Two embarrassed people escaped from the Prime Devil Sect with broken legs. They soon caught the attention of the record keepers of the nearby Jasper Palace.
Two men clothed in black stood in the dark and looked at Li Du, who was crawling out covered in blood. Both were frowning.
"That fast? And this kind of injury is serious. A sect is not a Family, sect members aren't as resilient. It'll take at least six months to recover from such wounds," one of them whispered.
The other lowered his head over a book with charcoal and started to write in it.
"Li Du is the first seat of the Alternate Cave Sect, right? His defeat was a bit fast. What was the aura in the Grace Garden just now? Did you determine what it was?"
"It is the Prime Devil Sect's Devil Qi. There's no doubt about it," the Taoist answered.
"So, is the Prime Devil Sect going to make a comeback? Interesting."
"It's just two people, how would they counterattack and deal with people's endless attacks? It's impossible." The other Taoist shook his head.
"Alright, you keep watch here, I'll go to other places first." The man looked at what he had written and turned to go in a different direction.
"Good." The Taoist observing the Prime Devil Sect looked at the injuries of Li Du and his companion and clicked his tongue in admiration.
In the fifth district, there are five schools, the Sun Genesis Sect, the Alternate Cave Sect, the Ice Valley, the Yellow Sand Sword School, and the Prime Devil Sect.
The Alternate Cave Sect's first seat was Li Du, but no one had expected that he would suffer heavy injuries.
When Li Du and his junior apprentice sister came out, they were discovered by the people of the Alternate Cave Sect. They quickly got their people and carried them in.
Right next to the Alternate Cave Sect was the Sun Genesis Sect.
Their first seat Huang Sicheng looked at the Grace Garden in the direction of the Prime Devil Sect with a dignified expression.
"Do not try to touch him. As for this Prime Devil Sect, let other people try another time. Let's get the Ice Valley first," he ordered his junior apprentice brothers and sisters behind him.
"Why is Senior Apprentice Brother Huang so timid? I heard that only two people from the Prime Devil Sect came. Even if they can fight again, they can't deal with many people," one of his junior apprentice brothers said, full of confidence. "We don't mess with them, but that doesn't mean we are afraid of them. If they encounter an incident and send themselves to their own demise, we do not have to be polite."
"Stop speaking nonsense, I am the first seat, and I have made my decision. If you have issues, go find master!" Huang Sicheng glanced coldly at him.
"Yes, yes, you are the boss and we will all listen to you."
The news of the poor result of Li Du's early battle with the Prime Devil Sect quickly spread, and Li Du was taken to be nursed back to health.
Although they were without the first seat, it did not mean that they would lose. The Alternate Cave Sect got more people but just slightly weaker. They just had to protect the doors well with nobody leaving.
Everything quickly calmed back down. The others of the five sects were relatively silent.
Lu Sheng also devoted himself to hatching the second Devil Will heart.
In the hall, he sat cross-legged, a faint invisible flame nearby. The thin black gas circulated between his mouth and nose.
"The golden antelope red blood, red as Iron Mountain, mad anger, back to the true evergreen."
According to the mantra of Devil Heart Dao, Lu Sheng kept on silently repeating chants in his thoughts.
Gradually, in front of him, the Devil Will heart emerged again.
The black heart was constantly beating. A small gap opened, and revealed a black sparkle inside.
"Open!" Lu Sheng said, reaching for the heart abruptly.
The entire Devil Will heart cracked open, and a large amount of black gas gushed like a waterfall and fell on the ground in front of Lu Sheng.
The Devil Qi did not escape everywhere, but rather was gathered together as if it were a black hole. Soon, under the envelope of the Devil Qi, a majestic black lion with a height of half a man emerged.
The lion silently and irritably turned around on the ground, allowing Lu Sheng to caress and inspect him.
"It's amazing," Lu Sheng praised.
As for that human-faced snake from before, it could be interpreted as a visual illusion. However, the black male lion with a black burning mane before him was completely solid.
"A corporeal creature condensed by the essence of the River of Poisoned Fog is more magical than martial arts. It is equivalent to creating life out of thin air." He reached out and touched gently on the smooth back of the Lion of Rage.
The black flame burned on it, but it was illusionary, and could not hurt him.
"This flame is the result of the burning of Devil Qi. The Lion of Rage does not last for long, mainly since this flame consumes a lot of energy. However, it seems to have no effect on me."
Lu Sheng measured the speed of the Devil Qi flowing through his body. It was okay, and almost the same as the speed of Devil Qi's natural recovery, which was quite not bad as well. With this speed, it almost could be maintained indefinitely.
The Lion of Rage was more than two meters long. Its mane and tail were burning with black flames. It looked very powerful, but there was a difference compared to the records in the book. On the lion's head, there were two additional black spiral antelope-like horns that shouldn't have been there.
"If I don't know how formidable its power is, let's do this first." Lu Sheng's thoughts went on, and the Lion of Rage suddenly turned into black Qi and was quickly attached to him.
'The time for a common Devil Will heart to hatch is 12 hours. I have bred this one for a few days. The result is a pair of horns absent on the ordinary Lions of Rage?' Lu Sheng did not know what the horns were used for.
He had to wait until all Devil Will hearts were hatched and finally produce the final Devil Will heart. This was when the Devil Heart Dao would really display its power. Now, its strength itself has not changed much, and the Devil Heart Dao did not increase the power of its user at all.
After he had finished his work, he got up again and whirled around the Grace Garden. He found that all other sects had their doors closed. Apart from several Taoists on patrol in the Jasper Palace, there were no others.
Even the two who were playing chess were also gone. All around the district, everything was quiet.
