Chapter 25: The Emergence of the White Handkerchief
Translator: Transn Editor: Transn
They soon discovered the real cause of Han Shiqi's death. However, for many people, dealing with the individuals involved in it was a difficult problem.
The Eighth Young Master, Shangguan Nu, had bad luck this year. Bad things kept happening one after another. The deceased Han Shiqi was his underling and the two murderers were discovered to be servants brought by his new wife.
Gu Shenwei could speculate about what had happened over the past three stifling days by piecing together the information that he had heard through the grapevine.
After Slave Qi was caught, the other six teenagers were immediately sent back to Firewood Yard. They were imprisoned again and were completely isolated; the only exception was that someone brought them only one meal every day. No one had taken care of the two corpses, which had started to decay. The smell gradually wafted through the whole yard and into the room where the teenagers lived.
They had been in great distress during the past three days. After scabs formed, they helped each other peel them off and waited for the final verdict. This was the last time that the sworn brothers would trust and support each other.
Gu Shenwei felt very nervous because he did not know what Slave Qi would confess.
Gu Shenwei already had an awful fright when Slave Qi glanced at him at the underground torture chamber in Heart Cleansing Yard. Most people who were older and more strong-willed than Slave Qi would have made a full confession under various cruel tortures.
At noon on the fourth day, the western door was eventually opened and a new overseer arrived.
The first thing he did was open the eastern door and dispose of the two corpses.
The corpses were rotten and infested with maggots. Although the corpses looked disgusting, the teenagers were cheerful when they carried them away. They resumed their jobs and it seemed as though they had been forgiven.
After the teenagers cleaned up the room with the corpses, the new overseer announced that nothing would change. Firewood Yard had reopened and the teenagers should continue to carry out their duties.
But actually, everything had changed.
The new overseer did not live in Firewood Yard. He came at dawn and left at night. He would lock the yard door while he was away. As a result, the teenagers led a more restricted lifestyle. They no longer paid their respects to the Miss. More guards were arranged around the water-carrying place in the fort. All the empty barrels that were not used at the moment were moved away.
They accepted the first patients after Firewood Yard reopened and one of them was the ex-overseer, Slave Ji. He had suffered crueler torture than the others but he managed to survive. While the other patients were thrown off Ghost Cliff one after another, unexpectedly, only he had recovered.
However, Slave Ji became quiet and often remained silent all day long. After losing his backer and his position, he had an uncertain future. One night, when he just managed to walk by himself, he committed suicide by using his own belt. The corpse was found the next morning, dangling on the doorframe of the western door.
No one was surprised at his death and no one cared about it. The teenagers threw his corpse off the cliff. Someone even complained about how inconsiderate the ex-overseer was. "Since you wanted to commit suicide, why didn't you directly jump off the cliff?"
One day, the teenagers saw Slave Qi's corpse, which was beheaded, being carried directly to Ghost Cliff by two men in black.
Although he was accustomed to seeing corpses, Gu Shenwei could not bear it and began to vomit. The other teenagers averted their eyes with a pale look. They lost their appetite for the rest of the day.
Slave Xie was caught less than two days later. He resisted so fiercely that the attackers had to directly kill him. His body was thrown into the wild because they no longer needed to have his confession.
Slave Qi had borne through everything in Heart Cleansing Yard. He did not mention anyone except for his younger brother.
He confessed that he made the plan to murder Han Shiqi. He had nailed the sharp knife under the bed. Then he crawled under the bed and killed the enemy who was enjoying himself while Slave Xie held down Han Shiqi.
Everything matched his confession. Han Shiqi's belongings were found in Slave Qi's luggage.
It turned out that Slave Qi and Slave Xie were orphans of the Great Snowmountain. They were sold as slaves because their parents had died in a fight between several mountains. The pair of brothers and Long Feidu, who had slaughtered the Eagle Gang at the T-junction, belonged to the same tribe, but they were from different mountains.
The Great Snowmountain and Golden Roc Fort were bitter enemies.
Gu Shenwei did not understand people from the Great Snowmountain, who fought among themselves even when faced with a strong enemy.
The origin of the pair of brothers provided an element of conspiracy to Han Shiqi's death. The six teenagers of Firewood Yard were interrogated again and were asked about their personal history.
This time they were not sent to Heart Cleansing Yard, but all the teenagers were greatly intimidated. Once they were questioned, they revealed all their life experiences starting from the day they were born.
Gu Shenwei did not tell the truth, but it was too hard for him to make up his origin. Therefore, he stole Slave Yao's origin as a servant of a businessman from the Western Region. He said he was grabbed and made into a slave by bandits while he was accompanying his master on a trip.
What Slave Yao said before his death was incoherent. Therefore, Gu Shenwei had to polish what he had said once again. It turned out to be so convincing that even he himself almost believed that he had experienced these events.
The only problem was that his words could not withstand scrutiny because he looked quite different from the pointy-faced Slave Yao.
However, no one would put in the effort to find the merchant of the Western Region, who was so far away from here, only for the purpose of verifying Gu Shenwei's statement. Gu Shenwei was secretly worried about it before he confirmed that he had successfully deceived them.
The case gradually faded into the background. No one suspected that there was another accomplice. There were some people who wanted to end the case as soon as possible in order to minimize the impact of the case.
Gu Shenwei was aware of the contradiction between the two sides in the torture chamber. The thin and tall Blademaster Shen, named Shen Liang, was the chief in Heart Cleansing Yard, and he was also the Eighth Young Master Shangguan Nu's uncle. He represented his nephew's interests and used his power to minimize the effect of the case.
