The Giant Ghost King’s trajectory brought him closer to the border of the Vile-Emperor Dynasty with every moment. Eventually, he found himself outside of a wide basin in the lands.
It wasn’t particularly large, but the ground in the area was all scorched black, with wisps of black smoke rising up everywhere. In the middle of the basin was a chunk of stone.
It was about the size of a fist, and pulsed with strange, dim light. In fact, the stone itself seemed to shift in size and shape according to some strange pattern. It almost looked like a heartbeat.
Eight demigods from the Arch-Emperor Dynasty already had the area locked down, but they weren’t strong enough to deal with the corrosive powers coming from the stone, and thus, hadn’t approached it. After reporting the matter, they had simply waited for the Giant Ghost King to arrive.
When they saw him nearing, they immediately rose to their feet and offered formal greetings. The Giant Ghost King waved his hand in response, and without saying anything, flew right into the basin.
The pulses of corrosive power could melt a demigod on the spot, but would not harm a celestial in the short term. However, the Giant Ghost King did begin to pulse with black smoke.
Aware that the effects could be detrimental if he allowed them to continue for too long, he hurried up to the stone, then reached out and grabbed it. Just as he had with several other stones that he had handled, he scanned it with divine sense at the same time.
As he did, his expression flickered, and his eyes went wide.
“It’s not solid!!” To his shock, his divine sense had revealed something inside of the stone that resembled an unborn lizard!
Even as the Giant Ghost King scanned it with divine sense, the thing wriggled!
At first, the Giant Ghost King was excited to have found something different from the other stones he had encountered so far. Aware of how valuable this item was, he immediately turned to head toward Arch-Emperor City.
However, in that very instant, a cold snort echoed out from the sky, which transformed the entire area into a sea of flames!
The black fire moved too quickly for the demigods to avoid, and they screamed as they were overwhelmed and transformed into ash.
“Vile-Emperor!!” the Giant Ghost King growled. He had watched Bai Xiaochun fighting the Vile-Emperor, and over the years, had conferred with Gongsun Wan’er about him. As such, as soon as his senses told him the Vile-Emperor was present, he immediately sent a warning message to Arch-Emperor City.
Unfortunately, the sea of flames moved so quickly that within moments, it was like an enormous hand, wrapping around the Giant Ghost King. No matter how he tried to fight back or flee, his cultivation base was simply too low. Therefore, the hand wrapped around him and dragged him forcibly up into the sky.
There, the Vile-Emperor hovered, clad in imperial robes, his hands clasped behind his back and his face completely expressionless. Ignoring the hand of flames, he focused on the stone, which he grabbed and looked at closely. Shockingly, he then absorbed the stone into his hand, whereupon his eyes shone with bizarre light, and his aura increased in power by a significant portion.
Still within the hand of flames was the Giant Ghost King, blood oozing out of his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. He was so badly injured that he was now unconscious. Eventually, the Vile-Emperor looked at him, then turned his gaze in the direction of Arch-Emperor City. Eyes narrowing, he coolly murmured, “Many years have passed, Bai Xiaochun. Do you really possess archaean battle prowess…?”
Considering how much time had passed without Bai Xiaochun actually doing anything, both he and the Saint-Emperor were having a hard time determining the truth of matters.
In the past, Bai Xiaochun had relied on Archaean Luminescence. But in the years that had passed, the Vile-Emperor had patiently worked on a way to negate its effects. And now, convinced that great matters were at hand, he was itching to see exactly what was going on with Bai Xiaochun!
Chuckling, he grabbed the Giant Ghost King and then flew away.
Soon after, a Dharmic decree was sent from Vile-Emperor all the way to Arch-Emperor City. The contents were not vague: the Giant Ghost King had trespassed on Vile-Emperor Dynasty territory, and attempted to steal a meteorite. For his crime, the Vile-Emperor had captured him to be punished.
