Way of the Devil - Chapter 66
Chapter 66: Anomaly (2)
Translator: Deep_Blue Editor: Kurisu
The trio including Li Shunxi stood to the side, surrounded by Crimson Whale Sect members. The weapons they were carrying were temporarily taken away.
Especially Li Shunxi had been billowing with rage when he witnessed the little girl being slashed in two under Lu Sheng’s saber. He couldn’t understand; Lu Sheng was really too cruel and heartless to have not spared even such a small little girl.
Yet even before he could voice his protest, he was startled by the series of events that subsequently unfolded before him.
That little girl’s melting face in the big fire had scared him out of his wits. His initially furious countenance vanished without a trace, having been replaced by a terrified one, filled with fear.
Only now, under watch of the sect members, did he truly see the careful deliberation behind Lu Sheng’s plans.
This dude had actually decided to set fire to the entire Song Manor right from the very beginning! Wasn’t that obvious from the bow and arrows, as well as the combustibles, that had long since been prepared by the sect members here? 
If he could deduce that, then Duan Meng’an and Ning San could arrive at that conclusion as well. In that moment, all three of them felt a chill in their hearts. Before entering the Manor, there was no way Lu Sheng could have predicted whether there would be others who went in as well. Yet, even so, he had ordered to burn down the entire place. Evidently, he was extraordinarily decisive and ruthless, far from the average Joe.
In his startled state, Li Shunxi stared straight into the raging flames that were devouring the manor, somewhat lost in his own thoughts.
A bright flash of lightning lit up the sky as the pitter-patter of rain began to fall.
The fire was unrelenting as it continued to rage on, though it was somewhat diminished as the downpour washed over it.
“Retreat!” Lu Sheng climbed onto a horse and turned around to rush for the mining village.
The crowd of sect members followed behind closely, without another glance at Song Manor up in flames behind them.
When they returned to the mining village, the rain grew in intensity and fell down in sheets. The people tidied up the interior of the house, and Lu Sheng changed into a set of fresh clothes and applied some medicinal powder to aid in his recovery. He waited till daylight before leading the sect members back to the Song Manor premises.
The torrential downpour had ceased with the dawn of the new day.
When the crowd returned to Song Manor, what greeted them were the remnant charred ruins of a dilapidated manor. The main doors had been burnt to two slabs of charcoal, half hanging from the door beams. White smoke continued to billow out from within the manor, as if there was a fire somewhere that had not yet gone out.
The high walls surrounding the sides of the manor remained in their place, though the stone surface was covered thickly in black soot.
The sect members, numbering more than a hundred, dispersed and surrounded the entire perimeter of the Song Manor. They stopped when they were about twenty meters away from it.
Taking the lead with a saber in hand, Lu Sheng walked towards the main door. After resting through the night, he had almost fully recovered from his injuries. Now that he had rested sufficiently, he had the alertness of a dragon and the ferocity of a tiger; it was the best time to strike.
Similarly, Li Shunxi had courageously volunteered himself to come along to assess the situation. Presently, he was hot on Lu Sheng’s heels.
“Brother Lu, after that big fire, there should be nothing left in the manor. If I’m not wrong, that little girl should be a Blood Corpse,” he said in low tone.
“Blood Corpse?” That was the first time Lu Sheng had encountered that term.
With a hard kick, he pushed the doors open and strode in.
“A Blood Corpse is a ghost formed from the coagulation of poisonous, vengeful blood. It’s not formed from a living person, but rather is a sort of supernatural being that generates itself into existence,” Li Shunxi said solemnly. “Last night, I chatted till dawn with the scholar who had escaped. I once learnt some lip reading back home, so we could communicate quite easily.”
“Oh?” Lu Sheng glanced back at him; unexpectedly, this fella had quite a few tricks up his sleeves.
It was the color of charred black all around the courtyard within the manor. The ground, the walls and the house had all been thoroughly burnt and remained piping hot until now. Smoke billowed out from all nooks and crannies; it wasn’t even clear if it was smoke from the fire or steam caused by the evaporating rainwater.
