Soon after his conversation with He Xiangzi, Lu Sheng witnessed for himself what kind of status the first seat possessed.
It was the first seat of a nearby sect who had come to browse some books and also to form some sort of friendly exchange.
On the first story of the library, Lu Sheng, dressed in black, sat by the table in the corner as usual, gazing quietly at three yellow-robed young people who were slowly walking in from the entrance.
The first one to enter among them glanced at Lu Sheng in surprise and mumbled, "Oh, there's someone here?"
Behind him, a young man tapped his shoulder lightly, shushing him.
Then, the young man stepped forward and cupped his fists at Lu Sheng from a distance. Lu Sheng nodded in acknowledgement.
"This junior is called Ming Po, the first seat of the Yellow First Sect. I've come to borrow some books from your sect. If we cause any inconvenience, we seek your understanding." The young man looked ordinary, but the way he spoke was filled with strength, dignity, and devoid of hesitation. Like the sound of metal and stone clashing, it carried with it a sense of resolute determination.
"No problem. Help yourselves." Lu Sheng nodded.
The third among them was a young lady who looked very young. Walking behind them, she peered curiously at Lu Sheng before joining her senior apprentice brothers in looking for information.
Lu Sheng focused on his book again, ignoring the three of them.
After a long while, the three finally found the books they wanted. They found a seat each and began browsing the books. The young lady often made looks of disgust at the spots of mold on the books, but at least she kept quiet.
In one sitting, Lu Sheng finished the book he had taken off the shelves. He closed the book lightly and breathed out.
By then, the light projected into the cave from the entrance was dim. It was late.
Lu Sheng glanced at the three of them. They had just stood up and were tidying up the books. Seeing that Lu Sheng was looking at them, the first seat of the Yellow First Sect Ming Po smiled at him. After returning the books to the shelves, he led the two other disciples out of the library, slowly disappearing behind the door.
Lu Sheng gazed thoughtfully in the direction in which they left.
'These guys, especially the first seat Ming Po he's very strong the aura exuded subconsciously from him's like that of Bai Jiang, the Officiator in the Northern Lands. He's at least a Six-Vein Level expert. To think that the disciple of a sect with declining bloodlines is able to cultivate to such a high level'
He rose to his feet and was shocked when he saw the footprints on the ground.
Apart from his own, there were only two other sets of footprints. Astonishingly, Ming Po left no footprints behind.
'Yellow First Sect I heard it's a sect in the middle three grades' Lu Sheng recalled the list he had seen in the beginning. 'If the first seat of a middle three grades sect already possesses such power, then how strong are the upper three grades?' All of a sudden, he was filled with anticipation.
It was now extremely hard for him to find an opponent in his league who was a Nobleman.
Come to think of it, perhaps Shangyang Jiuli who had just achieved her breakthrough could hold her own against him. And that number one genius from Shangyang Family whom he had never met probably could as well.
But as for the other families, he really had no idea.
Lu Sheng walked to the table where the three of them had been and walked along the shelf from which they had taken their books. He noticed that all the books they had taken had to do with the Devil Calamity.
Devil Calamity was an epic disaster in which Devils were released without restraint on human civilization. Once it occurred, life would turn into a living hell. Casualties would be innumerable.
But the details were omitted from the books, as if they had been wiped off intentionally, leaving behind only a blur.
'I don't know exactly how strong that first seat is, but he shouldn't be any weaker than Officiator Bai Jiang,' Lu Sheng estimated. 'Based on that, the sect master should probably be in the Snake realm. But as for where in the realm of Snake, that's hard to say.'
"Dang... dang... dang..."
The bell tolled again.
With a wave of an arm, Lu Sheng sent a gust of wind from his palm which extinguished the lamp on the table. Then, he strode out of the library.
During this period of time, he had more or less stabilized Level Two of Karmaless Skill. It was now time for him to proceed with the next upgrade.
By now, he had a rough understanding of what these foundational secret arts were essentially. From now on, he intended to skip the slow cultivation process and upgrade his strength directly with the Modifier.
