Way Of The Devil Chapter 445
443 Hidden Grounds 2
Great Xia, Chao'an County.
The scorching sun burned the ground, and although many people walked on the street, only a few held parasols. They walked with hurried steps, from one shop to another.
The gray wooden buildings occasionally made crackling noises under the fiery sun.
In the Green Coat Inn to the south of the County Capital, two servers were lazily sitting on a long bench inside of the entrance. They held a wooden basin filled with cold water, and constantly wetted the floor.
As soon as the water touched the ground, a wave of dust would puff up visibly, along with a faint sign of steam.
"Damn this weather! Why is it so hot!?" one of the servers muttered under his breath. He wiped the sweat off his forehead, then wiped his hand with the towel on his shoulder.
"Anyone here?" Suddenly, two men dressed in the minor constable uniforms of the yamen walked in. Despite being muscular and strong, both were breathing hard, their black uniforms lined with red drenched in sweat and clinging to their body. Even looking at it was uncomfortable.
"Lord Zhang! Lord Li! This way, please! Master just brought in a new basin of white ice to the second floor, most guests are there." One of the servers hurriedly greeted them.
"Hah, I knew Master Jin would take care of this. He even got his hands on white ice that only rich officials can afford!"
The two constables were immediately pleased, and walked up the stairs.
Before the two of them could walk up, though, another shape appeared before the door.
"Server, bring a full table of meals. Your signature dishes will do. Also, lots of rice," a calm, male voice called out from outside.
The two servers turned to look in its direction, and both of their hearts jumped.
This guest in front of them was abnormally muscular. He wore a conical hat and gray clothing, and his exposed wrists were as large as an ordinary man's arm. When he walked up to the door, it was as if a wall had closed in, blocking most of the light from outside.
"Of… of course! This way, sir." One of the servers hurriedly greeted him.
The two constables also stopped in their tracks, and looked at him from above. They were startled as well.
"The Chen Family's bounty truly attracted a lot of freaks we shouldn't cross paths with. Let's mind our own business and go drink." The older of the two patted the other on the back. "This doesn't concern us."
The two of them whispered, but the man in the conical hat still heard them clearly.
He raised his head and took off his hat, exposing an ordinary but cold and apathetic face with a sliver of cruelness. It was Lu Sheng, who had left Purple Smoke Villa a while back.
As soon as he got the location of the three white gold pillars from Ju Yan, he rode straight for the first location without stopping, and arrived at Chao'an County.
The Chao'an County was a remote county surrounded by mountains, and Lu Sheng had to ask around to get directions.
He found out that the largest Chen Family in the county experienced something strange in recent years. They had bounties put out, and promised to reward whomever could solve their problems, though to no avail.
However, recently the Chen Family brought out another precious treasure as the reward, and promised that whoever could solve the strange problem would get it.
The treasure was named the Eight Jewels Coral Bowl, a set of delicate fiery red coral ornaments embedded full with gems, pearls, and jade. It was extremely precious, and was only slightly worse compared to the even more precious powered treasures.
A legend in the Jianghu even claimed that this coral bowl was the personal belonging of the famous Nine Palace Sword Sage, who died of an accident years ago. The horrifyingly powerful techniques that allowed the Nine Palace Sword Sage to stand on top of the world were purportedly contained within.
With the spread of this rumor, countless men of the Jianghu with all sorts of skills swarmed in from everywhere, numerous to the point where even the largest Chen Family within the county was as fragile as an egg, powerless to keep the vast amounts of Jianghu masters in check.
The situation was quite troublesome as the government didn't know what to do with these masters that swaggered about, either, and could only increase the guards, impose a curfew, and use other such measures.
Lu Sheng also took the opportunity to understand the general power of this world. The Jianghu of the Great Xia relied primarily on the traditional cultivation of Inner Qi and outer techniques. There were famous secluded sects among the Jianghu, while every province and region had their own regional powers. There was also the Hu Cult, which represented the evil side, as well as the Mountain River Sect, Mountain Tai Sect, and Divine Will Sect that represented the righteous side.
Lu Sheng learned of all this when he interrogated some bandits he came across on the road, but he still had no idea how strong the peak level masters were. Fortunately, he came in time for the Chen Family incident, a perfect opportunity to check out the situation.
During his travels, he studied the basic Spiritual Power techniques Ju Yan gave him as well as the Heavenly Devil Jade Code, and gained a basic understanding of what to do in the future.
But, he didn't want to bluntly cultivate these techniques Ju Yan gave him, so he planned to find some test subjects first.
The basic Spiritual Power techniques were easy enough since he had enough Spiritual Power. He could establish a foundation by force by imitating the Protector San Bu.
Yet, he still didn't know what to do with the Heavenly Devil Jade Code.
Holding onto his conical hat, Lu Sheng looked around.
"The first floor will do. It's quieter down here." He ignored the server's nervous greeting and introduction, and went straight for a table in the corner.
The other server hurriedly brought up a small plate of a cold appetizer and a pot of cold water.
