Gong Ruqing, who had only been calling out a second ago, was once again hacked into two halves by a flick of Lu Shengs saber. Both halves of her body split from each other, falling to each side.
"Young Master Li Young Master Li!!! Qingqings in pain"
Li Shunxis face turned green as he hurried to keep up with Lu Sheng. Duan Mengan and Ning San too broke out in cold sweat as they followed along.
Lu Sheng barely strode out of the kitchen when he felt a powerful gust of air blowing in his face.
Lightning quick, he lifted his saber across his body as a shield.
A deafening collision reverberated all over. Lu Sheng was driven back several steps, shockingly sent off balance by a pitch-black silhouette!
"Another Soul of the Dead!?" Li Shunxi was shocked to see the black figure. What on earth was this Manor for two Souls of the Dead to appear within it, one after another? Before this, he had seen such supernatural beings only in books!
These supernatural beings were indestructible, built with skin of bronze and bones of iron. Fire was their only Achilles heel. They were basically the hardest to deal with among ghosts. And to think that they would run into one after another right here!
As Li Shunxi was frozen in his steps with astonishment, Lu Sheng had already locked himself in combat with the second Soul of the Dead.
After a series of intense collisions, both black figures smashed through the kitchen wall on the right and fell through it.
Duan Mengan supported Li Shunxi, dashing out of the kitchen with Ning San. Behind them, a whole gang of ghosts--Young Misses and guards--were hot on their heels.
These ghosts were extremely fast. One of them clawed Duan Mengan fiercely in his back, penetrating his hard body skill in an instant and leaving five streaks of bloody wounds.
Duan Mengan screamed hoarsely, his steps increasing in speed.
Li Shunxi and Ning San had no ability to stop and care for him; they too doubled their pace as they sped towards the Manor's exit.
In the middle of the backyard, Lu Sheng slammed his right palm, crimson like blood, into the chest of the Soul of the Dead. At the same time, the Soul of the Deads foot landed heavily on his abdomen. A flash of blood surged up Lu Shengs face. Clearly, he received internal injuries.
"DIE!!!" Lu Sheng clutched and pulled back the Soul of the Deads head, baring its neck. Gripping his straight saber like a vice in his other hand, he slashed across it without hesitation.
A jet of ink-black blood sprayed all over him.
"BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM!!!" The Soul of the Dead struggled in a fit, landing punches and kicks on Lu Shengs body till Lu Shengs face turned an unnatural red.
Lu Sheng had already activated Black Tiger Jade Crane Skill, supplemented by Yin Yang Attraction, rapidly healing the injuries within him.
Given the dire situation, he had no choice but to resort to exchanging blow for blow in a bid to dispatch the Soul of the Dead in the shortest time possible. Otherwise, as time dragged on, who knew what fishy business this Manor would sneak up on them again.
Although the Soul of the Deads incessant blows caused rather significant injuries to Lu Sheng, they werent irreversible. Black Tiger Jade Crane Skills special effect was homeostasis, after all. The moment a blood vessel burst, blood loss was immediately stemmed by his inner force. A few days were all it took for it to heal afterwards; thus, the multiple wounds on Lu Sheng were no worse than a few cuts on the finger to him.
Had it not been for his worry that it would consume too much of his inner force and leave him dry, Lu Sheng would long have had used his Tiger Roar & Crane Song Saber. One strike of that technique would have sent this Soul of the Dead to oblivion.
"Boss! Lets go!!!" In the distance, Duan Mengan turned and yelled. They had exploited the opportunity to make a run for the distance and were presently going around the house for the courtyard in front of them.
Lu Sheng sent the Soul of the Dead flying with one palm strike. Without waiting for it to dissolve, he stomped hard on the ground, borrowing the force of the impact to launch himself forwards into the air.
With a few big strides, he caught up with the three of them and they all made a run for the Manor exit.
"Why must we go through the main exit? Cant we just climb over the walls?" Ning San asked.
"No, we cant! This is a Ghost Formation. Going across the wall will land us back in the kitchen cellar. Thats where the core of the formation is! Quick! Destroy that tree!" Entering the courtyard, Li Shunxi pointed to the withered tree right in its middle, beside the stone bridge, and yelled.
With all his might, Duan Mengan smashed himself into the black withered tree, which was as thick as a forearm, breaking its trunk in the middle. The top half of the tree bent over backwards, collapsing onto the ground.
Duan Mengan himself was knocked out of his bearings by the impact. Ning San carried him and the gang rushed towards the Manor's exit.
With a backhand slash, Lu Sheng smacked a ghost guard in pursuit into the ground.
"AHHH!!!" Without warning, an ear-piercing scream rang out back in the courtyard.
The little girl, Song Yunjuan, was racing towards the exit with a ghost with disheveled hair right behind her.
"HELP!!!" Song Yunjuans face was sickly pale. A trifle unsteadily, she caught herself before she almost tripped as she ran. Tears and mucus streaked across her horror-filled face.
"Its the little girl from the Manor!" Li Shunxi paused in his steps with a face full of hesitation. He glanced at the ghost behind her. Compared to the distance between them and the little girl, the ghost was still far off. There was perfectly adequate room for them to save her before continuing their escape.
"You guys go ahead first!" He said, unable to bear leaving her in the lurch.
Duan Mengan and Ning San glared at him.
"Boss is even further ahead of us. If they catch you, nobodys gonna come back for you!"
"Cut the crap! Just go while the formation is down!" Li Shunxi set his mind on his decision. He simply did not have it in him to leave such a young little girl to die in this dangerous Manor.
Duan Mengan and Ning San glanced at the little girl and began to hesitate too.
