Way of the Devil

 
 

Way of the Devil Chapter 28


"In other words, this place is the source of that thing which we're looking for?" Duan Rongrong asked softly.

"With Yin Qi of this density… it's not certain," Yan Kai shook his head slightly.

In the meantime, Lu Sheng had begun to invite these extraordinary men to demonstrate their expertise.

The Taoist who had spoken earlier chuckled.

"This is this humble Taoist's expertise."

He reached out and grabbed. A stone appeared in his hand from god-knows-where. Then, he squeezed his hand closed with sudden force.

"Swoosh…"

Fine stone dust immediately trickled down the gaps between his fingers and, immediately being carried away by the wind.

The party around him stared in shock.

Clearly, this was a feat that not even the strongest experts in Nine Links City could perform.

The travelling adventurer who was a woman-in-disguise was now staring especially solemnly at the Taoist.

Even Yan Kai regarded this Taoist with increased respect.

To possess the strength to crush stone into dust demanded extremely strong inner force. Never would he have expected to find one such expert in this place.

Low shouts of surprise escaped the mouths of the housemen, guards and servant-maids standing around.

Lu Sheng stared at the Taoist without so much as a word. Only a frown appeared on his face.

The Taoist chuckled. "How's that, Young Master? Does my ability meet your standards?"

Lu Sheng slowly breathed out.

Then, his eyes turned cold and stern all of a sudden.

"This is clearly the scent of Stone-Congealing Powder! You swindler! Where are you from and how dare you make a fool of me! Arrest him!"

Everyone around was dumbfounded.

Before they could react, two muscular guards pounced on the Taoist, pressing him onto the ground.

The Taoist screamed and struggled to no avail under the weight of two men. No sign of the immense force capable of crushing stones into powder manifested.

He was simply just an ordinary man.

"Young Master, how shall we deal with him? Should we inform the yamen authorities?" A muscular guard on the side asked. He was one of the guards who had personally seen Young Master's divine might when he destroyed the female ghost on the previous night. Thus, he was now thoroughly converted as Young Master Lu Sheng's diehard loyalist.

Lu Sheng looked in disgust at the Taoist struggling on the ground.

"No need for that. Just pull him out and behead him."

"NO, DON'T! Young Master, I just fell into a moment's folly, wanting to earn some extra money! I was out of my mind!"

Upon hearing his words, the Taoist was immediately sent into shock and begged to be spared at the top of his voice. His whole body trembled like a reed in the wind, his face as white as a sheet of paper and drenched in cold sweat.

"Young Master, spare my life!!!"

"Yes sir!"

The guard did not care about his pleas and had his men drag the Taoist out of the courtyard.

There was also an execution room specially prepared beside the arena.

Given the Lu Family's immense wealth and power, the yamen would close an eye when the Lu Family executed a couple of people on its own authority.

Yan Kai and the rest looked on in shock and fear as the man was dragged out. Quickly, a faint tragic scream rang out from outside.

"Alright, gentlemen. Now that we've dealt with the phony, may I please have the next person to demonstrate his ability," Lu Sheng recovered the gentle smile that was previously on his face.

The remaining few now had a deeper understanding of the temperament of this Young Master of the Lu Family.

Though he looked frail and sickly, he would turn into a monster in the blink of an eye. He acted decisively and without mercy… truly, he was one not to be trifled with.

After a moment's silence, the second person to step forward was Master True Depths of Red Lotus Temple. This master's hands were shaking, but he still mustered his courage and stepped forward.

"I… This humble monk suddenly remembered that there are urgent matters to be settled in the temple…" Facing Lu Sheng, Master True Depths broke out into a cold sweat as he spoke.

Unexpectedly, he stepped forward not in order to demonstrate his abilities, but to retreat!

The younger monk behind him fared even worse. Not only was cold sweat tricking down his forehead, his face was ashen white and both his knees buckled against each other incessantly.

"Since Master has matters to attend to, please take your leave first."

Lu Sheng smiled, remaining polite and gentle. He quickly instructed a servant-maid to lead Master True Depths and the monk to the exit without making things difficult for them.

