Way of the Devil Chapter 21
Lu Sheng asked softly as he received the bag.
"Early bird gets the worm. In a while, things may get a little messy in the city... but don't worry, I've got everything arranged," Lu Quanan flashed a reassuring smile at Lu Sheng.
Lu Sheng nodded and said nothing more. Taking Little Qiao along with him, he packed some clothes and then left silently on a horse carriage via the side gate.
Sitting in the carriage, Lu Sheng gazed at the Lu Manor shrinking in the distance. For some reason, his heart felt heavy.
"Young Master, are we really going to Mountain Edge City? It's so far. When will we get to come back?" Little Qiao worried.
Lu Sheng smiled but did not reply.
The black carriage looked a little worn and was about the same as others on the streets. There were no Lu Manor markings or signs on its body either.
As it left the city center and headed towards the main city gate, the carriage was even intercepted and questioned several times by the patrolling guards.
Lu Sheng parted the curtain slightly and saw that squads of city guards were leading many last-minute farmer conscripts to patrol the streets.
His gaze swept past a pointy building which the carriage passed.
Suddenly, Lu Sheng slapped his palm.
The horse carriage immediately turned left and entered a relatively narrow alley. Consequently, the carriage slowed down considerably and quickly came to a stop.
Lu Sheng took Little Qiao by the hand, lifted the carriage curtains and alighted.
"Brother Sheng, I've been waiting for you for a long time now."
Zheng Xiangui's chubby face appeared in sight before the two of them.
Little Qiao was instantly surprised.
"Let's go. Here's not the place to talk. I've already prepared the location that you need," Zheng Xiangui whispered.
The carriage again slowly moved out of the alley.
However, it was empty this time. Lu Sheng and Little Qiao boarded another carriage in the alley and slowly headed out of the city.
Once they were out of the city, they neared a messy rocky mountain a few miles' distance away from Black Winds Ridge.
There was a small patch of green forest there, the sound of a brook coming from within.
The carriage paused in front of the forest.
Zheng Xiangui alighted from the carriage first and surveyed the surroundings.
"This is the place—a secret hideout I established using some money in the past. It's yours to use for the time being."
Lu Sheng led Little Qiao off the carriage. "Thanks, Fatso."
"We're brothers, why mention it?" Zheng Xiangui replied earnestly. "The surroundings here aren't populated. The nearest inhabited place from here is one of my Zheng Family's villas. I've made arrangements for some food to be delivered here into the forest everyday, just outside the hut. You can pick it up yourselves."
Lu Sheng nodded.
Zheng Xiangui then said, "You better be careful. This place isn't far from the Black Winds Ridge. Although the main path is guarded by soldiers and won't be much of a problem, wild wolves and some stray animals occasionally come by."
"Don't worry. Remember to inform me of any news from within the city. You can send them over along with the food," Lu Sheng reminded.
The three of them entered the forest. Several meters into it, a brook came into their sight, flowing along the wall of the mountain like a silver ribbon. Clear as crystal, it formed a beautiful stream among the bushes and rocks in the forest.
The forest teemed with chirping of various species of birds. The trees and grass here were pristine, unmarked by any human activity.
Lu Sheng strode across the brook and saw an intricate wooden hut deep within the forest, near the wall of the mountain. It was made of white logs, stacked atop one another like building blocks, forming a minimalistic, white wooden hut. There was even a small garden path on its side.
"This is as far as I'll see you guys off," Zheng Xiangui said softly.
He had brought two personal bodyguards with him who were trained from their childhood and were absolutely loyal to him. So, he wasn't concerned with the risk of them revealing any information.
"You've worked hard this time. Carry on and go back," Lu Sheng nodded.
Zheng Xiangui left swiftly with his company.
Lu Sheng then began to instruct Little Qiao to clean up the hut.
The hut was stocked with grain and dried meat, as well as some fresh fruits and vegetables, which were clearly just brought over.
"Young Master, don't tell me we are going to stay here? Aren't we going to Mountain Edge City anymore?"
Little Qiao remained puzzled.
"We're still going, but that's in the future. We'll stay here for the time being," Lu Sheng casually replied.
The two of them cleaned up the house, which took them until the sky was almost turning dark.
Little Qiao lit an oil lamp.
In the pitch-black night, the yellow glow of the lamp cast a dim, lonely light on the interior of the hut.
Lu Sheng stood in the courtyard, looking up into the skies.
The sky was a patch of darkness. Even the moon and the stars had been covered by clouds and not a trace of light could be seen.
The oil lamp in the hut emitted a faint yellow glow, casting some light into the courtyard, making it the brightest spot in the entire forest.
Lu Sheng stood in the yard and gazed outwards through the fence.
The forest was a patch of pitch-black darkness. Every now and then, some unknown sound would arise, and something would move past in a flash.
Lu Sheng held onto the saber hanging on his waist with a backhand grip.
Zheng Xiangui wanted to arrange some guards for him, but he turned him down. The less people knew that he was staying here, the better.
Looking at the trees shrouded in pitch darkness outside the courtyard, Lu Sheng closed the wooden yard gate and turned to do the same for the hut's windows.
The windows were dual-layered. The inner layer was a sheet of paper, while the outer was a layer of solid, hard wood that blocked things from passing through.
Lu Sheng shut the outer wooden layer, making the light from within the hut visible only through tiny gaps in the windows.
He pushed the door open and entered the hut.
