Way Of The Devil Chapter 754
752 Seed 1
Lu Sheng wiped his free hand on his clothes. Then, with sugar cake in hand, he sauntered into a teahouse.
An old man with white beard was performing pingshu[1. Sort of artistic storytelling from what I saw on wiki. Google it for more details.] on the first floor. He was telling the story of the bottle gourd demon saving the pangolin.
"What rubbish is this?" Lu Sheng could tell that something was wrong after listening to the story for a short while.
He shook his head speechlessly. He brought the two subordinates to the second floor and sat at a desk by the window, just like he always did.
"We'll have two pots of sparrow tongue tea." Lu Sheng glanced at the screen pulled over the nearby wall. The prices of various tea were listed on it. They even served some snacks.
"Very well, sir." The waiter smiled and went to fetch his tea.
Lu Sheng used this opportunity to size up the customers of the teahouse.
"If you want information, the best places to be in Great Song are the teahouses and taverns." He smiled as he projected his voice to his subordinates.
"The two of us don't know anything anyways. We'll follow your orders, Master," said Li Dong as he cupped his fists.
Beside him, Li Xi nodded as well.
"The two of you are actually old ancestors of your respective clans. That's part of the reason I chose the two of youyou are experienced in dealing with the outside world. So, from this moment on, we'll split up from this teahouse to look for the whereabouts of the Three Sacred Gates," Lu Sheng explained.
Li Dong and Li Xi exchanged glances. They felt much more at ease now. Although this Taoist lord was much powerful than they were, they were still much older than he was. They could not shake off the uncomfortable feeling of following him around.
For instance, when they were strolling in the streets before this, these two old men felt as if they were wasting time.
Lu Sheng could see that they were uncomfortable. Hence, he decided to put it out in the open.
"That's a sensible arrangement. We'll do as you command, Taoist Lord," said Li Xi solemnly.
At this moment, tea was served. Lu Sheng raised the teapot and poured a cup.
The faint green tea leaves entered the cup and swirled clockwise.
Lu Sheng wet the tip of his finger with the tea and gave it a flick.
A drop of tea shot out and split into two drops in the air. The droplets fell precisely on the backs of Li Dong's and Li Xi's hands. They formed two light green tear-shaped marks.
"If you run into any trouble, smudge the mark with your competence. I'll be able to sense it," said Lu Sheng with a smile.
"Thank you, Taoist Lord!" The two of them felt happy. They knew that this was a life-saving gift from the Taoist lord. Their hearts lightened immediately.
After all, they were deep within enemy territory. They would easily lose their lives if they exposed themselves.
"Alright, off you go." Lu Sheng waved his hand.
The two of them nodded. Then, they quickly stood up and cupped their fists at him before bounding down the staircase, out of sight.
Lu Sheng was left alone to pour his own tea and drink it.
It was just ordinary tea, yet he seemed to be enjoying the finest wine.
When the other customers saw his antics, they became interested in him.
"Quite a drinker, dear brother!" A young man could not help but joke from the other table.
Lu Sheng made no reply. He merely raised his cup to the others around him and continued drinking.
The young man mimicked Lu Sheng's actions. He raised his teacup and downed it. He immediately felt satisfied.
When he finished his own pot of tea, he glanced at the other table again. However, the other customer was already gone. Several notes were left on the table.
"That was fun!" He chortled. He did not mind this at all. He sat for a while more and stood up to get home.
On the second day, the young man was extremely bored. He came to the teahouse to pass the time again. Coincidentally, the teahouse owner brought his own seven-leafed purple tangerine for his customers to look at.
The young man had just sat down when he noticed the other young man whom he met yesterday sitting on the second floor. The other young man was carefully listening to the teahouse owner introducing his seven-leafed tangerine.
After observing the exotic plant, and having nothing better to do, the young man enjoyed his tea as he zoned out.
This continued for no less than 10 days. He saw that young man at the same table, with the same pot of tea, and drinking with the same grand actions.
He had frequented this teahouse for some time. He had never seen such a strange man before.
When he came here to drink tea and space out, he would at least switch between the different varieties of tea. He would also chat with some of his friends about any strange happenings in the area. However, this person did not budge from his spot.
Feeling curious, the young man took a pot of tea and went over to chat with the other man.
Lu Sheng was also bored. When he saw that the young man had no ulterior motive, he began chatting with him.
Surprisingly, they found each other quite likeable.
The young man was Feng Zhongzheng. He was a scholar, but had no intention of taking the imperial examinations. He spent his days loafing around, and liked to indulge himself in the strange stories and folktales that people talked about.
Besides that, he could not seem to find any passion to do anything else.
Lu Sheng would have like to hear about more of the various strange happenings as well. When the two of them spoke, they just clicked.
Feng Zhongzheng had a whole load of rumors and nobody to share them with. He was itching to do so for a long time. When he found Lu Sheng, he was overjoyed. The two of them chatted from the morning to the evening until the teahouse closed for the day.
With the information he obtained from Feng Zhongzheng, and as he was a local who had some network here, Lu Sheng's pace of gathering information became quicker.
In truth, if he did not worry about frightening the snake by beating at the grass, he would use his psychological guidance art and swiftly obtain the information he needed.
