Way of the Devil - Chapter 100
Chapter 100: Duke Ashoka (2)
Translator: Deep_Blue Editor: Kurisu
All these long-time friends and relatives couldn’t even compare to a stranger whom he had only just met. In that moment, Li Shunxi felt a myriad of complicated emotions.
“Brother Lu… I have this map that you seek. However, it’s no longer of any use now. The raging war between the two main factions of the North have wreaked dreadful havoc outside the city… I’m not sure what actually happened, but this map from before is no longer of any use. The Noble Families have made their move…”
His words did, however, remind Lu Sheng that the current state of chaos from the battle between the Zhen Family and the Scarlet District would naturally have resulted in confusion among the demons, devils, ghosts, and the like.
“That’s troublesome…” in that case, he couldn’t even find himself a suitable target for testing. It was rather bothersome.
“Brother Lu, er… could you lend me some travel money…?” Li Shunxi asked hesitatingly, somewhat embarrassed. He was thoroughly sober by now. Actually, he hadn’t drunk much; most of the wine had actually been spilled by him. Therefore, he sobered up quickly.
“Small thing,” Lu Sheng retrieved his wallet from his waist pouch, which he threw straight at Li Shunxi. “This is what I have on me now, you take and use it.”
He didn’t care much for these eighty or so taels of silver. Now that he was in the upper echelons of Crimson Whale Sect, his income channels had expanded greatly, which allowed him to be a lot more extravagant with his spending. Li Shunxi was a decent guy who was worth building up connections with. It was reasonable to fork out this small sum to sow his favor.
As for the earlier incident at the weapons section, although he had the money, no one liked being fooled and taken advantage of. That’s why he had deliberately messed around with that old man.
Li Shunxi’s face was awash with gratitude as he accepted the pouch. Opening it and scanning across its contents, the silver notes and coins amounted to no less than a hundred taels.
“Many thanks, Brother Lu! This Li will remember your kindness for as long as I live!” He responded somberly.
“Don’t mention it, Brother Li. We’re all bound to be down-and-out at some point,” Lu Sheng gestured. “Right, so what exactly happened to your family…?”
Li Shunxi’s face darkened at the mention of this matter.
“Brother Lu, have you heard of Duke Ashoka before?”
“Duke Ashoka?” Lu Sheng shook his head, “Is he some sort of royal duke in the imperial government?”
“That’s right. However, he’s not just some royalty. He’s actually secretly a terrifyingly powerful personage, and it’s not just ordinary worldly power he wields,” Li Shunxi sighed. “My dad was investigating him as the former was suspected of offering blood sacrifices to the evil spirits. Because of that, he was framed by the soldiers and officials, resulting in such straits.”
“Duke Ashoka… blood sacrifice?” Lu Sheng faintly recalled that tragic incident in Nine Links City.
When the entire Xu Family, an illustrious family of the Nine Links City, was wiped out, there had been rumors that it was a blood sacrifice. He hesitated before asking with a frown, “Has it got something to do with that tragic blood sacrifice incident in Nine Links City?”
“That’s right,” Li Shunxi nodded, his face glum. “It’s not just Nine Links City. There were a total of eight such massacres across the North, all of which were shockingly horrifying. Furthermore, there were many villages outside the city that disappeared one by one. In actual fact, the total death toll reached way higher than those from the murder cases combined.
It’s precisely because of this that my dad could bear it no longer, and decided to investigate thoroughly into the matter. Who knew…” his eyes reddened as his voice trailed off.
“Duke Ashoka…” Lu Sheng’s eyes narrowed. In that case, the Xu Family blood sacrifice incident in Nine Links City wasn’t simply the work of the supernatural, nor was it merely linked to the Mortal Sweeping Manor—added to it was that Duke Ashoka guy.
“According to what my dad found out, Duke Ashoka very likely has links to the ghost factions, and quite impressive ones at that. It’s atrocious just thinking about it,” Li Shunxi explained. “He’s not of the same bloodline as the current imperial family, but rather received a royal position that was handed down from the previous government. Because he has always kept a low profile, no one knew him well. This time round, however, the blood sacrifices were way too cruel, and thus were unearthed by my dad.”
