Chapter 34: Xuanji
Translator: Transn Editor: Transn
This was a disappointing and embarrassing moment for the Shangguan twins. As children of the Supreme King, they seemed to be the "face" of Golden Roc Fort and yet they stood there without their father and brothers present.
Shangguan Fei looked nervous and Shangguan Ru bit her lips. Her cheeks blushed as red as precious rubies and an irresistible flame of anger burned in her wide black eyes.
Gu Shenwei even momentarily thought that she would rush forward to rebuke the killers and fight Marshal Yang, who had just killed nine people in succession.
The sound of drum beats kept coming from the fort, alternating between fast and slow.
Normally, this would sound like the signal of an attack, but for the Golden Roc Fort killers, it had a different meaning.
The dozen or so killers in the front kept backing away cautiously. They did not turn around to move toward Golden Roc Fort until they were over 20 steps away from Marshal Yang.
The killers were about to retreat.
Marshal Yang just looked at them with no intention to stop them. Such pawns had never been his target, instead, the nine dead bodies lying before him were his name card to be shown to the Supreme King.
Golden Roc Fort had its "Two Rules for Killers", and Marshal Yang also had his own rules.
The killers moved steadily and unflustered. This, however, would not comfort the frustrated teenagers. The twins just watched in astonishment as their killers backed off. They looked back at the fort, expecting more powerful reinforcements to replace these disappointing killers. They still had the blademasters, young masters, and black-masked assassins. Golden Roc Fort had not shown its full strength.
But only one more person appeared while the regular drumbeats continued to order everyone to retreat.
Slave Qing sighed silently and stepped forward, "Masters, let's go back and leave it to the Young Masters."
The twins were still too young to be called "Young Masters".
Shangguan Ru ignored him and stubbornly stared at Marshal Yang in the distance. She looked as if she could kill him with her eyes. Shangguan Fei turned halfway and saw his younger sister standing still, so he turned back, also refusing to leave.
Slave Qing produced a forced smile and shook his head. The killers were about to enter the fort's castle, which was dangerous for the group of children, who could not help. So, he looked to Shangguan Yushi for help.
Normally, Shangguan Yushi was the most audacious one, who often egged the twins on to be mischievous. But, at this critical moment, she matured. She put her hands gently on her cousin's shoulders and whispered into her ear.
Whatever she said was very effective and Shangguan Ru's anger slightly cooled as she turned around to walk into the fort.
Now that the "Ninth Young Master" no longer insisted on staying, all of the other teenagers felt relieved and hurried back to Stone Castle. They had come to see the fun, but the situation turned out to be a bit dangerous.
The killers sprinted in behind them and the thick wooden door slowly closed.
"Cough, cough!" Slave Qing wanted to say something to comfort the twins. They walked on in a dead silence and no one said a word along the way.
Shangguan Ru, however, had no interest in the nonsense of slaves, so she suddenly ran toward the Inner Residence. She wanted to ask her father why, as the Supreme King and the one who made everyone in the Western Region tremble at hearing his name, he would suffer such shame instead of sending his strongest subordinate to kill the challenger with one blow.
Shangguan Yushi, Shangguan Fei, and their young personal attendants followed her closely. Slave Qing could not do anything but shake his head and dismiss the rest, who likely would not work for the rest of the day.
Gu Shenwei managed to control his inner joy and excitement with the greatest perseverance, but he could not control his steps. Unconsciously, he had already started running.
Elderly Zhang was not there. He seldom went back to the stone house except for when he would be going to sleep. That weird old man would rather stay with horses than communicate with people.
Gu Shenwei had been pacing back and forth, alone in the house, too excited to sit still. His emotions, which had been hidden for too long, poured out now.
He practiced his family's unique knife and spear skills and attempted to practice his Yin and Yang Strength, neither of which lasted for very long. Various ideas swarmed into his mind, preventing him from thinking clearly.
From Marshal Yang, he vaguely comprehended many subtleties of the Gu family's Kung Fu as well as a vision of his revenge. He wanted to verify the power of the unique knife and spear skills of the Gu family immediately. Then he could plan a perfect escape to join Marshal Yang.
The Kung Fu master, Marshal Yang, continued standing outside the fort apparently waiting to enter.
However, he did not attempt anything since he was inside Golden Roc Fort, where he had to be particularly careful. Even minor negligence could cause him to die before meeting with Marshal Yang.
He had to hide his true emotions as soon as he possibly could, but what he could not understand was why the people around him were not panicking. Marshal Yang, who had killed nine of their killers in a row continued standing outside the fort, shouldn't the people in the fort feel a sense of urgency?
Elderly Zhang had devoted himself to taking care of the horses and acted as if he had never heard of the challenger. Gu Shenwei could not help mentioning the battle outside during dinner, to which Elderly Zhang just replied with a grunt and continued eating as if the death of several killers was not as important to him as the few pieces of meat in his bowl.
After dinner, Gu Shenwei went to Mama Xue to report the situation of the day as usual. She already knew about the details of the challenge and even knew Marshal Yang. "That old guy hasn't been around for a long time."
