Way of the Devil Chapter 31
Carrying Lu Qingqing, Lu Sheng's thoughts were extremely complicated.
Although this girl and he were siblings, honestly speaking, his feelings for her didn't run deep.
Firstly, it was because Lu Qingqing had always been practicing martial arts outside the family. Secondly, he actually wasn't the original Lu Sheng.
At such a time, however, as the elder brother he had to appear to be in sorrow regardless of his actual feelings.
Lu Sheng carried Lu Qingqing and, along with Zhuan Feng, examined this small underground dungeon. Apart from the corpses and three dazed, mindless retards, there was nothing to be found there.
The two of them led the three retards out of the dungeon and saw Yan Kai and Duan Rongrong waiting outside. Yan Kai was sitting cross-legged, his face red and a trace of blood hanging off the corner of his lips. On the ground was a small puddle of black blood he had just spat.
"It doesn't matter. Just some congestion," Yan Kai said emotionlessly.
"Miss Lu Qingqing was damaged by Yin Qi. It's already a miracle that she survived."
Lu Sheng opened his mouth, but did not say anything in the end.
He felt that he was presently in a place filled with grave danger.
That feeling had suddenly washed over him when he was carrying Lu Qingqing out.
Wasn't he now playing the role of one of those minor characters in the background in those period horror stories?
Presently the situation was that Nine Links City was infested with Demonic Ghosts, hiding and untraceable.
His Lu Family could become collateral damage of their activities at any time.
As an ordinary mortal, his only reliance was the Modifier and his martial arts.
He severely lacked the means to deal with the supernatural, such as Demonic Ghosts.
Just fighting a single Demonic Ghost alone had almost made him run on empty gas. If he had to face two of them at a time, he would really be in a tight spot.
At this thought, the grief on Lu Sheng's face gradually turned into a troubled expression.
"My sister has turned out like this, all thanks to Demonic Ghosts. Can Taoist-sir please advise if there are any means that can empower us mortals to be capable of fighting Demonic Ghosts? Or, are there maybe some places or people from whom we can seek help?"
On one hand, he said these words to enquire about other methods. On the other hand, he was probing if there were other groups or communities that were capable of defeating Demonic Ghosts.
"This… well, this humble Taoist's knowledge is limited. The average person can never be in the same league as ghosts, that's for sure," Yan Kai deliberated, glancing at Lu Qingqing with eyes of pity. Then, he continued, "As for groups and communities that can help… we exorcists are one such. But, most of us are hard to track. My suggestion for Young Master Lu is to still keep on posting hiring notices. Perhaps you'll be in luck and secure the assistance of some exorcists."
Having heard his words, Lu Sheng thought for a moment and asked, "Does Taoist-sir take in disciples?"
It wasn't he himself who wanted to become his disciple, however. His intention was to entrust some of the Lu Manor's kids under Yan Kai tutelage. That was, after all, a way to gain some power for self-preservation in this chaotic world and simultaneously establish some connections.
Hearing about disciples, Yan Kai's face immediately turned awkward.
"To be frank, Young Master, exorcists are mostly gifted from birth. This can't be cultivated. The mantra cultivated by this humble Taoist will harm rather than help mortals should they cultivate it. That's why, up till now, I've also been looking for a person who can inherit my skills to take in as disciple. But, it's a pity…"
"Gifted from birth?" Lu Sheng's face looked crestfallen.
"That's right. The main reason why this humble Taoist can suppress ghosts lies in my blood. Through the tempering by a particular skill, my blood gained some effects that can counter ghosts. This is also the only way to suppress them. In actual fact, many other exorcists rely on their own blood to do so as well," Yan Kai replied without any concealment.
"Blood…" Understanding finally dawned on Lu Sheng.
Yan Kai had no reason to lie to him. Moreover, Duan Rongrong at the side too kept on nodding her head in agreement. 'Looks like exorcists really rely on their blood to counter ghosts.'
"Is there really no other way?" Lu Sheng heaved a long sigh.
