“The Arch-Emperor is a deva….”
After breathing a sigh of relief, Bai Xiaochun thumped his chest and decided he should probably use the same technique he had used to feel out the Giant Ghost King.
He didn't care about the Arch-Emperor, or a bunch of ministers and the aristocracy. After all, he had already offended just about everybody. In terms of what would happen long-run, he wasn’t too worried about it. As long as he could get his cultivation base high enough, then he would surely be able to find a way to escape the Wildlands and get back to the Great Wall and the Heavenspan River.
Having reached this point in his train of thought, he felt not only a bit calmer, but also realized he was coming to like this Grand Heavenmaster more and more. With a mission like this, and a title like inspections commissioner, he would obviously have a lot of power. Getting more and more excited, and convinced more than ever that this Grand Heavenmaster was definitely a rare individual, he decided that he should probably take advantage of the situation to do a bit of brown-nosing….
“Grand Heavenmaster, you have shown me a mountain of kindness, and in fact, I owe you my life. Without you, I would very likely be buried in the depths of the Yellow Springs right now. A trifling deva might be able to crush me to death, but how could I ever bow my head to evil forces? Besides, Grand Heavenmaster, there’s no way that you would just sit around watching a loyal and devoted youngster like myself be bullied. Am I right?”
A strange expression could be seen on the Grand Heavenmaster’s face. He had heard that Bai Hao was like this in Giant Ghost City, but now that he saw his behavior with his own eyes, he realized the rumors were not accurate. Bai Hao wasn’t just a flatterer, he took advantage of every single opportunity to be a sycophant.
In any case, the Grand Heavenmaster was pleased by the answer he had been given. With that, he gave an enigmatic smile, looking at Bai Xiaochun as though he could read his heart.
“Go. You will be taken to the Inspections Manor. That… will be your new place of residence.” With that, he waved his sleeve, and Bai Xiaochun’s vision blurred. When it cleared, he was outside of the imperial palace, standing right in front of the black-robed man from earlier. The man didn’t seem surprised at all by Bai Xiaochun’s sudden appearance, and simply turned and walked off without saying a word.
Bai Xiaochun was stunned that the mere wave of a sleeve by the Grand Heavenmaster could move him to a completely different location. Furthermore, Bai Xiaochun had prepared a whole slew of other things to say, but hadn’t been given the chance.
“I guess it doesn’t matter. I’ll just save them for next time. If I used up all my flattery in one shot, then what would I do afterward?” Fully convinced that this was the right way to look at things, Bai Xiaochun stuck his chin up and swaggered after the black-robed man.
Meanwhile, back in Heavenmaster Hall in the imperial palace, the Grand Heavenmaster was looking toward a location further in the depths of the palace, a profound gleam in his eyes.
“The blood of the first generation Arch-Emperor runs in your veins… but why are you causing a stir now? Do you really want to bathe Arch-Emperor City in blood again?” The Grand Heavenmaster shook his head, and then closed his eyes to meditate.
The Inspections Manor was not in the imperial city up above, but rather, down below in one of the boroughs in the central district of the city. More specifically, it was located in Borough 4!
The black-robed man led Bai Xiaochun out of that city in the clouds, and down to an awe-inspiring manor complex.
The manor was large, and placed in a rather inconvenient location in the middle of the borough. However, the streets around it were all empty. People were apparently so terrified of it that they would take long detours just to avoid getting close to it.
It was pitch black, and radiated a cold, sinister aura that made it seem like some ferocious, primordial beast.
As soon as Bai Xiaochun saw it, he gasped in shock. Obviously, this was a very sinister and deathly place. Slaughters of all sorts had taken place here, leaving the air itself stained with a gloomy and eerie feeling that would never be dispelled.
From the outside, it looked very similar to how a governmental office in the mortal world would look, and yet, in some ways it was different. Two huge statues could be seen on either side of the main entrance, clad in suits of black armor. Powerful fluctuations rolled off of them, and although they were clearly statues, they seemed like they could leap into action at any moment to defend the manor. In fact, their eyes actually came to focus on the black-robed man for just a moment before returning to their original position.
