Song Que wasn’t even aware that he was talking. He stood there, staring blankly at Bai Hao, shaking physically and almost forgetting to breathe.
“No. This has to be a mistake….” The world seemed to be spinning around him, as though he had broken through some barrier of incredulity that he hadn’t even realized existed.
He didn’t want to think to deeply about how these three people were connected, but… he simply couldn’t control his own train of thought.
Bai Hao was the only person who Zhou Yixing would call milord. And the fact that Bai Hao had called Bai Xiaochun Master made everything even more clear…. Bai Xiaochun was Bai Hao’s Master, and was Zhou Yixing’s lord.
Song Que felt like his mind was filled with crashing bolts of lightning, leaving him standing there with a blank look on his face. As for Bai Xiaochun, he couldn’t let that happen, so he hurried forward to explain.
“Calm down, Que’er, let me explain….”
“You… you….” Song Que pointed at Bai Xiaochun, his eyes turning red. Before Bai Xiaochun could offer any sort of explanation, Song Que shouted, “Bai Xiaochun!! Tell me the truth. Were you impersonating Bai Hao before?!?!”
Song Que was teetering on the verge of madness as the question of Bai Hao’s identity pounded at his mind. If it was true that Bai Hao was Bai Xiaochun, and that he had become Bai Xiaochun’s pet, and had even stretched his head out to have his hair tousled more deeply by him, then Song Que’s world would surely collapse.
“Absolutely not!” Bai Xiaochun said without a moment of hesitation, shaking his head vigorously. Worried that Song Que wouldn’t believe him, he pointed back at Bai Hao and Zhou Yixing.
“I'm serious! Ask them. I wasn’t impersonating Bai Hao at all. And this is my first time seeing you here in the Wildlands. I'm not joking! It's the truth!” As he spoke, he didn’t blink even a single time, making his words seem very sincere.
Panting, Song Que glared at Bai Xiaochun for a moment, and then turned to look at Bai Hao.
Bai Hao blinked a few times. He knew that Bai Xiaochun was Song Que’s uncle, and therefore didn’t dare to tell him the truth. He quickly nodded, which caused Song Que to relax a bit. However, he still wasn’t completely convinced, and looked to Zhou Yixing for further confirmation.
Zhou Yixing was actually feeling quite stunned himself, although not as much as Song Que. Bai Hao’s words of ‘orders received’ were still ringing loudly in his mind.
Neither Bai Hao nor Bai Xiaochun had thought very much about that. It was the way Bai Hao usually spoke. But when Zhou Yixing heard it, it filled his heart with pounding waves of shock that threatened to overwhelm him.
In fact, he almost wondered if he had been hearing things. Bai Hao was the Hell-Emperor! As far as Zhou Yixing was concerned, even if he did accept directions from Bai Xiaochun, there was no need for him to say anything more than ‘alright’ or something like that. Maybe he could even just nod. Never could Zhou Yixing have imagined that Bai Hao would outright say that he would follow orders!!
In fact, just about anyone in the Wildlands who heard that would be stunned. It immediately led Zhou Yixing to the realization that the true overlord of the Wildlands was… Bai Xiaochun!
Zhou Yixing simply couldn’t get control of himself at the moment. Therefore, when Song Que looked over at him and realized that he wasn’t saying anything, his heart suddenly began to pound, and he started shaking again. White steam even began to rise from the top of his head.
Bai Xiaochun’s nervousness mounted. Worried that Song Que had been offended too deeply, and couldn’t handle the truth, he glared over at Zhou Yixing.
“What are you doing, Zhou Yixing?!” he shouted. “I said that I wasn’t impersonating Bai Hao, and this is my first time seeing Song Que in the Wildlands. Back me up here!”
Bai Xiaochun’s shout tore Zhou Yixing out of his reverie. He immediately began to nod, and in fact, worried that Song Que wouldn’t believe him, he thumped himself on the chest and loudly said, “I, Zhou Yixing, hereby swear that milord never once impersonated Bai Hao!”
When Song Que heard Zhou Yixing’s words echoing back and forth, he relaxed some more. His mind was in chaos, and he could hardly think straight. Therefore, the ‘evidence’ provided by Bai Hao and Zhou Yixing was like a branch extended to a drowning man. He didn’t even want to think about the matter too closely.
