Way of the Devil Chapter 23
As Lu Sheng commanded in his mind, a strand of Black Fury Skill's inner Qi was rapidly activated.
This time round, it was the first level of the Black Fury Qi.
The scorching heat was much more intense than before. As he activated the inner Qi and it traveled across his muscles, skin and bone marrow, Lu Sheng felt as if they were on fire.
Black Fury Qi emitted from both his shoulders, travelling along the back of his waist and flowing into his right arm before fusing into his right palm and pouring through the long saber.
The saber blade slashed into the air, making a sound like the shredding of paper, then hacked violently into the tree trunk before him.
The stroke struck deeply into the tree, cutting through half of the trunk before it got stuck and stopped.
Lu Sheng's heart leapt for joy.
He knew that he had once again made a vast improvement.
His body wracked in pain, Lu Sheng dragged himself back into the wooden hut to rest.
In the subsequent days, he did absolutely nothing. Other than exercising his body for a little bit, he spent most of his time sleeping and resting.
At the very most, he would circulate Jade Crane Skill at a faster rate. Jade Crane Skill could help strengthen and heal his body much faster.
He needed to make adequate preparations to break into the subsequent two levels.
After all, there were three levels that he could cultivate in the Black Fury Skill Manual!
At the Lu Manor in Nine Links City.
Sister Yu held a basket in her hands, within which were a few hard-boiled eggs, some yellow-bean cakes, and two pieces of wind-dried smoked meat.
She made her way out of the Lu Manor through a side door, called out to the door guards, and walked out along a little alley—all these with great familiarity, like a walk in the park.
Near the mouth of the alley, a few kids with ponytails ran around kickin up a ruckus, hoping to snatch a stick of candied hawthorn fruit from the hands of the kid in the lead.
Seeing this, Sister Yu sighed. She thought of how Little Eight was just as adorable when he was younger, always running about in front of her, badgering her for a stick of the candied hawthorn fruit.
She was only eighteen years old and still young at that time. Each day, she would go to work at the Lu Manor. Occasionally, she would receive some tips that she did not pass to her parents, which counted as some spare change for her to spend.
She would then use this money to buy some snacks for Little Eight—he was only about a few years old at that time.
Thinking about how Little Eight seemed to have lost his mind nowadays, Sister Yu felt extremely miserable in her heart.
She continued along the main street in front of the Manor entrance and returned to her usual manner, ending her walk down memory lane. She decided to visit each and every stall to buy some knick-knacks for the children at home.
Today was a rare day off when she had to return home to rest. She intended to select nice little surprises for her husband and children.
"Child, my child!"
Suddenly, she saw a woman with disheveled appearance. She was sitting dazedly at the corner of the wall, murmuring to herself in a low voice.
Somehow, she felt that the woman seemed rather familiar, as if she had seen her somewhere before, though she couldn't quite put her finger on it.
She took a few glances, feeling pity for the woman.
She then retrieved a cake from her basket and placed it before the woman.
"Please eat. This world… hai," she sighed.
She straightened herself and turned to continue her search for what she needed.
In the blink of a moment, she felt an icy cold, wet and slippery hand grabbing tightly onto her own right hand.
"Have you seen my child!"
The voice said.
Sister Yu's heart lurched and she turned around. It was the woman who had been sitting on the floor.
She glared fixedly at Sister Yu with a pair of bloodshot eyes, with such intensity that her eyes were seemingly about to pop out of their sockets.
"What are you doing? Let go!"
Sister Yu was frightened as she hurriedly shook herself away with all her might, then retreated two steps back.
"Are you mad!?"
However, that woman seemed not to hear a word as she continued to glare unflinchingly at her.
Inwardly, Sister Yu cursed her bad luck. Turning around, she hurried off with her head low, not intending to do any more shopping. She felt a faint, tingling pain appear in the place where her hand had been grabbed.
Passing through this street, she took a turn into a small alley as she went on her way home.
Although it was quiet and isolated, it helped her save quite a bit of time as she did not need to make detours.
The alley was quite long, with a number of twists and turns along the way. Both sides of the alley were flanked by ordinary single-story houses, their roofs at the level slightly above the height of an average man. In the alley, there were many puddles of dirty water and litter strewn all over the place.
Sister Yu looked at her wrist. The place where she had been grabbed earlier had begun to turn red.
"What bad luck! Ai… I'll need to apply some ointment when I get back."
She jumped across a dirty puddle, but the pink embroidered flowers on her fabric shoes were nonetheless stained by some of the sewage. Her mood instantly soured even further.
She stomped her feet violently on the ground and proceeded onwards a few steps.
She suddenly knocked into someone.
She raised her head.
"Have you seen my child?"
It was actually the woman from before!
Sister Yu's heart thumped loudly, as if about to burst forth from her chest.
She stumbled many steps backwards, without even noticing that she had directly landed onto the dirty puddle.
"You, you, you!!!"
This woman's bloodshot eyes were locked onto Sister Yu.
"Child, my child!"
Sister Yu turned around, intending to flee.
An emaciated hand caught her arm with powerful strength.
"Have you seen my child?"
The woman maintained the same wooden, expressionless face as she repeated that same line.
The sound barely echoed down the alley before it came to a premature end, and deathly silence replaced it...
Three days later, the Lu Manor.
Second Mother Liu Cuiyu's brows furrowed as she sat on the wooden bench, looking onto the relative of Sister Yu who came to relay some news.
"Sister Yu is not back? She applied for leave and left to return home to her family three days ago."
This burly male relative had the unique stench of mud about him, something characteristic of farmers. With him standing there in the side hall, the space felt somewhat cramped.
