Bai Xiaochun sensed Zhou Yixing almost as soon as he stepped into the Underworld River Restricted Area. As for Zhou Yixing, he immediately caught sight of both Bai Xiaochun… and Bai Hao!
In that instant, Zhou Yixing’s heart leapt. He knew exactly who Bai Hao was; he was a figure of unparalleled power and importance in the Wildlands.
“So, Bai Hao really is the Hell-Emperor…. And milord really is his Master!” Although he had speculated all of these things before, to see it confirmed with his own eyes caused his heart to tremble with shock.
Normally speaking, he would never be able to even enter the presence of someone as important as the Hell-Emperor. Trembling, he hurried forward toward the two. However, he didn't forget the relationship between Bai Xiaochun and Bai Hao. The first person he offered formal greetings to was Bai Xiaochun, and after that, Bai Hao.
“Yixing offers greetings, milord! Greetings, exalted Hell-Emperor!” He ducked his head nervously, unable to conceal his excitement.
Zhou Yixing’s respectful and excited attitude was quite pleasing to Bai Xiaochun. Although he couldn’t go and tell everyone how important he was now, to be so adored by people close to him was good enough.
“What about my Que’er?” he asked. “Did you bring him along too?”
Of course, he couldn’t wait to see how Song Que would react upon finding out who he was.
As for Bai Hao, a strange expression could be seen on his face. However, he understood his Master well, and cooperated in full, allowing the impressive aura of the Hell-Emperor to erupt out in full force. Zhou Yixing gasped, his respect deepening as he quickly pulled Song Que out of his bag of holding.
Song Que had only been in the bag of holding for a few days, so when he came out, he wasn’t gasping for breath like he often had in the past. He had grown used to spending time inside bags of holding, and actually liked it to some degree. Besides, considering all of the cultivation resources he had benefited from, all traces of his previous ordeal were gone, and his cultivation base had even made progress. He was now very close to the mid Nascent Soul stage.
As soon as he was out in the open, he plastered an expression of respect onto his face, laying eyes, not on Bai Xiaochun, but Bai Hao.
He was aware of the fact that Bai Hao had become the Hell-Emperor, and it filled his heart with excitement. However, it was at this point that he noticed a familiar face next to Bai Hao.
His eyes widened, and he even wondered if he was seeing things. When he looked closer, he began to tremble, and then slowly reached out and pointed at Bai Xiaochun.
Zhou Yixing remained off to the side in silent introspection, not daring to interfere with this reunion. As for Bai Hao, his expression grew more awkward. However, he knew that Bai Xiaochun was obviously relishing this moment, and therefore, he held back from saying anything.
“You….” Song Que breathed. He really had not expected to see Bai Xiaochun here; it was so unexpected that it threw his mind into chaos. In fact, because of that, he didn’t notice at all how Zhou Yixing and Bai Hao were reacting.
Bai Xiaochun cleared his throat, smiled, and said, “Hi, Que’er!”
Inside, he was feeling incomparably wonderful.
As soon as Song Que heard himself being called Que’er, he was pushed to the point of exploding. However, after everything he had experienced in the Wildlands, he felt as if he had grown up quite a bit. Therefore, he suppressed his displeasure and, brimming with confidence, he yelled, “How dare you show up here in the Hell-Emperor’s presence!”
After all, he and Bai Xiaochun were both fellow disciples of the River-Defying Sect. Although he was not very happy to see him, and in fact didn’t even speak his name, he at least decided to vaguely point out that Bai Hao was the Hell-Emperor.
“I gave him his chance,” he thought. “If he’s smart, he’ll flee immediately, or at least figure out a way to resolve the situation. If not, then he’ll be dead, and it won’t be my fault.” With that, he simply stared at Bai Xiaochun, inwardly shaking his head at how the two of them now existed on totally different levels.
The fact that he had come to be the Hell-Emperor’s pet gave him a status that Bai Xiaochun couldn’t even compare to. In fact, it was highly likely that he would soon have the chance to crush Bai Xiaochun underfoot, just like he'd always wanted to.
