Way of the Devil - Chapter 453
Chapter 453: Smooth Sailing (2)
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The sun was radiant and enchanting outside the window. Lu Sheng sat in the restaurant’s first floor. He looked down at the streets from the open window and saw a vendor selling sweets. He seemed to be skilled in his trade. His customers lined up by his stall as they waited their turn for their children to make sugarmen 1 .
The waiting customers seemed to fill half of his field of vision from his vantage point. There was a hubbub outside. There were also sounds from crying children.
This was Busaja Town, a true border town. It was bleak and desolate. Hence, a humble sugarmen merchant who was slightly skilled could attract a throng of customers with their children.
When Lu Sheng walked up to the first floor, he could see that hunters and townsfolk made up most of the crowd. He did not see many who truly dealt with the pugilistic world. There were more small-time gangsters or ordinary people who had nothing to do with the pugilistic world.
Currently, the restaurant’s first floor was bustling with business. Most of the tables were occupied. Many of the patrons were drinking wine and playing drinking games.
Suddenly, a waiter from the ground floor came up. He led a fair, skinny young man slowly up the stairs.
“Dear customer, those are the final two vacant seats we have. Or would you rather share a table and dine with another person?”
The young man swept his gaze across the first floor with a frown. When he saw the table which the waiter pointed at, his frown deepened.
The table was located right next to a table where some other customers were playing drinking games. They were a raucous bunch who erupted in laughter every now and then.
“I’ll share a table, then,” he said drily. His gaze started wandering across the first floor. He picked a neat and clean table with his eyes.
Suddenly, when he saw the table at which Lu Sheng sat, his eyes glittered.
“I’ll sit there,” he said with a smile as he pointed at Lu Sheng’s table.
“Please hold on for a second. I’ll go and ask that customer if he’s willing.” The waiter’s expression immediately soured. After all, it was clear that the customer was a desperado from the pugilistic world.
“I don’t mind the wait. You probably should ask anyway.” All that was missing from the young man’s face was a sign that read “I’m dearly interested in people from the pugilistic world”. His big eyes kept looking at the sword hilt on Lu Sheng’s waist.
The waiter ran up to Lu Sheng, and inquired him in a soft voice. When he received a confirmation, he ran back and relayed the reply to this young man.
“The customer says he doesn’t mind.”
The waiter brought the young man to Lu Zhong’s table, and the young man proceeded to sit down slowly. The waiter quickly presented the menu. After the young man made his order, he kept eyeing Lu Sheng out of the corner of his eye.
After a while, he started eating the cold dish, and greeted Lu Sheng first.
“Thank you, brother.” He raised his folded hands in a salute to Lu Sheng. However, his actions were very improper. Even the Chen Family’s young master, whom Lu Sheng met before, was better than him.
“No problem.” Lu Sheng smiled.
The two of them looked at each other, but found nothing to say. When the young man’s dishes were served, Lu Sheng ordered a few more dishes for himself and a jar of Dustproof Wine.
“I’m sorry, sir, we’re out of Dustproof Wine… The final jar we have was ordered by this customer,” said the waiter apologetically when he served the dishes.
“Sold out?” Lu Sheng was startled. Dustproof Wine’s flavor was equivalent to a cocktail of chestnut and a variety of fruits. In a world without the distillation process to produce strong wine, he drank such a wine like it was only fruit juice.
“Do you have something similar? Anything?” Lu Sheng took a particular liking to this Dustproof Wine.
The waiter was even more helpless now. “I’m sorry, we’re out of any other fruit wines as well. The only thing we have left is millet wine.”
“Millet wine?” Lu Sheng shook his head slightly.
“I see that you and I are men of the same line, brother. It’s alright, we can share this jar between us.” The young man was also stunned. However, he quickly made his offer generously. “I’ve grown up drinking this Dustproof Wine. I have to come to this Snake Flower Restaurant to have a jar of Dustproof Wine. I’ve never missed out on this routine of mine even once.”
Lu Sheng eyed this person with surprise.
“Thank you,” he said with a smile. “This wine is really delicious.”
“Actually, brother, have you tried another wine called the Nine Dragons Snake Wine? That’s a true rich and aromatic beverage if I’ve ever tasted one. It’s much stronger than this Dustproof Wine, and its extremely tasty,” said the young man with a smile. “By the way, judging from your attire, you must be from somewhere beyond this town, right? A traveler must’ve encountered some strange people or occurrences. Would you be so kind, brother, as to share with me some of the stranger things that you’ve seen throughout your journey? Think of it as payment for the wine.”