Yan Kai could not bear to see Lu Sheng's disappointment as well as the pitiful Lu Qingqing in his arms.
"Other ways… this humble Taoist really has nothing else to offer. Without the innate gift, there's simply no way…
Nonetheless, for so many mortals to exist in this world and even propagate to such a massive extent, there undoubtedly exist some forces that have been protecting everyone from the shadows, fending off the ghosts.
We exorcists are one of them. If Young Master Lu is really interested, you can investigate thoroughly and perhaps find some clues."
Lu Sheng nodded.
"Sigh… I guess that's all I can do. In that case, I wonder if Taoist-sir can sell me some items that can counter ghosts?"
Yan Kai shook his head.
"I'm sorry. It's not that I'm unwilling. It's just that items made out of my own blood can only be used by me. They'll be useless in others' hands. Otherwise, I wouldn't need to let Rongrong hide in a corner."
Lu Sheng believed that Yan Kai was telling the truth. Otherwise, he wouldn't so frankly come clean about the power of his blood. After all, wouldn't it be extremely dangerous if he ran into some evil men who would drug him, tie him up and drain him of his blood everyday like cattle?
Sighing again, Lu Sheng carried Lu Qingqing closer to himself against his chest and then left the Taoist temple alongside Yan Kai and the rest. Then he climbed up his horse.
"In that case, will Taoist-sir return along with us?"
"No need. I want to examine this place further. Perhaps I can find a lead on the original Demonic Ghost here. There're more than a few Demonic Ghosts in Nine Links City—we've got to find the "patient zero". Otherwise, as time passes, that original Demonic Ghost will grow stronger and stronger," Yan Kai declined.
"Alright, then. Should Taoist-sir have any needs, feel free to come to Lu Manor. I, Lu Sheng, will be sure to help with all I have! Additionally, all three of you must definitely come to Lu Manor to collect your compensation."
Holding onto the reins with one hand, he turned the horse around and headed back on the path they had come from with the retards and guards in tow.
"Oh right, Young Master Sheng! You've just slayed a Demonic Ghost, so a lot of its scent remains on you. If there are other Demonic Ghosts nearby in the city, they'll certainly pick you as their target. And, very possibly, you may even draw out a Great Demonic Ghost, so please be careful. If you need any help, you can find someone to alert me at the first instant," Yan Kai suddenly shouted.
Hearing these words, Lu Sheng's heart skipped a beat.
"Many thanks, Taoist-sir, many thanks, Miss Zhuan Feng."
He turned around and waved his arm towards the back.
The party went back on horses along the path they had come to the temple.
Though the mountain path was rocky and winding, the horses' speed made up for their otherwise slow progress. Yuhan followed right beside Lu Sheng, vigilant and ready.
The other guards had not fully recovered from their shock. As a result, no sound apart from their breathing and the horses' trots was heard for a while.
Lu Sheng's mind was occupied.
'Great Demonic Ghost! I can barely handle one Demonic Ghost. This Great Demonic Ghost… just by its name alone, I'm sure it's even stronger than that one just now.'
His heart was once again heavy with pressure.
He had thought he finally possessed some power for self-preservation. Who knew that Yan Kai would indicate otherwise? Now he realized that he still remained in an extremely precarious situation.
'The occurrences in Nine Links City have really been strange. Previously, the entire city's strength was activated to look for someone. Or something. And now, so many Demonic Ghosts have popped out. I'd bet my head that there must be some connection between the two,' Lu Sheng pondered. 'The only way for me to raise my strength right now is to upgrade Black Fury Skill by one more level. I really can't think of any other way.'
His brows were locked tightly together in a furrow.
In his arms, the retarded Lu Qingqing saw his furrowed brows and quietly reached out and caressed his brows, grinning dazedly.
Lu Sheng pushed Lu Qingqing's hand down and continued along his train of thought.
His situation was perilous indeed.
Lu Family held a huge estate and businesses and had a hand in almost everything in the city. A tall tree attracts the wind. News of anything that happened in his house would immediately spread across the entire city like wildfire. 
