The carriage traveled on steadily, following along four, five turns and passing through a plaza before finally arriving at a relatively secluded street.
Lu Sheng paid the fare, alighted, and raised his head to look at the a large stone signboard standing in the corner of the street.
The grayish white stone stood like a giant finger with clear red letters carved into it: Fine Treasures Hall.
"Master Lu! Aiyo, why didnt you tell us in advance that you were coming? We would have sent out a welcome team to greet you!" The store owner rushed out to apologize once he saw Lu Sheng.
Among those in the know in Mountain-Edge City, who would be ignorant of External Head Lus reputation as the one who beat Sect Master Gongsun to death? Immediately after that battle, he had forged an image for himself in their heartsthat of a powerful but brutal expert.
"Please enter! Please enter!" The store owner was a rotund man who did his best to open his small eyes wide. Every now and then, he would wipe sweat off his face with his sleeves. Presently, he led Lu Sheng into the store.
"Wheres the stuff?" Lu Sheng could not bother to admire the faade of the store. He was in a rush to upgrade himself while the Zhen Family and ghost faction were in the heat of battle, busy with each other.
"Here! The stuffs all here!" The store owner quickly replied. After leading Lu Sheng into the store, they passed through it into the rear hall and came to two large crates in the corner of it.
"This has truly just been unearthed. We havent even had the time to wash the smell of earth off them. Please put up with it for a while," the store owner smiled apologetically.
"You two. Open up these crates!"
Hastily, he instructed the store employees standing aside to open the crates.
These muscular employees came forward, unlocked the crates and swiftly opened their lids.
The lids slammed into the wall behind them in a deep thud, revealing a host of random assorted artifacts.
"No problem, theyre fresh like I wanted them to be," Lu Sheng was not bothered. Squatting down, he randomly picked up a bronze sword.
No Yin Qi.
He switched to a bronze candlestick.
No Yin Qi either.
The third one was a short iron sword.
"Ill look through them on my own. No need to care about me, go busy yourselves," Lu Sheng said casually.
But how would the store owner dare to leave? He was not the real owner of this store in the first place, but rather an acting onehe was merely the general steward in charge of the entire Fine Treasures Hall. One day, he had suddenly received a message from above that Crimson Whale Sects External Head Lu was coming to his branch to pick out some items. Instantly, he hurried over from his house to welcome Lu Sheng.
Silently, he motioned for the two employees to move away. He himself retreated several steps, remaining behind to await possible orders.
One by one, Lu Sheng cast the artifacts aside. Before long, he had completely gone through all the ten over items in the first crate. Not a single drop of Yin Qi could be found among them.
But that was to be expected. Yin Qi could be stored in objects but dissipated quickly. Objects that prevented Yin Qi from dissipating were extremely rare.
Lu Sheng walked to the second box, squatted down, and continued looking through them.
One by one, the objects were taken out and cast aside. Halfway through the box, Lu Sheng abruptly paused in his motion. In his hands was a gold-threaded red jade bangle. Ignoring the black mud stains on it, he held it up to his eye to scrutinize it.
Threads of cold Yin Qi poured unceasingly from the bangle into Lu Shengs hand.
He examined the bangle and found a small line of fine words on it.
Where art thou, Nine Phoenixes of the clear stream?
"Where did this bangle come from?" He picked it up and asked the owner.
"In reply to Masters question, these objects were all gathered from independent contractors. As for which of them specifically, were not sure either," the store owner replied with difficulty.
"Fine, then. Its alright," Lu Sheng placed the jade bangle by his side and continued flipping through the remaining objects.
This time, he was no longer as lucky; none of the remaining objects carried Yin Qi within them.
Lu Sheng picked up the gold-threaded jade bangle and stood up.
"Ill take this bangle. Name a price."
The owner took the bangle and looked at it.
"Since Master Lu is willing to patronize us, well just charge the base pricetwenty taels."
Lu Sheng handed over silver notes worth twenty taels, took the bangle, and left the rear hall.
"Should new stock arrive in the future, remember to notify me," he instructed the store owner before leaving.
"Rest assured, I will, I will!" The store owner plastered on a wide smile as he replied.
Carrying the jade bangle, Lu Sheng hailed a carriage and headed straight back to the greenhouse.
All the way back, the jade bangle was unceasingly pouring Yin Qi into Lu Shengs body.
Back in the greenhouse, he returned to his room to rest. After instructing that he was not to be disturbed, he closed the doors.
Lu Sheng sat and poured the tea from the teapot over the bangle to clean it, then he used a handkerchief to wipe it dry. Instantly, the jade bangle turned bright and clean.
Under light, the red jade shone with the rich color of blood.
By then, almost all the Yin Qi in the bangle had been absorbed by Lu Sheng.
The Modifier flashed into existence before Lu Shengs eyes.
He focused on the area behind his martial arts boxes. Thankfully, there were selections after most of his martial arts, with the sole exception of Yin-Yang Jade Crane Skill.
He looked again at Ultimate Crimson Mantra. There was also a button after his Level Six Ultimate Crimson Mantra! Apparently, the Yin Qi absorbed this time was sufficient to upgrade it by one level.
Begin martial arts extrapolation? The Modifier's enquiry appeared again.
Yes, Lu Sheng thought for a moment before deciding. The enquiry box disappeared. He quickly zoomed in on Ultimate Crimson Mantra. The button after it was still there.
In order to counteract Bind poison, the only thing that works is inner force of Yang-attribute. Ultimate Crimson Mantra has got to be my priority for upgrading. Its also my main weapon against the supernatural.
