Bai Xiaochun’s emotions surged under the tide of reverent cheering. Although he was a bit envious of how powerful the giant ghost king was, he was also excited by the fact that he had definitely won a big victory of his own!
He quickly hurried over to stand next to the giant ghost king, making sure to look like the picture of a loyal servant, glancing around vigilantly in case any rebels might dare make a move.
Although his actions were clearly melodramatic, not a single hint of derision could be seen in anyone's eyes. In fact, most people seemed envious, and clearly wished that they could be in Bai Xiaochun’s place. All of them trembled with the knowledge that this Bai Hao… was going to make a meteoric rise. He was like a calm breeze that had been transformed into a dragon, and would soar to the highest height.
The four heavenly marquises who had not joined the rebellion were now looking at Bai Xiaochun with very serious looks. Even Duke Deathcrier was sighing inside. He knew… that the giant ghost king now cared deeply about this Bai Hao!
Obviously, the giant ghost king took note of Bai Xiaochun’s exaggerated protectiveness. Although no reaction could be seen on the outside, in his heart, he wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. Now that his cultivation base was back to normal, this Bai Hao seemed very different from before.
Shaking his head, he said, “Bai Hao, you take care of everything out here…. Duke Deathcrier, you come with me.”
With that, he turned and headed toward the grand hall in the royal palace.
“Yes, Your Highness!” Bai Xiaochun said loudly, feeling very pleased at his sudden, newfound power.
Duke Deathcrier sighed. Waving his hand, he pulled the taciturn Duke Netherworld with him as he left. As he did, he happened to notice how intently Bai Xiaochun was looking at the rebel duke, as if weighing him to try to decide if he might pose a threat. That left him grimacing inwardly at how exaggerated this Bai Hao was acting.
However, he didn’t let that show on his face. Instead, he gave Bai Xiaochun a friendly smile, nodded, and then flew into the royal palace.
Pleased, Bai Xiaochun looked away. Unable to prevent a feeling of pride from rising up in his heart, he laughed inwardly.
“Hahaha! I, Bai Xiaochun… am truly too outstanding. Even devas have no choice but to give me friendly smiles.” Feeling in incredibly high spirits, Bai Xiaochun clasped his hands behind his back as he hovered there in the air near the giant ghost statue, looking down his nose at all the people down below.
Moments later, the four loyal heavenly marquises all flew up to him, smiling ingratiatingly and offering respectful bows of greeting.
“We heard before that you were a mighty hero with superb talents, Brother Bai Hao. But today, the rumors were proved false. You’re not just a mighty hero, you're a dragon amongst men, incomparable under the heavens! Listen, old pal, I happen to have a jade pendant with a fifteenfold spirit enhancement. A mere glance at you, and I can tell that you and this pendant were destined for each other. Please, I beg of you to accept it.”
“That’s right, Brother Bai Hao. Your battle with those three devas will make you famous throughout all the Wildlands. Do you know how many elite heroes exist in the territory of the arch-emperor who could possibly compare with you, Brother Bai Hao? I’ll tell you. None! Brother Bai Hao, you don’t have a mansion in Giant Ghost City yet, do you? Well don’t worry. I already made all the preparations for you. I really hope you’ll kindly accept my offer.”
“Of the three deva traitors, Brother Bai Hao seriously injured two, and destroyed the fleshly body of the other. Brother Bai Hao, you are definitely the number one chosen in all of the Wildlands. In fact, I think that you are the only one worthy to use this particular magical item….”
All of the four heavenly marquises were offering gifts along with their fawning words. On any other occasion, they wouldn’t even think to act like this, but right now, they were very nervous, and in their efforts to start out on the right foot with this Bai Hao, the words spilled out of their mouths without end.
“Oh, stop exaggerating,” Bai Xiaochun said with a chuckle. “I did it all in the service of his highness the king. There’s no need for this, you four!” Despite his courteous words, he didn’t hesitate at all to continue taking the gifts they were offering.
When the four heavenly marquises saw that he was accepting their gifts, they sighed in relief. They continued to shower him with praise until the entire group was on intimate terms. In fact, not only did they continue to give him gifts, but they also all extended invitations to their homes for formal visits.
Feeling very pleased with himself, Bai Xiaochun licked his lips and continued to chat with them for a bit. Then he waved his sleeve, calling upon the name of the giant ghost king to have the six rebel marquises sent away to Devil Penitentiary.
Next, he incarcerated other key figures among the rebels, and passed down orders to get the city back in order. The businesses in the city were repaired, and armies were sent to the three great clans with orders to keep them under strict lockdown.
Although everything didn't proceed completely smoothly, there were no major problems. Having accomplished these things, Bai Xiaochun reassembled the city guard to make sure that public order was maintained. After that, he stationed himself outside of the grand hall in the royal palace, looking like the picture of a vigilant guard. By this point, the giant ghost king and Duke Deathcrier had been meeting in private for some time, presumably talking about matters pertaining to the rebellion. From this, Bai Xiaochun could see that Duke Deathcrier was obviously the only deva who was loyal to the king, and had actually fought on his side. However, that actually caused his vigilance to grow.
“Duke Deathcrier is a deva, and has a higher standing than me…. I should be able to get a general sense of the giant ghost king’s attitude from him, right?”
