Way of the Devil - Chapter 87
Chapter 87: Upgrade (1)
Translator: Deep_Blue Editor: Kurisu
“Is there really no hope then?” Lu Sheng looked crestfallen.
“Hope?” The old Sect Master laughed. “We’ve always been searching for one… a pity…” he put the white stone powder to his mouth and sucked in a deep breath of it again.
“Oh, right, all inner Qi with Yang-attribute has some effect against them. Who’s to say that there isn’t a possible way out when one cultivates inner Qi to an unprecedented realm?” He half-joked.
“…” Lu Sheng remained silent, but his face looked ugly.
“Alright, you’ve asked your questions. If there’s nothing else, go back and nurse your wounds. Since you’ve been wounded on official business this time, you can collect medicinal powder from the pharmacy. Your contributions will also be recorded. It’ll be pegged at Grade A, Third Class,” old Sect Master said. “Enough for you to exchange for assorted skills and pills or weapons. But, I advise you to spend them on a weapon suited to yourself.”
“We’ll see,” Lu Sheng was uninterested in these. His thoughts dwelled on old Sect Master’s last line—all inner Qi of Yang-attribute had some effect against them.
‘So it has some effect…’
Leaving the pharmacy, he headed straight back to the greenhouse. Ning San and Duan Meng’an were already waiting there.
“Big Bro, there’s news!” Ning San hurried up to him. “Young Master Lu Chenxin’s corpse… was found in the forest by the village…”
“How was he found?” Lu Sheng was surprised and asked in a whisper. Actually, ever since Lu Chenxin went missing, he had already guessed that the odds were slim for him. Yet because they lacked much feelings between them, he did not feel much sadness, only some pity.
“Two disciples went into the forest to relieve themselves. One of them caught sight of a hand sticking out from the ground and sent men to dig there. They dug out four corpses…”
Duan Meng’an added on, “Two city garrison guards, Young Master Lu Chenxin, as well as an unknown farmer.”
Lu Sheng fell into silence.
“Where’s the corpse now?” He asked a while later.
“It’s still where it was found,” Ning San quickly answered.
“Keep it from my family for the time being,” Lu Sheng said calmly.
Lu Sheng intended to reveal the news to his family at a more opportune time. He understood clearly that while his old Dad Lu Quanan was mentally prepared for Lu Chenxin’s death, his Third Mother Wang Yanyu would be devastated. Lu Chenxin was her only son.
It would not be too late for him to tell them after the lockdown on the deserted village is lifted.
Lu Sheng summoned Jade Lotus and enquired about the subsequent arrangements. After ensuring that all was in order, he returned to his room to apply medicine and rest.
In the afternoon, news came from the Crimson Whale that the Dong Family villa near Mountain-Edge City had met with a landslide. Many of them were buried alive and they needed manpower to handle the aftermath.
Lu Sheng let Jade Lotus dispatch an expert from Soaring Eagle Squad, who brought with him over thirty men and various tools and instruments. He himself remained in the room resting and nursing his wounds.
In the evening, the expert returned, his face looking upset. Not only him, but Jade Lotus who had accompanied him also had a long face.
“What’s wrong? Did a mishap occur?”
Outside the greenhouse, Lu Sheng was slowly executing the basic moves of Heart Shattering Palm as a form of exercise. He asked Jade Lotus while exercising.
“No,” Jade Lotus shook his head. “There weren’t any mishaps. It’s just that the corpses that needed handling weren’t killed by the landslide. Rather, each of them had been ripped into shreds. Even the government officials puked.”
“Ripped into shreds?” Lu Sheng paused in his moves. He knew for certain that it was again the work of the supernatural.
“Looking at the marks left behind, there seemed to be two opposing forces fighting against each other. The scene was bloodied and savage; broken limbs were all over and even internal organs and spines could be seen,” Jade Lotus replied.
Lu Sheng shut his eyes in contemplation.