Little Qiao was laying the bed.
There was only one bed in the hut, laden with wooden planks and dried leaves, then a straw mat and finally a cotton mattress atop it.
Little Qiao's eyes were watery and her cheeks blushed.
"If you would like to rest now, let Little Qiao warm your bed for you."
"…" Lu Sheng was speechless for a moment. "There's still a small bed in the back. Just go sleep on your own."
Little Qiao looked no different from a young girl twelve or thirteen years-old, which made him feel sinful.
"Alright…" Little Qiao's face immediately burned with shame.
Out in the wild, with no one else but the Young Master and herself cramped into such a small hut, there was no avoiding each other when it came to changing clothes, bathing and so on. If something did happen, it would be very normal.
A pity that Young Master didn't harbor such thoughts yet.
After each of them washed separately, Little Qiao went to bed first under Lu Sheng's urging.
The so-called small bed was basically a bed within the same wooden hut, separated by just a layer of wooden planks. Only a wooden wall the width of a palm separated the big and small beds, in the middle of which was a small door covered with curtains that separated them.
It only took a single thought for anything to happen.
But Lu Sheng's thoughts were not there.
He slept early after gathering his focus to practice Black Fury Skill for a while.
Early in the morning on the second day, Little Qiao went out to pick up the meal box delivered to the gate of the courtyard.
After breakfast, Lu Sheng practiced a set of Heart-Shattering Palm moves, then carried on to practice Black Fury Skill.
Apart from Little Qiao strolling around in the yard occasionally, the entire morning was a picture of serenity. Lu Sheng spent it completely focused on practicing Black Fury Skill.
After lunch, it was Black Tiger Saber.
Before dusk, Lu Sheng read the note stuffed into the meal box, finding out that there was no special news. Then, he went to bed early, not forgetting to practice Black Fury Skill for over four more hours before sleeping.
The cycle repeated itself.
Just like that, Lu Sheng and Little Qiao dwelled in the forest for half a month.
But, there was no hint or trace of Lu Sheng progressing in Black Fury Skill.
According to the records in the manual and practical martial arts knowledge, a normal person would have given up after half a month without sensing the skill's Qi, or Qi sense for short.
After all, when an inner force skill was suitable for one to cultivate, it only took several days to generate Qi sense.
But Lu Sheng understood that Black Fury Skill was a lost inner force skill whose overview diagram was missing. Duanmu Wan had mentioned that initially as well.
That's why he persisted for such a long time. But, he didn't expect that there would still be no progress till now.
Then, just when Lu Sheng was about to give up, a trace of unusual Qi sense finally emerged during the time when he was practicing Black Fury Skill.
The sky was dark and heavy.
Even at noon, a trace of cold permeated the air.
The forest was enshrouded in shadow, and even birds seemed to have lost their strength, with only one, two chirps resounding every once in a while.
Wielding a long saber, Lu Sheng slowly rehearsed Eighty-Four Swallows Pursuing the Wind Blade in the courtyard.
His speed was not fast as he was merely training the precision of his strikes.
On the surface, it seemed like he was practicing the saber. However, the truth was that Lu Sheng attention remained mostly on Black Fury Skill.
"Slash, slash, slash!"
After slashing sideways with the saber thrice, Lu Sheng sheathed the saber and was about to enter the hut for lunch as per usual.
Unexpectedly, however, as the final slash ran its course, a trickle of scorching Qi flow flashed across his lower back between his kidneys before vanishing.
Lu Sheng froze in his tracks, carefully savoring the sensation.
Slowly, he activated Black Fury Skill, tracking its movement in his body.
Immediately, the scorching sensation flashed past, again at the spot between his kidneys.
"This is… Qi sense!"
Lu Sheng was overwhelmed with joy.
After so many days of hard work, he was beginning to suspect whether Black Fury Skill in his hands was really an authentic inner force skill.
Thankfully, his hard work paid off. The inner Qi generated inside his body finally put to rest the heavy burden on his heart.
'I've got to level it up quickly while the Qi sense remains!'
Without a further word, Lu Sheng struck while the iron was hot.
'Deep Blue,' Lu Sheng called out in his mind, and the blue frame of the Modifier rapidly floated before his eyes.
He clicked on the Modification button and the square frame flashed once quickly.
This time, the contents in the frame were indeed different than previously; "Black Fury Skill" was now added to the bottom of his list of martial arts.
"Black Fury Skill: Uninitiated."
Despite their simplicity, these few words gave birth to irrepressible joy in Lu Sheng's heart.
Since he was presently unable to find a better method of leveling himself up, Black Fury Skill almost became the last glimmer of hope that he clung onto.
Otherwise, he really was at a loss as to how he could deal with the unknown mysteries and strange threats of the outside world.
'Modify Black Fury Skill, upgrade one level!'
Lu Sheng had just expressed his intention when the "Uninitiated" status of the Black Fury Skill jumped to "Initiated" without warning.
At almost the same time as Lu Sheng saw the change in status, his five viscera and six bowels boiled without warning!
An immense heat wave emerged within his body out of thin air, gushing tyrannically along more than ten of his meridians.
The heat wave scorched and boiled, like a stream of flame flowing within Lu Sheng's body!
He stood rooted to the ground, his face reddening and swelling rapidly. Even the skin all over his body began turning as red as cooked prawn shells.
Massive volumes of sweat poured out from his pores, evaporating into white steam and rising into the air.