The marriage was water under the bridge.
On the next day after Lu Sheng returned to Prime Devil Sect, he received Shangyang Jiuli's apologetic update.
The letter regarding Shanyang Ruo's attitude had been sent via a black bird. The arranged marriage was called off unilaterally by Shangyang Ruo. She did not say anything like changing the date of meeting. It was simply a polite but complete cancellation.
About this, Shangyang Jiuli specially wrote Lu Sheng a long letter to explain what had happened and even compensate him.
Things were falling in place for the Prime Devil Sect. More and more people begun joining the sect. Every day, they would be shouting and yelling as they cultivated secret arts. They might look imposing, but they were mostly rookies after all. Some of them had not even made it to Bind realm.
Lu Sheng buckled up his waist pouch and walked out of his cave. Liu Shanzi had recently locked himself up in his cave and nobody knew what he was up to. Apart from seeing He Xiangzi in the morning, he spent the rest of his time in his cave.
Passing by, Lu Sheng could not help but glance at his cave several times before he quickened his steps down the stairs towards his own cultivation spot.
One by one, as disciples passed him by, they would bow respectfully in greeting, which Lu Sheng returned.
Soon, he was across the dangerous bridge and arrived at the library. Many disciples were focused in their study in the library.
Lu Sheng silenced his steps and hastened towards the depths of the Prime Devil Sect.
Before long, he was back at the small lake in the River of Poisoned Fog. He moved aside the giant boulder he had left there to block the entrance, then slowly walked in. The lake had recovered to its original state.
Back when Lu Sheng discovered the many-armed clay monsters here, he had begun to think that some great secret must have been hidden in this place.
Moreover, since this place was a better hiding spot than even the secret cave he used to frequent, he dug a hole on the wall beside the cave and started cultivating there instead.
On the right side of the wall, Lu Sheng quickly found the mark he left on his cave.
Moving the boulder aside lightly, he entered it.
The cave was empty. Its inner walls were smooth and shiny, having been washed by him with the river water then scorched clean with inner Qi.
'The Phantom Listening Devil Body is the pinnacle state achieved after one merges one's own body with the Yin Devils. This is the perfect time for me to test whether this mode can last longer in contact with the remnant trace of a Holy Weapon.'
Lu Sheng swiftly sat down cross-legged, took out the jade box and slowly opened it.
Only a little bit of that white ash was left. Its powers of Law radiation effects were many times weaker than before.
Without further ado, Lu Sheng first entered the Yang Extreme Mode, then rapidly contracted his body to enter the third modethe Yin Yang Integration Destroyer Mode. Black flames raged and some wicked chant rang out around him. The chant was like a whisper by the ear and could disrupt and confuse the mind.
"Come on... let's try it again..."
Lu Sheng extended his hand. An intricate, complicated pattern appeared on his razor-sharp claws.
The greenish black claws slowly extended towards the white ash in the jade box.
A large tongue of black flame condensed in a frenzy and congealed into a drop of viscous inky black liquid. It dropped on the white ash.
Lu Sheng had at last activated fifty percent of all his Prime Devil Qi, ignited them with high temperature and turned them into toxic flames, then liquefied them to form the drop which landed on the white ash.
In that moment the liquefied toxic flame made contact with the white ash, a cloud of white smoke exploded outwards without warning.
Through the white smoke, Lu Sheng watched as the toxic flames were quickly neutralized by the white ash, like a drop of water boiled into steam by intense heat. Before the toxic flame could even touch the white ash, it had dissipated.
'Is this really the remnant trace of a Holy Weapon's radiation that's survived a long period of time? How can it still possess such power! What... what on earth is this power!?' Lu Sheng was shaken with alarm.
"The power of Law, the power of Law... ordinary elements versus the power of Law..." he mumbled. Lu Sheng continued to activate and channel more drops of liquefied toxic flame, sending them dropping into the white ash. But it was all in vain. The white ash did not even seem to be consumed at all. Perhaps there was some consumption, but it was so minute that it was invisible.
After a long while, when Lu Sheng had channelled toxic flames up to his limit, the white ash remained the same. There was as much of it left as when he had begun.
Thick white smoke filled the entire cave and visibility was virtually nil.
But Lu Sheng had no intention to go out and get a breather. He sat beside the jade box silently, staring in contemplation at the little bit of white ash that was left.
'The power of Law... power of Law... perhaps I should try inner Qi. Liquefied inner Qi,' the thought suddenly occurred to him.
Without hesitation, Lu Sheng extended his index finger again. Inner Qi begun circulating at high speed within him as he forced out a drop of liquefied Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies Skill inner Qi through his meridians to his fingertip.
The fingernail-sized drop of liquefied Qi, so viscous that it was almost like a solid pill composed of extremely condensed red smoke, seeped out of the tip of Lu Sheng's index finger.
The moment the liquefied Qi appeared, the temperature soared dramatically in the entire cave as if it was beside a fiery furnace. Even the walls of the cave which Lu Sheng had previously burnt were now showing signs of melting.
'A Holy Weapon is actually merely the composite of larger Divine Weapon shards. After some redistribution and coordination of energy, it's become easier to use. That's about it. So the nature of its power shouldn't be fundamentally different from that of Divine Weapons and Devil Blades. As long as I can stand up to the power of Holy Weapons, then it means...'
Lu Sheng placed the liquefied Qi near the white ash. This time, some small change finally appeared.
