“That’s not ordinary fire, it’s conjured flame!!”
“Dammit! Are we under attack? We're in the imperial city! How could someone be attacking us here!?!?”
“Quick, put out this fire….”
“This is definitely man-made! When I find out who did it, I'm going to chop him to pieces!!”
The entire camp was in utter chaos, with people flying around looking for the source of the explosion. The shouting that filled the air had Bai Xiaochun completely jumpy. In fact, there were already soul cultivators in the area, and as they looked over, they could tell that his tent was the epicenter of the fire.
Bai Hao was also feeling very nervous, and suddenly realized that his Master wasn’t very reliable after all…. With that, his mind began to race as he tried to come up with a solution to the situation.
However, even as the soul cultivators began to approach, and before Bai Hao could come up with any ideas, Bai Xiaochun grabbed Bai Hao’s soulhoarding pagoda and then flew up into the air. His face was a vicious mask of rage as he glanced around and shouted, “Who did it? Dammit! Who’s responsible!! Heaven damn you, whoever you are. I was sleeping and nearly got burned to death. Outrageous!!
“Fellow soldiers, come with me to search for the culprit. Together, we can surely find who was responsible!!” The rage in his voice was clear as his words thundered out. As for the people who had been approaching, they were taken aback, and had no time to ponder the situation before Bai Xiaochun led them around to start searching.
Bai Hao was in his soulhoarding pagoda in soul form. Because of the special properties of his soul body, he could remain formless and invisible to anyone else. Therefore, no one could see him. But if they could have, they would have seen him sitting there dumbfounded, staring blankly as his Master ranted and raved. In fact, if Bai Hao hadn’t known the truth, he would have been taken in by the act.
That was what helped Bai Hao to fully understand what his Master meant when he said he had experience….
“This… is definitely not the first time Master has caused a disaster. Nor is it his first time getting out of the situation…. He… really does have a lot of experience….”
However, even as Bai Xiaochun pretended to be incensed, and led the surrounding cultivators in a search, one particular soul cultivator with tattered, burned clothing flew up into the air. He clearly wasn’t in very good condition. Pointing a shaking finger at Bai Xiaochun, he howled, “It was you, Bai Hao!! I was on patrol here and saw with my own eyes that the explosion started in your tent! I can’t believe you’re pretending to search for the culprit. You’re the culprit!!”
Bai Xiaochun’s heart began to pound. Just when he was about to offer an explanation, a group of eight more soul cultivators flew over.
“We saw it too! The explosion started in your tent!!”
“How shameless of you, Bai Hao! The people in Giant Ghost City might be a bit scared of you, but nobody here is going to indulge you like that!” As these people spoke, their murderous auras flared to life. As for the other surrounding soul cultivators, they had no reason to distrust their comrades-in-arms, nor any reason to trust Bai Xiaochun, who was an outsider. Soon, many angry glances were locking onto Bai Xiaochun, glances filled with killing intent.
Licking his lips, Bai Xiaochun said, “Listen, everybody, let me explain….”
However, before he could say anything else, the fluctuations of magical techniques erupted out, and a rain of multicolored, magical light shot toward him. Heart pounding, he leapt to the side.
Countless magical techniques slammed into the spot he had just occupied, shattering the ground in all directions. Bai Xiaochun’s scalp was tingling in fear as he attempted to flee, but there were too many soul cultivators in the area. There were already a few hundred within his line of sight, with more behind him.
“I’ve never met anybody as shameless as this guy. Kill him!”
“Who cares if he's a majordomo? This is mutiny, which is a capital offense!”
Rage burning, they gave chase. As for Bai Xiaochun, his heart was racing, and he did his best to evade his opponents. However, despite being in the Heaven-Dao Nascent Soul stage, the fact that more and more enemies were showing up by the moment was terrifying.
“Calm down everybody! Don’t do anything you’ll regret. I can explain everything…. There’s nothing that can’t be worked out with a bit of discussion….” The only answer to his words was a hail of magical techniques coming from more than a thousand soul cultivators.
The sea of magical technique was so frightening that Bai Xiaochun couldn’t help but let out a yelp of shock. Drawing on the power of his fleshly body, he prepared to teleport away. However, before he could, the aura of a spell formation could be sensed rising up in the army camp. Unexpectedly, someone had activated the camp’s defensive spell formation….
