In the spacious side hall, several two meters tall sets of black armor roamed and wandered around, dragging along heavy chains behind them.
They seemed to be spirits without intelligence, tasked with guarding the place. Without stopping, they kept walking.
Grand Elder took out an object from his sleeves and held it tightly in his hand. Then, he patted Lu Sheng, indicating that he should follow him closely.
Lu Sheng nodded, staring at the small pouch in Grand Elder's hand. It seemed like some sort of perfume pouch and a peculiar smell was wafting out from within it.
"Walk," Grand Elder mouthed at Lu Sheng.
Walking in a single file, the two of them quickly walked through the sets of armor milling about.
Surprisingly, they ignored the two of them.
After leaving the side hall, they found themselves in a deserted corridor. There was no floor to the corridor, however. Only a chasm stared at them. Inky black, there was no telling how deep it was.
Grand Elder stepped against the ground, leaping into the air and kicking off against the walls several times till he easily traversed the dozen meter corridor. Then, he turned around and pointed at the footprints he had left behind on the walls for Lu Sheng.
Lu Sheng nodded, then leapt into the air just like Grand Elder had done. Without breaking a sweat, he landed lightly beside Grand Elder.
The two of the left the corridor and entered a small room.
The room was bathed in a dark vermilion hue. It was not bigabout the size of a guest hall in an average household. In the dead center of the room, however, a stone platform sat on the ground, with a long saber stabbed into in.
The blade of the long saber was buried diagonally into the large black stone platform, and looked no different from an ordinary weapon.
But when they entered this room, a solemn look came over Grand Elder and he acted extremely cautiously.
He patted Lu Sheng, pointed at the long saber, then wrote a word on the wall beside them: "Devil".
'Devil? That's a Devil?' Surprised, Lu Sheng stared at the saber, unable to see anything special in it.
Grand Elder spoke no further. He merely pointed downwards at the spot underneath the saber.
Lu Sheng followed the direction of his finger and gazed. Apart from the black stone, however, he could not see anything else.
Grand Elder simply allowed Lu Sheng to examine the room and even gestured for him to take a closer look. Lu Sheng walked a whole round in the room but found no Devil in it. All he could see was that saber.
Not long later, Grand Elder signalled to Lu Sheng that it was time to leave.
Baffled, Lu Sheng turned to leave the room. The two of them retraced the steps they had taken on their way here. While walking past the armored suits in the side hall, however, Grand Elder took something down from the wall.
The two of them left the secret arts hall and returned to its entrance.
"Here. Hold this." Grand Elder passed an item to Lu Sheng.
Lu Sheng received it. It was a red mask with a human face on it.
The mask had been made of some mysterious material Lu Sheng could not identify, but it felt cold and hard to the touch, like ruby.
The moment Lu Sheng received the item, he felt an extremely strange sensation. The mask was clearly icy cold to the touch, yet he felt an intense scorching burn on his hands as held onto the mask.
"This was a trophy once obtained when we hunted Devils. I've kept it as a memento. It's also the only thing left in the secret arts hall that's safe to take out of the place," Grand Elder said blandly.
"This mask is constantly burning with invisible flames. Ordinary men cannot see the flames. You need to feel it with your heart and your secret art..."
"Feel it with my heart? My secret art?" Lu Sheng's eyes narrowed as he gazed at the mask again. Activating Karmaless Skill, he shut his eyes and meditated on the Yin Flame face formed by the skill.
But this time, it was completely different from the usual.
Originally, the Yin Flame face had been the size of a head and had blurred features. One could just barely make out their shape.
Now, however, it was much clearer and focused.
The facial features of the Yin Flame face, including its eyes, nose bridge, lips, and even the hair on its skin were clearly visible, like a real face in flames.
"Do you see it?" Grand Elder's voice rang out beside his ear.
"I see it," Lu Sheng replied softly. "I feel like some invisible power is being transferred from the mask to my Yin Flame face when I'm holding it. It seems to possess some sort of strengthening effect. Compared to normally..."
Lu Sheng's voice froze...
...because the eyes on his Yin Flame face had just opened suddenly. They met his gaze, as if the Yin Flame face had come to life all of a sudden.
"This item will allow you to improve in your meditation on the Yin Flame face much faster." Grand Elder's voice rang beside his ears once again.
But Lu Sheng paid no attention to it. All of his focus was absorbed by the sudden transformation which had occurred to his Yin Flame face.
The sudden shocking change made Lu Sheng feel that some sort of terrifying change was happening to the mask in his hands.
Massive, powerful Yin Qithe likes of which Lu Sheng had never seenerupted out of the red mask. The thickness of Yin Qi on that mask could hardly be matched by the largest batch of Yin Qi that he had ever absorbed prior to this.
"This mask has been passed down for many, many years. According to its legend, it had been excavated out of some mysterious ruins and then brought back to the sect and treasured by my grandfather. Then, it was passed to my father, and after that, to me," Grand Elder explained softly.
"Which is to say that this thing has got a long history behind it?" Lu Sheng asked.
"A very long one indeed. According to my grandfather's dating, the material used to make it must have had at least several thousand years of history," Grand Elder exclaimed, oblivious to the unusual expression on Lu Sheng's face.
"Several thousand years..." Lu Sheng was sure that this mask must have had been owned by many generations of owners. Because of how rare and extraordinary it was, many of its owners cherished it as a prized treasure. That was how it was able to chalk up such massive amount of Yin Qi within it.
