Standing in the middle of the garden, Lu Sheng repeated softly.
It went without saying how vital the presence of Zhen Family was to the Northern Lands.
Without Zhen Familys repression of supernatural forces, the Northern Lands would not be in much better shape than the drought-afflicted Yun Province. With demons, devils, and ghosts wreaking havoc, the human race would scarcely be able to survive.
Of course, the human race was of value to the Noble Families. So, some other Noble Family would certainly step in to occupy the region. But who knew how many lives would remain in the entire Northern Lands by the time the other Noble Families make a move.
Lu Shengs heart weighed like a millstone.
He wasnt worried about the countless, faceless mob of citizens, but the Crimson Whale Sect and himself.
As a direct vassal of Zhen Family, Crimson Whale Sect was the most important faction under its command and was kept in the loop about many pieces of intelligence regarding Zhen Family.
Once word got out about Zhen Familys retreat, Crimson Whale Sect would be first target on Scarlet Districts list.
Recognizing the gravity of the matter, Lu Sheng drew closer and opened his lips, but no words came out.
"Zhen Family has left. Which means that from now on, were on our own," Hong Mingzis voice carried a thick note of weakness and weariness within it.
"Ive given orders for our hidden agents dispatched outside to leave for the Central Plains with manpower and resources. Perhaps therell be a day to come in the future when we may start all over again."
"Why the pessimism, Senior Apprentice Brother? Until the very end, there may yet be a chance for the situation to turn around!" Lu Sheng exclaimed with a look of resolution.
He had taken only slightly more than a year to turn from a rich mans son into a big shot in a powerful sect.
In the eyes of the common man, he had hidden his martial arts skills since his youth and bade his time to reveal them. Only he himself knew that he had truly taken only a year to build up and cultivate his strength.
This was why he dared not spell out the extent of his martial arts accomplishments to his family explicitly. It was simply too over the top.
From the time he killed a ghost with one palm strike till now, he was no longer the meek and gentle young master that he once used to be.
He would never throw in the towel.
"Its no use without the Noble Family theres no way we can put up a fight against Scarlet District" Hong Mingzi seemed to have lost his courage entirely as he shook his head continuously.
"How can you say that, Senior Apprentice Brother? With many things in life, theres no telling how things may end without trying. Moreover, even if we were to die, we must pull some of our enemies down with us!" Lu Sheng licked his lips.
But Hong Mingzi continued to look resigned to fate, unable to muster any strength at all.
"You dont know how powerful Anomalies are you dont know those who havent seen them assume that theyre like ghosts. But in actual fact, ghosts cant hold a candle to them" Hong Mingzi sighed. "Ive already arranged a carriage team to set off for Central Plains. If Junior Apprentice Brother wants to, you can join them. Youre a new addition to our upper echelon. Perhaps Scarlet District would not blacklist you"
"Perhaps. But Ive never pinned my hopes on any chances," Lu Sheng composed himself.
Scarlet District was like a massive object that weighed heavily on his heart. Not only his, but the hearts of all of Crimson Whale Sects upper echelons.
Although Lu Sheng was drawing closer to the realm of Bind, Bind was merely the most basic stage of Noblemen and Anomalies. Such strength was far from sufficient to keep him safe in the face of the incoming calamity!
"So what do you intend to do, Junior Apprentice Brother?" Hong Mingzi gazed at Lu Sheng. In his eyes, no matter what they did now, it would be in vain. A mortal who dreamed of resisting an Anomaly was like a rabbit attempting to bite a tiger to death. The two were clearly not in the same league; no such possibility existed.
"Nothing really," Lu Sheng thought for a moment. "Can Senior Apprentice Brother lend me some contribution points so that I can browse some martial arts manuals and broaden my horizons?"
"Its already come to this and you still!" Hong Mingzi was at a loss for words. But looking at Lu Sheng, he saw that his gaze was resolute and knew that he must have had a plan. Thus, he said no further.
"Very well then. Its of no use to me anyway. Ill lend you three significant contributions to the sectenough to exchange for any martial arts manuals you want from the Martial Proclamation Library."
"Since the sect is about to be overturned, why bother keeping to these supposed rules? Why not just open up the Martial Proclamation Library?" Lu Sheng suggested. He was naturally discontented with merely three significant contributions.
"Thats the rule. It was instituted right from the start by Zhen Family" before he could finish, old Sect Master fell into a daze. After a moment, he shut his eyes slowly and waved his hand, "Whatever whatever you want as long as the librarian agrees"
Having achieved his aim, Lu Sheng said a few more words of consolation to Hong Mingzi then quickly exited the garden.
Hong Mingzi did not bother paying a visit to Transformation Clan. Clearly, he already had insider information. Or perhaps, he had already personally verified the answer he sought.
Such a pity all the members of the upper echelons of the sect whore in the know must be filled with despair, exiting the garden, Lu Sheng walked along the corridor, down the stairs and straight to Martial Proclamation Library.
If not for my Modifier and Yin Qi without enough martial arts manuals to upgrade, I guess Id be in despair just like these ordinary people
These people have spent decades laboring in martial arts training only to find that their cultivation bases of a lifetime could not even stand up to a single strike by ghosts and Anomalies.
Facing such a wide chasm, they did not even have a glimmer of hope left that anything they could do in the short run could ever turn the situation around.
But Ive still got a chance!
Lu Sheng made up his mind. If he upgraded his cultivation base at all costs, using tonic herbs and Yin Qi to plug the gaps, he may yet be able to achieve a significant upgrade.
