The Grand Elder stood silently on the second floor of the library, looking at the thick book open before him.
The dense fine print on it recorded the details of how the Prime Devil Sect had once paid a dreadful price for testing the Divine Weapons and Devil Blades.
It wasn't just the Prime Devil Sect. Actually, many of the other sects also had such a book; as long as it was an established sect, this was the case.
His gaze fell onto the row of words printed on the last page of the book.
'Thousand Ghosts of the Phantom Listening lineage battled the Noble Family at Mount Du Qi. After three consecutive victories, the opponent was shamed into anger and killed him with a Holy Weapon.
Jiu Fangzi of the Soul Sealing lineage battled others on the shores of River Chang. During the battle, he was caught in the blast caused by the collision between Divine Weapon Mountain Shepherding Brush and other Devil Blades. All eight men who participated in the battle perished.
Yu Songzi of the Phantom Listening lineage was mediating a conflict between friends in the Bei Meng Forest. After the negotiations fell through, he became the target of their anger. One of them pursued him, wielding a Holy Weapon. The rest were scattered while fleeing. More than half of the team of twenty-odd experts died. The rest were missing in action and suspected to be dead.'
The majority of the Prime Devil Sect's top experts in the past had perished under the might of the Devil Blades or the Holy Weapon. These had all attained full mastery in the secret arts.
Thus, when Lu Sheng had asked Grand Elder what it was like for someone with full mastery of the secret arts to face up against a Divine Weapon, helplessness was clearly written on Grand Elder's face.
"The power on the level of origins is in a league of its own that humans can never face up to. Divine Weapons and Demon Blades are named as such precisely because such raw power is out of the reach of mortals." Grand Elder sighed heavily.
Initially, the Hundred Lineages had accumulated a large amount of Divine Weapon shards and combined them to form Holy Weapons. In the end, the tremendous price they had to pay bought them nothing but the rapid decline of some of the older sects.
Even now, Grand Elder could not fathom the distance between the power of elements and the power of Law.
"We'll set about rejuvenating the sect after the Hundred Lineages Meeting. I hope I can get to see the sect flourish in my lifetime." Grand Elder had actually already determined Lu Sheng to be the future first seat and the heir of the sect in his heart.
Phantom Path Mantra.
It was known to unlock the bloodline in one's body and unleash its power to the full potential.
Unexpectedly, however, when Lu Sheng unlocked his own meridians, he sensed that there was not much power in his ordinary mortal body.
It was 'not much power', not 'no power at all'!
In the darkness, large patches of pale green algae surfaced every now and then as the black waters of the river lapped against them, casting the cavern in moments of alternating bright and dim.
As the waters splashed and lapped, large volumes of water from the River of Poisoned Fog was gushing into Lu Sheng's body.
It seemed as if purplish black spots were climbing up his body from his legs, packed densely like bugs.
Stripes extended all over Lu Sheng's body, nearly covering it all.
Large volumes of water from the River of Poisoned Fog were being purified by him, converting into Devil Qi which was then filtered through the black flesh conch in his chest cavity. The end product was an extremely viscous black gelatinous substance.
Lu Sheng had no idea whether this was normal or not. But according to the records on the manual, Phantom Path Mantra should not be causing such a fuss. The average disciple could merely draw Devil Qi within several meters' radius around him.
Probably, no one in the past had ever drawn of water from the River of Poisoned Fog in several dozen meters' radius in one breath like he was doing.
But considering the fact that his fleshly body was much, much stronger than the average disciple's, Lu Sheng could understand why his cultivation was causing such a spectacle.
The first time one performed the Phantom Path in Phantom Path Mantra, it typically took several hours. That had been recorded by Grand Elder on the manual. But Lu Sheng's own Phantom Path ended in merely thirty breaths.
Thereafter, the sea of Devil Qi stored in his body was quickly converted into sticky, viscous Prime Devil Qi.
'Maybe my body's too strong, so the conversion could take place faster and smoother. I don't have to worry about my body being overloaded,' Lu Sheng guessed as he stared at the waters around him which were calming down.
He could sense that the blood flowing in his veins now was different from before. It was now blood that had been fused with Prime Devil Qi.
Naturally, the new blood formed after integrating with Prime Devil Qi could effectively raise his body's recovery abilities. To the average disciple, this was worth celebrating. To Lu Sheng, however, it did not make much of a difference.
'Next is Devil Heart Dao, which is also the final foundation.' He sucked in a deep breath of air. With a mental command, a giant ball of Devil Will immediately floated into existence before him.
Presently, after the converging of Prime Devil Qi, his Devil Will had taken on another form.
From its previous fish-like form, it turned into its present slender snake-like shape.
It was a transparent snake with his own face for a head. It looked abnormal to Lu Sheng.
'After Phantom Path...' He stretched out his hand, activating Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies Skill.
A ball of invisible flame lit up on his hand. This time, however, faint blackness appeared around the flame.
'Not much influence on the Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies Skill.' He glanced again at the ball of flames before retracting his hand.
After that, he tried deploying Prime Devil Qi. It was his first time using this power which was so integral and core to the Prime Devil Sect.
The power of secret arts kicked to life within him like a tidal wave. Lu Sheng channeled the power to his right arm, which was quickly dyed a purplish black all over. A black glow seemed to emanate from it.
