Way of the Devil Chapter 2
The end of Ku Rong Street was where a district for the wealthy was. The Lu Manor was one of the houses there.
The horse carriage headed straight down Ku Rong Street and entered into a garden area.
This area was surrounded by greyish-white stone walls, forming a huge oval shape.
On the left of the area was where the Lu Manor was located.
The manor was the very image of quiet and tranquility, with black doors flanked by red lanterns and two stone chimeras, now covered with a white layer of snow.
The horse carriage stopped at the entrance of the Lu Manor, where Lu Sheng alighted. People within the mansion had long since heard the sound of him approaching and unhurriedly opened the doors. A chamberlain awaited at the entrance.
As soon as Lu Sheng and Little Qiao passed through the doors, they saw a good-looking man and a woman standing together on a stone bridge to the right of the residence.
The man was dashing, confident and with a brilliant countenance. He had sharp brows and sparkling eyes, and there was a thick aura of a Confucian scholar around him.
The woman looked soft and gentle, her eyes beautiful as if taken from a painting. She had slender waist and long legs; her manner was that of a well-bred girl from a wealthy family.
Seeing the two of them, Lu Sheng's train of thought was briefly interrupted. His mood lifted somewhat, and took the initiative to go over to greet them.
"Elder Brother Xu, why are you here only today? My little cousin has missed you for the past days," he smiled as he walked on the stone bridge.
The man smiled as he turned and caught sight of Lu Sheng. "So it's Young Master Sheng. Earlier, I had to follow orders to investigate into something, a case which had just been resolved. I came to see Yiyi as soon as I could. Don't blame me for this, I couldn't disobey orders from the higher ups."
"A case? Has there recently been a case so big that Elder Brother Xu needed to personally take care of it?" Lu Sheng knew that Elder Brother Xu Daoran was of a high position.
He was a County Lord who was overall in charge of law and order in all of the counties within Nine Links City area.
The position of a County Lord was second only to that of the County Magistrate, and was akin to that of a Police Commissioner.
"Just some cases in the fishing villages, but they've been resolved," Xu Daoran smiled warmly. "Although, Little Sheng, when are you coming to help me? You promised me previously that you would come to help me out in planning for the city's law and order."
How could Lu Sheng remember everything this body's previous host had promised in the past? He gave a perfunctory laugh and hurried to change the subject.
"Fishing villages? Don't tell me it has to do with the rumored water ghost?"
"What water ghost! It was just a lunatic driven to madness by his desire for revenge who went on a killing spree. I have already beheaded him at the scene!" Xu Daoran shook his head and said indifferently. "The case has been resolved, let's not dampen our spirits by harping on these matters. Little Sheng, do you still remember what I promised Yiyi previously?"
"To offer joss-sticks in Red Lotus Temple, and take a hike while you're at it?" Lu Sheng swiftly replied with a smile.
"You sure remember these play things very well," Xu Daoran helplessly replied and added, "You're no longer young… nineteen-year-old this year, was it? You should find some work to do. You can't expect to live the rest of your life like this, can you?"
He had watched Lu Sheng grow up. Because their families had been long-time friends, he had always seen Lu Sheng as his younger brother.
Now, he felt that he had to offer a few words of advice.
Lu Sheng shook his head and laughed. "Elder Brother Xu, do you want me to become an official, or a businessman?"
"An official, of course. This is also your father's wish. Your maternal and paternal uncles both hope that you can come over and help them as soon as possible. After all, you're the eldest son of the Lu family," Xu Daoran persuaded.
"Let's not talk about this first. It's not urgent, not urgent at all! I'm still young. What logic is there behind this hurry to chase the eldest son out?" Unconcerned, Lu Sheng replied randomly in a casual tone.
Xu Daoran and Lu Yiyi were both speechless, and did not continue the topic.
Lu Sheng did not want to dwell on the subject of being an official. He changed the subject, and walked off with Little Qiao in the direction of his sleeping quarters.
Once he got there, he changed his clothes. Without even going to greet his father, he then took the piece of cobblestone and went alone to the garden at the back of the manor.
Xu Daoran was born in the Xu family which, like the Lu family, was one of the most illustrious families in this northern city that is Nine Links. Their members had far-reaching influence, and held important positions in all areas of the city.
Lu Sheng felt rather kindly disposed towards Xu Daoran; he was a sincere and honest guy, without selfish motives, and was genuinely interested in Yiyi.
To Lu Sheng, he was as close as an elder brother.
Lu Sheng grasped onto the cobblestone, once again thinking back to the earlier scene. He thought back to what he had incidentally heard at the city gates, about how the water ghost had been killed.
'In this world, are there ghosts and immortals…?'
There was a faint, indescribable gloom in his heart as he gazed at the snow swirling in the garden.
'Perhaps it's just as Elder Brother Xu said... it's just a false rumor spread by the people,' he shook his head, grasping onto a thread of wishful thinking in his heart.
Early in the evening, he returned to his room to wash and sleep. The day's events had left him befuddled. With so many things on his mind, he quickly grew tired.
He slept through the night, up until sunrise.
"DONG DONG DONG! DONG DONG DONG!"
The sound of frantic knocks arose.
Lu Sheng abruptly opened his eyes, shot up from the bed and looked towards the door.
"Who is it?!"
"Young Master...! There's been trouble...!" It was Little Qiao's voice.
Lu Sheng hurriedly got off his bed to open the door. Outside, Little Qiao stood there with a terrifyingly pale face, devoid of all color. The fat cheeks on her baby face were currently trembling uncontrollably.
"Xu… Xu… Xu…"
Seeing this, an ominous sense of crisis began to rise in Lu Sheng's heart.