At the very least, Ill leave the Northern Lands with my family. Even if were arrested, Id still have a fighting chance because theyd underestimate my strength. However
A gleam of viciousness sparkled in Lu Shengs eyes. Thats just my last resort. If Im really on the Scarlet Districts blacklist, they surely wouldnt let me off the hook easily. Leaving Mountain-Edge City might be even more dangerous.
Different possibilities flashed across his mind one by one. But in the end, they all converged into a single reality.
No matter what, raising my combat strength as fast as possiblethats the way to go! After all, he still had much potential waiting to be explored.
After leaving the garden, he headed straight for Martial Proclamation Library.
Presently, the library was empty except for the old man dozing off behind the counter.
The doors to the library were wide open and lamps shone brightly inside.
Lu Sheng walked up slowly.
"Sir Librarian. Whyre you still here? With this calamity coming upon us, why dont you seek refuge in the Central Plains?" Lu Sheng came up to the counter and said to the sleepy-eyed old man.
"Seek refuge?" The librarian opened his murky eyes and glanced at Lu Sheng. "Theres no use. Our links with Zhen Family are way too deep. You look like one who sees the situation pretty well. If anything happens, its still best to ride it out inside Mountain-Edge City."
"Mountain-Edge City?" Lu Sheng was surprised.
"Thats right then its a matter of how much face Scarlet District is willing to give to the royal family behind the court" the librarian waved his hand. "Come on, speak. Whyre you here?"
Lu Sheng mulled for a while and spoke, "Now that Zhen Familys leaving, theres no more point in keeping Martial Proclamation Librarys rules, is there? Id like to browse the manuals freely. How about that?"
The librarian was stumped. He clearly had not expected such a request from Lu Sheng. He had assumed that he was sent by Sect Master Hong Mingzi to help out in the fight. He did not think that Lu Sheng merely wanted such a permission.
"Rules are rules. But, youre senior management. And, it is extreme times. If its just you alone, you can pick a few manuals freely."
Lu Sheng thanked him and turned towards the second story.
"Although Ive no idea why youve come to browse manuals, this old man would advise you to hurry. Martial Proclamation Library is our Crimson Whale Sects crucial grounds. All manuals and resources will be packed and taken away from here. Were about to start packing them in a bit," the old librarian reminded.
"Thanks for reminding me," Lu Sheng sped up his pace.
He went straight to the shelves he had visited previously and found the hard body skills he wanted.
Dusk Dantian Inflating Skill, Golden Veil Skill, and several other Strength Proficiency hard body skills collected by Crimson Whale Sect. But there was none of the Intent Proficiency level.
Lu Sheng picked a total of five of them and, while he was at it, picked two inner force mantras as well.
When he went down the stairs to exchange them for the actual manuals, the old librarians eyelids jumped at the sight.
"Youre trying to empty the entire library!" He was speechless.
"Ill return them after reading," Lu Sheng replied earnestly.
"Can you borrow them one by one then?"
"No, I cant. Im afraid there may not be a next time," Lu Sheng replied honestly.
"So you also know that there wont be a next time?" The librarian was speechless.
"These hard body skills arent a problem. But as for these two inner force skills because these are extreme times, you can borrow only the hand-written duplicate copies," he said.
"Alright then," Lu Sheng understood that this was the time for Crimson Whale Sect to begin packing its manuals. During this dangerous period of time, every original copy loaned out was one less martial art owned by Crimson Whale Sect. They were already very nice to him by allowing him to borrow so many in one go.
And, perhaps it was also because of the fact that he was a member of Crimson Sun Sect.
Anyway, his inner force had already reached the maximum capacity of his bodys constitution and meridians' limits. He couldnt practice the inner force skills even if he took them away. So he wasnt bothered by it.
"Alright then," the old librarian retrieved the original copies of the hard body skills. Not all hard body skills required a meditative intent diagram. Hence, several of them were handwritten copies.
Lu Sheng tried to pick a hassle about that but the librarian simply responded with a roll of his eyes.
"Well then, junior takes his leave," Lu Sheng picked up the manuals and clasped his hands together.
"Go ahead, go ahead" the old librarian remained still behind the counter, as if he would continue sitting guard there forever.
Right before turning to leave, Lu Sheng took one last glance at him, wondering what was going on in his mind.
Somehow, he had the sense that this elder was shrouded in some mystery and was unsure if it was just his own imagination.
Leaving Martial Proclamation Library, Lu Sheng headed straight to the dispensary in Crimson Whale and quickly gathered the herbs and medicinal ingredients needed by these hard body skills. He even helped himself to some extras. After all, once chaos breaks out in this place, it wouldnt be as easy to gather the ingredients he needed anymore. The ordinary pharmacies in the city surely wouldnt cut it. Many of these herbs were special ingredients needed only by martial arts practitioners.
Carrying a huge pack, Lu Sheng swiftly headed out on the deck. Immediately, a mob of people boarding the Crimson Whale under the escort of Crimson Whale Sect disciples entered his view.
"Who are these people?" He frowned and turned to the guard by his side.
"In reply to External Head, these are the survivors from Transformation Clan because they were injured in the fire, they have been sent here for medical aid," the guard called out, fighting to make his voice audible over the noise of the mob.
"I thought it wasnt really a fire? How come therere burn casualties? Has the Transformation Clan Chief been spotted?" Lu Sheng asked again.
"Er your subordinate here is not clear. But I heard them say that after the beacon fire was lit, it accidentally spread to the headquarters building." The guard paused and dropped to a whisper, "I heard that even the Clan Chief himself was roasted alive in the fire his remains were mixed with the wooden ash and dust from the beams of the house. Its tragic" his dialect, which caused his sentences to end on a rising intonation, revealed that he was not a local from Mountain Edge City.