Way of the Devil Chapter 11
"Indeed," Lu Sheng touched his tiger mask, caution rising in his heart. "Could it be that Wan'er has a way?"
"Wan'er does indeed have a way to find a few inner force secret manuals for young master. But what will young master offer in exchange for them?" Duanmu Wan asked in a meek and gentle tone.
'What a bold claim. Find a few of them? Even the Prefect in the city would not dare to say such a thing,' Lu Sheng was extremely cautious now.
"What does Miss Wan'er want in exchange? Will silver or gold do?"
"How about the same price as today's Black Fury Skill?" Duanmu Wan smiled.
"If Miss Wan'er really can get me those manuals, yes," Lu Sheng replied seriously, gazing deeply at this woman.
Unbothered by Lu Sheng's gaze, Duanmu Wan laughed.
"Young master need not worry. Wan'er just saw that you, young master, look handsome and have an extraordinary air about you, and so wants to win some favor with you in advance."
As if Lu Sheng would believe her.
The horse carriage advanced slowly and entered the city shortly after, stopping outside the Thousand Blessings Inn.
Duanmu Wan and her guard alighted and walked towards the inn under the warm welcome of the inn's waiter.
On the carriage, Lu Sheng watched quietly as the two figures disappeared inside the inn. His poker face betrayed none of his thoughts.
"Let's go back," he instructed.
Only then did the coachman come to his senses, looking as if he had just awoken from a dream. Wiping the saliva off the corner of his mouth, he spurred the horses to continue the journey.
As for the three guards, they were no better, showing looks of disappointment on their faces when Duanmu Wan departed.
On the morning of the second day, back in the manor, Zheng Xiangui personally made a visit. Clearly, it was to apologize for yesterday's events.
The two of them sat in the garden in the backyard. A stone table was laden with wine flasks and side dishes to go with it - a plate of peanuts and a plate of cold mixed carrots.
Under the hot sun, such food was incredibly refreshing.
"I must drink this cup!"
Zheng Xiangui said earnestly, lifting his wine cup.
"Yesterday was my oversight. When I heard about the news, it scared the guts out of me. If any mishap came to you, I wouldn't be able to do right by the Lu family even if I cut off all the meat from my body."
Lu Sheng shook his head, "It wasn't your fault; I was the one who insisted that you make the arrangements," he argued.
Zheng Xiangui emptied his cup with a gulp and slammed the cup back on the table-top.
A soft sound rang out as the cup hit the table.
"Brother Sheng, I found it really strange right from the start… how was it that you had the guts to risk going to a Black Meeting to buy stuff, not to mention the rest.
In the end, turns out you had so many cards hidden up your sleeves, didn't you? But when it comes to things like dueling with others face-to-face, I think you better lay it off. Even if they're the Zhang family, your Lu family isn't to be trifled with in the Nine Links City. Can their hands reach here? However, even if they can't, why take a risk? What if something happens to you…"
Lu Sheng smiled.
"To be honest, I've been passionate about martial arts since my childhood. I've just kept it under wraps because I've never achieved anything. Now that I've got some small accomplishment in this area, I couldn't resist the itch for some hands-on practice at the Black Meeting."
"Hands-on practice? You killed someone," Zheng Xiangui was speechless. "You've got to let Uncle Lu know about this, in case the Zhang family lays the blame on you. At least he'll be prepared."
"That I know," Lu Sheng nodded. "Speaking of which, do you know more about the background of that Duanmu Wan?"
"Duanmu Wan… That, I really don't. How about I check it out for you?" Zheng Xiangui said hesitatingly. Because his Zheng family was used to dealing with a more complicated lot, they had a lot more connections and intelligence sources than the Lu Manor and so were stronger in that area.
"Might as well."
Lu Sheng poured a cup of wine for himself and sipped lightly on it.
The wine here was very diluted, to the point that it was almost no different from fruit juice beverages.
"Why? Duanmu Wan contacted you?" Zheng Xiangui quizzed.
Lu Sheng was about to answer.
Abruptly, the sound of hurried footsteps came from the garden's raised circular entrance.
A teenage girl in the prime of her youth, dressed in goose-yellow short robes, entered with quick steps.
The teenage girl was born with a goose egg-shaped face, her waist so slender as if it could be easily broken by one light grasp.
Her robes were open at the front, revealing the pure white inner layer underneath, which kept her full breasts tightly covered. But, because her breasts were too full, they bounced up and down as she walked.
"Brother, Brother Sheng, so you guys were hiding here after all!"
Upon seeing Lu Sheng and Zheng Xiangui, she stormed over and pulled on Zheng Xiangui.
"Let's go, let's go, stupid brother! You stood me up and left me waiting at home for two whole hours!"
"Yu'er, long time no see. Looks like you aren't in a great mood?"Lu Sheng smiled and greeted her.
"It's 'cause of my old brother again… he said he'd bring me to watch the opera troupe in the northern sector of the city. They're leaving in the afternoon. If we don't go now, we'll be there too late! I waited for so long but he didn't show up."
Zheng Yu'er was Zheng Xiangui's sister. Biological sister, to be exact.
The two of them were extremely close since childhood. Because of Lu Sheng and Zheng Xiangui's friendship, Zheng Yu'er was also close with Lu Sheng as well.
"Yu'er, my bad…"
Zheng Xiangui hurried to apologize, a look of sadness on his face.
"I'll make it up to you, I'll make it up to you! Whatever you want, I'll buy it for you!"
As the second son who controlled part of the family's business, Zheng Xiangui's cash flow and allowance was far beyond that of his sister.
