Countless corpses of Crimson Whale Sect's guards lay strewn across the deck, deep-red blood seeping out from them. Their blood gathered into streams and flowed out via the drainage canals on both sides of the deck.
Lu Sheng lifted his head. His gaze penetrated through the heap of corpses to the silhouette of a figure cloaked in a blood-red hue.
In the moment when his gaze landed on the figure, his pupils shrank immediately.
Youve really made it painful for me" the lady under the umbrella stood at the edge of the ships helm on one leg. A trifle more and she would fall into the water. Despite the gale, however, she did not budge a single inch. Only her blood-red dress billowed behind her in the wind.
"Heeheeheee so youre Sect Master Lu? So youre the new Sect Master"
Another red figure under an umbrella materialized to his right, as if from thin air.
Right after that, red figures kept popping up all around Lu Sheng like multiplying clones.
A shrill and eccentric laughter rang out from all directions.
"You" Lu Shengs eyes turned overcast. He realized that he had underestimated this female ghost with the red umbrella.
"Your servant is named Hong San. Remember this name" the umbrella ladies turned in unison to face Lu Sheng.
In that instant.
"Swish swish swish swish"
Every single one of them shot towards Lu Sheng at lightning speed.
Lu Sheng roared at the skies, his body expanding like a balloon again. A red web materialized around him.
Over a dozen red figured collided into Lu Sheng at the same time. Then, they were blasted away in an explosion.
Without warning, the red inner Qi web burst out in all directions with Lu Sheng at its center.
All of the red figures were blown into countless fragments of red cloth in that instant. Then, swiftly, they gathered and congealed into the shape of a human once more.
The umbrella girl opened the umbrella in her hands gently, covering her face with it. Behind the umbrella, long locks of hair flowed down both sides of her face like a waterfall.
The umbrella began to spin. With a loud swish, her entire body was sucked into the umbrella, leaving only a red paper umbrella spinning slowly in midair, as if somebody was holding it up in the air. Suddenly, it shot towards Lu Sheng.
"Without Zhen Family, I dont believe that a mere mortal like you!" In a fit of shrill cries, the red umbrellas razor-sharp edge began spinning at an accelerated rate. Faster and faster it went, and then the pink plum blossoms embroidered on the umbrella began spinning as well, forming a pink circular loop. Black Qi arose from within the loop.
Lu Sheng sucked in a deep breath of air. He gathered his hands in front of his chest, mustering all of the blood web and inner Qi in his entire body and channeling them into the space between his hands.
Under the full activation of Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies Skill, all the blood web and inner Qi of his body rapidly congealed into a small translucent red orb.
"Changing the Heavens in Seven Days" a blood-red line streaked from Lu Shengs chest to his forehead.
"DIVINE MIGHT!!!" A cold gleam flashed in his eyes as he struck with all the might he could muster.
Struck by his palm, the orb detonated instantly, blasting towards the red umbrella with massive force, dyeing the air in a crimson glow.
The black Qi and red glow collided squarely with each other, exploding into smaller specks of smog and red sparks which fell on the deck and corpses.
"Szzz szz szz szz"
The specks of black Qi and red glow flew all over before landing on the wooden deck, setting it ablaze. Instantly, the entire first deck outside the doors of the hall turned into a sea of flames, accompanied by the spread of massive volumes of Bind poison.
A portion of the ships tower, which had been blasted into pieces by the powerful explosion earlier, came crashing down on the deck, causing the fire to rage with even greater intensity.
In the midst of the raging fire, Lu Sheng pushed away a heap of rubble and rose to his feet, casting his gaze at the umbrella girl who likewise stood a short distance away from him.
Earlier, both of them had struck at maximum power; both of them had experienced the true extent of each others combat power.
They were both at the realm of Bind and were evenly matched. Lu Sheng was hardly able to kill the umbrella girl, just as the umbrella girl was unable to break apart Lu Shengs hard body defense.
All around Lu Sheng, the scorching fire was kept at bay by the Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies Skill blood web cast naturally by his body. On top of that, his body had already possessed extraordinarily high heat-resistance to begin with, making him completely invulnerable to the fire.
In similar fashion, the umbrella girl ignored the flames entirely. A faint black substance flowed all over her bodythe power of Bind, which formed a perfect defense against the heat and toxic smog.
"Ive never seen a human like you" the umbrella girl stared at Lu Sheng somberly. Behind her back, hidden from Lu Shengs view, half her palm was shriveled into charred coke.
"Now you have," Lu Sheng replied calmly.
"Your servant shall be back" finally, the umbrella girl whispered.
In the blink of an eye, the umbrella girl burst into flames like a giant torch. Then, like molten wax, she melted to the ground rapidly.
Lu Sheng watched as his opponent disappeared in flames, his face impassive.
It was his first time battling a true Anomaly and he had won only by a hair's breadth. His opponents bursting into flames had been induced by the Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies Skill which he had injected into her body.
He was absolutely certain that he had penetrated her defensive Bind layer multiple times during the battle and had thoroughly wrecked her body with Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies Skill.
But it was a pity that he was unable to completely destroy her despite several consecutive attempts. Her final self-ignition seemed more like a way of escape for her.
The indestructibility of an Anomaly was truly terrifying
"Sect Master!!!" Only then did the members of the upper echelon pluck up the courage to emerge from the hall.
"Hurry, put out the fire! Use the hose!"
"Hurry, hurry! The pharmacy is on fire!!!"
Chen Ying and Hong Mingzi leapt into the air and landed on Lu Shengs sides. Chen Ying struck with his palm at high speed, extinguishing the flames nearby with the wind of his palm strikes.
"Are you alright, Junior Apprentice Brother!?" Hong Mingzi had only moved once and was already coughing intensely.
