Just as the two of them drew nearer to each other, about to make their move any time, Xiao Hongyes voice called out from within the main doors. "Brother Lu! Its all a misunderstanding, a misunderstanding. This is none other than the Lord Officiators house servant and previously didn't know about our relationship. The Lord Officiator has traveled far and wide to come here to preside over the situation."
Xiao Hongye pulled open the door slowly and glanced at the commotion outside, "Lord Officiator invites you inside."
Lu Sheng hadnt expected an Officiator to suddenly crop up out of the blue.
He narrowed his eyes at Xiao Hongye and that single-eyed elderly. Judging from Xiao Hongyes behavior, this Officiator from Ashoka Manor definitely outranked him.
After deliberating for a beat, he suppressed the raging fire within him and slowly withdrew the inner Qi in his hand.
"Alright. I also happen to have some matters I need to discuss. Everyone, wait outside!"
After he instructed the rest of the Sect members, he strode in through the space that the two men had opened for him.
Xiao Hongye appeared to be all smiles, but a glint of surprise flashed across his eyes. He hadnt expected that even at this juncture, Lu Sheng was actually able to restrain himself.
Upon entering the courtyard, the first thing that greeted Lu Shengs eyes was a white-haired elderly, sitting in the middle of the courtyard with an urn of wine in his hands.
The elderly had a fierce, imposing manner. Although his mustache and hair were white, he had a vigorous aura about him that resembled a crazed lion. The muscles on his body were firm and chiseled, looking no different than the robust physique of a young man in his prime.
Most importantly, as soon as Lu Sheng entered through the doors, he could feel threads of a threatening aura hovering faintly in the entire courtyard
His eyes narrowed to a slit. It had been a long time since he sensed such an aura Ever since he achieved full-mastery of the Yang Extreme Mode, his power had skyrocketed and soared substantially. Even the Scarlet Districts umbrella girl couldn't give him this sense of danger.
"This old man has already received the name list that Sect Master Lu sent over; not bad.
Also, this old man saw that the man who fetched the letter had firm and supple meat, and couldn't resist the temptation to roast him for a meal. Hes but a mere mortal, Im sure Sect Master wouldn't mind?" the Officiators aged face stared at Lu Sheng through smiles.
In the instant that his gaze fell onto Lu Sheng, the latter felt a violent numbness wash over his entire body, as if he were pinned down by some great danger. The inner Qi within him trembled fiercely, beginning to activate and circulate of its own accord. It seemed to have also sensed a serious threat.
This sort of numb sensation that he felt all over was the same shudder that he experienced during his first encounter with the supernatural.
Lu Sheng understood that he would only feel this way when up against an indomitable foe that he had absolutely no chance of defeating.
Powerful very powerful!
His blood boiled, but he had no choice but to exercise complete restraint and brutally suppress his initial impulse to strike without thinking.
This person is definitely a top-notch expert of the Ashoka Manor who has come to officiate the Ritual Offering. This sort of menacing aura the present me is definitely no match for it!
But, with Shangyang family as my current backing, I don't think hell make a move against me that flippantly.
He had understood. This matter was a trap, or some sort of test, that had been set specially for him. Duan Mengan was but an innocent victim that got dragged into the mess as collateral damage. The other partys real target was him.
He stood rooted to where he was. The inner Qi within him spun faster and more urgently, resulting in a faint burning sensation that began to spread into his surroundings.
Lu Sheng was only able to resist the raging fire within him after a few breaths of time before he replied in a low tone, "Of course nothing but a mere mortal, whats there to mind about that. Lord Officiator, you neednt be concerned over it."
His face was a picture of calm and didn't betray a single emotion. However, deep inside, he seethed fiercely as the intense desire to kill swelled, unable to be quelled.
Lu Sheng could accept that Ashoka Manor had tested him once previously. In this second test, however, they actually killed one of his trusted aides without so much as batting an eyelid. Are they going to exterminate his Lu Family the next time?