The thin and short Mister Guo came from Whiterobe Academy in East Castle. Although he was not any Young Master's relative, it was known that he was close to the Fifth Young Master. Mister Guo was eager to maximize the effect of the case so he could damage the Eighth Young Master's power.
Almost everyone in Golden Roc Fort knew that the Eighth Young Master was on bad terms with the Fifth Young Master. It was said that the two young masters' mothers had not gotten along well with each other and had passed their enmities onto their sons.
As the Supreme King, Shangguan Fa, did not want the case to get out of control, the Eighth Young Master, Shangguan Nu, had seemingly won this round. It would be a major scandal if the news that a killer was assassinated by two teenagers in Golden Roc Fort were to spread outside the fort.
The lord of Golden Roc Fort was unwilling to hold his son accountable for the case, therefore no one dared to stir things up.
Nevertheless, Shangguan Nu fell into the lowest position in his father's mind, as he was not capable of taking the leadership of a group of killers and he could not even handle the internal affairs of his yard, which made the Supreme King disappointed.
It was not helpful for Gu Shenwei to know that Golden Roc Fort was not united. He was stuck in Firewood Yard now, dealing with the dead every day. Though he had five acquaintances, they barely spoke with each other, as the five acquaintances were afraid to speak.
There had been 10 teenagers who followed the Miss into Golden Roc Fort. After a little more than one month, four of them were dead. Even though "at least one person gets killed every day" in Golden Roc Fort, it was still a scarily high proportion. All the teenagers were pessimistic about their future.
Gu Shenwei found himself being isolated in such circumstances.
The other five teenagers often avoided him or whispered behind him. They showed a flicker of fear toward Slave Huan.
Gu Shenwei felt confused about their behavior. He had not bullied or betrayed anyone. He lived at the bottom of Golden Roc Fort and did the humblest work with them. He could not figure out why he became unusual in their eyes.
After several days, he finally realized why he looked different from them.
Although his behavior was disguised, he was still different from that of the other teenagers from the mountain areas. He did not randomly sit on the ground. He frequently washed his hands, was able to read, and always walked with his back straight.
He knew Kung Fu. Although he was not comparable to the killers in the fort, none of the teenagers were his match.
He was not afraid of Ghost Cliff and often went there by himself. Sometimes he practiced Kung Fu there; sometimes he just blankly sat there. The others would not go to that place, except for when they needed to dispose of the dead.
When Slave Yao was possessed by the evil spirit, Gu Shenwei stayed with him. Slave Qi and Slave Xie once attempted to help Gu Shenwei drive the evil spirit away, but instead, the brothers "had been possessed by the evil spirit" and had made an assassination. Slave Xiao, who had died early on, also seemed related to Slave Huan, as they used to stay together.
Those were the five teenagers' thoughts. Though Gu Shenwei was initially irritated by it, he began to feel at ease as no one would come to disturb his Kung Fu practice.
Gu Shenwei had practiced Kung Fu the hardest for over a month since he entered Golden Roc Fort. Now that he did not know the whereabouts of the shortcut manual, he had to put all his hopes on regular Kung Fu practice.
It would never be too late to get his revenge. He had already given up on the idea of taking revenge as soon as possible.
As long as no one recognized him, he could patiently wait until he mastered Yin and Yang Strength. No matter how long it would take, regardless of whether it took 10 or 20 years, he would have a chance to get his revenge, as his enemy Shangguan Nu was still young and would still be alive at that time.
On the 10th day after Firewood Yard was reopened, the teenagers, who became more and more frightened of Slave Huan, "gave" him a surprise.
On that day, there was no patient in the yard. After the new overseer locked the eastern door and left, Gu Shenwei took the opportunity to practice Kung Fu on Ghost Cliff. He returned to the yard to have lunch at noon.
The other teenagers avoided him, so he usually went back to his room and ate alone. It was the same on that day, except that there was one more thing on his bedding.
It was a piece of white handkerchief with some words on it.
Gu Shenwei almost dropped the bowl onto the ground.
He rushed forward, put down the bowl, and picked up the white handkerchief. After reading the first line of the writing, he knew it was the shortcut manual of Yin and Yang Strength.
He greedily read, ignoring his meal. He had no time to be curious about the origin of the white handkerchief.
Gu Shenwei felt disappointed after reading it through.
It was indeed the real shortcut manual. However, it was not a shortcut as he had imagined. If he practiced Yin and Yang Strength at normal speed, he would finish the all forces merger when he reached the ninth level of Yin Strength and Yang Strength. If he practiced the shortcut manual, he could combine the two kinds of strength at any level, but the power could not be comparable to the normal practice method.
The words on the white handkerchief made it clear. If one reached the third level of Yin Strength and Yang Strength, it would be powerful after combination; if one reached the fifth level, it would be very powerful; if one wanted to be invincible, he had to reach at least the seventh level.
Although it was called a shortcut, it had its limits.
His father, Gu Lun, had practiced it hard for dozens of years and had just reached the fifth level of Yin Strength and Yang Strength. In comparison, Gu Shenwei had just reached the first level of it and did not know when he would master Yin and Yang Strength.
Gu Shenwei tucked the white handkerchief away. After thinking for a while, he took it out and spent that afternoon thoroughly memorizing the manual. Then he tore up the white handkerchief and threw it off the cliff.
From now on, the unique skill of the Gu family had no written records and only existed in the sole descendant's mind.
Gu Shenwei now had the time to consider just who had given the white handkerchief back to him.
It had to be one of the other five teenagers. He had kept the important articles for Slave Yao and did not divulge the secret, even if he suffered a lot in Heart Cleansing Yard.
Gu Shenwei had to find that person.
However, Gu Shenwei could not decide whether he should thank him or remove him for now.