Sun Peng assigned Bai Xiaochun to Squad 9. Then, just like Duke Deathcrier and Li Xu, he hurried away.
The captain of Squad 9 didn’t see Deputy Warden Sun Peng very often, but considering that the man was his direct superior, he quickly picked up on the unspoken hints he had given regarding Bai Xiaochun’s status.
The captain was a burly man who appeared to be about forty years of age. He almost immediately recognized this fair young man as the recently famous Bai Clan rebel, and realized he needed to pay special attention to him. In fact, he even transmitted orders to the guards under his command, explaining who Bai Xiaochun was.
Bai Xiaochun could see how the captain and the other guards of Squad 9 reacted when he smilingly told them his name. They sized him up, and although they weren’t extremely cold, they were by no means warm and welcoming. Bai Hao had been a popular topic of conversation recently, and therefore, all of them had at least some impression of him. They knew that he was a vicious fellow who had reviled his clan, and was the type who shouldn’t be provoked. After seeing him in person, though, he didn’t seem to match up to the rumors.
Before Bai Xiaochun’s arrival, Squad 9 had consisted of a total of eleven people: ten guards and the captain. But now there were twelve. There were no women, only men, and all of the other guards seemed middle-aged, with cultivation bases in Core Formation.
The fact that even such a group of low-ranking guards was so powerful further showed how important Devil Penitentiary was.
When Bai Xiaochun realized that the group was not being very welcoming, he felt a bit awkward.
To try to smooth things over, the captain quickly assigned him quarters in the barracks.
“Why don’t you rest up a bit, Bai Hao?” he said. “The truth is that we aren’t very busy here in Devil Penitentiary. The squad doesn’t really know much about you now, but there will be plenty of time later for you all to get to know each other.” With that, he left. As far as he was concerned, the situation wasn’t very complicated. When dealing with a fiendish killer that you couldn’t get rid of, the best thing was to try to get along with him, but not get too close. One just had to be careful not to treat him too coldly.
Bai Xiaochun already had a good impression of the captain. At the least, he was better than Duke Deathcrier or Li Xu.
His quarters weren’t very large, and contained only a bed and a chair. It was a simple room, but it had a remarkable spell formation that was connected to the stone turtle statue, giving it exceptional defensive capabilities.
After looking around, he sat down cross-legged and frowned.
“Ai. How cruel the twists of fate. Here I am, a prison guard....”
The events of the past two days had been quite complicated. The Bai Clan patriarch had attacked, then Duke Deathcrier showed up. After that, the teleportation portal plan failed, and now he was a prison guard.
“Ah, whatever. If I’m a guard, I'm a guard. The most important thing now is to keep myself safe.... Plus, I need to get on the good side of my squad.... If I can get them to like me, they’ll probably be a lot of help to me later.
“I still don't know why the giant ghost king saved me, but at least I'm in a pretty safe situation, at least for the moment. How long will that last though…?” He sighed, and eventually his thoughts turned to deva souls, whereupon he gritted his teeth angrily.
“It's all the fault of that Granny Red-Dust!! And Chen Hetian!! Well, whatever. Might as well forget about the teleportation portal. The best thing to do is increase my cultivation base and figure out another way to get back to the Great Wall.... I already have four deva soul clones. All I have to do now is get a metal-type deva soul, and I can step into the Heaven-Dao Nascent Soul stage!” When all was said and done, Bai Xiaochun felt very nervous. It was like he was walking along the edge of a cliff; the slightest misstep could lead him to a disastrous fall.
However, there was nothing he could do about the situation. The teleportation portal wasn’t an option, and therefore, unless he simply gave up on the Heaven-Dao Nascent Soul idea, that meant he only had a bit over a thousand years before he ran out of longevity. Then, his dream of living forever would be impossible to realize.
If he wanted to live forever, then he had to walk along that cliff. If he wanted to get home, he simply had to grit his teeth and keep going.
Actually, up to this point in his life, his cultivation had always gone quite smoothly, whether it was in the Spirit Stream Sect, the River-Defying Sect, the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect, or the Great Wall. It was only after entering that sepulcher in the Wildlands that he finally experienced the feeling of being stuck in place, with the shadow of death looming larger behind him.