However, he was in no hurry at the moment. The Three Sacred Gates' whereabouts remained unknown, while the Three Sacred Spiritual Gates and the Green Branch Sect were making preparations for a large-scale war.
The Three Sacred Spiritual Gates initially decided to wait for the Green Branch Sect and the Mother of Pain to both suffer great losses before coming out to salvage what was left.
However, the strength of the two warring parties surprisingly swelled, with the power of their upper echelons becoming stronger than the Three Sacred Spiritual Gates. This was especially true on the Mother of Pain's side, where a group of Void Underworld beings mysteriously appeared.
This instantly tipped the scales of the power balance. Feeling helpless, the Three Sacred Spiritual Gates could only work together with the Green Branch Sect. They intended to defeat the Mother of Pain with their joined forces.
Hence, Lu Sheng's presence here was not only to investigate and contact the Three Sacred Gates, he was also waiting for the Green Branch Sect and the Three Sacred Spiritual Gates to make their preparations.
He would not use his strength if he could help it. Lu Sheng seemed to have completely forgotten about his own abilities. He truly behaved like a mere mortal as he chatted with Feng Zhongzheng. He was having a great time.
"By the way, something strange has just happened in the Nine Springs County to the west." After returning home one day, Feng Zhongzheng went back to the teahouse at noon, and told Lu Sheng about the strange tale he heard from his relatives.
"Something strange? Don't tell me it's another tale of a fox offering treasures or a cat saving its master?" After listening to many of his tales, Lu Sheng was starting to see some patterns in Feng Zhongzheng's stories.
"Those don't count!" Feng Zhongzheng waved his hand. "Brother Lu, have you heard of the Misty Gardens?"
"Misty Gardens?" Lu Sheng was slightly moved. He had been hearing many tales lately. However, he had never heard such a name before.
The tales Feng Zhongzheng had told him before this were folktales and legends of ancient origins. However, this tale seemed different.
"That's right. It's said that someone ran into something strange in the Nine Springs County nearby." Feng Zhongzheng drank some tea to moisten his throat.
"It's said that if one goes out at dusk while it's foggy outside, there's a possibility that they would encounter the Misty Gardens. No one who has entered the Misty Gardens ever made it back out."
"If no one's made it back out, how did this rumor spread in the first place?" Lu Sheng asked.
"I heard that someone managed to refrain from entering the garden. Then, someone heard this story from that person who nearly entered the garden. It seems that only certain people can see the Misty Gardens. The others would not even be able to see it even if it's staring them in the face," Feng Zhongzheng replied swiftly.
"Oh?" Lu Sheng had some guesses in his mind.
"Brother Feng, if you're really interested in this, what do you say to verifying this yourself?" Lu Sheng suddenly said.
Feng Zhongzheng was happily sharing about the rumors and guesses other people had when he heard this. His expression froze for a moment.
He did like these strange tales, but that did not mean that he would like to experience one for himself.
"Don't tell me you're content with listening to rumors all your life? Rumors, legends, folktales, someone told me, my friend told me, my brother told me, my distant relative, a classmate of my relative, the friend of my younger sister's friend Your sources are all over the place. Who can tell if they're true or fake?" Lu Sheng said while shaking his head.
Feng Zhongzheng was slightly taken aback. Lu Sheng seemed to have struck close to home.
He was curious about that unknown and mysterious world. He liked to listen to various legends and rumors, but he could not determine their authenticity. Currently, Lu Sheng's words were like a lightning strike which instantly broke the faade he put up to conceal his helplessness and worries.
After a long time, he sighed slowly with his head lowered, and said, "But But I'm only a scholar with barely enough strength to truss a chicken"
"So what if you're a scholar? Are you telling me that a scholar can't do great things or carry out great feats?" Lu Sheng retorted. "To tell you the truth, I'm also a scholar with barely enough strength to truss a chicken. However, we'll all die one day. Rather than regretting it, we should focus on what we want to do. Brother Feng, I'm sure that you're not willing to squander your days like this, right? Your family runs a business, and you won't have to worry about clothes, food, or shelter. You have your siblings, and you won't have to worry about nobody taking care of your parents. With nothing to worry about, what're you hesitating for?" Lu Sheng asked as he shook his head.
To put it bluntly, this Feng Zhongzheng was a hedonistic son of rich parents, albeit with a good moral conduct.
However, the other hedonistic sons usually dabbled in booze and women. Feng Zhongzheng, on the other hand, liked strange tales and tea.
There were many like him in this small city. The various strange tales were bound to pique the curiosity of the others, and they were drawn to find out the truth behind these tales.
Pugilistic warriors and cultivators went about dishing out justice to the wicked and ridding the land of evil spirits. Tales of them being in trouble someone turned into tales of strange encounters.
Put those two together, and it now gave rise to the popularity of the strange tales.
"You have a point, Brother Lu." Feng Zhongzheng was still hesitating.
"You and I are brothers who met by chance. I'm not in want of money, so I won't possibly be wanting something from you." Lu Sheng produced a gold ingot and waved it before himself. Feng Zhongzheng stared at it, bewildered.
This gold ingot would have been enough for him to spend six months in luxury.
"Brother Lu, you're saying" He maintained some rationality. He would not let his tongue slip before determining Lu Sheng's intentions.