"Actually, the root of the problem has been resolvedits that demonic mirror," Lu Sheng said mildly. "Tea Sect has suffered heavy losses this time round. Its best that you take time to recuperate. However, I do have a questionsince you rely on the Winged Honor Guards, why didn't you seek help from them at the first instant?"
Hearing that, Dong Qi sighed heavily.
"Esteemed representative, you may not know this. Although the Winged Honor Guards reside permanently in the area, were not able to borrow any of their power. At the very most, we can bribe them with silver when theyre on patrol, and theyll allow us to follow behind them and peddle our goods. Other than that, the military rules dictate that were not allowed to request a helping hand from them."
Lu Sheng nodded, "Is that so."
"Esteemed representative resides in a large city and doesn't understand how tough we have it here," Dong Qi sighed again. "Although Tea Sect is a sect in name, this sort of sect is but a group of people who were unable to defend themselves in this day and age, and had no choice but to unite together. Otherwise, with no one else to rely on, one wouldn't be able to make it very far in this life. You don't even need to stand out; just the mountain bandits and robbers, and all sorts of otherworldly dangers, will present obstacles every step of the way.
In such tumultuous times, what choice do we have besides sticking together?" Dong Qi smiled bitterly and continued, "Those of a better family background can practice martial arts for self-defense, the rest who are less advantaged will have to be runners for others. Hunting, doing hard labor all to learn a skill or two to fend for oneself. Young people nowadays, if they havent given up all hope and resigned themselves to a drunken, befuddled lifestyle, then theyre all trying to find a way out to lead a peaceful life. Even that in itself is already their greatest hope."
Lu Sheng had not expected Dong Qi to have that much insight and began to see her in a different light.
"Youre pretty observant."
"Esteemed representative, you flatter me. Its a pity that I didnt put in the hard work to learn martial arts when I was younger, or else I would at least be able to lead a safer life today. If I could be like esteemed representative and not fear the supernatural, and be brave and courageous, perhaps perhaps my Dad wouldnt have died" speaking of this, Dong Qis eyes turned red.
Indeed, she was a capable woman of her own mind, or she wouldnt have sent someone to request help from Crimson Whale Sect of her own accord. Even though she was timid and nearly frightened out of her wits, she was still able to recover quickly and re-collect herself to manage Tea Sect to a tee.
Shes a talent, Lu Sheng evaluated her in his heart.
He continued to chat with Dong Qi for a while until the horse carriage had been fully repaired. Only then did he jump aboard it.
The wheels of the carriage sunk slightly. Inside the carriage were the mirror stand and mirror shards that Xu Chui had packed, as well as two exquisite dark yellow books.
Lu Sheng sat down and the carriage began to crawl forward.
He took out that little cloth puppet and the piece of blue cloth. Putting his finger to his mouth, he bit viciously. Instantly, he bit open a small wound on his forefinger, from which blood began to seep. Lu Sheng wiped his finger against the cloth puppet and the piece of cloth.
Threads of black smoke rose abruptly before vanishing into the air in the blink of an eye.
In that moment, Lu Sheng could feel an icy cool sensation of Qi that flowed within him from his finger. Swiftly, it traveled to his forearm, arm, chest, then just as it was about to enter into his heart, it rapidly disappeared.
After the Qi flowed within him for a couple of breaths of time, it dissipated and disappeared.
Deep Blue, he commanded the Modifier to appear.
The pale blue screen surfaced and floated before his eyes.
The Modify button appeared behind most of the martial arts skills shown on the Modifierwith the exception of Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies Skill. There remained no available option for extrapolation.
After achieving Level Eight, the amount of Yin Qi necessary for upgrading and extrapolating Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies Skill has increased tremendously. Thats really troublesome, Lu Sheng shook his head slightly. He retracted his gaze from the Modifier to look at the mirror stand and mirror shards that lay by the side on the ground.
He rose a little and dragged the mirror stand over. The wound on his forefinger hadnt closed completely yet and there was still some trace of blood left on it, which he rubbed against the mirror stand.
Black smoke immediately billowed forth as huge waves of cool Yin Qi flooded into his palm. The volume of Yin Qi was so unexpectedly large that he didnt even have time to reactthe intense cold caused his entire body to quiver.
The amount of Yin Qi in this mirror stand far surpassed those found in the earlier piece of cloth and cloth puppet.
Based on Lu Shengs approximation, if the amount of Yin Qi required to upgrade a Strength Proficiency martial arts skill by one level was one unit, then Lu Sheng roughly estimated the total amount of Yin Qi in both the piece of cloth and the cloth puppet as two units of Yin Qi in total.
As for this mirror stand, however, huge waves of Yin Qi flowed from it endlessly into him for a full ten breaths span before it finally ceased. He estimated there to be at least six or seven units!
After the flow of Yin Qi ceased thoroughly, Lu Sheng looked at the mirror stand in mild surprise.
The mirror, originally of copper material, was now mottled in a rusty green, a far cry from its previous shine. It seemed far more dated than before.
Is this what happens after Yin Qi has been absorbed? Then just what exactly is Yin Qi? What is its essence? these questions flashed through Lu Shengs mind before immediately being shelved at the back. Presently, he neither had the means nor the time to research into the nature of Yin Qi. It was better to wait till he had more time on his hands after he upgraded himself and resolved matters.
Only after absorbing and exhausting the Yin Qi of all three objects did Lu Sheng turn his attention once again to Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies Skill on the Modifier. Indeed, the Modify button surfaced behind the skill this time.
Lu Sheng hesitated for a while, but decided not to carry on with it. Instead, he looked at the other martial arts skills below.