The white ash was decreasing at a visible rate, even though the liquefied Qi was disappearing at an obviously faster rate than the white ash.
"It's working!" Lu Sheng was seized with joy.
Rapidly, he prepared himself to expel a new drop of liquefied Qi. But a bizarre scene occurred.
Originally, a drop of liquefied Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies Skill inner Qi had been expended in his chest cavity, where he stored his liquefied Qi. But now, it had completely been replenished.
"Could it have been replenished by Aquarius Qi?" Lu Sheng inspected Yin Yang Jade Crane Aquarius Qi's liquefied inner Qi. There was no change at all. There were still ten complete drops.
Suddenly, he noticed that his Devil Qi had dipped in volume.
"Could it be..." his eyes widened. "Prime Devil Sect's Phantom Listening Devil Body can be used to replenish inner Qi??"
Skeptical, he tried it again.
A new drop of liquefied Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies inner Qi was forced out again, then landed on the white ash.
The white ash dissipated even faster than before now. Soon, only a tiny bit of it was left.
Lu Sheng again noticed that a new drop of liquefied Qi formed in him out of nothing, taking the spot of the drop of liquefied Qi that he had just forced out of his body.
Prime Devil Qi was expended again. But such expenditure could be replenished in the blink of an eye by the Phantom Listening Devil Body.
"Now that's impressive!" Lu Sheng was truly astonished. When he detonated his full thousand-year cultivation to the fullest extent, his might and power would certainly skyrocket. But the ensuing inner Qi replenishment would be a massive project that would take several days as well.
But now, he had Prime Devil Qi as fuel for replenishment. He calculated the volume of Prime Devil Qi expended based on the existing level of storage left in his Phantom Listening Devil Body.
Lu Sheng calculated with precision that he needed to detonate his full strength twenty times in one sitting to instantly deplete all his Prime Devil Qi. And that was based on the assumption that the Phantom Listening Devil Body could not automatically recover.
In actual fact, this Devil Body's recuperative effects were off the charts. By the time he had detonated his full strength twenty times, most of his Devil Body would have recovered.
In that way, he had an unlimited cycle. As long as the Devil Qi stored in Yin Devils was sufficient.
In actual fact, the Phantom Listening Devil Body mainly relied on Yin Devils as its external reserves for Prime Devil Qi. Lu Sheng's nine Yin Devils were unprecedentedly powerful and had storage volumes that exceeded that of others. Naturally, he managed to make such a sick achievement.
'Looks like this Phantom Listening Devil Body is far more useful than I imagined.' Lu Sheng did not make any further attempts. Not much of the Holy Weapon white ash was left and he had gotten the results he wanted.
Based on his own unit of measurement, he had divided the white ash into ten portions. Basically, ten units.
One unit of white ash carried enough power of Law to neutralize twenty-five units of liquefied Qi. And this was Holy Weapon radiation weakened over many days.
'They're not of the same league at all.' Lu Sheng gave up.
This meant that he needed to compress his liquefied Qi twenty-five times more than the status quo to match the level of a weakened Holy Weapon remnant trace.
And strengthening the liquefied Qi first required a stronger physical body. Presently, his physical body was already at the limits of imagination.
'Even when faced with the weakened version of the remnant traces of the power of Law, I need a body that's at least twenty-five times stronger. What about the original remnant traces of the power of Law? What about the actual power of Law?' For the first time, thick helplessness crept up in Lu Sheng's heart.
To arrive at that level, he had no idea how much Mental Energy he needed to expend.
'If only the power of Law can resist the power of Law, then I need to find a power of Law that's most suitable for myself. Or perhaps I need to be clear about what on earth is the power of Law??' He sighed at length. 'What's the greatest difference between the power of Law and ordinary power?'
White smoke churned in the cave. Lu Sheng sat upright on the ground in deep contemplation.
'The power of Devils can resist the power of Law. They should be in the same league. Perhaps the power of Devils belongs to another category of Law. Then why is it that Prime Devil Secret Art which imitates the power of Devils has fallen to the state of ordinary elements?'
Suddenly, he thought of the sealed being under the saber which he had encountered in the secret arts hall.
'Maybe it knows the answer.'
At that thought, Lu Sheng wasted no time to get up, leave the cave, revert to Yin Extreme Mode and dash towards the secret arts hall.
Without stopping along the way, he arrived at the doors of the secret arts hall in no time.
Two new disciples guarded its doors. At the sight of Lu Sheng, they quickly greeted him. Lu Sheng replied with a smile, "You've worked hard, Junior Apprentice Brothers."
"It's our duty. Don't mention it, Senior Apprentice Brother," one of them replied, smiling ear to ear.
Lu Sheng nodded and strode through the doors. As before, spikes rose up from the ground inside. The chains on them were spick and span as if they had been cleaned.
He walked to the door of the hall and pushed gently, opening a gap in it and quickly squeezing through it.
With great familiarity, he passed through the various sections of the secret arts hall. Lu Sheng quickly arrived at the bizarre room from before.
The long saber remained stabbed in the large boulder in the middle from before, not budging at all.
Lu Sheng strode up to the boulder, reached for the saber and grabbed it. Slowly, he pulled it upwards.
As the saber blade began moving up from the boulder, a faint tremor began spreading from the boulder to the entire room.
"I... I have been asleep for... Eh? IT'S YOU AGAIN!!" That deep evil voice instantly roared in fury. Clearly, it recognized Lu Sheng.
"You've come to make a fool out of this King again!?"