The Officiator smiled and nodded, "Sect Master Lu sees the big picture, not bad. Alright, if theres nothing else, why won't Sect Master sit down and drink with me. I personally prepared this wine and meat; not everyone will get to eat it."
From the corner of Lu Shengs eye, he caught a glimpse of a bloodied, disfigured corpse that hung on a tree not too far away. A similarly white-haired old servant was presently slicing off chunks of fresh meat from the body with a knife.
He recognized it at first glancethat corpse was none other than Duan Mengan. His heart turned even colder when he looked again at the elderly Officiator, who was going on as if commenting about the taste of some domesticated animal.
"Theres no need. Since this is a misunderstanding, its good that its resolved. I wont disturb Lord Officiator from enjoying the meal and will take my leave first," he said calmly, his head bowed.
"Thats good too. Sect Master Lu, send Niece Jiuli a message for me. Ask her to drop by when shes free. This old man will continue to reside permanently at Emissary Xiaos place after this," the Officiator said smilingly.
"Ill make sure to let her know," Lu Sheng nodded, then respectfully took his leave.
After turning around, his gaze swept past that corpse one last time. Bright red blood dripped down from Duan Mengans head; he had been hung upside down from the tree branch. Both his legs were tied together with a metal hook that pierced through his feetin the same manner they hung a pig or a goat. His abdomen had been split apart, with many of the internal organs inside missingperhaps discarded, perhaps eaten.
On the stone table in front of the Officiator were even plate upon plate of deep fried and roasted meat and vegetables. Who knewit might just be his meat.
Lu Sheng retracted his gaze as the chill within him intensified.
"Farewell, Sect Master," the one-eyed elderly bowed and smiled at him with a respectful expression.
Lu Sheng stared at him dead-on before hurrying past his side.
After exiting the main doors, he ordered the three Elders coldly,
The crowd had no idea what was going on. After the Sect Master went in and came out, his face was a picture of calm. Without even giving an explanation, he had ordered them to retreat.
Although the sect members couldn't wrap their heads around the matter, out of their trust in Lu Sheng, they swiftly withdrew. The commander of the city guards came forward in greeting before also withdrawing with his team.
After Lu Sheng left, the Officiator rose and stood inside the Xiao Manor courtyard. The smile on his face gradually faded.
"This mans power isnt too bad. Even among Noblemen, hes a decent expert. Its not an exaggeration to call him the Number One Expert in this poor, god-forsaken Northern Lands," he looked casually over his head at the empty space by the side. "How? Is it him?"
Bai Jing, in a black dress, walked out unhurriedly.
"Looks somewhat like him, but the difference is too great. It doesn't really fit with the information we got from the leads. I cant fully confirm for now."
"Bai Jing, youre always so wishy-washy when settling matters," another lanky, fair scholar also walked out of the main hall. "Conversely, I do have a piece of pretty good news."
"Speak, Emissary Quan," the Officiator looked towards the scholar.
The scholar looked at Bai Jing with a smug expression.
"Ive only just received news. This Sect Master Lu is going to meet with Li Shunxi in a while to exchange some stuff. Ive got the time and place."
"Oh? Is the news reliable?" the Officiators eyes gleamed.
"Absolutely. I heard it straight from the mouth of someone by Li Shunxis side," Emissary Quan boasted. "Its even linked somehow to Martial League."
"Its linked to Martial League? Those rats! Great, we can nab them all in one fell swoop!" the Officiators interest was immediately roused. "Details of the time and place?
"At the mouth of the Windless Valley, by the foot of Eastern Mountain outside the city. The time is set for noon, in five days."
Lu Sheng slammed his palm viciously onto the wooden wall by his side, instantly blasting a hole as big as a face basin into it.
"ASHOKA MANOR!" his face was unsightly as he roared.
After returning to the sect, he immediately announced the matter of Duan Mengans death. He concocted the story that Duan Mengans death had nothing to do with Xiao Manor, but was caused by something else that was still under investigation.
With that, he was at least able to lay the doubts in the sect members hearts to rest.
