Frowning, Lu Sheng treaded among the white ashes gingerly. Upon entering the room, the cauldron which had previously been placed in the bedroom entered his view.
Only half of the cauldron remained. The other half seemed to have been somehow melted; black liquid metal spilled from it onto the floor, then condensed into solid form.
He walked to the cauldron and lightly caressed the surface of the metal. It was hard, cold, and rough.
"This is a pill cauldron forged with intense heat. Ordinary fire certainly cant possibly melt it down like this," Xu Chui whispered as he neared.
"It was not fire," Lu Sheng shook his head.
Walking away from the cauldron, he began to examine the scene in the room. The articles of clothing sprawled across the floor had to be the remains of the ghosts. What puzzled him was that not a single trace of Yin Qi remained on them.
After examining the clothes, Lu Shengs gaze fell on the bed in the room. A charred corpse, black as ink, lay shriveled on the bed silently. Strangely, however, the bed on which it lay bore no marks of having been burnt before.
Lu Sheng stood in front of the corpse, focusing his attention on it for a while. Then he quickly extended his hand towards the corpses shut mouth, intending to pry it open. Something seemed to be in the corpses mouth.
"If I were you, I wouldnt touch the corpses mouth," without warning, a flat female voice rang out from inside the room.
"Whos that!" Xu Chui pulled out his sword instantly, looking in the direction of the voice.
Lu Sheng turned around too and his eyes narrowed as he saw a middle-aged woman in a sapphire blue athletic outfit stroll in through the bedroom door.
The womans face looked normal; it was neither pretty nor ugly. Wrinkle lines could be seen at the corners of her eyes, as if she was nothing more than an ordinary woman.
But what put Lu Sheng on his guard was one of the short swords in her hands.
The short sword was razor-sharp and its blade was like a piece of silver silk. Just pinching it on its blade with ones bare hands would send shudders down the spine and give goose bumps.
"Whore you?" Lu Sheng did not lay blame on the sect disciples on sentry outside. Since she had entered the room, he guessed that either they were dead or her hiding skills were too strong. Be it the former or the latter, neither of them was good news.
Moreover, he detected a faint, almost imperceptible scent on her.
The middle-aged woman sized Lu Sheng up.
"Im Zhuo Wenyu. If Im not wrong, you must be the third-in-command in Crimson Whale SectExternal Head, Lu Sheng?"
"You know me?" Lu Shengs brows arched.
"Crimson Whale Sect has slaughtered so many of our people. If we dont investigate clearly, wouldnt it be foolish of us, Scarlet Tower?" The woman chuckled, her voice sinister.
Its someone from Scarlet Tower indeed, Lu Sheng realized. "Now that weve met, shouldnt we be fighting with our lives now? How is it that youre in the mood to chit-chat with me?"
"Im different from the rest," Zhuo Wenyu replied casually. "The moment I heard that havoc broke out here, I rushed here as soon as I could. A pity I was still a little too late. But now it seems Im not that late after all. Any later and I would have missed even Brother Lu."
"What do you want?" Lu Sheng stared at her carefully. It was his first encounter with someone from Scarlet Tower. She seemed no different from ordinary people, unlike how those around him had described them to be crazed fanatics.
"Theres no real need for the two of us to fight to the death. All Ive come for is this body. I want the object in its mouth," Zhuo Wenyu explained composedly. "As for Brother Lu, Im sure you dont wish to fight with me and lose many of your men either, do you? Not that youre afraid. But theres really no need."
Lu Sheng instantly got her drift.
Both Crimson Whale Sect and Scarlet Tower were merely vassals working for the factions that backed them. Neither of them were putting their lives on the line for their own interests. Rather, all their efforts went to serving the powers behind them.
In such a context, there was no real need for them to fight to the death. Zhuo Wenyus meaning was clear as daylight, which was to be perfunctory and delay things as long as possible instead of really drawing blood. After all, regardless of which of them emerged the victor in the end, such a victory would be hollow. Only a victory achieved by the faction behind them would be genuine.
Having thought it through, Lu Sheng did not wish to open fire and start a pointless battle either. His objective was merely to finish his mission of collection Yin Qi items. As long as the other party refrained from making a move, he would not.
"I want to check what it is you want first, and whether or not its of use to me," he added after some thought.
"Please," Zhuo Wenyu nodded, extending her hands in a gesture of go ahead.
Lu Sheng pulled out his saber and gently pried open the corpses mouth with its tip.
With the sound of ripping cloth, an opening was slowly cut across the corpses mouth. Black liquid gushed out from within, accompanied by a heavy, foul stench.
Lu Sheng and Xu Chui quickly held their breath but were still forced backwards by the revolting smell.
Soon, the black liquid was drained from the mouth, revealing an inky black disc-shaped metallic object.
Lu Sheng turned to look at Zhuo Wenyu.
"Thats what you want?" He asked.
Zhuo Wenyu looked at Lu Sheng, "Thats the one. Give it to me and well leave immediately."
"No need. Take it yourselves. Well go," Lu Sheng frowned. The stench was simply unbearable. Since he detected no presence of Yin Qi, he glanced at Xu Chui and quickly headed for the exit.