“Just handle this matter as if it was a mere landslide. Don’t bother yourselves with the details. And instruct the brothers who followed to be tight-lipped. Each of them may collect a tael of silver from the accounts room.”
“Yes, sir,” Jade Lotus nodded.
“Also, things may get chaotic outside these few days. Give orders that our men are not to venture far,” Lu Sheng instructed.
“That’s all, you may go back now,” Lu Sheng patted Jade Lotus’ shoulder to reassure him.
During this period, the Zhen Family had been warring against a ghost faction. Lu Sheng guessed that this must have been the aftershock of the earlier fight over that treasure.
The lantern lady clearly belonged to a certain organization of which the earlier Red Decks pleasure boat was a part. Perhaps the ghost who had caused trouble for him this last time was in one of the factions which were locked in combat with the Zhen Family.
Jade Lotus turned around and left.
Staring at his back, Lu Sheng thought to himself, ‘Strictly speaking, I’m just one of many leaders in Crimson Whale Sect. That’s just someone who tidies up after the Zhen Family. No one has come seeking trouble for me, so nobody should know that I was the one who killed the lantern lady yet. As long as I’m not exposed, I’m safe for the time being.
A war on that level isn’t something that I can get myself embroiled in at my present level. My priority now is to upgrade my strength as far as possible. That way I can at least guarantee my personal safety in this world of chaos. As for how I can upgrade myself…’
For a series of days, news regarding missing persons kept popping up around Mountain-Edge City every day. The authorities posted a notice, explaining that a powerful band of bandits called Stone Peak Bandits has been robbing travelers near Mountain-Edge City and left no survivors due to their cruel modus operandi. All citizens were to avoid travelling outwards, especially on paths apart from the main path.
Instantly, the entire Mountain-Edge City descended into a state of fear. Everyone reduced their trips outwards. Even the merchant teams and ox carts transporting vegetables and fruits drastically decreased in number.
Crimson Whale Sect, along with the other sects and societies and gangs, assisted the authorities to stabilize the situation as far as possible. Once an incident occurred, mouths were silenced and money was dispensed to handle the aftermath.
Although Lu Sheng stayed in the greenhouse to nurse his wounds the entire time, there were at least three cases which were brought to him. He went to take a look; they were all scenes of brutal savagery, with broken limbs and corpses strewn all over. One glance at them showed that they were not the work of humans.
Even with his present cultivation, he was able to detect a faint trace of Yin coldness—clearly an evidence of the supernatural’s involvement.
The situation went on for several days before the Zhen Family finally contacted them again.
Two representatives came—a young man and a young woman. They commandeered two healthy horses from the Crimson Whale and rode off straight towards the Wenglin Plains in the south. Lu Sheng did not even get the chance to see them.
News came back the next day that a blazing fire raged on the plains. A village of shepherds and herdsmen who lived on the plains in the direction towards Mountain-Edge City vanished without a trace.
Two large pleasure boats on Cypress Pine Lake lit up in flames as well. Not a single lady or customer managed to escape from them. Lu Sheng knew that this was Zhen Family’s retaliation. Mountain-Edge City fell under Zhen Family’s territory and boundaries. It was natural that the ghost faction’s provocations would start a war.
Despite the intensity of the war outside, Lu Sheng threw everything to Jade Lotus to manage. He himself entered Mountain-Edge City for his personal plans, using the cover story that he needed to nurse his wounds.
“Almond Blossom Wine! Top-grade Almond Blossom Wine! Try a sip! Satisfaction is guaranteed or your money back!”
“Deer Antler Wine! Three coins for an urn! Five coins for two urns!”
“Three-year-old Bear Fruit Wine! Ten coins for an urn! Lowest price in town!”
Along Mountain-Edge City’s Fragrant Wine Street One, Lu Sheng strolled leisurely out of a wine store with a white square box on his palm.
He wore a light-green robe and donned a scholar’s hat on his head, hiding his bald head entirely.