"There're still many suchlike in the sect. Our Prime Devil Sect's got a long history. Because many of its founders were the surviving Noblemen from broken Noble Families, they brought many unique artifacts from ancient Noble Families to the sect.
If you like them, you can have them all at a price. I can gift you with some of them as a reward as long as you can complete the homework I've designed for you."
Lu Sheng finally snapped out of his reverie.
"Of course. Everything we've done so far is merely memorizing mantras. But that's just the most basic content. Our Prime Devil Sect naturally has homework pertaining to actual combat." Grand Elder led Lu Sheng out.
If he could win such rewards by completing his homework, it would be a dream come true for Lu Sheng.
Gripping the mask tightly in his hands, Lu Sheng trembled with excitement and anticipation.
Now, he truly felt that he had made the right choice in coming to the Prime Devil Sect. A sect with a long history like this was indeed the most suitable option for him.
Because artefacts and treasures with long histories abounded in such a sect.
And even the weakest member of the sect had to be an expert that far surpassed the realm of mortals. Consequently, any Yin Qi item left behind had to contain Yin Qi that far surpassed those found in items outside.
"Alright. Your first homework now is to follow the route that I just took in the secret arts hall. Go in and come out again once," Grand Elder said seriously. "If you can complete the route successfully without alarming any Forbidding Puppets, then this mask is yours."
Lu Sheng's eyes narrowed. Sensing more than a hundred units of Yin Qi within the mask, he nodded resolutely.
"I got it. Please wait here."
He put the mask down and bowed towards Grand Elder. Then, he strode into the Courtyard of Punishment.
The black spikes which pierced out of the ground flew past him on both his sides. Without so much as a glance at Grand Elder, Lu Sheng flew through the gap in the door.
But what appeared before him was not the hall from previously. Rather, it was a giant black whirlpool which distorted and shook continuously.
Lu Sheng shut his eyes composedly. Then, his eyes opened wide. The whirlpool before him shattered without warning, and the hall from previously appeared before him again.
He surveyed his surroundings, then turned left and rapidly entered the corridor by the windows, along which he and Grand Elder had walked moments ago.
He raced along the corridor. Before ten breaths, he found himself in the side hall filled with Forbidding Puppets.
Lu Sheng glanced at the Forbidding Puppets, numbering no less than thirty. Raw red eyes glowed in the heads of each puppet, their gaze sweeping every inch of the hall.
'Earlier, Grand Elder walked past them with that perfumed pouch. Since he's asked me to come back alone, there must be some way of getting past them without using the perfumed pouch.'
Lu Sheng fell into thought momentarily. Then, he stepped hard into the side hall.
With incredible speed, he dashed into the hall in the blink of an eye.
Strangely, however, all the Forbidding Puppets ignored him as if he were thin air.
'Oh I see. This is purely a test of my courage. I've still got the scent from the pouch on me.' Lu Sheng immediately realized what was going on.
It was a good test for other disciples. But to Lu Sheng, it was pointless.
He went through the side hall and came to the corridor without a floor.
Lu Sheng glanced at the walls. The footprints from earlier had disappeared.
'Is this a test of memory?'
Without any hesitation, he leapt up into the air and stepped against the exact same spots on the walls, landing lightly and easily on the other side.
He advanced forward. It was the final stagethe small room from before.
Lu Sheng pushed open the door. The long saber which was stabbed into the stone appeared in his view again.
"Devil... eh?" His face was blank. He was simply supposed to come here and it would be mission accomplished. All he had to do now was to retrace his steps out.
But Lu Sheng did not wish to leave just like that.
Slowly, he walked towards the long saber stabbed into the ground. He reached out and gripped its hilt.
And then began pulling it out of the stone.
A deep, bizarre, and beast-like growl roared from beneath the saber.
The entire room began tremoring.
As Lu Sheng pulled the saber out of the rock, the room was shaking more and more vigorously. A twisted, bizarre black mist, filled with evil chanting, started emanating from under the black stone.
A low, massive, earth-shaking voice rang out,
"I've been deep in slumber for five"
Lu Sheng rammed the saber back into its original position.
"It's nothing. I just came to take a look at this saber." He smiled. "Please continue what you were doing."
Like a whirlpool, the black fog was quickly sucked back into the gaps under the black stone. The tremor of the entire room quickly returned to its original quiet.
An intensely unwilling, enraged, disgruntled, and pained roar attempted to make its way to the surface from deep underground. But by the time it made it to the top, it was a mere faint buzz.
The roar was no help at all. The saber seemed to be some incredibly powerful seal, containing the voice and emotions under its seal.
Lu Sheng glanced at the long saber and discovered that there was Yin Qi to be found on it too, but it did not seem thick.
The saber seemed to possess some peculiar special ability which far surpassed that of the mask. Ironically, however, the Yin Qi on it was much less compared to the mask.
That was why he put it back into the stone.
Despite encountering great resistance as he stabbed it back into the stone, that little bit of resistance was negligible for the terrifying strength of his body.
Had it been anyone else, even a Nobleman or a disciple of a sect, he might not necessarily have had the strength to return the saber to its seal.
But to Lu Sheng, it was like pulling out a toothpick.
"Alright, time to go back." Lu Sheng turned around and strode out of the room, without so much as a glance at the long saber seal.
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