Within a short while, three people were gone.

Only three were left—the travelling adventurer and the Yan Kai duo.

"Let me go next."

The travelling adventurer who was a lady-in-disguise stepped forward and pulled out the twin sabers on her waist.

"My forte is qinggong, short-range and long-range pursuit as well as tracking and investigations. Should be of help when looking for missing persons."

"Oh? In that case, may I know how to address you, Miss?" Lu Sheng smiled.

"Zhuan Feng."

"Chuan Feng?" Lu Sheng was stunned.

The female travelling adventurer quickly scribbled two words on the stone desk with her finger.

Only then did everyone understand that her last name was "Zhuan". [1]

"So, Miss Zhuan Feng, may I know how you're going to demonstrate your expertise?"

Curiosity appeared on Lu Sheng's face.

Zhuan Feng sniffed and squatted down to carefully examine the surface of the ground. Then, she put her ear close to the ground to listen.

Before long, she arose and opened her mouth to deliver her assessment.

"I can determine that, Young Master Lu, you and your men have been in this side yard for no more than four hours.

From beginning to end, there should have been two batches of guards and servant-maids who came in and out to clean the place. The total number of people was less than ten and it should have taken place about two hours ago.

Only after that did Young Master arrive. Moreover, neither Young Master nor anyone around you entered the rooms in this side yard. Clearly, this yard was specially set up just in time for the purpose of assessing us. Not even you had the time to enter the rooms."

Immediately, Lu Sheng and the rest opened their eyes wide in astonishment. Not only them, the guards and the servant-maids standing by around them looked as if they had just seen a ghost.

Merely by bending down towards the ground, looking, listening and sniffing, she was able to deduce so many facts!

This Miss Zhuan Feng was indeed an extraordinary talent!

"Impressive!" Lu Sheng clapped lightly.

"Miss Zhuan Feng, regardless of how you determined all those, you've passed. Next would be these two persons…" He looked towards the duo including Yan Kai.

While Yan Kai handled his gaze well, Duan Rongrong's hair stood on ends as Young Master Lu's gaze shot in her direction.

Just a moment ago, he was all filled with smiles. In the very next second, he had turned into a devil and had the Taoist beheaded.

Even if such a man were to smile at you, how could you be certain that he wouldn't put you to death in the very next second?

In her mind, Duan Rongrong had already labeled this Young Master Lu as a highly dangerous character.

Yan Kai, however, remained composed as he stepped forward.

"If I have not guessed wrongly," he stared at Lu Sheng with eyes full of vigor, "Young Master Lu's injuries were caused by Yin Qi invasion, am I right?"

"Oh?"

Lu Sheng's brows raised. Now he was really getting interested.

This man before him seemed like he really knew a thing or two.

"Your wound should be on your abdomen. But, thankfully, it did not reach your internal organs. However, with Yin Qi invading your body, if you do not purge it, it will eventually damage your Yang Qi.

This is a bit of Yang Returning Potion concocted by your humble Taoist. If Young Master's got the guts, you can try consuming it to test its effects."

He retrieved a black porcelain bottle from his sleeve and handed it over.

A servant-maid on the side hurriedly received it and placed it on a plate before delivering it over to Lu Sheng.

"Remember to return me the bottle after drinking," Yan Kai added.

Lu Sheng looked at the porcelain bottle. He pulled out the wooden cork and held it up to his nose for a sniff.

Just a sniff alone made him feel as if much of the Yin coldness in his body had been purged. A fiery scent wafted into his nostrils from the bottle, making him feel hot all over.

It was indeed true that he started having the shivers even since he got back to his room to rest after the blow to his abdomen. The wounds on his body were secondary. His main concern was that the strand of Yin coldness had infiltrated his body. Regardless of what tonics that supplemented Yang he consumed or how he worked out under the sun, it was useless in getting rid of it.

Although there would be some warming effects on his body right after he had consumed Yang-supplementing tonic or worked out, that Yin coldness would come back the moment he rested.

Looking at the porcelain bottle in front of him, Lu Sheng smiled and emptied it into his mouth without hesitation.