He paused, and chastised himself, “My greatest hobby is to hear about all kinds of peculiar things. My only regret is that I won’t have an opportunity to go out and experience them for myself. Hence, I can only place my hope on other people.”
“I do know of quite a few strange happenings.” This was Lu Sheng’s first time encountering a person such as him. He could feel that this person’s wish was very pure. There was no trace of fakeness in him.
“Well then, hurry up and help yourself to the food and wine, brother!” The young man’s eyes gleamed.
His greatest hobby was listening to stories. When he noticed any outsider in the town, he would try every possible way and seize every opportunity to persuade the person to tell him about the various strange occurrences they knew about or experienced.
Lu Sheng took him up on his offer. As he drank the wine, he started conversing casually with this person. The strange things that he knew of were too numerous to be counted. The Great Yin and Great Song were filled with all kinds of peculiar occurrences and strange ghost-related phenomena. He could go on for three days and three nights without even repeating a single story.
With this, the young man was like a pile of dried wood that was met with a spark. He discussed every single ghost that appeared in Lu Sheng’s stories with him. He was very knowledgeable. He could even distinguish the type of monsters Lu Sheng encountered in no time, even when Lu Sheng himself was not sure what he had encountered. The young man could also tell their abilities and the probability of their occurrences.
At first, Lu Sheng thought that it was only coincidental. However, as their conversation dragged on, the young man could even describe the history and appearance of a unique demon which Lu Sheng had encountered before.
This filled him with awe. He gradually went into a deeper conversation with this young man.
Lu Sheng could not help but ask, “Brother Mei, where have you learned about all this? Your remarks are well-grounded in reason as if you’ve really seen them before.”
The young man had just introduced himself to Lu Sheng. His surname was Mei, and his name was Youjiang. He was around twenty-four years old, and lived on this town.
“I’m slightly embarrassed to say this, but I’ve liked to collect ancient books and aberrant copies since I was a child. I love books with my life, and I like making friends. Hence, I’ve been collecting information about strange happenings and peculiar occurrences everywhere. Although I know things in detail, I’m not sure if they actually exist.”
“Brother Youjiang, there’s no need to unduly humble yourself.” Lu Sheng shook his head. He was impressed. He had tested Mei Youjiang on purpose before this, but what he said was exactly the same as what he knew and saw.
“That’s not it. You don’t understand my family’s condition, brother Lu,” Mei Youjiang said, his expression helpless. “My old father doesn’t like me befriending men from all places. As for my hobby of collecting old books and aberrant copies, he was approving at first, but when they grew in numbers and took a chip out of the family’s finances, he started to disagree… My family says that I’m merely playing with my life without any serious ambitions… But if a man doesn’t have one or two ideals to chase after, how are we any different from the living dead?”
Lu Sheng shook his head as well.
“A stone that is fit for a wall is not left on the highway. There’s no need to despair, Brother Mei. You’re well-learned, and that knowledge of yours is bound to come in handy one day. The time isn’t right, that is all.”
“A stone that is fit for a wall is not left on the highway… What a great saying. You have nice literary skills, brother. It’s a fitting poem to go with this wine. Come!” Mei Youjiang lifted his wine cup, and clinked it with Lu Sheng’s. Then, he downed it in one go.
The two of them spoke for a while longer. Mei Youjiang was speaking about the origins of a peculiar demon that could take on various appearances, knew the language of men, and understood reason.
Another group of customers walked up the restaurant’s stairs with heavy footsteps. They all wore gray guard clothes. The person who led them was a female. She had arched eyebrows and peach-colored lips. Her cheeks were as radiant as peach blossoms, and the protrusion of her chest was extremely majestic. A red sash was fastened on her waist, and her long legs were tightly wrapped in dark-colored pants. The contours of the woman’s legs all the way to her buttocks were perfectly accentuated.
The moment she set foot on the first floor, she had her eyes set on the talking Mei Youjiang.
“Third Sister! Second Uncle is already here, yet here you are, dallying in a restaurant like you always do. If mother finds out that you’re out of the house to gather some strange news, she will flay you alive.” This woman was exceptionally fierce when she spoke. She had an overbearing air about her. It was evident that she was used to calling the shots in the household.
