Chapter 42: Winning and losing
Translator: Transn Editor: Transn
Though the bet was "Slave Huan will beat Master Yu in three moves", Shangguan Yushi rushed to advance her first move, which was not what Gu Shenwei was expecting.
She lowered her left shoulder. Gu Shenwei thought her move would be "Fierce Thunder", in which she would disguise her two fists while her real attack used her foot. Gu Shenwei chose to break it by leaning his body backward and catching her foot in his hands to throw her back.
It turned out that Shangguan Yushi was using "Encompass the left, brush the right". Both elements of this attack were genuine offences and fast as lightning. Gu Shenwei's skills were slightly inferior to hers, which almost caused him to lose immediately.
Thanks to the days he had spent with Maid Lotus, learning to read her moves on the fly, he reacted much faster than before. He waited for the moment and retreated immediately. Though he did not receive her kick, he was totally embarrassed.
After this, the audience was confused rather than shocked. Slave Huan was so presumptuous that they thought he must be keeping his strength under wrap. In fact, he was too weak. The more quick witted among them perhaps thought that Slave Huan had tried intentionally to ingratiate Shangguan Yushi after he had been humiliated.
Shangguan Fei turned his head and glared at Shangguan Hongye angrily. Shangguan Hongye was confused, too. His face flushed, he clenched his fists. He wasn't sure if he wanted to cheer for Slave Huan, or just smash him.
Shangguan Yushi did not give her opponent the chance to have a break. She was wrathful now, deciding to defeat, or even kill the nasty slave in three moves. Before her fists finished, she suddenly jumped up, turned around in the air and tread her feet.
This move was what Mama Xue expected from the five moves—the "Heaven Spinning Stroke". Gu Shenwei had already memorized the counter move by heart. The only problem was that after losing the first move, he could not even stand steady. It would be hard for him to deal with it leisurely.
He should have squatted in the bow stance, letting her fly over, and then borrowed her force to push her away.
If this move was used correctly, Shangguan Yushi would have flown into the crowd and fell down. But Gu Shenwei moved a split second too late, with an incomplete gesture that did not even allow him to touch her. Instead, she was able to grab his arm when she turned around.
The audience was astonished, thinking Slave Huan was out of luck. Shangguan Yushi was always vicious, leaving her opponent without any face. This time she would surely use the move "Splitting Bones And Muscles".
From there, the scene changed rapidly. It appeared as though Slave Huan's pace was scattered, with his hands waving in the air, and he would fall down at any moment. However, in the next second, it was Master Yu who fell off.
Gu Shenwei pressed on her arm, and before the master gave his order, he left her, retreating three steps backward, and stood. It meant the fight was over.
Shangguan Fei and his fellows jumped up excitedly. "We win, we win!"
Though Shangguan Yushi had fallen down, she was not hurt. She pressed her hands down on the floor and sprang up abruptly. She shouted resentfully with her face so red that it seemed it might bleed. "You cheated, three moves again."
Before Gu Shenwei could speak, Shangguan Fei rushed up to say, "All's fair in war. Winning is winning, don't make a scene."
Shangguan Yushi was furious and stepped forward, waving her fists, wanting to fight with Shangguan Fei. Shangguan Ru rushed between them quickly, splitting them apart, saying, "Wait a minute, it's still undecided who the winner is!"
"What are you talking about? Didn't she fall down?"
"But in which move?"
This question silenced the people. The fight had unravelled so quickly that no one had seen exactly how many moves occured.
Shangguan Fei pulled out Slave Huan from behind. "Was it the third move? Tell me, was it?"
"No, I beat Master Yu in the fourth move. I lost."
Gu Shenwei was telling the truth.
When Shangguan Yushi had grabbed his arms, she used the "Gold-breaking Hand", with both of her hands wringing and winding his arms. Once she finished, Gu Shenwei's arm would be broken.
The "Gold-breaking Hand" was a vicious move, yet it was included in the five moves Mama Xue selected. Gu Shenwei did not even think, he lowered his head and submerged it beneath his arms, resolving her catenated strength. Afterward, he stood in front of her, using his other hand to grab her chest.
It was not easy to decypher Golden Roc Fort's kung fu. But Shangguan Yushi was a girl, and no matter how much her character and clothes looked like a boy, she thought in a girl's way. Therefore Mama Xue thought of some "vicious moves" with this in mind.
This "chest grabbing" caused Maid Lotus to give up and retreat in a muddle during their practice. Gu Shenwei always used just half of this move. Mama Xue scolded them even for this.
But Shangguan Ru was not Maid Lotus, she knew nothing about it. She was unaware of what was happening as Gu Shenwei turned around and resolved her "Gold-breaking Hand", not to mention this "chest grabbing". She did not even jump backward like Maid Lotus.
This time Gu Shenwei was unprepared. He had to draw his hand back at the exact moment. But Shangguan Yushi was stunned, so he grabbed her arm from behind his back.
Shangguan Yushi almost got humiliated because of her mistake. She was so angry that once she reacted, she took a step forward, and used her hand-to-hand combat skill, "Ladder Breaking Feet".
This skill regarded the opponent's body as a ladder, grasping the wrist of the opponent, and borrowed his force, kicking him from the head to the feet with enough strength that it could break a bone with every kick.
Though it was indeed vicious, it was not usable in too many conditions. Mama Xue thought for a long time before listing it in the five moves she had prepared.
