Celestial Aged Spirit looked at Bai Xiaochun wordlessly, and Bai Xiaochun said nothing further. Meanwhile, the pressure in the main hall built higher and higher, until it seemed like a windstorm raged therein.
The ten demigods were particularly uncomfortable, and as for Marquis Zi Lin, he was just about to start crying.
The only calm one was the Giant Ghost King. He almost couldn’t believe the show that Bai Xiaochun had put on. Now, the Marquis Zi Lin who had put him in such a bad position was as weak as a bug. Of course, this was the Saint-Emperor Dynasty, and Marquis Zi Lin was backed by a celestial.
And yet, everything that Bai Xiaochun had said made sense, making it impossible for Celestial Aged Spirit to offer a retort. Moments ticked by, and the Giant Ghost King was starting to feel very pleased with how things were going. However, that was when Celestial Aged Spirit’s vision shifted from Bai Xiaochun to him!
“Very well, lock him up. Master Dustcity, you shall serve as the preceptor of Godsifter Prefecture!” As soon as the words left his mouth, one of the demigods in the hall stepped forward, a fat man who was currently trembling in fear. Inwardly, he was grumbling about being dragged into the affair, and was even considering trying to refuse somehow…. But considering how livid Celestial Aged Spirit looked at the moment, he simply clasped hands and offered a thankful affirmation.
Despite feeling bad for Master Dustcity, the other demigods edged away from him.
Marquis Zi Lin looked like all the energy had drained out of him. His face was pale and his expression listless as he stood there trembling.
As for Bai Xiaochun, he frowned slightly. He had to admit that this Celestial Aged Spirit was not an easy opponent to deal with. Not only did he not bicker about locking up Marquis Zi Lin, but instead focused on the Giant Ghost King. Clearly, he had no intention of allowing the Giant Ghost King to have the title of preceptor ever again. Presumably, he would eventually make some other move against him in the future.
“Wily old fox!” Bai Xiaochun thought, snorting inwardly.
“Locking up Marquis Zi Lin isn’t sufficient,” he said loudly. “This matter pertains to the loss of a prefecture, to the endangerment of all of the citizens in the nation, as well as the trust of His Majesty the Saint-Emperor. Therefore, I'm afraid I must ask some further questions.
“If Marquis Zi Lin has indeed been falsely accused, I would be happy to personally clear his name. But if he is truly a traitor, then I refuse to believe that he was acting alone. He would obviously have some accomplices backing him up!
“His Majesty the Saint-Emperor stationed me here in the second immortal domain, and there is no more loyal official here than me!” With that, he flicked his sleeve and glared at Celestial Aged Spirit much like a tiger eyeing its prey.
When Marquis Zi Lin heard those words, he was suddenly paralyzed by despair.
The other demigods gasped inwardly. Naturally, all of them understood the hidden threat in Bai Xiaochun’s words, and knew that they were all suddenly in danger. With Marquis Zi Lin in his clutches, he could easily drag anyone else into the situation in the name of justice. Trying to prove their innocence later wouldn’t do much good. And who knew what sorts of things could happen after they were imprisoned.
In the end, Bai Xiaochun might suffer some negative repercussions if the truth came to light, but he was a celestial, and at worst would receive a minor punishment. All he would have to do was claim that he had misunderstood the situation, and the Saint-Emperor would likely praise him for his loyalty.
Bai Xiaochun had made his threat very clear. If Celestial Aged Spirit dared to do anything to the Giant Ghost King, then Bai Xiaochun would respond in kind. In fact, he might even make a move against Celestial Aged Spirit himself. Although it wouldn’t result in any concrete harm, it would definitely be a big embarrassment.
It would also throw the entire second immortal domain into chaos. It was an alarming thought. After all, Bai Xiaochun was a celestial, so there was little they could do to him! And this wasn’t his home, so he didn’t care much about what happened overall!
By this point, Celestial Aged Spirit was quivering in rage, and there was even killing intent in his eyes. This new tactic was as crude and cruel as the way he had slandered Marquis Zi Lin. And yet, it was explosively effective, and profoundly threatening!
Celestial Aged Spirit would never even think of doing something like this. He was calculating and fastidious, and virtually epitomized the sanctimoniousness of the Saint-Emperor Dynasty. Therefore, Bai Xiaochun’s cruel, rude methods had caught him completely unprepared. They were also particularly effective.
After a long moment passed, Celestial Aged Spirit reigned in his killing intent. He closed his eyes momentarily, and when he opened them again, he looked completely calm.
