The qi and blood inside of him was powerful to an indescribable degree!
Furthermore, he yet again felt as though a mountain were crushing down onto him from above, which was none other than… the fourth of the five shackles inside of him!
He couldn’t break through that shackle right now. He would need to wait until he became a deva!
At that time, he would finally be able to cultivate the last level of the Undying Codex…
“I finally mastered the Undying Bones!” He laughed heartily, but before he had a chance to feel very pleased with himself, he sensed that the passing of the Hell-Emperor’s legacy was occurring up in the sky.
Stunned, he blurred into motion, appearing outside of his immortal's cave to see the gravekeeper up above, as well as… his apprentice, Bai Hao!!
Bai Xiaochun’s eyes went wide with anticipation and well wishes.
High up in the Underworld River Restricted Area, Bai Hao suddenly sensed that Bai Xiaochun was looking at him. Shivering, he turned his head to look at Bai Xiaochun down in the Wildlands, and his eyes shone with respect and deep emotion. Furthermore, there were many people who noticed that, and were quite taken aback.
It was at this point that the gravekeeper reached up, took off his imperial crown and then tossed it over to Bai Hao.
When it landed on Bai Hao’s head, he had no choice but to look away from Bai Xiaochun.
As the crown settled down, Bai Hao shivered, and his energy suddenly skyrocketed. Intense pressure weighed down, pressure that surpassed that of devas or even demigods!
Intense rumbling sounds filled heaven and earth, and the Underworld River churned madly, as though the source of that river were being changed. Instead of coming from the gravekeeper, it came from Bai Hao!
At the same time, nine underworld dragons appeared on Bai Hao’s black robe, all of them howling as Bai Hao’s energy continued to rise!
As for the gravekeeper, as soon as he took the crown off, his robe turned into an ordinary black garment. His aura suddenly seemed vastly weaker than before, and he looked like an old man rotting away into death.
Smiling, he looked at Bai Hao, who in turn looked out over the Wildlands and then spoke four words.
“I am the Hell-Emperor!” After speaking the words, he added a line in his heart!
“And I shall protect my Master!”
Shocking rumbling sounds echoed out as if to bear witness to his words. At the same time, the countless souls in the Underworld River all bowed to him, their eyes shining with passion as they cried out in piercing voices.
“Greetings, Hell-Emperor!” The living beings who could hear the sound were all shaken. And then, one by one, they joined in, until their voices caused all heaven and earth to tremble.
Everyone from the Grand Heavenmaster to the four heavenly kings all clasped hands and bowed in Bai Hao’s direction. They knew that for many years to come, this person would be the Wildlands’ Hell-Emperor!
Zhou Yixing’s heart trembled as he bowed, and Song Que was filled with excitement. Although Song Que was still loyal to the River-Defying Sect, the fact that he was the pet of the Hell-Emperor meant that from now on, no one in the Wildlands would ever dare to provoke him.
Even the Arch-Emperor and the gravekeeper now bowed their heads respectfully to Bai Hao!
Not only was it a show of respect to the reigning Hell-Emperor, it was a long-standing tradition within the Arch-Emperor Dynasty!
Soul cultivators and wild beasts alike, all living things, did the same thing. With the exception of one person….
One person didn’t bow.
He stood there looking up with a smile on his face. Bai Xiaochun! He was the only person in all of the Wildlands who didn’t offer formal greetings!
After all, despite the fact that Bai Hao was now the Hell-Emperor, he was still Bai Xiaochun’s apprentice. Of course, Bai Xiaochun couldn’t have been more pleased for his apprentice. And in terms of his own life, it really felt like he had reached another major milestone.
“My Daoist partner is a deva. My father-in-law is a demigod. And my apprentice is the Hell-Emperor….” A wonderful feeling of smug contentment filled his heart. It was almost like he was the secret overlord of the Wildlands!
“What a pity that hardly anyone knows Bai Hao is my apprentice.” He sighed regretfully. Although he didn’t know about how the Grand Heavenmaster had recently issued orders to quell the talk about him, he did know that very few people were aware that he had actually been impersonating Bai Hao.
Even as he stood there sighing, Bai Hao, the gravekeeper, and the Underworld River all faded away, and the sky returned to normal.
Although the ceremony of succession had been short, it was profoundly significant. Furthermore, it was easy to imagine how, from this day on, stories about Bai Hao would abound. As time went on, his position as the Hell-Emperor would ensure that everyone in the Wildlands revered and respected him.
After watching his apprentice fade away, Bai Xiaochun sighed and then looked down at the transmission jade slip he had in his hand. That jade slip had vibrated numerous times during his session of cultivation, but he hadn’t had time to pay much attention to it. But now, he was in the great circle of the Undying Bones, and his apprentice had become the Hell-Emperor. Therefore, he now had time to take it out for inspection.
The instant he looked closer, his jaw dropped. Almost all of the messages were from Zhou Yixing, and provided all of the details of what had happened while he was in seclusion.
After perusing the messages, Bai Xiaochun came to the realization that his identity… had not been revealed!!
“I can’t believe people don’t know!” he thought, his eyes widening. He immediately drew the conclusion that it was the work of the gravekeeper. Either that, or the Grand Heavenmaster had taken steps to make sure that the public didn’t realize who he was.
When he saw what Zhou Yixing had said about how some people had guessed that he was Bai Hao, but that the rumor had not gone very far, he realized the truth.
It was all a protection for him!
After all, he had done many momentous things in the Wildlands, things that could be detrimental to him after returning to the Heavenspan River region. If word got back there about who he was, it could make things difficult. On the one hand, it was a bit disappointing to have done so many amazing things but not be able to brag about them.
On the other hand, the people who really needed to know, did know. The upper echelons in the Wildlands all knew his true identity, and also knew who his apprentice was.
“As long as the important people know, I guess that’s enough. Hmmmphh! If I have the chance, I’m going to go visit the Grand Heavenmaster. This time he’ll be the one offering greetings to me! And as for that Nine Serenities King, I’ll have to make sure my apprentice teaches him a lesson sooner or later!
“Otherwise, how could I possibly remain safe in the Wildlands?” At this point, his heart began to pound a bit harder. When all was said and done, he was still tied to the River-Defying Sect. Although there were some people in the Wildlands that he would miss dearly, there were even more people in the River-Defying Sect. Whether it was Li Qinghou, Hou Xiaomei, Song Junwan, Big Fatty Zhang… all of them were faces that popped up in his thoughts constantly.
“I've been away for a long time….” he thought, sighing. Actually, the more he thought about it, it wasn’t the Heavenspan River region in general that he cared about, it was the River-Defying Sect.
“Ah, whatever. I guess I should just get back to the River-Defying Sect. If I end up missing the Wildlands too much, I can always just figure out a way to bring the River-Defying Sect back here….” Having reached this point in his train of thought, he patted his bag of holding to produce the command medallion the gravekeeper had given him, which would allow him passage through the Deadmire.
“There are still a few things I have to take care of before leaving. And now that I think about it, it wouldn't be good to use my apprentice’s face to do them.” It was a bit frightening to think about going back to his true appearance. However, considering his high status, he decided that the time had come. Flicking his sleeve, he took off his mask.
As of this moment… his true face was visible for all to see!