The Miao Clan patriarch’s howl was one of utter defeat. He had lost many things a moment ago. His wisdom. His judgement. Bai Hao. And his own life!
He had been completely and utterly vanquished!
“Kill those two!” Bai Xiaochun said coldly, flicking his sleeve.
All of the corpse troopers, even the one in silver armor, took to action, murderous auras raging.
The silver-armored corpse trooper alone would have been enough, but they all attacked. Therefore, there was nothing that the Miao Clan patriarch or Zhou Wudao could do to fight back. They were killed in body and soul.
They had been able to struggle a bit while Bai Hao was still in their custody to use as a threat. But right now, their screams and curses filled the air as their bodies were ripped to shreds. Blood and gore exploded out in all directions, and their nascent divinities were shattered!!
For the Zhou Clan, it was the end of an era. Although they still existed, for all intents and purposes, they were dead!
Their heavenly marquis pagoda had been destroyed, and their heavenly marquis killed. Their heir apparent was dead, and the Zhou Clan… would be stricken from the list of the heavenly marquis clans!
The Miao Clan had once been one of the most powerful clans in the Wildlands with their earthly necromancer. But now, they had no pillar of strength to support them.
Of course, Bai Xiaochun did not go back on his word. He said that he would spare the Miao Clan, and he did. However, he had Zhou Yixing secretly place branding marks on all of them. Although they escaped with their lives, if Zhou Yixing ever needed to, he would have a way to easily threaten them. And if they ever harbored truly ill intentions, he could easily kill them.
Not all the Miao Clan cultivators got off easily, though. Bai Xiaochun had Miao Lin’er imprisoned in the Grand Asylum. Her incredible good looks would obviously cause wicked thoughts to rise up in the men in the prison, but at the moment, Bai Xiaochun wasn't feeling merciful.
The events of the day immediately caused a stir in Arch-Emperor City. There wasn’t a single person who didn’t hear about what had occurred. As for the heavenly marquises, they were stricken with fear down to the last one.
Although all of them had had conflicts and even some fights with Bai Xiaochun, so far, none of the interchanges had ever escalated to the point of people dying. But now… a heavenly marquis and his successor had both been cut down!!
Even a heavenly marquis pagoda had been destroyed. After the initial gasps of shock, everyone assumed that what had happened had been ordered by the Grand Heavenmaster.
However, it didn’t take long before the Grand Heavenmaster expressed his anger about the matter! At that point, the heavenly marquises realized… that the inspections commissioner had been acting for personal reasons!!
“This Bai Hao is crazy! I can’t believe he actually killed people!!”
“He actually went and killed a heavenly marquis without the consent of the Grand Heavenmaster?!?!”
“This defies all laws and principles, even those of the heavens!!”
“This guy cannot be tolerated any longer! The inspections commissioner has too much power! If he can go crazy and kill Zhou Wudao, then who will be the next person he targets for death!?!?”
“This Bai Hao is a traitor! This is Arch-Emperor City! Who does he think he is, the second Grand Heavenmaster!?!?” The heavenly marquises were all enraged. Their previous hatred, especially that caused by the Proclamation of Universal Grace and the losses they had sustained because of it, caused them to detest Bai Xiaochun with all their being.
Because of their hatred and fear, there was no way that they would let Bai Xiaochun’s one enormous illegal act just go unanswered. It didn’t take long before the heavenly marquises were heading en masse to the imperial palace!
“This time he’s going to die beyond the shadow of a doubt!”
“There’s no way that this Bai Hao will escape by the skin of his teeth this time!!”
“No superhuman abilities will help him this time. He won’t even have a corpse left!”
“Nobody can save him! The inspections commissioner’s power comes from the Grand Heavenmaster. Today… he will face major tribulation!”
The heavenly marquises weren’t the only ones to take action. The ten heavenly dukes left their heavenly duke pagodas and also headed to the imperial palace. Chen Haosong took the lead, a cold smile on his face. He knew… that not even the Grand Heavenmaster would be able to protect Bai Hao this time!
Bai Hao’s crime was far too dramatic, and had crossed a bottom line that nobody in Arch-Emperor Dynasty could accept!!
All of the nobility and aristocracy were up in arms. As for the common people, when they heard about what had happened, they gasped at the enormity and insanity of it all.
It didn’t take long for the news of Bai Xiaochun killing a heavenly marquis to reach the farthest corners of the Wildlands.
When the Giant Ghost King heard of it, his anger flared. He quickly pulled out a jade slip to send a message to Bai Xiaochun, but after a moment, put the jade slip away. Then he stamped his foot in anger, causing the entire royal palace to shudder.