“Preceptor Giant Ghost, you have done excellent work managing Godsifter Prefecture. Master Dustcity, are you absolutely set on going there?”
The demigod Master Dustcity was very excited. The truth was that he wasn’t set on going to Godsifter Prefecture. In fact, he had no desire whatsoever to do so. Stepping forward, he clasped hands and bowed deeply.
“Your humble servant can’t even compare to Fellow Daoist Giant Ghost. Whether in terms of talents, virtues, cultivation base, governing ability, et cetera, I don’t even come close to him. I am more than willing to forego the position of preceptor. In all of the second immortal domain, only Fellow Daoist Giant Ghost possibly qualifies to serve in Godsifter Prefecture.”
The other demigods quickly stepped forward and began to say similar things.
“Godsifter Prefecture simply cannot function without Fellow Daoist Giant Ghost there!”
“I truly hope that the two exalted Celestials present will agree that Fellow Daoist Giant Ghost is clearly the best option!”
“How wise and brilliant, oh exalted Celestial. Fellow Daoist Giant Ghost is a rare gem here in the Saint-Emperor Dynasty, and is obviously the best choice!”
After everyone spoke, Celestial Aged Spirit nodded his head.
“Let it be so!”
Finally, the Giant Ghost King had his position returned to him, although he didn’t take much pleasure in it. Having seen this confrontation with his own eyes, he knew that it meant Bai Xiaochun could no longer maintain a low profile in the second immortal domain.
Furthermore… there was likely more to come!
As for Bai Xiaochun, he was shivering inwardly with apprehension. He would rather Celestial Aged Spirit fly into a rage. That would have been less nerve-wracking. Instead, he got very calm, which seemed far more sinister and foreboding.
But now that they had come to an agreement, it did no good to look back with regret. Looking around at the demigods, as well as Marquis Zi Lin, he smiled.
“After some thought, I've come to the realization that, considering all of the services Marquis Zi Lin has performed for the Saint-Emperor Dynasty, it seems silly to be so hard-hearted over such a small matter. Marquis Zi Lin, I for one believe that you were slandered!”
His words caused all of the demigods to breathe sighs of relief. All of a sudden, they realized that this King Heavenspan wasn’t impossible to work with after all. And he wasn’t the type to push matters to the bitter end.
Most excited of all was Marquis Zi Lin, who had been struck by one wave of misfortune after another this day. As of this point, he was furious with Celestial Aged Spirit, and although he had mixed feelings about Bai Xiaochun, mostly respected him.
Rising to his feet, he clasped hands and bowed deeply to Bai Xiaochun several times in a row.
Of course, Celestial Aged Spirit noticed all of this, and a grim look once again appeared in his eyes. As of this point, both he and Bai Xiaochun viewed each other as wily foxes.
Matters of face had just barely been handled properly in the interchange. However, both of them knew that they were now rivals, and that if the opportunity presented itself, a major conflict would result.
Finally, Celestial Aged Spirit turned and left. As for Bai Xiaochun, he wasn't somber like before. He smiled as he said a few words to the demigods, then took the Giant Ghost King with him back to his mansion.
Once inside, the Giant Ghost King let out a long sigh of relief. Bai Xiaochun had originally intended to ask him to stay for a few more days, but he was too anxious to get back to Godsifter Prefecture. After all, if he was gone for too long, who knew what problems might arise there?
Before leaving, the Giant Ghost King stepped forward and embraced Bai Xiaochun.
“Xiaochun, you’ve… you’ve really grown up.” With that he stepped back, threw his head back and laughed heartily. Then he became a beam of light that shot toward the capital city’s teleportation portal.
Bai Xiaochun watched him leave. For some reason, the Giant Ghost King seemed to be getting much older, causing Bai Xiaochun to sigh and think back to everything that had happened in Giant Ghost City.
Eventually, he headed back into his mansion, where he sat down cross-legged in his private chamber and pulled out the command medallion from the damaged fan. Even after studying it in much detail, he hadn’t found any other function to it than the spiritual energy it emitted.
“It seems like the spiritual energy is slowly running out. But what exactly does this thing have to do with that fan?” After thinking about it for a bit more, he went back to cultivation.
With the help of the command medallion, the immortal pills, and the spirit plants, his cultivation base had advanced significantly. He was now getting very close to the peak of the early Celestial Realm.
And much of that speed was because of the energy in the medallion!