Bai Xiaochun’s voice quavered as he spoke, and even as it rang out, he suddenly darted away as surely as a rabbit whose tail had been stepped on….
The speed with which he moved left everyone stunned. Never could anyone present have imagined that Bai Xiaochun would flee like this in the face of this black-robed, shadowy figure.
Even the black-robed figure seemed stunned. He actually hadn’t intended to frighten Bai Xiaochun, he just naturally had a grim and sinister way of speaking, the type that normally was filled with perilous killing intent. In fact, he wasn’t even aware that it was the killing intent in his voice that had prompted Bai Xiaochun to flee the way he had….
The moment Bai Xiaochun scurried away, Chen Haosong’s eyes flashed, and he took a step forward to give chase. As for Mistress Red-Dust, her expression flickered, and she lunged to block Chen Haosong’s path.
The nine heavenly marquises all flew into the air, shouting loudly.
“How dare you flee, Bai Hao!”
“If the Grand Heavenmaster wants you dead, then there’s nowhere in heaven and earth that you could flee to!!”
Even the chosen whose life force had been drained all got very excited, and even began to laugh uproariously. As far as Zhou Hong was concerned, the heavens did have eyes, and it was with profound satisfaction that he looked at the fleeing Bai Xiaochun. “You will be killed beyond the shadow of a doubt, Bai Hao!!”
As the scene devolved into chaos, the black-robed figure suddenly burst into motion, piercing through the air to pass Chen Haosong, and then appear right in front of Bai Xiaochun.
“What are you doing, Bai Hao?!” he said in an angry voice.
Bai Xiaochun was on the verge of tears. By this point, it was obvious that this black-robed figure was a deva.
“Dammit, how come there are so many devas all of a sudden?!?!” Eyes bloodshot from terror at the deadly crisis, Bai Xiaochun let out a shout and drew upon the speed of his fleshly body to rocket off in a different direction.
At this point, the black-robed figure realized that he had scared Bai Xiaochun out of his wits. Unsure of whether to laugh or cry, he simply stood where he was and spoke in a gravelly voice.
“Hear the decree of the Grand Heavenmaster…. Bai Hao is hereby appointed as the inspections commissioner of Arch-Emperor City, and is given command of 1,000 troops!”
This was the most quickly and efficiently he had ever delivered a Dharmic decree in his entire life. Usually, he took his time, and spoke in a sinister fashion that put pressure on everyone who heard his words. But now, it was with a bitter smile that he spit the words out as quickly as possible.
Immediately, everything went completely quiet. The heavenly marquises who had been chasing Bai Xiaochun turned with wide eyes toward the black-robed figure, unsure if they had misheard.
Chen Haosong had been blocked by Mistress Red-Dust, but was just preparing to continue chasing Bai Xiaochun, when he heard the words and instantly stopped in place, turning to look at the black-robed figure with an expression of complete incredulity. The other heavenly duke was equally stunned.
Mistress Red-Dust’s eyes went wide at the sheer outrageousness of it all. Her original guess had been that if the Grand Heavenmaster wanted to give some face to the Giant Ghost King, then he would order Bai Hao to return to Giant Ghost City.
Never had she even considered the possibility that he would promote him to be the inspections commissioner!!
The inspections commissioner in the city was no small figure. He had the right to perform inspections on all the important people in the city, and was actually extremely powerful. Back when the Grand Heavenmaster had been in the middle of his rise to power, he had appointed an inspections commissioner who held that position for a hundred years. That inspections commissioner had presided over a reign of terror, and had slaughtered countless political rivals of the Grand Heavenmaster. He had struck fear into the hearts of everyone in the aristocracy, fear that lingered to this day.
After the Grand Heavenmaster consolidated his power, he removed the inspections commissioner from office and instead had him serve as a personal high counselor. And that man… was none other than this black-robed shadowy figure!
The position of inspections commissioner had been empty ever since he left it, but now, Bai Xiaochun had been promoted!
The powerful experts who had come from the various clans, as well as the bedraggled chosen down on the ground, were all completely stunned, their expressions frozen, at least until they began to cry out in alarm.
“How… how is this even possible?!?!”
