Way Of The Devil Chapter 438
436 Heavenly Devil 1
"Brother," the crisp voice of a girl called out from behind him.
Another voice came.
Lu Sheng turned around, and saw two people walking toward him.
One was a teenage boy about 15 or 16, with a handsome face and traces of both rebelliousness and innocence in his eyes. He wore clean white clothes and appeared youthful and energetic.
The other was a girl and was slightly younger, about 14. She had the typical bangs of a little girl, while her long hair reached all the way to her waist elsewhere. Her eyes were big and watery, inspiring a general feeling of meekness and innocence.
"Ah, Little Quan and Zhenling." In Lu Sheng's memory, Lu Quan and Lu Zhenling were the young lord's closest brother and sister, respectively.
"Eldest Brother came to the shrine again," Lu Quan said rashly. "What's so interesting about the shrine? The ancestors liked quietness when they were alive, why would they want people visiting them every day when they are dead? Why don't we go spar, Brother!"
"Nonsense." Lu Zhenling patted Lu Quan's head wearily. "Eldest Brother hasn't recovered fully yet. Stop shouting about sparing when he just woke up. Besides, have you not lost enough?"
"Don't be so rude…" Lu Sheng smiled Lu Chong's usual kind smile.
These siblings of his were from the same bloodline, both born to the same parents.
"Maybe he'll suddenly be able to beat me one day." Lu Sheng patted Lu Quan's head.
The two siblings started to ask him about techniques on how to practice the family martial arts.
The Lu Family of the Purple Smoke Villa had always passed down a crude martial art technique called the Upper Forest Sword Forms. Lu Chong had become extremely proficient with it; unfortunately, the sword form was designed for ceremony instead of actual combat.
Lu Sheng answered their questions in detail one by one, then watched his brother and sister happily walk away. Someone approached at that moment, and whispered, "Young Master, the Villa Lord said you are to meet him in the Liancao Hall."
"Understood." Lu Sheng nodded. There were things to take care of the moment his body was healthy enough to stand.
He waited until his siblings had walked far away before moving. Following the walkway in the villa all the way, he soon arrived in front of a dark, damp, and generally strange building.
The door to the building was wide open, and a middle-aged man with a solemn face and serious posture stood there. The man looked handsome, and one could tell he had been quite attractive in his youth. He wore gray clothes that, though simplistic, were also very fine and ceremonious.
The man opened his mouth as soon as Lu Sheng arrived. "Is it Chong'er? Come in."
"Yes." Lu Sheng lowered his head, reacting how Lu Chong would.
Before he could understand the situation around him, he had no plan to break the cover Lu Chong's identity provided.
The middle-aged man was named Lu Dangfeng, and was the current Villa Lord of Purple Smoke Villa. He, too, was looking at his son that worried him very much with complicated emotions.
During the ceremony a while back, his eldest son was not accepted by the Protectors for some random reason, and was in fact kicked out and greatly wounded because of his heretic thoughts and insolence toward the said Protectors.
It seemed that he had recovered from the majority of his wounds, but would still face great difficulties if he wanted to pass the ceremony and inherit the position as the Villa Lord.
"Does it still hurt?" Lu Dangfeng asked in a soft voice. His heart had ultimately softened as he looked at his eldest son standing respectfully in front of him.
"Not anymore, Father," Lu Sheng replied in a low voice.
"Don't blame your father. You will understand eventually. The Purple Smoke Villa has kept this tradition for a long time—communicate with the Protectors, hold the ceremony for them, and guard the powerful seal underground. These are all our responsibilities." Lu Dangfeng's lips moved slightly, and his voice was low and unclear as if he was muttering to himself.
"Even your younger brother and sister have their matching Protectors now. If you can't gain the acceptance of a Protector, you won't be able to inherit the tradition of this villa that has lasted a millennium," Lu Dangfeng said wearily.
"I understand." Lu Sheng knew about these Protectors from Lu Chong's memories.
His father, Lu Dangfeng, would always whisper to himself things he didn't understand, like Protectors, Guardian Spirit, the seal of evil, guarding for a millennium, and other things like that.
Since he was a child, Lu Chong had heard these things so much that his ear might as well be covered in calluses, but he had never seen anything special or out of the ordinary.
Hence, he had stopped caring a long time ago.
"An additional ceremony will be held this afternoon, come with me," Lu Dangfeng continued.
"Understood." Lu Sheng nodded. He was curious about what this strange ceremony entailed as well.
"Alright, go prepare." Lu Dangfeng waved his hand.
Lu Sheng only then slowly retreated out of the dark and damp hall, and returned the way he came form.
When he was on his way, he passed by the training family guards by chance. He could see the training ground from the pathway, and noticed that a squad of 20 was sprinting around the training ground.
"Blade!" the soldier in the lead suddenly shouted.
