Chapter 23: Dumping the Corpse
Translator: Transn Editor: Transn
After the knife was plunged into the bed, Gu Shenwei immediately turned his body to dodge.
Gu Shenwei had practiced this action numerous times. At the last moment, though he maintained his feeling of urgency, all his muscles became stiff, as if his mind was occupied by an evil spirit. He moved slowly, like in a nightmare.
His blood flowed uncontrollably into his head, and his limbs were much weaker than he had expected.
Eventually, Gu Shenwei got out from under the bed and saw Slave Xie huddle on the ground with his face buried in his arms, his thin naked body shivering.
The sight of Slave Xie looking so terrified made Gu Shenwei calm down. Gu Shenwei disentangled himself from his nightmare. Immediately, he stood up and jumped onto the bed. His moves were agile, as if he were an experienced master in Lightness Skills.
He used all his strength to press down on the pillow. The man under it seemed to be both struggling and, at the same time, totally unresponsive.
After quite a while, Gu Shenwei found that another person was pressing on the pillow with him.
Slave Qi was also naked. As he exerted his strength with every muscle, his face was distorted, his eyes bulged out, almost falling to the point of popping out, and his teeth clenched his lower lip, which was starting to bleed.
Suddenly, Gu Shenwei felt frightened and gently pushed Slave Qi. "Alright, he's dead."
Slave Qi had used up all his strength. He was not as tough and firm as he looked. With the gentle touch, he instantly sat on the bed and open his mouth blankly, saying a word in his own language. It sounded meaningless to Gu Shenwei.
Han Shiqi was dead.
Gu Shenwei removed the pillow. His enemy was staring at them, but could hardly recognize him.
Han Shiqi was stark naked as well. The ugly thing between his legs had turned impotently to the side. Slave Xie held a dagger and rushed over to chop it off.
Gu Shenwei hastily jumped off of the bed and stopped the impulsive Slave Xie just in time. "Watch out, no more blood."
Gu Shenwei crawled under the bed again to dismantled the hilt. Slave Qi and Slave Xie had settled their minds and slowly lifted up the corpse together until the sharp knife was completely taken out from the seam of the bed, and then they turned the corpse around.
Though many unforeseen incidents had occurred, this assassination had gone more perfectly than they had imagined.
That sharp knife had pierced precisely into Han Shiqi's heart. He had died with hardly a struggle. He had even lost little blood, leaving only a tiny stain on the covers.
In the flicker of the candlelight, the three teenagers beheld the dead in silence, as if they were offering their condolences or appreciating a masterpiece.
After a while, they began to do their own tasks as pre-arranged in the plan.
Slave Qi and Slave Xie put on their clothes. One of them went to check the situation outside while the other left to pack up Han Shiqi's belongings with Gu Shenwei, including several pieces of clothes, a dagger, a stiletto knife, a killer waist token, several small bottles, a handkerchief, and other sundries.
The killer waist token was an oval flavescent jade stone, imprinted with a simple bird and the character "Jue".
With this waist token, one could visit lots of places in Golden Roc Fort. Gu Shenwei wanted to keep it, but gave that up after hesitating for a while. As he was just a teenager, attempting to show the killer waist token would bring more trouble than it was worth.
"You can take it. It's your trophy."
Slave Qi pulled the stiletto knife and small bottles close to his chest. According to the tradition of their clan, all of the dead's possessions belonged to the one who had done the killing.
Gu Shenwei shook his head, put the waist token with the rest of the belongings, and rolled them into a ball. "It's too dangerous. We'd better not keep his things."
"If we stay here with them, it'll be dangerous. But it won't be if we run away."
Slave Qi spoke confidently and seemed to have a plan, which he had never mentioned before. While Gu Shenwei was about to ask him, Slave Xie came back and nodded to them, indicating that everything was alright outside and they should carry the corpse away.
The three teenagers carried the corpse together. The brothers each held one foot of the corpse while Gu Shenwei held the head. They quietly walked to Ghost Cliff outside the western door with the belongings placed on top of the corpse.
Slave Xie had already opened the yard door to ensure they could get out smoothly.
Gu Shenwei was mostly worried about the mysterious night watchman, but they were lucky tonight. No night watchmen showed themselves the entire way that they carried the corpse to the gate. Ghost Cliff was a precipice. There was no need for guards, and therefore, they were safe for the time being.
The teenagers of Firewood Yard had all carried corpses, but Han Shiqi was quite heavier than any of those. Still a dozen steps away from the edge of the cliff, Slave Xie was already worn out and could not help stooping down.
Slave Qi and Gu Shenwei glanced at each other and slowly put down the corpse together. They felt exhausted. No matter how hard they tried, they could not bring themselves to finish the last few steps.
The sharp knife still remained in the back of the corpse with only a sliver exposed that could barely be seen in the moonlight.
Gu Shenwei thought that it was a mistake to take a rest and they should dispose of the corpse as soon as possible. When he stooped to pick up the corpse, it suddenly grasped his ankle!
The strength of the grip was as strong as an iron hoop.
Gu Shenwei's blood boiled and then directly froze into ice. At that moment, he felt that his spirit was outside of his body.
Slave Qi and Slave Xie were stupefied at first, but then pounced on Han Shiqi together. The elder brother pulled out the sharp knife and haphazardly stabbed with all his strength.
The corpse gave no response.
