Xu Chui quickly regained his composure. Indeed, as long as Sect Master was around, what danger could possibly threaten them?
He stood up and exited the courtyard together with Lu Sheng.
The chilly night wind howled along the carriage road outside Northern Court.
The rest of the Crimson Whale Sect disciples also exited from the opposite courtyard. At the sight of Lu Sheng, they hurried over and greeted him.
"Sect Master, somethings wrong. Earlier in the afternoon, we could still see White River Sect disciples patrolling outside. But now, theres no sight of them at all.
We asked someone to bring us some dishes, but its been more than two hours and yet not even a single servant lady can be seen. Our brothers who went out to look for the servants said that theres no one outside at all!" an old Elder in the sect reported grimly.
"Stay here and wait. Ill go ask Brother Bai," Lu Sheng frowned as he felt that something was amiss too.
"Let this old man accompany Sect Master."
"Your subordinate is willing to go as well."
Some of them stepped up to accompany him, but were stopped by Lu Sheng.
"Just assemble in the courtyard and wait for me there. If Im not back after a long time, leave the headquarters of White River Sect first, find a safe place and wait for me."
The Intent Proficiency experts understood the gravity of the situation and quickly nodded.
Without bringing a single person along, Lu Sheng left the Northern Court and headed for the Central Court alone. Even Xu Chui was instructed to stay behind.
Tall black walls cold and deserted passageways rows of pale yellow lanterns swinging in the wind stretched on to the limits of ones sight.
The back hallnobody.
The discipline hallnobody.
Even the backyards inhabited by family members were thoroughly empty.
Along the way, Lu Sheng passed by many places. Areas that usually would definitely be occupied were now astonishingly empty.
It was as if the entire White River Sect had turned into a dead zone.
He came to Bai Zhenmings courtyard. It was pitch black within; even the lanterns had been extinguished.
A faint scent of raw blood drifted out from within.
Lu Sheng paused before the doors of the courtyard.
Without even entering, he already knew the answer he sought. This blood scent belonged precisely to Bai Zhenming, whom he had spent much time with in the past few days. In fact, he could even make out the smell of decay.
Its unwise to stay here any longer! Lu Shengs eyes narrowed to slits. He gazed deeply at the lanterns hanging in front of the doors, then spun round and quickly left.
White River Sect was unrelated to him. There was no need for him to put himself at risk when he was merely an outsider. As long as he was not provoked, he would not rub his nose into other peoples affairs.
For a faction or force to have been able to turn the headquarters of White River Sect into this state overnight without anyone knowing, its power must be considerable.
Without further ado, Lu Sheng rapidly retreated. He had not come alone on this trip, but rather led several dozens of Crimson Whale Sects elite experts along with him. Naturally, much was at stake.
As his footsteps hurried, he quickly disappeared around a deserted corner and sped off into the distance.
Just slightly more than ten breaths after Lu Sheng had left, two figures appeared in front of the doors of the courtyardone dressed in black and the other in red.
"Whys he here?" the black figure stared in the direction in which Lu Sheng had left, surprised.
"Heheh Lu Sheng could it be that he knows about the evil jade?" the other figure was a lady in red. A red paper umbrella was in her hand, covering her face.
If Lu Sheng was still there, he would have been able to recognize immediately that this lady was the umbrella girl from Scarlet District who had fought him previously.
"Impossible. Hes just a sect leader in the Northern Lands. How could he know about the evil jade?" the black figure replied solemnly.
"So what do you intend to do? Hes Shangyang Familys" the umbrella girl asked disjointedly.
"A mere lackey of Shangyang Family. Do you expect this old man to avoid him?" the black figure said coldly. "Since hes here, might as well get rid of him at the same time."
"My Lord is impressive indeed hehehehe." the umbrella girl giggled.
"The evil jade is about to activate completely soon. Move our men away from the center, lest they be injured accidentally. The evil Qis not going to care whether youre helping or harming it. Go now. Dont delay any further. The sooner you complete it, the better," the black shadow said impassively.
"Yes" the umbrella girl acknowledged with a sweet voice, then walked towards the distance and disappeared in the shadows.
The black figure, with hands behind its back, too left for the corner of the street and completely vanished from sight.
Another ten breaths later, a third group of people arrived before the doors of the courtyard.
Li Shunxi and the panting Bai Qiuling finally stood in front of Bai Zhenmings living quarters.
"Dad!" Bai Qiuling called out and pushed the doors open anxiously.
With a creak, the wooden doors of the courtyard swung open, revealing the scene in the courtyard.
Blood all over the ground.
In the dark gloomy courtyard, Bai Zhenming was seated in a circle with more than ten members of the White River Sects upper echelon, as if they were in some sort of meeting. But every single one of them looked as white as ghost and not a single one of them budged an inch.
Immediately, Bai Qiuling spotted the giant hole gouged in Bai Zhenmings chest. Blood was flowing down the edges of the hole, dripping to the ground along the chair legs.
Not only him, but everyone else as well. All their blood gathered together to paint a giant bizarre face on the ground.
