Way of the Devil Chapter 22
The heat wave came and left quickly.
After only several breaths, it had rapidly gone through several cycles within Lu Sheng's body, the latter gradually acclimatizing to it.
Although Lu Sheng's body temperature remained high, it was no longer boiling hot like before.
Jade Crane Skill's inner Qi accelerated its operation within his body, releasing massive amounts of threads of Qi on its own, repairing the damaged meridians and organs.
Half a day passed.
Lu Sheng's skin finally gradually reverted back to its original fairness.
Even the breath that came out of his mouth was scorching hot.
Not a single part of his body was without pain. All the bones and muscles in his body felt as if they were pierced with needles.
This was a completely different story than when he practiced Jade Crane Skill. Presently, he felt like he had just been smashed all over his body by a giant hammer.
'Good thing Jade Crane Skill has stored up quite a big amount of inner Qi in my body during this period… just what I need to recover.'
Feeling Jade Crane Skill at work within his body, automatically healing his organs, he heaved a sigh of relief.
'Never did I expect that just the Initiation level of Black Fury Skill would have such tyrannical effects. When I reach higher levels later on, that force… how strong would it be?'
He shuddered at the imagination.
"Little Qiao!" He shouted.
"Coming, Young Master!"
Little Qiao hurriedly ran over from the back, water dripping from her hands. It looked like she was in the middle of washing something.
"Bring me some medicinal tea."
Lu Sheng instructed. He was now in pain all over and his body felt extremely heaty, making him parched with thirst. 
Little Qiao quickly served the already concocted medicinal tea. In it were many Yin-nourishing herbs, such as Jadeite Dendrobium, Southern Barbaric Turtle Shell, Winter Gardenia Jasmine, Yin-Winter and other expensive herbs unique to this world.
Gulping down a cup of medicinal tea in one mouthful, Lu Sheng immediately felt a cooling sensation slide down his throat into his stomach and then radiate across all areas of his body from his stomach.
The cooling sensation relieved him of the heatiness in his body.
Lu Sheng continued to gulp down the entire pitcher's worth of tea. 
Only after he had chewed and swallowed all the herbs together with the tea did he breathe comfortably, though he felt like having even more.
He lay down to rest on the bed for several hours before the sky turned dark.
Finally, the pain all over Lu Sheng's body was gradually relieved.
Seeing that there was nothing out of the ordinary with Lu Sheng, Little Qiao assumed that he simply felt thirsty, and did not pay extra attention. Picking up the pitcher, she went out to carry on washing clothes by the brook.
Having rested for a while, Lu Sheng went out into the courtyard again with his saber in the evening, intending to test out the might of Black Fury Skill.
The reaction induced by Black Fury Skill far surpassed that of Jade Crane Skill. This especially piqued his curiosity. How powerful exactly was this inner force skill?
His heart itching, Lu Sheng rose from bed to practice as soon as the pain abated.
In the dimly lit forest.
Lu Sheng carried his saber and walked out of the courtyard. He went far away from the hut, finding a deserted clearing.
Then, he began attempting to activate Black Fury Skill's inner Qi.
Black Fury Skill's inner Qi circulation was from both kidneys to his abdomen, as if forming a belt around his waist. It was very strange.
At Initiation level, the inner Qi was already chopstick-thick.
Lu Sheng controlled it with his mind. Indeed, in contrast with Jade Crane Skill, Lu Sheng could command and control it at his fingertips.
He tried drawing a strand of inner Qi from his abdomen upwards. Rapidly, it flowed to his right shoulder, right arm, right palm and then finally the long saber.
At the precise moment when the strand of inner Qi flowed into the saber blade, Lu Sheng heard the faint sizzling of something burning.
With his arms boiling hot, an irrepressible frenzy gushed forth in his heart as he swung his arms forward without warning.
The long saber suddenly slashed outwards, landing a blow on a tree trunk before Lu Sheng.