Walking to the side of the road, he hefted the box in his hand and hailed a horse carriage.
“Where to, Young Master?” The driver asked with a smile.
“Fine Treasures Hall,” Lu Sheng told him the destination softly.
“Alrighty, please sit tight,” the driver lashed his whip and the old horse immediately began trotting forward. The carriage trudged on along the street, effortful but steady.
Sitting in the carriage, Lu Sheng let down the curtain. Then, he placed the white box on his lap and gently opened it.
Ten small porcelain vials were placed in the box. They were all white vials with narrow necks, each of them stuffed with a white cloth at its opening. The white porcelain vials lay on a layer of black silk, presenting a stark visual contrast.
Lu Sheng retrieved a vial and gingerly pulled out the white cloth stopper and peered inside.
The porcelain vial contained an extraordinarily black liquid. The moment the stopper was pulled out, the thick fragrance of wine wafted into the wind.
‘All manners of wonders exist in this vast world. Who’d have thought that senior apprentice brother would discover such a method to store and preserve the power of Bind in strong alcohol?’ Lu Sheng exclaimed inwardly. ‘If I had to figure it out via trial-and-error, who knows how long it’d take for me to come across such a method?’
With intense concentration, he gently tipped the vial to a side and poured out a drop of black liquid, the size of a sesame seed, onto his palm.
In that very instant, Lu Sheng’s palm turned red as Ultimate Crimson Qi gushed madly into his palm, resisting the black liquid intensely.
The skin on his palm turned black, then white, seesawing between the two. A scent of rotten flesh emanated from his palm. It was like meat left lying for a long time which had decomposed.
This was his senior’s own discovery—that the power of Bind could be preserved in strong alcohol. It was a convenient method for him to test how high a level his own cultivation had attained—whether or not it had reached a realm sufficient to rival the monsters who were of Bind Level.
Soon, within the span of ten breaths, the drop of liquid in Lu Sheng’s palm gradually evaporated into thin air. Beads of sweat had broken out all over Lu Sheng’s body. His face was as pale as paper.
Gazing at his palm, he smiled bitterly in helplessness.
‘Based on senior apprentice brother’s research, the weakest form of the power of Bind is equivalent to at least ten porcelain vials. If I truly desire to defeat mature Anomalies and Noblemen, the basic requirement is for me to be able to resist the power of Bind. If I can’t even handle the poison of Bind, then it means that even the slightest physical contact with them would be fatal for me, not to mention breaking through their Bind barrier.’
He recalled the look of defeat and anguish on old Sect Master’s face when he had requested for these porcelain vials from him. Apparently, he had attempted to resist the poison and power of Bind too. It was a pity that he had failed, just as expected.
‘My present cultivation is Ultimate Crimson Mantra Level Six—about equal to my senior apprentice brother. But, practically speaking, I’m slightly stronger. Senior apprentice brother is, after all, advanced in age and needs to expend much of his cultivation base on maintaining his body’s performance. I’m a different story.’
Lu Sheng shook the porcelain vial. It was completely empty inside. Each vial contained merely one drop of alcohol infused with Bind, the size of a sesame seed.
Such extraordinary power could be preserved for over a decade in concentrated alcohol with merely a slight reduction in its potency.
‘With my cultivation base, I can only barely resist ten percent of Bind poison. The difference between them is too wide a gap…’ Lu Sheng exclaimed in his mind. ‘Let’s hope this trip to Fine Treasures Hall will be richly rewarded.’
He had come out this time partially to take a stroll to clear his mind by personally buying alcohol, and partially because Mountain-Edge City’s largest antique shop, Fine Treasures Hall, had just informed him that a batch of goods has just arrived, inviting him to take his pick.
Fine Treasures Hall was the property of She Lin Society, one of the noted societies in Mountain-Edge City.
She Lin Society was on pretty good terms with Crimson Whale Sect. Lu Sheng had informed them beforehand of his desire for some artifacts excavated from graves, to which they readily agreed.