Chapter 38: A Lesson
Translator: Transn Editor: Transn
From Shangguan Ru, Gu Shenwei learned that "Death Scripture" was a rebirth mantra passed on from generation to generation in Golden Roc Fort. As time went by, most of it had been forgotten, and only these two sentences were left.
Gu Shenwei meditated upon the words: "The living suffer in grief, and the dead settle in peace" and felt as if a knife were being twisted in his heart. It occurred to him that he was the "living" one, who was suffering in grief, but had the "dead", the members of his family, really "settled in peace"? If he could know their afterlife, maybe he would not need to bear the heavy burden of revenge.
Perhaps ignorance was the root of "the living suffer in grief".
The two men who had carried the corpse returned empty-handed. They bowed to salute the young masters as they went by before silently advancing with pale faces. Soon afterward, they disappeared into the depths of the alley, as if they had been affected by the ghostly atmosphere.
Shangguan Fei refused to play any longer. The two ladies also felt uneasy and did not insist either. Thus, the adventure was over, and the newly started ceremony of the "Moonhold School" to recruit new disciples came to an eventual end.
Gu Shenwei wanted to continue playing the "game", as it would be helpful for him in pleasing Shangguan Ru. However, Shangguan Yushi seemed to be wary of him. She requested to go back to the Inner Residence right after they left East Castle. Shangguan Fei, who was frightened, naturally agreed with her. Since Shangguan Ru was not able to dissuade them, she had no choice but to follow them.
Gu Shenwei and the other attendants were unqualified to enter the Inner Residence, so they were left behind. After the young masters left, Slave Qing bitterly scolded Slave Huan in front of everyone before their dismissal.
Hearing Gu Shenwei's report in the evening, Mama Xue was interested in the little game of the "Moonhold School" very much. She asked him to encourage Shangguan Ru to continue playing it. "You see. As long as you work hard, you can always make it. You should beg Master Ru to teach you Kung Fu. You'll benefit a lot if she, as the Lord's daughter, agrees to teach you a few maneuvers."
Although he knew it was not Mama Xue's real intention, Gu Shenwei eagerly said yes. He became more and more curious about this woman. "Does she want to learn Golden Roc Fort's Kung Fu secretly? But she's already powerful enough, especially with her Iron Fingers. Since she doesn't want to be a killer, what could be in Golden Roc Fort that is so attractive to her?"
"It's good that you beat Slave Qian. He may not be happy, but it doesn't matter. He needs to be prodded a little to teach him a few lessons," Mama Xue continued.
Gu Shenwei agreed while his heart sank. He had offended many people today just to please Shangguan Ru.
After bidding farewell to Mama Xue, Gu Shenwei returned to the stone house and quietly recalled what had happened that day.
He did not expect to be able to defeat Slave Qian with just one strike. He was also surprised by the fact that "the killing desire" could improve his Kung Fu so much.
Lying on the brick bed, Gu Shenwei tried to summon his "killing desire" again.
It was easier said than done. The killing desire was unlike a servant who came at his beckon. Gu Shenwei first tried facing the air and then the wall, but there was no change in his inner state. How could he have the killing desire toward a lifeless object?
He assumed he had to find a living person to practice it on.
Elderly Zhang was sleeping soundly at the end of the brick bed, opposite Gu Shenwei. They were more than three feet away from each other, which was almost the same distance as two opponents would be in a Kung Fu competition.
Gu Shenwei tried to imagine Elderly Zhang as Han Shiqi, and it worked. His killing desire gradually rose, and even without any weapon in hand, he believed he could kill the man with a finger, since there were so many weak but vital parts of a body, such as the eyes, throat, or genitalia.
His killing intent became stronger, and Gu Shenwei could hardly resist his urge to kill. All of a sudden, he realized where his killing desire came from.
The so-called killing desire was actually hatred without fear.
When he hated a person, it often meant he feared that person. Only by conquering fear could he transfrom his hatred into the killing desire and even power.
Gu Shenwei had already practiced this when he competed with Slave Qian during the day, but he only understood it now.
