Grand Elder then began asking several others questions. By then, He Xiangzi and Fei Huangzi had begun sparring.
Exchanging strikes here and there, the two of them put up a lively and evenly-matched fight. But Lu Sheng could tell that He Xiangzi was no match at all for Fei Huangzi. The latter had been holding his strength back so that he could demonstrate his advantage in his moves.
In the clearing, the two of them spun at high speed, colliding into each other heavily every now and then and then splitting apart quickly, like two large birds fighting for supremacy in the air.
Before long, it was Lu Sheng's turn to be interviewed by the Grand Elder. He was called upon to approach him.
As Lu Sheng neared, Grand Elder scrutinized the skin on the area between his brows.
By continuously stimulating the center of one's brows, Karmaless Skill absorbed the poisoned fog and integrated it with one's black membrane, improving and strengthening it. That was the unique characteristic of Karmaless Skill.
At Level One, the center of the brows would begin turning black. This was the result of Devil Qi contamination. Every disciple had to go through that.
But as Lu Sheng got closer, the Grand Elder's original anticipation faded away.
He saw that the middle of Lu Sheng's brows was still fair. Not a single blot of black could be seen, not to mention turn black.
He had thought that perhaps Shangyang Family's recommended candidate would possess already some foundation. But now it seemed like Lu Sheng had chosen Prime Devil Sect probably only because no other sect would take him in. Perhaps only a sect like his would be willing to take in someone with such extremely diluted bloodline.
No wonder he could not even detect any trace of black membrane on him. He had not realized how diluted Lu Sheng's bloodline was
Disappointed, Grand Elder did not ask Lu Sheng about the progress of his cultivation in order to spare him the blow to his pride and dignity should his cultivation progress be made public.
"If you've got any questions, when this ends, you can come to ask me," he said faintly.
Surprised, Lu Sheng quickly nodded.
He was actually about to ask if he was progressing too quickly, having broken through to Level Two in Karmaless Skill. But now it seemed like Grand Elder had already known.
"Alright, next." Without further ado, Grand Elder waved his hand and summoned the next disciple.
Lu Sheng stepped aside and his gaze returned to Fei Huangzi, who was rather exasperated. He was working hard to show off his skills, only to realize that Grand Elder was not paying much attention to him at all. Given the meanness of his heart, anger immediately flared up in him.
Without warning, a loud clang resounded in the clearing.
Both He Xiangzi's hands were cut off from her arms at the wrists. They fell on the ground, spilling blood all over. She grunted and fell several steps backwards, stating at Fei Huangzi. All color was drained from her face.
Fei Huangzi's chest heaved up and down, his face flushed and red. He stared at the hands lopped off by him on the ground.
"I'm sorry, Junior Apprentice Sister I"
He continued no further. A match in this setting should have at most been a friendly spar, and blows should not have been followed through. But now, he had just lopped off his Junior Apprentice Sister's hands. Although they could be joined back together after this, he had crossed the line.
Fei Huangzi watched silently as He Xiangzi gathered up her hands from the ground and pressed them against her wound on her wrist. He turned around to look at his teacher.
The Grand Elder's face was emotionless. Without paying attention to him, he was looking at He Xiangzi.
"That's all for today's sparring. Disperse." At that, he turned around and began to leave.
The remaining nine disciples, including Lu Sheng, stared at each other. They were all that was left of the sect in such enormous grounds. It felt increasingly cold and quiet.
He Xiangzi hugged her hands and left without a word. Lu Sheng glanced at Fei Huangzi, who stood frozen with his saber in hand.
Through their interactions in this period of time, even he could tell that Fei Huangzi was narrow-minded and extremely aggressive. Moreover, he was selfish and mercenary, bearing a grudge at the slightest offense against him and thinking of taking revenge all the time. He merely kept up a good front before the Grand Elder.
But now he had dealt such a severe blow to his own Junior Apprentice Sister by accident. Although Grand Elder did not exhibit any reaction, that in itself was the greatest reaction.