Lu Sheng circled around and quickly walked to a white brick field with a huge censer on the edge of which a stone monument with the history of the palace recorded on it stood.
The handwriting on it was somewhat faded, but it could still be read.
There was a mess on the field; the tiles were smashed, the flowers and grass were withered and blackened. There was also a damp, sour smell in the air.
Lu Sheng vaguely remembered that, judging from the size and clarity of the sound plus the traces of remnants, this place should be where the two men before had fought.
'Their secret arts... one seems to be cold and damp, the other pure and fierce.' Lu Sheng went to a big hole and squatted down, touching the edge of the pit.
The pit was half a meter wide and its edge covered in cracks seemed and felt like it was scorched.
He keenly felt that there were many eyes in the dark, following him the whole waythey obviously belonged to the disciples from the Heaven Lotus School who were recording the victory and defeat of the participants.
'Should I start now?' Lu Sheng thought for a moment, but decided to go back first. His purpose in this Meeting was to keep a low profile. Everything would be fine as long as the ranking of the Prime Devil Sect was decent. He did not intend to make any movements that would attract others' attention.
Before, when taking care of Li Du and his junior apprentice sister, he had already shown too much power. Now, he had to be careful.
He stood up and was about to turn back to the Grace Garden.
"The Prime Devil Sect's Junior Apprentice Brother Lu Sheng?" Suddenly, a gentle and clear female voice came from behind.
Lu Sheng turned around and saw a blue-clothed woman with a long white stick in her hand, looking carefully at him.
This tall woman had fine features, a slim waist, and scattered long black hair like satin reaching her waist. Her skin was especially eye-catching, for it was truly white as snow. This was something unique to the disciples of the Ice Valley.
"You're from the Ice Valley?" Lu Sheng immediately saw through her background due to her telltale characteristics.
"Yes. There is a "Sheng" character in both my name and your name. My name is Yue Shengya, I'm the second seat from the Ice Valley." The woman smiled and stepped forward. "Senior Apprentice Brother Zhan asked me to take care of the Prime Devil Sect before. I did not expect to meet junior apprentice brother so soon."
"Brother Zhan?" Lu Sheng suddenly knew why the other party came here. It turned out to be due to the relationship between Zhan Kongning.
"But, I've heard before that Li Du was beaten out of the door by you, looking miserable. It seems that Junior Apprentice Brother Lu doesn't need an insignificant woman's help." Yue Shengya smiled.
"We were fortunate, it was all sheer luck. We have fewer people and no means to show off. If we're besieged by a lot of people, it'd be hard to say who'll win." Lu Sheng laughed casually.
"Also true. Well, our sect still has something to do, Junior Apprentice Brother Lu, so this senior apprentice sister will come to visit again later. If there is any trouble in the next two days, you can come to the Ice Valley's door to ask for help. I can't guarantee that any of my senior and junior apprentice sisters will help, but I will not just stand by," the woman said confidently.
"Well, thank you." Lu Sheng nodded.
Yue Shengya turned away. It didn't seem as if she just came out for a stroll; she was bound to be looking for trouble. Lu Sheng judged the direction she was going in and found that it led towards the Sun Genesis Sect.
He looked all around. The disciples of the nearby sects remained withdrawn, and only a few people came out to move around.
'Forget it, let's go back.'
Going back along the same path, he encountered no one on the way. Lu Sheng soon returned to the Grace Garden and went into the main hall for a while. In the afternoon, He Xiangzi finally came back with a bag of stuff in her hands. It seemed the bag contained food and drinks.
"It's our food and drinks for the next two days. The Divine Fragrance Court will continue to send food later; these two days are the first phase of the internal struggle. The Jasper Palace consists of five districts, each housing five sects. If we want to maintain the rankings, we need to get at least the 60th place." He Xiangzi brought back specific news.
"60th? Why?" Lu Sheng asked. He'd originally thought it would be enough to beat just one school.
"Because we didn't meet the basic sect standards of the Hundred Lineages three times. According to the messy calculation method, we need to reach the 60th place in order to earn enough sect points to stabilize in the rankings." He Xiangzi looked exhausted, brimming with fatigue.
It would be extremely difficult to defeat one sect. Now, they had to defeat four. This difficulty was several times bigger, so she naturally felt anxiety.
"Junior Apprentice Brother... you.... I know you are stronger than I am. Do you have any assurance?" He Xiangzi finally looked at Lu Sheng with a bit of hope.
Although she knew from their teacher Liu Shanzi that Lu Sheng's qualifications far exceeded her own, He Xiangzi was still full of doubts.
The Prime Devil Sect started 64th and wanted to reach the 60th place. None of the sects in this district were easy opponents. In the past, they had all won at least five fights.
He Xiangzi had no confidence to achieve even one victory of the five. For the past Prime Devil Sect, being able to win even two times would already make them to thank the heavens and the earth.
"Rest assured, it's fine," Lu Sheng comforted her. "Rest for now, we'll officially begin tomorrow. Don't think too much."
"But, Junior Apprentice Brother..." He Xiangzi still wanted to say something; she'd learned a lot of insider information from Chen Yunxiang regarding their opponents from the Sun Genesis Sect.
"It's all right. Go to bed, I'm still here," Lu Sheng urged her repeatedly. He Xiangzi's only choice was to obediently retire.
After all, their teacher told her to just listen to Lu Sheng.
'But... I can't rely on my junior apprentice brother. I'm the senior apprentice sister. Even if I don't play a leading role, I have to contribute something to the sect.'
Even though He Xiangzi was convinced to go to bed, she made a decision.