Way of the Devil - Chapter 99
Chapter 99: Duke Ashoka (1)
Translator: Deep_Blue Editor: Kurisu
The Modifier screen vibrated and Ultimate Crimson Mantra’s selection blurred.
This time, the screen remained blurred for a whole two seconds before it came into focus again.
Lu Sheng stared nervously at Ultimate Crimson Mantra’s selection. Quickly, the blurry words sharpened into focus again.
‘Unnamed Mantra: Level Eight. Special Effect(s): Blood Web, High-Magnitude Tremor, Incendiary.’
Lu Sheng did not feel that his cultivation base had deepened particularly. But he could detect that some mysterious transformation seemed to have happened to his inner QI.
The transformation heated up his body and caused his skin and scalp to itch, which seemed to be a sign that his hair was about to grow again.
‘According to senior apprentice brother, once one steps into Divine Prime, one’s body will enter a new stage of maturity. Perhaps my hair will grow back again then,’ Lu Sheng sighed in relief. He did not wish to remain bald for the rest of his life.
‘But it seems like my inner force after the breakthrough bears some resemblance with Blood Fury Skill… and some elements of Nine Lakes Steel Chains Skill’s strengthening and hardening effects.’
He carefully examined the difference in his inner Qi compared to previously.
‘I wonder whether or not I’ve actually broken out of my original realm. As for this new skill… since it’s an integration of elements of Blood Fury Skill and Nine Lakes Steel Chains Skill, I’ll just call it Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies Skill.’
Having settled on a name, it gradually appeared in the Modifier.
‘Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies Skill: Level Eight. Special Effect(s): Blood Web, High-Magnitude Tremor, Incendiary.’
‘Let’s test it out first. After so much effort and such a long wait, I’m sure my upgrade will be substantial, right?’
After resting for a little, he slowly rose.
‘To test the limits of my current strength completely and yet still go unnoticed by others… the best way would be to find an opponent.’
Lu Sheng thought hard about where he could find an opponent on whom he could test out his strength.
In the entire Northern Lands, the most powerful expert was his senior apprentice brother Hong Mingzi. The rest merely played second fiddle to him. Apart from them, there were the even more powerful ghosts and Anomalies. But fighting ghosts and Anomalies would be easily detected by Scarlet District and Zhen Family.
‘Perhaps I can go find Li Shunxi. He’s seen many things and been to many places. He should be able to help me find a suitable choice. Oh, and Zhuo Wenyu as well. As a non-human, she should know about ghosts and demons like these,’ Lu Sheng considered for a moment. In the end, he decided to find Li Shunxi first. After all, Zhuo Wenyu belonged to a different species and would not be as easy to trick as Li Shunxi. It’d be troublesome if she saw through his intention to test his strength.
Exposing details about himself to outsiders was a dangerous thing to do.
Knowing thine enemy guarantees victory. Hence, revealing details on himself to others was akin to providing others with the opportunity to effortlessly acquire information on himself. Such people, in such a world, died the soonest.
He sprang into action immediately. After packing up, it was near evening.
He had a subordinate fetch him a horse and rode on it straight into Mountain-Edge City.
After entering the city, he headed towards the address given to him by Li Shunxi and quickly located a dead drunk Li Shunxi in a winery near his address.
This lad sat in a corner, face as pale as paper, with a pool of vomit beside him. He was so stinky that other customers kept a wide berth around him. He was wearing robes that seemed to have not been laundered for many days. A sour stench filled Lu Sheng’s nostrils as he walked near.
“Drink… a drink… isn’t it just some coins… after this… I’ll definitely… give you!” Drunk as a skunk, Li Shunxi sat crookedly on a stool, a wine flask in his hand which he lifted to his mouth every other minute. With each mouthful of wine however, half of it would flow out of his mouth, soaking his neck and clothes.
Lu Sheng stared at him with a frown and strode over to sit down opposite him.
“Sir… would you erm… would you like to take your friend away? How are we going to carry on business with him like this…” seeing that Lu Sheng sat down, the store’s owner hurried over to discuss with Lu Sheng. Both relief and helplessness was written all over his face.
This drunkard had been here for three days. He had been paying, that’s true. But, he was simply drinking too much for his own good. Moreover, he had spilled vomit all over the table and the floor. Even the waiter had cleaned up after him several times. It was affecting other customers.
This scholarly young master clearly could not hold his alcohol—as evidenced by his puking—yet could not stop pouring wine into his mouth either.
“Leave it to me,” Lu Sheng nodded.
He grabbed the wine flask in Li Shunxi’s hand, yanked it from him, and put it down on the table.
“Brother Li, you’re drunk.”
“I’m not drunk!” Li Shunxi chuckled. “Eh, isn’t this… isn’t this Brother Lu? Why are… why are you here?” His sentences were chopped up, starting and stopping, yet he still remained dead drunk.
“This isn’t the place to talk. Let’s find a quiet place and have a good chat,” Lu Sheng thought for a moment. “Let’s go to the Sky Blue Restaurant nearby, shall we? It’s been a long time since I last met you, Brother Li. I was beginning to miss you and so came to visit you.”
He grabbed onto Li Shunxi and lifted him by his collar, as if he was a chicken.
“Let’s go, Brother Li. We’ll get you washed up first. I’ve still got a thing or two to consult you about.”
“Wine! I still want more wine!!!”
Lu Sheng ignored his wail and lifted him out of the winery under countless stares of astonishment. Quickly, they entered the nearby Sky Blue Restaurant.
The restaurant was, simply put, an asset under his name. It had belonged to Wu San, but now that Wu San was dead, it was his.