"I want a purple ink brush, three slabs of ink, ten boxes of cosmetic powder from Red Moon Seal, five packets of powder-needles every day, a stalk of coral flower every day…"
Zheng Yu'er listed her conditions, rapid like a machine gun; clearly, she had been prepared for it beforehand.
But before she got past a few lines, she was struck by the sudden awareness that Lu Sheng was present, and immediately bowed her head in embarrassment.
Then she stepped hard on Zheng Xiangui's foot.
"AIYOH!" Zheng Xiangui's pitiful scream echoed in the garden.
"Good sister, good sister! Let's go home! We'll talk when we get back!"
Not long later.
Lu Sheng looked on amused as Zheng Yu'er dragged Zheng Xiangui home, holding him by his ear.
Sitting on the stone bench by himself, he watched the servants clean up the wine and dishes.
"Black Fury Skill… it can improve my body's constitution, but it's incomplete and so not particularly suited for me to practice. What a pity… I don't have any better option right now."
He shut his eyes and began imagining a thread of Qi rise upwards from the soles of his feet, then gather into his abdomen before spreading all over his body according to the route recorded in the Black Fury Skill.
This was the method of initiation into Level One of the Black Fury Skill.
Simple as it may be, it was highly demanding in terms of one's innate talent. According to the manual, it took at least several days to a month to generate Qi.
This wasn't considered long.
His first step was to be initiated in this skill. Only then could he find the corresponding skill on the Modifier and begin modification.
So, there was no way around this for Lu Sheng.
Little Qiao walked out from her room and called softly.
"What's the matter?"
Little Qiao looked at Lu Sheng. Young Master seemed rather distracted lately, but she did not know the cause.
"Is there something bothering Young Master?" Always the kind and understanding one, Little Qiao asked carefully.
"Don't make wild guesses, it's my own problem," Lu Sheng sat on the bench, closed his eyes and began rocking his body back and forth lightly.
A dark blue Modifier screen floated before his eyes.
Lu Sheng surveyed it from top to bottom, finding it written in an empty slot in the first row: Black Tiger Saber Technique - Level 4.
As for the Black Fury Skill, no sign of it was in sight. With a thought, Lu Sheng closed the Modifier and rose from the stone bench.
Since the Black Fury Skill was in his hands, he would persist in practicing it. As long as there was a thread of possibility for him to be initiated in it, his trip would not be wasted.
In the following few days.
Lu Sheng did not go anywhere else. Instead, he sat tight within the Lu Manor, hard at work training his martial arts.
Since his Black Tiger Saber Technique was exposed, he might as well no longer hide it. It wasn't that big a deal of a skill anyway.
At the same time, Lu Sheng began consulting Uncle Zhao about some key tactics and actual fight experience. His main purpose in doing so was to intentionally reveal that he had learnt some of the Black Tiger Saber Technique by himself.
Although he had mastered the saber technique, he still needed detailed advice on its actual usage, including when to strike, which move to use against what kind of opponents… these were all based on experience.
Exploiting the opportunity, he spread the story of how he had been practicing martial arts in secret across the entire Lu Manor.
Three days later…
"Dang, dang dang dang!"
On the arena, both Lu Sheng and Uncle Zhao wielded a saber each as they rapidly traded blows.
Two streaks of light, reflected off their sabers, rolled all over and collided into each other every other second, like two balls of silver.
Without warning, Uncle Zhao dodged sideways, evading a saber slash.
With a solemn expression and his hair flying behind him, his eyes widened suddenly.
A tiger's roar rang out from within the winds as the long saber in Uncle Zhao's hands hacked towards Lu Sheng's wrists like a meteor!
At almost that exact moment, Lu Sheng too growled and struck with Tiger Kill as well!
The two had battled on for a long time before Lu Sheng pretended to barely react, adjusting "just in time" to use Tiger Kill.
His rhythm was slower by more than a beat.
Two saber's edges collided ferociously.
Then, the two figures parted, each staring at the other, panting heavily.
Lu Sheng lowered his head and saw that a section of his right sleeve was missing. Immediately, a look of reverence appeared on his face.
"As expected of Uncle Zhao!"
He smiled as he kept his saber and stood straight.
"It's already very powerful… very powerful… to be able to use Tiger Kill in so short a time. Even if Young Master used to practice martial arts in secret, how long has it been since you got the saber technique…? Given time, there's no question that Young Master will certainly surpass an old man like me. Even in the entire Nine Links City, you'd secure a spot in the Top 5," Uncle Zhao exclaimed.
"To think that I assumed that Young Master had given up on practicing the saber… who would have thought…"
Lu Sheng laughed.
"Stop joking, Uncle Zhao. You're one of the top four experts of Nine Links City, how can I surpass you that easily?"
"No, no, I'm not worthy of that title. I'm old and long since past the valor of my youth," Uncle Zhao waved his hand hurriedly.
"But Young Master's talent is astonishing… to be able to master the first move of the Black Tiger Saber Technique in such a short time. You can actually consider learning a few more martial arts."
"Learning a few more martial arts? Uncle Zhao means…?" Lu Sheng raised his brows.
Uncle Zhao laughed.
"I, Old Zhao, still have some face in the Nine Links City after all. On the other hand, Young Master, your Lu family is famous for your wealth. With these two combined together, I should be able to persuade more than a few old fogeys to take out their crown jewels - their highest martial arts - and teach them to you.
Speaking of which, these supposedly highest martial arts can all rank as Third Class martial arts. Most of them are on par with the Black Tiger Saber Technique. If Young Master is interested, I can introduce you to these people."