked assassins".
Some thought Golden Roc Fort used a steam-hammer to crack nuts by sending 27 killers and 70 machetemen to an assassination.
Golden Roc Fort made it a rule that machetemen were responsible for reconnaissance, vigilance, and other matters, and participated in killing people only when necessary, while killers should execute the most important assassination tasks.
It was exactly those machetemen who spied on the manor from the hill behind the house, and later broke into it to ascertain the circumstances. Eventually, they were killed by the old servant, Yang Zheng, while chasing the five people who managed to escape from the manor.
After everything was ready, 20 killers, perhaps together with Young Master Shangguan Nu and a mysterious black-masked assassin, entered the Gu's manor in the middle of the night. They stealthily killed the servants patrolling the manor first, and then the masters of the estate, and lastly, the servants that were sleeping.
Since they were well-prepared, they executed the entire operation without resistance. According to the standards of Golden Roc Fort, a head-on crash was the last means that they would resort to, so no resistance was the best result they could achieve.
The bandits plundered all the gold, silver, and precious things in the manor, and then set the manor on fire, which was the standard procedure of Golden Roc Fort. They abandoned any objects that were hard to move and left them to well-informed bandits.
If all went well, the action would win a bright future for the Eighth Young Master, Shangguan Nu.
It was his first time to carry out a task by himself. If he succeeded, he would be qualified to set up his house and develop his own forces. Additionally, he would marry the daughter of the chieftain of the biggest bandit gang in the Western Region to consolidate the family power and his own status.
His dream was shattered by the 14-year-old boy's escape.
People made different guesses as to how the teenager named Gu Shenwei got away. The rumor was that the master of the manor, Gu Lun, was a crafty old scoundrel. He sent out a few teams that night to divert the machetemen's attention before arranging his daughter and youngest son's escape.
Shangguan Nu made a wrong judgment and only sent out a few machetemen to chase after them. As a result, the three machetemen were killed by Yang Zheng. They did not notice that two young masters were missing until they slaughtered all the people in the Gu's manor. To make up for it, Shangguan Nu sent out the killer in time, who took back the head he wanted.
It turned out to be the wrong head!
It did not belong to the young Master of the Gu family, but to some unknown person.
Because of that unforgivable mistake, the Supreme King cut off his Eighth Son's hand, and out of rage, Shangguan Nu did the same to several machetemen and killers.
Shangguan Nu's future was ruined from the very beginning. Although the Supreme King had not made any formal announcement yet or in the future, everyone was certain that Shangguan Nu would not be qualified to keep house for a long time. His engagement to Bighead Kingpin's daughter was still valid, but it was no more his marriage than a purely family marriage. The Supreme King and Bighead Kingpin needed to establish a connection through marriage, and neither of them had any other children at the right age.
What disappointed Gu Shenwei the most was that the rumors rarely mentioned what happened to Miss Gu Cuilan. People either assumed that she was dead, or did not mention her at all.
As for the reason why Golden Roc Fort slaughtered the Gus, there were so many versions that Gu Shenwei could hardly tell which one was true. For money? For treasure? For fame? For hatred? Or for revenge? After all, it was not the first time that Golden Roc Fort exterminated an entire family. For the fort, it was just an ordinary action. The Iron Mountain Gang had taken interest in it only because it was related to their chieftain's daughter.
No one had expected such a weird ending to the entire event. It was said that the Supreme King gave clear orders and told Shangguan Nu to bring the right head back in seven days.
Shangguan Nu angrily agreed to do so, but everyone played down the details. How far could a 14-year-old child flee in the desert of the Western Region? There was no doubt that he would eventually be caught by the Golden Roc Fort pursuers.
Gu Shenwei alone knew that he was still alive.
As for his surprising survival, Gu Shenwei guessed the reasons were probably that Yang Zheng played a trick by disguising Ming Xiang as himself, and then found another child to dress up as the young attendant. On top of that, a series of accidents happened to Gu Shenwei, like him losing his way. After returning to the manor, he was caught by bandits who did not know him and who were later killed by the swordsman. In the end, Bighead Kingpin personally picked him out of all the slaves.
