As the Giant Ghost King sat there in silence, Bai Xiaochun followed Hei Ming up toward the imperial palace, trying as best he could to look calm and collected.
Of course, inwardly, he was anxious to the point of being terrified. He frantically reviewed his plan to make sure there were no holes in it; after all, if he made the slightest mistake, there would be no hope of making a comeback.
“I doubt anything will happen that I couldn’t adjust for…. I couldn’t have prepared any better….” He felt a bit better after a thorough analysis, but still couldn’t stop wondering about what might or might not happen.
And thus, he and Hei Ming proceeded along in silence.
From the moment Bai Xiaochun had chosen not to consult the Grand Heavenmaster, but instead to attack the Zhou Clan with deadly force and lightning-like speed, he had known that it would cause a huge commotion!
But he had no regrets. He didn’t trust and rely on the Grand Heavenmaster like he had in the past, and Bai Hao’s safety had been of paramount importance. If even the slightest word had gotten out to alerts his enemies, the consequences could have been unimaginable.
And just as the Giant Ghost King had surmised, he had dared to act in the way he had because he had a secret weapon ready to go!
“I bet all of the heavenly marquises and dukes are there in Heavenmaster Hall, demanding that I be put to death….” Although he had his secret weapon, he still couldn't help but feel a bit anxious. However, it was an anxiety mixed with anticipation!
He couldn’t wait to reveal his secret weapon to all of the important officials in the dynasty. And when that happened, the more they had antagonized him in the past, the louder the sound of the figurative slaps to their faces would be!
“In the past, I always relied on the power of the Grand Heavenmaster to fight with the aristocracy. But now… I'm not going to rely on anybody except myself! I'm going to personally slap them all, right upside the face!
“89 heavenly marquises. 10 heavenly dukes…. 99 important members of the aristocracy. I wonder what it will feel like to slap them….” The more he thought about it, the stronger his anticipation grew, to the point where he had trouble breathing calmly.
Before long, he and Hei Ming were in the imperial palace, and heading toward Heavenmaster Hall. As he walked along, his heart rate increased, and his nervous anticipation grew more intense.
At one point, when they were very close to their destination, Hei Ming suddenly stopped in place.
Bai Xiaochun was so wrapped up in his thoughts of what was to come that he was taken completely by surprise, and almost walked right into Hei Ming.
After a moment passed, Hei Ming said, “You acted… recklessly.”
Although his voice was just as sinister as it normally was, if one listened carefully, one would be able to detect a bit of concern!
When Bai Xiaochun realized that, he looked surprised. Hei Ming had always acted very cold and detached, and therefore, this sudden presence of concern was totally unexpected!
Hei Ming didn't turn around. Back facing Bai Xiaochun, he said, “All the heavenly marquises and all the heavenly dukes… are working together. Even if the Grand Heavenmaster wanted to shield you from them, it would be very difficult.”
Although no one was there to see it, mixed emotions were in his eyes.
He could tell that a storm of extermination was brewing in Heavenmaster Hall, a potential catastrophe for Bai Xiaochun. Furthermore, many of the things Bai Xiaochun had done in his time as the inspections commissioner caused Hei Ming to think back to when he had held the same office.
As such, it would be hard to find someone else in the Arch-Emperor Dynasty who could sympathize with how Bai Xiaochun felt better than Hei Ming.
They had both been inspections commissioners. And right now, the events which were playing out closely resembled what had occurred to Hei Ming all those years ago. The main difference was that Hei Ming had a very close personal relationship to the Grand Heavenmaster, and as such, had been protected. He had escaped death in that situation, and had stuck like a shadow to the Grand Heavenmaster ever since.
Most importantly, he had actually not committed a crime as serious as killing a heavenly marquis!
So in many ways, Bai Xiaochun’s situation was different.
“Your only hope is the Grand Heavenmaster…. Bai Hao, you must… look out for yourself.” Sighing, he proceeded onward.
