The ten demigods who served in the capital city all had their heads bowed and were staring at their toes. From the somber expressions on their faces, one might assume that there was some profound secret to be discovered within their feet.
As Bai Xiaochun’s words echoed in the hall, and as Celestial Aged Spirit’s fury rose, the ten demigods almost seemed to be in a trance, not willing to participate in what was happening right in front of them.
God-level conflicts like this were not the kinds of things they would interfere with even if they had ten times the guts they already had. In fact, most of them wanted to just run out the door.
Celestial Aged Spirit glared at Bai Xiaochun, unable to control his rage at how disgustingly he handled matters.
Whether it was the incident with Marquis Zi Lin, or this matter of increasing the stipend for cultivators, it made his guts twist as surely as if he had unknowingly eaten a pile of feces.
“What a vicious plan….” Celestial Aged Spirit thought, gnashing his teeth, and yet unable to give vent to his feelings. If he refused to go along with the arrangement, then he would be playing right into Bai Xiaochun’s hand. But if he agreed, the cost would be horrific. And since the second immortal domain didn’t actually belong to Bai Xiaochun, he obviously didn’t care about the expenditure. But Celestial Aged Spirit actually did view the second immortal domain as his own, and therefore, the thought of what was to come filled him with piercing pain.
Heart burning with nearly uncontrollable killing intent, he rose to his feet, flicked his sleeve, and walked out. He neither agreed nor disagreed. When Bai Xiaochun saw this, he felt quite pleased, and didn’t even feel the need to press the matter, confident that Celestial Aged Spirit would provide a response sooner or later.
And that was exactly what happened. Not even three days passed before Celestial Aged Spirit issued a decree stating that all officials within the second immortal domain would have their stipends doubled.
It immediately caused a huge commotion, and countless cultivators felt profound gratitude toward Celestial Aged Spirit and King Heavenspan Bai Xiaochun. Of course, there were many people who were in the know, and realized that although it seemed like Bai Xiaochun had fought for the benefit of the people, the truth was that this was a battle between the two celestials!
And obviously, Bai Xiaochun had won this round. Gradually, opinions were shifting regarding Bai Xiaochun, and some people were even considering throwing their lot in with him.
And thus it was that with two major events, Bai Xiaochun made a deep impression on the cultivators in the second immortal domain. The key benefit for him was that when people talked about celestials, they didn’t just talk about Celestial Aged Spirit like they had in the past. Bai Xiaochun too was now a frequent subject of conversation.
Celestial Aged Spirit noticed that, and it made him pause for thought. Earlier, when Bai Xiaochun had first arrived, he wouldn’t have cared so much. Back then, he had assumed Bai Xiaochun was essentially a naive member of the younger generation, someone who had caused some annoying problems in Saint-Emperor City, but who wouldn’t do much in the second immortal domain.
That was why, when Bai Xiaochun chose to keep a low profile, Aged Spirit had taken it as a sign of weakness. And thus, he had chosen to demote the Giant Ghost King, hoping to take advantage of that weakness to cut Bai Xiaochun down even further.
His attitude remained the same after the incident with Marquis Zi Lin. Although Bai Xiaochun had struck back at him, and it had been frustrating to the say the least, he still looked down on him. Back then, Celestial Aged Spirit has assumed that Bai Xiaochun’s crude methods were nothing to fear, and that he could slowly but surely put him in his place.
But then… Bai Xiaochun made a formal proposal that was in fact a vicious and decisive plot. Only then did Celestial Aged Spirit finally start to view Bai Xiaochun as somewhat of an equal to him.
At this point, he took the time to seriously consider what protracted conflict with Bai Xiaochun would entail. In the end, it wouldn’t really benefit either of them, and would in fact only help the Saint-Emperor.
As a celestial, he understood more than just how to crush others with power. He also knew how to compromise and make deals. Therefore, it was without the knowledge of anyone that he secretly projected an image of himself into Bai Xiaochun’s private chamber.
Bai Xiaochun was there meditating. When he opened his eyes and saw a ball of mist in front of him, and the smiling face therein, he knew that, at long last, Celestial Aged Spirit had come to negotiate.
After his chat with the Grand Heavenmaster, Bai Xiaochun knew what it was that he needed and wanted, and also knew that he couldn’t do it with only his own current status. And he also knew that the person who least desired for him to stay around in the capital city was Celestial Aged Spirit.
When the smoky form of Celestial Aged Spirit saw the smile on Bai Xiaochun’s face, it was confirmation that his assessment had been correct. As a result, he breathed a sigh of relief. Clearly, Bai Xiaochun didn’t have some complex ulterior motives. In fact, Celestial Aged Spirit’s impression of him actually improved a bit.
They were both celestials, and both knew that sometimes, a word and a smile could impart volumes.
A moment passed, and Celestial Aged Spirit asked a single question.
“What do you want?”
Bai Xiaochun replied with one short sentence. At that point, Celestial Aged Spirit’s eyes glittered, and he spent a thoughtful moment before fading away. He didn’t give his response right then and there.
No one knew that he had come to visit Bai Xiaochun, and he never came for a second visit. Everything appeared to go on as before. He and Bai Xiaochun still seemed to be at odds, and during the occasional meetings that Bai Xiaochun attended, they would always end up having big arguments. As a result, the demigods were constantly shivering in fear at the prospect of actual fighting breaking out.
A few months later, the preceptor of Plumflower Prefecture paid a visit to Celestial Aged Spirit. Sullen and depressed, he said that he wanted to resign. When Celestial Aged Spirit asked for the reason, he said that Bai Xiaochun had sent a demigod named Situ to serve in Plumflower Prefecture as a vice-preceptor.
This Situ was vicious and merciless, and profoundly crafty. By using a multitude of plots and schemes, he had turned almost everyone in the prefecture against the preceptor in only about three months. In fact, the preceptor was actually terrified of Situ, and thus, wished to resign and leave Plumflower Prefecture.
Upon hearing this, Celestial Aged Spirit began to pant in seeming rage. Apparently, this was a final straw of some sorts, pushing Celestial Aged Spirit to the point where he couldn’t hold on any longer.
“What incredible gall! You’re pushing things too far, Bai Xiaochun!!”
Without any hesitation, he issued orders that the Giant Ghost King and the Grand Heavenmaster were to lead armies from their respective prefectures to wage war in the north. Furthermore, if they failed to capture all of the northern provinces, they would be imprisoned!
When the news got out, the capital city began to simmer on the verge of exploding. The demigods were all left gasping, convinced that something big was going to happen between the two celestials!!
“Not good! Something crazy is going to happen!!”
“Heavens! The Saint-Emperor Dynasty has rules, right? Celestials aren’t allowed to fight with each other within the borders of the nation….”
As the news spread through the second immortal domain, Bai Xiaochun caught wind of it, and his eyes glittered. Then he put an enraged expression onto his face and burst out of his secluded meditation chamber, his celestial cultivation base raging out to fill the city. Without any hesitation, he aggressively headed over to Celestial Aged Spirit’s mansion.
“Aged Spirit, you villain, this level of bullying is outrageous!”
Even as Bai Xiaochun sent his divine sense smashing forward, another stream of divine sense came out to meet his. When they clashed, a deafening boom filled the ears of all the cultivators in the capital city!
“Have a death wish, Bai Xiaochun?!?!”
Apparently, the conflict between the two had finally reached a boiling point. Rumbling sounds filled the entire city, and clouds of dust screamed in the air. To the people in the city, it seemed like the end of days had come!