“Big Sister!?” When Mei Youjiang saw this woman, his expression changed, and his voice regained its original crisp and delicate texture. “I’m having a good time with brother Lu, it’s as if we’ve known each other for a long time! We’re just talking about the Three-days Demon. You’re quite the spoilsport. What does Second Uncle’s coming have to do with me? Why do I have to go and welcome him myself? I’m a girl, for crying out loud. Does mother know no shame?” As she spoke, she stood up and bid Lu Sheng farewell. Then, she walked toward the woman helplessly.
“Let’s go, let’s go! We have to return quickly. When mother saw that you’re not in the house, she knew that you’d be here. Today’s the Day of Dustproof Wine, which you never miss. Every time you disappear from the house, we’ll surely find you indulging yourself with wine.” The woman was just as helpless. She reached out a hand and poked Mei Youjiang’s forehead.
“Oh, you. You shouldn’t make mother angry. The family is worried to bits for your sake as well, you know?”
In her haste, Mei Youjiang could only let herself be dragged away by her elder sister. Before she left, she made a promise with Lu Sheng that they would meet again in this restaurant.
Lu Sheng was intrigued. This Mei Youjiang had some peculiar interests. Her sources of information surprised him. To think that the demons and phenomena described in the strange stories she gathered were exactly the same as what he had actually experienced.
The message between the lines was enough for him to ruminate upon. As for Mei Youjiang’s gender, he was completely indifferent.
For the next fortnight, he came to this restaurant every day to meet up with Mei Youjiang. They talked about all kinds of topics all across the country. Lu Sheng gradually guided the conversation toward things that he would like to know. For example, the girl within the silver dragon’s body, or the Eight-Headed Griffon.
Also, he had obtained some detailed information, but he was unsure about its authenticity.
Meanwhile, the experiments he conducted on Bie Feihe’s body were starting to produce results. He was especially interested in the cultivation of Spiritual Power. For the time being, he did not find any side effects.
It was clear that the Spiritual Power basic sutra which Ju Yan gave him was alright. Next, he planned on actually cultivating Spiritual Power. Ju Yan must have had some other motive for teaching him the Spiritual Power cultivation method. He must have wanted his Spiritual Power to grow.
He decided to do as Ju Yan wished. He intended to use Deep Blue to further deduce a deeper Spiritual Power sutra and strengthen Lu Zhong’s physical body’s strength.
However, at this current moment, the Mei Family of the town had sent someone to deliver an invitation to the place he was staying in. The invitation was sent by Mei Youjiang, but the contents of the invitation were slightly problematic. Mei Youjiang had been kidnapped. She was brought out of town, and her whereabouts were unknown.
The one who delivered the invitation was her personal maid Xing’er, who was as close to her as an actual sister. That was how she got the idea to send letters to inform the people who were friends with her eccentric lady.
It was clear that Lu Sheng was somehow included in those ranks because he had been drinking with Mei Youjiang recently.
The Mei Family.
“What shall we do? What can we do!?” Mei Family’s eldest daughter, Mei Yanhong, walked anxiously in circles in the family’s courtyard.
“Little Sister has been gone for 48 hours already, and she hasn’t returned! She’s born with a terrible sense of direction, and couldn’t even tell her bearings in town. How can she follow an unfamiliar outsider so far away outside of town? There must be something wrong in this!” said her second sister, Mei Xiulan, calmly. However, she kept clenching and relaxing her fingers. It was clear that she was not as calm as she appeared.
“We’ve already made a report to the officials and sent our people to search for her. We still haven’t got any results yet. We’ve searched all the places that she likes to go, but to no avail. Since the ransom letter was left behind by someone, we might be able to find her with that trail.”
“I’m doing that already,” Mei Yanhong said with a nod.
Sounds of shattering pottery came from afar. Then, there were curses and shouts. It appeared as if some people were having a quarrel.
“What’s up in little sister’s Welcome Fragrance Court? Why’s it so noisy!?” asked Mei Yanhong, her anger showing.
“I heard that they’re little sister’s friends from the pugilistic world. They’re gathering there and discussing a way to save little sister,” Mei Xiulan said with a frown.
“Making trouble, that’s all they’re doing!” Mei Yanhong was visibly angry right now, and she cursed in a low voice.
“It’s better than nothing. Every extra bit of strength we have now is another ounce of hope.” Mei Xiulan smiled bitterly.