Way of the Devil

 
 

Way of the Devil Chapter 15


Lu Sheng trained at Chief Constable Zhang Xun's place for three whole days. He had thoroughly committed the Heart-Shattering Palm to memory.

Then, he went to find the other elder.

The second teacher recommended by Uncle Zhao was surnamed Du, first name Zhen. He was a top expert in the former Prefect's yamen, and belonged to the same generation as Chief Constable Zhang Xun.

His ninety-nine strokes of the Eighty-Four Swallows Pursuing the Wind Blade were as fast as lightning. A pity that, without rhyme or reason, someone had injured his hand tendons, incapacitating him. Because he never married, he was similarly without children. As a taciturn introvert, he also had no other heirs.

Lu Sheng stayed there to learn for a total of four days.

Actually, in his eyes, the ninety-nine strokes of the Eighty-Four Swallows Pursuing the Wind Blade paled slightly in comparison to the Black Tiger Saber Technique. However, it was always a good thing to acquire more martial arts skills.

Then, he again implored Uncle Zhao to bring him one-by-one to other famous experts within Nine Links City, especially those of the older generation.

After receiving his father Lu Quanan's nod of approval, he was able to use money to pave his way. He was again able to learn from two others: he learnt the Precious Eight Steps and the Double-Horned Blade.

Both martial arts were relatively weaker than the Black Tiger Saber Technique. After all, he understood that Black Tiger Saber's Uncle Zhao was one of the finest experts within Nine Links City. It wasn't an easy feat for others to reach the same level.

For two consecutive months, Lu Sheng persevered and assiduously trained in all sorts of different martial arts. At the same time, he continued to stuff his body with copious amounts of Yin-nourishing and blood-nourishing prescriptions.

Ever since he started to practice martial arts, his family had been spending more than a thousand talents a month to sustain his expenditure on herbal tonics. This was an astronomical sum for an average family.

It was a good thing that he had his father Lu Quanan's backing. Otherwise, even a rich young master could not be so unrestrained and audacious in spending money.

In the blink of an eye, the summer passed and, with the coming of September, autumn arrived.

It had already been three months since Lu Sheng arrived in this world.

"Brother Sheng's been really hardworking these days..."

Uncle Zhao stroked his moustache, his gaze resting upon Lu Sheng who was currently diligently practicing the Eighty-Four Swallows Pursuing the Wind Blade on the arena.

Lu Sheng did not use the Modifier to modify this blade technique. He had been refraining from using the Modifier during this period, relying solely on himself to comprehend it.

At the end of the day, the Modifier was an external help. He wanted to see how the martial arts trained by himself fared in comparison to those he attained through the Modifier.

Coincidentally, the Eighty-Four Swallows Pursuing the Wind Blade technique was fundamentally not difficult with its simple moves, and thus very suitable for him to train in slowly.

"Swoosh! Swish swish swish!"

Crisp sounds rang out one by one. The stacks of straw surrounding Lu Sheng were instantly hacked by the blade.

Lu Sheng held a small glaive, longer than a meter, with one arm. Swiftly, he flipped the glaive and fastened it behind his back. 'Time to call it a day.'

"I started training martial arts too late; if I don't put in some effort, how will I catch up to others?" Lu Sheng replied smilingly after a moment. "I must really thank you, Uncle Zhao, for your help this period."

Uncle Zhao waved his hand.

"Brother Sheng, I know that you intend to gather the martial arts secret manuals to strengthen the family, but those in Nine Links City who're willing to impart their martial arts are just these few. It's very unlikely for the rest to do so. What are your plans from now on?"

Lu Sheng fell deep in thought momentarily, allowing Little Qiao to wipe off his perspiration as she saw fit with a wet towel.

"Since Nine Links City…"

"Bad news! Bad news!!" Suddenly, a house servant hollered as he hurried over in the direction of the arena, his face white as a sheet.

"What happened? You're noisy!"

A guard within the manor went forward and chided him. He pulled the servant aside as he questioned him in detail.