“There was a major war in the North a while back when they fought for some treasure—he must have had a hand in that too?” Lu Sheng asked again. It was rare that he had such an excellent opportunity to gather some insider information; naturally, he had to make the most of it to gain some clarity.
“That I’m not sure of. What I know for certain, however, is that he must have been involved somehow,” Li Shunxi nodded vigorously. He poured himself a cup of water, which he gulped down in one mouthful.
“Alright. As the mountain stands and river flows, we’ll meet again. Brother Lu, I, Li Shunxi, will remember this favor, and definitely repay you when the opportunity arises in the future! Farewell!”
Lu Sheng could see through his intentions, and did not try to keep him.
Li Shunxi didn’t want to implicate him. After all, Duke Ashoka and the Minister of the Army belonged to a level of power that an ordinary man could not compare to.
Even though Lu Sheng said on the surface that these things didn’t bother him, if he were really up against such impressive powers, then it would be impossible for his family to survive even if he himself could find a way out. His entire family would be implicated.
“Brother Li, take care…” Lu Sheng sighed again as he rose and cupped his fists in response.
“Till we meet again,” Li Shunxi grasped onto the money pouch that Lu Sheng had given him. It almost seemed as if what he was grabbing onto was not money, but something that reignited a sense of newfound faith and purpose in his life.
He opened the door and strode off. Only when the door had shut behind him for a while did Lu Sheng slowly get up from his seat.
“Friend, since you’ve heard it all, you may as well come out now. Don’t make me welcome you personally,” Lu Sheng’s voice rang out clearly as he stood there alone in the empty chamber.
“That won’t be necessary,” an aged voice sounded out near Lu Sheng’s ear. “Meeting personally with a wanted convict … aren’t you worried of implicating your entire household?”
“Implicating? Whom did I meet with? I haven’t done anything but receive a friend. What wanted convict?” Lu Sheng asked with a blank expression.
“That Li Shunxi is a wanted criminal hunted down by the authorities. You’re strong. Don’t put your feet in the wrong place,” the old voice said flatly. “Otherwise, at the very best, you’ll find trouble on your hands; at the very worst, you will be exterminated.”
Lu Sheng’s expression changed almost imperceptibly. Inwardly, however, his mood darkened. Someone had indeed been keeping a watch on Li Shunxi, although he hadn’t expected that he would receive a warning that soon.
“Exterminated? Hehe,” He gave a sinister laugh. “I dare you to come out and try, see if you can exterminate me.”
Threads of a threatening aura emitted out slowly from his body.
Even he himself was in the dark about the prowess of the eighth level of Ultimate Crimson Nine-Furies Skill. It was quite a good timing—he could now test it out on an expert.
“Arrogant brat!” That aged voice was seething. Immediately following the trail of his voice, a steel needle, as fine as cow’s hair, pierced through the walls to aim straight for Lu Sheng’s chest.
The steel needle moved soundlessly at a blinding speed, which was further shrouded in the sound of the voice. By the time Lu Sheng noticed it, it was already too late for him to duck.
The silver needle slammed itself viciously against his chest.
Yet even before the poison on the needle could activate, a massive chopper the size of a door slashed unrelentingly onto the chamber’s left wall.
The wall was crushed into smithereens, revealing a skinny elderly in green robes. With no time to evade the attack, he was slashed brutally by the chopper. The countless wooden fragments from the attack showered upon him like an explosion, causing him to bleed profusely from many wounds in a split second.
“HA!!!” Lu Sheng exclaimed loudly. He leapt across, aimed the tip of his saber against the man’s neck, and brought it down viciously.
His entire body knocked the elderly man over, the tip of his saber slicing cleanly through his neck into the ground. The elderly’s chin and chest were almost separated into two.
The elderly struggled feebly as he was pinned to the ground. Blood pooled at his mouth, causing him to produce choking sounds. He stared fixedly at Lu Sheng. Extending his arms, he tried to grasp onto the saber to pull it out, but it was utterly useless.
“Exterminate me? YOU?” Lu Sheng grabbed onto the elderly’s hair and lifted him upwards.