Instantly, all 20 soldiers snapped their blades forward with murderous intent, lacking any unnecessary movements.
The silver blade reflected a swath of bright light under the sun.
"Shield!" the commander shouted again.
Instantly, all the soldiers turned, sheathed their blades, and blocked their front with the shield on their other arm, which covered most of their upper body.
'Impressive discipline.' Lu Sheng nodded silently. The speed and accuracy with which the orders were executed were impressive, even by the Great Yin's elite force standard.
Lu Sheng didn't stop again after he took back his gaze, and instead went back to rest in his living quarters.
After lunch, he drank some herbal congee to nourish his Qi and blood. Lu Sheng was then arranged to bathe with incense to calm his mind. Finally, under the lead of two maids in red dresses with icy faces, he met his father, Lu Dangfeng, again in the Liancao Hall.
This time, Lu Dangfeng wasn't the only one in the hall. Five ancient and deathly-looking family elders stood there with him.
The elders sat in the Liancao Hall in positions that allowed them to create a fan-shaped pattern, and Lu Dangfeng sat in the middle. The ground inside was carved with a dense circle of messy symbols and patterns, just as if a kid had drawn on it. But, some twisted pattern seemed to be hidden inside.
The lines of those drawings were blood-red and carved deep into the floorboard, emitting a mysterious and dark scent.
Lu Sheng was led to a black rock, and he, too, sat down at the edge of the formation pattern like everyone else.
Then, the two girls that escorted him slowly walked into the center of the formation.
With an abrupt scream, one of the girl's expressions suddenly turned fanatic. The other started to flail her hand around as if she was dancing some mysterious dance.
She danced stiffly like a doll, but her eyes were filled with madness, while the hissing sounds of bugs or snakes constantly came from her mouth.
The scream, on the other hand, rose and fell, and even included some strange rhythm.
Liancao Hall's door slowly closed.
Lu Dangfeng rose, and sat a fist-thick white candle on the pad at the front of the formation. It became the only source of light within the hall.
He started to chant something at the candle in a whisper.
The five elders on the side started to grab fistfuls of fake paper money, and threw them at the two girls.
Lu Sheng wasn't ordered to do anything, so he just sat there quietly.
The strange scream, strange dance, mysterious chant, dark candle light, and five odd elders who each had one foot in their graves… this scene looked wrong no matter what.
As time passed, Lu Sheng also sensed something was off.
At some point, an unknown aura appeared in the Liancao Hall. It was a very cold yet also ordinary aura.
He calmly glanced around, and realized to his surprise that two fuzzy black shadows had unknowingly appeared in the darkness at the edge of the formation of patterns.
The shadows watched the commotion like bystanders outside the formation, and quietly observed the screams and dances of the two girls.
Time passed by slowly, the number of shadows watching increased, becoming denser and denser.
The shadows stood in the dark, just outside the light provided by the candle. Ordinary people wouldn't be able to see them at all, but Lu Sheng was different.
He didn't use Lu Chong's body to sense them, and instead relied on the senses of his true body to observe. With that, the black shadows in the dark were crystal clear to him.
Lu Sheng took a deep breath, an unreasonable worry appearing in his mind.
He looked at the chanting Villa Lord Lu Dangfeng. That worry was for him.
'Every generation of Villa Lord has passed away in their prime. Father also seemed to be aging lately… Please don't let anything happen to him…' A thought popped into his mind.
Lu Sheng blanked out. He quickly reacted, though, and knew that it had to be the thought of Lu Chong, whom he'd just integrated with.
He closed his eyes and inspected the situation within his spirit in detail. That thought was like a white line on a blackboard, clearly highlighted, as well as extremely solid and eye-catching.
He tried to forget about this thought that came from nowhere, but it was of no use. It was as if the thought had become an obsession.
He had a weird feeling that if he completed this kharma, he would be completely done with this incident and get the clue he needed to return to the Great Yin.
It was a feeling that came from the depths of his spirit. The structure of one's spirit was extremely mysterious, and even in the Great Yin, there was no one that completely understood it. He wasn't sure either whether he should trust his gut or not.
'If my theory is correct, I came here because of the dark thoughts in Lu Chong's head. In other words, the Outer Heavenly Devil. Heavenly Devil… Devil… Maybe I came precisely because of this dark change within Lu Chong's mind. According to the usual trope, I need to complete Lu Chong's wish before I can complete the integration and control this portion of spirit.'
He thought about this in detail, and quickly decided to try what his gut told him to do. He didn't have any other option, anyways.
By the time he snapped out of his thoughts, the ceremony was already going through another change.
Lu Dangfeng had at some point picked up a small bow, which was filled with a wretched black liquid that reeked of blood.
A big black toad with green eyes had appeared in front of the candle as well.
Lu Dangfeng continued his chant, and started to spray the sticky black liquid onto the head of the toad.