Bai Xiaochun had long since made his decision. He wanted revenge, but he needed to have evidence to justify his actions. Even if that evidence wasn’t completely conclusive, he would at least need to provide some sort of explanation to the Grand Heavenmaster.
As far as he was concerned, this was the only way to get that evidence. Furthermore, there was no way that other people would have been able to guess that he would come to the Grand Asylum to perform interrogations. Few people in the world had ever served as prison guards, and fewer as inquisitors. Therefore, almost no one… would ever realize that the Grand Asylum was a place where countless shocking secrets were held!
To Bai Xiaochun, the Grand Asylum was the greatest weakness in his enemies’ armor. After all, back in Giant Ghost City, it had been in Devil Penitentiary that he had learned about the rebellion being planned by the three great clans.
One unique aspect to Wildlander soul cultivators was that it was difficult to perform soulsearches on them as they got more powerful. However, that wasn’t a problem for Bai Xiaochun.
The prisoners he had selected for interrogation were perfect sources of the evidence he needed. All of them had committed heinous crimes, and all of them were deeply connected to the nobility and aristocracy. Due to various random reasons, though, none of them had been sentenced to death.
As time passed, more and more prisoners went into the private chamber, and endless screaming filled the halls of the prison. Everyone present was shaken, especially the inquisitors, whose eyes began to shine with bright light.
“The exalted inspections commissioner… is also a dark inquisitor!!”
“You’re right! You know what, I remember now! I heard that Bai Hao was vicious and merciless, and that he actually became the number one dark inquisitor back in Giant Ghost City!!”
Soon, the warden heard what the inquisitors were saying, and he began to tremble inwardly, filled with fear at the techniques Bai Xiaochun was using.
Although the warden didn't even qualify to be the type of person who was directly connected to the Arch-Emperor, he had heard the stories of what had happened many years ago, when the Corpse Trooper Blood Battalion instigated a seven-month reign of terror. Back then, not everyone who had been dragged into the calamity had actually been guilty.
That mere thought caused the warden to shiver. Looking at the black-armored corpse troopers standing guard over the private chamber, the warden decided that he would fulfil Bai Xiaochun’s every request, no matter what it was.
After a full day of dozens of interrogations, Bai Xiaochun got plenty of clues. At that point, he walked out of the private chamber, an unsightly expression on his face as he held out another jade slip. This one was filled with the names of over a hundred new prisoners.
“Bring them to me!”
The warden didn’t hesitate for even a second. Loudly voicing his affirmation, he immediately arranged for the second group of prisoners to be brought to Bai Xiaochun for interrogation.
Eventually, a third group was called for, then a fourth and a fifth….
As Bai Xiaochun was focusing on performing interrogations to get the evidence he needed for his revenge, the outside world was being shaken by the events playing out.
With clouds in place, it is impossible to see the sun or moon. But if a pair of hands spread the cloud cover, then everyone could see. As soon as word started to spread about Bai Hao’s background, many people began to speculate as to what exactly he was doing.
“What? He went to the Grand Asylum?”
“What did Bai Hao go there for…?”
“This isn't good. He was a dark inquisitor back in Giant Ghost City! Don't tell me he’s going to go rifling for secrets among the prisoners in the Grand Asylum…?”
However, what was particularly marvelous about Bai Xiaochun’s plan was that, even if a given prisoner had access to important information, people on the outside of the prison who also had access to the same information would often not believe that said prisoner truly knew what they knew.
After all, if the people on the outside were aware that any given prisoner had access to that sensitive information, the prisoner would have long since been silenced in death.
It was in the fourth group of prisoners that Bai Xiaochun finally found the information he was looking for. One of the prisoners revealed that a certain heavenly marquis had been maintaining secret communications with the grand prince.
Bai Xiaochun even remembered the name of that heavenly marquis. His son was particularly close to Zhou Hong. Pulling out his inspections commissioner command medallion, he did a bit of research, and confirmed that this very person had helped Zhou Hong spread rumors about Chen Manyao and Xu Shan.
Bai Xiaochun chuckled darkly, and then continued with more interrogations. All-in-all, he was in the Grand Asylum for half a month. During that time, he interrogated all suspicious individuals, and yet, was not satisfied. Therefore, he went on to interrogate some of the other random prisoners who had committed heinous crimes. Some of them were prisoners who had been so shaken by the previous string of interrogations that they told what they knew without having to use any special methods, which was a good thing, considering that his supply of Aphrodisiac Pills was limited.
Most shocking of all was that it was during the last interrogation of a prisoner who didn't seem important at all, that he got the most shocking bit of evidence!
“Li Tiansheng’s father…? He’s the heavenly marquis in the Li Clan, right?” Bai Xiaochun knew that he had hooked a big fish, and was delighted. Ending the interrogations, he walked out of the private room, waving his black-armored corpse-troopers to his side as he flew out of the Grand Asylum.