A faint taste of rust flooded his mouth, accompanied by a spicy, piquant flavor. A gush of heat slid down his throat.

Lu Sheng breathed out slowly. His entire body was flooded with warmth, as though he was under a hot summer day's sun at noon; it was extremely comfortable.

The Yin coldness from before melted rapidly like snow under the heat of the summer day. Before long, it was no longer perceptible.

"Taoist-sir, you're indeed impressive," Lu Sheng knew at that moment that he had run into an expert. "This bottle of Yang Returning Potion will be factored into your compensation."

"Does that count as a pass?" Yan Kai asked.

"Of course! The three of you, please follow me."

Lu Sheng rose slowly, supported by guards. He led the three of them into the inner house in the Yellow Crane Courtyard.

The servant-maids and guards departed, leaving only that muscular guard beside Lu Sheng.

"Ka-cha."

The door shut tight.

Only five people stood in the room.

"Here are the specifics of what happened…"

Lu Sheng began recounting the flow of events, starting from the first case of missing persons.

Yan Kai and the rest of them listened meticulously, inquiring about some detail every now and then.

Everything that Lu Sheng knew, he replied in turn. What he did not know was supplemented by the muscular guard beside him.

The conversation lasted for a whole hour.

After understanding the situation, Yan Kai bowed his head as he fell deep in thought.

A moment later, he lifted his head again.

"The supernatural beings that Young Master ran into, this humble Taoist names them Demonic Ghosts."

"Demonic Ghosts?" Lu Sheng asked. This counted as his first foray into the mysterious side of this world.

"Demon Ghosts, Demonic Ghosts. In themselves, they're not formed by souls of people who have passed on per se. Rather, they're formed by the bitterness, jealousy, hatred, injustice… and other emotions of humans. These emotions absorb some mysterious power from the environment, congealing into ghosts," Yan Kai explained solemnly. "Dealing with one or two Demonic Ghosts is a small matter. But if left alone for a long time, they will spread like a virus, killing more people and then forming new Demonic Ghosts. From the density of Yin Qi on Young Master, the Demonic Ghosts that you were in contact with had been left alone for a long time."

"For a long time? In that case, wouldn't there be more Demonic Ghosts in Nine Links City?"

Lu Sheng's face grew serious.

"Highly possible," Yan Kai nodded. "Alright, leave this matter to me. I'll deal with it. Young Master needs only to rest and recover at home. But this humble Taoist is only responsible for dealing with the Demonic Ghosts. As for finding the missing persons…"

"I'll find the missing persons," Zhuan Feng said. "When it comes to these supernatural encounters, I've had a couple of experiences with them in the past too."

Lu Sheng nodded in assent.

"In that case, Taoist-sir, what else can I do to help you?"

Now he was fully convinced that this Taoist Yan Kai must be one of those rumored professionals.

"Demonic Ghosts are not something that you can handle. The pressing matter at hand for you is to move out of Nine Links City immediately since you've made contact with them, lest you become fodder for the Demonic Ghosts to feed on," Yan Kai said plainly. "In addition, we've come also in order to investigate the Xu family's massacre."

"I also want to help in any way I can," Lu Sheng said earnestly.

"I've already said that it's unnecessary. Numbers won't help when it comes to ordinary men. Even if you're trained in some martial arts, you'll only become a burden to us. Martial arts have no use at all against ghosts!"

Yan Kai replied unceremoniously with a frown.

Beside him, Duan Rongrong broke out in a cold sweat, fearful that they had angered Young Master Lu…

Lu Sheng was about to speak, but was cut off by Yan Kai.

"Alright, no need to speak any further. This isn't something that you ordinary men can participate in."

[1] TL/N: The reason why everyone heard Zhuan Feng's name as Chuan Feng at first was because Chuan Feng (传风) literally means "passage of wind" in Chinese, which is apt for someone with her skill as a fast tracker. Lu Sheng and the rest were surprised by the uncanny aptness of this name. This also explains their later reaction when they realized her name was actually Zhuan Feng.