A thunderous smacking sound rang out, and blood sprayed out of Chen Xiong’s mouth as he was sent flying backward.
“Do you truly dare to start a fight in Arch-Emperor City!?!?” he shrieked.
“You bet I dare!” Bai Xiaochun shouted. “You owe me soul medicine, buddy! I'm completely in the right here!” With that, he stepped forward and kicked Chen Xiong, sending him flying into the air. A moment later, he slammed into the stone wall on the opposite side of the shop, where he remained, embedded and unmoving. Many of his bones were broken, and his cultivation base was in chaos. Then, unexpectedly, he simply passed out.
“Hmph! I can’t believe he tried to renege on his debt. When you owe Lord Bai a debt, you pay up!” As far as Bai Xiaochun was concerned, this pink-robed brat was a complete scoundrel. He was the one who had come and suggested the bet, and then he'd attempted to flee. That just went to show how arrogant the brat was, and one of the things Bai Xiaochun hated most in life was when people looked down on him.
Looking over at Chen Xiong lying unconscious in the wall, his two old Dao Protectors immediately began to shout in rage at Bai Xiaochun.
“What gall, Bai Hao!”
“Chen Xiong is the qilin son of our Chen Clan, and our most powerful patriarch is currently a heavenly duke!”
A flicker of dread ran though Bai Xiaochun. After all, in the Wildlands, the only people who could become heavenly dukes were people at the peak of the Deva Realm. Devas like Duke Deathcrier were only earthly dukes. However, Bai Xiaochun was convinced that he was in the right here, and besides, this Chen Xiong had been the one to come looking for trouble, not the other way around. He had also been the one to suggest the bet, and had been the one to try to flee. Bai Xiaochun wasn’t in the wrong at all, and therefore, he had no reason to look scared in front of all these people.
Gritting his teeth, he glared at the Dao protectors and said, “Who gives a crap about heavenly dukes? Back in Giant Ghost City, I kidnapped a demigod!”
With that, he casually waved his sleeve, causing a wild wind to pick up the two Dao protectors and slam them into the wall next to Chen Xiong, where they too fell unconscious.
When the bystanders saw all of this, gasps rang out. Everyone was thoroughly impressed by Bai Xiaochun’s valiant performance, and word of the incident was already beginning to spread.
With that, Bai Xiaochun clasped his hands behind his back and proudly said, “Soul Aide, please close the shop!”
Heart pounding with fear, Bai Hao quickly escorted all of the customers out and then closed the front door.
As for all of the soul cultivators who had come to watch the excitement, they were shaken by what they had seen. In fact, very few of them left. After all, it was unlikely that the heavenly duke from the Chen Clan would simply let this matter drop, and therefore, people wanted to see what would happen next.
“From now on, this spirit enhancement shop is definitely going to be famous in Arch-Emperor City!”
“A fifteenfold spirit enhancement…. That alone is enough to make the shop worthy of its name, and the couplets!”
“Who would have thought!? There was actually a top master hiding in Borough 89, someone named Bai Hao. Why does that name seem familiar…?”
Of course, everyone was aware of Bai Hao's name because of how Chen Xiong had yelled it out. Soon, people began contemplating that name, and before long, one of the soul cultivators suddenly let out a shout of shock.
“Bai Hao…. I remember now! He must be Bai Hao from Giant Ghost City. He killed his own father and helped the Giant Ghost King during the rebellion. He’s also the one who kidnapped all of those chosen in the Necromancer Kettle. Bai Hao!!”
“Heavens, I remember now too! It is him. I heard that he's vicious and merciless, and a reviler of his own clan. He’s a bully through and through who everybody hates!”
“All that is nothing. I heard that he actually takes pride in being a wife-stealer! Shameless to the ultimate degree! So, he’s actually in Arch-Emperor City now. And now he’s taken up the mantle of a grandmaster of spirit enhancement!!”
As more people talked, more people recalled the stories they had heard about Bai Hao. Meanwhile, back inside the shop, Bai Xiaochun stood there with his hands clasped behind his back, looking at Chen Xiong and his two Dao protectors embedded in the wall. As he thought about how arrogant Chen Xiong had acted, and how he had even tried to escape without settling his debt, his anger grew.
“Complete and utter bullies. I was keeping my head low, trying not to provoke anybody. Suffering in silence! But then this bastard had to come and try to bully me!”
Using the powers of the mask to ensure that only Bai Hao could hear him, he said, “Hao’er, this isn’t Master’s fault, is it? You saw everything! They were completely out of line!”