Earlier, Lu Shengs battle with the umbrella girl shook the heavens and earth. Even the entire deck had turned into a sea of flames. Add to that the massive volume of Bind poison dispersing in the air, and none of them had the guts to come out.
Now that the umbrella girl had vanished from their sight, they decided it was safe enough to come out.
"Im alright I didnt think that just any random Anomaly that popped out would be evenly matched against me," Lu Sheng said soberly.
"That, was no ordinary Anomaly," Hong Mingzi shook his head. "Junior Apprentice Brother, you may not know this, but that umbrella girl was actually the Deputy District Mistress of the Scarlet District. Shes their most powerful expert, second only to the District Mistress. Its a wonder you were able to hold your own against her!"
"Deputy District Mistress?" Realization dawned on Lu Sheng. He had also fought the Song Manor little girl, who was near becoming an Anomaly, before.
Yet, even with his power back then, the little girl could not take even one blow from him. No wonder he found it hard to believe that the realm of Bind could be so much stronger just by evolving into an Anomaly.
"Scarlet District has been severely weakened in its war with Zhen Family. Nearly all its Anomalies have been destroyed. Thats probably why their Deputy District Mistress would come in person for our Crimson Whale Sect," Chen Ying added softly.
Subconsciously, his attitude towards the present Lu Sheng had deepened in reverence.
It was in part due to his recognition of Lu Shengs position as the new Sect Master. But, more than that, it was due to his recognition of Lu Shengs power.
"Junior Apprentice Brother, weve got to arrange for evacuation as soon as possible. Crimson Whale Sect has already become public target. Even without Scarlet District, other factions would also come for us. Without the backing of Zhen Family, we wont be able to hold them off cough cough cough" Hong Mingzi coughed involuntarily at his own long, hurried string of words.
"Any idea where the Scarlet Districts headquarters are?" Lu Sheng asked.
"Junior Apprentice Brother intends to" Hong Mingzi found himself lagging behind Lu Shengs thoughts.
"If possible, we can go test the waters," Lu Sheng whispered.
"Absolutely not! Scarlet Districts District Mistress is extremely powerfulmuch more so than that umbrella girl. Shes a powerful being in the same league as Zhen Familys Family Head," Hong Mingzi hurriedly counseled against Lu Shengs course of action.
"Then why didnt it come for us?" Lu Sheng countered with a question.
"Because I guess she thinks our Crimson Whale Sect isnt worth her coming for us in person?" Chen Ying hesitated.
"I dont think so," Lu Sheng shook his head. "The reason why theyve made a move against us is because Zhen Family has fled. Thats why theyre trying to look for leads from us. If Im not wrong, Scarlet Districts District Mistress either stays put, or has already made a move in person to pursue Zhen Family."
"This Junior Apprentice Brothers words do make sense. The reason why theyve made a move against us is still because of the treasure in Zhen Familys hands after all. If they do not go out in full force, theyd merely be meat for Zhen Familys pickingabsolutely useless.
Hence, once they decide to pursue them, they will go out in full force without a doubt," Hong Mingzi completed the line of thought in a single breath, then bowed his head in a fit of coughs.
"If thats true, we just need to check if their main force has left to tell if Scarlet Districts District Mistress is present," Chen Ying nodded in confirmation.
"From the fact that the Deputy District Mistress came for our Crimson Whale Sect, we can deduce that theres at least a sixty percent probability that Scarlet Districts main force has departed," Lu Sheng reasoned calmly. "Otherwise, if I were the District Master of Scarlet District, after learning that Zhen Family has left and that Crimson Whale Sect might possibly contain leads on their whereabouts, the first thing Id do would be to strike at Crimson Whale Sect. Id strike hard and fast, capture everyone and then interrogate them afterwards.
What I wouldnt do is to test the waters slowly, like cooking a frog in warm water, attacking it at its fringe first before the real assault. Thats simply a waste of time. And if I guessed wrongly, Id simply end up with a big fight with Zhen Family at worst."
"Thats right. Junior Apprentice Brothers deduction is on point," Hong Mingzi nodded in affirmation.
"So now we" Chen Ying looked at Lu Sheng enquiringly.
"It is indeed dangerous to test them now. Well consolidate and contract our estate and forces first. And well call in the cavalry!" Lu Shengs eyes narrowed to a slit.
"Junior Apprentice Brother, you mean to throw in our lot with other Noble Families?" Hong Mingzi was stunned. "But would they be willing to take us in?"
"Our Crimson Whale Sect possesses the largest intelligence network in all of the Northern Lands. Weve also got all sorts of resources and talents at our fingertips. Even if they bring their own men here, they surely cant hold a candle to us whove been digging our roots deep out here in the North for decades. Throwing our lot in with other Noble Families may not guarantee a prominent position, but at least well be safe," Lu Sheng said composedly. "Its just a matter of which Noble Family we join."
At this point, the fire on Crimson Whale was being put out by a giant water basin hung from the ships side.
All surviving disciples of the sect came out and began moving the corpses with tragic faces. Many corpses had been charred by the fire. In some places, even the deck had been burnt through, leaving behind many pits of various sizes.
The Internal Affairs Emissaries fulfilled their role, commanding all who were present in tidying up the scene.
Lu Sheng stared at the mess before him, deep in thought.
"Since Zhen Family has abandoned us, theres no need for us to talk about loyalty. Senior Apprentice Brother, Chen Ying, Ill trouble you to make the arrangements. Tomorrow, Ill pay a visit to the representatives of other factions in the city and find us a way out."
With Scarlet Districts inability to crush the Crimson Whale in the short term, Lu Sheng had fought and won an opportunity for Crimson Whale Sect to reverse the odds.
Hope you guys enjoyed this epic fight! Tomorrow will be the postponed break. But fret not, Friday's chapter will come soon!