His head was sliced neatly into two halves. Henceforth, not a sound more escaped from the elderly man’s mouth.
Blood flowed everywhere. Only now did the Crimson Whale Sect members outside notice that and rush into the chamber. Upon witnessing that sight, the faces of each and every one of them turned ashen.
“Boss…” covering his nose, Xu Chui walked into the room. The pungent stench from the sheer amount of blood that covered the room caused discomfort even for someone like him, who had witnessed countless battles.
“Tidy up. Cremate this body directly and don’t leave behind any clues,” Lu Sheng said plainly. Casually, he retrieved the needle from his chest, which had been bent into his robes. This needle didn’t even scratch him after it pierced the wall to land on him, much less did its poison manage to take effect.
Lu Sheng wiped off the blood that had stained his shoes with a towel, then strode out of the restaurant.
Previously, he had felt a barely discernible aura that approached and followed Li Shunxi wherever he went. Initially, he had even thought that it belonged to an expert tasked with protecting him. Who knew that it was actually a spy.
He couldn’t risk the contents of his discussion with Li Shunxi leaking. Moreover, the other party actually had the guts to threaten him. In a fit of anger, he threw all caution to the wind and decided to slaughter that man.
It was merely the Fifth Level of Ultimate Crimson Nine-Furies Skill, working in tandem with the hard body skills. Yet, the explosive power that resulted was like earlier, which left someone roughly at the Intent Proficiency level with no time to even react before he was slashed to death.
‘In that case, I am still unable to determine exactly what level of skill I am at right now,’ Lu Sheng remained deep in thought as he left the restaurant.
After he returned to the Golden Jade Greenhouse, he retrieved from below his mattress a box with small vials, ones that he had used for his experiments previously.
The Bind alcohol inside these little vials could probably provide him with enough data to make a rough assessment of the level of Bind poison he could stand up against given his current power.
Lu Sheng took out a small vial as he sat at the round table. Placing it in his hand, he left the other vials in the white box and placed it on the tabletop for the moment.
‘I’ve got no choice but to experiment with this for the moment…’
Gingerly, he retrieved the wooden stopper and tilted it to release its contents slowly into his palm.
Very soon, a drop of black liquid flowed out unhurriedly along the tilt of the vial to fall onto his palm.
White smoke billowed out. A strong acrid stench of something burnt spread out, as if it were concentrated acid that had been poured onto his palm.
Lu Sheng looked at that black substance, which swiftly shrank and disappeared from within his hand. Then, he promptly moved on to the liquid in the next vial.
His inner Qi circulated strongly within him, with no sign of exhaustion. The quality of the Ultimate Crimson Nine-Furies Skill was clearly superior to before; previously, it had been too powerless to defend against the Bind power of a single vial.
The second drop of liquid also vanished in a flash, entirely evaporating into steam. Then, the third, the fourth, the fifth… vial after vial of the liquid was dripped onto the same spot.
Swiftly, over half of the Ultimate Crimson Nine-Furies Skill inner Qi had been expended. Very soon, Yin-Yang Jade Crane Skill power was activated, alongside a combination of the hard body skill, Nine Lakes Steel Chains Skill.
Threads of white smoke drifted out from the top of Lu Sheng’s head; it was the water vapor from his perspiration, which had been scorched into steam by his inner Qi.
The sixth vial, the seventh… Lu Sheng picked up the eighth vial; this was the last one.
His inner Qi had stood up against and fully counteracted with the poison in the first seven vials of liquid. However, by this time, all of the inner Qi that was within Lu Sheng had sadly been wiped out.
In the end, he held the eighth vial in his fingers but did not continue to pour out its contents.
‘I was able to resist the poison in seven vials. Soon… very soon… only a little bit left to go,’ Lu Sheng’s heart surged, his head damp with perspiration.
He surmised that all it took was one more level of upgrade for his inner force skills before he would be able to break through and achieve the level of Bind.
Although this was the most basic—the lowest—level among the Noblemen and the Anomalies, it represented the widest of chasms between the ordinary mortals and the supernatural.