The sound of the explosion thoroughly dispelled the echoes reverberating in Lu Shengs ear.
"These are your memories? Theyve all been sealed up in this mirror?" Lu Sheng lowered his sabers as he walked slowly towards that crazy woman in the distance.
The crazy woman pounced at Lu Sheng maniacally.
Her actions were swifter than the little girls from earlier. The razor-sharp nails on all ten of her fingers were also stronger and more powerful. However, in Lu Shengs eyes, they were all futile against him.
Without even bothering to cast a single glance in the other partys direction, he contracted and expanded the Blood Web all around his body without warning.
Scorching Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies inner Qi exploded in a loud rumble, blasting the crazy woman who had appeared behind Lu Sheng into flying bits.
With a flip of his hand, Lu Sheng slashed fiercely with the choppers.
With precision, the chopper pinned the crazy woman down on the floor mercilessly. Boiling inner Qi radiated off the blade, incinerating the woman, who shrieked miserably in pain. She tried to pull out the saber from her body in vain.
Calmly, Lu Sheng walked in front of the woman and stared down at her, asking, "Do you hate?"
He asked the same question he had heard earlier.
The crazy woman struggled and snarled in misery. At this point, she was no longer lucid and was like a beast on the verge of death.
Lu Sheng held onto the saber hilt.
"Lingling Lingling mother is here" that crazy woman suddenly called out gently.
Her body began to relax. Beneath her unruly hair, her pair of eyes also gradually turned gentle. Her arms flailed around wildly, as if she were looking for something.
"Mother is here" the womans voice was soft as she repeated herself without end.
Lu Shengs face was a picture of calm as he channeled inner Qi into the saber hilt.
Abruptly, the womans entire body lit up in flames and was thoroughly extinguished into a patch of black ash.
As the woman disappeared, the surrounding hay field also began to distort and fade to black. Gradually, the original courtyard of the Holy Fame Plaza came back into focus.
Lu Sheng stood in the middle of the courtyard with his saber and looked at the ash on the ground.
For some unknown reason, the creator of the mirror had given that little girl this hope.
Lu Sheng couldn't ascertain whether his intentions were pure or otherwise. However, he felt extremely displeased. After killing so many ghosts, this was the first time that he had felt this way.
His last question, and that womans answer, threw his mind into frustration.
"My Lord???" Xu Chui walked out from the house. "What do we do with the mirror?" He seemed clueless about what had just happened.
Lu Sheng turned to look at him.
"Pack it all up and bring it away with us."
"This even the shattered pieces?" Xu Chui hesitated.
"All of it."
Lu Sheng stood unmoving in the courtyard for a long period of time until dawn broke. Dong Qi tiptoed out from her sleeping quarters timidly.
"Esteemed representative!" Dong Qi walked to Lu Sheng and bowed sincerely. "If it werent for you last night, Dong Qi would surely have met with some mishap."
"As long as you remember our compensation," Lu Sheng replied plainly. "Lets go visit that Pharmacist Zhuo Qingyang."
Xu Chui had just packed up the mirror by then. It was no easy feat to collect that huge bag of mirror shards. He had to specially find a piece of cowhide mattress to stand in for a bag in order to wrap everything up.
The three of them headed straight for Zhuo Qingyangs room.
"Dong dong dong."
"Dong dong dong!"
There was no reply.
Lu Sheng looked at Xu Chui, who got the hint. The latter retreated a step and gave the large door a hard kick, instantly blasting it open.
Taking the lead, Lu Sheng walked in and saw Zhuo Qingyang lying still on the mattress, his face green.
He strode over and put his finger under his nose to feel for breathit was long gone.
"Dead," Lu Sheng turned to look at Dong Qi, and suddenly remembered the servant-maids and guards that he had seen previously.
"Why is it so quiet this late into the morning? Go check up on your servants."
Dong Qi seemed to recall something and nodded, her face ghastly. Upon hearing Lu Shengs instructions, she responded in a hasty whisper before running out the room in small quick steps.
Xu Chui went forward to examine the cause of death, saying somberly, "The corpse seems to have died naturally from old age. There are no obvious external wounds nor bleeding, nor are there signs of poisoning. Perhaps its caused by ghosts."
