Startled, Bai Xiaochun pulled back the Eternal Parasol and spun to face the beautiful Mistress Red-Dust as she stomped into the shop.
Unfortunately, Bai Xiaochun was in no mood or position to enjoy feasting upon her beauty. There were few things in the Wildlands that he feared more than Mistress Red-Dust. After everything the two of them had gone through, Bai Xiaochun was convinced that if she found out who he really was, she would stop at nothing to kill him.
Heart pounding, he tried to look as calm as possible as he affectionately said, “What are you doing here, Zimo…?”
“What have you done, Bai Hao!?” she said in a voice of rage, nauseated by the fact that he had called her Zimo. Moments ago, she had received a message from the Giant Ghost King, and then right afterward, from Heavenly Duke Chen. That made sense considering that many people in the city already knew that Bai Hao was the majordomo of Giant Ghost City, and also her intended husband.
If Bai Xiaochun caused trouble, then the Chen Clan’s heavenly duke would naturally come to Mistress Red-Dust. After all… once Heavenly Duke Chen learned of what had happened, and heard that 800,000,000 portions of soul medicine were at stake… he knew that not even he could afford to pay up.
Despite being completely enraged, and also having absolutely no desire to see Bai Xiaochun, Mistress Red-Dust had no choice but to come handle the matter.
Looking over at the emaciated Chen Xiong and his two Dao protectors, Mistress Red-Dust’s fury built, and her loathing of Bai Xiaochun grew.
“You really know how to cause problems, don’t you? I don’t know what my father sees in you! Listen up. If you cause any more problems in the future, you’ll end up like this statue!” With that, she pulled a statue out of her bag of holding and crushed it to pieces.
Originally, Bai Xiaochun had been preparing to argue a bit. But when he realized that the statue she had pulled out bore his own true visage, his temper suddenly vanished….
“Heavens! This Granny Red-Dust really does hate me, doesn’t she? She actually carries statues of me around to crush when she gets angry….” A shiver passed through him. After all, what scared him was not Mistress Red-Dust’s threat, but rather, her attitude.
However, even as his fear increased, he realized that the situation really was very exhilarating. After all, Mistress Red-Dust’s own father was playing the matchmaker between the two of them, and Mistress Red-Dust had no idea that he was really Bai Xiaochun. The entire thing was… very exciting!
“Hm… if I ever have the chance to take her into the bridal chamber… and take off my mask, I wonder if it would startle her to death…?” Suddenly, Bai Xiaochun realized that he was thinking about things in entirely the wrong way, and quickly readjusted his attitude. However, it was still very exhilarating….
When Mistress Red-Dust saw the way that he was looking at her, she simply couldn’t suppress her revolt. Were it not for the Giant Ghost King’s support of Bai Hao, then she would definitely not suppress her desire to exterminate him on the spot.
“This Bai Hao is an obscene lowlife,” she thought. “You can tell from the look in his eye that he’s contemplating something abominable!” However, she had no choice but to suppress her woe. Waving her right hand, she collected up Chen Xiong and the two Dao protectors.
Her beautiful face was almost green with fury as she growled, “I'm warning you, Bai Hao. I don’t have any patience left to deal with you. If you annoy me even the slightest bit, don’t blame me for exterminating you!”
Having cleared his mind of the inappropriate thoughts from before, Bai Xiaochun said in a frustrated voice, “Hey, this wasn’t my fault! He came looking to cause trouble, and he was the one who suggested we make a bet. He was the one who lost 800,000,000 portions of soul medicine to me.”
“Shut up!” Mistress Red-Dust shot back, glaring at him. Then she turned to leave, apparently not inclined to help Bai Xiaochun collect the soul medicine he was owed because of the debt.
Everyone on the outside had clearly seen Mistress Red-Dust stomp her way into the shop. Furthermore, word had already spread that Bai Xiaochun was the majordomo of Giant Ghost City, and also that the Giant Ghost King had promised Sergeant Major Mistress Red-Dust of the Giant Ghost Legion to him in marriage.
That only served to intrigue people further. When they thought about it all, and about how domineering Mistress Red-Dust was, it caused many mouths to twist into slight sneers.
“Well I guess it’s not Bai Hao’s fault. After all, his Daoist partner is a deva…”
“Goddess Red-Dust has always been completely domineering. To tell you the truth, I actually feel sorry for this Bai Hao….”
