The Grand Heavenmaster wore a grim expression, and was feeling very irritated. He was actually very angry at what Bai Xiaochun had done, and especially his timing; right at one of the most important moments of the Proclamation of Universal Grace.
Everything had been going well and according to plan. The important clans in the Arch-Emperor Dynasty were beginning to fall. But now… thanks to Bai Xiaochun, the aristocracy was now more united than ever!
Earlier in the meeting, they hadn’t said it outright, but had clearly implied that if Bai Xiaochun didn’t die, they would reject the Proclamation of Universal Grace!
Although the Grand Heavenmaster was the type who would normally agree to such a demand, the fact that Bai Xiaochun’s two vicious plans had benefited him so much caused him to hesitate.
A moment passed, and then the Grand Heavenmaster said, “Bai Hao, I've called you here today to provide an explanation regarding the matter of Zhou Wudao. Please clarify the situation.”
Obviously, he was giving Bai Xiaochun a chance to try to resolve the situation on his own, which would save himself a lot of effort and frustration.
“Grand Heavenmaster,” Bai Xiaochun began, “your humble serv--”
Before he could get any farther than that, one of the heavenly marquises laughed coldly and then cast a murderous gaze at him. Stepping forward, the man clasped hands formally to the Grand Heavenmaster!
“There’s no need for you to try to defend yourself, Bai Hao,” he said. “The penalty for murder is death! It’s a law of the heavens! Grand Heavenmaster, I would like to submit an official request to the court that Bai Hao be stripped of his title of inspections commissioner and executed on the spot. Only in this way can justice be served to Heavenly Marquis Zhou’s spirit in the heavens!”
Bai Xiaochun glared at the man, and yet, before anything else could happen, another heavenly marquis stepped forward.
“I completely agree. Grand Heavenmaster, this Bai Hao acted without any official permission to kill one of the heavenly marquises of our grand imperial dynasty. It was a foolhardy and illegal act that should be punished by death!”
“Grand Heavenmaster, I would like to submit an official request to the court that Bai Hao be executed!”
“Grand Heavenmaster, I would also like to submit an official request to the court to have Bai Hao put to death immediately!!”
The heavenly marquises were acting like hornets whose nest had been disturbed. It only took a brief moment for eight of them to step forward with biting words, using the incident with Zhou Wudao to demand that Bai Xiaochun be put to death.
Bai Xiaochun’s eyes were already starting to get tired from all the glaring, so eventually he looked away, and just waited for them to submit their requests. The entire time, his anger continued to burn hotter and hotter.
Gritting his teeth, he murmured to himself, “It seems that I didn’t visit enough clans during my rescue of Hao’er. I should have gone to a few more!”
The Grand Heavenmaster sat there silently, and the wily old foxes who were the heavenly dukes didn't say anything. A moment passed, and some more heavenly marquises stepped forward to make requests. One of them was named Liu Yong.
“Grand Heavenmaster,” he said, “according to my calculations, this Bai Hao has committed over 100 serious crimes. I would like to take this opportunity to recite that list in front of all the other government officials here today!”
Everyone gasped in response to his initial words. Heavenly Marquis Liu Yong was actually ranked in the middle of the heavenly marquises in terms of his cultivation base, roughly the same as Zhou Wudao. However, he was an outgoing person, and was actually very excited to be participating in this rare alliance of the aristocracy.
Therefore, he hoped to take advantage of this moment to make a big scene, and hopefully earn a bit of respect.
Even the heavenly dukes were paying attention to him now. As for the Grand Heavenmaster, he looked him over, both intrigued and shaken by the idea of hearing Liu Yong list all of the supposed 100 crimes.
Bai Xiaochun was startled, and couldn’t hold back from gasping slightly. Looking over at Liu Yong, he noted that he seemed familiar. However, he couldn’t place his face, and was very surprised to hear that he planned to list out 100 supposed crimes.
When Liu Yong saw that he was now the center of attention, his excitement grew, and he took a few steps forward.
“This Bai Hao killed members of his own clan,” he began loudly, “and gravely breached social norms. This is the crime of clan rebellion!
“In Giant Ghost City, he was known as a wife-stealer who was completely devoid of conscience. This is the crime of aggravated robbery!
“He actually took the soulgrounds of the Cai Clan by force, and inflicted grave injuries in the process! This is the crime of larceny!
“He plundered the treasures of the Chen Clan, causing them to sustain grievous losses. This is the crime of burglary!”
Liu Yong talked at high speed and without stopping. His words filled Heavenmaster Hall, until everyone’s eyes slowly began to glaze over.
As Bai Xiaochun listened, he began to pant, and to stare at Liu Yong with gritted teeth. Obviously, Liu Yong had done a lot of research in preparation for this moment, otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to list off all of the crimes so quickly.
