The cataclysmic nature of the event was thanks in large part due to how well Zhou Yixing had gone about distributing all of the soul medicine. He had hired a lot of people to help, and had sold the medicine just as Bai Xiaochun had indicated, focusing mostly on the area around Borough 89. After all, if the effects were too scattered, they couldn’t be considered a true catastrophe.
Borough 89 and the surrounding areas were very densely populated. Therefore, as the various patches of foul gas spread and combined, they slowly became something like a dark fog that gripped the entire area in its clutches.
It all came as a complete shock to Zhou Yixing. However, he had followed the plan which had been set in place, dismissing all of the people he had hired, and then changing his disguise and going into hiding. However, he didn’t forget the final step of the plan. Even as he lay in hiding, he gritted his teeth and pulled out a portion of high-grade soul medicine that had been tampered with, then consumed it.
Before long, he also became a source of loud phhhhhhrt noises. Face ashen, he began to shout in a gruff voice.
“Damn this high-grade soul medicine! The symptoms only appeared after I consumed this medicine! Dammit, it even had the mark of Sima Tao on it!”
Other soul cultivators in the area heard him. They had already been gripped by rage, but after hearing Zhou Yixing’s words, they initially hesitated, but then came to the realization that they had also consumed such soul medicine. Immediately, angered shouts began to sing out.
“It's the high-grade soul medicine! I consumed a portion that had the mark of Sun Yifan on it! That’s when all of this started happening! It's his fault!!”
“That’s right! I had some of that high-grade soul medicine too! The kind with Sima Tao’s mark on it!!”
“He’s in on it too!”
More and more such accusations began to fly, and the howls of rage and humiliation began to reach a fever pitch.
At first, people began to search for the dealers who had sold them the high-grade soul medicine, but Zhou Yixing had long since ensured that they couldn’t be found. Naturally, the attention of the victims quickly became focused on Sima Tao and Sun Yifan.
“Let’s find Sima Tao! He's the one that concocted this soul medicine, and it was obviously defective! He’s trying to get famous at the expense of the common people!!”
“Don’t forget Sun Yifan. It was his soul medicine that I ate. He’s a grandmaster! How dare he try to run a scam on us!!”
It didn't take long before a huge mob was pouring through the streets of Borough 89. Soon, they were on the very street where Bai Xiaochun’s shop was located, a river of countless soul cultivators, only a small portion of which were people who had actually consumed the soul medicine. The rest had only been affected second-hand. Righteous indignation burned within the crowd as they rushed toward the shops owned by Sima Tao and Sun Yifan.
Borough 89 was in complete chaos. As for Bai Xiaochun, he was the one truly responsible for all of this, and the sight of what was happening had him trembling in fear. Furthermore, he knew that it would not be easy to sate the anger of this crowd. After all, he had personally experienced many situations just like this in which the crowd had been after him.
“You people forced me to do this!” he muttered nervously. “I really had no choice.”
As he crouched there in his shop, he would occasionally open and close the door to fan the gas away.
Bai Hao watched everything happening, sighing and musing that this unreliable Master of his really did have a knack for making people feel helpless. In fact, Bai Hao almost couldn’t believe that he was really a Nascent Soul expert…. And yet, somehow that made Bai Xiaochun seem more down-to-earth to him, instead of some lofty and unreachable person. Bai Hao smiled wryly at the realization that it actually made him feel closer to his Master.
As Bai Hao sighed, Bai Xiaochun nervously peeked outside to see how events played out. The enraged shouting seemed to be peaking. The foul gas made it difficult to see, but people were already relying on divine abilities and magical techniques to try to drive it away.
As the mob grew larger, Bai Xiaochun was able to detect with his divine sense that people had burst into the two shops on either side of him. Instantly, cursing and shouting could be heard inside.
“What are you people doing!?!?”
“What are we doing? More like what did you do!? This soul medicine has your mark on it, doesn’t it Sima Tao?!”