Including news of how the midnight wail had been solved.
'Since there is a realm of people who know about Demonic Ghosts, what's their purpose?
The duo including Yan Kai came at such a perfect timing. We haven't put up the notice for more than a few days when they came in response... perhaps there's another faction playing its pieces from the shadows.'
He did believe Yan Kai's theory of blood and innate gift. That kind of power which could exorcize ghosts can only be wielded by those with a special bloodline. This was perhaps the prerequisite for stepping into that higher realm.
Lu Sheng kept pondering it over in his heart as he rode back.
Only after entering the city and returning to the Lu Manor did he finally clear his mind of his thoughts as he alighted from his horse.
Yan Kai's words left him with a sense of frustration and helplessness.
No innate gift.
Without it, he was merely an ordinary mortal as Yan Kai described.
Although, according to Yan Kai, it was already extremely impressive for him to attain this level as a mortal, Lu Sheng knew a disparity when he saw one.
His innate gifts, or lack thereof, had determined that a natural insurmountable chasm existed between himself and those of that realm. In effect, it had also sentenced him to being handicapped on the day when he would face off against the supernatural.
Alighting from the horse, Lu Sheng saw Second Mother following right behind his father Lu Quanan. At the sight of Lu Qingqing in his arms, relief flooded her face, as if a huge burden had been lifted off her shoulders.
But gloom fell onto Lu Sheng's heart.
"Servants, take Young Miss back to her room to bathe and rest."
He lifted his voice.
A few fit servant-maids approached and took Lu Qingqing over from him.
Lu Sheng gave a few more instructions, letting them bring the other two retards to bathe and settle them as well.
Lu Quanan and Second Mother Liu Cuiyu both sensed something amiss. Not only did they see two unfamiliar retards, more importantly, Lu Qingqing's eyes were dazed. When she saw them, she actually didn't even say a word of greeting but yawned instead, as if she did not recognize them.
"Little Sheng? This… this is…?!?!" Liu Cuiyu's face turned white as a sheet of paper and asked, her voice trembling.
"Let's talk inside."
Lu Sheng gestured with his hand, signaling the guards behind him to disperse and rest. As for those who had not been scared off earlier, Yuhan would make a count of them.
The party entered the manor and Lu Sheng swiftly had men prepare the remuneration so that they could pay Yan Kai and the rest their silver notes anytime.
He himself, however, led Lu Quanan and other family members into the Great Hall in the inner courtyard.
After the servant-maids were dismissed, Lu Sheng sat down and recounted the entire process of how he had found Lu Qingqing, from beginning to end.
Right after he ended, Liu Cuiyu's eyes flipped upwards and her body went limp, unconscious.
"Second Mother!" Lu Sheng rushed over to support her. Fifth Mother and the rest also hurriedly pressed her Ren Zhong acupoint. 
"Qingqing…" Lu Qunan looked as if he had aged several years in the blink of an eye. He slumped onto his seat, unmoving. "There's really… no hope for a cure?" He looked towards Lu Sheng, clinging onto the last glimmer of hope. "We can plead with Taoist Yan Kai. Perhaps he…"
His face dark, Lu Sheng shut his eyes and slowly shook his head.
"I've already asked him…" He replied hoarsely.
"In my opinion, Second Sis may be better off this way… lest she goes out every day and causes trouble…"
Fifth Mother's daughter Lu Yingying mumbled softly at the side.
Though the rest may not have heard, Lu Sheng's five senses were incredibly sharp because of his martial arts training. He heard every word, clear as day.
He lifted his head and glared sternly at Lu Yingying, who trembled in fear and no longer dared to make a sound.
 ED/N: A tall tree attracts the wind, one of the common idioms in xianxia novels. It means that the more you stand out (especially because of your riches or your conduct), the more likely are others to target you.
 TL/N: In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Ren Zhong acupoint, located right in the middle between the nose and upper lip, was pressed to help someone who had fainted regain consciousness.