Just walking across the ground felt as if they were stepping onto a warm stove.
Li Shunxi continued, “People outside are all spreading that Song Yunjuan was that scholar’s biological sister, and the Fifth Sister of this manor.
However, after I inquired Song Yuncheng about it, I learned that he actually doesn’t have any so-called Fifth Sister–other than him and his Second Brother, he has no idea where the other three brother and sisters came from! What’s even more terrifying is that he had only realized it after co-existing with those things for a few years!”
Hearing that, Lu Sheng’s heart grew cold. He fell silent for a moment before continuing.
“What do you mean? Don’t tell me that other than Song Yunjuan, there are still two other monsters in this manor?!”
“That I’m not sure of. However, ever since that scholar realized this frightening truth, Song Yunjuan, that monster, cut off his tongue and imprisoned him in his own house. What’s strange is that, according to the scholar, Song Yunjuan went to school and back each day as per normal, and even ate and slept like any ordinary person. However, once she slept, she would suddenly rise from the bed and transform into a terrifying, monstrous killer. He had wanted on many occasions to stealthily kill her in the day, but was never able to pluck up courage.”
Frowning, Li Shunxi added, “According to him, Song Yunjuan seemed to mutter to herself very often, talking to god-knows-who.”
“Didn’t he get himself into this trouble because of his obsession with pill concocting?” Lu Sheng asked darkly.
“Not sure. I asked him the same question too. He said that he had unintentionally chanced upon a bird’s nest in the middle of the forest once. In it, he discovered a pitch-black medicinal pill, which he decided to bring home to check if it was someone else’s concoction. Little did he expect that the medicinal pill would mysteriously disappear, and from then on, strange occurrences began to happen in the house,” Li Shunxi answered gravely.
Abruptly, Lu Sheng stopped in his tracks as he seemed to step onto something.
Looking down, he could see a long lock of hair, black as ink.
Bending over, Lu Sheng used the tip of his saber to lift it up and take a careful look.
His face suddenly distorted.
Spinning around, Lu Sheng made a beeline for the main doors. He grabbed onto Li Shunxi and flung him violently towards the exit. He himself flew out like an arrow at lightning speed.
Just as the two of them stepped past the main doors, a bang echoed out from behind them.
Turning around to look at the Manor that was burnt beyond recognition, they saw that the pair of charred doors had actually been forcefully shut tight. It was as if there was someone violently shutting it close from the inside.
The momentum propelled Lu Sheng more than ten meters away before he gradually slowed to a stop. He gripped onto Li Shunxi, who cut a sorry figure. Malice clouded over his eyes as he craned his neck to look towards the manor.
“There’s still danger in this place!”
“I get it… this is an Anomaly. It must be! My Master had once mentioned that only an Anomaly would be like this! A Blood Corpse that can’t even be destroyed in a blazing fire…” Li Shunxi’s expression was suddenly replaced with shock and fear.
“What anomaly!” Lu Sheng’s voice was as if it could cut through glass.
Swallowing his saliva, Li Shunxi stared fixedly at the tightly shut doors of the Song Manor.
“Let’s leave this place first before talking!” His face had turned somewhat pale.
Collecting himself, Lu Sheng glanced at Song Manor. Presently, it was shrouded in sinister stillness. Compared to before, it was even more dilapidated and rundown, and even more dangerous.
“Let’s go, retreat for the moment,” he looked down at the tuft of woman’s black hair that was still hanging from the tip of his blade. Despite the huge fire, it had not been destroyed.
At a branch base of Crimson Whale Sect.
In a small patch of woods outside Mountain-Edge City, there was a bamboo tower, standing silently among the bamboo grove. Verdant green of the bamboo leaves crowded around the tower, rustling in the wind from time to time.
In a quiet room on the third floor of the bamboo tower were numerous guards from the Sect, who kept watch as Lu Sheng and Li Shunxi sat facing each other. Before them were various wines and dishes that were displayed on a bamboo table. 
Lifting his head, Li Shunxi surveyed his surroundings; there was emerald green as far as his eyes could see. The sight caused one’s heart to be freed of its troubles and be reinvigorated.