As he stood there thinking, night fell. Eventually, Duke Deathcrier emerged from the grand hall, lingering traces of excitement visible on his face. As soon as he saw Bai Xiaochun, his eyes sparkled, and a smile appeared on his face.
Bai Xiaochun hurried over and clasped hands formally….
“Greetings, Duke Deathcrier!”
Duke Deathcrier laughed heartily, and before Bai Xiaochun could even bow, he said, “There’s no need for such formality, Majordomo Bai. You’ve truly performed a meritorious service today, and have opened up countless opportunities for yourself. Considering that the rebellion in Giant Ghost City was just put down, there are many, many things to do. You and I will need to work together closely in the future, Majordomo Bai, and will definitely have quite a bit to discuss later on.”
When Bai Xiaochun heard himself being addressed as majordomo, he was a bit stunned. However, he still managed to have a short, polite conversation with the smiling Duke Deathcrier before the man turned and vanished. At that point, Bai Xiaochun sighed with relief. It was then that the giant ghost king summoned him into the grand hall itself.
Spirits lifting already, Bai Xiaochun took a deep breath and hurried inside. When he saw the imposing, awe-inspiring giant ghost king sitting there in his throne, he quickly bowed his head in respect.
“How are things going out in the city?” the giant ghost king asked.
The way his eyes seemed to flash like lightning caused Bai Xiaochun to suddenly feel very nervous. Quickly clasping his hands, he said in a loud voice, “Normally speaking, the chaos in Giant Ghost City would have been very difficult to sort through. Thankfully, Your Highness is wise and powerful, unparalleled under heaven. Therefore, a single word from you, coupled with a single glance, are like the might of the heavens. Everyone was left in fear and reverence, and couldn’t stop thinking about how wonderful things had been living under your reign. The hearts of the people truly belong to you. Because of all that, handling matters out in the city went very smoothly.”
Even as he spoke, Bai Xiaochun looked out of the corner of his eye to see the giant ghost king’s reaction.
Originally, the giant ghost king's face had been a mask of solemnity. However, upon hearing Bai Xiaochun’s words, his cheek twitched, and some of that solemnity vanished. By this point, he could see that this Bai Hao was apparently addicted to flattery.
However, deep in his heart, the giant ghost king actually enjoyed hearing such words. After all, no one had ever spoken to him in such a fashion before.
“Don’t waste your energy on useless talk like that,” he said. “Your cultivation base isn’t high enough, Bai Hao. You need to focus more on your cultivation, do you understand?” When the giant ghost king thought about how this Bai Hao had used a single drop of soul-blood to unleash a demigod-level attack, though, he couldn’t help but marvel.
When Bai Xiaochun saw the look on the giant ghost king’s face, he breathed an inward sigh of relief, and said, “Don’t worry, Your Highness. Sir, your cultivation base is unrivalled and unparalleled. Over the past few days, I gained a lot of enlightenment from observing how you breathed. Furthermore, I was left completely shaken by how powerful you are now that you’ve recovered. In fact, I hope to go into secluded meditation very soon so that I can make my next breakthrough. Your Highness, I definitely won’t lose any face for you. Although… um… I've offended a lot of people. I'm worried that if I go into secluded meditation, enemies will come out of the woodwork looking for revenge.”
By the time he reached the end of his short speech, a worried frown could be seen on his face, seemingly placed there accidentally, as if he had become so wrapped up in speaking that he lost control of his facial expression. When the giant ghost king saw the look on his face, he seemed a bit nonplussed. However, it was obvious what Bai Xiaochun was getting at; he wanted a position of power!
“You…. Ah, whatever. Listen, from now on you’re a majordomo, alright?” With that, he waved his hand to dismiss Bai Xiaochun.
When Bai Xiaochun heard that he was being made a majordomo, he wasn’t quite sure what that entailed. However, he was already excited, and feeling a bit more at ease.
“Your Highness,” he said quickly, “the three great clans dared to rebel against you, and even tried to kill me. They’re really a bunch of villains….” He blinked a few times to emphasize his words. Of course, the reason he was bringing up the three clans wasn’t because he wanted to target them, but rather, he wanted to highlight how much effort he had put into keeping the giant ghost king safe from them.
The giant ghost king looked at Bai Xiaochun and then snorted coldly. Although he didn’t say anything, an icy glint could be seen in his eyes.
At that point, Bai Xiaochun chose not to say anything else, and simply turned to leave.
Outside of the grand hall, the wind was blowing, and although he still felt a bit of a chill going up his spine, he breathed a long sigh of relief. Although the conversation had gone smoothly moments ago, he had been very nervous the entire time. After all, the giant ghost king seemed very moody, and also very difficult to read.
“At least I know that flattery works! Many pretenses can be seen through, but not the flattery of Bai Xiaochun!” He looked up in thought for a moment, and decided that he would need to do more of this in the future. Then he thought back to how the four heavenly marquises and everyone else had treated him, and he was very happy.
“As long as I keep the giant ghost king happy, then who in the Wildlands will ever dare to provoke me?! I've got the giant ghost king to back me up!”
1. The breathing here refers to how cultivators use unique breathing exercises to absorb the spiritual energy of heaven and earth. At a certain point, a person would naturally breathe in a certain fashion whether or not they were conscious