Dusk Dantian Inflating Skill, Golden Veil Skill, Nine Lakes Steel Chains Skill, Bear-Wrestling Armtogether, these four skills composed the rock-solid foundation of his Yang Extreme Mode.
It was the near perfect, comprehensive tempering of his body with hard body skills.
I should achieve Yin Yang harmony first before attempting to liquefy inner Qi, Lu Sheng returned the mirror stand to its position and tied it down with a string, then sat and closed his eyes as he cultivated Aquarius Qi.
Xiao Hongye alighted unhurriedly from the horse carriage and looked at the large doors and tall perimeter wall. The two stone chimeras by the front of the doors seemed especially imposing and sinister in appearance.
The Manor was situated near the riverbank in an unfrequented area. There werent many other residences here. A hospital sat not far away, where ailing elderly patients came and went constantly in coughing fits, adding a gloomy atmosphere to the surrounding.
Xiao Hongyes face was grim as he approached the large doors and knocked lightly.
"Dong dong. "
A short while later, the sound of slow footsteps could be heard from inside.
The red doors opened slowly to reveal a crack, from which a hunchbacked, single-eyed elderly in gray glanced at Xiao Hongye.
"Master has just risen; Ambassador Xiaos arrival is always so timely."
Xiao Hongyes squeezed out a small smile on his chubby face.
"Senior Black, youre too polite. It just so happens that my family acquired a five-hundred-year-old wild red fungus. I came as soon as I could to present it to Lord Officiator, considering that he has just arrived and may lack some ingredients for brewing tea," he waved a small pouch in his hands.
The hunchbacked, single-eyed Senior Black looked at the stuff in his hands and his expression softened somewhat.
"Come in," he opened the door.
Xiao Hongye beamed at him as he treaded carefully past the crack in the door.
The courtyard within looked no different from the typical courtyardartificial mountains, flowing water, and a little bridge. However, from the corner of his eye, Xiao Hongye caught a glimpse of a servant digging a pit in the corner, as if burying something.
"Follow me. Master happens to be in a very good mood," Senior Black led Xiao Hongye across the little bridge to enter into the main hall.
Inside the main hall was a tall, large-built, white-haired elder who had lost one of his ears. Presently, he was clutching onto a thick thigh bone in one of his hands, bending over the condiments basin and eating with relish. He ripped off large chunks of meat from the thigh and gulped them down with gusto.
The elder had a glowing red face and a fierce and imposing manner. A plain white top covered his body which did nothing to hide the thick bulging muscles beneath it.
"Xiao Hongye greets Lord Officiator," upon entering the main hall, Xiao Hongye hurriedly cupped his fists in greeting. The elder before him was already a top expert of the Six-Vein Level from many years back. Although he wasn't the others subordinate, it wasn't out of place for him to greet him in that manner.
"The Northern Lands don't seem too bad. Seems like Ambassador Xiao has been living pretty comfortably here," the elder said smilingly as he continued to chomp on the meat.
"Lord Officiator is jesting. The credit for the Ritual Offering goes entirely to my Lord. I was nothing but an assistant," Xiao Hongye replied in full earnestness.
"Youve got a glib tongue. Hows the liaising with Shangyang Family and the court officials?" the Officiator asked with a smile.
"Shangyang Family has taken a mortal faction under their wing, it is called Crimson Whale Sect. Their roots run deep here in the Northern Lands. Ive asked them to help gather the sacrifices and theyve agreed.
There arent any issues with the officials either. Taoist Bai Feng has always been cooperative," Xiao Hongye explained the situation briefly.
"Crimson Whale Sect? I gather from what youve said theyre a faction built by martial art practitioners?" the elder asked again.
"Yes. This sect is the largest armed mortal organization in the Northern Lands. Theyre of a pretty decent scale. Any news you want, you can get them from them," Xiao Hongye introduced.
"So theyre the local turf leaders? Previously, the wild dogs dispatched to hunt down Li Shunxi seem to have vanished in this city. Get them to investigate and see if they can find out what happened to them," the Officiator instructed.
"Yes, Sir," Xiao Hongye nodded respectfully.
"And youre too inefficient. Let Bai Feng and that whatever-you-call-it sect contact me directly. This is a critical period. Ill take over full control from now on," the Officiator added.
Xiao Hongyes face showed no change, as if he was not upset in the slightest that his power had been taken away from him. With his head bowed, he acknowledged, "Yes, youre right, Lord Officiator."
"Emissary Xiaos got a good head above his shoulders. Hes mindful of the big picture," a vivacious, enchanting young lady walked slowly out from the side of the hall. She only had a white piece of cloth covering her chest and a tight-fitting mini skirt on her hips. The skirt was so short that it did nothing to cover her crucial part.
But what was the most striking about the lady was not her sexy dressing, but a giant purplish black centipede crawling around her waist.
"Ah, so its Ambassador Bai Jing," Xiao Hongye was all smiles as he bowed in greeting.
"This time round, four emissaries have come for the sacrifice. They are the persons-in-charge stationed in the borders," Bai Jing smiled. "With Lord Officiator holding the fort, as well as so many emissaries gathered, this Ritual Offering will surely proceed without a fault."
"Of course," Xiao Hongye parroted.
"Alright. Emissary Xiao, you may go. Leave the stuff behind. Ive received your thoughts," the Officiator said impassively.
"Many thanks, Officiator," Xiao Hongye promptly lowered his head and bent over in salutation. Then, he passed the stuff to Senior Black before taking his leave.
Only after waiting for him to exit the main hall and leave through the large doors did Bai Jing turn to look towards the Officiator.
"My Lord, this Xiao Hongye is pretty discerning. He took the initiative to surrender his power over to us."