Way of the Devil - Chapter 46
Chapter 46: Shadow of Beauty (4)
Translator: Deep_Blue Editor: Kurisu
“Young Master…” Little Qiao entered through the door, sleepy-eyed. Rubbing her eyes, she placed a large plate of custard fritters on the table. “Your breakfast is here. The small-grain porridge is still boiling, and there’re no buns today, only custard fritters.”
“Well, custard fritters are the sweets eaten here during festivals,” Lu Sheng shut the windows tight and turned around to look at Little Qiao.
He had not seen this girl for just a few months, and yet she was growing prettier by the day. Especially her chest, which was filling up nicely. Though her dress was clearly not designed to be low-cut, it was being stretched taut by her. Looking downwards from the top, one could clearly see two fair mounds and a deep canal…
“Ahh! Young Master, you have naughty eyes!” Little Qiao pouted and covered her chest with her hand. “Qiao’er only just realized that the clothes I’ve brought with me are all too small. Recently my body’s been growing real fast…”
Lu Sheng chuckled, “I’ll take you shopping for clothes a little later.”
Little Qiao’s face scrunched up.
“We better not… The family’s finances are no longer as before. Even the money for Young Master’s medicine is running out. There’re so many things that need spending on…”
Lu Sheng was caught by surprise. Instantly, he felt somewhat ashamed. The family was already on their uppers, to the point where even Little Qiao was sensible enough to tighten her belt, while he himself remained in the dark.
Ever since she came over, Qiao’er had been living in one of the rooms in this house. As his personal maid, she was after all going to end up in bed with him sooner or later. As long as Lu Sheng was willing to give her an identity as his concubine in the future, she would have struck her pot of gold.
Qiao’er came from a troubled family; her father was a gambler who had once, in a frenzy, put his wife and daughter up as stakes and landed up losing both of them. Little Qiao and her mother were almost sold to the brothel. In the end, they were both redeemed by the kind-hearted Second Mother, Liu Cuiyu, who cleared their debts for them.
Even then, however, Little Qiao’s mother was still bedridden by the trauma of the turn of events. Not long later, she breathed her last, leaving Qiao’er behind alone in the Lu Manor. Now, the Lu Family was Qiao’er’s home.
‘Got to find a way to earn some cash…’ Lu Sheng began to view this as a matter of utmost priority.
He turned around and saw Qiao’er retrieve a letter from her chest.
“There was a messenger earlier who delivered a letter,” Qiao’er placed the letter on the table.
Lu Sheng walked over, picked up two custard fritters with a pair of chopsticks and put them into his mouth. Then, he picked up the letter. The mark on the letter indicated that it had come from the Lu Family.
“It’s a message from home,” he tore open the envelope and took out the letter within.
The main gist of the letter was that the family had decided to migrate to Mountain-Edge City and that Lu Sheng should not worry–everything was going smoothly and he should focus on preparing for his Annual Examinations.
Having read the letter, Lu Sheng shook his head and kept it in his drawer.
“Is the medicine for today ready?” He asked Little Qiao. At the same time, he wolfed down the pile of custard fritters. More than twenty of them, each the size of a palm, vanished into his mouth in a few blinks of the eye.
“Yes, it’s ready, in the medicinal box. Young Master can go ahead and practice martial arts. Do leave and return early,” Little Qiao knew that the time Lu Sheng’s daily training was near.
“Dong, dong, dong.”
Without warning, a few light raps rang out from the door.
“Who’s that?” Little Qiao hurriedly rose to open the door. Not long after, Lu Sheng heard her voice as she spoke to another person, followed by a soft sound of the door closing gently.
“Who was it?” Lu Sheng had just finished his breakfast and risen to change into his training clothes.
“It was a houseman from the Song Family, he came to deliver a letter,” Little Qiao handed the letter in her hand to Lu Sheng. “Please take a look, Young Master.”
Lu Sheng took it and saw the words on the letter: “To Brother Lu”. Immediately, he knew that it was from Song Zhenguo. Among his friends, only Song Zhenguo was surnamed Song and was on close terms with him.