Circumstances seemed bad for the sect. In the next few days, more people left. It seemed like the days left for the sect were numbered. Rather than drag it out, Lu Sheng would rather make use of the Devil's Pool while he was still able to and quickly raise Karmaless Skill to its limit.
He wanted to see what sort of transformation would occur to his body when he integrated the sect's secret arts with his own martial arts.
In Shangyang Family...
Multi-decked ships slowly sailed past the window.
Shangyang Jiuli pushed the door open, only to see a slender figure standing in the room. Immediately, she paused in alarm.
"It's you!?" Her white brows arched. "Are we that familiar with each other that you feel at ease to enter my room? If it was anyone else, I'd rip her apart!"
After her solitary confinement, the aura exuded off her body had become sharper. Compared to back when she was in the Northern Lands, she seemed significantly more profound and unsearchable, like a heavy yet razor-sharp horse-slaying saber.
The person standing in the room was a young lady dressed in jade-green athletic robes, with a jade-green short saber hung on her waist. Pretty as a picture, her raven locks cascaded on her shoulders. Had she not been carrying a weapon, she would have looked as cute and harmless as a friendly next-door girl.
Most noticeably, an intricate triangular jade-green symbol which looked like a flower was imprinted on her forehead.
At the sight of the symbol, Shangyang Jiuli was deeply shaken.
"They... they chose you in the end."
"It's no big deal. I've only just gotten the right to be in contact with it. But it's still too early for me right now. Why're you disappointed, Sister?" She smiled and said gently, "Both of us are the future of the Shangyang Family. When I become the Family Head in the future, you'd be my deputy, Sister. And if I become the Weapon Master, then you'll be the Family Head. With us sisters working together, who can stand against us in all of the Central Plains?"
"Shangyang Fei... You're made of the exact same mold as your brother. Back then, those were his exact arrogant words." Shangyang Jiuli sucked in a deep breath of air in an attempt to calm herself down.
"Brother... died a death befitting of him. Giving up his life for the family had always been his wish and ambition." Shangyang Fei smiled. "Brother's wish was to put Shangyang Family at the top of the Nine Great Families of the Central Plains. It was his ambition. And now it's my goal too."
Shangyang Jiuli stared at this woman helplessly.
Shangyang Feithe number one genius of the Shangyang Family. Throughout Shangyang Family's history, no more than two people were comparable to her in terms of cultivation speed. And both of them had been top-notch experts who had led Shangyang Family to reign supreme during their time. They had each been the strongest Weapon Master in all of the Central Plains!
As the number one genius who had been born after Shangyang Jiuli, Shangyang Fei broke through to Five-Vein Level at the mere age of ten. By fifteen, she had broken through Seven-Vein Level and stepped into the realm of Snake. When she was twenty, she entered the middle three grades. Now, she was twenty-five... and unfathomable!
'She's even won the preliminary acknowledgement of the Mountain-Shepherding Brush...' Staring at the triangular symbol on her forehead, Shangyang Jiuli felt a wave of fatigue wash over her.
The symbol represented a Divine Weapon or Devil Blade and meant that Shangyang Fei had already made first contact with Shangyang Family's guardian Mountain-Shepherding Brush.
'This woman... this woman!'
Deep waves of disappointment and defeat gushed out of Shangyang Jiuli's heart. But she had to concede defeat. She was very clear of how terrifying this woman before her was.
She possessed better talent than her and worked harder than her. She had ambition. She had ability. She had stratagem!
Whether it was rallying the family's support, or personal cultivation, Shangyang Jiuli knew that she was no match for her.
Shangyang Fei's words and deeds might seem gentle and meek on the surface, but often reeked of tyranny under a veneer of mildness. She accepted no refusal, nor would she allow any opposition. Beneath that lovable and gentle facade was absolute coldness and dogmatism.
Shangyang Jiuli tidied her thoughts and said coldly, "Spell it out. What have you come for?"
"Firstly, it's to congratulate Sis Jiuli for stepping into the middle three grades and stabilizing your bloodline," Shangyang Fei said with a wide grin. "Secondarily, the thirteen elders in the family have concluded investigation on the incident several months ago. Has Sister heard of it?"
