Both of them rose. With Lu Sheng taking the lead and Senior Black tagging closely behind, they left the main hall by a corridor on the side.
He secretly signalled the rest to remain behind, and thus none of the others followed them. Afterwards, Hong Mingzi coughed lightly a couple of times, then rose to replace Lu Sheng and hold the fort.
Very quickly, Lu Sheng led Senior Black to a spacious balcony on the highest deck of the Crimson Whale.
The wind blew viciously on the surface of the lake, tugging the corners of their robes in all directions.
Lu Sheng dismissed the sect members present while he himself stayed behind with Senior Black on the balcony.
"I saw Ashoka Manors Lord Officiator just a while back. Senior Black, what do you mean by what you said earlier? The Lord Officiator has gone missing?" Lu Sheng faked an expression of mild surprise as he stared at Senior Black, frowning.
"My Master went missing on precisely the same night that you went to the Windless Valley by the Eastern Mountain, a while back. Lu Sheng, I advise you to cut the act and stop pretending. Shangyang Family cant protect you now. If this matter is blown too big, even Shangyang Jiuli wont be able to soothe things over," Senior Black had calmed down slightly by now and looked at Lu Sheng grimly.
"Senior Black, what do you mean? The Lord Officiator is exceptionally skilled. Don't tell me that you think his disappearance has got anything to do with me?" Lu Sheng replied somberly in response.
"I don't care. You just need to tell me what exactly happened that night. Ill judge for myself!" Senior Black pressed.
After thinking silently for some time, Lu Sheng began to describe that days events in great detail. Of course, it wasn't the genuine version, but one from the perspective of an ordinary sect memberone who had heard a loud booming sound from far away in the forest and seen numerous uneven potholes. Alarmed by the loud noise, he had not dared to draw near and instead hastily wrapped up his transaction and left in a hurry. After that, it turned still and quiet and nothing else happened.
"In that case, it sounds like even youve got no idea what happened that night? You didn't see what caused that loud boom?" Senior Black frowned after listening to his account.
"Indeed," Lu Sheng nodded gravely. "If the Lord Officiator is really missing, could it have something to do with that loud explosion that night?"
"What about the rest? Those mysterious men you traded with. How did you get into contact with them?" Senior Black continued to ask.
"Its an old friend of mine who suddenly looked me up again. He wanted me to provide a batch of grains. When I saw that the price and profit margin were high, I agreed.
That was the first transaction and thus highly important. Initially, I had intended it to be the start of a long-term partnership, and therefore I headed out personally. Who knew" Lu Sheng shook his head mildly as a trace of helplessness surfaced on his face.
"Then, did you hear any cries of a large bird, or something like the roar of a bear?" Senior Black interrogated.
"A birds cry and a bears roar?" Lu Sheng examined his memory closely. "Nope, there really wasn't," he shook his head slowly.
"However, I suggest that you head down to the scene itself to take a look. Who knows, there might be some traces left behind. Those mysterious men very likely had something to do with that huge explosion. If Lord Officiators disappearance has something to do with this incident, then its most likely tied to those mysterious men," Lu Sheng said seriously.
"You think so too?" Senior Blacks eyes softened ever so slightly as he began to believe that Lu Sheng was genuinely trying to jog his memory to recall in detail that days events.
"If it really has something to do with this incident, then this is the only lead we have," Lu Sheng nodded seriously.
"Alright, Ill head down to the scene again and investigate carefully," given the current situation, Senior Black could only nod in agreement. Indeed, Lu Shengs skills could not have posed any sort of threat for the Lord Officiator in any waythere was too great a chasm between them both. Even if his master had stood still on the spot for Lu Sheng to hit him, there would have been no way Lu Sheng could break his black membrane.
"Wait somethings not right! You're lying!!" suddenly, Senior Blacks expression changed. Turning around, he charged furiously at Lu Sheng and flung himself at the latter.
"ILL KILL YOU!!!"
He had a crazed expression on his face. With palms like an eagles claws, he aimed straight for Lu Shengs chest in a lightning-quick attack.