“Once I get that metal-type deva soul... I’m never going to risk my life like this again!” He was actually so worried about the situation that he almost felt like crying. There was almost nothing in the world he wanted more right now than a deva soul.
“Where am I supposed to get that deva soul from...? Plus, it has to be a metal-type deva soul.
“The giant ghost king is a demigod expert, so he probably has one... but... how would I get my hands on it?” He clenched his hands into fists and thought as hard as he could, but couldn’t come up with any ideas.
“Although I know a bit about Giant Ghost City, I definitely don’t know enough. Whether it’s news about deva souls or the details of why King Giant Ghost saved me, I need more information....” Eyes flashing, he took out a jade slip to send messages to Zhou Yixing and Li Feng.
The first thing he said was that they didn’t need to wait for him in the appointed location any longer, and could just return to Giant Ghost City. Second, he asked Li Feng to give him some more details about Giant Ghost City.
It didn’t take long before Li Feng sent back a wealth of detailed information. As soon as Bai Xiaochun saw it, his eyes went wide, and his heart began to pound.
The most powerful person in Giant Ghost City was the demigod heavenly king. Beneath him were five dukes and ten marquises. The dukes were all devas, and the marquises were all half a step into the Deva Realm.
Of the five devas, three were the patriarchs of the three great clans. The other two were Duke Deathcrier and Duke Netherworld!
In terms of the ten marquises, they led the ten armies that were garrisoned in Giant Ghost City, and were people with close connections to the royal throne. Each and every one of them was a very important person.
Bai Xiaochun also learned that although the patriarchs of the three great clans were technically subordinates of the giant ghost king, they had formed their own separate faction.
“In the end, the giant ghost king is a demigod expert, so he could kill them all with the wave of a hand.” In Bai Xiaochun’s opinion, there seemed to be something fishy about the whole situation. However, Li Feng couldn’t provide any further details. These were just the things he had heard about here and there.
“Maybe the giant ghost king saved me because he wanted to test out the Bai Clan’s attitude? But why would he need to do that? He's a demigod, after all....” No matter how he analyzed the situation, it only seemed to lead to more questions.
It was a complicated state of affairs, and he simply had too little information, which made it hard to make a good assessment. However, from what he could tell, the three great clans must have some trump card that enabled them to maintain a somewhat antagonistic relationship with the giant ghost king....
Most likely, the giant ghost king wasn't very happy about the arrangement.
“That’s probably the gist of things, at least. As long as the giant ghost king isn’t too happy about being on equal footing with the three clans, then I'm probably safe here in Giant Ghost City....
“So, what I need to do now is get that metal-type deva soul as quickly as possible, before things get dicey. Then I can just run away.” Frowning at his lot in life, he took a deep breath to focus, then closed his eyes to start his auguries regarding thirteen-colored flame.
The formula for thirteenfold flame was completely different from that of twelve-colored flame. It even had different requirements in terms of divine sense, requirements that he would never have been able to meet before acquiring the deva soul from the Bai Clan.
But now he had a fourth clone, which boosted his divine sense even more. With that, he was confident of being able to use Bai Hao’s research notes to eventually succeed with thirteen-colored flame.... In fact, he suspected he might even get so far as fourteen-colored flame.
As he was wrapped up in performing auguries and seeking enlightenment, the night passed uneventfully.
Although it was impossible to see the sun or moon from Devil Penitentiary, because of the spell formation which protected it, the phases of night and day were as normal.
When night gave way to day on the outside, Bai Xiaochun was still in the middle of his work, and didn’t even notice.
Three days passed in the blink of an eye.
During those three days, no one bothered him. Around dawn on the fourth day, he opened his eyes when a voice reached his ears from outside his room.
“Bai Hao, Squad 9 is on patrol duty today. Everyone is waiting for you.” It was the voice of the captain, and it sounded very serious.
“Since this is your first time going out on patrol, it will be a good chance for you to see what kind of prisoners we keep in Cellblock D.”