Calling Xiao Qi back over, Bai Yunfei and the others followed Xu Ran up the road to the mountains before coming right in front of a giant black hall.
It wasn't until they were close to the hall that Bai Yunfei realized just how large it was. On both sides stood two gigantic stone statues with depictions of spirits on them. Black-faced and with tusks, the statues had claws for hands and were shown roaring to the heavens as if trying to swallow the clouds and devour the moon.
Furthermore, Bai Yunfei and the group came to realize just how strong the aura coming from here was when they got close. It was even more foreboding than before, and the prevalent elemental darkness in the area made them all feel rather unwell. Despite it being only the aura of the people here, rather than the environment, it was still a very unsettling experience on the mind.
As they walked through the black halls, the group soon came to a stop right in front of throne with an elderly person in violet-black robes sitting on it. His hair was white and his face was wrinkled. A cup of tea in his hands as he talked with several people in front of him, the elder was smiling as he observed the people coming in now.
This was without a doubt the headmaster of the Underworld School. Before Huangfu Nan left, he told Bai Yunfei that this man was Mo Yanbai and an expert of the same level and generation of Zi Jin.
At Mo Yanbai's two sides were two other older men. Mu Chen was one of these figures, so the other person surely had to be another elder of the school.
Xu Ran took the group to the middle of the room before bowing to Mo Yanbai. "Master, the guests have arrived."
"You may leave." Mo Yanbai nodded.
Xu Ran left the hall.
Bai Yunfei and Zheng Kai both bowed towards the man with respect. "This junior pays his respects to headmaster Mo and the elders."
Long Lan did nothing but stand there. He as a soulbeast didn't care for etiquette for human elders. Furthermore, he was the disciple of Long Zhen and also a class seven soulbeast, hence why he had some pride here.
"Haha, my dear guests, be at ease and sit down." Mo Yanbai laughed. He wasn't displeased with how Long Lan was acting, he was after all a Soul King. Class sevens and Soul Kings treated each other as equals, and only when there was some sort of hierarchy like in schools or else wise would the situation be a little different.
Bai Yunfei and the other two sat down onto their stools.
"As rare as it is for my Underworld School to receive any information from the outside world, we did manage to hear Zi Jin take on a talented student as his disciple a few years ago. The achievements of this said student was startling to hear, but now that I see you today, it seems those rumors were more true than false. Nephew Bai, you seem close to becoming a Soul King! What a prodigy, Zi Jin has truly a good eye. He was later than I by twenty years in taking on a student, but it seems that we are both blessed with prodigies for disciples."
Bai Yunfei was surprised. He thought that the headmaster of the Underworld School would be rigid and stern in attitude, but the man sounded a lot more friendly than he thought. And he was friends with his master Zi Jin too?
"Senior Mo is too kind. The world has many prodigies in the world, and every school has their fair share. This junior has seen many others on par with me, and many that make me unworthy of being called one. I am only lucky in having the opportunity to become stronger a little faster than usual." Bai Yunfei replied modestly. If he was being praised this much, then he'd surely have to be as modest as he could.
"This one comes here today on behalf of the Crafting School to wish the Underworld School good tidings. Though our two schools have never met with one another, we hope that this will change in the future. Whatever trouble there may be, may our two schools share in the good times and bad and help one another."
These were the words Huangfu Nan instructed him to say. He hadn't much experience as a representative, but Bai Yunfei knew that the Crafting School was trying to make friends with the Underworld School. Huangfu Nan even mentioned before about an 'alliance'.
"Haha, but of course. We of the Underworld School may not venture out in the world often, but we are honored to have the goodwill of the Crafting School." Mo Yanbai knew this as well. "Now that I think about it, Zi Jin and I had many chance encounters in the past. One of those times was back in Soulbeast Forest at our primes. A hundred years must have passed since then? How much the times changed, and how the two of us have grown old…."
Again, Bai Yunfei was surprised to hear about the friendly relationship Zi Jin had with Mo Yanbai. He had never heard his master talk about it before, and the words 'in their primes' and 'a hundred years ago' were definitely referring to events in the far past. No elderly person would just carelessly talk about precious memories like that on a whimsical though.
Mo Yanbai turned to Zheng Kai next with an equally large smile. "Nephew Zheng, how might your patriarch senior Zheng Lin be doing?"
Having been listening to Mo Yanbai talk to Bai Yunfei, Zheng Kai was in the middle of sipping his cup of tea when Mo Yanbai turned to him. Nearly coughing on his cup, Zheng Kai placed it down with a thunderstruck expression. "You….senior….senior Mo knows my ancestor?!"
"I was honored with the chance to see the grace of senior Zheng Lin when I was young. He stepped into the realm of Emperors several dozen years ago I heard. Has he made any progress and reached into any higher realm?"
Zheng Kai wiped the sweat off his forehead, "I….my ancestor has closed himself off many years ago. I've never even seen my ancestor…."
"Haha, for someone as strong as senior Zheng Lin, worldly matters shouldn't even matter to him anymore." Mo Yanbai nodded sagely. He didn't pursue the question, after all, how would a youngling like Zheng Kai know anything about Zheng Lin's situation?
Bai Yunfei was really surprised now. This was the first time he had ever heard about Zheng Kai's ancestor before. And from what Mo Yanbai had just said….
The realm of Emperors? Was that the Soul Emperor realm? And 'even higher'? That couldn't mean….
As expected from a hundred-year-old man. He could amaze anyone with just a few words.
Mo Yanbai continued to talk with both Bai Yunfei and Zheng Kai a little longer, though his eyes were usually staring at Bai Yunfei, making him feel a little awkward.
"Senior Mo," Bai Yunfei spoke at last. "How is the treatment of the little girl we brought going….can she be healed?"
The smile on Mo Yanbai's face paused briefly, "I took a look at her condition a while ago. Truthfully speaking….the chances of healing her aren't very large….."
Bai Yunfei felt his heart skip a bit, "But how can that be…? Isn't it elemental darkness that is corroding her insides? Can't elemental darkness be used to treat and expel it from her body?"
The pointy-chinned elder to the right of Mo Yanbai's side snorted. "Hmph! What would a baby know of our arts! It's because of her affliction that she can't be treated! The flow of elemental darkness has no pattern and is hard to treat. Don't forget that she is only a commoner, regular methods can't even be used on her! It's a miracle that she's lived this long already. We'd need plenty of ingredients if we'd want even a chance of saving her, and it's not even guaranteed! It's not worth saving her life!"
This man was a very straightforward person, and his words very clearly saying that the price needed to be paid to save this one girl wasn't worth the effort.