Mistress Red-Dust was surprised. It seemed obvious to her that there was more to the story, but after receiving the technique and looking it over, she couldn’t figure out what it was. Besides, the giant ghost king was her father, and couldn't possibly be out to harm her. And yet, she couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something fishy going on.
She did a bit more research, but in the end, she was simply too anxious to achieve a cultivation base breakthrough to hold back. Her previous fight with Bai Xiaochun had left her feeling very unsatisfied with her current cultivation base. Therefore, she went into secluded meditation and began to cultivate the technique secretly, just like her father had suggested.
“Good girl!” the giant ghost king thought. “Father isn’t trying to hurt you. The technique won’t do anything bad. However, after you emerge from meditation, you’ll be a bit muddle-headed, and much easier to influence. In some ways, you can almost be brainwashed…. Well, there’s nothing else that can be done. You’re just too smart, and if we let the situation stand, things will never develop between you and Bai Hao.” The giant ghost king felt a bit guilty, but in the end, reminded himself that he was doing all of this for the betterment of his daughter. And that made him a very good father.
Now that the first step of the plan was underway, the giant ghost king’s guilt began to turn into excitement. As soon as his daughter entered her secluded meditation chamber, he called all of her personal guards over and instructed them to let him know as soon as she emerged.
He spoke so strictly that the guards were very nervous, and instantly agreed to follow his instructions.
Having accomplished these things, the giant ghost king sighed.
“Success or failure now depends on fate. If they’re not destined to be together, then nothing will work.”
The Zhao Clan was located in Borough 19. Considering that Zhao Xionglin was a heavenly marquis, their clan was very similar to the Li and Chen Clans. The buildings were exquisite and beautiful, and the entire place was so grand that it was very conspicuous within Borough 19.
There were two enormous statues located in the main square of the clan, one on either side. They were dozens of meters tall, pure white, and depicted beastly creatures. Although the statues weren’t made from spirit stones, they had been created using a unique method of equipment forging and special materials, which made them extraordinary, to say the least.
Right in between the two statues was the Zhao Clan’s heavenly marquis pagoda, which emanated powerful fluctuations that ensured that anyone nearby felt a threatening sensation.
At the moment, the various princes and princesses of the clan were practicing fighting techniques on one of the clan’s training grounds, sparring with magical techniques and divine abilities. The eldest son of the clan, Zhao Dongshan, sat cross-legged in the position of honor. Although he seemed to be paying attention to the sparring going on on the training grounds, he was actually preoccupied with other thoughts, to the point where his brow was slightly furrowed.
Occasionally, he would look up into the sky and sigh. The mere thought of how his father Zhao Xionglin had returned the previous day looking extremely angry caused Zhao Dongshan to sigh anxiously. He knew some of what had occurred the previous day in the imperial palace, and it caused his hatred toward Bai Xiaochun to grow even stronger than before.
“He gave our Zhao Clan a Foundation Establishment-level soul and is expecting a deva soul in return! What a vile attack!” Zhao Dongshan sat there grinding his teeth angrily, and yet feeling completely helpless. Yesterday evening, his father had given him a deva soul and instructed him on what to do with it, then had grimly gone into secluded meditation.
“Father, you think this is a loss of face, but so do I….” Zhao Dongshan sighed painfully. After all, the Zhao Clan only had one deva soul to their name, which had been given to them by Heavenly Duke Chen Haosong because of the good relationship between him and Zhao Xionglin.
But now, they had to give it up…. Zhao Dongshan’s mood continued to sink the more he thought about it, and yet, there was nothing he could do. About this time, he suddenly heard a whistling sound up above in the air.
As soon as he heard it, his eyelid twitched. Looking up, he saw several thousand beams of light flying toward him, accompanied by a dramatically murderous aura.
“This shameless Bai Hao just has to go and make a huge scene, all to collect a single soul!” Zhao Dongshan was cursing inwardly, and his expression was extremely grim as he watched the thousands of figures coming to a stop right above the Zhao Clan.
In the lead position was none other than Bai Xiaochun, who flicked his sleeve proudly and spoke in a voice that echoed through the entire clan.
“Heavenly Marquis Zhao! Oh, Big Bro Zhao! Thank you so much for taking care of that deva soul for me. Uh… well, I'm back today to get it, so could you please hand it over?” Bai Xiaochun was feeling very pleased with the whole situation. Furthermore, after noticing that the person present to receive him was Zhao Dongshan, he didn’t feel it appropriate to address him directly, not considering how lofty Bai Xiaochun’s position was. A junior like Zhao Dongshan wasn’t worthy to be greeted.
Zhao Xionglin was inside the heavenly marquis pagoda, meditating fitfully. As soon as he heard what was happening outside, his face twitched, but he forced himself to ignore it.
Down below, Zhao Dongshang gritted his teeth and said, “Take this soul and leave, Bai Hao!”
With that, he flicked his sleeve, sending a piece of crystal flying out. There was something bizarre about the crystal and the way it shone with flickering light. There was also an incredible pressure that it sent out, making it seem completely extraordinary. Inside of the crystal was a ball of flame, which was none other than a fire-type deva soul!
The crystal became a beam of light which shot toward Bai Xiaochun, who grabbed it out of the air. Smiling broadly, he looked down at Zhao Dongshan.
“Hey there, young lad, you must be Dongshan, correct? Hahaha! How courteous of you people! You actually encased my deva soul in some crystal. Not bad. Not bad at all. Very well, young lad. Uncle Bai is in a good mood today, so hurry over and offer formal greetings, and I’ll give you a reward.” Zhao Dongshan had offended him multiple times in the past, so there was no way he would let him off the hook today.
