The words were spoken with lively passion, as though the person behind them truly did not fear death. They were also alive with hatred, as if they had been spoken by a person who had suffered indescribable torments at the hand of the Chen Clan, pain the likes of which could never be forgotten.
No one in the Chen Clan paid any attention to the words, though. All of them were staring nervously at Bai Xiaochun, their faces ashen and grim.
Not even the black-armored corpse troopers showed any interest.
However, as soon as Bai Xiaochun heard the words spoken, and especially the name Song Que, his eyes went wide, and a strange expression appeared on his face. He seemed amused, incredulous, and happily surprised, all at the same time.
“Song Que….” he murmured. Then he cleared his throat and intentionally cleared his face of all expression as he turned to look in the direction of the rear courtyard.
Clasping his hands behind his back, he stuck his chin up and loudly said, “Whoever it is that’s yelling over there, bring him to me!”
In response, one of the corpse troopers sped out from the rear courtyard and tossed a person onto the ground in front of Bai Xiaochun. Then he stood there, murderous aura seething, clearly ready to kill the person he had just thrown onto the ground if Bai Xiaochun gave the word.
The person the corpse trooper had brought from the rear courtyard was not a soul cultivator, but an ordinary cultivator from the Heavenspan River region!
At a single glance, it was possible to tell that he should have looked like a healthy young man. Instead, he was bedraggled and broken-down, hardly more than skin and bones. He also had a scraggly beard that made him look much older than he actually was.
His clothing was ripped and torn, making him look worse than a beggar. He was covered with what appeared to be soot and ash, and even had wisps of black smoke rising from his dantian region.
He was clearly weak beyond measure, hovering right on the brink of death. And yet, despite that, his cultivation base fluctuations revealed him to be… in the early Nascent Soul stage!
The black wisps of smoke coming from his dantian region also spread out to cover his nascent soul. Furthermore, with every rotation of his cultivation base, spiritual energy would seep out through the black smoke….
As soon as Bai Xiaochun saw all of this, he gasped in shock….
This cultivator was none other than… Song Que!!
He had been a chosen in the Blood Stream Sect, and one of the elites of the River-Defying Sect. He had traveled with Bai Xiaochun to the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect as a Dao protector, and had also gone into the labyrinth outside the Great Wall. From there, he had been teleported out into the Wildlands just like Bai Xiaochun, Master God-Diviner, Zhao Long, and many others.
Some of the lucky ones who were teleported out into the Wildlands had managed to make their way back to the Great Wall, but Song Que hadn’t been so fortunate…. He had been teleported right into Arch-Emperor City. Unlike Bai Xiaochun, he had not become famous and popular, but rather, had been captured and enslaved, sold into service to the Chen Clan.
Because of his extraordinary cultivation base and natural talents, the Chen Clan had used a brutal secret magic to forcibly propel his cultivation base all the way into the early Nascent Soul stage.
Although it could be considered a breakthrough, it was actually very harmful to Song Que, and had involved incredible pain and danger. And yet, that wasn’t even of any importance. The worst thing of all was that he had been turned into something like livestock. The black smoke which had been inserted into him forced his cultivation base to rotate, and then sucked away the spiritual power from inside of him…. In the end, he had become a living spirit stone used by the younger soul cultivators in the Chen Clan to further their cultivation!
In addition, the effects of his cultivation base were limited by the black smoke, and could not be used externally. They had also placed numerous restrictive spells on him. As such, he was no threat at all to anyone around him, and also lived in constant pain.
Furthermore, in order to force his cultivation base to rotate more rapidly, and release more spiritual power, the younger members of the Chen Clan had frequently tortured him.
The torture had pushed Song Que to the point where he wished to die, and yet, there was no way the Chen Clan would allow a living spirit stone like him to perish. As the years passed, Song Que gradually slipped into mental darkness. Therefore, when he saw how terrified the Chen Clan cultivators were of these black-armored corpse troopers, he felt more joy than he had in years, and even threw his head back to laugh at the top of his lungs.
As soon as he was thrown down onto the ground in front of Bai Xiaochun, he looked around at the terrified Chen Clan cultivators, many of whom he recognized. As for the corpse troopers, their auras were enough to cause his mind to reel from shock.
And yet, even more of note than those things… was the fact that everyone was clearly focusing solely on Bai Xiaochun.