All those accidents prevented Shangguan Nu from tracking down the escaped boy, and left him no choice but to hand over a substitute's head.
There was no doubt that Shangguan Nu brought the wrong head back to Golden Roc Fort, but why did no one notice it?
Gu Shenwei racked his brains, but could not find an answer.
The groom's procession arrived.
Dozens of knights dressed in bright uniforms led the procession on well-trained vermilion horses walking at the same pace. The dignified knights and horses overwhelmed the spectators around.
Behind the knights was a bridal chair carried by eight people, and right by the chair, the groom, Shangguan Nu, followed the procession on a horse.
Though dressed in standard groom attire, Shangguan Nu did not look happy at all. He remained as cold-blooded as usual, and turned a blind eye to the onlookers' discussions and admiration.
He behaved as if he was a newly-appointed general inspecting his unpromising army.
He wore a saber that was in a dark sheath and it was out of tune with the whole procession and very unpleasant to the eyes.
It was said that the men of the Shangguan family would never leave their sabers until death. Therefore, the crowd understood and forgave the new groom's rudeness.
In fact, the spectators were more interest in the groom's right hand that had already been cut off by the Supreme King.
Without the hand to hold a sword, he was less threatening. It was like a fierce tiger whose teeth and paws had been extracted.
Shangguan Nu hid his entire right arm in a long sleeve. No one knew what was holding the halter, as part of it was also covered by the sleeve. The groom seemed no different from a normal person.
People with even a little knowledge of proper etiquette would not deliberately stare at others' physiological defects. It was a pity that courtesy was rarer than benevolence in the camp of the Iron Mountain Gang. After looking at the groom's procession and dress, thousands of people fixed their eyes on the hidden hand.
Shangguan Nu's facial expression turned stiffer, as if he himself had become a part of the "Iron Mountain".
Seeing Shangguan Nu from afar, Bighead Kingpin smiled broadly. He forgot all the unhappy things, and whole-heartedly waited for the Supreme King's son. "Who can tell that he's handicapped? He's a perfect match for my daughter." With this in mind, he opened his arms to embrace his son-in-law.
Gu Shenwei stood right behind Bighead Kingpin together with the other slave boys and girls as well as the bandit leaders. He could clearly see the groom get down from his horse and kneel to greet his father-in-law. He even caught a glimpse of an iron hook in the groom's sleeve when Bighead Kingpin supported his son-in-law and gave him a passionate hug.
The hook flashed before Gu Shenwei's eyes.
He found himself extremely calm, and was not as nervous as expected.
This was the enemy of the Gu family. There was a good chance that he was the one who killed and beheaded Gu Shenwei's mother and father.
Gu Shenwei was only a few steps away from Shangguan Nu, holding a red gift box in his hands. Suddenly, an impulse to throw himself at Shangguan Nu arose in his mind, and his body involuntarily leaned forward.
A piercing gaze swept over him.
With her eyes, Mama Xue was warning him not to make a show in front of the groom.
Gu Shenwei suddenly awoke from his daze, and immediately resumed his standing posture. He thought, "My father endeavored to save me, and Master Shifu Yang Zheng and my elder sister sacrificed themselves for me. I can't waste my life like this."
He would take revenge, but his target was not Shangguan Nu alone, but the entire Shangguan family.
Blessed by the Will of the Divine, he believed he would succeed.
The groom stood up, his eyes sweeping randomly across the crowd behind his father-in-law. Though many were blocked by Bighead Kingpin's tall and bulky body, he still managed to see a group of silly bandits, who giggled and seemed vulgar despite their brand-new clothes.
Shangguan Nu felt a little disappointed, thinking, "Do I have to seek an alliance with them? How can father choose to build a connection with such a mob?"
Gu Shenwei bravely met the glance, but he did not attract Shangguan Nu's attention.
As soon as he decided to enter Golden Roc Fort, he made up his mind to take a huge risk: Someone in Golden Roc Fort surely had to know him. Perhaps Shangguan Nu had long ago heard about his appearance.
Now, Shangguan Nu did not recognize him, so he passed the first test. But how long could he hide his identity in the fort?
Gu Shenwei knew that the Will of the Divine had not left him much time to seek revenge. He had to take action as soon as possible.