Lu Sheng sat before the painting of green pines and black crows like a boss, a cup of tea in his hand. The aromatic fragrance of tea wafted across the entire guest hall, leaving it in a mood of serenity and solemnity.
Shang Qinglong kicked the back of Yang Yundus knee, causing him to fall before Lu Sheng.
Yang Yundu kept silent. Struggling, he tried to get up but was kicked into the kneeling position again. Only then did he stop resisting resignedly.
Lu Sheng stared at this dandy-looking young scholar, his mind elsewhere.
"Have you thought it through?"
Yang Yundu laughed pathetically.
"Who would have expected that I would get exposed all because of this matter after my efforts to stay under the radar so many years?" He lifted up his gaze and looked at Lu Sheng.
"What would you do if I were to deny it?"
Lu Sheng cast a glance at him.
"Divorce your current wife, officially take Lu Yingying as your wife with your betrothal gift. Or else your whole family dies. Which are you going to choose?"
Yang Yundu was stumped. He could tell that Lu Sheng wasnt just joking. He absolutely meant business.
He had received a mysterious experts guidance since he was young and worked hard to cultivate his evil skill. His strength increased with each passing day. Little did he expect that he would be exposed even after attaining his present cultivation.
"Arent you afraid Id run in the future?" Yang Yundu asked again.
"If you run, Ill kill your whole family," Lu Sheng replied flippantly.
"But Im not sincere towards Lu Yingying. Arent you afraid I might mistreat her in the future?"
"If you mistreat her, Ill kill your whole family too," Lu Sheng continued.
"" Yang Yundu had no way of communicating with this person. Was he, an Intent Proficiency expert and a fine young master, just going to be coerced into spending the rest of his life with Lu Yingying?
He couldnt take it lying down.
"Any more questions?" Lu Sheng glanced at him.
"Youll really trust me? Trust that I would spend the rest of my life with Lu Yingying?" Yang Yundu was incredulous.
"I dont," Lu Sheng answered honestly. "But I trust the saber in my hand."
A pained expression surfaced on Yang Yundus face.
The person before him clearly couldnt give two hoots about whether or not he was a flower culler in the past. His attitude was: regardless of whether youre a good person or not, Ill stuff you in a cage and put a knife on your neck; youll be sure to behave.
Undeniably, as violent as this method was, it was effective.
Before long, Yang Yundu gave in. His strength was hardly adequate to even budge one of Lu Shengs finger. And who knew how many experts surrounded the manor?
Even if he were to flee, the entire Northern Lands fell under Crimson Whale Sects domain. Where else could he flee to?
After handling Yang Yundus matter, Lu Sheng gave Jade Lotus instructions to handle some other affairs and returned to Lu Manor for a gathering with the younger generation in the manor.
The leaves turned gold and red as autumn came.
A few days later, in the small garden in Lu Manor,
Lu Sheng was chatting with Lu Tianyang and Lu Yiyi about some changes in the family, Yiyis student life in another city as well as some homework matters.
All the younger ones in the family were gathered.
Even eldest uncles son, Lu Shengs cousin Lu Hongying, who had been learning martial arts elsewhere, moved back to Mountain-Edge City with his dad.
Lu Hongying was suave, handsome, and sported a beautiful beard even at his young age. Add to that his muscular stature, and it gave him an aura of stability among the younger ones.
Lu Tianyang had not changed much. He still looked like he had been spending too much time with women and drinks, thick dark circles appearing around his eyes.
Lu Yiyi, on the other hand, had grown more mature. In the past, she was simply a rich mans daughter, but now, she increasingly carried herself with an air of independence and decisiveness. Moreover, because of her attractive looks and figure, she was cast in the limelight among the younger generation.
After that was Zhang Xiuxiu. She deliberately sat very close to Lu Sheng and wore a black low-cut single-piece short dress, the very picture of vivaciousness. Every now and then, her body would rub against Lu Shengs.
She belonged to Lu Shengs maternal grandfathers brothers line and was too distant a relative to possess any status in Lu Family. Lu Sheng could understand her attempt to climb up the family tree.
The last person was a girl whom Lu Sheng seldom saw.
She was Lu Shengs cousin, the daughter of her mothers brother, much like Lu Yiyi.
Lu Yiyi was born of the sister of Lu Shengs mother, Sun Zining, with Lu Familys Lu Dian after they were married. Because Lu Dian was not of direct lineage, she was considered to be of Sun Zining in terms of relationship.
Simply put, Lu Yiyi was the daughter of Lu Shengs youngest aunt.
There were also some distant relatives among them, amounting to over a dozen of them, who orbited around Lu Sheng.
Everyone was filled with smiles and laughter as they chatted in the shade of the pavilion in the garden. It was an amicable atmosphere.
Amidst the laughter, a black-robed man stepped beside Lu Sheng and whispered in his ears.
A slight surprise flashed across Lu Shengs face.
"Ive got some matter to attend to. Please continue chatting. About Hongying and Yiyi, Ill make arrangements later."
"Eldest Brother, youre busy but were free. We can afford to relax, chill and play, but dont let us hold you up." Lu Hongying rose to see him off.
"Mm. If theres any trouble, you can send a letter to the Golden Jade Greenhouse. Ill make my move first." Lu Sheng nodded.
They rose and saw him off as he exited the garden.
Lu Sheng immediately left Lu Manor. Outside, a horse carriage was already waiting for him. He boarded the carriage to find Jade Lotus already waiting for him in it.
"Sect Master." Jade Lotus bowed in greeting.
"So one of the spots was found? Has it been verified?" Lu Sheng asked softly.
He had not expected that they would find one of the locations on Li Shunxis map so soon.