Having made up his mind, he quickly focused and pressed on the button behind Ultimate Crimson Mantra.
Once the button was pressed, the Modifier screen blurred and swiftly came into focus again. The words on it had changed as well. Ultimate Crimson Mantra: Level Seven. Special Effect(s): Blood Web, Intensified Fire Poison, Six-Fold Tremor, Intensified Incendiary.
Blood web indeed, as I expected, Lu Sheng was seized with excitement.
According to the manual, after attaining pinnacle mastery of Ultimate Crimson Mantra, all inner Qi in the body will form an unceasing cycle and firepower will reach the maximum. As a natural result, a network of inner Qi will form a layer that covers the entire bodys skin.
This was the blood web mentioned in the manual.
As for how powerful this blood web was, Lu Sheng was in the dark. Although he sensed that his cultivation force was rapidly inflating and expanding, he did not really detect many other, finer changes.
Once again, he opened the white box and took out a porcelain vial from within. Pulling out the stopper, he gently poured a drop of black liquid into his palm.
White smoke wafted up into the air and the stink of rotten flesh spread out.
Lu Sheng could clearly see the black liquid shaking and trembling in his palm, as if it had been dripped onto a boiling pot. Swiftly, it shrank as it evaporated, then finally disappeared thoroughly.
One drop is a piece of cake now. Took me only three breaths to completely nullify it, Lu Sheng felt for the consumption of inner Qi. The quality of Ultimate Crimson Qi has also risen. It took only twenty percent of my inner force to achieve the same results as previously. So, although it seems like there wasnt much increase in volume, in actual fact my real cultivation base has expanded up to four times! It is indeed the pinnacle realm of Ultimate Crimson Mantra, after all.
Lets try the blood web now, Lu Sheng stood up and activated all his inner force.
Immediately, he detected an invisible layer of inner Qi web emerging on his skin, protecting every inch of skin on his body.
Interesting, he lifted his index finger and slowly extended it towards the tabletop.
When his finger was an inch away from the table top, Lu Sheng felt as if something was obstructing his progress in front of his fingertip and it was unable to continue.
Moreover, this thing felt like cotton, extremely bouncy. He could press forward for a bit, but still could not touch the tabletop.
Suddenly, the table top was lit up in flames. The flames rapidly spread across the entire tablecloth.
Although it provides a certain defense and even carries fire poison attribute within it, its temperature is too low and it burns too slowly. I had to touch the tablecloth for a few breaths before I could light it in flames Lu Sheng picked up the teapot and poured its contents out on the tabletop, immediately extinguishing the sparks of fire.
Against mortals, ordinary experts, this blood web is indeed extremely effective. I just need to wear a set of animal hide armor. With this layer of blood web as a buffer, any attacks, no matter how strong, can be slowed and reduced in strength.
But against ghosts, this wont be enough. Ive gotta continue strengthening it!
Oh yes, Changing the Heavens in Seven Days Saber Technique also releases a web-like Qi force. Perhaps the two can stack? Lu Sheng quickly checked the Ultimate Crimson Mantra manual.
It was a pity that according to the manual, Changing the Heavens in Seven Days merely imitated the special effect of Level Seven of Ultimate Crimson Mantra to create a weaker version of it. Now that he already possessed a Level Seven cultivation base, Changing the Heavens in Seven Days seemed a little useless.
Well, I happen to have a Grade A, Third Class contribution merit that allows me to pick a martial art I like. Grade A contribution should probably be enough for me to choose one of the best inner force mantras, isnt it? Lu Sheng thought helplessly.
Even if he had attained pinnacle mastery of Ultimate Crimson Mantra, reaching the heights achieved by former Crimson Sun Sect Chiefs, that was barely enough for him to resist merely half the poison in the power of Bind, according to the samples he had in the porcelain vials.
Lu Sheng surmised that the level of difficulty in resisting the poison in Bind was proportionate to its defensive power.
If that was the case, then even if he were to expend all his inner force at maximum power, he had to double it at the very least to break through the defensive barrier of Bind.
"External Head! Sect Master has orders for the entire upper management to assemble in the Crimson Whale!"
Jade Lotus voice rang out from outside all of a sudden.
"The entire upper management?" Lu Shengs eyes narrowed. "Did he say why?"
"No, sir," Jade Lotus was frustrated too. He was, after all, not considered a part of upper management. He had the capability, but was lacking in cultivation and needed more training. Otherwise, he wouldn't be out of the loop now.
"I understand. Im coming out now. It just so happens that I need to make a trip to the headquarters anyway."
Lu Sheng kept the porcelain vial into the box and kept the box under his bed before tidying his robes and opening the door.
"The horse has been prepared. External Head, please take better care of it. A good horse costs a hefty sum. Nobody can stomach that kind of losses if you keep losing your mounts," Jade Lotus reminded Lu Sheng helplessly. All the horses that Lu Sheng rode out on had always landed up missing. As a result, the Mountain-Edge City branch was left without a single good horse.
"Got it," Lu Sheng chuckled. He left the house and a disciple immediately led a healthy maroon horse to him.
"Oh, and tonight you may retrieve Lu Chenxins corpse. Its time, isnt it?" He suddenly asked in recollection.
"It is," Jade Lotus nodded. For some reason, the present Lu Sheng looked like a different man to him, compared to previously.
If the External Head had been a dangerous beast, then presently, he gave off a particular gravitas and stillness, stable and heavy like a mountain.
"Have it sent here first then. Ill deliver it back personally," Lu Sheng ordered. Regardless, he had to give his family some closure.