He suddenly saw the light as a brand-new world of martial arts loomed a few feet away from him.
However, the light disappeared in the blink of an eye. He only saw two frightened and raging eyes.
"What, what the hell are you doing?"
Elderly Zhang was sleeping tight before he was suddenly woken up by an indefinable panic and sense of crisis. He opened his eyes and happened to see the murderous Slave Huan.
Gu Shenwei was suddenly awakened. His killing desire, like a little shy beast, immediately hid in the darkness after being scolded and refused to show itself anymore.
"Nothing. I, I can't fall asleep."
"Can't fall asleep? Go out to stare at the moon if you can't fall asleep. Why are you staring at me?"
"I'm sorry, Elderly Zhang. I didn't mean it."
Elderly Zhang seemed shaken. He turned over while cursing and tried to fall back asleep with his back toward Slave Huan. But he did not dare to close his eyes anymore, so he swore again, rolled out of bed, and went outside after putting on his clothes. He was in no mood to look at the moon, so he went to the stable to attend to his treasured horses.
"A man isn't as reliable as an animal," Elderly Zhang murmured.
As a result, Gu Shenwei had offended one more person by the end of the day. However, Elderly Zhang's reaction reminded him that he had better not practice summoning the killing desire at random, as it could easily catch the eyes of bystanders. Even an ordinary man like Elderly Zhang could sense it, let alone others who knew martial arts. That training tutor of Carvewood Academy, who had suddenly changed his attitude during the day, further proved this.
It would be undesirable for him to make such a conspicuous display if he wanted to hide his identity and seek revenge in secret.
The next day, Gu Shenwei failed to please Shangguan Ru, since the twins simply did not show up. Slave Qing was not surprised about this. He yawned and said, "The new year is coming. Madam will surely keep them around. Perhaps we'll be free for some time."
However, Shangguan Yushi did come to school. It was the first time that Gu Shenwei had seen her attend the school all by herself.
Without Shangguan Ru around, she looked colder and prouder than ever before. She pushed over a student, who was standing at the entrance and talking with his fellows, and went straight in without even casting a glance at him.
Blue in the face, the student clenched his fist and was about to curse. But on seeing that it was Master Yu that had pushed him, he swallowed his words. Although both of them were descendants of the Shangguan family, they held vastly different statuses.
Gu Shenwei knew he would invite a snub if he went over and called her "Uncle Master Yu", so he stood far away, not wanting to provoke the little devil.
But trouble was always like this—the more one tried to avoid it, the closer it followed.
Since the twins did not come to school, according to rules, their attendants could be dismissed. When disordered reading was heard from the school, Slave Qing allowed most people to leave and only kept seven or eight teenagers who were normally fighting partners.
Slave Qing went to chat with the other attendants, while these fighting partners stood in the corner of two walls. Suddenly, someone said in a low voice,
"You shouldn't have done that."
It took a while before Gu Shenwei finally realized that this person was talking to him, as the speaker did not mention his name or look at him.
"You shouldn't have called Master Ru 'Master Shifu'," another teenager said.
Gu Shenwei was quite at a loss. When he saluted Shangguan Ru as his Master Shifu, she was quite pleased. Besides, he did not understand why the news had spread so fast.
"Well." Gu Shenwei casually replied, not taking it seriously since he became inured to the servants' jealousy and competition. Just because he had not taken Slave Qing's advice and won the two young masters' favor, Slave Qing had turned a cold shoulder to him. As a result, none of the attendants at the entrance were friendly toward him.
"You still don't understand?" a third teenager asked.
Gu Shenwei was confused. It seemed that these teenagers were warning him not out of jealousy, but out of kindness.
"What should I understand?"
On the other side, Slave Qing was chatting happily and laughing loudly, while all the teenagers kept silent. Among the attendants, the fighting partners had relatively low statuses, and they dreaded Slave Qing the most.
But to some extent, Slave Huan was their "savior". Since the slave who was Master Ru's match had come, they had lived a much better life. A few of them were even lucky enough to remain uninjured for several months, so they did not want to see Slave Huan run out of luck.