“Brother Lu indeed has fine taste.”
“Brother Li hails from an extraordinary background; what’s this little scene to you?” Lu Sheng replied casually. “Let’s continue from where we last ended–what’s that so-called Anomaly? Will Brother Li please advise?” He didn’t harbor any ill feelings towards this Li Shunxi other than having the impression that he was a goody two-shoes. This person had a strong sense of justice, but lacked experience and was easily fooled by what he saw before him. Other than that, he was a rather decent chap.
Upon hearing the term, Li Shunxi’s expression distorted.
Lifting up his wine-cup, he gulped down a few mouthfuls of green wine.
“If ghosts can be considered the result of a form of mutation, then Anomalies are extraordinary sceneries that are absolutely impossible to destroy.”
“Sceneries?” Lu Sheng was startled. “You mean, naturally occurring phenomenon like rainbows and earthquakes?”
“No… not just that. I heard from my Master that the most special trait about anomalies is that they exist forever. The Song Manor, for example. I’m certain that if we were to go back there, we’d still be able to see that little girl Song Yunjuan, as well as those Souls of the Dead,” Li Shunxi explained in low tones.
“How did Brother Li come to know all these?” Lu Sheng was solemn as he asked.
Li Shunxi also grew solemn.
After a long while, he poured himself yet another cup of wine and downed it in a gulp. “My Master… he died in an encounter with the anomalies.”
Shocked, Lu Sheng didn’t say anything else. He hadn’t imagined that Li Shunxi would actually have such a deep connection to such things.
Li Shunxi smiled a little, his expression somewhat sinister.
“I came out to gain some experience, all to continue to upgrade myself. One day, I will avenge my Master!
“From the looks of it, Brother Li comes from quite a distinguished background, isn’t it? Don’t you have a way around it now?” Lu Sheng asked seriously.
Li Shunxi was startled when he heard that. He smiled bitterly. “My family is indeed of high standing. However, Anomalies are similar to the Noble Families–they’re simply not something that we ordinary mortals can hold up against.”
“You know of the Noble Families too?” A slight sparkle shone in Lu Sheng’s eyes.
“Yes. All officials, after achieving a certain rank, would know of this,” Li Shunxi said lightly. “The present Emperor’s lineage–the Huang Family that wields power in the entire realm–is most likely one of the Noble Families.”
‘So it was true. ‘
Lu Sheng’s heart sank. Indeed, it was as he had guessed; the present-day royal family of the Song Dynasty was actually a member of the Noble Families.
“Alright, let’s not talk about this, it’s too far removed from us. The Noble Families are of incredible status and extremely mysterious; they belong in a different world than we,” Li Shunxi said bitterly.
“There would likely be encounters with Anomalies in other places as well, right? How then have those been settled?” Lu Sheng enquired.
“Cordon them off as forbidden zones, and take a detour,” Li Shunxi replied.
“Cordon them off as forbidden zones?” Lu Sheng was speechless. Didn’t that mean that there was no way to deal with them?
“Yes. All Anomalies are limited to an area and have boundaries. As long as we don’t go inside to mess around, it should be fine,” Li Shunxi nodded. “Speaking of which, I’m rather interested in how Brother Lu was able to hurt the Souls of the Dead.”
“Is that very rare?” Lu Sheng was alarmed.
“Yes, rare enough,” Li Shunxi looked at Lu Sheng strangely. “Although there are numerous inner force skills of Yang attribute that, when trained to high levels, can hurt ghosts, those are after all low-level ghosts. Moreover, it’s already quite impressive if the ghost is destroyed after more than tens of strikes.
Souls of the Dead are considered deadly even among ghosts, and yet with Brother Lu had them all beaten into black pulp within less than ten moves. This is the first time I have seen something like this.”
Lu Sheng, likewise, was rather curious.
‘Perhaps the Yang attribute of my inner force skill is exceptionally powerful?’
“May I be so bold to ask Brother Lu what’s the name of the inner force you train?” Li Shunxi asked out of curiosity.