Tearing open the envelope, he read the letter. The gist of the letter was that tomorrow was the Scented Satin Festival and he was going to redeem Jun’er at the pleasure boat then and would like to invite him to go along as a witness in celebration. In closing, he even emphasized that Lu Sheng must definitely come and that he would treat him to a feast.
“Redeem?” Lu Sheng mumbled. He had long since noticed that Jun’er had an unusual relationship with Song Zhenguo, but had not expected that he was truly in love with her and was intending to redeem her.
But since he was on close terms with Song Zhenguo and was relatively unoccupied, there was no harm in going. Moreover, he was being invited to a treat.
Lu Sheng kept the letter and stuffed it into his drawer and locked it. Then, he lifted up a straight saber and was about to leave. When he got into his room to change, he looked at his current self in the bronze mirror.
Recently, he clearly sensed that the power of Black Tiger Jade Crane Skill was gradually showing itself in him. This radically altered inner force was slowly but surely nourishing and strengthening his body and spirit.
Together with the high-heat stimulation of Black Fury Skill, Lu Sheng could feel that his five bowels and six viscera were continually being purged of impurities and toxins at every single moment.
This transformation made him feel as if the strength and endurance of his body was already not necessarily any worse than that of those hard body skill experts–even though he had never practiced any hard body skills.
He lifted his saber and swung it casually under the activation of Black Tiger Jade Crane Skill and Black Fury Skill. Immediately, the air hummed and buzzed as the saber cut across the air. Lu Sheng raised his saber-wielding right arm. Since a time unbeknownst to him, his arm had started to be filled with massive amounts of blackish red veins and arteries, making it look savage and hideous.
Recently, he had become much more muscular. If he weren’t wearing long robes but tight-fitting clothes instead, the bulge of his muscles would be clearly visible–evenly distributed and aesthetically pleasing. Compared with the average scholar, albeit a slightly lanky one, an elbow of his was as thick as someone’s thigh.
‘I need a better saber.’
Lu Sheng raised his straight saber. The blade of the saber reflected his face, but there were also many fine cracks and dents in it at the same time. ‘This saber is almost broken.’
Suddenly, a series of faint footsteps came from outside the door, as if someone was attempting to sneak into his bedroom stealthily. The footsteps rhythm, moreover, sounded entirely different from Little Qiao’s.
A tiger’s roar!
Lu Sheng’s head spun round, his eyes wide open. Inner Qi gushed forth from within his body and an intense, fierce and murderous aura burst out instantly. A deafening tiger’s roar rang out from the violent turbulence of his Inner Qi in the air.
Horror-struck, a girl outside his door fell backwards to the ground on her butt. It was Zheng Yu’er.
Her face was as white as a sheet of paper, clearly frightened. Her legs were soft as jelly and had lost their ability to stand in that second.
“Wu wu wu… Brother Lu, you bullied me…”
Zheng Yu’er had wanted to sneak up on Lu Sheng to give him a surprise. Little did she expect to be thunderstruck herself. In that instant, tears gushed out of her eyes.
“Wu wu wu…” Zheng Yu’er cried inconsolably. Helpless, Lu Sheng went to help her up and tried to comfort her.
“It was like seeing a giant black tiger pouncing on Yu’er; it scared the hell out of me!” Zheng Yu’er’s face was still white.
“Next time, don’t sneak up on me behind my back like that. It’s very dangerous,” Lu Sheng caressed Zheng Yu’er’s head. “Why are you here? Where’s your brother?”
“He’s still in the Institution. Tomorrow is the Scented Satin Festival. What arrangements do you have, Brother Lu?” Zheng Yu’er recovered her usual self, rubbed her eyes and quickly asked.
“A friend asked me out for some drinks.”
“AH?! Too late again!!!” Zheng Yu’er instantly cried out in disappointment. “Sigh… alright, alright, I’ve got to hurry and look for the next person in case they get pre-booked… I’m leaving first, Brother Lu!” She seemed as if she had now found another goal. Hurriedly, she dashed out of the room. Quickly she came, and quickly she left.
Little Qiao ran in at this moment too, tears welling up in her eyes.