As Slave Qing's laughter faded, the teenager who stood closest to Gu Shenwei said in a low voice, "You shouldn't get too close to Master Ru, or Master Yu will be unhappy."
Gu Shenwei suddenly realized what was happening. No wonder Shangguan Yushi had been behaving so oddly since he called Shangguan Ru "Master Shifu" in Moonhold Academy yesterday. It turned out that she had kept trying to shake him off because she was jealous of him.
While it was understandable for a servant to be jealous of another servant, it was difficult to understand why a master would be jealous of a servant. Gu Shenwei could not help shaking his head with a bitter smile.
"He doesn't know!" a teenager shouted in surprise, but he immediately covered his own mouth.
"Don't know what?" Gu Shenwei was a bit annoyed, thinking, "If you really want to help, why not make it clear to me?"
"Master Yu... killed someone."
After a long silence, a teenager explained in a low voice, and then nobody said anything.
Gu Shenwei did not understand why the teenagers dreaded a girl who had killed someone so much, since Golden Roc Fort was full of killers who had committed innumerable murders. Even he had killed people, one of whom he had personally stabbed.
But anyway, he had seen Shangguan Yushi's brutality with his own eyes. Once, she had stepped on a fighting partner's arm and broken it in public. Right now, the poor teenager was standing next to Gu Shenwei, his face ghastly pale.
At class break, Shangguan Yushi did not summon anyone to fight with her. It was not until all the students and the old teacher had left at noon that a student came out and ordered the eight fighting teenagers waiting outside to go into the school together.
Strictly speaking, these teenagers had been assigned to the twins and did not belong to Shangguan Yushi. However, Master Yu's order was no different from Master Ru's, so nobody dared to disobey.
Slave Qing did not go in, but continued waiting at the gate.
There was not a soul in the school yard. The young personal attendants led them to one of the rooms in the eastern wing.
In the room, the writing desks had been moved to the corners, leaving an empty area in the middle. Shangguan Yushi sat on a chair, her personal attendants standing behind her and several children of the Shangguan family on both sides.
It did not seem as if they were going to have a competition. Gu Shenwei's heart skipped a beat, realizing this game targeted him.
Shangguan Yushi hated people winning too much of Shangguan Ru's favor, especially when that person was just a servant.
"You little imp, why don't you call me Uncle Master now?" Shangguan Yushi asked.
"Your humble servant would not dare." Gu Shenwei knelt down.
To take his revenge, he had to degrade himself and tried his best to behave like a slave. When humiliated by his master, he first thought what Slave Yao would do in the same situation.
The pointy-faced teenager, whom he had murdered, was still influencing him from the unseen world.
"You wouldn't dare? I saw that you were very bold yesterday. Is this the first day for you as a slave? How dare you flout the rules after serving the new master for only a few days! How dare you call her Master Shifu. Do you think you have that privilege?"
"He was brought by the Eighth Young Mistress from the bandit camp."
A young attendant whispered to Shangguan Yushi, which intensified the latter's hatred toward Gu Shenwei. Since the Eighth Young Mistress was on bad terms with Madam, who happened to be the twins' biological mother, naturally the people around Madam disliked Bighead Kingpin's daughter and anyone brought here by her.
"The Eighth Young Master sent me to..."
Gu Shenwei was trying to defend himself when Shangguan Yushi suddenly stood up in a rage and kicked him. "What a bold mongrel! You're as much of a nuisance as your cheap master. You don't deserve to live in Golden Roc Fort."
Gu Shenwei only hesitated a bit, and was suddenly kicked in the chest. Although he had made some achievements in practicing Yin and Yang Strength, he could not bear the young lady's kick. He rolled backward and felt spasms of pain in his ribs when he knelt down again.
Shangguan Yushi had not vented all her anger, so she turned to the other seven fighting teenagers and ordered coldly, "Slap him in the face, and teach him how to be a slave."
Gu Shenwei felt the blood surging in his body. No matter how hard he tried to imitate Slave Yao, he was not a real slave after all. For him, humiliation was more unbearable than death. The killing desire hidden in the depths of his heart became restless and itching for action.