It seemed like a human face. Then again, it looked like a cats face.
"Dad!" tears gushed out of Bai Qiulings eyes. She clasped her mouth with her hand, trying hard to suppress her cries, but her body trembled involuntarily.
Li Shunxi entered through the doors, stood beside her and sighed. This was Bai Zhenmings end. The evil jade was about to unseal itself. If they did not leave now, they would not be able to even if they subsequently wanted to once it erupts.
"This is the work of Ashoka Manor," Li Shunxi said gently.
Under such deathly silence, even his whisper was clearly audible in Bai Qiulings ears.
"Ashoka Manor??! Whats that?" Bai Qiuling spun round sharply and stared at him with red eyes. "How do you know!?"
Li Shunxi sighed helplessly.
"Because hes too familiar with our methods."
Behind them, a low aged voice suddenly rang out from outside the courtyard.
Bai Qiuling and Li Shunxi hurriedly spun round to see an old man in black robes behind them.
The old mans black robes were long and broad, covering his entire body and making him appear slim and tall. A faint green glint sparkled in his eyes, which stared straight at Li Shunxi and Bai Qiuling.
"Spirit Giant Blood and Jade of Secrets. Theyre both here today. What good luck"
Li Shunxis face lurched as he quickly pounced on his left, pulling Bai Qiuling along.
A strand of black hair pierced the spot which he had been standing at a second ago, penetrating into the ground.
Lu Sheng strode into the courtyard. All the men from Crimson Whale Sect had already been assembled in this small place.
They were awaiting his orders.
"Sect Master, everyone has just gotten ready and can leave anytime," Xu Chui reported.
Lu Shengs gaze swept past everyone present. There was no weakling among them. Several of them were Intent Proficiency experts; experts at the pinnacle of Strength Proficiency numbered more than a few dozens.
Such a force was truly the cream of the crop in Crimson Whale Sect, especially the inner force experts with Yang-attribute inner Qi among them. They could even take on the average ghost, albeit with some effort.
"Form up. We will leave now," he immediately issued the order.
The Crimson Whale Sect experts protected the ordinary sect disciples among them. Quickly, they fetched the horses and horse carriages and prepared the rations.
Before long, everything was in order. Horse carriages lined the exit of the courtyard. Some of them even pulled out the posh horse carriages that belonged to the upper echelon of White River Sect to help carry the load.
Under Lu Shengs instructions, the company quickly exited White River Sects Northern Court and stepped on the carriage road in the headquarters.
The street was thoroughly deserted, a picture of cold desolation.
A growing unsettledness began descending among the ordinary sect members. One had to understand that White River Sect was a massive organization with a several-hundred-strong garrison. Even a massive invasion would have resulted in lots of noise. Yet it had turned into a cemetery in the blink of an eye, without any commotion. It was extremely freakish.
Lu Sheng noticed that as well, but continued to lead the company on his horse.
As the team continued forward and neared the exit of the headquarters, some gray shadows appeared by the sides of the street.
These shadows moved stealthily. Only when some of them drew nearer could they see that the shadows were basically skinny humanoid creatures black all over.
"Theyre just Corpse Slaves." From the information gleaned from Senior Apprentice Brother and Li Shunxi, Lu Sheng was able to recognize them.
Corpse Slaves were zombie-like existences created by the contamination of human corpses with some energy, enabling them to climb out of their graves. These beings were like zombies, yet were controlled by someone else.
These biological creatures were extremely distorted. Their bodies were in various states of decay, faintly translucent, and had no shadows. Their faces were pretty much unchanged from their original shapes while alive.
Strangely, however, although more and more Corpse Slaves popped out from the corners of buildings, they did not seem to have any intention to touch the passing company from Crimson Whale Sect.
Gathering all his doubts thus far, Lu Sheng postulated a guess in his mind. The mastermind behind what had befallen White River Sect must have been either Scarlet District or Ashoka Manor.
But he was in no mood to meddle in others affairs now. Tragedies like White River Sects were all too common in this world.
Death, bizarre events, sinister spirits, gloom and darkness etc. Wherever one turned, such themes were visible everywhere. Most of the time, as long as they did not provoke him, he would not find trouble with them.
Presently, some among the company began to grow uneasy, clearly frightened by the sudden appearance of the Corpse Slaves. Some experts experienced in such affairs might have been able to adjust themselves, but not the ordinary sect members.
Seeing the situation, Lu Sheng comforted them loudly.
"Everybody relax. They know their boundaries and will not harm you. We just need to walk out straight and get out of this place as soon as possible, and all will be fi-"
A sudden blood-curdling scream interrupted Lu Sheng.
Startled, he surveyed his experts who were all gazing at him.
Then he spotted a man from his sect lying supine on the ground a slight distance away. Blood soaked his chest.
"YOU COURT DEATH!!"
Lu Sheng roared and shot out without warning.
The wooden doors of the exit exploded into splinters. In the blink of an eye, Lu Sheng disappeared through the doors.
"Sect Master!!" Only then did Xu Chui and the rest react. They hurriedly chased after him through the doors, but he was no longer in sight.