It was a Dharmic decree from the Celestial himself!
Bai Xiaochun was visibly stunned, as were the northerners and easterners. Thoughtful expressions could be seen on the faces of Du Lingfei and the demigod.
Silence prevailed for a long moment before Bai Xiaochun finally regained his senses. At that point, sweat began to drip down his forehead. After all, he knew that everyone in the north disliked him.
“Uh… I'm probably not a good fit. Let’s just go back to the east.” Feeling like he might start crying at any moment, he made a beeline for the teleportation portal.
However, in the moment he started moving, the demigod snorted coldly and waved his hands, causing powerful invisible bonds to wrap around Bai Xiaochun and prevent him from taking another step.
Bai Xiaochun could then do nothing but watch anxiously as all of the easterners hurried over to the teleportation portal, and then disappeared.
As of this point, Bai Xiaochun was now the only person left from one of the other sects, and he was surrounded by countless glaring northerners.
The twin Master Cloud Lightnings and the other devas were all cracking sarcastic jokes amongst themselves. After all, it would have been one thing if Bai Xiaochun had been promoted to the position of emissary. But he was now nothing more than a guard. Therefore, there were plenty of ways the Nine Heavens Cloud Lightning Sect could cause problems for him.
“Who would have thought that you would end up staying here, Bai Xiaochun? Well, I hope you enjoy your stay in the Nine Heavens Cloud Lightning Sect.”
“It doesn’t matter how you threw your weight around back in the east. Here in the north… you’ll have no choice but to bow your head!”
The devas had already decided that, even though they couldn’t kill Bai Xiaochun, considering they were on home ground, they would definitely come up with plenty of ways to torment him.
All of the other lower-ranking cultivators were laughing and joking as well. After all, it was a rare thing to be able to make fun of a deva without fearing any consequences.
It all made sense. Bai Xiaochun had killed Master Lightning Origin, sowing a deep personal grudge between himself and the twin Master Cloud Lightnings, a grudge which extended to include all of the north.
Bai Xiaochun knew that there was no getting around it.
“I don’t want to stay here….” he wailed inwardly. As for Du Lingfei, a wry smile appeared on her face. Although she wasn’t sure exactly what her father was thinking, she did have business here in the north. Although she hadn’t anticipated having Bai Xiaochun around at the same time, there was nothing she could do to change it.
At this point, Feng Chen cast a cold glare at Bai Xiaochun, then walked forward and clasped hands in formal fashion to the demigod patriarch and Du Lingfei.
“Patriarch,” he said loudly, “I can accept the fact that this Bai Xiaochun has been appointed as a Heavenspan special guard, and will be stationed here in the north. But… considering how dangerous of a person he is, I suggest that we place some limitations on him, effective immediately!”
Bai Xiaochun wanted to offer a retort, but at the moment, the bonds placed on him by the demigod made it impossible to speak. All he could do was curse inwardly.
The other devas, especially the twin Master Cloud Lightnings, agreed immediately, and began to voice their assent.
“It makes perfect sense! He might be a special guard, but he's also a foreign deva. We can’t just let him do whatever he wants in our sect!”
“That’s right. Patriarch, a mere glance at this Bai Xiaochun and one can see that he harbors ill intentions. The best thing would be to put some rules in place to keep him in check.”
Bai Xiaochun’s anxiety began to mount, and Du Lingfei frowned.
Although the demigod patriarch hadn’t openly agreed with Feng Chen, neither had he interrupted or refused. Therefore, Feng Chen smiled and clasped hands again.
“Patriarch, I suggest that as long as Bai Xiaochun is in the Nine Heavens Cloud Lightning Sect, he must abide by a three-point covenant!
“First, he will not be allowed to reside in the black coffin. He can stay in the Cloud Order, and will not be allowed to step off it a single pace. If he does… he’ll be confined in the Lightning Order’s Lightning Penitentiary!!”
Bai Xiaochun’s heart was racing like mad, but all he could do was curse madly inside.
Feng Chen could guess how Bai Xiaochun was reacting, and even went so far as to look over and stare at him as he continued speaking.
“Second. He will not concoct pills while in the north. His Dao of medicine is bizarre, and so powerful that it can destroy even a riversource sect. Therefore, he must abide strictly by this second point. If he does not, he will not just be locked up in Lightning Penitentiary, but he will also be placed on death row and executed!”