“It’s just fate,” he said to himself. “Bai Xiaochun, ah, Bai Xiaochun. You’re just unlucky. You never managed to be anything more than a fugitive in the Wildlands, with everyone running around trying to kill you. As for me, I managed to become the pet of the Hell-Emperor! Considering my important position, I'm more powerful than you can even imagine.” A look of pity appeared in Song Que’s eyes as he looked down his nose at Bai Xiaochun. Then he sighed inwardly. Considering their past, he knew that if he could manage to save Bai Xiaochun, he probably should. After all, they were both from the River-Defying Sect.
It was roughly at this point that, all of a sudden, he began to wonder why it was that Bai Xiaochun was right here in Bai Hao’s presence, and that there didn’t seem to be any conflicts or tension. Just when he was about to ponder the subject, Bai Xiaochun cleared his throat. By this point, Bai Xiaochun could tell based on what he knew about Song Que that he wasn’t going to try to do anything villainous.
Considering that, his impression of Song Que improved. Furthermore, considering that they were at a critical moment, and that he was Song Que’s uncle, he suddenly felt a bit protective.
“Ah, whatever,” he thought. “I guess I can do without his respect.” Feeling very much like he was acting in the best interests of his nephew, he glanced at Bai Hao and then pointed at Zhou Yixing.
“Hao’er, this Zhou Yixing has been my follower for years. He was always there to support me, and did many things for me. Since I'm leaving, I hope that you can accept him as a follower.”
When Zhou Yixing heard that, it was like music to his ears. His heart trembled with joy, and he felt like he had been struck with the greatest luck in the world. Profound gratitude welled up in his heart, to the point where his knees began to shake.
“Milord… many thanks! Many thanks, milord!!”
He was a true Wildlander necromancer, and therefore, felt complete adoration and fervor for the Hell-Emperor, more so than Bai Xiaochun would ever be able to comprehend. Therefore, when he heard Bai Xiaochun’s words, he simply couldn’t remain calm.
He knew that if he worked for the Hell-Emperor, he would essentially be like an emissary in the world of the living. It was an extremely high honor that would put him very close to the level of the four heavenly kings.
In fact, from now on, his clan would never again dare to treat him as the crown prince of the clan. That title wouldn’t befit someone of his standing.
He would be the person his clan relied on, both patriarchs and ordinary clan members alike! Everyone would treat him with the utmost respect!
As Zhou Yixing went wild with joy, Song Que stared with eyes as wide as saucers. In that moment, his confidence and arrogance all faltered, and he suddenly felt like he might collapse mentally. A sensation of disbelief rose up in his heart, and he actually began to wonder if he was hallucinating….
“Did you… just call the Hell-Emperor Hao’er?!” he asked. Then turned from Bai Xiaochun to look at Zhou Yixing. “And did you… just call him milord?!
“Is this some sort of mistake? This… this seems off….” He drifted off into speechlessness, grabbing his head in his hands to stop it from spinning. He was feeling so profoundly and utterly shaken that he could hardly take it.
Startled, and a bit worried, Bai Xiaochun realized that this was clearly a huge blow to Song Que, and quickly tried to come up with a way to explain the situation.
Despite how excited Zhou Yixing was, Song Que’s words caused a strange expression to appear on his face. Sighing inwardly, he suddenly felt very sorry for Song Que….
Bai Hao felt the same. However, he smiled wryly, turned to Bai Xiaochun, and offered formal greetings with clasped hands.
“Orders received, Master!” When it came to who was his emissary in the world of the living, if anyone else had provided the suggestion, Bai Hao would have put a lot of thought into the matter. But since Bai Xiaochun had suggested it be Zhou Yixing, he didn’t bother to worry about it.
Furthermore, he accepted the instructions from Bai Xiaochun in the same way that he always had in the past. And his response struck Song Que like zillions of lightning bolts!
“Did you… just call him Master?!”