Such properties belonged to the sect’s public assets. He could distribute its profits, manage it, or enjoy any benefits from it. The one thing he could not do was to sell it away or transfer its ownership.
They ordered a private room and, before long, Crimson Whale Sect’s Soaring Eagle Squad dispatched men to guard the room, forbidding anyone from getting close to it.
Settling Li Shunxi down on a chair, Lu Sheng sat across from him.
“Brother Li, what happened? What left you so down in the gutters!?” Lu Sheng was befuddled.
When compared to the handsome, charming, and fine Young Master that he was previously, the present Li Shunxi was basically like a beggar.
Indeed, he was no different from a beggar now. His hair was unkempt and messy, his eyes bloodshot, his body emaciated; who knows how long it’d been since his last proper rest. Dried sweat and mud stains covered his arms, neck and face.
“A toast~~?” Li Shunxi lifted his cup towards Lu Sheng, walleyed.
“Brother Li, what on earth happened? There’re no insurmountable challenges in life. If you’re facing any difficulty, tell me. Perhaps I can lend you a hand,” Lu Sheng felt that Li Shunxi was worth his investment and was of sound character. If the matter wasn’t too troublesome, he did not mind lending a helping hand.
At those words, Li Shunxi sobered up slightly, put his head down on the table and mumbled, “Brother Lu…. you can’t help me… no one can…” he looked pitiful. Replacing wine with tea, he gulped it down cup after cup.
Lu Sheng glanced at his robes.
“Did something happen at home?” He remembered that Li Shunxi had once mentioned to him that he had a family member who was a high-ranking official in the court. But seeing as nobody from his family came to bring him back despite his current pathetic state, Lu Sheng surmised that it must have been one of two things: either he was out of love, or a mishap had happened at home.
Li Shunxi trembled. He raised his head and looked at him, plastered.
“My dad… he’s dead…”
Lu Sheng was stunned. He grabbed a cup in his hand as his brows were knit in a furrow.
Finally finding a confidant, Li Shunxi laughed tragically,
“You’re here to arrest me too, aren’t you? Hahahah… even the person closest to me… the woman I’ve loved for so long… even she could lace the wine. What can’t happen in this world…”?”
After a few cups of cooling tea, he seemed to have come to his senses and was speaking much more clearly now.
“Did some mishap happen to your family?” Lu Sheng asked.
“Yea… my Dad was framed and executed a while back… my house was confiscated. People at home either ran away or dispersed. I was the only one who wasn’t at home and so narrowly escaped the ordeal…” Li Shunxi described his tragedy. “Brother Lu, if you’ve come to arrest me on behalf of the authorities, then go ahead. I don’t want to hide anymore. I’m tired… exhausted…”
Lu Sheng frowned.
“What good would it do for me to arrest you and give you to the authorities? Money? You mean that little bit of reward offered by them? It’s not enough to fill the gap in my teeth. Power? I’m third-in-command of Crimson Whale Sect now. I’m already a big-shot in Mountain-Edge City.
Brother Li, don’t give up on yourself like that. I haven’t come to arrest you.
Your family met with a tragedy. I guess we’re considered half a friend to each other. If there’s any help you need, all you have to do is ask. I’ll do whatever is within my ability. But I’ve got a small condition.”
Li Shunxi was stunned. He and Lu Sheng were merely acquaintances—strangers who chanced upon each other in Song Manor and had a chat. Strictly speaking, they weren’t even friends. And yet this man seemed to harbor no intention of arresting him at all.
“You… you’re truly not here to arrest me!?” He remained in disbelief. “You need to understand that the one my Dad offended was the court’s Secretary of the Army! A Grade-One top official!”
“I don’t care what grade he’s in. It’s none of my business. Alright, let’s cut the crap. I’ve come to buy a piece of intelligence from you. What intelligence do you have regarding any notorious ghosts, Anomalies or demons… etc., in the vicinity?” Lu Sheng cut straight to the chase and stated his request. Crimson Whale Sect did have its own sources of intelligence, but Li Shunxi was clearly more in the know about such stuff.
When it came to the supernatural world, Crimson Whale Sect merely monitored the situation, whereas Li Shunxi had personally made contact with it.
“Huh???” Li Shunxi was stumped. “You… you’re really not arresting me?”
“I don’t stand to benefit from it at all, so what’s the point in me arresting you?” Lu Sheng said in frustration. “Tragedy struck in your family and I sympathize. However, as long as you’re still alive, you’ll have the chance one day to avenge them. What good is there for a man like you to be bawling and crying!”
Li Shunxi stared at him blankly, dumbstruck. The betrayals he had experienced during this period of time were practically enough for him to write a novel.
Each of the buddies and friends and playmates he had grown up with… even the love of his life with whom he had sworn eternal love…
Each of them had betrayed him. Each of them had cast him into the pits of despair. Each time, he survived with a harrowing escape. Until now, the arrow which had been buried in his back broke his heart into pieces. Had it not been for the life-saving item left to him by his Master, he would be rotting away by now.
Running and hiding along the way, he made it to Mountain-Edge City. But his heart was filled with despair and he had given up on life. All he wanted to do was to die, drunk in a winery. Little did he expect that he would meet Lu Sheng.
What he expected even less was that this stranger whom he had met only once had no intention of arresting him at all. Presently, he had nothing on him at all and was frail and weak. The drunken stupor had chipped away at his strength completely. It was a golden opportunity to arrest him; he merely had to drag him to the yamen on which was posted a warrant for him.
But Lu Sheng did no such thing. Instead, he offered him help with anything that he needed.