When the Nine Serenities King got the information via jade slip, he frowned. He didn't care much that Zhou Wudao and the Miao Clan patriarch had been killed. The only reason he had helped them to begin with was because it benefited him. Although he didn’t particularly care for Bai Xiaochun, he viewed him like an ant whose life or death didn’t matter at all.
However, he did care about the fact that a heavenly marquis pagoda had been destroyed.
“Strange….” he murmured.
Meanwhile, in another part of Nine Serenities City, Prince Zhou Hong heard the news and immediately broke out into delighted laughter.
“Bai Hao, ah, Bai Hao. How will you possibly avert disaster this time!?”
Virtually everyone felt the same, that the situation was completely unresolvable.
As the Wildlands was shaken by the news, Bai Xiaochun was back in the Inspections Manor, where he had gone immediately after the events in the Zhou Clan.
He tossed his inspections commissioner medallion into his bag of holding, and dismissed Zhou Yixing with orders to lay low until things calmed down. As for his corpse troopers, they stood in ranks, motionless.
At the moment, the only thing Bai Xiaochun cared about was Bai Hao, who lay in his soulhoarding pagoda, slowly recovering. Eventually, his eyes fluttered open, and the first thing he saw was his Master, looking very haggard.
“Finally awake!” Bai Xiaochun said, a smile on his face. “You need to be more careful in the future. Come, come. Let Master tell you what's happened in the last month. Hmmmphh! You have no idea how awesomely your Master handled things. No one dared to provoke me! I even went and accused devas!”
Smiling, he went on to explain everything that had happened. To him, things already seemed like they had been a month before, with he and Bai Hao together, depending on each other for survival.
However, the more he talked about everything, the more Bai Hao’s eyes began to glaze over.
“Master….” he said, trembling. When he heard that his Master had enacted the Proclamation of Universal Grace for him, and then learned of everything after that, he was suddenly struck deeply with a feeling of warm gratitude. Eventually, he flew out of his soulhoarding pagoda and dropped to his knees to kowtow to Bai Xiaochun.
“I never thought I would see you again, Master….” he said, his heart surging with emotions that he couldn’t even express. After being captured, he had endured a month of torment, and yet had never revealed any of his Master’s secrets. As of this moment, it all seemed worth it!
After all, the person Bai Hao cared about most in his heart was his Master!
To Bai Hao, the past month had been one of endless darkness and pain. He had felt himself being slowly burned away as the Miao Clan patriarch refined him. There had even been times when the patriarch attempted to soulsearch him. The Miao Clan’s flame conjuring techniques required that they soulsearch and torment the intelligent soul until it submitted. Only then could the flame be conjured successfully. It was only possible to imagine how much pain Bai Hao had experienced!
During that time, he had been completely powerless to do anything. There were times when he had almost wished he could die, but in his determination, he had refused to give in. His Master had not yet conjured nineteen-colored flame, and in fact, he had not yet seen him succeed with eighteen-colored flame! And he had sworn an oath that he would make sure his Master fulfilled his dream of becoming a heavenly necromancer.
Therefore, he couldn't die. Nor did he want to! Maybe he would die one day, but it would only be after he helped his Master accomplish everything he needed to. Only then could he close his eyes in that final rest.
There were just too many things left to be done. Furthermore, he was also worried about what his Master would do without someone to watch over him. Presumably, he would get himself in all sorts of dangerous situations, and Bai Hao knew he needed to be there to give advice, and to help solve the problems!
That was his focus and determination, and it kept him going the entire month. He wasn't sure how much longer he would have been able to hold out, and eventually, he simply lapsed into unconsciousness. And then, he opened his eyes to see… his Master.
When Bai Xiaochun saw the look in Bai Hao’s eyes, he felt very pleased with himself, and mused that he really was a trustworthy and inspiring Master. Tousling Bai Hao’s hair, he said, “Hahaha! Moved? Well, didn’t Master tell you that after you become his apprentice, you wouldn’t regret it…?”
Bai Hao immediately kowtowed deeply and said, “Master, you have shown me incredible kindness. You saved my life! I will never forget this for the rest of my life!!!”
It was almost exactly the same as the scene which had played out in that mountain cave when he had just regained his mind after being a vengeful soul…. He kowtowed with no regrets and with full sincerity!
Bai Xiaochun stuck his chin up and flicked his sleeve.
“You’re my apprentice,” he said grandly, “and if anyone dares to lay a hand on you, they’re basically slapping me in the face! Proclamation of Universal Grace? Ha! If that hadn’t worked, my next plan was to get the lands of Heavenspan to invade the Wildlands to save you!”
As of this moment, he didn’t look at all like the cold and ruthless person he had been in the past month. He was finally back to normal!