“In the Necromancer Kettle, he absorbed the life force of a whole host of chosen by means of an evil cultivation technique. This is the crime of taboo cultivation!
“Furthermore, after coming to Arch-Emperor City, he threw the Giant Ghost Legion into chaos, and set the entire place on fire. This is the crime of arson!”
The more excited Liu Yong got, the louder his voice grew. In fact, as he looked around and saw the other heavenly marquises and dukes looking on in complete silence, he became more confident, and spoke even louder.
“In his spirit enhancement shop, he charged exorbitant rates for soul medicine and spirit enhancements. This is the crime of price gouging!
“After becoming the inspections commissioner, he stuffed his own pockets by shaking down clans. This is the crime of embezzlement!”
As Liu Yong listed out crime after crime, time ticked by. Eventually, enough time had passed for an incense stick to burn, and yet, he still wasn’t finished. Furthermore, instead of slowing down as he spoke, he actually began to speak faster and faster.
Everyone was shaken, and Bai Xiaochun was completely stunned. In fact, he even began to admire Liu Yong a bit….
A strange expression could be seen on the Grand Heavenmaster’s face, and he had to admit that Heavenly Marquis Liu’s ability to dig up information and compile it was completely beyond ordinary.
“…. This is the crime of dereliction of duty!”
“…. This is the crime of abuse of power!”
“…. This is the crime of accepting bribes!”
“And finally, he slaughtered an innocent heavenly marquis, in the most brutal fashion imaginable. This is the crime of murder!!”
Another incense stick’s worth of time had passed, and Liu Yong was finally finished. After catching his breath, he looked around proudly, then clasped hands to the Grand Heavenmaster.
“Grand Heavenmaster, this concludes my report. Bai Hao is the amalgamation of all types of evil. Any one of those hundred crimes could be punished by death with a thousand cuts. Therefore, I would like to submit an official request to the court that this supervillain Bai Hao be executed on the spot! Let him be hacked into a million pieces to serve as a warning to any who would follow in his vile footsteps!!”
Everyone was completely and utterly shaken. For many, a new world had just been opened up, and they felt like they were coming to know Liu Yong for the first time. A moment passed, whereupon more people began to step forward and clasp hands toward the Grand Heavenmaster.
“I second the motion!”
“I also submit the same request to the court!”
“The 100 crimes listed by Heavenly Marquis Liu are damning evidence! I also second the motion!”
It wasn’t just one or two people; dozens of heavenly marquises all stepped forward to say similar things. As of this point, more than half of the heavenly marquises had joined in the effort.
As for everyone else, they exchanged glances, then clasped hands and, in unison, said, “We second the motion! Execute Bai Hao!”
Their voices were like a sound wave that crashed back and forth in all directions. Bai Xiaochun looked around at the group, and especially at Liu Yong, and suddenly felt fear rising up inside of him.
“Can this guy shapeshift into a rat or something? I can’t believe he scurried around and dragged up all of that information about me!!” Bai Xiaochun immediately decided that he would not forget this Liu Yong, and would be sure to teach him a good lesson.
The Grand Heavenmaster frowned. The entire aristocracy was united in opposition to a single person. Before, he might have been able to think of a way to resolve the situation. After all, Bai Xiaochun was now completely and utterly isolated, which meant that if the Grand Heavenmaster managed to save him, he would earn eternal loyalty.
But right now, the Proclamation of Universal Grace was the most important thing to consider. If the dynasty truly became unstable, it would have a big effect on the Grand Heavenmaster. Only by having an unassailable position of reason could he save Bai Xiaochun. Even if Bai Xiaochun was his adopted son, it would still be difficult to defend him.
Inwardly, he was sighing, and was also cursing Bai Xiaochun for getting himself into this situation. Furthermore, he began to hesitate and waver about what to do.
And yet, things still weren’t over. After the heavenly marquises finished speaking, Chen Haosong’s eyes glittered at the sight of the Grand Heavenmaster hesitating. Stepping forward, he clasped hands formally.
“I was a bit stunned to hear what Heavenly Marquis Liu just had to say. Our Arch-Emperor Dynasty has lasted for many generations, and in any generation, a person who committed 100 serious crimes would definitely suffer the penalty of clan extermination. Therefore, I would also like to submit an official request to the court that Bai Hao be killed!”
The bearded heavenly duke, as well as the other eight, also stepped forward and clasped hands. Although none of them said anything, their actions alone spoke to their stance.
The Grand Heavenmaster’s eyes flickered, and the hesitation vanished. Just as he was prepared to state his decision… Bai Xiaochun’s voice rang out!
“Is your little show over now? It’s my turn!”
He didn’t seem anxious or nervous at all because of what he had seen, and in fact, a cold smile could be seen on his face.
Note from Er Gen: Ahem, this chapter has a secret in it….