“Miss Yu’er wouldn’t let me say it was her… Young Master… I…”
“In the future, regardless of whoever it is who comes through that door, you must inform me in advance,” Lu Sheng instructed calmly.
“Yes… yes…” Qiao’er was alarmed at the severity of Lu Sheng’s tone and quickly nodded her head in agreement.
Lu Sheng glanced at her again, then left the room with his saber.
He wondered if a certain murderous air about him was getting thicker and thicker recently. A peaceful and stable environment didn’t seem very beneficial to his cultivation of Black Fury Skill. Every now and then, he would feel the impulse to kill, destroy, decimate and massacre. Perhaps this was the side-effect of Black Fury Skill.
The next day, the streets were filled with lively troupes of folk singers preparing for the Scented Satin Festival, as well as acrobats, people throwing gaily-decorated balls, monkey trainers, stunt performers and so on.
All sorts of activities were performed in close quarters on the thus cramped streets, which got livelier and more crowded towards the city center.
As usual, Lu Sheng read his books, cultivated inner Qi and practiced his saber and palm techniques. It was not till the evening that Lu Sheng headed for the spot where he had agreed to meet Song Zhenguo.
The rendezvous point was the spot beneath a row of willow trees by Cypress Pine Lake.
Song Zhenguo had already been waiting there, Chen Jiaorong beside him.
“Brother Lu, Brother Yue Sheng! You’re too slow, too slow!” Song Zhenguo laughed heartily as he patted Lu Sheng’s shoulder. “I and Jiaorong have been waiting here for you for quite a while.” 
Even since Wang Ziquan’s incident, he had seen the true colors of many of his supposed “friends”. Hence, he quickly distanced himself from them and pushed them out from his life. There were only two whom he considered his true friends.
One was Chen Jiaorong, who was also Chen Yunxi’s brother.
The other was Lu Sheng.
Today, he was going to redeem Jun’er and hence had invited Lu Sheng and Chen Jiaorong as witnesses. At the same time, he had asked them to come along and celebrate.
He had at first intended to come alone. But after thinking it over many times, he felt that he couldn’t bear to not even inform his two best friends about such a big matter.
So, in the end, he still wrote to both of them, inviting them to come along.
“Today’s Brother Song’s big day! A whole night of pleasure and love, hehehe, and yet you still specially got us both to come and watch. That’s not fair,” Chen Jiaorong pointed at Song Zhenguo in laughter.
“Brother Song only cares about his own happiness, how will he remember us, his friends?” Lu Sheng laughed and joked along.
“Let’s cut the chatter and run along. Delay no more… let’s board the boat!” Song Zhenguo smiled,
“Tonight, there’s something for all of us!”
Immediately, Chen Jiaorong’s eyes lit up. Pulling Lu Sheng along with him, the three of them headed towards the pleasure boat moored nearby.
The pleasure boat floated silently in front of the harbor. On it, people milled up and down; the place was packed with guests, creating a lively scene.
On the boat’s side, by the window of a chamber, Jun’er sat before the window, staring wide-eyed in shock at the three of them–including Song Zhenguo.
‘How can it be??? How!!! Brother Song clearly promised me that he wouldn’t come today!?’ Jun’er’s face turned pale, her hand gripping the corner of the table like a vice. Her teeth had bitten blood out of her lower lip, but she was unaware of it.
‘How can this be?!’Jun’er’s heart sunk in despair. She knew her master’s target was precisely Song Zhenguo, her Brother Song. That was why she secretly tipped Brother Song in advance not to come to the pleasure boat today. ‘But why has he still come today? And why does he look so happy and excited?’
Jun’er felt all the strength depart from her body, leaving it completely devoid of life. She wanted to rush out of the room, find Song Zhenguo and chase him away. But, she knew that she could not.
Abruptly, a shrill female laughter rang out from a corner of the room.
Jun’er looked in that direction immediately.
In the room, on her own bed, a long-haired woman in a white dress was seated since god-knows-when.
The woman’s hair fell like a waterfall over her entire head and face. Not a bit of her facial features could be seen. Her body was so bony and spindly that it seemed as if it would fall apart under a gust of wind.