That in itself gave Bai Xiaochun a better understanding of what the Inspections Manor was like. Although he couldn’t tell much about those two statues, he could tell from their fluctuations that they were as powerful as devas!
“Devlevel statues….” he thought, swallowing hard. If the black-robed man weren’t here, he would have been hard-pressed not to go over and touch the statues to see what they felt like.
The main gate to the Inspections Manor was also pitch black, and as soon as it opened, it was possible to see that the interior had limestone pathways and countless other buildings and structures inside. However, not a single person was present.
Even after the black-robed man led Bai Xiaochun inside, not even the tiniest sound could be heard. Bai Xiaochun looked around, and for some reason felt a bit terrified at how quiet everything was. It was just too quiet!
The black-robed man looked around with a glint of reminiscence in his eyes, and then tossed a black command medallion to Bai Xiaochun. “This is the Inspections Manor. You’re on your own now, Bai Hao.”
Bai Xiaochun caught the medallion and was about to ask some questions, when the black-robed man turned and vanished.
Bai Xiaochun was now alone. Looking around at his surroundings, and then at the command medallion, he shook his head.
“That’s it?” Bai Xiaochun was not very pleased. Considering how high his status was, the fact that the black-robed man had treated him in such a way seemed very negligent. However, considering that he was obviously close to the Grand Heavenmaster, Bai Xiaochun simply sighed.
“Ah, whatever. For the sake of the Grand Heavenmaster, I’ll let this slide.” Fingering the command medallion, he sent some divine sense out to check his surroundings. However, he quickly came to realize that there was an intense pressure in the area that limited his divine sense to roughly ten percent of its normal capacity.
“What kind of a weird place is this Inspections Manor?” he thought nervously. With that, he sent some divine sense into the command medallion, only to find that he needed to spend time activating it before he could use it. Considering the level of his cultivation base, and the current speed of the process, it seemed like it would take at least twenty hours before the activation process was complete.
With that, Bai Xiaochun looked around hesitantly, and then asked, “Anybody there? Hey, is anybody there?!”
He continued to shout in such a manner as he walked further into the manor. However, no matter how he shouted, not a single person appeared. Not only was Bai Xiaochun surprised by this, he was also starting to feel that something was off.
“This place can’t really be completely empty, can it…?” he sent some divine sense out, and began to hurry along a bit faster. After all, evening was about to fall. Before long, he had taken a look at most of the areas in the Inspections Manor.
He had peered into all of the grand halls, and all of the residences. However, no matter where he went, he didn’t see a sign of a single other person.
By this time, he was really getting jittery at how strange this place was.
“There’s no way that I, the inspections commissioner, am the only person inside of the Inspections Manor….” His intuition was indeed telling him that… there were other auras present. It was just that he couldn't find them, as if they existed somewhere between life and death.
“Don’t tell me this place is haunted!” Shivering, he suddenly thought back to the Arch-Emperor’s sepulcher, and the spine-tingling things that had occurred there. Spinning, he looked over his shoulder but there was nobody behind him, not even any paper people.
It was starting to get dark, causing shadows to fill the manor, and making it even more sinister. Flustered, he decided that he needed to leave, but quickly discovered that he couldn’t!! The entire manor was completely sealed and locked down by some sort of restrictive spell.
By now, he was truly terrified, and was convinced that there was something very wrong with this Inspections Manor. After confirming that it was impossible to get out, he found a random building and pushed open the door. Seeing that there was no dust anywhere, he nervously sat down cross-legged.
“I guess I’ll have to wait until the command medallion is completely activated before I can learn the secrets of the Inspections Manor.” Looking down, he confirmed that the command medallion was roughly thirty percent activated.
Gritting his teeth, he rotated his cultivation base to try to get the process to go faster.
“Come on, hurry up! I have a really bad feeling about this. It’s almost night. I'm worried… that this place is haunted!” Shivering, he cursed the black-robed man a bit, then thought about the crappy command medallion. Activating it shouldn’t be that hard, right? There had to be a way to get the blasted thing to activate faster.