Inwardly, however, he was boiling with fury. Ashoka Manor was driving him up the wall without the slightest scruple. If he didn't have Shangyang Family as his backer, then that Officiator might just have sliced him apart there and then. It was no wonder that they had brazenly sacrificed so many people at the Blood Offering previously.
Lu Sheng could sense that the chasm between himself and that elderly man was very wide. When up against the other party, the inner Qi all over his body would circulate rapidly in order to defend against the Bind poison that was naturally emitted from the others body. When the Bind poison had exceeded a certain level of power, even the air in the surrounding area would be affected.
Seems like I still cant afford to take it easy Lu Shengs gaze once again turned dark. First, upgrade inner Qi and attempt to liquefy it before anything else. Theres no time. PowerI need more POWER!
"Men! Inform Jade Lotus that Im going into seclusion; he is to settle all matters in the sect. Before Im out, nobody is to disturb me," Lu Sheng instructed his personal guard.
The sect member swiftly left to relay the information.
Lu Sheng packed his things and medicine before heading straight for the specially demarcated quiet room for seclusion on the Crimson Whale. That was a unique room that was made entirely out of steel.
Lu Sheng brought in all the things he had prepared and shut it tightly. He sat down cross-legged.
Deep Blue, he called out the Modifier without hesitation.
A pale blue frame abruptly surfaced before his eyes. Immediately, Lu Shengs gaze fell onto the most eye-catching row among themUltimate Crimson Nine-Furies Skill.
Begin extrapolating martial arts? a dialogue box appeared with the query.
Lu Sheng looked at the Modify button that surfaced behind the martial arts skill for a split-second. Finally, he sucked in a deep breath, then pressed onto the button decisively with his mind.
In that instant, his body roared wildly as a massive amount of Ultimate Crimson Nine-Furies inner Qi seethed and boiled violently within him and began to activate rapidly inside his meridians.
The clothes on Lu Shengs body leapt into flames in a whoosh and were burnt to a crisp by the growing fire. He had only just grown a little bit of hair, but it was now extinguished to a black powder by the flames in the blink of an eye.
"Bring it on! Its life or death!!"
Lu Sheng growled. Intense pain pierced his entire body, which ballooned without warning as his Yang Extreme Mode suddenly activated.
A million sparks exploded in a thunderous boom as his physique forcibly expanded and swelled. In the blink of an eye, he grew to more than two meters tall and resembled a powerful monster.
Massive muscles grew like tumors beneath his skin, packed and squeezed tightly together. More and more appeared as they swelled further. The entire surface of his body was covered in a grayish-green web that looked like a tattoo.
After entering Yang Extreme Mode, both his arms and shoulders turned crimson-red while all sorts of blisters and black lumps of different sizes erupted on the skin on his body.
Intense pain from the swelling rammed and bulldozed around madly in Lu Shengs body, as if it was desperately trying to find a source of outlet.
However, with his Yang Extreme Mode, the strength of his hard-body skills was unmatched in terms of toughness and strength. In fact, one could say that none had ever been like him in the past, and there likely would not be another like him in the future.
Given such a situation, the excess inner Qi from Ultimate Crimson Nine-Furies Skill could only accumulate and compress itself more and more, increasing in thickness and density.
The massive amount of pressure caused the blood vessels all over Lu Shengs body to pop up on his skin, making them look like various greenish-purple steel wires snaking and wrapping around his body.
The acute pain caused Lu Shengs eyes to bulge wide open and his body to shudder all over. Copious amounts of perspiration dripped from his body only to evaporate instantly into steam.
Shockingly, the muscles on both sides of his temple gradually inflated and swelled, resembling two protruding horns.
Dear readers! I know many of you are puzzled by the sudden 1 week break in release! I didn't want to but couldn't help but have to go on a short hiatus because of my busy schedule over the Christmas and New Year season... I'm sorry for the wait! In any case, Deep Blue is back now and releases will go on as usual! And I still remember the 1 chapter that I owe from before the hiatus and will make up for that within the week! I seek your understanding and hope for your continued support for this fabulous novel! :)
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