Shangyang Jiuli nodded. "About the issue that concerns the thirteen elders, I've heard of it."
"Then it's easy for me to explain." Shangyang Fei lifted her arm and a piece of clean white paper floated from the table top and shot towards Shangyang Jiuli.
"The Nine Order Saber, Ten Spears of the Evil Jade Crystal, and Space Conversion have appeared. Abnormalities have popped up on three frontsthe South, the North, and the West. Not to mention that Jade of Secrets... it's been causing much more commotion recently than in the past."
"And so?" Shangyang Jiuli asked coldly. She knew that this cousin of hers would never bother her unless there was something she needed her to do. "Whatever the commotion, could it get any worse than the drought in Yun Province?"
Shangyang Fei smiled. "Three Divine Weapons have appeared. The key to finding them lies in the Jade of Secrets. And now even Huang Family's Huang Shuling is involved.
If it's any other time, it's no big deal to suppress one Huang Shuling. But now, your sister, I, am stretched too thin. I've still got others to deal with and I've really got no time for this Huang Shuling... Neither can I ask the elders to help. That's why I'm here to ask for your help, Sis."
"Huang Family's Huang Shuling..." Shangyang Jiuli remembered the woman; she was a difficult character to deal with. Huang Shuling was the number one genius in the Huang Family, who was also one of the Nine Great Families of the Central Plains. She was pretty much on par with herself, but weaker than Shangyang Fei.
"Fine. Anyway, you've got the authority of the Acting Family Head. Who'd dare defy your order?" Shangyang Jiuli said coldly.
"If it's possible, I hope Sis can arrest the mortal holding onto the Jade of Secrets. I'm really curious how a mortal can hide a Divine Weapon on him for so long without being taken over by it." Shangyang Fei grinned.
Looking at this woman's smiles made Shangyang Jiuli feel like puking.
Back when Yun Province's Liu Family had been massacred, Shangyang Fei was one of the culprits.
And now, with the word "curious", the only outcome awaiting that man was probably a dissection while still alive.
She had once personally witnessed such a brutal bloody scene.
"I got it."
The Prime Devil Sect.
Grand Elder sat cross-legged in his cave, gazing at the six remaining disciples in front of him. During this period of time, another three disciples had left.
By now, he was numb. Or perhaps, his heart was already cold.
How would he dare to entrust Prime Devil Secret Art into the hands of such disciples? Probably the moment he passed it to them, they would leave and join some other sect.
He sighed inwardly and continued his lecture.
"Speaking of the origins of secret arts, they in actual fact came from all the Divine Weapons and Devil Blades.
The power of Divine Weapons and Devil Blades is called 'Law'. And this power is marked with a unique triangular symbol..." Grand Elder stared at the six before him.
Fei Huanzi was distracted. He Xiangzi was listening earnestly. The rest were dozing off or looking around distractedly, their thoughts clearly absent.
Their hearts were wandering... and clearly set on leaving...
Pain stabbed in Grand Elder's heart. He recalled Prime Devil Sect in its peak... but now, it was left with such a pitiful handful of disciples...
But suddenly, he noticed that apart from Fei Huangzi and He Xiangzi, the recently joined Lu Sheng seemed to be listening earnesly as well. This brought some consolation to him.
"...This triangular symbol is intricate and complex in structure. It represents the nature and power of each and every Divine Weapon and Devil Blade. We also term it the power of Law.
Secret arts, simply put, are powers studied and created by the pioneers and ancestors of the Noble Families and Sects from imitating the power of Law.
The might of Law is extremely terrifying. Any attack that bears the symbol of Law cannot be resisted apart from an opposing force in the same class.
Secret arts are the derivatives and imitations of Law. But their power is significantly weaker. They're the simplifications of the peripheral mysteries of Law after research, analysis, and deconstruction." He was lecturing on the historical origins of Prime Devil Secret Arts. As disciples of the Prime Devil Sect, they naturally could not be ignorant about the major events surrounding their own sect and ancestors.