The huge tree, thick enough for a man to hug, trembled violently. Massive amounts of leaves fell like rain. The saber in Lu Sheng's hands was now deeply etched into the trunk. At the same time, a faintly perceptible blackness was spreading from the wound on the trunk.
'It's slightly black?'
Lu Sheng pulled out the saber forcibly, frowning as he touched the black area.
'Looks as if it's been burnt by fire… is it high temperature? Or some other effect?'
He thought for a while. Then, surveying his surroundings, he swiftly dashed out, reaching for a bush and grabbing at something in it.
A multi-colored wild chicken was in his hand, caught by its neck. It had hidden in the bush, thinking that Lu Sheng could not see it. But, in the end, it was caught all the same.
'Let's give it a try… Let's see if it's really as I'm thinking it is.'
Lu Sheng carefully walked back to the trunk, then scraped some powder off the edges of the wound with his finger.
The light black powder was collected in his palm. Then, he meticulously shoved it down the wild chicken's throat.
After it had consumed the powder, Lu Sheng waited for a moment as he observed the wild chicken calling out madly, looking as if it was in malaise.
He again scraped some more powder and made the chicken eat it.
This time, the wild chicken was able to make only a few steps once Lu Sheng released it, collapsing onto the ground.
Lu Sheng walked over and touched it. The wild chicken's body was boiling hot. It was still alive but devoid of any strength in its body, as if it were having a high fever.
'As I thought! It's poison! And, it should be a fire-based poison.'
In his mind, Lu Sheng tentatively confirmed the Black Fury Skill's properties.
He took out the manual, which he carried everywhere with him, and looked carefully over the details recorded within.
" ...Black Fury Skill, vicious and scorching. Extremely fiery and poisonous. Without an opposing inner Qi to counteract and neutralize it, the victim will die after three days."
Regarding the might of Black Fury Skill, there was only such a simple one-liner recorded.
But, it was already sufficient for Lu Sheng to discern what Black Fury Skill was all about.
Indeed, it was poison that he now wielded!
'Amazing,' Lu Sheng exclaimed in his mind.
This Black Fury Skill was truly a different kind altogether from life-force skills like Jade Crane Skill. It was an inner force skill specially designed for killing and combat!
The gap between their might was a wide chasm indeed!
Lu Sheng examined Black Fury Skill's inner Qi within his body using his senses.
The stroke earlier had consumed a small portion of his inner Qi. He compared it with the total amount left.
'At the level of Initiation, I should be able to hold it for ten strokes or so. Any more than that and I'll run out of inner Qi. Black Fury Skill's inner Qi seems to also possess the effect of increasing my explosive strength. It's really too useful!'
Having found out its effects, Lu Sheng turned back. This was only its power at the Initiation level. If he waited till it was upgraded to the higher levels, who knew how powerful it would get?
He was really anticipating it.
Back in the hut's courtyard, he ran into two Zheng family guards who came to deliver their meal.
Seeing Lu Sheng, both of them hurried over to greet him.
"Young Master Sheng, there's been some happenings lately. It's all in the meal box. Please take a look at the news when you see fit."
Both of them delivered polite pleasantries and then quickly left the forest.
Lu Sheng took over the meal box at the entrance of the courtyard. Without further ado, he opened the box. As expected, a letter sealed with wax was placed in it.
Entering the courtyard, he handed over the meal box to Little Qiao, tore open the envelope and retrieved the note within.
'Brother Sheng, the Xu family tragic case from previously in the city has now been cracked.
It was cracked by an expert hired by the yamen. He arrested a large gang of people in the city without mercy, beheading more than ten of them this afternoon at the entrance of the grocery market.'
Zheng Xiangui's opening line caused Lu Sheng to be in a daze.
He read on.
It turned out that the series of incidents during this period had made everyone like cats on hot bricks, even leading to a riot a few days ago. As a result, many residents and peasants who lived in the city were escaping towards Zi Hua City. The authorities even had to retain some of them by force.