The Dharmic decree was a clear message to all of the Eternal Immortal Domains that the Vile-Emperor wanted Bai Xiaochun to go to Vile-Emperor City to free the Giant Ghost King!
It was impossible to hide the fact that he wanted to probe Bai Xiaochun, and it caused even the Saint-Emperor’s eyes to narrow. On the one hand, he and Bai Xiaochun had formed an alliance, but on the other hand, he had long suspected that Bai Xiaochun’s true battle prowess was weaker than he had initially taken it to be. Therefore, this little test by the Vile-Emperor was actually a good thing for him.
“Some probing won’t hurt me, but if Bai Xiaochun perishes, that will have negative ramifications.” Therefore, the Saint-Emperor decided to monitor the situation closely, and prepare to intervene if necessary.
Three days passed, and no response came from Arch-Emperor City. The Vile-Emperor’s suspicions deepened, as did the suspicions of his people. Meanwhile, the important figures in Arch-Emperor City began to get nervous, people like Zhou Zimo and the Grand Heavenmaster. They all knew that the Vile-Emperor was testing out Bai Xiaochun, and that if he didn’t make an appearance, that it would reveal their weak state of power. And if Bai Xiaochun was truly weak, or they waited too long to do something, the Giant Ghost King would likely be in grave danger!
At that point, Song Junwan, Zhou Zimo and Hou Xiaomei went to Bai Xiaochun’s secluded meditation facilities, joined by the Grand Heavenmaster and Gongsun Wan’er. Together, they sent out divine sense in the hopes of awakening Bai Xiaochun from his meditative trance. However, their divine sense got no reaction.
Even as their anxiety began to mount, the door to the chamber swung open, and Bai Xiaochun appeared. However, everyone could immediately tell that he was partially transparent, and was obviously a clone.
Before any of them could say anything, he said, “I’m aware of what’s happening. My true self is already on his way.”
Then, he suddenly began to shine with bright light!
Everyone, from the Grand Heavenmaster to Gongsun Wan’er, were shaken by that light, which was blinding even to celestials!
As the light grew brighter, everyone present shivered down to their souls, the result of a powerful aura that caused their minds to reel.
Before long, the light began to converge into the shape of a person. It was almost like a teleportation as Bai Xiaochun’s true self materialized in the exact spot as his clone!
As he became clear, they realized that he looked different. His hair was a bit longer, and he actually looked younger. However, there was something profound about his eyes, as though they contained stars, and at the same time, were black holes that could drag anything and everything into them.
His eyes left everyone shaken, regardless of the level of their cultivation bases, including even Gongsun Wan’er, who was in the late Celestial Realm. Back during his journey through the void, he would usually keep his aura out in the open, and although he had already retracted it, his clone had made him aware of what the Vile-Emperor had done to the Giant Ghost King. And thus, rage burned in his heart, and some of his aura managed to slip out, leading to shock among those present.
The shaken Grand Heavenmaster was the first to recover. Clasping hands, he bowed to Bai Xiaochun.
Everyone else followed suit, including Song Junwan, Zhou Zimo, and Hou Xiaomei. “Greetings, Arch-Emperor!!”
“I’ll take care of everything,” he said, his eyes warm. “Don’t worry!”
Zhou Zimo, Song Junwan and Hou Xiaomei all seemed to relax visibly, confident that he could resolve any difficulties.
It had been a long time since the last time they had reunited, so he took time to embrace all three of his wives. Song Junwan was smiling warmly, and Hou Xiaomei’s belly was already visibly large. However, the both of them knew that Zhou Zimo had taken her father’s kidnapping worse than the two of them, and secretly indicated that he should offer her some comfort. When he turned his gaze to her specifically, he could see how red her eyes were.
“I’m going to go get father-in-law back,” he said softly, “and also make the Vile-Emperor Dynasty pay for this. After I return, I won’t be going into secluded meditation for a while.” With that, he blurred into motion, shooting high up into the sky!