"Please enjoy! Preparing the meal will take some time though, sir." The server tried his best to be respectful. This master in front of him was obviously the cruel kind that prefered fists over words—definitely not someone he could provoke.
"Mhm. You may go now." Lu Sheng picked up a peanut, and started to chew slowly.
When the servers left, the first floor of the inn returned to silence. The faint sound of barking dogs sounded in the distance, mixed in with the music of a lute.
Lu Sheng was quite satisfied by this tranquility. Though it was really hot, the temperature didn't affect him. After his Spiritual Power had reached a certain point, all of the Essence Qi within his body had turned gold, and his every move was filled with horrifying power. Plus, he also cultivated certain outer way hard techniques from the Ultimate Eight-Headed Devil Way, which meant that unless there was extreme heat or cold, nothing would faze him.
After a few plates of appetizers, the quietness of the inn was broken as another group came. All of them were young people in fine clothes.
They were three boys and two girls, and all of them looked around 18. All had either swords or blades hanging on their waists, and all of them bound their hair cleanly like men of Jianghu usually did. Unfortunately, the naivety on their faces betrayed the fact they were merely trying to imitate their seniors' image.
"Isn't this Young Master Qun? And he's even brought some ladies! This way please, this way!"
The chubby innkeeper hurriedly ran down from the second floor to greet these young sons and daughters of some most likely rich family.
"Master Jin, we haven't visited your Green Coat Inn in a long time. Hurry and bring out whatever new dish you came up with. This damn weather is too hot. I'm drenched in sweat after only a short walk." The young man in lead had a mild manner, though that still couldn't hide his confidence and pride.
"Of course, of course. Old Jin remembered all his dishes, I will tell the young lords and ladies as soon as you are seated in your room," Innkeeper Jin said as he brought the rich guests to the second floor.
This group of young men and women noticed Lu Sheng eating in the corner as they walked up the stairs. All of them were instantly intrigued.
After all, Lu Sheng was dressed exactly like the heroes of Jianghu described in the martial stories they heard. Although he looked savage, that didn't stop their curiosity.
They came to the Green Coat precisely because they heard many men of Jianghu were visiting, and wanted to see something interesting as well as show off their family's martial art skills, establishing their name in the Jianghu.
The group was led by Chen Qun, a junior of the Chen Family. He was the only one among the group to have cultivated his family's Unmatched Seven Plum Sword Forms to the sub-mastery level.
A loud noise as if an argument broke out followed shortly after the young lords and ladies walked up the stairs. However, the commotion soon died down.
Lu Sheng continued to eat his meal. He finished a table of food already, and was very satisfied with the taste. Thus, he told the server to bring up another table.
Soon after, another strange duo appeared at the door.
They were a hunched man wearing a vest made out of coins and a slim woman dressed in white who wore a veil and sword on her waist.
"Bring wine, the best ones. The more, the better!" the hunchback, who had his head full of white hair lowered, ordered in a raspy voice as soon as he entered.
"Of course! Of course! Please sit, we will bring wine soon!" The server immediately knew these were Jianghu masters, and hurriedly directed them upstairs.
But the hunchback glanced around, saw Lu Sheng in the corner, and then stopped in his tracks.
"First floor." He and the middle-aged woman sat one table away from Lu Sheng.
Lu Sheng glanced at them, but didn't make any other moves, and continued on with his meal. He could sense something big was brewing inside the Green Coat, though he wasn't concerned. He was only a spectator.
After the hunchback and his companion sat down, several others walked in. Some had blades, other came with swords. There were even some with steel whips and morning stars. All of them were obviously people of the Jianghu.
The atmosphere got more and more tense. Even though more people came in, their voices got quieter.
As time passed, the sun started to slant in the sky, but still no one in the inn wanted to make a move, just as if they were afraid of something. Everyone ate their dishes and sipped their wine, all while cautiously glancing around.
Lu Sheng slowly finished his 3rd table of dishes before wiping his mouth with a hot towel. He leaned his back against the wall, and started to sip his wine.
Suddenly, a loud noise came from the stairway to the second floor.
"F*ck your mom! You really think I won't touch you, little bastard??" a rough voice roared in anger.
The roar was followed by a wave of metal clashing against metal.
"Brother Qun!" a few young men and women screamed in shock.
A figure rolled down the stairs, all the way down until he slammed onto the first floor.
Lu Sheng glanced at him. It was the proud rich boy, Chen Qun.
He held a broken sword in his hand, his handsome face swollen. Judging by his looks, he was beaten pretty badly.
"This brother whose name I don't know yet, that kid only said something disrespectful by accident. No need for violence, is there?" An elderly voice rang out upstairs.
"I am Bie Feihe of Cloud Creek, and I WILL cut this little bastard today. One arm and one leg, no more and no less. Don't blame me for being cruel if anyone dares stop me!" The rough voice announced his name coldly.
As soon as he said that, both floors went quiet.
Even the hunchback beside Lu Sheng's blinked slightly.
No one else dared to talk more.[ED/N: On a side note, the "blades" the author refers to every so often are basically any sword-like weapon with a single blade.]