"Its been verified. We can guarantee absolutely that its there indeed. But its a dangerous spot," Jade Lotus replied in a whisper. "The first to be confirmed was Soul Condensing Grass. A total of two stalks. Rumor has it that a hunter and herb-gatherer had once spotted them from afar. But because they were mired in mist and thick fog, they could not be harvested. And they seem to be guarded by ferocious beasts."
Lu Sheng nodded.
"As long as we can verify its authenticity." Now that the authenticity of the map had been verified, it meant that the other herbs listed on it were likely genuine as well.
These precious herbs were extremely helpful to him. Some of them could drastically reduce the consumption of Yin Qi and allow him to upgrade some martial arts purely by its effects coupled with Yin Yang Jade Crane Skill without leaving any side effects to his body.
And this was just an ordinary precious herb.
"I need to go into solitary confinement once we get back," Lu Sheng deliberated. "Five days later, assemble a team of crossbowmen."
"Besides that, find some relaxed positions for the younger ones in my familyLu Hongying and Lu Yiyi. Nothing too important, just something leisurely to keep them occupied and provided for."
Having made the necessary arrangements, Lu Sheng paid Chen Yunxi, his fianc, another visit. Then, he headed back to the Crimson Whale.
The massive Crimson Whale Sect was mostly run by the upper echelon of the sect and did not require his personal supervision. His personal involvement was required only when they met with a major incident or when determining major goals and direction.
That gave him sufficient time to digest his trophies from this trip.
In his private sanctuary,
Lu Sheng sat cross-legged. Tins of Golden Fragrance Ointment as well as two tubs of concocted medicinal soup were prepared on the side.
Deep Blue. He sucked in a deep breath of air and summoned the Modifier which had not been checked for a while.
His gaze focused on Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies Skill amidst the messy list of skills.
I havent completely expended the Yin Qi acquired from Tea Sect previously. Perhaps this time I can attain the contrasting Yin Extreme Mode.
Yang Extreme Mode had been attained through his full mastery of hard body skills. Lu Sheng sensed intuitively that there was hope of evolving his Yin Yang Jade Crane Aquarius Qi into Yin Extreme Mode.
All my cultivation up till now can be broadly categorized under two labels: my body and my inner Qi. Lu Sheng arranged his thoughts.
Only when the body is strong enough can inner Qi continue to be liquefied. And only when more and more inner Qi is liquefied can I deal higher damage to Noblemen and demons and ghosts.
He scrutinized his messy list of assorted hard body skills which he had mastered.
Ive cultivated too many hard body skills, but they dont overlap. My powerful Yang Extreme Mode was formed only by combining all these together.
By merging and consolidating all the tempering and training methods of these hard body skills, perhaps I can treat them all as one single big martial art.
The thought had only just emerged in his mind when the entire Modifier screen flashed and all the hard body skills listed on it blurred. Then, row by row, they began disappearing until, finally, a new row was formed.
"Unknown martial art: Yang Extreme Realm. Special Effect(s): Augmented Strength Level Six, Anti-Tremor Level Three, Penetrative Force Level Three, Reinforced Defence Level Three"
A long list of special effects appeared behind this integrated martial art, dragging the length of the row.
Oh! That works? Amazed, Lu Sheng was amused.
The number of rows on the Modifier was limited. He had been worried that he might not be able to cultivate new martial arts in the future. Little did he expect that it was possible to merge them like that.
Since its the integration of so many hard body skills, allowing it to activate Yang Extreme Mode, this martial art can be considered the most powerful hard body skill ever. So lets name it the Yang Extreme Dao, Lu Sheng thought.
Immediately, the "unknown martial art" on the Modifier turned into the three words"Yang Extreme Dao".
Uncluttered by the many hard body skills, the Modifier now looked much neater and tidier.
Lu Sheng looked again at Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies Skill and Yin Yang Jade Crane Aquarius Qi.
Ill upgrade Yang Extreme Dao first to strengthen my body.
After expending about thirty units of Yin Qi previously, Lu Sheng was unsure how much he had left. Without a precise measurement, he could only form a rough estimate from the movement of Yin Qi caused during expenditure.
He looked at the button behind Yang Extreme Dao on the Modifier. There was indeed enough Yin Qi to continue extrapolating it.
Moreover, he had been studying the newly acquired Thousand Trees Burning Heart Palm in the past few days. Because of his high achievements in hard body skills as well as the fact that it was also of Yang attribute, Lu Sheng got initiated in it extremely quickly. Presently, this palm technique had also been integrated into his Yang Extreme Dao.
Upgrade Yang Extreme Dao by one level, Lu Sheng thought.
In that instant, the entire Modifier blurred suddenly.
This time, the extrapolated upgrade was vastly different from all his previous upgrades.
Because Yang Extreme Dao was a martial art formed by fusing many hard body skills together, upgrading it by one level was akin to upgrading all his hard body skills by a level each!
Lu Sheng immediately regretted an expenditure on such a scale
Massive volumes of Yin Qi were swallowed up in a frenzy. All over his body, his skin turned red like crab. Countless strands of hairline tremors spread and circulated in him endlessly.
This was neither inner Qi nor material in nature. Rather, they were innumerable paths of pure seizures, each the width of a hair, travelling through his body.
These tremors were improving and tempering Lu Shengs body in a frenzy.
An ordinary martial artist who desired to attain such a stage would first need to extrapolate all these martial arts individually and achieve breakthroughs in every single one of them. Then he would have to integrate them together and upgrade them all at the same time to produce such an effect on his body.
Without the Modifier, even Lu Sheng himself would have needed at least over a hundred years to achieve it.