"Just what happened? Take a deep breath!" He raised his hand to pat Little Qiao's back vigorously.
Only then was Little Qiao able to breathe normally.
"The Xu family… Lord Xu's family's all finished!!" She said in one breath, sobbing.
Lu Sheng was stupefied.
Little Qiao speedily helped Lu Sheng into his outer robes. Without saying another word, they both sped towards the outer manor.
The patriarch of the Lu family, Lu Fang, was standing outside the manor. He had his hands behind his back, a hint of a tremble on his crestfallen face.
Three huge black double horse carriages waited next to him.
Lu Sheng, along with his other cousins within the manor, hastily paid respects to Lu Fang before promptly boarding the carriages.
Lu Fang and Lu Sheng sat together, father and son both silent as they faced each other. Neither spoke a word while on the carriage.
Lu Fang was over sixty years of age. With a white beard, skinny build and handsome features, he looked more like a distinguished scholar rather than a businessman.
The horse carriages advanced without slowing down. It wasn't long till they arrived outside the Nine Links City's gates.
Lu Sheng alighted from the carriage, and was shocked by the scene before his eyes.
To the left of the carriageway outside the city gates, ten corpses lay neatly on the snow. From young to old, from men to women… they were all of the Xu family!
All of them were clad in robes custom-made for the Xu household. Xu Daoran lay in the middle of the third row.
His face was ashen, his body stiff and eyes shut tightly. His expression was one of extreme fear, just as if he had seen something immensely terrifying before his death.
Lu Sheng saw the constables maintaining order at the scene. He saw his own father, Lu Fang, standing in front of an old man's corpse, not saying a word with his fists clenched tightly.
The Prefect, having heard the news, was also present, his face as white as the snow surrounding them.
Lu Sheng took a deep breath and walked slowly to stand next to a constable. "How did they die?"
That constable recognized him and knew who he was. He sighed.
"All of them died in their own manor, hung by seaweed from the house beams. No idea where the seaweed came from…"
A cry of alarm suddenly sounded out from behind. Obviously, little cousin Yiyi had fainted.
Lu Sheng heaved a deep sigh, recalling what Xu Daoran had said to him only the day before.
He had just returned from solving cases in the fishing villages…
That bizarre piece of cobblestone…
In that moment, many thoughts went through Lu Sheng's mind.
In actuality, he had only been in this world for a couple of days, and did not have any deep attachment to Xu Daoran. Therefore, he only felt a sense of regret and shock at the moment. However, he did not feel the grief others would have expected of him.
It's not that he had never seen corpses before.
Rather, it's just that he had never seen this many corpses before.
"Where is Priest Chi Ling of the Xu household?" He heard Lu Fang asking the senior constable.
"In another area. The corpse has been split into many chunks, one of which has even been gnawed at by a beast…" the senior constable replied in a low voice.
A spell of silence.
Be it the Lu family, the Prefect or the commoners looking on from the city gates, they were all silent.
"Priest Chi Ling is quick with his sword, and is even a cut above Uncle Zhao…" Lu Fang gradually lowered his voice.
Uncle Zhao was the strongest martial arts master employed by the Lu family. Priest Chi Ling was stronger than Uncle Zhao, and yet he was killed.
This was no longer a simple murder case, but a grave danger that was enough to threaten everyone present!
Of all the people present, who would dare say that he was mightier than the Xu family?
No one would dare say so, not even the Prefect.
Lu Sheng stood silently on the roadside. He'd initially thought that this world was very safe and was but an imitation of the ancient China, that's all. There were some surprising occurrences, but nothing too serious.
But now, it seemed…
He touched the cobblestone that was in his sleeve pocket.
The cobblestone was shockingly hot at the moment.
He took out the cobblestone, hesitated for a bit, and then lightly threw it away.
This item might just bring calamity upon him.
The Xu family had a foundation as robust as his own Lu family, and yet was entirely wiped out in the span of a single night.
This caused Lu Sheng to be greatly alarmed in his heart.
He deliberated, and suddenly walked over to the right of the cobblestone, bent over, and picked it up.
Unknowingly, his forefinger had been accidentally cut by wild grass jutting out from the snow-covered ground.
It was a special kind of grass. The sides of its leaves were sharp as the edge of a blade.
Lu Sheng's finger was immediately sliced and bled, a few drops of blood dripping onto the cobblestone.
"Young Master?" Little Qiao followed closely behind him, somewhat anxious, with tears streaming down her small face. Clearly, Xu Daoran's death was a huge blow to her.
Lu Sheng's body was frozen on the spot.
A series of extremely unique syllables suddenly floated across his mind.
"Welcome to the Deep Blue Skills Cheating Device."
In a moment, Lu Sheng's eyes went into a daze. Quite a while passed before he was back to himself.
He stared at the translucent, bluish square frame floating before his eyes. Astonishingly, in it he could see his name and all skills he currently mastered.
'Isn't this… the little cheating device I wrote for a mobile phone app?!'
Lu Sheng felt like he was going mad, having one hallucination after another.
It was bad enough that he had been reincarnated into this Young Master of a wealthy family, who barely had the strength to truss a chicken. As if that wasn't enough, he was actually having all sorts of hallucinations now!
In his previous life, he had downloaded a little game called Chronicles of Flying Swords and Heroes when he was bored. However, because the game was too difficult, he had programmed a simple cheating device to modify his martial arts in the game.
He had named it the Deep Blue Cheating Device. Come to think of it, the voice he had heard earlier was his own, recorded through a voice-changing device.
Never did he expect…
Lu Sheng looked resolutely into the space within the square frame.
The space was remarkably simple. There were only numerous small boxes, packed densely together.
On it were written:
Lu Sheng - -
Martial Arts: None.