Placidly, he stared at Fei Huangzi, on whose face flashed a thousand expressions. Then, he turned around and headed in He Xiangzi's direction.
Grand Elder stood in the ancestral hall.
Rows and rows of black ancestral tablets were packed densely together, forming a total of five rows.
Two lifelike bronze statues of two elders were placed right in frontthey were Prime Devil Sect's founding sect masters.
Gazing at the numerous ancestral tablets of the senior generations, Grand Elder remained silent.
After standing in the ancestral hall for a long time, he took out a dark yellow scroll from within his sleeve. The scroll was tattered and torn, but the two large words on its surface remained clear"Prime Devil".
This was the Prime Devil Secret Art that he had intended to impart to Fei Huangzi. But today, the Grand Elder had witnessed the venom and aggression that had been hidden deep in Fei Huangzi's heart for such a long time erupt from concealment. This changed his mind about imparting Prime Devil Secret Art to him.
"Let's observe further" He sighed, gazing at the ancestral tablets of all the ancestors.
He Xiangzi's bloodline and talent were too weak; she could not cultivate Prime Devil Secret Art at all, not to mention pass it down. But apart from Fei Huangzi, those among the other disciples who had talent were too weak in cultivation. Those who were strong in cultivated lacked talent.
Grand Elder had no idea how long he could still keep things running. His only wish now was to pass down the sect's inheritance. Prime Devil Sect couldn't die in his hands; otherwise, how could he face the ancestors when he was buried?
The bell rolled heavily again.
Lu Sheng pulled out a chair and sat down like nobody cared, staring at He Xiangzi's cave.
Wooden desk, wooden chairs, wooden windows even the decorations on the wall were light mahogany items. It was obvious that Senior Apprentice Sister He Xiangzi loved wooden products.
He Xiangzi sat across him at the table, clutching onto her hand and pressing it against her wound, waiting for her body's recuperative abilities to kick in.
As a Bind realm expert, she possessed very strong self-recuperating abilities. Apart from the intense pain, the lopping off of her hands left no other aftereffects. But it would take time for them to become as flexible as before due to the diluted nature of her bloodline
"You alright, Senior Apprentice Sister?" Lu Sheng asked gently.
"I'm okay. Have you come to console me?" He Xiangzi smiled.
"It's what a junior apprentice brother ought to do," Lu Sheng replied.
"Senior Apprentice Brother Fei Huangzi was just a little impatient I don't blame him." He Xiangzi shook her head. Lu Sheng could tell that there was really no trace of bitterness in her eyes. They wore a look of acceptance.
"Let's not dwell on this. It'll be fully recovered in half a month. Come to think of it, I saw that you were rather interested in Holy Weapons. Let me remind youdon't count on them. They're basically expendable weapons, usually used to protect the sect's headquarters. Only the sect master has the right to use it. It takes a very long time before it can be used just once."
"Expendable? Can't it be used on demand?" Lu Sheng was surprised.
"I once asked teacher as well. He replied that Holy Weapons are actually formed by many Divine Weapon and Devil Blade shards. Arranging these shards according to a certain formation and then consolidating their power into one takes a long time and a great deal of effort.
So even though Holy Weapons are very powerful, it takes a long time for them to cool down and build up for a second use after using them once. Otherwise, they would explode and end up hurting the wielder himself," He Xiangzi explained.
"Is that so? Isn't that drastically weaker than a true Divine Weapon or Devil Blade?" Lu Sheng frowned.
"That's how it's been from the very beginning." He Xiangzi smiled. "Holy Weapons are primarily used for defense. It's because of their might that there're so many sects in the Hundred Lineages. Otherwise, they'd long since have been amalgamated into a few large sects. When we're out and meet with fights, we've still got to rely on our own strength."
"That's true indeed." Lu Sheng nodded. He now understood how the sects survived.
"Furthermore, although the sects are thriving, they're still a far cry from Noble Families." He Xiangzi smiled. "After saying so much, you understand Senior Apprentice Sister, don't you?"