Thereafter, in order appease public morale, the yamen arrested a few dozen men in one go and declared them the culprits of the previous few cases. Only then did the public calm down slightly.
After reading the note, the corners of Lu Sheng's mouth turned upward in a cold smile.
'Looks like the yamen can't take it anymore. Culprits? If the culprits were so easy to arrest, they wouldn't have to wait until now.I bet they're just finding people any way they like to make up the numbers.'
Fortunately, the note mentioned that nothing was going amiss at Lu Manor; everything went on as usual.
Lu Chenxin and other young masters who were supposed to be playing continued to play as usual, seemingly unaffected in the slightest.
Business for the brothels and entertainment places in the city boomed recently, too. Clearly, it was because people needed an outlet for the immense stress and fear they were under.
Lu Sheng inhaled deeply.
'These methods can indeed stabilize the situation, but only temporarily. It's at best a stopgap measure. The case hasn't really been cracked, and if a similar case crops up again…'
He kept the note and collected his thoughts.
Facing the power of these supernatural elements, the present Lu Manor of Nine Links City was just as powerless as normal commoners.
If those things really happened to them, it would be a foregone conclusion.
Therefore, his sole objective now was to upgrade himself as much as he could to make himself stronger.
Only then could he have the strength to protect himself when facing off against the supernatural in the future!
He did not know how strong he had to be in order to deal with that stuff. Hence, he could only exhaust all means within his reach to maximize his power.
After receiving the letter, Lu Sheng began consuming copious amounts of expensive nourishing herbs which they had brought out.
Each day after his three meals, he would let Little Qiao boil thick medicinal soup.
Under the nourishment of such strong medicinal effects, the aftereffects of upgrading Black Fury Skill into the Initiated level vanished in a mere three days.
Four days later…
Lu Sheng was standing before the tree trunk from that day.
The depth of the blade wound from that day was about a fifth of the trunk's width. Now, it remained on the trunk, its edges already withered and dead.
This was one of the thickest trees in the entire forest. Yet right now, even it appeared sickly and lifeless.
Lu Sheng decided he might as well pick this spot as the site of his second breakthrough.
Sitting against the tree, he laid out the medicinal soups from the meal box one by one and then sat cross-legged.
Black Fury Skill's inner Qi was circulating unbroken along the route between his abdomen and kidneys.
'Deep Blue,' Lu Sheng called out in his mind.
The blue Modifier floated into sight before him. Lu Sheng looked at the Black Fury Skill column.
With his mind, he pressed the Modify button.
The square frame flashed once.
Lu Sheng's face immediately turned solemn.
'Upgrade Black Fury Skill by one level!' He thought.
Originally, the status of Black Fury Skill was "Initiated". Presently, at Lu Sheng's will, the word "Initiated" flashed rapidly and turned into the words "Level One".
Before Lu Sheng could delight in it, he felt a heat wave slightly weaker than the one before flow throughout his body in an instant.
Both in and out of his body, he felt like he was being baked in a furnace. Point-blank.
In the span of just a few short breaths, sweat was pouring down all over Lu Sheng's body like rain. His skin was once again dyed red.
Fortunately, his body was somewhat used to it this time round and thus it wasn't the same tough going as the first time.
In just a few tea cups' worth of time (that is slightly over ten minutes), Lu Sheng slowly recovered his breath.
Although every single spot on his body was covered in pain, several new meridians were burst open by Black Fury Skill's inner Qi, adding to the network of circulation. Naturally, these newly opened meridians needed repairing too, which also took time.
But right now, he felt as if he was filled with Qi from head to toe, to the point of exploding.
'Let's try again!'
Lu Sheng stood up and drew the long saber behind his waist.
 ED/N: "Heaty" refers to a TCM concept where there's too much Yang Qi within one's body and not enough Yin Qi.
 TL/N: A pitcher can hold five servings [of tea].