A loud sound pierced the air as a layer of black membrane surfaced on Senior Blacks palms. The faint outline of black feathers began to grow all over his body as he lashed out viciously towards Lu Shengs chest.
Lu Sheng didn't have any time to consider a way out. Presently, there was no way for him to use Ultimate Crimson Nine-Furies inner Qi; he only possessed some needle-prick Qi of Yin-Yang Jade Crane Aquarius Qi, which he could activate with great effort. It was impossible for him to resist Senior Blacks sudden sneak attack.
The other party had the power of Three-Vein Level at the very least. If he were hit, hed be grievously injured even if he managed to keep his life.
His mind blanked out as his body retreated backwards at top speed. However, the other party was simply too fast. Without any explosive inner force, the present him had zero chance of escape. Hapless, he could only stare wide-eyed as that black palm shot towards his chest at an alarming speed.
It approached nearer and nearer; the situation was getting more dire by the second.
In just that moment, the incredibly loud and sharp piercing sound of friction rang out unexpectedly.
A blurry green silhouette flashed past and appeared behind Senior Black. A single hand from the figure clutched Senior Blacks shoulder.
"Black Crow, what gall you have!?"
Senior Blacks figure, which had just been shooting towards Lu Sheng, abruptly froze mid-way, as if a hook was latched onto him. His hand was but a mere fingers length away from the clothes at Lu Shengs chest, yet it became like a huge chasm that he could not bridge.
"Shangyang!" Senior Black gradually lowered his gaze and stared dazedly at his own chest.
Where there had been nothing previously, the giant, shining character for "Hook" ("") appeared.
"Szzz" fine threads of blood began to emerge all around the word.
"Spare spare my life" Senior Blacks eyes bulged widely and seemed as if all strength had left his body.
In the blink of an eye, his entire body exploded like a bomb and was blasted into a million bits.
No traces of bloodied flesh or bone pulp were left except for huge clumps of black feathers that shot out in an explosion. Then, they sped off in the distance in an attempt to escape.
However, before they travelled far, the silver character for "Hook" materialized at the center of every single feather, all at the same time.
"BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM!!"
All of the feathers exploded and fell in a cloud of black dust.
Shangyang Jiuli stood on the balcony with an ice-cold expression and a trace of mockery in her eyes. A middle-aged man appeared next to her.
The man was dressed in a white robe and wore a stiff expression. He held a steel calligraphy brush half a meter long in his hands.
"Although Ashoka Manor cant hold a candle to us, Black Crow was the Officiators old servant. You shouldn't have killed him. Now, weve sown a grievance with Ashoka Manor for no rhyme or reason."
Shangyang Jiuli rolled her eyes and stared at the man, not saying a word.
The man glanced at Lu Sheng with a sinister gaze. He continued, "All this for nothing but a mere ordinary mortal sect. Do you know how to manage matters at all? Don't tell me your mother hasn't taught you these principles herself?"
"I, Shangyang Jiuli, do what I want. Who do you think you are? You dare to discipline me!?" Shangyang Jiulis brows arched high. A fearsome aura emanated off her, "Any more nonsense and Ill kill you as well!"
"YOU!?" the middle-aged man was exasperated. He had expected that the other party would definitely not appreciate his coming over, but he hadnt foreseen that Jiulis attitude would be this incorrigible. After all, he was her biological uncle!
"Greetings, Lord Jiuli," only now did Lu Sheng approach in respectful greeting.
Shangyang Jiuli was the Number Two genius of the Shangyang Family and was terrifyingly powerful. She was definitely much stronger than the Officiator, and dared to negotiate in person with the Scarlet District District Mistress. Such power was already beyond the realm of Bind.
She was definitely at the pinnacle of the Seven-Vein Level.
Therefore, once Lu Sheng realized that his serious injuries needed more time to heal, he decisively sent a letter to Shangyang Jiuli at the first available opportunity.
Inside the letter, he described the details of the trouble that he might have gotten himself into on the recent trip; it was also to assess Shangyang Familys attitude towards himself.