After he had heard the reply, the guard's facial expressions also changed somewhat. He hastily ran over to both Lu Sheng and Uncle Zhao.

"Young Master, Second Miss got into a fight with someone, and is now nowhere to be found!" The guard exclaimed very anxiously.

"WHAT?!"

Lu Sheng stood there stupefied.

He knew that Lu Qingqing would get into trouble when she got back, but had no idea it would happen so soon. [1]

"Where is she? Whom did she fight with?" Uncle Zhao was solemn as he asked promptly.

"On Flower Willow Street, with a few guards of a merchant who had just entered the city as they were passing by."

"Does Old Master know of this?"

"I'm not sure, but that servant just now received the news just a moment ago. Second Miss' personal servant girl ran over to relay the info. He then came over to Young Master' side as fast as possible," the guard replied quickly.

These people were all orphans Lu Quanan bought and cared for from young, nurturing them into adulthood. They were all highly loyal to the Lu Manor.

"Nice work. There's no hurry to let Father know about this. I'll go and take a look first," Lu Sheng said in a grim voice.

"Second Miss was looking into the tragic case of the Xu Family. How did she end up fighting with a merchant's guards?" Uncle Zhao asked suspiciously.

"We'll know after we go take a look," Lu Sheng's face was calm.

They gathered the servants and guards within the manor, chose ten of them and headed straight for Flower Willow Street.

Flower Willow Street was a famous red-light district in Nine Links City. Only heavens knew why Lu Qingqing ended up here during her investigation.

The horses ran at full pelt the entire way.

By the time Lu Sheng arrived, the entire street was in complete disarray. The owners of two stalls near the Lu Family were comforting the peddlers in the vicinity that had suffered collateral damage.

"Pay for the damages to whomever we should, and apologize to whomever we need to. Don't let others look down on our Lu Family," Lu Sheng instructed.

"Yes!"

Ten people who came with him replied immediately and dispersed to clean up the mess.

As for Lu Sheng and Uncle Zhao, they went over to the sidewalk to search for traces of the fight.

"Qingqing hadn't left for a very long time, her temper has always been explosive. To be provoked by gangsters in such a place as this, it's not at all strange for her to retaliate," Lu Sheng carefully checked the traces of blood on the floor.

There was not much blood, and he wasn't worried that it was Qingqing's blood. Given her ability, it was not difficult for her to go up against two people on the level of someone merchants hired as guards.

A blotch of dark-red blood stained the greyish-white stone tiles. Under the glare of the sun, it was extra eye-catching.

Lu Sheng stooped down, lightly dabbing his finger into the blood and taking a sniff. Instantly, his brows furrowed.

"What happened? What did you discover?" Uncle Zhao walked over and, just like Lu Sheng, dabbed his fingers into the blood before taking a sniff. "This is ordinary human blood, nothing strange about it."

"That's not what I'm puzzled over…" Lu Sheng shook his head. "What I'm puzzled over is that there is quite a large amount of blood here. Although Qingqing has a bad temper, she is not someone who would seriously wound her opponents. To draw so much blood… it's not like her to be so reckless."

At this time, the guards who were settling matters in the area had also returned.

"Young Master, there's news. Someone saw Second Miss, armed with a sword, fight with two others and chase them all the way outside the city! Someone else also said that those two she was pursuing were murderers wanted by the authorities, not some merchant's guards!"

"I see," Lu Sheng nodded. "Come, we'll go to the city gates to take a look. The nearest gate around here is the West Gate, they should have exited from there."

A crowd of people followed him and swiftly headed for the West Gate.

Over ten minutes later, the group arrived at the West Gate. A city guard came to greet one of the house servants; clearly, they knew each other.

"Second Miss Lu has given chase in the direction of the Black Winds Ridge," the guard provided them with a vital information.

Lu Sheng gathered the men to search for her and stepped out of the city. However, he made no more than several steps before Lu Qingqing could be seen in the distance, rushing back in the direction of the city gates. She rode on a horse, lugging with her two men, tied together.

As soon as she saw Lu Sheng, Lu Qingqing appeared very pleased.