Bai Xiaochun was very relieved to see Song Que finally calming down a bit.
“Ah, Que’er,” he said, “there’s no need to get so excited. It's just fate that the two of us have met here in the Wildlands. You’ve grown up quite a bit, Que’er. Getting worked up like this really isn't good for you. Look, you even have steam coming off the top of your head!” Without even thinking about it, he reached out to brush Song Que’s head free of steam.
It was exactly the way he had reached out to tousle Song Que’s hair in the past, and Song Que even reflexively stretched his head forward to meet Bai Xiaochun’s hand….
However, in that instant, both of them froze….
Bai Xiaochun’s heart immediately began to pound wildly, and he pulled his hand back. And Song Que instantly let out a howl that could shake heaven and earth.
“This feeling… it’s you, Bai Xiaochun! You tricked me!! It was you all along!!!”
By this point, Song Que was fully convinced that everything had been an act for his sake. The speed and familiarity with which Bai Xiaochun reached out toward his head had revealed the truth. And the idea of himself being Bai Xiaochun’s pet, and that he had reflexively stuck his head out to have his hair tousled, caused masses of white steam to explode from the top of his head. Mind reeling, he let out a howl and then passed out.
Stunned, Bai Xiaochun hurried over, pried open his mouth, and shoved a medicinal pill inside. Then he looked over helplessly at Bai Hao and Zhou Yixing.
Bai Xiaochun already felt a headache coming on. “It’s not my fault… You two help me figure out what to do!”
“Um… Master, I've already been here for quite a while. I’m pretty sure Senior Gravekeeper is waiting for me…. See you later!” Bai Hao simply couldn’t take anymore, and had convinced himself that he had already followed his Master’s orders…. A strange look appeared on his face as he flew toward the Underworld River.
Zhou Yixing quickly clasped hands to Bai Xiaochun and then followed Bai Hao. The instant he reached the Underworld River, both he and Bai Hao began to fade away. As they did, Bai Xiaochun’s voice echoed behind them.
“Hao’er, remember to help me track down the other cultivators who were teleported out into the Wildlands!”
Bai Hao voiced his assent in the moment before vanishing.
After watching the two of them rush off, Bai Xiaochun looked back down at the unconscious Song Que. Tousling his hair, he sighed.
“Ah, whatever. The child just got too worked up, and passed out. That’s all. In any case, it's not the first time. Once he wakes up, he’ll be fine.” After setting up some defensive spell formations around Song Que, he went back into his immortal's cave and sat down cross-legged.
“He just needs some time to recover. Now that I have twenty-colored flame, it’s time to push my cultivation base to the great circle of the Nascent Soul stage!” Without any hesitation, he produced his turtle-wok and then sent his nascent soul into it. Then he produced his twenty-colored flame, which he looked at for a moment, eyes shining with anticipation.
As soon as the flame touched the wok, dazzling golden light shone out, enveloping his nascent soul. Then, a shocking energy of heaven and earth began to pulse.
Rumbling sounds could be heard, but quickly passed. At the same time, the golden light faded away, revealing a shining, crystalline nascent soul!!
The nascent soul looked like Bai Xiaochun in every respect, and pulsed with Heaven-Dao fluctuations. This was the great circle of the Heaven-Dao Nascent Soul stage!
It was a state of power that could not be compared to anything else in heaven and earth!
The air rippled and distorted around the nascent soul as a tenth golden design appeared!
Each and every one of the designs on its surface pulsed with shocking magical fluctuations. Furthermore, it was possible to imagine what would happen after the twenty-onefold spirit enhancement was performed. Those golden designs would merge into a single… violet design!
In that moment, something legendary and unheard-of would occur. He would become… the perfect deva!
“The legends say that a twenty-onefold spirit enhancement on your nascent soul will break you through to the Deva Realm…. Whether it's true or not, I'm going to try!” Eyes flickering with anticipation, he continued, “Once Que’er wakes up, we’ll leave the Wildlands. And since there’s no Great Wall to go through, we’ll have to traverse the Deadmire!
“After that, I need to get familiar with the formula for twenty-one colored flame, and find an opportunity to become a deva!” At this point, Bai Xiaochun couldn’t have been more filled with excited anticipation.