The rest of the members of Squad 9 couldn’t see what was happening inside of the skull cell. All they could see was dense, black smoke that was impenetrable even by divine sense.
“What is Bai Hao doing?”
“He’s in there alone with the prisoner, hidden by black smoke? Don’t tell me the two of them are working together to plot against us?!”
“Something seems off....” The various members of the squad were all whispering back and forth to each other, some of them with expressions of disdain, others with frowns. The captain was starting to worry that he might have been a bit impulsive.
Zhao Feng stood there with his arms crossed, smiling coldly as he said, “Like I said, this guy--”
However, before he could finish his sentence, a maniacal scream suddenly erupted from within the black smoke.
The shocking scream clearly came from the mouth of Old Devil Zhou, and sounded like the scream of someone who had something pent up inside of them that they wished to release, but couldn’t.
“What’s going on!?” Everyone was now completely focused on the cell, their expressions those of curiosity and suspicion. The sound of the scream was strange; after having interrogated Old Devil Zhou for a few days, they had heard him scream on numerous occasions, but none of those screams had sounded as pent-up as this one.
Before any of the Squad 9 guards could do anything more, the screams intensified until they became a seemingly endless howl.
“What did you just feed me!?!? Aaaaggghhh! Dammit. Dammit!!! Let me out of here!!!”
The terrifying nature of the screams caused everyone's hair to stand on end.
The guards of Squad 9 were looking on with wide eyes. Throughout the past days of interrogation, Old Devil Zhou had never reacted like this; now he almost seemed to be pleading for mercy.
“What is Bai Hao doing?” The captain’s heart was shaken, and as for Zhao Feng, he couldn’t keep his expression still. As for the other nearby gray-robed prisoners, they were looking over in complete shock.
The screaming and howling didn’t last for very long, but as it filled with increasing levels of desperation and horror, it left everyone with the feeling that Old Devil Zhou was being subject to the most bone-piercingly painful type of torment possible.
None of the members of Squad 9 had ever even heard screaming like this before; it was filled with hair-raising desperation, the type which would be present in people who wished to die rather than be alive.
“His voice... it's like something is suppressed inside of him that wishes to explode out, but can’t, and instead, pushes him into complete madness!!”
“Heavens! How is Bai Hao doing this?!?!”
“Whatever interrogation method he’s using to get Old Devil Zhou to scream like that, it shows he's already on the path to success! Nobody could possibly endure under such pent-up pressure!!”
The captain was having trouble breathing calmly, and all the other guards were completely stunned. Zhao Feng was shaking visibly; as an inquisitor, he was well aware that being able to fill someone with pressure and make them unable to release it was extremely, extremely difficult.
“Don’t tell me he's an inquisitor too? Impossible!!” A defiant gleam could be seen in Zhao Feng’s eyes; in his mind, Old Devil Zhou was an extraordinary individual who could likely continue to endure.
Old Devil Zhou’s howling turned more piercing and became more filled with insanity. The level of pain in his voice caused all of the prisoners in the entire cell block to look over in astonishment.
“Old Devil Zhou is incredibly tough, but look at him now!!”
“Who was that kid who went into his cell just now...?”
The process lasted for about an hour before Old Devil Zhou finally began to beg for mercy.
“I’ll talk! I’ll reveal everything! I’ll tell you where my treasure trove is....”
“Shut up! Lord Bai doesn’t want to know about any hidden treasure!”
“Forgive me, Lord Bai. I'm truly sorry.... Let me off the hook....” The guards of Squad 9 almost couldn't believe what they were hearing. All attention was on the cell as they pondered what torment Old Devil Zhou was undergoing to get him to start begging for mercy.
However, Bai Hao’s viciousness seemed to have no limits. It was almost as if... he was enjoying himself, and that the answer to the original question wasn’t really important to him.
Everyone was filled with icy coldness as Old Devil Zhou continued to scream and beg for mercy for the time it takes half an incense stick to burn. Finally, he started to tire out. Then, the smoke swirled as Bai Xiaochun appeared, hands clasped behind his back, chin stuck up, an expression of complete indifference on his face as he strutted out into the open.
Everyone was looking at him, guards and gray-robed prisoners alike. Even the dangerous prisoners in the nearby cells were staring.
He looked exactly as he had earlier, without the slightest change in facial expression. However, when everyone looked into the cell, they began to cry out in shock and alarm.
“Is that... is that Old Devil Zhou?!”
“What... what did Bai Hao do to him!?!?”
Old Devil Zhou had once been big and burly, but now he seemed shriveled up, almost as if he had been burned up from the inside out. His life force and even his soul seemed mostly gone, and the flame of his life force was barely flickering.
He seemed wilted as he crouched there, trembling, his skin covered with scratch marks so deep that bones and organs were visible through some of them.
Clearly, he had been clawing at himself....
As he looked out of the cage at Bai Xiaochun, his eyes shone with indescribable terror, as though Bai Xiaochun were an evil ghost the likes of which could strike fear deep into the heart. No one had ever seen Old Devil Zhou with an expression like that in his eyes. It was as if Bai Xiaochun was so terrifying to him that he was a nightmare eternally branded into the man’s mind.
All observers were left gasping. The difference between the Old Devil Zhou from earlier, and the Old Devil Zhou from when Bai Xiaochun came swaggering out of the cell an hour later, was staggering.
Guards and prisoners alike now stared at Bai Xiaochun with serious and even awe-struck expressions.
Under the reverent stares of everyone present, Bai Xiaochun walked up to the captain and then tossed him a jade slip.
“His confession,” Bai Xiaochun said, feeling very pleased to be the center of so much attention. Keeping his hands clasped loftily behind his back, and with a profound look in his eye, he strolled off into the distance.
The captain looked down at the jade slip, stunned. Then he looked back up at Bai Xiaochun walking off, and it almost seemed as if he were looking at a god.
Zhao Feng couldn’t even breathe for a long moment. When he could, he rushed over to the cell to look at Old Devil Zhou twitching and trembling in the corner.
“He didn't leave any marks.... He got him to scream endlessly from the pent-up pressure.... The prisoner was ready to confess, but he wouldn’t let him. He made him feel hopeless.... Plus, he seemed to love the process of inflicting the torment.... Heavens! There is no higher level among inquisitors!!! Bai is definitely an inquisitor... no, wait, he’s an inquisitor among inquisitors. He’s a dark inquisitor!!” Zhao Feng swiveled his head to look at Bai Xiaochun off in the distance, his eyes burning with zeal.
Earlier, he had looked down on Bai Xiaochun, but now, everything had been turned upside down. As an inquisitor, he couldn’t help but be in awe of Bai Xiaochun’s techniques, which caused passion to flare in his heart.
“Wait for me, Brother Bai!” he blurted excitedly as he hurried to catch up. The other guards in Squad 9 were all staring at Bai Xiaochun with worshipful expressions. The fact that Bai Xiaochun had forced Old Devil Zhou to finally open his mouth meant that Squad 9 would not only earn a lot of face, but they would also be able to get Old Devil Zhou’s hidden treasures. Almost immediately, their opinion of Bai Xiaochun changed completely.
The captain was panting, and his eyes were shining brightly. He knew exactly what it meant to have an inquisitor like this on Squad 9, and he quickly hurried to catch up.
The gray-robed prisoners and the dangerous prisoners in the cells watched the guards hurrying to cluster around Bai Xiaochun, and then turned to look at the twitching and trembling Old Devil Zhou. At that point, all of them decided that this was an inquisitor they could never afford to provoke!!
He was the stuff of nightmares!