"What are you doing rushing over here, Big Bro? Aren't they just two petty thieves? Don't you have any faith in my abilities?"

She had changed and dressed up like a heroine, a longword resting within a silver sheath in her hands and a belt with golden trimmings attached to her waist. Her hair was cinched high atop her head, giving her an especially valiant and formidable look.

Lu Sheng stood at the city gates and waited for Lu Qinqing to arrive in front of him on her horse. Only when she flipped over and alighted from the horse did he heave a sigh of relief.

"Don't be so reckless in the future."

Although he wasn't the original Lu Sheng, he had experienced Second Mother's sincere care for him in this period. He wasn't a cold-blooded person or someone unable to discern who was sincere and who was hypocritical.

Because of Second Mother, he also had a slight sense of obligation to care for Lu Qingqing.

"Don't worry. Yours truly couldn't care less about these petty thieves in Nine Links City!" Lu Qingqing said absentmindedly.

Lu Sheng looked at the two convicted murderers on the floor, tied together with a rope. Both of their faces were ashen, as if resulting from a severe blood loss. Currently, they were still unconscious and it was difficult to tell if they were even alive.

But what was bewildering was that there was a slight hint of a curve at the corners of their mouths; it seemed as if they were… laughing?

Lu Sheng made a mental note regarding this matter.

Seeing that Lu Qingqing was unscathed, he did not say anything else. Perhaps he had made a mountain out of a molehill.

After giving Lu Qingqing a few more words of advice, he and Uncle Zhao led the rest back to the manor.

The life once again went back to its original rhythm.

Each day, he woke up and trained saber moves for six hours in the morning. After lunch, he then began working on his footwork and the Heart-Shattering Palm. At night, he returned to his room to practice the Jade Crane Skill.

As for the Black Fury Skill, he had decided to stop training in it.

Seeing how he repeated this cycle, Uncle Zhao advised him to focus his energy on just one particular skill. However, Lu Sheng had other plans.

After he had successfully placed all of the martial arts skills onto the Modifier selection screen, he once again began to upgrade the Jade Crane Skill's level.

In the dead of the night.

Lu Sheng lay on his bed, his eyes gradually beginning to open.

He sat up ramrod-straight and looked at the paper window. Faint moonlight was streaming through it, leaving a distinct, white patch on the floor of the sleeping quarters.

Outside the window, faint snoring sounds of the guard on night duty could be heard.

The wind blew fiercely, causing the tall trees within the courtyard to sway with a cacophony of swishing sounds.

Lu Sheng slowly sat up cross-legged on his bed.

'It's about time.'

He listened intently to the sounds around him, but did not find anything that could be a disturbance to him.

'After cultivating for so long, my body's essence, Qi and spirit are at their pinnacle. Now, it's about time to upgrade the Jade Crane Skill.'

In these few days, Lu Qingqing had been performing heroic feats all around. She caused quite a stir as she went about, nabbing convicted murderers and injuring thieves and robbers.

Seeing this, however, Lu Sheng's heart was always troubled by an inexplicable sense of urgency. Particularly, in the past days, he heard from Master Zhang Xun that, when he was still the Chief Constable, he had also faced a few strange cases. Although in the end these cases were left unresolved, they all left a deep impression on him.

Collecting his thoughts, Lu Sheng called out in his mind. 'Deep Blue.'

Immediately, a light-blue screen appeared in front of him.

With great familiarity, he pressed onto the Modify button and then focused all his concentration onto the selection for Jade Crane Skill.

'Upgrade one level!'

The selection panel instantly jumped from the first level to the second, like a walk in the park.

A feeling as if the insides of his body were about to be hollowed out violently surged through him. It was as if, in a short amount of time, he had excessively indulged in debauchery.

His head buzzed and his vision blurred as a dizzy spell hit him. The same sense of a hot flush from before flooded him again.

Translator's Thoughts

Deep Blue Deep Blue

[1] ED/N: I double-checked, the TL is correct… two months = soon? Well… how about a big cup of suspension of disbelief?