"Help! Brother! Big Brother!!!" As Song Yunjuan ran, she suddenly tripped over a piece of sharp stone and momentarily fell on the ground. The female ghost behind her pounced towards her.
She shut her eyes tight and screamed at the top of her lungs.
The deep sound of impact echoed across the courtyard. Lu Sheng rushed up from behind them and clutched onto the female ghosts head. His palm glowed crimson as he released scorching heat into it, causing it to sizzle with white smoke.
With a flip of his hand, he sent it smashing into the distance behind him violently.
Rescued from danger, Song Yunjuan looked at Lu Sheng with eyes full of gratitude.
"Thank you, Big"
Without warning, Lu Sheng delivered a kick straight into her, launching her up in the air till she smashed onto one of the Manors pillars. The collision sent her rebounding back into the air.
A gleam from Lu Shengs saber flashed across the air, slicing Song Yunjuan into two halves from the waist. Her pretty eyes were opened wide, as if she had hardly even had time to comprehend what had happened. Blood spilled across the ground.
"Boss !!!" Duan Mengan and Ning San stared in dumb shock.
Li Shunxi was dumbfounded too. He had not expected this outcome in the slightest.
Without paying attention to them in the slightest, Lu Sheng strode to the Manor door and hacked it into pieces with one saber strike.
The wooden door was smashed to pieces. Lu Sheng was the first to dash out. Only then did the trio including Li Shunxi behind him come to their senses and hurried out after him.
Once out of the manor, however, the three of them looked dazedly at the scene before them.
A densely packed company of men and horses, numbering in the hundreds, surrounded them outside the Manor.
Lu Sheng sprinted to the front of the company, grabbing over an already lit torch in his hand.
"RAZE IT!" He bellowed.
"RAZE!" A Crimson Whale Sect leader yelled.
Instantly, the company of sect disciples lit their arrows and pulled their bows, aiming right at Song Manor.
"Swish swish swish swish!!!"
Dozens of fire arrows flew in an arc and landed in the Manor like meteors, setting the entire Manor on flames in the blink of an eye.
The red flames rapidly grew stronger and more intense till they became a blaze.
Lu Sheng climbed on a horse, staring coldly at the blazing Manor, his face impassive and his body unmoving.
The flames raged on as everybody watched on.
"Young Master, the firewood on all four sides was lit ablaze," a small leader licked his lips as he reported.
"Continue shooting the fire arrows!" Lu Sheng ordered coldly.
Swiftly, the sect disciples pulled their bows again and lit the oil sachets on their arrowheads.
"Swish swish swish swish!!"
Another volley of fire arrows flew out and landed viciously into the Manor.
Abruptly, a petite figure emerged out of the blazing flames in the Manors exit. It was the little girl Song Yunjuan!
Flames raged all over her body as she roared savagely at the company of sect disciples outside.
The roar did not sound human at all. It sounded more like the roar of some wild beast!
In the fire, the little girl suddenly charged towards the exit--only to slam into what seemed like an invisible wall, unable to come out.
She shrieked and screamed at the company of men, her small face gradually melting like wax. Yet even then, her eyes and mouth remained three black gaping holes, roaring on.
A straight saber spinning at high speed smashed squarely into the little girls face, ramming her back into the flames in the Manor.
Lu Sheng put down his arm and yelled, "Keep shooting! Down to the very last arrow!"
Near frightened to death by the earlier sight, the company of men had almost failed to maintain their formation. But Lu Shengs yell jolted them out of their shock. They tightened the grip on their bows and fired off several more volleys of arrows into the Manor after some hesitation.
Several more volleys of arrows later, the Manor was finally entirely consumed by flames.
"KA-CHA!" Without warning, a charred figure dashed out of the Manor gates, falling to the ground and rolling over. The flames on his body were soon extinguished, but roars kept being emitting from his mouth.
The sect disciples jumped in fright. Some among them pulled their bows, ready to fire a few arrows into this man.
"Hold!" Lu Sheng lifted his arm, stopping them.
He stepped forward quickly and took a look. Faintly, he was able to recognize that the man on the ground was the scholar he had caught sight of when he had passed by the Manor back then.
The burns all over his body had caused bloody blisters. His face was charred, yet his features remained shaped into what was unmistakably a smile. In fact, it was a grin.
Seeing Lu Sheng approach, the scholar lay prone on the ground. Trembling, he scribbled a few words on the ground: I am human.
"Bring him away for treatment. Hes a man, not a ghost," Lu Sheng instructed.
The orders had been given, but none among them dared to near him.
Only after a long while did a few bold sect disciples come forward and lift the scholar up for a close scrutiny.
"Heavens! This man has had his tongue cut off! No wonder he cant speak," an old disciple swallowed and exclaimed.
Lu Sheng recognized him as the scholar he had seen previously only because of his outfit.
The key to why he was able to distinguish between ghosts and living people was mainly because of his extremely acute five senses. Each of the three inner force skills under Lu Shengs mastery required several decades of diligent cultivation by ordinary cultivators. Combined together, they gave him an inner force of such density and depth it was equivalent to over a hundred years of hard work by an ordinary cultivator.
Such inner force cultivation had amplified his five senses to a terrifying extent. Within ten meters, he could even hear the heartbeat and breathing of others clearly.
This was also the key to how he was able to discover that Gong Ruqing and the rest were ghosts.
In addition to this discovery, the footprints left before the main door comprised only the three of theirs and Li Shunxis. Of the rest, not a single one could be found.
Although it was in the darkness of night, Lu Sheng noticed this detail with his powerful vision.
The facts combined gave birth to a speculation in his mind. Thereafter, he observed them closely and picked up a particular faint scent on Gong Ruqing that was exactly the same as that found on the little girl Song Yunjuan.
He knew then that his guess was not far from the truth.