Lu Sheng exhaled deeply and was about to speak, when suddenly Dong Qis shrill cry pierced the air.
Instantly, he and Xu Chui turned on their heels and sped outside in the direction of the voice. They found Dong Qi outside a bedroom in the auxiliary wing, grasping onto a pillar and gasping for breath.
She was nearly on the verge of collapse when she saw the two men.
"Esteemed representative dead all dead" she cried out between sobs.
Lu Sheng looked at the few open bedrooms and stepped into one to take a look. On the bed was a dead servant-maid, whose corpse was already beginning to decompose.
Xu Chui rushed into another room on the other side and shouted.
Lu Sheng exited the room and looked at Xu Chui, who nodded at him with a somber expression. Indeed, the bodies in the other one were also dead.
He walked a few steps and looked into the room to see a corpse lying on the bed mattress. A thick stench of decomposing flesh emanated from the room, which was very sickening.
"Check the rest of the rooms," Lu Sheng ordered.
"Yes, Sir!" Xu Chui obeyed. He picked up his pace and barged into one room after another.
Lu Sheng, likewise, went to look into other rooms.
As time passed, the duo soon scanned the numerous surrounding courtyards.
The entire Holy Fame Plaza was the picture of desolation. Other than Dong Qi and her personal servant-girl, all the others in the area were dead people. Moreover, most of these corpses had maggots in them; who knew how long they had been dead for?
Dong Qi was scared out of her wits. In the entire Tea Sect, at least a third of their upper echelon rested in the Holy Fame Plaza. Who knew that now
After the sky turned fully bright, sect members and subordinates arrived speedily. Under Dong Qis instructions, they entered Holy Fame Plaza pale-faced and carried the corpses out.
More than a few people also arrived from the rest of the town to watch the scene unfold. They gathered in a circle outside the large doors, looking on as one dead body after another was lifted out from within.
The captain garrisoned in the town was the highest ranking administrative official here. Thus, he led a team over to figure out what had happened. The captain was also one of the leaders of the Winged Honor Guard garrison nearby and was an old friend of the Tea Sect. Each year, the sect would gift him with many pieces of silver. It was out of that relationship that he came in concern.
Dong Qi spoke with the captain for a short while before sending him away. She even secretly slipped him a few taels of silver to tip him for making the journey before the soldiers finally left.
As for Lu Sheng, he led Xu Chui to investigate Sect Master Dong Shengpings corpse.
With the help of one of Dong Qis assistants, the duo soon found the grave buried on a hill outside the town.
Dong Qis instructed someone to dig out the corpse and lift it into a tent that they had pitched. The duo including Lu Sheng entered to conduct a detailed examination.
Even in the tent, it was hot and stuffy on that scorching day.
Lu Sheng stood by the corpse covered with a white cloth. He gently peeled back a corner of the cloth to reveal the corpses head.
There was a clear gash from a knife wound that slit across the corpses skull, slashing across his eyes, nose-bridge, and mouth.
It was very deep.
"This should be the cause of death," Lu Sheng frowned. Even without closer examination, he could sense a thin thread of Yin Qi emanating from the wound.
This sort of faint, thread-like Yin Qi could only be detected on corpses that had been personally killed by the supernatural. Also, because this sort of Yin Qi was simply too weak, Lu Sheng would need to absorb it at least a hundred times before he could accumulate a sufficient amount to upgrade one level of a Strength Proficiency martial arts skill.
Therefore, he couldn't care less about collecting it. The main Yin Qi goldmines that he had obtained from this trip were the puppet, the piece of cloth, as well as the copper mirror stand.
"Theres another wound at the abdomen. Its a stab wound, likely the result of being pierced by a dagger-like weapon," Xu Chui added from the side.
Lu Sheng nodded, indicating that he had arrived at a conclusion. He looked at the corpse and fell deep into thought for a moment.
That mirror is the main culprit that exploited the little girl Linglings hatred. After killing her, it seemed to transform into some sort of unique tool.
Theres definitely something wrong with this mirror. Otherwise, theres no way itd kill a poor little girl, and so many others, for no rhyme or reason. It definitely has some unique function.