Unexpectedly, this top genius actually showed up in person, and even killed the Officiators right-hand man, Senior Black, in one blow.
Unlike him, when Noblemen and supernatural beings fought among themselves, it was impossible for them to kill each other without a long fight. Unless there truly existed a wide chasm between both partys power, they were in for a prolonged, drawn-out battle of attrition.
Yet, Shangyang Jiuli was able to finish off the Three-Vein Senior Black in one strike. Very clearly, her power far exceeded his.
"Lu Sheng, were you telling the truth in your letter?" Shangyang Jiuli asked seriously.
Lu Sheng nodded gravely.
"Nothing but the truth!" he pretended to be upright beyond reproach. "In fact, your subordinate was even grievously injured by the massive logs and boulders that flew out of nowhere. Ever since I got back, Ive been feeling that something was odd about it. For a loud explosion on that level, there must have been a great battle. Thats why I immediately ordered my subordinate to send the letter to you. Now that youve killed Senior Black, will there be any trouble?"
"Nothing but a lowly, despicable servant of Ashoka Manor. Ive killed the manso be it. If theres any issue, their Manor Lord can look for me himself!" Shangyang Jiuli said impatiently, "You said a great battle broke out involving that Officiator with the surname Bai. Tell meother than me, who else in the Northern Lands would be able to exchange blows with him? That pain-in-the-neck League Master of the Martial League?"
"Your subordinate does not know," Lu Sheng shook his head.
"Forget it then. To think that Ashoka Manor would actually dare to threaten those under ME, Shangyang Jiuli. Theyre tired of living! If they don't make any noise about this matter, Ill let it rest. If they dare to come knocking, well, I just happen to crave some meat in my meals lately!" Shangyang Jiulis face turned dark and cold. "Whoever dares to come will die!"
What fearsome murderous aura!
Lu Sheng was shaken. He could tell from the beginning that Shangyang Jiuli was extremely violent and aggressive. He had sent the letter simply for the record. After all, they were his superiors; he needed to keep them in the loop if such important matters took place.
Little did he expect that she would personally make a move.
"Jiuli, you represent the Shangyang Family, not just yourself! Youre no longer still in Ju Rong Nation!" that middle-aged man could finally hold it in no more as he interjected.
Shangyang Jiuli turned around and landed a vicious blow on his chest.
A massive hook appeared at the center of that middle-aged mans chest before exploding suddenly in a silver flash of light.
The middle-aged mans entire body was flung backwards by the powerful blast, slamming into the ships metal railings on the balcony. A shockingly deep dent appeared on the ships railings.
Shangyang Jiuli withdrew her right palm with a severe, icy expression. "Lets go, where's that thing you mentioned?" She glanced at Lu Sheng.
"Your subordinate carries it everywhere with me," Lu Sheng replied reverently as he retrieved from his sleeves a small black object. "This is the thing that your subordinate picked up from the scene of the battle in the woods."
It was a very small and round black cauldron. On its surface were fine floral motifs carved closely together, resembling written characters. Six handles surrounded the sides, made of neither gold nor jade. It was about the size of an egg. Surprisingly, it was that small cauldron that Zhuo Wenyu had wanted to trade for with Lu Sheng initially.
This thing was taken from the mouth of an Anomalys corpse, and rumored to contain an extremely high amount of corpse Qi.
"Oh, its this!?" Shangyang Jiulis eyes lit up at the sight of the object. Hurriedly, she snatched it over from Lu Shengs grasp.
"Not bad, not bad, youve done well! Next time, if you have any more of such stuff, you must remember to submit it as soon as possible!"
"As long as my Lord is pleased!" Lu Sheng smiled. "As for Ashoka Manor"
"My breakthrough is just round the corner. Theyre nothing but a mere Ashoka Manor. Even if their bravery increased by tenfold, would they have the guts?" Shangyang Jiuli waved her hand dismissively, as if she did not give a hoot about Shangyang Familys larger interests.
However, this I-dont-give-a-hoot attitude was precisely what Lu Sheng liked.