Lu Sheng nodded.
"Of course. Senior Apprentice Sister's warning me not to put my hopes in Holy Weapons, but rather to focus on becoming stronger myself. "
"I'm glad you get it." He Xiangzi nodded approvingly. After interacting so much with Lu Sheng, she was naturally casual with him.
"Oh yes." She suddenly recalled something. "How's your Karmaless Skill going? Has it been smooth?"
"It's been alright. Everything's going smoothly."
"Phew that's good. I was afraid you'd absorb Devil Qi the wrong way, so I quickly rushed back to remind you that you can only absorb Devil Qi a little bit at a time, and only with the area between your brows.
But now, seeing that you look alright, I'm relieved." He Xiangzi laughed. "You've got to be absolutely careful. In the past, there was a senior apprentice brother who didn't listen to instructions and soaked his whole head in Devil Qi. In the blink of an eye, his head dissolved and melted away. His corpse is still in the cemetery"
Lu Sheng's face froze.
"What's wrong? Are you feeling unwell?" He Xiangzi stared at Lu Sheng strangely.
"Nothing I'm just thinking about how potent Devil Qi must be to to dissolve that senior apprentice brother's head in seconds?" Lu Sheng plastered on an awkward smile.
"Oh, it is very potent indeed. If you don't activate Karmaless Skill and envelop your body with the power of your bloodline, allowing your physical flesh to make contact with it, Devil Qi will swarm to you madly like sharks after the scent of blood.
When Devil Qi makes contact with flesh, the reaction is as intense as pouring water into boiling oil. You've got to be careful. Oh, and the area of contact with Devil Qi in between your brows must not be any more than the size of a fingernail, or else it'll be harmful to you," He Xiangzi added.
"The size of a fingernail..." The corner of Lu Sheng's mouth twitched. He recalled how he had immersed his entire body in Devil Qi when he had entered the Devil's Pool earlier. Now, he was extremely thankful that he was not killed there and then by Devil Qi. Undoubtedly, it was his tyrannically strong body, even in Yin Extreme Mode, as well as the recuperative effects of Yin Yang Jade Crane Aquarius Qi that kept him alive.
"What level of bloodline concentration are you?" He Xiangzi asked.
Lu Sheng understood that by "level", she meant which generation Lu Sheng belonged to. All bloodlines originated from original Weapon Masters. The more distant a descendant of the Weapon Master was, the more diluted his bloodline would naturally be. After all, they were unlike the Noble Families, which possessed Divine Weapons or Devil Blades, which continually replenished the concentration of their bloodline.
Without waiting for Lu Sheng's reply, He Xiangzi spoke again, as if talking to herself, "Probably not high. But however low, you won't be as low as mine." She laughed bitterly. "I'm Level Five... which means the fifth generation bloodline.
At the sixth generation, the bloodline becomes ordinary mortal blood through and through. So I'm already the lowest.
But even then, I've been working hard all the while. Hoping that, one day, I can become the first seat." He Xiangzi rested herself on the table. Gently, she released her hands. A red line was still visible at her wrists, but at least her hands were now reconnected to her forearms. For full recovery, however, more time was needed.
"Oh yes, I forgot to mention. Every sect has a first seat. Usually, the first seat in each sect is the most outstanding disciple. When the sect master is absent, he or she is the key person who can hold the fort."
"You mean a deputy sect master?" Lu Sheng asked.
"No, it isn't..." He Xiangzi shook her head. "Apart from the sect master, any so-called deputy sect master, elders... etc., are, frankly speaking, simply last-resort options for disciples who can't make it to the top.
But first seats is different. They're in effect the future successors of the sect masters. They need to possess extremely high standing among the disciples, or they might be the most powerful among them. Powerful enough to suppress all opposition in the sect.
"First seatalso known as terminal student. Some large sects, especially a few of those in the upper three grades, have a special name for the first seats or terminal students. But most of them simply call them first seats."