Bai Xiaochun looked at Hei Ming as he walked off, and was moved. He had always taken Hei Ming to be cold and distant, but now, when Bai Xiaochun was facing imminent calamity, the fact that he had offered comforting words warmed his heart.
He peered intently at Hei Ming’s back for a moment, then nodded softly and continued onward… to Heavenmaster Hall!
Not a sound could be heard from the closed door of the hall. However, as soon as he got close, he could sense that a complex, violent aura pulsed inside.
Hei Ming faded away into nothing, and Bai Xiaochun stood there waiting. A long moment passed, whereupon a voice echoed out from inside.
“Come in, Bai Hao!”
Bai Xiaochun shivered and took a deep, long breath. He knew that the show was about to begin, which made him nervous, but at the same time, more excited.
“Fudge, what do I have to be scared of? My secret weapon is so awesome that I’ll be able to slap those dukes and marquises until they look as ugly as pigs! They’re just waiting inside for me to go beat them up, right?! If they’re not afraid, then what am I afraid for?! Heck, it would be a shame to not hit them considering they’re sticking their faces out right in front of me and just waiting around!”
Gritting his teeth, he stepped forward and pushed the door open.
Immediately, more than a hundred gazes locked onto him!
The weakest of those gazes belonged to a half-deva, and the strongest belonged to a demigod. All of the aristocracy of the Arch-Emperor Dynasty, all of the most powerful experts, were gathered here, their gazes fused together to create pressure that could shake all creation. Even with his secret weapon, Bai Xiaochun couldn’t help but lose much of his nerve thanks to all of those gazes.
The Grand Heavenmaster sat on the Heavenmaster Throne at the head of the hall, a grim look on his face. The ten heavenly dukes stood beneath him, their expressions icy cold.
Then came the 89 heavenly marquises…. they were now all of the heavenly marquises remaining in Arch-Emperor City, and all of them were looking coldly at Bai Xiaochun. Some had cold smiles, some had sneers, and other had eyes filled with pure killing intent.
Bai Xiaochun’s heart was pounding, and sweat began to pop out on his forehead. For the first time in his life… he found himself at a disadvantage in a staring contest.
But there was little he could do about it. After all, he was single-handedly facing more than a hundred people!
“What shameless bullies!” he thought, shivering inwardly. However, he couldn’t let them defeat his spirit before he even walked through the door. Gritting his teeth, he looked through the crowd until he found Zhao Xionglin staring viciously at him.
“It doesn’t matter how many they have on their side!” he thought. “Lord Bai can at least defeat one of them! No surrender!” With that, he glared back steadily at Zhao Xionglin.
Zhao Xionglin was clearly taken by surprise, and couldn’t help but think of the friction which had occurred between the two of them. All of a sudden, he felt uneasy.
“With all these people staring at him,” he thought, “why did he have to latch onto me! What’s he doing?!” He was immediately enraged. Unfortunately for him, though, he was definitely not as skilled in staring contests as Bai Xiaochun was. Bai Xiaochun’s gaze looked like it was filled with blade light and sword projections, a windstorm of blood and carnage, a type of madness that seemed to be willing to die fighting with the enemy! Zhao Xionglin was shaken, and could only assume that in the face of death, this mad dog was somehow going to try to kill him as he went out….
Then he thought about all the incredible things Bai Xiaochun had accomplished so far, and how, despite being faced with so many enemies in one place, he was still acting like this. That in itself was very telling. Before long, Zhao Xionglin was completely convinced of his earlier theory, and considering how dangerous that made things for him, he finally just looked away.
Seeing that Zhao Xionglin didn't dare to look at him caused Bai Xiaochun’s spirits to soar. “Think you can take me on?” he thought. “Yellow-bellied wimp!”
Feeling very impressive, he stepped into Heavenmaster Hall, clasped hands and bowed to the Grand Heavenmaster.
“Your humble servant Bai Hao offers greetings, Grand Heavenmaster!”