Zhao Dongshan was so angry he could hardly breathe straight, and the fact that Bai Xiaochun had called him young lad was even more infuriating. However, the mere thought of Bai Xiaochun’s incredible battle prowess, and the fact that he was the inspections commissioner, with a force of 3,000 corpse troopers behind him, ensured that he managed to keep his anger in check.
“You have your soul, Bai Hao. Just leave, alright? You’re not welcome here!”
As soon as Bai Xiaochun heard that, his broad smile vanished, and his eyes widened into an angry glare. Pointing at Zhao Dongshan, he said,
“What do you mean by that, young lad? I'm not welcome here? I represent the grand heavenmaster! By saying that I’m not welcome, you’re also saying that the grand heavenmaster isn’t welcome!”
“You….” Zhao Dongshan was so frustrated he wanted to explode, and was even about to explain himself. However, Bai Xiaochun didn’t give him the chance.
“By not welcoming the grand heavenmaster, you’re showing contempt for the entire court, and the arch-emperor himself! Don’t tell me that your Zhao Clan has something to hide!?!?” Even as Bai Xiaochun yelled, his 3,000 corpse troopers emanated such a powerful murderous aura that it created a black vortex in the sky above the Zhao Clan.
“No!” Zhao Dongshan blurted. After becoming the inspections commissioner, Bai Xiaochun had come to fall in love with labeling people with false accusations. All they had to do was open their mouth, and he would strike instantly. After all, Zhao Dongshan’s own father had suffered the same treatment.
Even Heavenly Duke Chen Haosong had fallen victim, and had eventually chosen to just keep his mouth shut.
“Eee? Feeling guilty or something?!” From the gleam in Bai Xiaochun’s eyes, it seemed that he believed himself to have found some important evidence. Up in the pagoda, Zhao Xionglin’s hands were trembling with rage. However, this time, Zhao Dongshan reacted a bit more quickly than before. He quickly stepped forward, took a breath to suppress his anger, and bowed deeply to Bai Xiaochun with clasped hands.
“Senior…. Dongshan… offers greetings…. Greetings, exalted Inspections Commissioner!” Zhao Dongshan felt like he was going crazy, to the point where he might cough up blood. However, this Bai Hao was not the same Bai Hao from before. Not even Zhao Dongshan’s father dared to anger him, and therefore, Zhao Dongshan had no other choice than to submit.
Bai Xiaochun looked discontentedly at Zhao Dongshan, wondering how he had managed to recover his composure so quickly. It was a real pity, considering that he had hoped to take advantage of the situation to extort the Zhao Clan a bit more.
“It’s no fun if they give in so easily,” he thought. Unfortunately, he had no excuse to keep going. Muttering to himself angrily, he looked around the clan until he noticed the two pure white beast statues.
“Those beast statues look a bit suspicious,” he announced. “Men, take them away. Deliver them to my manor so that I can study them more closely.” Instantly, hundreds of black-armored corpse troopers flew toward the statues, completely ignoring the Zhao Clan cultivators. Blue veins bulged out on Zhao Dongshan’s face and neck. However, considering that his father hadn’t issued any orders, he knew he had to simply hold his tongue. The hundreds of corpse troopers quickly took those two statues which the Zhao Clan viewed as priceless treasures, and ripped them up out of the ground….
Bai Xiaochun blinked a few more times as he looked around. Finally, his gaze came to rest on the heavenly marquis pagoda. Obviously, Zhao Xionglin was not planning to make an appearance. Feeling a bit irritated, Bai Xiaochun snorted and then turned to leave with his corpse troopers and the two statues.
“How dare they provoke me! Zhao Dongshan attacked me multiple times! These statues are just going to be interest on what he owes me.” Sticking his chin up, he began to strut away.
After he left, an enraged roar echoed out from the heavenly marquis pagoda. Zhao Xionglin was enraged, but his anger was not sated, and could only be vented by continuing to howl in anger.
Zhao Dongshan sat there bitterly, terrified of Bai Xiaochun. If he had known that things would turn out this way, then he would never have dared to offend him.
And thus, Bai Xiaochun returned to the Inspections Manor, deva soul in hand, with two new statues carried by his corpse troopers. After arranging for his corpse troopers to stand guard, he went into his secluded meditation facilities and pondered what the grand heavenmaster had said to him yesterday.
“I’ll just wait for some new orders. I wonder how many clans the grand heavenmaster will have me shake down this time….” Heart pounding with anticipation, he was just about to go back to studying eighteen-colored flame when his expression flickered. A moment later, Zhou Yixing appeared right outside of his secluded meditation facilities.
“Zhou Yixing seeks an audience, exalted one!”
Because Zhou Yixing had been acknowledged by Bai Xiaochun as a member of the Inspections Manor, the corpse troopers often gave him sharp looks, but wouldn’t cause any problems for him as long as he didn’t harbor ill intent.
Of course, Bai Xiaochun was very pleased with Zhou Yixing’s service so far. Therefore, he waved his hand, causing the door to the facility to open. Zhou Yixing took a deep breath, and walked in, a very serious expression on his face. Stopping in front of Bai Xiaochun, he clasped hands and bowed deeply.
Trying to imitate the style of the grand heavenmaster, Bai Xiaochun coolly said, “Yixing! Make sure to get good and ready. The Inspections Manor is going to be very busy soon!”
Zhou Yixing immediately voiced his assent. Then, he hesitated, looked left and right, and quietly said, “Exalted one, um… what should we do with Song Que?”