“Inspections commissioner… in command of 1,000 troops….”
Bai Xiaochun was still fleeing at top speed, but when he heard the words that had just been spoken, he slowed down to a stop, his eyes wide.
“Huh?” Never in his wildest imagination could he have guessed that, not only would he come out of the situation unscathed… but he would also get a promotion! “Um….”
At this point, he still hadn’t turned around, and actually wasn’t convinced of what was really happening. However, considering that nobody was chasing him anymore, he turned to look at the black-robed figure.
When he found that the black-robed figure was staring back at him, he hesitated for a moment, then pointed at himself and asked, “I'm the inspections commissioner?”
The black-robed figure was looking at Bai Xiaochun, feeling a bit of a headache coming on as he wondered whether or not the Grand Heavenmaster might have issued the wrong Dharmic decree. How could this fellow be the inspections commissioner, who was supposed to strike fear and dread into the heart of the aristocracy…?
And yet, he didn’t dare to go against the Grand Heavenmaster, and was forced to simply sigh and nod his head.
Not sounding polite at all, he said, “If you’re Bai Hao, then you’re the one. However, I really do want to know why you’re running away. Feeling guilty about something?”
Bai Xiaochun blinked a few times. Although he was now certain of what was happening, it almost seemed like a dream. He quickly pulled himself together, though. Taking a deep breath, he swished his sleeve, stuck his chin up, and proudly said, “Hahaha! I, uh… ahem, of course I know how important I am to the Grand Heavenmaster. My goal moments ago was to see who present would dare to violate the Dharmic decree of the Grand Heavenmaster and attempt to kill me anyway!”
As of this moment, not a trace of the fear from moments ago could be seen on Bai Xiaochun. He seemed righteous, and even stern as he stood there tall and straight.
“Hmmmphh! I will most certainly remember how everyone acted moments ago!” With that, his gaze slowly slid across the crowd.
Then he looked over at Zhou Hong and the other chosen down on the ground. Looking very stern and just, he said, “And don't think I didn’t notice how excited all of you were acting just now!”
Then he looked at Mistress Red-Dust, assuming the posture of an important figure, which was something he was very proficient at doing. “As for you, Zimo, please accept my thanks for your assistance today. I clearly misjudged you. You truly are a lovely woman.”
The truth was that he really did appreciate what Mistress Red-Dust had done.
An unsightly expression appeared on Mistress Red-Dust’s face when Bai Xiaochun called her a ‘lovely woman’, and she couldn’t refrain from gritting her teeth and letting out a cold snort.
The sudden turn of events had Chen Haosong looking very ill at ease. The nine heavenly marquises also seemed very apprehensive. As for Zhou Hong and the other chosen, they were cursing Bai Xiaochun inwardly for how shameless he was. He had clearly been fleeing like a frightened rabbit moments before, but now that he was the inspections commissioner, he immediately pretended that he was on the side of justice.
The black-robed figure seemed to understand Bai Xiaochun a bit better by this point. Although he was still a bit annoyed, he ignored Bai Xiaochun’s little speech and coolly said, “Very well, come with me to see the Grand Heavenmaster!”
Then he turned to leave, clearly not in the mood to stay in Borough 89 any longer. The mishaps of the day were simply too preposterous.
Now that disaster had been averted, Bai Xiaochun was finally starting to calm down. As it turned out, there really hadn’t been a reason to be so flustered to have all of these devas chasing him.
“I can’t believe I’m the inspections commissioner….” he thought. Although it seemed like his veins of steel were pulsing, he was still feeling very jumpy. Even his stomach felt a bit upset. However, he simply turned and swaggered after the black-robed figure, who took him flying… toward the imperial palace.
Everyone else who was left behind at first just stood there, either dazed or depressed. Then, having no options left, they simply left, taking their chosen with them back to their clans. At long last, Borough 89 was quiet again….
Zhou Hong was helped away, and despite his weak state, immediately went back to Nine Serenities City. He had no desire at all to remain behind in Arch-Emperor City, and was terrified by the mere thought that, not only had he failed to kill Bai Hao, but Bai Hao had also been promoted to inspections commissioner.