The person Song Que saw standing in front of him was a handsome young man wearing luxurious clothing. He was clearly an elite of some sort, someone with an incredibly high standing. In fact, his bodyguard was a black-armored corpse trooper whose aura left Song Que feeling completely stunned. He seemed as if he existed as one with the heavens, and made him feel so weak in comparison that a single thought on his part could surely end his life.
“Deva Realm!! This guy has deva bodyguards? Who is he….?” Song Que felt incredible pressure weighing down on him from this unknown young man, a person who struck terror into the hearts of the cultivators of the mighty Chen Clan, and who had a deva as his bodyguard. He was obviously someone very important.
“There can’t be very many people like this guy in the Wildlands. And he’s so young. Is he… an imperial prince?!?!” Considering how long Song Que had been living in Arch-Emperor City, he had come to know a bit about how the Wildlands worked.
As he looked up at Bai Xiaochun, his chest heaving, his heart suddenly filled with bitterness.
As for Bai Xiaochun, he looked down at Song Que and sighed, wondering what exactly Song Que’s problem was. It seemed like every time they ran into each other, Song Que was always in a really bad situation. Perhaps there was something wrong with him mentally?
Although Bai Xiaochun was initially inclined to poke fun at Song Que, such thoughts quickly vanished as various memories rose up in him, leading to feelings of pity. However, he couldn’t poke any holes in his identity, so he quickly suppressed such thoughts, waved his hand, and said, “This living spirit stone doesn't seem half bad. Send him to my residence for use in my cultivation.”
Zhou Yixing immediately hesitated, and almost seemed like he wanted to say something, but before he could, Bai Xiaochun gave him a meaningful glare.
It was a look that caused Zhou Yixing to tremble. He immediately voiced his assent, and stepped forward to grab Song Que. However, before he could, Song Que suddenly went crazy.
“If you people are really that tough, then just kill me! I’d rather die than exist as a living spirit stone!!”
His raving didn’t cause Zhou Yixing to pause for even a moment as he hurried forward. Before he could lay hands on him, though, Song Que turned his bloodshot eyes onto Bai Xiaochun and shouted, “My… my uncle… he’s Bai Xiaochun!!! He’s in 1st place on the Hell-Emperor Stele. If he becomes a deva, then he’ll be the new Hell-Emperor. If you dare to do anything to me, then my uncle will get revenge for me! None of you will be able to escape!”
Song Que was feeling desperate, but had no other way to threaten someone with devlevel power. Not able to bear the thought of being a human spirit stone, he decided that he had to call on the name of Bai Xiaochun…. As for the matter of Bai Xiaochun’s name being on the Hell-Emperor Stele, it was something he had heard the younger members of the Chen Clan talking about recently, and was something that left him with very mixed emotions.
As soon as the words left Song Que’s mouth, Zhou Yixing’s hands began to tremble. As for the surrounding Chen Clan cultivators, many of them gasped and looked over at Song Que. This was something that Song Que had never mentioned before. If he had, they would surely have extracted more use out of him!
After all, the name of Bai Xiaochun was a taint on all of the Wildlands. The fact that he was in 1st place on the Hell-Emperor Stele was something that defied imagination. If it remained there until the end of the trial, and Bai Xiaochun actually became the successor of the Hell-Emperor, it would be a clear slap in the face to the entire Arch-Emperor Dynasty….
As Song Que’s words echoed out, the expression on Bai Xiaochun’s face turned even more strange. The truth was that he was feeling very pleased with the whole situation, and was even thinking about how angry Song Que had been in the past when he called him Que’er. Now, with the prospect of being a living spirit stone, he actually went so far as to call on his name….
“Silly boy,” he thought to himself. “Even if I weren’t your uncle, I would still save you for the sake of the River-Defying Sect. And besides, considering everything that’s gone on between your aunt and I….” Sighing, Bai Xiaochun looked at Song Que and had to resist the urge to walk over and tousle his hair.
“Take him away!” Bai Xiaochun said, flicking his sleeve. In his opinion, his gains here in the Chen Clan had been significant.
Song Que let out an angry, agonized shriek as Zhou Yixing gritted his teeth and rendered him unconscious. As he carried him away, he stewed anxiously about the unexpected fact that Song Que was actually connected to Bai Xiaochun….