“I'm gonna kill you, Sun Yifan!!”
“Stay your hand! Listen to me! That soul medicine doesn’t have anything to do with me!”
Booms and crashes could be heard, and Bai Xiaochun’s divine sense clearly revealed to him that the two shops on either side of him were a scene of utter chaos. People were completely trashing both shops, and both signs had already been torn down and ripped to pieces.
Bai Xiaochun blinked a few times. Although things seemed to be going well, the anxiety in his heart continued to mount. Even as he started pondering how to defuse the situation, his divine sense revealed to him that certain people from the crowd were now rushing in the direction of his shop.
“Not good! They must know I'm responsible!” That was his initial thought, but he quickly realized that it couldn't be the case. “No. There’s no way they could know that….”
A boom rang out as the door to his shop was blown to bits, whereupon a large group of soul cultivators stormed in.
Standing tall and straight, he glared at the soul cultivators and shouted out in a thunderous voice, “What do you people think you're doing!? I'm not Sun Yifan. And I'm not Sima Tao either! This shop belongs to me, Bai Hao. This is The Number One Spirit Enhancement Shop Under Heaven!”
He even unleashed some of the power of his cultivation base, causing incredible pressure to weigh down in his shop.
The soul cultivators froze in place, and their faces fell. They immediately began to apologize, then rushed back out. The truth was that it wasn’t a case of mistakenly identifying the wrong shop; they had hoped to take advantage of the riot outside to do some looting! After all, in addition to the victims, there were also many unscrupulous individuals in the mob. Bai Xiaochun’s shop wasn’t the only one to be targeted; others in the area also fell victim.
When Bai Xiaochun realized what was happening, his anxiety mounted. However, despite the fact that he had caused the foul gas to appear, he couldn't control it. In that moment of crisis, Bai Hao’s eyes lit up, and he leaned over and whispered, “Master, I have a plan….”
Bai Hao quickly explained his idea. Having no time to think about it at length, Bai Xiaochun nodded and then rushed out the front door. Looking around at the countless people milling about in the foul gas, at the ruins that were the two adjacent shops, and at all the other shops in the area, from within which echoed the sounds of yelling and fighting, he unleashed the power of his cultivation base.
Then he blurred into motion, appearing in front of one of the nearby shops. Backing his voice with all of the power he was capable of, he bellowed, “Stop, all of you!”
He even drew upon some of the energy of the Undying Emperor’s Fist to cause his voice to boom out in a way that seemed highly threatening. At the same time, he waved his hand, causing all of the rioters inside to fly out into the street.
Facing the employees that remained, he said, “Come with me immediately! Let’s put an end to this chaos!”
Of course, everyone in the affected shop was furious at how they were being unfairly dragged into such a bad situation. Having been saved from the rioters, they were profoundly grateful, and immediately joined Bai Xiaochun with the intention of helping calm the situation down.
Before long, Bai Xiaochun and his group appeared in front of a second shop, where they quickly quelled the chaos. Then they moved on to a third shop. More and more soul cultivators joined him. Furthermore, he acted with utmost heroism and bravery, taking the initiative to attack the rioters. Before long, all of the shops in the area were banded together under his leadership, and were restoring order.
“Stay your hand!”
“If you have an issue, explain yourself calmly. Anyone resorting to violence will be executed according to the law!!”
“This is Arch-Emperor City, don't even think of staging a revolt!!”
Under Bai Xiaochun’s leadership, the shops suppressed most of the chaos. Soon, they had about as many people on the streets as the angriest of the soul cultivators in the mob. That, coupled with the fact that Bai Xiaochun himself was so powerful, and that they also occupied the high ground in terms of the law, ensured that the rest of the soul cultivators gradually calmed down.
As a result, everyone from the local shops looked to Bai Xiaochun with eyes that shone with gratitude. Although many of them had felt ill will toward him in the past, as of now, his actions in this moment of crisis led them to feel much respect toward him.