Respectful expressions could be seen on the faces of the guards as he left, and many of them even looked at him with reverence. The efficiency with which he performed interrogations was shocking, and because of it, many of the guards wouldn’t hesitate to leap to do Bai Xiaochun’s bidding.
As for the warden, he breathed a sigh of relief. He had felt a lot of pressure over the last half a month, and had been worried that the slightest slipup on his part would get him dragged into a huge mess.
After reverently escorting Bai Xiaochun out of the prison, he hurried back inside and went into secluded meditation, well aware that another bloodbath was coming to Arch-Emperor City.
Bai Xiaochun was delighted, but didn’t immediately go to cause a scene with Li Tiansheng’s father, the heavenly marquis. Instead, he went to the imperial palace to pay a formal visit to the Grand Heavenmaster.
“How dare they provoke me! Hmph! I'm going to make sure they realize that Bai Xiaochun is not so easy to deal with!” As he headed toward the palace, he pondered the situation and realized that he still didn’t have enough manpower. Therefore, he contacted Zhou Yixing again, and told him to return to Arch-Emperor City with his men. Around then, he arrived at Heavenmaster Hall, where he clasped hands and bowed.
“Your humble servant Bai Hao offers greetings, Grand Heavenmaster! I have a matter to discuss!”
As soon as his voice echoed out, the dragon stuck its head down from the clouds and looked curiously at Bai Xiaochun. However, before it could do anything else, the door of the hall opened, revealing the Grand Heavenmaster sitting there looking at Bai Xiaochun.
Settling his aura, Bai Xiaochun hurried inside.
“Grand Heavenmaster, your humble servant accomplished his mission smoothly! I’ve already dug up evidence of two heavenly marquises who disturbed the cultivation of the Arch-Emperor.” With that, he produced a jade slip that he offered to the Grand Heavenmaster.
The Grand Heavenmaster took the jade slip and looked at with a smile. Then he rubbed his thumb over its surface and muttered to himself for a moment.
Bai Xiaochun blinked a few times, wondering if the Grand Heavenmaster would have him take care of the two heavenly marquises. After all, the evidence wasn’t completely conclusive, and even extensive analysis could only produce middling speculation about the results. However, after all of the interrogations in the Grand Asylum, Bai Xiaochun was fairly certain he understood those two heavenly marquises.
Neither of them were good people. For example, the entire Li Clan all practiced poison cultivation. The main technique they used was called Heart Of A Woman, which involved collecting the hearts of women to use as part of the technique.
It was an evil technique to begin with, and the more powerful the cultivator got, the more womens’ hearts were needed. The Li Clan had essentially been built on a foundation of bloodshed.
And then there was the Chen Clan, which was even worse in some ways. They funded their clan by selling life force. That life force was harvested from cultivator slaves that the clan kept in pens like animals. Furthermore, all of those slaves were cultivators captured from the Great Wall.
The Chen Clan was one reason why all of the noble and aristocratic chosen had recovered so quickly after having been captured and drained of life force by Bai Xiaochun.
As he thought about these two evil clans, Bai Xiaochun looked furtively at the Grand Heavenmaster.
The Grand Heavenmaster’s face was expressionless, and he wasn’t saying even a single word, which caused Bai Xiaochun’s nervousness to mount. It was really impossible to tell what the Grand Heavenmaster was thinking. Enough time had passed for an incense stick to burn, whereupon his thumb flexed, and the jade slip transformed into ash.
“Go find Heavenly Marquis Li and Heavenly Marquis Chen… and arrest them!” In response to the Grand Heavenmaster’s words, the air next to Bai Xiaochun rippled, and that familiar black-robed man stepped out. After voicing his assent, he bowed and vanished.
Bai Xiaochun was startled, but at the same time, felt a bit excited.
“I heard that you’re good at shakedowns,” the Grand Heavenmaster said. “You have four hours to go handle the Li and Chen Clans!” With that, he closed his eyes.
Bai Xiaochun’s heart immediately began to race, and he felt all the blood in his body rushing to his head. Although he was excited that he would be able to profit from performing some more shakedowns, what was more important was that he could have his revenge. Furthermore, he could use his public office to do so, which was an amazing thing. As it turned out, this Grand Heavenmaster was turning out to be a great guy!
He immediately voiced his assent, then turned and flew out of Heavenmaster Hall. Obviously, the Grand Heavenmaster wanted him to do as the old saying said. Kill the chickens to scare the monkeys! Punish some people to serve as a warning to others!
He didn’t even need to have any hard evidence, just some clues! Even speculation was enough for the Grand Heavenmaster… to give him the go-ahead to take lives!
“With someone like him to rely on, nobody would ever dare to provoke me!” Having reached this point in his train of thought, he proudly waved his sleeve to summon his 1,000 corpse troopers. Then, he headed toward the Li Clan.
“Get ready, Li Tiansheng. Lord Bai is coming!”