When such talk drifted into Bai Xiaochun’s ears, he couldn’t help but feel a bit embarrassed.
The truth was that he didn’t care too much about the soul medicine. Material things like that weren’t very important. However, he did feel that it was a big pity that Chen Xiong still had the fifteenfold spirit enhanced jade pendant in his bag of holding. And yet, considering how domineering Mistress Red-Dust was acting, he hesitated to say anything. But then he thought back to something the Giant Ghost King had once said to him.
What, you can’t even handle a single woman…?
Those words rang in his mind, and actually made him feel like he was losing a lot of face. If nobody else were present, it might not have been a big deal. But Bai Hao was standing off to the side, and there were plenty of people on the street who could see what was happening, and were even discussing the situation in hushed tones. At this point, Bai Xiaochun decided that the situation had gone too far. After all, he was the very love saint who had invented the Win Charm! How could he possibly lose so much face in front of so many people?
“Stop right there!” he shouted at Mistress Red-Dust, who was currently walking away from him, seething with a murderous aura.
Mistress Red-Dust stopped in place and looked over her shoulder, her phoenix-like eyes flashing with cold light. “How dare you speak to me in such a tone!”
She even unleashed some deva pressure to go along with her words. She had never liked this Bai Hao, and would love to take this opportunity to teach him a lesson if he said even the slightest wrong word.
Bai Xiaochun’s innards churned underneath Mistress Red-Dust’s cold glare, and he realized that he had gone and done something impulsive. However, when he heard the crowd gasping in response to his words, he braced himself, slowly clasped his hands behind his back, and turned his head to the side. After all, his profile was his most impressive feature as far as he was concerned. Looking out of the corner of his eye at Mistress Red-Dust, he put on the most arrogant expression he could manage. As of this moment, there was now something unique and special about him, something different than before, as though veins of steel pumped beneath his skin.
“Although his highness the king betrothed his most beloved daughter to me, I most certainly do not deserve such an honor…. Because of my status and standing, you refused to accept the matter, and there is nothing in that decision with which I can find fault!
“Furthermore, the reason I came to Arch-Emperor City was not just because of the matter of the marriage, but rather, for another important purpose. Your father the king wanted me to assist you in your duties. Sadly, you hate me. And I'm not interested in intentionally annoying people. But his highness the king has shown me unending kindness, and therefore, I must still do my best to fulfill the task he assigned me!
“I won that soul medicine in a bet, all for the purpose of giving it to you. 800,000,000 portions of soul medicine is a massive amount of wealth, but if you don’t want it, then at least make sure that Heavenly Duke Chen owes you a huge favor. Either way, I can say that I followed his highness the king’s commands to assist you.
“Take the soul medicine, or not, the choice is yours. However, the choice of whether or not to speak, and what to say if I do speak, is mine! I don’t need instructions from you. Furthermore, I would very much appreciate if you don’t ever again use the words shut up with me. Now, please see yourself out!” To make his performance more impressive, he called upon a bit of the underlying power of the Undying Emperor’s Fist, which made him seem vastly more impressive than before.
Everyone watching on the street was shocked, and even Mistress Red-Dust seemed stunned. Never could she have imagined that Bai Xiaochun would utter words like this. Regardless of how much of what he had said was true, the fact that he was giving her 800,000,000 portions of soul medicine was monumental. Either she took the money, and ended up with massive wealth, or she rejected it, and earned a huge favor from someone very powerful.
Even to her, a favor from a heavenly duke was something to take very seriously.
Mixed emotions could be seen in her eyes as she looked at Bai Xiaochun one last time. Then, without saying another word, she turned and left. As she did, Bai Xiaochun’s voice rang out.
“Soul Aide, please close the shop!”
Bai Hao shivered. He had been stunned over and over again by the events of the day. The sudden appearance of Mistress Red-Dust had been a total shock, and not even he had been able to pierce through the act put on by his Master. He quickly hurried over and closed the front door of the shop. As he did, Bai Xiaochun clasped his hands behind his back and went into the back room.
As soon as he did, he slumped down onto the ground, and sweat began to pour down his forehead. Taking a deep breath, he thought back to everything he had said, and felt very pleased with the show he had put on.
“Hmmmphh! You listen to me, Granny Red-Dust. There’s no way that the mighty Love Saint Bai Xiaochun can’t get you to submit!”