After investigating a while more, Lu Sheng had a rough idea how the Tea Sect members, including Sect Master Dong Shengping, had died.
"The sect master was plotted against. While the identity of the murderer is not definite, it should be that ghost called Lingling," Lu Sheng explained.
"As for the rest of the sects upper echelon, they were all lured by Pharmacist Zhuo Qingyang, who used the mirror to absorb their life force and kill them."
"Life force can actually be absorbed?" Xu Chui was shocked.
"Life force refers to the energy naturally produced from eating, sleeping, and resting. Its what causes your heart to pump and gives you strength. It enables you to move, to speak, and to laugh. That, is life force," Lu Sheng explained. "In simpler terms, its Yang Qi."
"Oh" Xu Chui was suddenly enlightened.
Lu Sheng stood by the tent and took out the puppet that he had picked up earlier. Thick, dense Yin Qi rolled off the puppet.
Although the ghost in this encounter was a mere Single-Vein Level Anomaly, the mirror behind the ghost was profoundly mysterious and eluded Lu Shengs comprehension.
"Forget it. Lets leave this Tea Sect matter as it is for now. Lets continue to sweep through the other areas," Lu Sheng instructed.
"Yes. Other than this place, theres also another area in the vicinity that recently requested for assistance. However, thats only of the Spirit Grade. The compensation is three hundred taels of silver," Xu Chui leafed through the list that he had brought along.
"Go find Dong Qi to replenish our fodder and water supply. Well leave today," Lu Sheng looked at the Tea Sect members waiting by the side.
The main purpose of this trip had been to sweep up Yin Qi. The Yin-natured inner force skills that he cultivated required a copious amount of Yin Qi. Also, he hadnt gained any headway yet in compressing inner Qi.
Perhaps I can use Yin Qi to extrapolate and upgrade inner force skills by force. If my body is sturdy enough, it should be able to condense inner Qi to liquid form, Lu Sheng suddenly had an idea.
Still, Id better resolve the Yin Yang imbalance before anything else, Lu Sheng changed his mind. As long as I can initiate into one of them, then use Yin Qi to forcibly upgrade this Yin-nature inner force, then perhaps I may be able to kill two birds with one stoneforcibly liquefy my inner Qi and achieve Yin Yang harmony.
In that case, if everything proceeds smoothly, I just need to initiate into Aquarius Qi, upgrade it to produce a sufficient quantity of it, and I might reap some amazing effects, Lu Shengs heart jumped in excitement.
Perhaps, the two problems plaguing himan imbalance of the Yin and Yang, and his martial arts bottleneckcould be resolved together.
Xu Chui quickly went away to speak with the Tea Sect men standing guard by the side. Immediately, Dong Qi scampered over and ordered the men to re-bury her fathers remains.
"Esteemed representative, youre leaving? May I know if the root of the problem has been found?" secretly, Dong Qi stuffed a note into Lu Shengs hands.
Lu Shengs expression remained the same as always as he took a glance; it was actually a golden note, with the word "Hundred" written faintly at its corner.
A hundred taels of gold this was the amount that Dong Qi had privately tipped Lu Sheng on top of the remuneration she gave Crimson Whale Sect.
A hundred taels of gold was equivalent to a thousand taels of silver, which amounted to one million renminbi (RMB) in his past life.
Indeed, all who dabble in the tea business are filthy rich, Lu Sheng was acutely aware that it was in these smaller villages, far from the control of the Emperor, that one could carve out a fortune much larger than in those big cities under strict jurisdiction. In the Northern lands, there were numerous sects such as this that didn't enjoy a big name, but were extremely rich; what more the other areas?
Especially since Tea Sect also had Winged Honor Guards as their backer. Among them were experts from the Intelligence Agency and were thus considered under Taoist Bai Fengs jurisdiction. They enjoyed no less safety than the trade routes under Crimson Whale Sects protection.
Hi guys, sorry I missed yesterday's chapter! I'm a little behind my translation schedule due to the recent Christmas season busyness. But I'll make up for yesterday's missed chapter later this weekend! :)