“You bunch of bullies! All I did was accidentally cause a fire! Nobody died! Y-y-you people… you’re actually going to use a spell formation to try to attack me!?” As far as Bai Xiaochun was concerned, these people were all crazy. More and more were beginning to surround him, although none were willing to get too close.
“Zhou Zimo, we had an agreement! Nothing can happen to me for the next three months!!”
Despite being surrounded by a crowd of nearly ten thousand shouting cultivators, he was in the mighty Heaven-Dao Nascent Soul stage, and had shocking fleshly body power. As a result, his voice rose above all of theirs to echo out in all directions.
Of course, Mistress Red-Dust was well aware of what was happening. Up to now, she had been sitting there with clenched teeth, furious with Bai Hao. First, he had seemed weak and timid, only to turn around and act with brazen arrogance. Finally, things had settled down and they made their three-month agreement. But now, only two days into it, he had already caused a huge disaster.
Although the sea of flames had been put down, the damage to the camp was severe. And considering that Mistress Red-Dust was in charge of this army, that meant that she would be responsible for all costs involved in repairing and replacing what had been damaged or destroyed. By this point, Mistress Red-Dust already regretted her decision to keep Bai Xiaochun behind.
However, she couldn’t back out of the agreement easily. Then she heard Bai Xiaochun yelling outside, and her cheeks puffed out in anger. Gritting her teeth, she took a step forward and vanished, reappearing next to Bai Xiaochun.
Ripples spread out in all directions as she appeared, causing the surrounding soul cultivators of the Giant Ghost Legion to suppress their killing intent and clasp hands in greeting.
Bai Xiaochun was still nervous, but he hadn’t started the fire on purpose. It had been an accident! However… worried that Mistress Red-Dust wouldn’t honor the agreement, he quickly said, “We have an agreement, remember! Ai. I told you that if you don't like me you should just send me away, didn’t I? But you had to keep me here.”
He sighed, seemingly on the verge of tears.
His words almost caused Mistress Red-Dust to lose her temper. Taking a deep breath, and her expression profoundly grim, she looked around and said, “You’re all dismissed.”
Despite their raging fury toward Bai Xiaochun, the crowd calmed down and then bowed their heads and left. Soon, everything was quiet, and even the fluctuations of the spell formation vanished.
Bai Xiaochun was shaken by the scene. Considering he had been a major general at the Great Wall, he knew that there were only two ways to get an entire army to back down. One was to use one’s cultivation base, and the other was to have the trust of that army. Clearly, this army trusted Mistress Red-Dust to the ultimate degree.
As everyone filtered away, Mistress Red-Dust turned to look coldly at Bai Xiaochun. It was a look that struck anxiety deep into his heart, so he quickly said, “Um… I really didn’t do it on purpose. It was an accident, nothing more than an acc--”
“Whether it was an accident or not doesn’t matter. I’m warning you… if a second incident like this occurs, I’ll have you executed, agreement or not!” Every word she spoke was like a bolt of deadly lighting striking Bai Xiaochun’s mind.
With that, she paid him no more heed, and turned to leave without another word. Of course, the truth was that she was actually worried that if she looked at him any longer, she might not be able to hold back from killing him.
The fact that Mistress Red-Dust had personally appeared ensured that the chaos quickly settled into silence. However, the icy glances being cast toward Bai Xiaochun from all directions had him feeling very embarrassed.
Most nerve-wracking of all was the thought of what could happen if he continued to try to conjure flame in the camp. If another sea of flame exploded out, then Mistress Red-Dust… would very likely do something very bad to him.
However, not conjuring flame wasn't an option as far as he was concerned. He had already conjured fifty percent of a sixteen-colored flame, and with a bit more work, he was confident he could succeed.
“Ah, whatever…. As long as I don’t provoke Granny Red-Dust, I’ll be fine. I just won’t work in the middle of the camp. I’ll go a bit outside the gates. That way, if there is a sea of flames, it won’t affect the main part of the camp. Granny Red-Dust won’t have any reason to do anything to me because of something like that.” Eyes flashing with determination, he flew out of the camp.
As soon as he was out in the open, he could tell that some divine sense had locked down onto him. According to the agreement, he had to remain with the army for three months, but if he wanted to go out to handle some errand or other, he could. Soon, he was on a low-lying mountain a short distance away.
Once he settled down there, the divine sense slowly faded away, as expected.