Gu Shenwei pushed Slave Qi away, disentangled himself from Han Shiqi's grip, and turned over the corpse to observe carefully.
This was still a corpse, just with a little effusion of blood around the corners of his mouth. Nevertheless, Gu Shenwei did not know why it had grasped the ankle of its murderer and whether it had been alive while grasping.
Gu Shenwei's spirit came back to him. It seemed to have been purified while it was absent. While it was gone, he had been cool-headed, like a coroner performing an autopsy.
He checked Han Shiqi's breath and touched his chest for a while. Part of him wished that Han Shiqi would still be alive, so that he could ask about his sister's whereabouts as well as the reason why Golden Roc Fort had slaughtered the Gu family.
"Is he really dead?" Slave Xie whispered. His face paled, whiter than the moonlight.
The three teenagers no longer had the strength to carry the corpse, whereupon they rolled it together to finish the last dozen steps and pushed it off the cliff with its belongings.
No matter if Han Shiqi was dead or alive, he would not be coming back.
Gu Shenwei asked. Slave Qi and Slave Xie obviously had thought it through much more than he had and already had a plan to cope with the aftermath.
Slave Qi, whose hands were stained with blood, appeared panicked and irritable, as if he would blow up if someone provoked him even slightly.
"Hmm? Next? Next, we'll run away. You'll come with us."
"Run away? How? This is Golden Roc Fort."
Slave Qi took a deep breath to cool down and looked much better. "You know, every morning we have to carry water. There are lots of wooden barrels. Water is sent from the outside. If there's a chance, we can hide in the wooden barrels to escape."
Gu Shenwei had also done this job, so he immediately understood what Slave Qi meant. Golden Roc Fort was located at the peak of the mountain, without a source of water. Daily water was carried from the foot of the mountain. The men that delivered the water were not allowed to enter the fort. The water would be poured into a stone pool. Then, the servants inside the fort would carry it to their own yards. By the pool, lots of empty wooden barrels were left, which might be taken away the next day by the men who delivered the water.
There was an overseer by the pool, but that did not mean that they did not have any chance. Sometimes, when there were too many servants who carried water, the overseer could not keep his eye on all of them, so one could crawl into the barrels and wait for the arrival of the men who delivered water.
It sounded like a feasible plan.
But Gu Shenwei still shook his head. It was the second time that he had refused to escape with them. Slave Qi gave him a strange look.
"I'll stay. I have my enemies here. I want my revenge."
That's all Gu Shenwei could tell them. Even though they had murdered the man together, he could not expose all his thoughts because he was cautious and also insecure. He would take revenge for his parents and brothers by killing the entire Shangguan family. It might be a whimsical goal that nobody else could understand.
However, Slave Qi and Slave Xie accepted his reason. In their eyes, vengeance was more important than anything. They had postponed escaping because they wanted to kill the man who had humiliated them.
The three teenagers returned to Firewood Yard. Gu Shenwei returned to his room alone. Slave Qi and Slave Xie went to clean Slave Ji's bed, and tried to make the small stain as inconspicuous as they possibly could. Then they went back to sleep. The other five teenagers were sleeping soundly and no one envied the pair of brothers.
Gu Shenwei closed his eyes. As the first enemy had been killed, the small piece of the huge stone blocking up his heart had fallen and a sliver of light shone inside. He had lots of things to do, but now felt sleepy. Without clearing away all of his thoughts, he fell deeply asleep.
It was a sweet sleep like Gu Shenwei had never known before.
Waking up in the morning, Gu Shenwei almost forgot everything that had happened the night before. After a while, he was infused with the joy of having tasted revenge. Even the sunshine outside appeared to be more radiant than usual.
He had enjoyed the three-day holiday for getting rid of the evil spirit and had to pay his respects to the Miss with the other teenagers. He had been wondering why Mama Xue admitted to teaching Slave Yao Internal Strength.
However, Mama Xue seemed to have forgotten all about it. He did not see any clue from her cold, stiff face.
When they returned to Firewood Yard, Slave Ji appeared slightly restless and kept asking Slave Qi and Slave Xie where Third Brother was and why he had left without saying a word.
Slave Qi and Slave Xie were quite well-composed, which Gu Shenwei admired. The brothers casually explained that Third Brother had left that night, and they had opened and then locked the yard door because the overseer had already fallen asleep and they did not want to bother him.
Slave Ji believed their words, as Han Shiqi did not spend every night there. However, Slave Ji did not know why he was so restless and kept thinking of it all day long.
In the afternoon, Slave Ji felt more distracted. Overseeing the teenagers at work, he was completely absent-minded. At dusk, he even did not call roll, and he locked the yard door later than usual. After going back to his own room, he kept the candle lit and fell asleep after midnight.
Due to his absent-mindedness, Slave Ji did not find that Slave Qi and Slave Xie were missing. The brothers went to carry water in the afternoon. They came back once, but did not return the second time, owing to the overseer's serious negligence of duty.
Gu Shenwei felt relieved for Slave Qi and Slave Xie, as the first step of their plan to run away had gone smoothly.
The other five teenagers found it unusual, but no one else cared about it. As new servants, they did not know how to deal with things like that, nor did they dare to remind Slave Ji, as the overseer was already in a bad mood.
Gu Shenwei privately prayed that the two brothers would succeed in escaping.
As for Golden Roc Fort, it was a peaceful night, but the next morning, when everything was exposed, a storm was raised.