When Shangguan Yushi borrowed the force that had been predicated by Gu Shenwei, he seized the opportunity and chose not to be humble. Before her first kick was finished, with her lower body swaying, he pulled her back and brushed past her. Just before Shangguan Yushi was able to gain a steady stance, Gu Shenwei turned around and pressed her to the ground.
These moves were so fast and the two fighters were so close that in other's eyes, it was only one move, while in truth, they had performed a fourth move. Shangguan Ru had seen it clearly.
The winner became the loser, which brought much controversy. But Gu Shenwei was just a slave, so his yielding would satisfy the crowd. Shangguan Fei glared at him, and pushed him away, "No, since they didn't separate, it was only one move."
"It was four moves! And it had nothing to do with the separation!"
The twins each stood for opposing sides, arguing with each other even though they had no stake in the matter. Shangguan Ru forgot she was actually in the same gang as her brother as she concentrated on arguing for Shangguan Yushi.
The two competitors were separated by a group of noisy puipils. They stood staring at each other, one giving a wooden, inflexible glare, while the other was trying hard to calm her own anger.
Gu Shenwei had reached his aim. It did not matter who won or lost, taking down Shangguan Yushi had surely impressed everyone. Now Shangguan Ru stood at her cousin's side, but Slave Huan would be forced deep into her memory after this.
There was no end to the arguement between the two groups of pupils. At last the teacher came, waving his ruler to drive them away into the yard or back to the hall. Finally, the scene settled down.
Slave Qing's face was black as he said, "You're not afraid to die, are you? Since you're so tough boned, and Master Yu spared you last time, let's see if you're so lucky now."
Gu Shenwei put his head down and kept silent. There was not much fun in being serious with Slave Qing. This man did not rank high on his revenge list.
"Get out! Go to your bandit den!"
Slave Qing was so mad that he even treated the Eighth Young Mistress impolitely.
Gu Shenwei departed, feigning submission. Shangguan Yushi and Slave Qing did not want him too close to the Ninth Young Master, but now he was sure that Shangguan Ru would call him back sometime.
He went to the stone cabin, lying on the Kang, and thought back on what had happened that morning. He had taken a little revenge toward Shangguan Yushi, but it was not enough. Something bigger was hidden inside his mind. Someday, someday he must kill the little devil, and the twins as well.
Then he thought of killing Shangguan Ru, and he hesitated for moment. But he cooled down at once. His heart was so full of hatred that there was no room for mercy or sympathy.
The fight brought other issues to deal with. The first one to be mad was Shangguan Hongye, who, before they had a break, ran to the stone cabin because he had not only lost the bet, but also offended Shangguan Fei. He would surely wreak on Slave Huan to vent his frustrations.
"You nasty slave, you cheap boy! You dare to lie to me? I'm going to kill you!"
Shangguan Hongye rolled up his sleeves. Reagardless of how strong this slave's kung fu might be, a slave was a slave, and the master could beat him whenever he wanted.
Gu Shenwei did not need Mama Xue to teach him breaking moves in order to deal with Shangguan Hongye, or someone like him. He did not even need to predict the opponent's moves in advance. He could press and hold him, with his face on the edge of the Kang.
Shangguan Hongye did not bring his young attendant when he came, which proved to be huge mistake.
"You, you, you, let go of me!"
Gu Shenwei released his hands and retreated, but kept his cold stare aimed at this bully-looking coward. He had figured out a way to deal with Shangguan Hongye.
"You dare to beat me?" Shangguan Hongye half-squated and half-stood, with his arms on the Kang, and his face full of fright.
Gu Shenwei fished out a package from his quilt and threw it to Shangguan Hongye. "How much money did you lose? I'll pay."
Shangguan Hongye opened the package, giving it a glance. The white and yellow pieces were sparkling inside. It was much more than what he had lost in the bet, but still, a slave paying money to him? He did not know how to respond.
"This, this was not about the money. The young master said that he would punish me hard, and so did you. He wouldn't just let it go." Shangguan Hongye held the package tight, speaking in a less angry tone than before.
Gu Shenwei did not care about the young master. It would not take more than three days before Shangguan Fei forgot about this matter.
"The yard knew something was lost. They are searching and investigating rigorously."
Shangguan Hongye was astonished. He was the Supreme King's own nephew. If it was known that he took the silver pieces from the slaves, which were stolen, he would be embarrassed to death.
He was regretting having ever gotten involved the little intrigue of Slave Huan, but he could not bring himself to drop the package.
"You can have what's in there and use it as you wish, but remember to save some for me."
Shangguan Hongye pocketed the package, though it was full to the point of bulging. "Don't worry," he said. "After I pay the debt, we'll split the rest fifty-fifty."
Since he decided that taking care of the money was the first priority, Shangguan Hongye was not so angry toward Slave Huan any more. Fearing that he might pull back his words, even before Slave Huan asked, he went out of the room so totteringly that he nearly knocked down Elderly Zhang, who was coming inside.
Elderly Zhang watched the teenager stumble out, shocked. "Isn't this, isn't that..." But many years' experience of being prudent and cautious made him stop immediately. He laid down the lunch box, and, taking his part, went out of the stone cabin speechless to go eat with his favorite horses in the stable.
Having fixed one problem did not allow Gu Shenwei to relax. Shangguan Yushi would not leave the matter at that. Sooner or later, she would come and punish him.