The words were spoken with utmost solemnity, and caused a bit of humiliation to enter into the madness that raged in Bai Xiaochun’s heart. After all, considering what had happened recently in the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect, he hadn’t planned to do any pill concocting….
“And now the third point…. Hmph! The spiritual power of heaven and earth in the north belongs to us northern cultivators. How could we possible just give it to a foreigner to use in cultivation? As long as Bai Xiaochun is in the Nine Heavens Cloud Lightning Sect, if he absorbs the slightest sliver of spiritual power, he will be locked up in Lightning Penitentiary!”
This three-point covenant was cruel and harsh, to say the least. All of the surrounding northern cultivators were convinced that it would have Bai Xiaochun completely locked down and bereft of hope. Even the twin Master Cloud Lightnings were shocked, and looked over at Feng Chen with complete approval.
Everything Feng Chen had said made sense, and seemed to be designed for the benefit of the north. Even the somewhat unreasonable third demand met with the approval of all of the surrounding cultivators.
After all, the spiritual energy in the north did belong to the northerners, so for a person from the east to take it was basically theft!
Bai Xiaochun felt like he was going insane, and was even trembling. However, he was still incapable of doing anything other than scream in his heart.
“Bullies! Complete and utter bullies!!”
Unfortunately, there was nothing he could do about the situation. And although he wasn’t sure what exactly Du Lingfei was tasked with doing up here, he was fairly convinced that the Celestial was doing this in revenge for being slapped in the trial by fire.
Du Lingfei was currently looking coldly at Feng Chen, and doing nothing to conceal her anger and murderous aura.
“This is absurd,” she said coolly. “To enforce a three-point covenant like this on a Heavenspan special guard is a complete joke!”
Feng Chen hesitated, but didn’t respond. A moment passed, and the demigod chuckled.
“I think it's a wonderful idea,” he said. “Let’s do it.”
“Fourth Elder Brother,” Du Lingfei said, “you--”
“I'm not sure about the details of your relationship with Bai Xiaochun, Little Junior Sister. But you can rest at ease. As a special guard, he will not lose his life here so long as he doesn’t kill any northern cultivators. By the way, I need to remind you… that this is the north.” Chuckling again, he turned and vanished.
As he left, the bonds holding Bai Xiaochun in place faded away. He had seen how Du Lingfei leapt to his defense, and had also seen the cold attitude of the demigod patriarch, and it filled him with a sense of hopelessness.
“Ah, whatever,” he thought, sighing. “I’ll just do my best to behave. I hope boo’s inspection tour will end soon….”
Du Lingfei looked very anxious. Considering that her father was still injured, and given how badly the trial by fire had gone, it wasn’t just the demigod from the north who was feeling displeased with the Celestial….
And thus, with no way to change the outcome of events, Bai Xiaochun scowled on the verge of tears as he was ‘escorted’ to the white cloud above the statue of the refined and scholarly man. There, he was given the same residence that a first heaven disciple of the Nine Heavens Cloud Lightning Sect would get.
It was simple and crude, and in a remote location on the cloud. When Bai Xiaochun saw that, he sighed and tromped inside, scowling the entire way.
Days passed, and soon Bai Xiaochun felt like he was going crazy. Wherever he went in the Cloud Order, people glared at him, even ones with very low cultivation bases. These were people he could kill without any effort, and yet they looked at him with the same scorn they would show a prisoner with a lower cultivation base than their own.
If he ever got close to the border of the Cloud Order, a stream of deva divine sense would lock onto him.
Obviously, if he stepped off of the cloud, he would be imprisoned.
He also couldn’t practice cultivation. He could sense that he was constantly being monitored, and therefore, if he absorbed some of the spiritual power of heaven and earth, he would be violating the three-point covenant, and would be punished.
He had never been restricted in this way before, and it was reaching the point where he couldn’t take it. For the first time in his life, he actually wished he could do some pill concocting. In this place, he wouldn’t feel a scrap of guilt if anything strange happened. In fact, he would hope for it to….
“And yet… these bastards actually said I can’t concoct pills!!”
Trivia note: The “three-point covenant” is a common Chinese idiom that literally refers to some laws made by Emperor Gaozu of the Han Dynasty. Later, the idiom came to refer to general rules and agreements. Here, it's being literally used to mean a rule with three stipulations