This was the only comment Mama Xue made about the challenger. As usual, she was more concerned about the behavior of the twins. She was dissatisfied with Gu Shenwei since he failed to garner more favor from the twins.
"You have to work even harder. Didn't you learn any tricks about flattery from Slave Yao? Use them all! The Miss has great expectations for you."
The Miss again. Gu Shenwei knew well that her trick was to be "the fox assuming the majesty of a tiger". He had not seen the Miss in months. He wondered whether Luo Ningcha still remembered a man named Slave Huan.
"I've been working very hard." Gu Shenwei argued in a low voice. He could not control his temperament because of the arrival of Marshal Yang.
Mama Xue looked at him in surprise and then suddenly understood. "I almost forgot, Marshal Yang seems to be Yang Zheng's brother. I wonder why you didn't go out to him, or..."
Gu Shenwei's heartbeat raced suddenly. He had forgotten that he had to be Yang Zheng's son since he told Mama Xue and the Miss that that was his background. So how could he explain that he had never heard of Marshal Yang before the extermination of his family?
"I... I've never heard my father mention my uncle."
Gu Shenwei decided to tell the truth. Mama Xue doubted his words, and she would be more suspicious if he kept piling up the lies.
"How did the brothers get on with each other? Since they had little communication, why did Marshal Yang seek revenge for his brother?"
"Marshal... Uncle probably wants revenge for the Gu family instead of my father. He saw him fighting and he used only the traditional Kung Fu of the Gu family, which he was more adept at than my father."
Mama Xue stared at Slave Huan, hoping to find the trace of a lie on his face. Soon afterward, she changed her mind. The real identity of the teenager was not important. As long as she could control him for her own purposes, it did not matter even if he had been an illegitimate son of the Supreme King.
"How is your practice of Internal Strength?"
Mama Xue suddenly changed the subject, catching Gu Shenwei off guard. Mama Xue had been teaching him boxing and kicking skills and had not asked him about his Yin and Yang Strength for a long time.
"Just... not bad."
"Is there anything wrong with it?"
"No, nothing. Why?"
"I don't want you to fall into Qigong Deviation like Slave Yao."
"Well, I'm fine. I think I won't."
"Are you sure? Press on the Xuanji acupoint in your chest, do you feel anything?"
Mama Xue asked him this strange question in an easy way and Gu Shenwei pressed on his Xuanji acupoint with his right thumb.
A hot current ran straight from Gu Shenwei's Xuanji acupoint to his Dantian. He felt like he had inadvertently swallowed a mouthful of extremely hot pepper, making him feel hot from his throat all the way into his stomach.
The feeling came on suddenly. Gu Shenwei recalled a situation from a few months ago when Mama Xue pricked major acupoints on his body with her iron-like fingers to help him improve his Internal Strength.
He cried out and almost fell down. However, he managed to keep his legs, but his face had turned pale. "What, what have you done to me?"
There was no expression on the sallow face of Mama Xue. "Well, it's about time."
"What? About time?" asked Gu Shenwei, voice trembling. He thought he had cheated Mama Xue, but it turned out that he had unconsciously fallen into her trap.
"Did you think that you were the only one that could push others into Qigong Deviation?"
Mama Xue's words hit Gu Shenwei like a pot of cold water. He directed his strength secretly and found nothing abnormal. However, the hot current that seemed to come from nowhere had been real. Mama Xue's words were not an empty threat.
"Mama Xue, I... I have always been loyal and obedient. Also, the twins trust me very much."
Gu Shenwei said these words naturally as he dropped to his knees, which was a response that Slave Yao used. That pointy-faced teenager had died from ignorance about Internal Strength, but he could have been a master to Gu Shenwei in other respects.
"Far from enough. You have to be as close to the two children as possible until they trust that they can say anything to you."
Gu Shenwei did not know how to explain the fact that he was a low-level attendant who did not even have access to the Inner Residence. This would make it impossible for the twins to treat him like a friend even if he was strong in Kung Fu.
"There are always ways as long as you try."
Mama Xue said coldly, waving her hand, indicating it was time for Slave Huan to leave. When he moved back toward the door, she said casually, "You don't need to worry about Qigong Deviation. It won't happen for a few months."
"Yes, thank you, Mama Xue."
The excitement caused by the arrival of Marshal Yang had almost disappeared completely. However, things were not dire. Marshal Yang's Yin and Yang Strength seemed to be stronger than his father Gu Lun's. As long as he could manage to meet with Marshal Yang, he should be able to redirect his Internal Strength in the right way.
"Why isn't there a tense atmosphere in the fort, except for the dozens of teenagers who had watched the battle?"
Gu Shenwei had just learned about a bad thing and he really did not want to be entangled with bad luck, so he suppressed the ominous premonition.
However, he could not sleep that night. He kept running his Internal Breath to find signs of Qigong Deviation and kept thinking about Marshal Yang outside the fort. Sometimes he heard screams and he even thought that Marshal Yang had fought his way into the fort. He listened carefully but everything would fall silent again.