'At this state now, I've got Prime Devil energy, Devil Will, and physical strengththree offensive means. Prime Devil energy's similar to inner force and boasts pretty decent strength. Given my present strength, if I were to use purely Prime Devil energy alone, I should be a match for a Four or Five-Vein Level Nobleman.'
Lu Sheng used his past opponents as a reference. A Four or Five-Vein Level Nobleman was equivalent to a Five or Six-Vein Level Sect member in the Hundred Lineages. When converted to its equivalent in the Prime Devil Sect, the level would be even higherabout Seven-Vein Level.
'This is about the limit. The reason I'm so powerful still boils down to my physical strength,' he mused. 'Well then, let's begin the final Devil Heart Dao.'
The cultivation technique of Devil Heart Dao consisted of gathering and condensing Devil Will and mastering one's own worldly thoughts.
In the ideology behind Devil Heart Dao, there was a total of nine categories of worldly thoughts and desires. Hence, there were nine corresponding levels in cultivating Devil Heart Dao. Each level required the cultivator to strip himself of that class of worldly thoughts and desires, forming a type of Devil Will.
Once nine Devil Wills were formed, one could develop the final Devil Heart.
'Now my first Devil Will has already been formed. Which means to say that once I achieve full mastery of Phantom Path, I'd be at the first level of Devil Heart Dao.'
With a light push of his feet, Lu Sheng leapt up into the air and landed in the cave in which he had cultivated previously.
'Next, I can use Yin Qioh, I mean Mental Energyto upgrade.' Without further ado, he opened the Modifier.
Suddenly, he paused. Bowing his head and looking down on the ground beneath his feet, he fell into a daze.
As the highest-tiered mantra that developed the power of the bloodline, Prime Devil Secret Art boasted extremely extensive control over Prime Devil Qi.
They used Prime Devil Qi to stimulate the power in one's bloodline, reform and expand the entire bloodline so as to capture every inch of potential in it.
That was exactly what was happening to Lu Sheng.
After conversion, Prime Devil Qi fused into his blood veins, reforming his entire body, surfacing that little bit of bloodline hidden within the depths of his body.
No matter how thin and diluted that bit of discovered bloodline was, it was a bloodline after all.
Lu Sheng stared under his feet silently. An imperceptibly faint luminescent glow was in his footprint.
It was golden in color and unknown to Lu Sheng. Moreover, it was dimming at a visible pace and seemed like it would be extinguished within the next few breaths.
Lu Sheng could sense that the glow had not been caused by any power he had mastered.
Not the Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies Skill, not Aquarius Qi, and definitely not Prime Devil Qi.
It was another peculiar and pure power that no less belonged to him.
'It's very faint and weak. I can sense that this thing that Prime Devil Qi has stimulated in my bloodline is very fragile... which means that my bloodline is very, very diluted. If not for the fact that Prime Devil Qi has filled my entire body, I probably wouldn't discover it for my entire life.' He stood rooted to the ground, his thoughts wandering.
Surprisingly, his bloodline contained some little bit of power from a Divine Weapon or Devil Blade. What that implied was plain.
Perhaps that power has been passed down so many generations that it has become negligible.
'But doesn't this suggest that I once had an ancestor who was a Nobleman with the power of Divine Weapons and Devil Blades? Or perhaps, in this entire world, all human beings carry a trace of such blood.'
Suddenly, a possibility occurred to him.
'Could it be that the Nobleman bloodline is essentially what's hidden in the depths of the blood of all humanity?'
Lu Sheng stood still in deep thought. In the end, he decided to end his speculations. What mattered most now was to upgrade his power.
There were too many powerful experts in the Central Plains. Divine Weapon Masters loomed over all. If he remained unable to find the power to fight Divine Weapon Masters, the danger he'd face once exposed would be catastrophic.
Not only would he die, but every member of the Lu Family would die with him as well.
"Let's begin... Devil Heart Dao..."
Lu Sheng gazed at the Modifier screen floating before him and quickly located Phantom Path Mantra's row.
Phantom Path Mantra's row was previously occupied by Ghost Face Mantra. They were the same; the name was different and that was all.
With great familiarity, he found the 'Modify' button and pressed hard on it.
The Modifier shook and entered the 'Modify' mode.
"Upgrade Phantom Path Mantra to the next level." Lu Sheng pressed on the button behind Phantom Path Mantra's row.
The screen blurred.
Suddenly, he felt strands of cold air gushing out from his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.
He soon realized that it was no illusion. It was real.
Large volumes of black smoke gushed rapidly out from his eyes, nostrils, mouth, and ears, then gathered in midair before him, forming a giant black heart.
The heart devoured the sea of black smoke. Slowly, it began to throb.
Its size was about that of a head. Inky black all over, a purple symbol appeared on its surface. It looked exactly the same as how a Devil Will would look like before full formation according to the records in Devil Heart Dao.
'This is the second Devil Will?' Lu Sheng understood that it was in its incubation phase. Ignoring it, he continued looking towards Devil Heart Dao's row.
'Phantom Path Devil Heart Dao: Level Two. Special Effect(s): Devil Body Grade Two, Yin Devil Will Grade Two.'
All the other body strengthening effects were consolidated into the Devil Body. Likewise, Yin Devil Will encapsulated all the previous Devil Will effects.
At Lu Sheng's mental command, the previous human-faced and snake-shaped Devil Will emerged. Soft whispers and chants began ringing out.
Both the human-faced shape and this Devil Will heart were his two Yin Devil Wills as of this moment.