Bai Hao simply smiled wryly and shook his head, unsure of exactly what to say in response. Disaster had already been instigated, and yet, it was true that Bai Xiaochun hadn’t started it. It really was a case in which the tree might long for peace, but the wind will never cease.
“Master, we need to think of what to do now,” he said. “Their clan is definitely going to come looking for them soon.”
Bai Xiaochun actually felt a bit nervous. Although he had acted brazenly earlier, he had actually been very nervous. After all, this was a clan with a deva in it, and he wasn’t in Giant Ghost City. Therefore, he nervously took out a transmission jade slip and sent a voice message to the Giant Ghost King.
Before long, the Giant Ghost King’s domineering voice could be heard responding.
“What are you scared of? He’s just a heavenly duke, right? Listen, Bai Hao, you’re the majordomo of Giant Ghost City, and also my son-in-law. They came looking to stir up trouble, and you beat them up, right? If that’s all, then so be it. If Chen Haosong tries to use his status to be a bully, then I’ll do the same thing right back!”
It had been a long time since Bai Xiaochun felt moved by the care of another, so as soon as he heard the Giant Ghost King’s response, it was like music to his ears. The fact that his highness the king actually cared was enough to take a lot of the pressure off. Taking a deep breath, he looked over at Chen Xiong and his Dao protectors, and gave them all a good glare.
“Hmph! Trying to run out on a debt to me?! Maybe I should charge some interest! After all, the Giant Ghost King said he would back me up.” Licking his lips, he tried to decide if he was pushing things a bit too far. But then he remembered that he was owed 800,000,000 portions of soul medicine, and his anger flared. Therefore, he didn’t hesitate to pull out his Eternal Parasol and then stick it into Chen Xiong.
“I’ll just take a little….” he murmured. Immediately, Chen Xiong’s eyes snapped open, and blue veins bulged out on his face and neck. He even let loose an agonized shriek.
When the people on the outside heard that, their jaws dropped. Even Bai Xiaochun was a bit startled, and pulled the Eternal Parasol back. He had only sucked away ten percent of Chen Xiong’s life force to improve his standing in the Tempered Bones level.
“What are you doing, Bai Hao!? You’re not gonna die a good death!!” Chen Xiong was obviously a bit thinner. Glaring angrily at Bai Xiaochun, he began to try to struggle free from the wall.
Considering how clear-eyed and worked up Chen Xiong was, it seemed that he hadn't really been hurt by the Eternal Parasol, and therefore, Bai Xiaochun decided that he might as well take a bit more life force. With that, he stabbed the parasol into Chen Xiong again. “Shut up! I just took a little, it’s not like it’s a big deal! You owe me 800,000,000 portions of soul medicine! How dare you curse me!”
Another agonized shriek rang out, followed by more cursing. After that, Bai Xiaochun used the parasol a third time, then a fourth and a fifth….
Bai Hao was stunned, and quickly began to offer some advice. “Master, you should stop. You’re going to kill him….”
“Don’t worry, your Master has a lot of experience with this kind of thing.” Bai Xiaochun was actually feeling quite enthused, and before he realized it, Chen Xiong was little more than a bag of skin and bones. His cries were now weak, and he was even gasping for breath. Furthermore, his eyes shone with an unprecedented level of terror. By this point, he thoroughly regretted all of his decisions, and also understood why all of his friends had cursed this Bai Hao so much, and yet hadn’t dared to tangle with him.
Having finished with Chen Xiong, Bai Xiaochun looked over at the two Dao protectors. After a moment, he said, “What do you say, my apprentice… should I move on to these two?”
Bai Hao smiled wryly and looked over at the poor Chen Xiong, who had been turned into a virtual skeleton by his Master. Although he felt bad for him, Bai Hao also felt he needed to tell his Master how he truly felt.
“Um… why not give them all the same treatment? We've already offended Heavenly Duke Chen, so it probably won't make a difference either way….”
“That’s the spirit!” Bai Xiaochun replied. “Hahaha! I was thinking the exact same thing!” With that, he stabbed the Eternal Parasol into the first of the Dao protectors. Before long, both of the Dao protectors were both much skinnier than before. However, knowing that he didn't want to go too far, and also considering that they hadn’t been the main culprits, he only took a portion of their life force.
Even as he was delighting in the influx of life force, the front door of the shop rumbled as though a powerful force had landed onto it. Then, the door slammed open, and a wave of deva energy surged into the shop.
Teeth gritted and eyes blazing with rage, Mistress Red-Dust burst inside.