"Usually, Big Sis would get back way ahead of time, but this time round, the people at home were all waiting and waiting, yet saw no sign of her. So, we got worried… plus, with the many incidents that have happened within the city… anyway, they got me to come here to ask…"
Liu Cuiyu shook her head.
"She indeed left a long time ago. She even took a few pieces of dried meat and biscuits from the kitchen… After so many days, if she hadn't gone back, where could she have gone to?"
She began to grow a bit worried.
"Bad news! Bad news!"
Suddenly, urgent cries of alarm were heard from outside the house.
A lass, pale and flustered from fright, came running in.
"Second Mistress! Bad news! Something has happened to Sister Yu!"
"What happened?!" Second Mother Liu Cuiyu stood up in an instant, the expression on her face changing.
The burly man also turned as white as a sheet of paper as he looked at the lass running in.
"Sister Yu's body has been found by someone in an alley outside the city. It's been lifeless for a couple of days!"
The lass' words immediately caused Second Mother and the burly man to be stunned.
Reeling from the shock, Liu Cuiyu once again sat down.
Several days later…
Lu Sheng savored the feeling of the blade he held in his hands in detail.
Black Fury Qi flowed from within his body into the saber's blade, akin to a wafting hot air that slowly drifted from within him to swiftly dilute into the saber before spreading out to evenly cover the entire blade.
His injuries had recovered a great deal.
He decided that, on this day, he would once again upgrade the level of Black Fury Skill to reach the second stratum.
Now, his body was more and more accustomed to the agitation caused by Black Fury Qi. The injuries resulting from upgrading a level should likely be lower than the previous time.
He began to practice Black Tiger Saber Technique.
Black Tiger Saber Technique had a total of three moves, but in actuality, it could be further divided into more than ten over variations of moves.
Through combining a few of the variations that he had gained enlightenment of with the variations Uncle Zhao had imparted to him, he produced a set of complicated and varied saber strokes.
In the open clearing in front of the wooden hut, Lu Sheng clutched the long saber in hand. His whole body flashed as light reflected off the saber in rapid succession and swooshing sounds of the surrounding air being cut rang out.
The silver beams of saber light danced around him in a sphere, making it seem like his entire person was cocooned within.
Black Tiger Saber Technique was extremely imposing, with multiple hacking and chopping moves that lent a terribly fierce air to it when he trained.
Lu Sheng practiced the three saber moves repeatedly over ten times, causing his blood and Qi to boil. From time to time, Black Fury Qi would fuse into the long saber and add tremendous power to his moves.
Taking advantage of the blood and Qi coursing through his veins, he promptly kept his saber and called out in his mind.
The Modifier screen sprang forth.
Lu Sheng moved quickly. He pressed the Modify button, then concentrated all his focus onto the Black Fury Skill section.
'Upgrade Black Fury Skill by one level!' He commanded silently.
Immediately, the state of Black Fury Skill leapt from Level One to Level Two.
Except that this time round, the change happened somewhat slowly, and was not as quick as before.
Lu Sheng had just finished modifying when he felt the Black Fury Qi within him increase exponentially. A vast amount of Black Fury Qi seemed to materialize from out of nowhere and grew to two portions roughly the size of one's fist, circulating at each of his shoulders respectively.
'It seems like my body has adapted this time round. Moreover, the Second Level merely increases the overall amount of Black Fury Qi. It should be fine.'
Lu Sheng had read from the manual that the Second Level was the safest of the levels, which was why he dared to directly break into it in the middle of saber practice.
After breaking through to the Second Level, Lu Sheng felt that the reserves inside his body from before had been thoroughly emptied.
This was especially the case for the accumulated Jade Crane Skill's Qi.
This was a Qi skill that nourished the body. Ordinarily, his diligent training should have resulted in overflowing Qi that would have gathered and congealed into a ball of Qi at his chest.
After the thickness of the inner Qi had reached its limit, that ball of Qi would indicate that it would begin to increase naturally.
But just this one breakthrough of Black Fury Skill depleted the ball of Jade Crane Skill Qi, turning it into nothingness in the blink of an eye.
Additionally, the originally thick and sturdy Jade Crane Skill's inner Qi was immediately reduced to the thickness of an embroidery needle.
Lu Sheng grew in his resolve after his breakthrough into the Second Level. It was now about time for lunch.
"Young Master, a new letter has arrived!"
Little Qiao carried the meal box as she walked in from the door of the yard, waving a yellow envelope with a red seal in her other hand.
"Let me see it."
Lu Sheng kept the saber back into its sheath, hanging on his side, then received the letter Little Qiao brought.
Retrieving the letter and opening it, he read through it once quickly and his face quickly darkened. Then, he kept the letter.
"Little Qiao, it's time for us to head back," he said calmly.
"Back to Lu Manor?"
Little Qiao was thrown off guard, but elated.
"That's right, let's go home," Lu Sheng nodded.
Both of them packed their bags in a jiffy, finished their lunch and left a note at the entrance to the yard. Then, they headed for Nine Links City in a hurry.
From the wooden hut in the little forest to Nine Links City was a journey of roughly eight or nine miles.
A long saber hung across Lu Sheng's back. It was an ordinary saber made of fine iron rather than some famous weapon. However, its strength was in its sturdiness and weightiness, which ensured that it wouldn't get damaged easily.
Both of them sped unrelentingly towards Nine Links City. Little Qiao was dead beat; halfway through the journey, she even needed Lu Sheng to carry her for a stretch of distance. That's how she was able to prop herself up to the end.
Lu Sheng was currently practicing Black Fury Skill, on top of which he also diligently practiced saber techniques each day. Thus, his body had grown much tougher than before.
This was especially due to Black Fury Skill that spurred on his growth.
Each time it completed a revolution within his body, it felt like a ball of piping hot Qi flowed around his body, nourishing his muscles and bone marrow.