Both of them passed by Zhuo Wenyu swiftly, yet neither of them made a move. Zhuo Wenyu remained where she was silently, turning around to watch Lu Sheng and Xu Chui leave.
She stood still in the room, not bothered in the slightest by the stench of the black liquid. In fact, a look of enjoyment appeared on her face.
Before long, she heard Lu Shengs order for his men to retreat.
But Zhuo Wenyu still did not budge. She continued staring at the courtyard outside the door.
"A mere brute. Why not kill him?" Suddenly, a shrill female voice rang out beside her.
She was clearly the only person in the room. Zhuo Wenyus lips did not move an inch. Yet the voice rang out, audibly clear, carrying with it a sinister, demonic aura.
"Its too obvious. Itd be troublesome if we draw Zhen Familys attention."
"Zhen Family has got no time for us now. The war between them and Scarlet District is getting more and more intense. Nows the time to profit from the panic," the voice whispered.
"Its easy to kill an External Head, but hard to hide a corpse. I want him to send a signal for me."
"Thats the difference between you and me," Zhuo Wenyu started to smirk coldly. "I"
Suddenly, another person entered the room.
Zhuo Wenyu paused mid-sentence and lifted her head. Instantly, she was stunned.
"Why have you come back?" She stared at Lu Sheng, standing by the door.
"Ive changed my mind," Lu Sheng grinned, pulling out the two gigantic butcher knives with backhand grips. "That thing. I want it now.
Oh, and hand over all the good stuff on you. Otherwise, dont blame me for not leaving you the chance to survive."
His mountainous stature, together with the two giant sabers, obstructed every square inch of the exit. An intense murderous intent immediately flooded all corners of the bedroom.
Zhuo Wenyus eyes narrowed, gazing intently at Lu Sheng. Suddenly, a bizarre grin flashed across her face.
"Never would I have thought that thered really be someone in this world who would court death intentionally for no reason"
Before she could finish her sentence, Zhuo Wenyus pupils shrank as she saw an enormous blade, broad as a signboard, come slapping towards her on her left faster than she could react.
With a loud smack, she was sent flying out and slammed violently on the stone wall on the side.
Like a blooming flower, blood splattered all over the wall.
Only now did Lu Shengs figure appear at the side of the spot where Zhuo Wenyu previously stood. His speed was too fast. Or rather, his short-range explosive power was off the charts.
Just Level Five of Ultimate Crimson Mantra coupled with Yin-Yang Jade Crane Skill resulted in instantaneous explosive power. Add to that the toughness of his body due to his hard body skill, and these skills stacked together allowed him to dispense with all worries about the load of his moves within a several meters radius on his body. At full strength, his explosive power was terrifying.
"Ouch!" Zhuo Wenyu stood up with great difficulty. Blood and wounds covered her broken body. Her elbow had been fractured and her leg twisted and twitched. She was also losing massive amounts of blood. Yet, astonishingly, none of these affected her mobility.
Her eyes turned green as she stood up, a trifle unsteadily. She fixed her gaze on Lu Sheng.
"Hows it possible"
"Oh?" Lu Sheng looked at her curiously. "Youre still not dead yet?"
"Your strength its actually" blood foamed at Zhuo Wenyus mouth. She had been too careless. To the extent that she was hit at such close quarters and thus gravely wounded so early in the fight.
Lu Sheng walked towards her slowly, reaching forward to grab at her.
Slippery like a snake, Zhuo Wenyu slipped past him under his arm.
She appeared in the other end of the room. A faint green hue rapidly emerged on her skin all over her body. Her fingernails grew longer and sharper. Thick scales appeared on the back of her arms, which hung limply by her sides. Her pupils turned as black as night.
"I was careless earlier. But now, Ill show you what a true Spirit Demon-Possessed Body looks like...!"
Before she completed her speech, she was once again slammed violently, as if by a rampaging elephant. Without any power to resist, she was once again sent flying outwards.
This time, Lu Sheng had attacked with both sabers.
With one stride, the floor of the bedroom quaked as he appeared several meters before Zhuo Wenyu in a flash, lightning-quick. He delivered two consecutive hacks of his giant sabers.
Copious amounts of green goo oozed out of Zhuo Wenyus nose, mouth, and ears. Her head had been thoroughly smacked out of shape. Her body flew in an arc across the air before slamming squarely into the melted pill cauldron.
Blood splattered all over like rain. This time, she was tossed and turned several rounds before landing on the floor. Wide-eyed and shell-shocked, she was frozen and unable to move.
"You really can take blows," Lu Sheng walked over and grabbed her neck, lifted her up and shook her in the air. "In order not to damage any goods on you, Ive been using slaps. I didnt expect that itd take three slaps before immobilizing you."
"You what on earth are you!?" Zhuo Wenyu gnashed her teeth. She would rather die than believe that an ordinary mortal possessed the power to smack her out of her Spirit Demon-Possessed Body mode.
"Im just an ordinary mortal. Why dont you tell me what you are? Whats this Spirit Demon-Possessed Body stuff about?" Lu Shengs interest was aroused by his first encounter with a mutant like Zhuo Wenyu.
"You dont know about us?" Zhuo Wenyu was stunned, her blood-streaked face incredulous.